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Old 07-02-2012, 11:44 AM
truth2light truth2light is offline
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I feel there is something sick about people who want to be poly but make sure to hurt everybody else on each side of the equation as they "explore it".

I do suggest you two see a counselor ASAP, I don't really think he knows what poly means yet, or if he's brave enough to embrace the honesty and ethical requirements of being in a poly relationship and putting things other than his romantic/sexual desire first.[/QUOTE]

So talking briefly with him- I am not sure he is "poly". He wants to be able to be in multiple love relationships yes. But he told me he looked at theis thread and some others and while "these poly people seem to have some interesting views" he is "not sure that it is quite what he is saying. he is not sure he can buy into such a rule based structure"

We had a brief talk about honesty, and he said when am I supposed to tell you these things? When I first talk to someone and I can see they are into me? And I know I feel an attraction and at some point something may happen? Right before- like hey I am going to work today- and this person- more than likely we may hook up?

He told me do you know how often and how crazy that would make you?

Not to say he is out there sleeping with everyone he comes into contact with. But he is very open and friendly(definitely does not vibe "married") and a very handsome man and has ample opportunities practically throw themselves at him all the time.

So now that I think about it- in our past conversations- whenever I have asked him how this having other partners looks- what rules boundaries etc- he always gives me a blank look- says I don't know. It would be how it looks.
And this in my mind is where the conversation has stalled. I will then say let me know what you are proposing- let me know how it looks. Then I often wont hear about this again for a long time until I hear "We need more friends." And then I need to be in multiple relationships. And I say how does that look? What are you asking? And he never pins it down. And then because I do not hear back- I assume the conversation has gone to a back burner and not an issue for now. I guess almost like I feel we are still at the negotiations table- and he it seems never really pulls up a chair.

I think he basically wants any and all relationships he chooses to have the potential to spontaneously develop very naturally- and he has told me if ever he reaches a point where he doesn't want to be with me and the family of course he will tell me as that seems right.

So as long as he is with me- he wants to be with me. And if that changes he will let me know.

When I ask for rules like- let's say you only can do this when out of town for work- he will ponder it and say I could be ok with that. But I get the feeling- it is not so much that he can agree to the rule- it is more like as long as the rule agrees with his current wants/desires it is ok. But if those needs/desires change- then the rule would probably be tossed and I would be sitting here saying what about the rule- and he would say yeah- it didn't work in this case. Not- hey babe- I think this needs to be talked about because I want to see this other person- but yeah I am seeing this other person- sorry the rule didn't work.

ESPECIALLY for me with a mono base- this does not sound like he is offering me anything. No rules that I could even begin to feel remotely safe, protected, or prioritized.

This does not only affect me. Our relationship alignment affects our children. It affects my emotional and financial stability and thus their lives.


So- husband- first- I apologize if you feel I have put you on blast somehow. I am not trying to do that. I am seeking perspective from people with a mindset of being able to love multiple partners simultaneously and how they have made that work. If you cannot give me an idea of what you are asking me for looks like- I have gone seeking for some examples- and am holding them up to say- is this it??

I know that others perspectives do not ultimately matter to you- as in the end you are doing you- and not trying to buy into conventions or others rule based philosophies but determining your own path.

Please- feel free to weigh in with subtleties. Please feel free and safe here to propose thoughts.

To me this is an anonymous forum- nothing personal- an exchange of ideas with people who have some experience down this kind of path. They may not be exactly what you are- but maybe they can help you figure out what you are and point us that way- so I can be better informed and able to see if that is something I can buy into.

I am trying to give our relationship the privacy to figure itself out. This conversation is a nonstarter with our friends. I am sorry if this feels to public to you. It is helping me see what I can and cannot be comfortable with.

Please do feel free to comment- because I think your input against the backdrop of their views may be able to give me at least some sort of picture or perspective on where you are coming from.

