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Old 08-27-2012, 11:33 PM
Gothboy Gothboy is offline
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Default Relationship Troubles - Advice?

My story is somewhat involved so please bare with me, Let me preface this by saying that I love my wife, and I have to believe she loves me, I'm 39 years old and she's 35.

We've been together for 11 years, married for 6. Prior to our relationship she had been in poly relationships, I was aware of this, she says they ended with broken trust issues, and other problems. I had not been invoved in this culture before, and there were no plans to be poly.

Years go by, the marriage did end up hitting a little physical/emotional slump. More of a slow down of physicality. She decided she would like to open up the relationship, she is bisexual and thought it would be good to bring another woman to our relationship. Being a very easy going person, I said fine that could be nice and off she went looking to find a woman for us to share a relationship. Months go by and no luck, she said it's difficult, so why not just find a girlfriend for herself, I said, I didn't think that was very fair to me, she said I could find myself a girlfriend too. This wasn't a big deal to me, so I agreed to it, and set up an OKCupid profile, she did the same, I didn't really look very hard because like I said, it really wasn't a big deal to me.

About 2 years ago, she met a girl who is also married and poly, they ended up going out regularly and end up becoming girlfriends, I cruise OkCupid sending out messages and getting responses back but nothing ever happened for me. My wife and her girlfriend end up getting into a fight over something that I found crazy (on the other womans end), and they end up breaking up. I realize that this woman is not a good influence on my wife and really leads a drama filled life - something I don't appreciate much. After about a month apart my wife and the woman speak again, and I tell her I don't approve of her. The other woman insists on writing me, apologizing for everything that has happened and promising that things will be different, would I please reconsider, let my wife see her. I relent and let them date again. It was a bad idea, didn't last very long, They've broken up but are still in touch with each other on facebook.

That was about 6 months of that relationship. Several months after the break up, she begins looking again. She ends up telling me she's attracted to a single, male acquaintance of ours, & would like to ask him out, we weren't even aware if he was at all poly. I think to myself that she's changing the rules again, but I'm seriously not a jealous person. I want her to be happy with me and with the relationships she wants to be in. I have no problem with her dating guys. She and the guy go out, and when she comes back she tells me that he's not interested in her that way. The 3 of us are still friends and see each other fairly regularly, a couple times a month.

Throughout this time, I've talked with a few people on OKCupid, shown her a couple that seemed interested in me, and I could be interested in meeting - but I still hadn't met anyone in person.

My wife ends up meeting another woman who is also bisexual, and married to a bisexual (more on the gay side) man. They end up dating and have been dating for several months now.

One night her girlfriend throws a party at her house where I am invited. Some of her friends are pretty open with their sexuality. And one of them comes on to me. I got very drunk at the party, and ended up making out with the girl. My wife does not approve and says something likem do you know how old she is? Turns out she was 25, I don't find this to be a big deal, but apparently my wife does, and after making out with her for a little bit she take my arm and tells me we're going home. I admit this was a bad call on my part, and have admitted it to her since, and while not an excuse, I got very drunk that night , enough that I was very hungover and throwing up the following morning. While at the party I friended this girl on facebook. The next day my wife saw this and got very angry with me and demanded I delete her from my friends. I agree and mail the girl explaining the situation and apologizing for getting out of line. She says she doesn't understand, that the age thing isn't a big deal, but she'll respect my wishes, and so I deleted her from my friends after I got her reply. I haven't been in touch with her since.

Side note: A couple months ago, despite the fact that we've had conversations about it before, and she knows I'm not interested, she tells me she wants to have children. Don't get me wrong, I like kids, and generally they like me as well, I'm told by both my wife and our friends who are parents that I do have a way with children. But I don't want any for myself, it's just not in my DNA, I explain to her that we've talked about this before, I'm not interested in kids, and besides we couldn't afford it now. She agrees, and has since told me that it's just something that she has to learn to live with and hasn't asked about it in a while.

