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Old 05-01-2017, 09:50 AM
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Shaya Shaya is offline
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Hi.

I'm in my 30s, currently married to my wife Bella who's also in her 30s. We've been together for 10+ years, no children (yet), though we might try for some in the next year or so. Apart from each other, we've had no other physically intimate relationships in our lives. And here we are, thinking of polyamory yet fearing to lose each other in the potential storm of NRE and jealousy that a new relationship may bring. For now, we choose monogamy, choosing to spend our spare time with each other, to help each other grow to be better people with better communication skills and to be more self aware. Helping each other learn from our mistakes to make ourselves better.

We came across the philosophical relationship style of polyamory in the aftermath of my wife's brief emotional affair with another man and attempted to legitimise this affair by shifting from monogamy to polyamory. It didn't work out.

It's now about day 100 after I first heard the word polyamory, about day 120 after the affair. The road has not been easy but things are honestly a lot better in our relationship now. Our communication is better. We're better people - personality wise, and also in our self awareness. I feel like I've aged 10 years; gained 10 years of life experiences, 10 years of wisdom and I certainly feel older. Part of those increased experiences are easily visible in the changes between us. We are less afraid to bring up arguments. We argue better. 3 times in the last 3 months we have a larger than average argument that remains partially unresolved when going to bed and persists the next morning. These don't feel good and I mark them on a calendar. In hindsight, none of them are that dramatic and none last more than 24 hours. I think they actually serve to help us improve our argument styles and anger management, contributing to our long term goal of making ourselves better individuals. As long as the arguments do not become destructive, I now see them as hands-on training and actually look forward to the next one to see if we can manage it better.

I find myself wondering about the future. Paradoxically, despite having had deep attractions for other men over many years, Bella states she would prefer to pursue monogamy with me. She feels we have a new relationship now and perhaps she will not yearn so strongly for other men. She believes her new outlook on life is that she will be responsible for her own happiness, whereas in the past, she had believed myself and others to be responsible in some way for her happiness. Bella feels that with this new philosophy, she will have less intense feelings for other men and be able to deal with it more appropriately in the same manner other monogamous couples do after recovery from an affair. There are many success stories from affair recovery websites that show and explain why a relationship that has recovered from an affair can be so incredibly much better than the original relationship, filling her with confidence for ours.

I am less optimistic. Her feelings for multiple men in the past strike me as a warning. Monogamy for life? Can we really both live another 50 years together without wanting to act on feelings that we might develop for other people? Given that we both agree with the philosophy of polyamory, if one of us started developing strong feelings for a third person, would we deny each other the opportunity to experience a new love? I'd like to give my wife the chance to fall in love again. I think it's the most beautiful thing a man can give his wife. Without this gift, my wife and I will both be doomed to have experienced reciprocated NRE exactly once in our lifetime. How sad! For myself, I'm not sure I want to go through life with onegina.

In summary, Bella feels we can do monogamy for life. I am less optimistic primarily because the door to polyamory has now been opened. Affair recovery websites don't consider non-monogamy let alone when both partners being open to it! Obtaining strong feelings for someone else and treating these feelings the way monogamous couples treat it is like putting a hot meal in front of a starving person and saying, "don't touch". If the feelings are mild, sure, we will probably be able to shut it down. But if the feelings we develop for a third person are HOT, and the door to poly is philosophically open, I feel we are unlikely to be able to shut it down. What then? Is that really what we want for our first experience into polyamory? A really HOT and full of NRE as our first poly experience? We might have a young child at the time as well making home life less exciting and making life with the new partner feel like polyamoryville. Are my wife and I, relationship and sexual virgins that we are... will we be able to weather the storm of emotions with NRE and jealousy pulling and pushing us away from one another? Are we emotionally mature enough, and with enough life experiences to be able to handle that? How many first attempts at poly do not succeed with the initial relationship intact? How many succeed when the parties are sexual and relationship virgins like Bella and I? Will love (for a third) be the death of us? Am I clinging to this relationship too hard? I really want children. Don't want to lose this relationship and be forced to start a new one elsewhere then think about having children a few years down the line - my dating pool of women would have to be restricted to women younger than me by then and that feels morally incorrect to me to only be looking for younger women.

