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Old 08-12-2014, 03:56 PM
Seeker77 Seeker77 is offline
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Default Awakening

Hi everyone. I started this in the Introductions forum ("Sharing the Secret..."), but decided to move it here so I can update.

Here's my introductory post:

Hello everyone. I’ve been lurking and reading (and learning a lot) for a couple weeks, so I thought it was about time I made an official introduction.

I’m married to a wonderful woman that I adore. We’ve been together almost 20 years, married for 10. She’s my best friend in the world. We’re both very affectionate and giving. Our sex life is terrific. We’ve honestly only had one serious argument in 20 years. Well, two now. (I’ll get to that soon.)

I have always known I was poly, even before I knew that word existed. I remember as a kid (maybe age 9 or 10) thinking that one woman and one man was too limiting, that romantic love should be freely given and accepted. However, I’ve never told any of my partners about these feelings. Where I was raised, such things weren’t talked about, and certainly none of my lovers hinted that such a thing was on the table. So I pretended to be mono all my life. And yet, underneath all that wonderfulness, some part of me remained unfulfilled.

About a month ago, I took the plunge and told my wife. It was a difficult conversation. She cried a bit and then looked as if I’d confessed to being a serial killer. (Actually, I think she would have been less horrified to hear I was an ax murderer.)

I did my best to explain the feelings inside me, how they had started long before she and I met. Yet, through it all, she expressed over and over that she felt it was a failing on her part, as if she were to blame. Needless to say, I did my best to reassure her.

Over the course of the next couple weeks I bought and read “Opening Up.” I asked my wife to read it, too. With some reluctance, she did. Afterward, we talked again. It didn’t go well. I took the position that all I wanted was to finally be open with someone about this, but she could not understand how she wasn’t “enough” for me. She took it as an insult. Again, I reassured her that she was wonderful and awesome (she is). She made it abundantly clear that she is strictly monogamous (monoamorous, too) and that she would not tolerate any “poly behavior” on my part.

All in all, that is pretty much what I expected. She married me with the understanding that we would be mono, so I get that she feels blindsided by this. I’ve done my best not to be defensive, but to also stand up for my right to determine the course of my own life. (That’s not easy for her or me. We’re both people-pleasers.)

Right now, things are pretty much back to normal on the surface. We haven’t discussed this in about two weeks, and my wife shows no signs of ever wanting to talk about it again. And there is no pressing reason to bring it up. I have no lovers “waiting in the wings,” no one I’m really interested in pursuing right now. But while my wife says she “accepts” that I’m poly (even though she claims she cannot comprehend what that term means, even after reading the book.), she’s clear that it needs to stay hidden. Like an infectious disease.

She and I both agree that ending our marriage is not an option for either of us. When we’re not discussing this topic, we’re still deliriously happy. I can’t conceive of a future without her.

But can I sublimate my poly side forever? I don’t know. I’m concerned that resentment will build as time goes by. I know life is about choices. If she is truly 100% mono, then my choice is pretty cut-and-dry. But I’m hoping that she will think about this and eventually be open to giving it a try. Only time will tell.

Thanks for letting me share.
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Old 08-12-2014, 03:58 PM
Seeker77 Seeker77 is offline
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continued:


My wife and I had another conversation this past weekend. Lately we've both been avoiding the subject, but as the days passed I started to feel it build up inside me until I finally had to talk to her.

It started as a simple "how are feeling about this?," to which she replied she was "fine" and not much else. Then, the next morning, I sensed she was in a distant place so I brought it up again. That resulted in a a long talk. From her point of view, she could not understand how me being poly didn't reflect badly on her (the "I'm not enough for you" feeling came up again, very strongly). I think I finally got through that what I want is to add love to our life, not take anything away. At least, the talk ended in a "good space."

Last edited by Seeker77; 08-12-2014 at 04:03 PM.
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Old 08-12-2014, 04:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kdt26417 View Post
Heading over to the blog section sounds like a good idea. I'm sure the "poly dialog" with your wife will be a gradual, step-by-step process, and a blog would help you chart your progress.

If you'll post (in this thread) a link to that blog, I'll go there and follow it with interest.

Sounds like you've already had a significant breakthrough. I like how you presented that poly isn't about replacing one love with another, it's about multiplying love all around. And kudos to her for hearing the idea with an ear towards understanding.
Yes, I tried to stress that our marriage is still the most important thing in my life. We've built a life and a home together, and I wouldn't ever want to be without her. She's amazing.
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Old 08-12-2014, 04:22 PM
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I've also been working on saying what I want. That's not always easy for me, especially when what I want could hurt my partner's feelings. (Hence, why I've never brought up poly before in any of my previous relationships.)

I believe I most strongly identify with polyfidelity, and here's why. I don't really want romantic relationships separate from my marriage. Not out of some sense of tradition, but because I want to enlarge our romantic family, if that makes sense. I want future relationships to include my wife.