Fast forward 2 weeks ago, I receive an e-mail on OKCupid from someone who has a lot of similar interests to me, I check out her profile, see that there is a lot in common, and she is 42 so age wouldn't be a factor, so I write her back on Thursday. On Friday we decide we are going to meet on Saturday. I see that my wife has plans Saturday night to go to an event that doesn't involve me, so I wouldn't be causing any scheduling conflicts if she had made plans for us to do. Friday, my wife is out with her friends on a girls night, so I decide I wouldn't interrupt her night to tell her about this. Saturday morning comes and she's up early because she has a petsitting job to take care of, and then she goes grocery shopping. She gets home at around 1-2ish, and I tell her that I have a date that night. She looks at me strangely and says who is she, and wants to see the OKCupid profile. I did make a little mistake here and asked her why she needed to see it, I'm just meeting someone who knows if there would be any interest/compatibility beyond the first meeting. She gets annoyed with me, and demands to see it. She doesn't say anything negative about it at that time, and seems to go about her day.

A couple hours later I can tell something's up, she's acting angry and upset, so I ask her what's wrong, it's around 4 I'd say and me and this girl decided we were going to be meeting at around 6 at a shop down the street from my house. My wife tells me I sprang this on her, and she's not happy with how I did this. I ask her if she wants me to cancel, because if she does, she'd better tell me soon because this person would be leaving soon as she lives about an hour away. I explain to her that if she feels bad, I'd cancel it, or if she wants, she can come with me and meet her too. After some conversation she tells me to just go ahead and go, she doesn't want to cancel her plans, they're too important.

Meanwhile some other friends of ours post on facebook that they're meeting at that shop later that night too, after I had already planned to meet with this person there, it's a shop we all occasionally congregate at to do some board gaming, but they don't go very often, it's more my normal hang-out. Had I known they were planning to go, I wouldn't have planned to meet her there. But It was already a little late to change the plan. So we meet there anyway, she ends up being really friendly and we get along well and my friends got along with her too. So far so good. She and I had decided if things were going well we'd go out after gaming to a club where a band was playing. We go there and had a great time, talking and getting to know each other.

After the band finished we hung out for a song or two more, then decided to call it a night. We drive back to the shop we met at, where she left her car, having good conversation, and enjoying each others company. At the ed of the night we talk about how comfortable we felt with each other, and how great it was meeting each other and how we'd like to do it again soon. I end up giving her a kiss goodnight at her car, and then we make our separate ways.

The next day all hell breaks loose at home. My wife tells me I went about this all wrong, how she should have met her at the same time I met her and how could I take her where my friends we going to be. And how she "hopes I had a great time" and that she is going to break up with her girlfriend, and she wants to close the relationship again. And that we need to go to marriage counseling. I tell her to calm down, I'm sorry if I went about things wrong in how I met her, and that if that's the way she wants things that's the way they would be in the future if I met people. She tells me she doesn't want me to see this girl while we work on our relationship. I tell her fine, we'll work on us, I'll see a marriage counselor with her, but that I want to keep in touch with the girl at least as friends while we work things out. I don't like the idea of burning bridges. Later that day she tells me she did end up breaking up with her girlfriend, and that "her relationships with girls are never real anyway"

II will continue this message in a comment ...
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Old 08-27-2012, 11:34 PM
Gothboy Gothboy is offline
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I love my wife, and I want to work things out, and despite the fact that she's telling me that "I didn't experience what being poly is like" I feel quite differently. I feel I've been poly for years now in allowing her to see who she wants, and in searching for myself. I found I enjoyed getting to know someone new, And I can love my wife, and still have feelings with other people just as well, I've explained to her, MANY times, even before meeting this woman, that I'm not looking for someone to replace her. That she will always be my primary relationship. But I feel now that with her feeling as strongly as she does, and how long she knew I was looking for dates, no matter how seriously I looked, she had to know that she'd feel this way if I found someone. I feel deceived and angry that she went and had these experiences with people, and now the moment I set my foot in the water, she wants me to end what I feel is a lifestyle I think is now a part of me.

My wife told me today that I'm hurting her because I am still in touch with this girl, through facebook messages, I caught my wife "spying" in my facebook account. All of my discussions with this girl since I first told her what happened have been very friendly only, and innocent, I told her that for now I had to try and repair my relationship with my wife before I can think of seeing anyone else, and she accepts it. I gave her the option to completely sever ties with me, but she said she wants to remain friends if nothing else. We have no plans to see each other but I'm sure we may run into each other here and there as we run around in the same circles, but beyond that we keep friendly conversation going online only not even by phone.