Maybe we should start with swinging/BDSM/kink and then move to poly? Perhaps that will be a healthier and less tumultuous transition?
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Old 05-07-2017, 10:49 AM
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Magdlyn Magdlyn is offline
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That's a lot of "what ifs," Shaya.

I agree that starting poly when you have a pregnant wife or new baby in the house, or several young kids, is a bad idea. Some people do it and somehow make it work. I personally, although wired poly, had no energy for extra-marital love/sex relationships when my kids were very young. Hell, having had 3 kids in 5 years, I was so tired I barely had energy for sex with my husband... And we just didn't have time or privacy! Our kids were light sleepers, woke often. Many was the time h and I would be getting busy and be interrupted by the baby's cries or a bigger kid needing a drink and a snuggle back to sleep. It was so frustrating it often felt better to me not to ever start sex, only to be interrupted. By the time our youngest was 5, we could leave the kids in front of the TV, run into the bathroom and fuck standing up for 10 minutes. We viewed that as a hot sex life. We also started to be able to leave them with the grandparents or aunts (who lives 300 miles away) and get a few days of romantic vacation in once a year.

You're in your early 30s now? You have time to make babies, fall in love with THEM, (having kids does not make life boring, it makes it very full), and then, once the kids are a certain age where they are less demanding, you and your wife could explore poly, or swinging, if you just want sex.

BDSM and kink can start at any time if you both have an interest in that!
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Love withers under constraint; its very essence is liberty. It is compatible neither with envy, jealousy or fear. It is there most pure, perfect and unlimited when its votaries live in confidence, equality and unreserve. -- Shelley

Mags (poly, F, 62) loving Pixie (poly, F, 40) since January 2009, living together since 2013
Seeing Kahlo (polyish, M, 45)
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  #3  
Old 05-12-2017, 12:06 AM
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Shaya Shaya is offline
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Originally Posted by Magdlyn View Post
You're in your 30s now? You have time to make babies, fall in love with THEM
Thanks Mags. Spend the time and energy on falling in love with your kids. I'll carry that with me.

I notice an improvement in my attitude to life and a renewed love for my wife. I think I'm getting better.

Last edited by Shaya; 05-12-2017 at 04:33 AM.
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Old 05-12-2017, 01:54 AM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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I would guess one part of what could make for healthier/less tumultuous future transitions could be to learn to become more emotionally reslilient. And keep working on all the relating skills you have learned were weak before. It's good you've been improving communication skills and conflict resolution skills. Keep going with strengthening those skills.

Another part could be to spend more time with your head in the present moment, rather than “jumping too far ahead.” You are "what if-ing" a lot of things that only seem to serve as fuel for anxieties and stress. Like they ADD to you current load, rather than TAKE AWAY from your burdens. They do not seem to fuel your "coping-ness." They seem to fuel your fearfulness.

Another part could be to get clear with yourselves and with each other.
  • At this time, Bella thinks you both can do monogamy for life.
  • At this time, you do not share that view.

You are not sure you want one lover for your whole life. You sound willing to be Closed, as you heal from the cheating affair. And maybe longer as you consider having kids. But you sound like you want the option later down in life to renegotiate agreements and Open. Is that where you are at?

If Bella is firm on wanting “monogamy for Life” and you want “Closed for now, but option to talk about Opening later” as the next model you practice together after a cheating affair? Assess if you are still compatible first.

If you are both flexible, maybe only make short term agreements no longer than a few months or a year right now. Like stepping stones to rebuilding trust and to reduce tumult while you are dealing with CURRENT stuff on your plate. Maybe you agree "Closed for the next year, as we focus on healing. Then see what the next model after that will be for the next chunk of time."