Now, my reading here and elsewhere, it's my understanding that building a stable polyfi triad/quad/quint/etc is exceedingly difficult. Some have implied it's also pretty rare. That seems strange to me, but maybe that's because my hardwiring says 3+ mutally committed adults is the best dynamic and other people feel differently. (Folks are free to chime in on this, but realize I probably can't change my basic wants, only how I responds to them.)

I'm aware of couples privilege and the harm it can cause a poly relationship. I definitely see that would be a hurdle for my wife. Even if she someday agreed to trying some small poly "baby steps," I'm reasonably sure she would want it spelled out that our marriage is of primary importance.

For me, its about expanding the idea of marriage to include others fully and completely. I don't want a human sex toy or a pet. I want another full partner. Alas, trying to convey that in a non-threatening way to someone who has never considered multiple loves is a tall order and something I struggle with.
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Old 08-12-2014, 04:47 PM
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Don't know if this is pertinent, but there is such a thing as a poly-fi V (or Z, etc.) as well. I'm in a poly-fi V myself. What it is is that one person (a "hinge") has a romantic relationship with two other people, but those two people don't have a romantic relationship with each other. Mind you, everyone can still be equal in importance (primary partners), though a V with a secondary partner on one end is possible too.

Do you definitely want your wife to be romantically involved with the new woman you hope to meet in the future? If not, then you're just shooting for a V in which you'd be the hinge person. Your wife could still be very good friends with the other woman, of course (if both women are willing). They can be committed to each other as platonic partners.

If you definitely want your wife to be romantically involved with the new woman, then yes, that's a triad, and it's a little more complicated and hard to set up. Some triads form naturally and those are pretty easy to start up (maintainance can be a challenge though), but if you're trying to set one up manually it's going to take some work and patience.

As for V's, they're pretty common (and straightforward).

You may have to settle for a hierarchical (primary/secondary, with couple privilege) setup at first because maybe that's the most your wife can stand. Perhaps the new woman can eventually earn co-primary status through sweat equity?

No need to rush into anything, continue to talk with your wife and see how she's feeling about it.
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Old 08-12-2014, 05:37 PM
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I would prefer if my wife and my partner were romantic. That would seem (again, this is a newb talking) to be more like the full relationship I would someday like to have. I don't want a situation where anyone feels I am "taking love away" from them, but rather we're adding to both our loves/romances.

Of course, people don't fall for each other at the same exact time or at the same rate. It's not something anyone can coordinate, but we're just talking "wants" here. I understand reality is an entirely different animal.

I think what my wife and I have going for us is that we're very mutually supportive and pretty laid back. Our own relationship took a long time to develop naturally from friends to lovers to spouses, so we are both capable of waiting for a good thing.

Our main hurdle is my wife's terror that any step toward poly will cause me to leave her for someone else. So that's what I try to address every time we talk.
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Old 08-12-2014, 06:19 PM
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The configuration you're (theoretically) shooting for seems to be an MFF triad. To make such an arrangement work, both women will need to be bisexual (or at least biromantic). Do you think your wife has some bisexual in her? Is that something you and she have talked about in the past?

Yeah, definitely take it slow, and keep having dialogs with her.
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Old 08-12-2014, 09:45 PM
Seeker77 Seeker77 is offline
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Yes, I believe (rather strongly) she has bi- tendencies, although up to this point they have remained in the fantasy realm. Yes, we've talked about it many times in the past (with me encouraging her to explore it).

However she was raised in a (very) small town and still presents those conservative values in her public persona, even though she rejects almost all of them in private. She is very worried about how people perceive her.

In fact, when I first came out to her, one of her first "rules" was that I not divulge this to anyone else. Not family, not friends, etc... I did not agree to that, so we decided to "table it" for another discussion in the future. (Yep, I'm pretty much breaking the spirit of that "rule" right now posting this, but it's my life and my "secret", and this remains anonymous.)
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Old 08-12-2014, 10:05 PM
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I think an anonymous forum like Polyamory.com is a pretty safe place to talk about your poly-ness -- assuming of course you don't give away any real names or anything like that. Seems to me that it's important to be able to talk about it somewhere (in addition to with your wife of course).

It's worth noting that lots of polyamorists (e.g. moi) do keep their poly-ness closeted (or 99% closeted). Repercussions from family members finding out, especially if they're rigid, conservative family members, can be severe. So I do sympathize with your wife's fear of having this secret get out.

It sounds like there's plenty of potential there for a poly dream to come to pass, but first your wife will need to get past some personal fears and obstacles. You'll probably have to be really patient with her.
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Old 08-12-2014, 10:44 PM
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I understand she fears negative repercussions, but my feeling is that being poly is my business to share or keep hidden. After all, it's my identity, not hers.

And most of our friends and family could definitely handle it. This fear is largely based on public perception, imo. I.e., not fitting into the "perfect couple" mold. Personally, I stopped caring what others thought of me a long time ago, and life is too short to dance to other people's tunes. I know my wife feels this way, too, but living it is harder than saying it.

Anyway, I do understand about the patience part. I waited 30+ years to come out as poly, I can wait longer to make sure she becomes acclimated to the idea.
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