Today I went and looked at my wife's profile page (not getting on her computer and spying on my non-public conversations like she's doing to me.) She's still friends with her "ex-girlfriend" on facebook. In fact we had a gathering on Saturday at our place, my wife posted something about the gathering inviting a bunch of friends over. Saturday night at 8 she put a comment to her ex saying that she called her earlier and that she wishes she were here, and she hopes she's having a good time in CA (where my wife's "ex-gf" is at now, and has been visiting since last weekend when my wife broke up with her.)

So I'm feeling deceived, and sad about everything that's been going on, we have our first counseling appointment on Thursday, but who knows how this counselor will react to a poly relationship, so I'm seeking advice here. Anyone?
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Old 08-28-2012, 12:29 AM
JaneQSmythe JaneQSmythe is offline
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Wow. I'm sorry that you are having such a rough time meeting your first real "potential". It does sound like a bit of a "now that the shoe's on the other foot" situation...your wife wanted poly when it was her that was the one with a GF/propects and is now having trouble with you having and interested party.

(This actually hits home for me...I really worry that if either of my boys finds someone else that they are interested in that I won't be as good at "sharing" as they are. Intellectually, philosophically, I am there...but it has never really been tested to a significant degree.)

From my standpoint - I am a person that needs a LOT of time to adjust to a change - finding out about a "date" only a few hours beforehand would probably NOT be enough time for me to process it. I would like to be "kept in the loop" through the whole process - seeing someone's profile, hearing about contacts/messages from the person (although not necessarily reading them) etc. This would help me "brace" myself for a face-to-face meeting.

Your wife may be caught off guard by her reactions to all of this and be reacting in the heat of the moment. (The fact that she says "her relationships with girls are never real anyway" reinforces this for me - "real" in what sense? As a bi-girl who has been told that I am not "really" bi because my relationships with girls have all been "casual" up to this point this is really a trigger for me.)

Pause. Breathe. Regroup.

Sweeping statement and rash promises will do neither of you any good at this point.

Stop.

Sounds like it is time for some serious conversation that happens AFTER everyone has calmed down a bit. The dynamic has changed. The new potential seems ok with giving you and wife some space (a good sign) - so take it.

Talk about what about the situation is triggering her (your wife). Did she assume that you were actually mono? Bbecause you were so laid back about her dating that she never prepared herself for the possibility that you, too, might find someone?

Don't rush. Breath. Stop the conversation when it gets heated and people are talking from their defensive places and not their brains.

Wait. Talk. Wait again.

Reading the story from your perspective - you acted reasonably with a few instances where things could have been handled slightly better or with a longer lead-time.

From her perspective....? We don't know. (Wish she could/would share her side with us).

I know that, on several occasions, Dude has been completely befuddled by my reactions, but when I (or MrS) set out a detailed explanation of my responses his comment was "So, I see that from where you were sitting I was acting like a complete ass.". (I'm sure I had these moments with MrS as well, they were just several decades ago and I can't remember the details at this point...)

Again...Pause. Breathe. Stop.

Don't react...just listen, get her to talk if you can. Wait.

JaneQ

PS. Good Luck!
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MrS: hetero polyflexible male, live-in husband (21+ yrs)
Dude: hetero poly male, live-in boyfriend (3+ yrs) and MrS's best friend
Lotus: poly bi female, "it's complicated" relationships with Dude/JaneQ/MrS (1+ years)
TT: poly bi male, married to Lotus, FB with JaneQ
VV and MsJ: bi-women with male primaries, LTR LDR FWBs to JaneQ


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Old 08-28-2012, 12:53 AM
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Whew! Thats a lot to take in one bite.

Too much for me to reply from my phone.

One detail- I am poly, have experience (good ones) with open relationships. My husband had not.