Do not leap into long term commitments too fast like promising life-long monogamy or making babies. That's an 18-21 year commitment of “active parenting.”

This is only 4 mos since the affair. From what I understand, it can take up to 2 years to fully heal. I wouldn't rush on making long commitments or rush to make other big changes right now like exploring swinging, kink and so on. Finish dealing with the old stuff first, before putting new stuff on your plates so you don't get overwhelmed or feel like your life is in a tumult from too many things going on at once.

Pace it out.

I suggest you both spend more time healing first. More time strengthening foundations with each other first. Assess if you are still compatible first.

You are only in your early 30's. Kids, swinging, kink, poly – all that stuff can happen at later points in time. There's no fire, no rush. If you choose to do these things? You can choose to spread these experiences out across your life rather than trying to pile up all the experiences up at the front end.

Life is long. Live it WELL. Figure out what that means to you and then how to do it so your journey through your life can unfold more like you want it.

If you want it to be healthier/less tumultuous? Don't be piling on too many things at once or doing unhealthy stuff. Keep this simpler on yourself.

Galagirl

Last edited by GalaGirl; 05-12-2017 at 12:22 PM.
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  #5  
Old 05-17-2017, 05:32 AM
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Shaya Shaya is offline
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My wife and I have been reading "Wired for love". It's a book on how to build a (monogamous) relationship. Many good concepts (discussed below), but downsides include a whole chapter on pseudoscience that makes me cringe and I feel the book often takes a long time to explain a simple concept.

But there are many good things. The book gives a rational explanation of how we tend to fight, how to recognise a fight as it is happening and practical ways to stop the fight before it hurts the relationship. The book encourages you to develop a couple bubble as a protective sphere around yourselves, including the care and maintenance of your bubble as well as the concept of putting currency into your bubble so that it can survive times of hardship. It discusses love attachment styles, calling us anchors, islands and waves, with the equivalent in psychology circles being secure, avoidant, anxious-avoidant, anxious-preoccupied, and several other variants. It discusses how to handle "thirds" in a relationship, with "thirds" referring to anything else that can come between you and you partner, including children, work, in laws, hobbies and affairs.

The book has helped my wife and I, but I get the feeling there are better books out there and find myself thirsty for more ways to look at this.

For anyone who has read more than one relationshipping book, is there something you would recommend? Books with pseudoscience will turn us off. Crystals or mainstream religiosity will also turn us off. We're the sciency type. Equations will probably turn us on. We'll probably be tearing off each other's clothes before the end of theorem 1.

Recommendation for books? Just PM me please. No need to clutter the blog with this. Advice or insight into my relationship you'd like to share? You're welcome to reply below.

Last edited by Shaya; 05-17-2017 at 06:16 AM.
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Old 05-30-2017, 06:07 AM
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Shaya Shaya is offline
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Still no book suggestions from you guys. I wonder if that's because nobody reads relationshipping books or if my criteria of "having read more than 1 book", before giving me a book suggestion, narrowed the field down to zero people.

Life is good. Stable. Secure. I find myself plenty busy in my philosophical thoughts on relationships in general. I have always thought polyamory to be more ethical, more evolved. In reading relationshipping books, i see that there exists an ethical monogamy as well. A monogamy built on a conscious intent to pursue monogamy, with room for renegotiation (for example, yearly) as life changes the monogamous couple, can be ethically solid. A conscious choice for monogamy to me is equally ethical to a conscious choice for polyamory, provided there is room for renegotiation. The unethical monogamy would be the prototypical church wedding with unsustainable promises of "till death do us part" in front of the judging eyes of your family and friends simply because that's what society tells you your relationship escalator should look like whilst simultaneously not offering you any reasonable alternate choices. The lack of informed choice when most of society 'choose' monogamy strikes me as unethical since informed consent involves an understanding of all your choices before choosing one, and also includes the possibility of changing your mind after you choose. The prototypical choice for monogamy doesn't encourage this level of thought and therefore strikes me as unethical.