I love you and am trying to figure this out. I am trying to help us find a place where we can both meet and be happy.
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Old 07-02-2012, 01:58 PM
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AnnabelMore AnnabelMore is offline
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Here's how I see your husband's situation. He can have a marriage with no multiple partners or multiple partners with no marriage, and in both cases he gets to avoid the hard work of negotiation and compromise. But if he wants the freedom to have multiple partners while keeping his marriage, he needs to be willing to work with you to set and abide by ground rules that will give you a certain level of security and comfort. This is NOT too much to ask on your part, it is in fact extremely reasonable!

Often, cheaters develop a certain comfort with the mechanics of cheating. Keeping things compartmentalized, not discussing things, pretending things aren't happening. If telling his lover he loves you caused turmoil, it certainly sounds like he wasn't completely up front with disclosing his situation to her at the outset! These mechanics serve him, as they keep things "simple". But they don't at all serve you or any other partners of his, because they leave you feeling lost, confused, distrustful. He needs to come to terms with this and understand the importance of changing his mindset and his patterns, imho.

By open-heartedly considering this, and doing the hard work of learning about poly and examining your feelings, you are giving him an amazing gift. Does he appreciate this? If so, again, he needs to show the respect of doing the hard work to give you what you need to make this feasible!

I strongly recommend the resources at www.morethantwo.com. It has lots of general advice as well as practical guidelines, focusing less on long lists of rules (not that a few rules aren't helpful, especially at the beginning!) and more on ways to communicate and understand the dynamics of multiple loving relationships.

A week is a ridiculously short amount of time to have "fallen in love". Sounds like infatuation to me. He would do well to recognize this, and temper his emotions and lust a little while focusing on making sure his marriage to you survives this transition.

I would also strongly suggest some communication between you and his lover, maybe even just a phone call -- to make sure you're on the same page. If he doesn't consider that feasible, then he's not yet serious about managing honesty in multiple relationships.
Me, 30ish bi female, been doing solo poly for roughly 5 years. Gia, Clay, and Pike, my partners. Davis, ex/friend/"it's complicated." Eric, Gia's husband. Bee, Gia and Eric's toddler.

Last edited by AnnabelMore; 07-02-2012 at 04:46 PM.
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Old 07-02-2012, 02:16 PM
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CielDuMatin CielDuMatin is offline
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Well, I can imagine that your husband is uncomfortable reading this - it's not exactly showing what he is doing in a very good light.

Look, most of us here have many many experiences of "doing poly badly" - part of the reason most of us post is to try to share that pain with others, in the hope that they may make more informed decisions in their lives and avoid some of the pain and suffering that we went through. You can choose to accept or ignore whatever parts you want, but please bear in mind that the stuff here is coming from a very practical place, not some blind theory.

Being in a committed relationship (and I am including marriage in this) is about responsibility. From what you are saying, it's sounding like he wants to do whatever he wants, whenever he wants, with whomever he wants, while have you as his loving wife, who will basically put up with anything he chooses. Are you ok with that?

If you are, then you're going to need to accept the bad with the good on this one.

If not, then something must change - either the marriage gets cancelled, or he has to respect your wishes and your relationship far more than he seems to be doing right now.

He doesn't want any rules - so presumably this means that if he chooses to have barrierless (i.e. no condoms) sex with one of his lovers, you are just meant to accept that? If he decides that he wants to have sex with her in your bed, then you have to be fine with it?

Sorry, but it is perfectly reasonable in my mind for you to have some boundaries set (not rules - boundaries). If he is not willing to talk about those with you, then I'm not holding out much hope on you being anything but a doormat.

"Listen, or your tongue will make you deaf." - Native American Proverb
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Old 07-02-2012, 02:27 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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To be honest, since you've been on here trying to be real, I think you have a better handle on poly than he does.

Whether he wants poly, soft swing, hard swing, or some other kind of thing and a new framework for your relationship, you guys MUST talk.


I operate on KISS -- keep it simple, silly. Below may be hard to hear. I know it runs on long but ETHICS in relationship is a push button issue for me. I am passionate about that.

Feel free to skip. Or take it as you will. It's offered in hopes that you get you to a better place. However it is that manifests.