However, when he started actually dating, I experienced emotions I wasn't expecting. It wasn't hypocrisy- I didn't expect it. I had to dig deep and figure out what the REAL issues were in OUR relationship that the dating was masking. Once I did that, I could ask for exactly what I needed, instead of demanding all dating stop. But, it did take a solid 6 months for me to figure it all out AND him to understand what it was I was trying to describe.

Its very possible she didn't expect to feel whatever she is feeling.
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Old 08-28-2012, 11:55 AM
Gothboy Gothboy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JaneQSmythe View Post
Your wife may be caught off guard by her reactions to all of this and be reacting in the heat of the moment. (The fact that she says "her relationships with girls are never real anyway" reinforces this for me - "real" in what sense? As a bi-girl who has been told that I am not "really" bi because my relationships with girls have all been "casual" up to this point this is really a trigger for me.)
I think she means none of the relationships have worked out as she had liked - end up being more close friendships then relationships... She says that the first, with the person I felt was crazy, never got intimate at all. While the most recent is troubled by the fact that her girlfriend has a child, is running a business as a freelance medical editor, and has a husband in medical school. This left her very little time to see my wife. But they are intimate when they do get together. It makes me wonder how the reaction to everything would be different if her other relationships had been stronger.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JaneQSmythe View Post
Sweeping statement and rash promises will do neither of you any good at this point.

Stop.

Sounds like it is time for some serious conversation that happens AFTER everyone has calmed down a bit. The dynamic has changed. The new potential seems ok with giving you and wife some space (a good sign) - so take it.
I agree - and have told the potential as much that I need to try and fix things here before anything else. But my wife wants me to cut ALL ties with her. I'm afraid of doing this - I don't want to do this. In the worst case, I'm afraid that things will not work themselves out with my wife - and I'll be left hurting and alone - and because I did not keep in touch with her, I'll have lost both my wife, and the chance to get to know this person. In the best case -we WILL work this out - and she'll realize that I love her and I want to work on us, and is okay with me being poly - and because I've kept in friendly contact with this person we can try again to see if we work too. I feel if I am forced to cut all ties - I won't be able to go back.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JaneQSmythe View Post
Talk about what about the situation is triggering her (your wife). Did she assume that you were actually mono? Bbecause you were so laid back about her dating that she never prepared herself for the possibility that you, too, might find someone?

Don't rush. Breath. Stop the conversation when it gets heated and people are talking from their defensive places and not their brains.

Wait. Talk. Wait again.
We've been trying... I can only assume she knows. We had a conversation a few months back (after the drunken party incident) - where I explained to her I was jealous in a way, not of the people she was dating, but of the experience, and it was difficult for me, only because I was having trouble finding someone for myself. She said to me that she and her girlfriend would try to find someone for me. But I never saw anything happen from that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JaneQSmythe View Post
Reading the story from your perspective - you acted reasonably with a few instances where things could have been handled slightly better or with a longer lead-time.

From her perspective....? We don't know. (Wish she could/would share her side with us).
I feel if I showed her these message she'd flip, say I'm going behind her back, talking to people about us, who have no idea who we are, etc. I don't think it would be good. That I should just go to marriage counseling with her and just forget this other person. She already accuses me over wanting to throw away our 11 year relationship over someone I met only once - when honestly, it's not even about that. If this person did not come into the picture, and she said she wanted to end her relationship with her GF and wants to close the relationship - I would have had a hard time with that as well. Like I said - she opened up something in me that makes me think this is a lifestyle choice that works for me. And I said that to her at one point, and that's when she said "You haven't experienced anything - what lifestlye?" Like I said in my original message - I've been living it for years now - even though I never met anyone, I knew the option and opportunity was there ... And I was good with that and it felt right.

Thanks for responding - I appreciate being able to get some of this stuff out to people who may understand better then some counselor who may instantly judge me for wanting to continue to see other people, while my wife claims to want a more "traditional" "healthy" relationship. I'm nervous about this counseling thing ...
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Old 08-28-2012, 12:01 PM
Gothboy Gothboy is offline
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Originally Posted by LovingRadiance View Post
Whew! Thats a lot to take in one bite.

Too much for me to reply from my phone.

One detail- I am poly, have experience (good ones) with open relationships. My husband had not.

