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  #1  
Old 09-01-2012, 10:42 PM
kari777 kari777 is offline
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Default Brand new to this and need help with my marriage

I've been married for over 5 years and we've been monogomous but my partner just told me she is not happy and has had a revelation that she needs to live a polyamory lifestyle. This came out when she cheated on me with a poly woman whom I also assume opened her mind up to the lifestyle. This was devastating to me but I love her so much that I'm willing to give it a try to make her happy and keep us together - as I think we are really good together. Here are the issues: 1. The betrayal that I have to get over and learn to trust again - that takes time and healing. 2. We're on opposite sides of the fence and agreed we need to figure out a way to get those two together in which we both feel safe and share power. Unfortunately, Im like a wounded bird right now and don't feel safe to open it up until we fix our own marital problems that surfaced due to this. She has told me countless times - she loves me and wants to be with me and doesn't want me to leave her. That is reassuring but I don't know if she is willing to make some difficult decisions in order for this to work.

Here is a question I've been wanting to ask: if you are in an open marriage and your partner wants to engage with someone that you dont like or whom doesnt work for you - isnt that appropriate? Should not both parties be OK with the partners one takes on? Just briefly - I havent discussed this part but these were some rules I wanted:

1. Our marriage comes first - we are primary lovers and we alone share our household. She wants to have children and our family has to come first.
2. Respecting each other's comfort level. I get the feeling that she may want to have a relationship with anyone she finds attractive and that wouldn't work for me. I like to idea of discrete - planned that don't interfere with our home life or our jobs - my MAIN point being so neither of us doesnt feel safe in each other's work and home space.
3.The woman she cheated on me with - in other people's opoinions - is it unfair for me to never be able to feel safe with that relationship? (This is how I feel) I had thought for sure ties would be cut and we would work together in counseling (which she suggested) to build this thing organically together (her words). We're not building something safe and organic if she has someone "waiting in the wings". Im really hoping other poly people agree with me on this one. I see so much what we could be but if we start out this way - it could never work.

I want to believe I can make this work but I feel so scared and disrespected - like if I dont accept this new person - she will leave me. Thats a very scary feeling especially how I am getting contradicting messages that she doesnt want me to leave. She even said twice that shed give me time to process and for us to figure this out - months, a year etc. But now its been 2 weeks and Im already feeling pressure. Its painful because we do have relationship issues we havent work on ourselves yet. Her head sometimes is with me and other times I feel Ive lost her. I do not want to lose her. I see a world we could make together of shares power but it only comes from a feeling of deep safety, respect and shared control.

I want this to be good, pure and healthy for both of us and I hope to get some good advice here.
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  #2  
Old 09-01-2012, 11:42 PM
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PolyPhonic PolyPhonic is offline
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Very interested in hearing the community responses to this post. I am in a similar situation, however I am the one looking outward to other relationships and my wife is the one who would be deeply curious as to the answers here. Listening...
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  #3  
Old 09-01-2012, 11:45 PM
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redpepper redpepper is offline
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I think you would benefit from doing some reading here. You will see that no one can tell someone else who they should date (metamours getting along is almost mandatory to success though), primary partners don't come first, no one "comes first" and yes, your feelings on it never working with the woman she cheated with are very valid. Cheating means almost certain death to that relationship ever working legitimately. That kind of trust is very rarely re-built with the cheatee involved. She fucked herself on that one I think.

Its quite possible to raise children, own houses, vehicle, have a career and have many loves, even a husband or wife. What isn't all that possible for the long haul is making anyone "primary." Sure, you're new, baby steps into committing to others is a valid and sane idea. Believing that you will always be number one in her life is not. Eventually everyone she dates, commits and attaches to will be as important as the next. I would wager that you will find that her loves also become important to you too!

I would suggest she put a full stop on her interest in another until you have sorted some stuff out. Rules suck (they don't move anyone forward), try some boundaries. What would you put up with, what would you request in return for her exploring poly, what would be reasonable to you and what is a flat out deal breaker. Be reasonable and expect that from her. Figure out where the line is between okay and not okay and stick with it until it changes and then re-think it again.