He told me do you know how often and how crazy that would make you?
He is not holding up his stick in doing the telling is he now? To even give you the opportunity to rise to the occassion. He is not letting you hold your own bag to find out. He is either speaking to unwillingness to play ball and just spit it out and thus play fair or speaking to fear at what your reaction might be. Either way he is not speaking to YOU. He is not doing the telling.

He is not holding up his stick in being responsible for your emotional safety either. To me it sounds like the NOT KNOWING is making you crazier than having an agreed to framework you both created and knowing what's what in there.

I will then say let me know what you are proposing- let me know how it looks. Then I often wont hear about this again for a long time until I hear "We need more friends." And then I need to be in multiple relationships. And I say how does that look? What are you asking? And he never pins it down. And then because I do not hear back- I assume the conversation has gone to a back burner and not an issue for now. I guess almost like I feel we are still at the negotiations table- and he it seems never really pulls up a chair.
Lame. Partner has to engage with you. That kind of avoidy would smack of emotional weenie to me. I had a relationship that was like that and it drove me nuts. I broke it up. I can't play with someone who will just not play fair.

That's a big red flag to me -- gaslighting, avoidy, shifty, never pin downy, UGH. I'm not saying you are in an abusive relationship. But it's not esp kind right now and since it dings a red flag for me I'm going to throw this out there -- the tactics of power and control.


If any more of that is red flagging for you, well. That's not cool and I hope things change for the better chopchop for YOU at least.

You sound willing (if not actually to GO there) to at least talk it out -- what would a more open configuration be like and how would it be managed so all needs are met. And get the lay of the land of how it will be. So you are holding up your end of the stick in the current configuration (a closed marriage of two people) -- or at least trying to. As the cheated on partner, you are behaving with admirable control and grace here when you post. I'd be freakin' PISSED.

He's not sounding willing to talk to you about this, and that means he's not holding up his end of the stick for clear communication even in the CURRENT configuration of a mono-marriage before wanting to rush off into new config without pausing to lay out the framework first.

Just leaping on.

I can't give you counselor names -- I'd Google I suppose. Or look for the nearest les-bi-gay-poly-trans type center and call them to help point you on to resources. If he's not willing to talk straight up with you would he even be willing to talk to a counselor to help you guys through your process and learn better skills? Or will that be expensive lip service and avoidy?

while "these poly people seem to have some interesting views" he is "not sure that it is quite what he is saying. he is not sure he can buy into such a rule based structure"
Lame. You already BOUGHT into a rule based structure by marrying. You have to be in right relationship to each other.

The actual details you guys have to work out for yourselves. But the rights and responsibilities are pretty much straight up. The bullet list below is straight out of a topping book but it covers ANY relationship -- friendship, marriage, mono, poly, bdsm, WHATEVER.

All the people in the relationship structure have rights and responsibilities to hold up. Him acting like it's a foreign language is disturbing to me. Aren't you IN a relationship already? Aren't there basic marriage rules you play by already? And he's broken some with the cheating.

So if parties are not in right relationship, you time out, and get it back up to par. You GET back into right relationship.

You call into account, process, apologize, forgive, make ammends, renegotiate the rules if needed and both parties agree how to move it forward from there... or agree you don't play any more. You man up, and deal as a team, a play ball as a that team.

Or you man up and decide to stop being that kind of team and move to being good exes. Break up, he can be a free agent and do whatever in his dating life and you can be a free agent and not be be run through the mill and have a safer emotional distance.

Either way you both man up, play fair, and you both keep it clean.

You being run through the grinder? Unless that is your agreed to pleasure in this relationship? That's his pleasure coming out of your hide at your expense... not at your consent. That's just messy.

That might be hard to hear or hard to feel, but let's just keep it simple and not obfuscate. It is what it is. If all parties are not gonna play ball and play fair, then it's just not gonna work. Period. Game over.

(Worse, this isn't even a real game. This is real people and their lives and well being! Being so flippant cavalier about it is just... ugh. )

In relationship (whatever config) -- people have worth and dignity and it demands respect. You show it by holding up all your ends of the all the sticks.