However, when he started actually dating, I experienced emotions I wasn't expecting. It wasn't hypocrisy- I didn't expect it. I had to dig deep and figure out what the REAL issues were in OUR relationship that the dating was masking. Once I did that, I could ask for exactly what I needed, instead of demanding all dating stop. But, it did take a solid 6 months for me to figure it all out AND him to understand what it was I was trying to describe.

Its very possible she didn't expect to feel whatever she is feeling.
Thanks for your perspective - I don't know that she could not understand that I'd want to see other people too, especially since the incident I detailed earlier in another reply where I explained to her that things were difficult for me because it seemed "easy" for her to find people that were interested in her, and she was interested in - while I was having a hard time. She said that she and her girlfriend would try and find someone for me. But nothing ever came of that - I didn't hear one word about it since that conversation.

Regarding how she feels about it. Well that could be another thing. But maybe it's just the way my mind works but how could she not think about this since we'd both been looking for years ... I don't know ... >sigh<

Thanks again.
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Old 08-28-2012, 04:34 PM
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MusicalRose MusicalRose is offline
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It is difficult to be able to say too much since I am only reading your side of the story, but to be honest it seems like your wife lacks quite a bit of maturity on her end. She has been given nearly free rein to do as she pleases, even in some situations that you stated that you were uncomfortable with (her going back to the crazy first woman). In those situations you compromised, told her you were uncomfortable, and eventually made peace with the fact that she was going to continue being friends with this person even after they broke up again.

Now the situation is reversed. I will say that giving her just a few hours worth of warning was probably not enough and that you probably should have set your date a week ahead or something instead of making it for a day later. However, if your wife had a serious problem with this, she needed to say so and call it off when you gave her the opportunity rather than telling you to go ahead even though she wasn't okay.

So you did go on the date and she isn't reacting well. I don't think it is reasonable at all for her to request that you cut off all contact with this woman. So far, it looks like you have been trustworthy and would not cheat or go behind your wife's back on any situations like this, so I don't think it is fair of her to request that after one kiss that you are "throwing away your relationship" to be with this woman if you just keep her as a friend. That is silly. Also, where is she coming up with phrases like her relationships with her girlfriends haven't been "real"? Is she making some kind of assumption that after one date with this woman that you ARE in a "real" relationship with her and that you will be leaving your wife for her?

I think that you should absolutely respect your wife's boundaries, but it seems like she was never really clear in setting them up to begin with, and it doesn't seem to farfetched to think that she might have been operating under the assumption that it was never going to happen for you. That isn't fair, and that isn't her being honest with you or with herself. If she is the kind of person that just wants to mess around with other people or have relationships with other people while you stay at home and don't venture out beyond her, then she needed to lay that out clearly from the beginning. Sometimes mono/poly combinations work in a relationship, but they can't work if both members of the relationship are supposedly poly, but one really secretly hopes the other one will only be with them ever. It reeks of insecurity and wishful thinking and childish motives.

I think counseling will be a good thing for the two of you, but until you get into that first appointment, it might be good to really sit down and have a heart to heart with each other. Maybe you went too fast for your wife to handle on this situation, but now you have backed down and are trying to go slow and respect her boundaries, but nothing seems like enough for her and she is acting rashly and cutting off all ties (or feigning as if she is) with her other relationships and demanding that you do the same. Try to get out of her what it is that is making her uncomfortable and perhaps try to give her a realistic perspective as to what this new woman means to you. Did she leave you over these two women and another man that she has dated or attempted to date? Why does she think you'd automatically do the same? Has she thought to ask you how you feel about it or how serious it is? Has she considered giving herself a few days to digest it before lashing out?

It seems even with the making out situation in the past that she reacted in somewhat of an unexpected manner, with age suddenly becoming something very important when she never laid rules down for that to begin with. In those situations, while it may be upsetting to her, she can't get angry with you or treat you as if you are doing something wrong when she never communicated to you to begin with. She can discuss the things that are upsetting to her and the two of you can agree to revisit the rules, but it isn't really fair at all of her to assume that you just should have known with a lot of these things if she wasn't willing to put in the effort to clearly state what was and wasn't okay from the get-go, and has been having a ton of relationships herself in the meantime and then suddenly when you dip your toes in EVERYTHING you do is wrong.