Read threads tagged "lessons" and good luck. you are not alone.
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Last edited by redpepper; 09-01-2012 at 11:48 PM.
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  #4  
Old 09-02-2012, 01:13 AM
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nycindie nycindie is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kari777 View Post
3.The woman she cheated on me with - in other people's opoinions - is it unfair for me to never be able to feel safe with that relationship? (This is how I feel) I had thought for sure ties would be cut and we would work together in counseling (which she suggested) to build this thing organically together (her words). We're not building something safe and organic if she has someone "waiting in the wings". Im really hoping other poly people agree with me on this one. I see so much what we could be but if we start out this way - it could never work.
Wouldn't it make more sense to say that you don't feel safe with your wife, rather than the woman who she cheated on you with? It is your wife who betrayed you and your wife who has to rebuild her trustworthiness and regain your trust. Who knows what she told the gf, who might not have known the full story - so why specifically blame her? I don't know why ties have to be severed with her gf completely unless that person did some flagrantly disrespectful act against you. If she's waiting in the wings, then at least she is respectfully waiting. Without a doubt, the thing she needs to do is stop seeing her gf while you and she are working on repairing your marriage, but I see no reason why they should not resume after your marriage is stable again (unless the woman is total bad news for some reason), if that is still an option. But that should not be rushed. I don't think you two should re-open up the marriage until your foundation is solid - it could take a year or longer to get past such deep betrayal.

You can't really dictate to someone whom they are allowed to love (that is, assuming it is love and not just sex your wife is after in being non-monogamous).

Quote:
Originally Posted by kari777 View Post
I want to believe I can make this work but I feel so scared and disrespected - like if I dont accept this new person - she will leave me. Thats a very scary feeling especially how I am getting contradicting messages that she doesnt want me to leave. She even said twice that shed give me time to process and for us to figure this out - months, a year etc. But now its been 2 weeks and Im already feeling pressure.
Where is this feeling of pressure coming from? What is she saying and doing that makes you feel like she won't wait and re-invest? Or is that in your head only because you've been emotionally whacked with a 2x4 and now can't stop imagining the worst?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kari777 View Post
Its painful because we do have relationship issues we havent work on ourselves yet. Her head sometimes is with me and other times I feel Ive lost her. I do not want to lose her. I see a world we could make together of shares power but it only comes from a feeling of deep safety, respect and shared control.
I am not sure about the "shared control." Does anyone ever really have control over anything in life? Methinks not. I always say that good relationships need mutual respect, honesty, affection, caring, and compassion. They also need effective ways to communicate. I am sure therapy, both individually or together, will help. You need to rebuild your foundation, and she needs to be willing to commit to being your full partner again, without lies and deceit. You have to know your tipping point - what will you tolerate and when would you walk away? - and she needs to know your tipping point, too. Most of the work here in regaining trust is on her head, so she needs to step up, but you need to look at two things - standing up for yourself and, at the same time, forgiveness.
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Last edited by nycindie; 09-02-2012 at 01:19 AM.
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  #5  
Old 09-02-2012, 02:03 AM
snowmelt snowmelt is offline
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The betrayal means there are fundamental problems in your marriage that have not been resolved. The betrayal itself is a reaction to those problems. The very best thing both of you can do right now is to talk openly about the problems in your marriage until they are solved, including whatever it was that led up to the betrayal. Start talking with her about those problems now, and keep talking until they are resolved. That is key to having success with anything in the future. Bringing more people into your life now will divert your attention away from this. It will aggravate the problems in your marriage.


If and when there comes a time that your current issues are resolved, then see where you are with bringing others into your life.


It's not a good idea to give up something that you really want or need to try to make your spouse happy, so you can keep your marriage “at all costs”. If you do this, you'll suffer in the long term. That means your marriage will weaken in the long term. You mentioned she is putting pressure on you to let her do what she wants. That is not a good sign. This shows a lack of maturity, and respect for you. That weakens the relationship.


Quote:
Originally Posted by kari777 View Post
The betrayal that I have to get over and learn to trust again
This is not about you learning to trust your wife again. This is about your wife learning to be worthy of trust.
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Old 09-02-2012, 02:06 AM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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Quote:
1. The betrayal that I have to get over and learn to trust again - that takes time and healing. 2. We're on opposite sides of the fence and agreed we need to figure out a way to get those two together in which we both feel safe and share power.
Yup. Do not Open at this time.