You have...
  • The right to clear communication
  • The right to expect support from partner
  • The right to be nurtured
  • The right to get your needs met
  • The right to responsiveness
  • The right to constructive feedback (positive or negative. Critique, not criticism.)

You are...
  • Responsible for knowing and stating your needs, wants and limits (Other people are not mind readers!)
  • Responsible for following through on promises
  • Responsible for your own and your partner's physical safety
  • Responsible for your own and your partner's emotional safety
  • Responsible for emergency preparedness
  • Responsible for caring for your own equipment

In your case "emergency preparedness" might cover the line on a counselor if things get hot, the line on a divorce mediator/attorney type person if there has to be a clean amicable split, protecting the kids, a health emergency while on a date, getting outed if you don't plan to live "out" -- what have you.

In your case "caring for your own equipment" might cover not just labs and sex health stuff, but budget for dates, and so on. It's not fair to date SO much that the family is taking hits and going without needs (groceries, bills, children's things, home things, time, emotional investment, etc) just to float your free time stuff. Maybe YOU come to find you want to start dating on your free time. Who knows? Sort it out.

So as long as he is with me- he wants to be with me. And if that changes he will let me know.
Yup. So long as we play fair there and list the whole thing. It takes two to tango.

So as long as he is with me- he wants to be with me. And if that changes he will let me know. So long as you want to be with him -- you want to be with him. And if that changes you will let him know.
Sounds like you (and him) need to get the list of dealbreakers out on the table crystal clear.

One of MY automatic dealbreakers is lying. (Of any kind, direct, by omission, etc)

I won't throw in the towel just because there's a rough patch, but I also operate on 3 strikes you are out.

1, 2, 3 times on the same issue, I'm willing to take it to the mat and negotiate.

4th time on the same issue? You are just not even trying to hold up sticks -- following thru on promises, lacking in respect, not caring for my safety, respecting my limits, etc.

Game over. Done. (That was my ex who would namby pamby about the Big Talks. Would squirm around and just NOT engage. Well, I can't play like that. 3 strikes you are out. )

Again I apologize if this is hard to hear. But it is what it is. I just cannot see how this is going to work if he's not wanting to engage with you at the talking table and play fair.

If this is the case one of you needs to man up and call it what it is: You have a dying/already dead relationship due to lack of communication and people not holding up sticks.

Then decide what you want to do about it. Give it CPR or give it the mercy shot and negotiate how to be decent exes. That's another kind of conversation.


Last edited by GalaGirl; 07-03-2012 at 02:26 AM.
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Old 07-02-2012, 04:21 PM
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nycindie nycindie is offline
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Originally Posted by truth2light View Post
Anyone know a good poly friendly counselor in the SF bayarea?
There are directories of poly-friendly counselors. Here are some resources for you to start your search:
Polychromatic: Poly-Friendly Professionals.

Loving More's List of Poly-Friendly Professionals.

Tristan Taormino's Open List

National Coalition for Sexual Freedom's Kink-Aware Professionals (KAP) Directory
(Not that poly is a kink, but the professionals would be more open-minded than not.)

Psychology Today: Find a Therapist. Not specifically about poly, but with this one you can select "Relationship Issues" after you narrow it down for your zip code, and then look for people who counsel those in "alternative lifestyles."
The above can be found in this post, in the Online Poly Resources thread in our Golden Nuggets forum: http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showt...6&postcount=19
The world opens up... when you do.

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"Love and the self are one . . ." ~Leo Buscaglia

Click here for a Solo Poly view on hierarchical relationships
Click here to find out why the Polyamorous Misanthrope is feeling disgusted.

Last edited by nycindie; 07-02-2012 at 04:24 PM.
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Old 07-02-2012, 06:31 PM
Tonberry Tonberry is offline
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I have a bit of an uneasy feeling with a lot of the things in this thread. Mainly the fact that he's cheated on you several times and seems to expect you to just deal with it, but when you were just seeing a man as a friend, he made you stop after you saw him only once.