As far as counselors go, you can probably do some fishing to make sure that the one you pick out will be poly friendly. When you call up to make the appointment, let them know that you are in a nonmonogamous relationship and that you strongly prefer to have someone who has experience dealing with nonmonogamous relationships, but that at the very least it needs to be someone who is willing to work with it from a nonjudgmental standpoint. It sounds like there may be issues that run a lot deeper than poly though. There seems to be quite an insecure double standard where your wife is concerned and it honestly seems almost to the point of bullying. If you don't do things exactly her way, she blackmails you emotionally by telling you that you don't value her. Relationships are about meeting in the middle and compromising, not one partner having all the power (unless that was somehow agreed upon in a consensual BDSM setting) and forcing the other partner to always do as s/he wishes.

I wish you the best of luck and hope that the two of you can find a way to work this out.
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Old 08-29-2012, 03:09 AM
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LovingRadiance LovingRadiance is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gothboy View Post
Thanks for your perspective - I don't know that she could not understand that I'd want to see other people too, especially since the incident I detailed earlier in another reply where I explained to her that things were difficult for me because it seemed "easy" for her to find people that were interested in her, and she was interested in - while I was having a hard time. She said that she and her girlfriend would try and find someone for me. But nothing ever came of that - I didn't hear one word about it since that conversation.

Regarding how she feels about it. Well that could be another thing. But maybe it's just the way my mind works but how could she not think about this since we'd both been looking for years ... I don't know ... >sigh<

Thanks again.
Thinking about something-and experiencing it are TOTALLY different. One can play guessing games about how they will react-but until they experience it-it's JUST guessing. Because they don't know how they will ACTUALLY feel.

I am DEFINITELY poly and I WANT my husband to have the freedom to be as well.
But-I didn't at all expect (primarily because I've always felt this way) to feel jealous (which I'd never experienced before) or all of the physical reactions that went with it (sick to my stomach to the point of puking, dizzy, anxiety to the point of having to take emergency meds because it negatively impacted my breathing-etc).

there were unresolved trust issues that were "hidden" because I hadn't had to face them-until he actually found someone.

So-no-her actions are not fair-and yes they do need to be addressed and resolved.

But-it may not have been intentional. (it also may have-just offering you perspective).

it's taken me 6 months to get my head together (not making the other woman disappear-but they did back off) and am only just gotten to the point where he went out with her and I didn't freak out emotionally.
THAT SAID-it was MY JOB to seriously bust my ass to face down my demons-and his to be patient ONLY BECAUSE I was actively and DAILY working on shit for his benefit.

Shrug-only you and she can figure out your situation-but keep your mind open to the possibility that its not always what it appears.
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Old 08-29-2012, 09:28 PM
Skye Skye is offline
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I agree with everything MusicalRose said. We must share the same brain.

The main point I was going to make is that I don't think your wife ever actually thought you would act on being poly. She thought she could have fun and still keep you all to herself, and now she is freaking out about something she never thought would happen. She is being rash and overly emotional, but I can relate. I think she has insecurities for sure and this situation is making them come out in a big way.

She needs to calm down, talk to you, and be mature about things. If she can't allow you the same freedoms you have allowed her then you either have to decide to both be mono again or decide if you are okay with her being poly and you not, and go from there. Maybe you can meet someone together? Would you be open to a 3 way relationship? Maybe that would help cut down on some of the jealousy. Sometimes seeing your partner with someone else sexually can actually help.
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Old 08-29-2012, 10:23 PM
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Ugh, all I can say is you and your wife seem to be too much up in each other's shit. Each trying to control the other so tightly, ugh, that would make me spit. You "letting her" do this, her "allowing" you to do that. It's crazy. Whatever happened to expansiveness and generosity and autonomy? And it always amazes me how much people let stupid Facebook play such a big part in their relationships. I think you would have alot less drama if you stopped using it and simply spoke to each other directly. Drop the games, both of you. It was exhausting to read your story. That's my initial reaction.
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