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  #1  
Old 09-21-2012, 06:12 PM
BraverySeeker BraverySeeker is offline
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Default Sharing wife in the present haunted by the past

My partner of nearly 30 years, is falling in love with a female co-worker. None of us has any prior personal experience with polyamory, but feel it's the path before us.

We are immersing ourselves in the literature, namely the outstanding book Opening Up. I am enamored with the concept of compersion but have had more than a few moments of self doubt and fear.

If I have a question, it is this: How haunted should I be by the fact that, 12 years ago, while I was living and working oversees for more than a year, my partner left me for another woman. That relationship lasted two years, during which my ex and I had no contact. After they broke up, we reconnected.

We have now been married for 10 years and have two wonderful elementary-school aged children.

In the past two weeks, when I correctly sensed that something more than friendship was brewing between my wife and a married female co-worker, I was quick to embrace that budding relationship.

I want to believe my willingness to do so is a reflection of my intensifying love for my wife and an enlightened mind. But I suspect it may also be a result of my repressed fear that to do otherwise would risk my losing her ... again.

Since that one-and-only other relationship, my wife has identified as bisexual (to me but few others). She denies harboring any resentment toward me for all but monopolizing her sexuality since she became aware, as a teenager, to having one.

I'll leave it at that for now. Just wondering if anyone thinks our past could still be affecting, positively or negatively, our present and future.

Last edited by BraverySeeker; 09-21-2012 at 06:17 PM.
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  #2  
Old 09-21-2012, 06:47 PM
dingedheart dingedheart is offline
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hi and welcome,

I don't see how your past could effect these current events.

I recommend you both reading as many of the threads, personal stories as you can before jumping into the pool. Lives will change ...your marriage will change....this could effect your children.
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  #3  
Old 09-22-2012, 02:28 PM
BraverySeeker BraverySeeker is offline
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Thank you for your cautionary words, D. I only just discovered this forum yesterday and there's a lot here to absorb.

So far I have only managed to get through Hyperskeptic's tale. And frankly, I appreciate his journey and conclusions. Ethical monogamy, as he's left with, may be my course as well, but from the start.

I know my wife and I are renegotiating things I probably could have foreseen would need to be renegotiated from her side. But frankly, that's more than enough to deal with now. Yes, we've kicked a door in, but I'm not at all inclined to rush out there in search of another partner for myself. She's "not going anywhere," she says, and didn't go looking for her new love. She chalks it up to serendipity.

I trust her. I do. I think if anyone can manage love for and from two people honestly and fairly, she can. If she can't, she'll likely withdraw from this other relationship and side with keeping her family intact. It would not come without considerable pain, but I suspect that would be the likelier outcome given the circumstances.

Is this belief terribly naive of me? I have no wish to be a doormat. I've been open and honest with her and she has responded in kind.

I will keep reading this forum with an eye for healthy and unhealthy outcomes of poly relationships. Thank you, D, for urging me to proceed with eyes wide open.

BS (Just realized that's the acronym for "BraverySeeker." Unintentional but kinda funny.)

Last edited by BraverySeeker; 09-22-2012 at 02:32 PM.
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Old 09-22-2012, 02:52 PM
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BrigidsDaughter BrigidsDaughter is offline
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I do believe in exercising caution and compassion when opening up a marriage. NRE can be difficult for the spouse not experiencing it OR it could be like an aphrodisiac and suddenly your wife will be all over you. As long as you are both going into this with open eyes and good communication, I think that you'll do fine.
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Old 09-23-2012, 01:32 PM
snowmelt snowmelt is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BraverySeeker View Post
I was living and working oversees for more than a year, my partner left me for another woman. That relationship lasted two years, during which my ex and I had no contact. After they broke up, we reconnected.
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Originally Posted by BraverySeeker View Post
She denies harboring any resentment toward me for all but monopolizing her sexuality since she became aware, as a teenager, to having one.
It would help to know more about all of this. What happened, and how much the two of you have talked about it.
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Old 09-24-2012, 05:49 PM
BraverySeeker BraverySeeker is offline
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It appears that I confused our timeline in my original post, so I'll correct that and elaborate.

My wife and I started as "high school sweethearts," although using that shorthand both romanticizes and trivializes what we were up to together at so young an age. Suffice it to say, throughout that earliest chapter, we were very sexually intimate - tender, patient and exploratory - but stopped short of having intercourse. The latter was not something I needed or pressured her for, and I think that only helped cement an uncommonly mature love between us (or as mature as teen love can be).

I'll let that sum up our freshman through junior years. I spent my senior year of high school as a foreign exchange student. I recall it was very difficult to be apart from her, but we wrote each other long, passionate letters via air mail (this was 1988-89, so well before the Internet). In my absence, she did not date classmates but had a socially and academically successful year regardless.

After graduation, we went to different colleges in our home state. I would drive for hours to see her most weekends. Our studies continued on independent trajectories, with her being pre-med and I looking to live abroad again.

Immediately after getting my undergraduate degree, I secured a three-month internship overseas, one that I knew I would extend for months if the opportunity presented itself. In retrospect, I may not have communicated this intent to her well, as confident as I was that our relationship would weather, as it had before, a physical separation of unspecified duration. I also consciously thought that I needed to take full advantage of this opportunity to prepare myself for our inevitable future together.