However... When you've told him you weren't fine with things, he just went behind your back. So maybe on some level he expected you to do the same thing to him. Maybe that's why he was so not okay with it.
Still, on some level some of it looks like he wants to be able to do what he wants, but he wants you to do what he wants, too. How is that fair?

To the husband, if you read this, I'm sure your point of view on the whole thing is different, but I do believe you need to take a look at the whole thing and try and really imagine how it would feel for you if it was the other way around. If you met a woman once, and your wife made you stop seeing her altogether, and you did, while she cheated on you on several occasions. And then told you she has a boyfriend and you should be fine with it. Try to really thing about how you would feel about it, and try and consider her own feelings as she has expressed it.

I don't know what form your relationship will take in the future, but it seems to me it will take a lot of work on both part, mainly to re-establish trust. I don't think you can really explore all of this until after trust has been re-established, though. I definitely think a counselor is going to be needed to help you guys work through it and then decide where you stand and redefine your relationship in a way that will work for you.
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Old 07-02-2012, 07:46 PM
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Anneintherain Anneintherain is offline
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Originally Posted by truth2light View Post

So talking briefly with him- I am not sure he is "poly". He wants to be able to be in multiple love relationships yes. But he told me he looked at theis thread and some others and while "these poly people seem to have some interesting views" he is "not sure that it is quite what he is saying. he is not sure he can buy into such a rule based structure"
It doesn't have to be a rule based structure at all, but a healthy relationship does have be based on agreements and a meeting of the minds as to what the agreements are. That goes for mono relationships too. Whether it's rule based (let me know before you ask somebody on a date, the kids don't hang out with your girlfriend unless I agree it's OK, if you want to go on a vacation with somebody, we need to discuss it first etc), or like GalaGirl's KISS, or even you agreeing you will accept him doing whatever he likes and tells you after the fact, both of you need to be on the same page.

However he does not seem like he is interested in making agreements or thinking, and considering his family. Has it always been like this in your relationship or is he getting more self centered as he gets older? Mid life crises of some sort but he's decided he's going to go through it in the comfort of a marriage instead of moving out and recapturing his singlehood? Do you think this is just him letting you know he IS on his way out but not in a hurry? If he isn't willing to be doing self exploration and thinking and talking to you about what he wants or how he's going to act, he might not even be in touch with what his goal is.

Relationships are work, and he should be willing to put work into it so it can thrive. If he is too lazy to sit down and do the work so he can get what he wants, and just takes it, well that's your choice whether you are willing to put up with it. From your posts I almost get the feeling you are used to and resigned to his poor behavior (and I sure feel getting a guy to change is impossible if they aren't open and willing to, and still difficult when they are.) so maybe you'll agree to it because other things in your life are good enough that you can suck this up, most people who have said what you have, well I'd think they should cut and run.

Somebody who wont sit down and make agreements with me, well I can't trust them to keep my health safe if they won't make safe sex agreements with me or I can't trust them to keep them. Somebody who doesn't care about me enough to work at compromise and putting my comfort as factor on how they act? No fucking way. Do I expect a new partner to factor in my comfort and make it change how they act? No. Do I expect a long term partner who wants to change the rules of our relationship to factor in my comfort? Hell yes.

Anyway, GalaGirl mentioned gaslighting and you might be overloaded on reading, but this thread on it talks more about it, so in case you find it useful at all in your situation I thought I'd link you to it.

But is this poly, no, at least not until he decides he can abide by being honest and behaving ethically. Most forms of non monogamy do need that in some good measure for it to succeed for all parties. This is still a good place to get advice obviously. I feel for you, and I hope you take some of the power back in your life.
Happiness will never come to those who fail to appreciate what they already have.
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Old 07-03-2012, 01:53 AM
truth2light truth2light is offline
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Default Wow

So many great comments.

Alot of great links.

So much to digest. Counseling appt set for Monday for me.
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Old 07-03-2012, 02:28 AM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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Hope your appt goes well!

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