Resolve the cheater thing first, rebuild trust, then try again if you really are going to go there. But don't just go there to avoid the inevitable if this is a relationship dying on the vine. Only you are there -- only you can tell what's really going on here.
Quote:
She loves me and wants to be with me and doesn't want me to leave her.
So... show me the money. What is SHE going to put into the relationship to make ammends, repairs, change her cheater ways? Cuz it sounds like under your current agreement, you are within your rights to call it quits and walk.

IF YOU MAKE A NEW AGREEMENT for how to be together -- that's not gonna happen til previous agreement is ended satisfactorily. Are you satisfied that you would not just be signing up for more bad treatment here?

Quote:
If you are in an open marriage and your partner wants to engage with someone that you dont like or whom doesnt work for you - isnt that appropriate? Should not both parties be OK with the partners one takes on?
Not my relationship to run. The only things I would ask in terms of partners are things like the obvious DO NOT DATE HARD LIMIT PEOPLE. (Ex: my mother, my sister, my boss, minors.) There's enough people in the world without choosing the people that would just make life that much harder!

Soft limit people we can discuss case by case (ex: don't date the kid's teacher while they teach the kid. When the kid moves ON and is no longer their student, we can talk. )

I do not expect metas to be my best friend, but I do expect metas to be cordial/polite if we cross paths and let's face it. In this house I run the calendar so highly likely I'd be taking phone messages and whatnot. So just play polite with the wife, alright?

And DH -- maintain right relationship with me too. You know my gamebook there.

Quote:
1. Our marriage comes first - we are primary lovers and we alone share our household. She wants to have children and our family has to come first.

2. Respecting each other's comfort level. I get the feeling that she may want to have a relationship with anyone she finds attractive and that wouldn't work for me. I like to idea of discrete - planned that don't interfere with our home life or our jobs - my MAIN point being so neither of us doesnt feel safe in each other's work and home space.
All this stuff is to be sorted with YOUR partner to you and your partner's pleasure. There's as many ways to "do" poly as there are poly people. There's no one way. You write your own story with your poly peeps. Figure out what you want your relationship model to be. Here's a few examples.

Quote:
3.The woman she cheated on me with - in other people's opinions - is it unfair for me to never be able to feel safe with that relationship? (This is how I feel) I had thought for sure ties would be cut and we would work together in counseling (which she suggested) to build this thing organically together (her words). We're not building something safe and organic if she has someone "waiting in the wings". Im really hoping other poly people agree with me on this one. I see so much what we could be but if we start out this way - it could never work.
3? Cheating is cheating and in my world that is lies of omission and that's a one strike you are out. Ciao! I'm not really up for working things out. And it really isn't about the cheating partner, though I wouldn't take kindly to them had they KNOWN about me and cheated anyway. I'd be annoyed with MY partner who DID know about my existence and cheated on me anyway. I'd be annoyed with my partner DOUBLE if they cheated on me AND on the other person by doing lies of omission to THEM too. What kind of untrustworthy business is that? I frown on that. Can't run a polyship on a foundation of lies. Thppppt.

But if you are willing to let one mess up slide and work it out -- get thee to counseling then and sort it. WHY did the cheat happen in the first place? Solve the root of that or else -- wait for more cheats in future?

Quote:
I want to believe I can make this work but I feel so scared and disrespected - like if I dont accept this new person - she will leave me.
She could leave you with or without the person in the picture. You are scared and disrespected because you WERE disrespected and someone you thought you knew and trusted went out of bounds. These are natural things to feel in this situation.

We feel what we feel and don't much get to choose that. We DO choose how we behave in response to those feelings. REACT or ACT WITH INTENTION. I don't know what kind of choice you are after. You sound like you are in the "trying to decide that" place.

But if you lean toward a second chance? Talk to the meta -- what's their spin on this? Talk to your partner. What's their spin on this? Sort the meta rship and the marriage rship probs first.

Do not be piling on even more people to your polymath. Seek that counselor out.

GL!
GalaGirl

Last edited by GalaGirl; 09-02-2012 at 02:25 AM.
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  #7  
Old 09-02-2012, 03:51 AM
sundevil sundevil is offline
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Can't add anything that GalaGirl didn't already say so well.
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Old 09-02-2012, 03:46 PM
scout989 scout989 is offline
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Though I know our situations aren't exactly the same, there are a whole lot of similarities. Since I am not in a very different place from you, I don't know that I can offer much help personally- but I definitely recommend checking out my thread (titled "Help wanted" in this same section) for more ideas/responses, since I know I found value in reading your post and the replies to it.
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