Fast forward to my return to the states 14 months later, after a much less prolific and more infrequent and strained amount of written communication between us (despite the availability of email at this point). I was immediately introduced to a medical school classmate of hers, a woman our age who had recently ended a long-term lesbian relationship. Within days I was made aware that she and my girlfriend had been sleeping together and they planned to become roommates.

Over the next few weeks, I tried to understand and accept her new relationship while trying to see myself included in it. That was a naive and misguided desire of mine, fraught with as much cliched fantasy as personal desperation. My girlfriend of 4-8 years (depending on how you count our time together vs. apart) soon informed me she had, in my absence, moved on and no longer loved me or wanted to be with me. Broken hearted, I capitulated and struck out on a life without her.

For three years, we had no contact with one another. And for much of that period, I pined for her while also hating her and myself for the investment we made in each other that, once gone, left me feeling socially and emotionally crippled. I especially hated her new girlfriend for stealing her from me; that was a target for blame I held onto longer than most.

At some point, however, I did manage to get over it all. I even dated other women, although unsuccessfully in every case. The young, accomplished lover I once was had become a terrible cad. The best of the bunch lasted six months, included an accepted marriage proposal followed by a panicky breakup. I don't regret that that relationship didn't continue; I wish only I hadn't proposed at all.

Many months after that I found myself writing a letter to my ex, my first and only true love. I believed I was doing so from a place of sincere detachment from my previous feelings for her. I wanted only to let her know I was open to reconnecting as people whose futures were no longer tethered together but still might want to know that the other was healthy and happy with new dreams.

The letter, which was nearly never sent, was answered. Unbeknowst to me, she and the woman she had left me for had broken up.

Again, in the interest of not drawing this out too long, we met and it was easier than either of us could have imagined. We made love that night. That occasion, like several more (that occurred only when I was able to make the hours-long drive to see her), were voracious, supercharged, out-of-body experiences. Unlike the teenager I remembered her as, she was much more sexually assertive and confident about what she wanted, yet somehow elusive.

Now it's some 15 years later - 10 of that married with two kids and she's pursuing a love affair with another woman, only this time with my advance knowledge and full throated consent. And we've been having that explosive, discovery sex again. Only it is infinitely better-informed intimacy on account of our ongoing conversational about a nonmonogamous future.

Our dialogue has had us revisiting our ancient past with concern for history repeating itself and what lessons we have learned. Am I afraid of losing her again? No, as she has repeatedly assured me I will not. We are in our early 40s now and thankfully not the 20-somethings we once were who took themselves so seriously that they thought they could neglect eachother and still remain together.

With that last paragraph I think I have synthesized for myself why the past is just that: the past. What's now before us is something wholly new. I love my wife more intensely than ever for bravely opening herself up to the love this other woman has introduced and awakened. To show respect for her, revel in her heart's capacity for so much love, and demonstrate my trust in her to keep me close and loved, I need to be brave, too.

I won't pretend I'm not scared. We don't and can't know what lies ahead for us. But honestly, we couldn't have predicted what's already happened to us. It's been a crazy, wonderful journey already. It can only continue with bravery, a quality I have but could always use more of.

So here's to the future, the search and the seeking.

Last edited by BraverySeeker; 09-24-2012 at 05:57 PM.
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  #7  
Old 09-24-2012, 07:15 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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Read. Talk. Lots.

http://www.morethantwo.com/
http://www.serolynne.com/polyamory.htm
http://www.practicalpolyamory.com/do...documents.html
http://openingup.net/resources/free-...om-opening-up/

And hang in there on your journey as you develop your new framework for how to be in right relationship to each other as she dates.

GL!
Galagirl
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  #8  
Old 09-25-2012, 04:47 AM
snowmelt snowmelt is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BraverySeeker View Post
We are in our early 40s now and thankfully not the 20-somethings we once were who took themselves so seriously that they thought they could neglect each other and still remain together.
This is exactly what I was thinking as I read your story - with emphasis on:
Quote:
Originally Posted by BraverySeeker View Post
that they thought they could neglect each other and still remain together.


Quote:
Originally Posted by BraverySeeker View Post
With that last paragraph I think I have synthesized for myself why the past is just that: the past.
I think so too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BraverySeeker View Post
We don't and can't know what lies ahead for us.
Yes, the mysteries of life we all think about. Overall it sounds to me like you're doing well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BraverySeeker View Post
So here's to the future, the search and the seeking.
. . . and the discoveries - whether you walk right up to them, or trip over them. Details, details. Be well.
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  #9  
Old 10-03-2012, 11:12 PM
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kdt26417 kdt26417 is offline
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Greetings BraverySeeker,

I just wanted to say (a bit belatedly) welcome to our forum, and thank you for sharing your touching story. I'm sure you and your wife (and the new lady) will be fine, just keep the channels of communication open and continue to be caring and considerate toward each other.

I hope your time spent on Polyamory.com has been helpful so far, and will continue to be helpful.

Glad to have you aboard.
Sincerely,
Kevin T.
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