I blame the high divorce rate and negative emotional chaos that accompany poor marriages to be secondary to this unethical so-called "choice" that society forces our relationships to gravitate towards. Some who practice polyamory here see the heartbreak and affairs and the lies and cheating of monogamy and blame the philosophy of monogamy. I don't blame monogamy. I blame the lack of choice that society gives us before railroading young couples into a relationship structure that they did not fully understand, explore alternatives to and therefore did not consent to. When the marriage turns sour, i blame society.

Poly, monogamy, swinging, relationship anarchy... they're all relationship choices. As long as you know your options, and are free to renegotiate if you find yourself changing as a person, they can all be done ethically and can work for any given couple (or throuple or quad).

Monogamy for the moment suits my wife Bella and I. We would like children. As Mags so wisely pointed out, take this opportunity to fall in love with your kids, poly later.

Life is good for us almost all the time now. With our new relationshipping skills, its been 2 months since we went to sleep still arguing/angry or woke up annoyed. This lack of a major fight beats our previous record of 3 weeks and we're still going strong! In fact, we now often joke that we should stage a fight just to get some practice with conflict resolution and to put the skills we've read about to good use!

We start our day with words of endearment and end our day in bed sharing a non sexual activity we both enjoy. This take-off (in the morning) and landing ritual (at night) feels like it helps keep us together, supported, secure. It says to me, "no matter how shit your day is, you get to come home to me, and I will give you comfort and stability and something you enjoy, then you get to sleep." In the morning, the take-off ritual says to me, "Go get 'em, Tiger. Have a good day and tell me all about it when you get back." I'd rather spend my time and energy creating a new relationship with my wife Bella than on creating a new relationship with a third other. Bella feels the same.

Our old relationship is dead. Long live the new.


------------------------------------------------------------------------
Shaya, M, 30-39yrs, hetero (I think), nesting with Bella 10+years.
Bella, F, 30-39yrs , hetero (she thinks), nesting with Shaya 10+years.
First and only lovers, STD free by default and proud of it.

Last edited by Shaya; 05-30-2017 at 10:50 AM.
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  #7  
Old 05-30-2017, 09:26 AM
anamikanon anamikanon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaya View Post
We came across the philosophical relationship style of polyamory in the aftermath of my wife's brief emotional affair with another man and attempted to legitimise this affair by shifting from monogamy to polyamory. It didn't work out.

[...]

In summary, Bella feels we can do monogamy for life. I am less optimistic primarily because the door to polyamory has now been opened.
I can relate to this. I came here in the aftermath of Spexy's brief affair. Spexy has since completely dropped the idea of polyamory - he believes it is not for him as he doesn't have the relationship skills to even manage one relationship confidently, let alone multiple. I agree with his current assessment but disagree that these skills cannot be learned if there is interest. I get the point that right now there is neither interest nor the space to develop the skills when he is first trying to work on several psychological issues he already has.

Unlike you, we never had a monogamous agreement to begin with, though we both had stated that we weren't interested in pursuing another relationship - and had at no point shown an interest till this happened out of the blue.

I also understand the perception that now that another relationship has already happened, further relationships cannot be ruled out as a possibility. I am learning to recognize this as something of a flinching response born from the hurt I had to go through (and some still remains). The truth is that even while we had no other relationship, another relationship was always possible. It is also true that his decision to remain monogamous now is far more thought out and a conscious choice than before, when it was merely a matter of not having anyone in sight and not being interested in seeking.

So in that sense, I recognize that it is illogical to expect polyamory to happen because an affair has happened before. Polyamory is not an affair and I think after everything we have gone through, even if polyamory happens again, an affair is explicitly unlikely (so that "waiting for the other shoe to drop" kind of thing is not likely).

In other words this is the muddle in my head and not really reflecting of anything factual in the relationship. We have discussed polyamory in some detail now and have stated clear expectations of each other in the event we find we like someone. My rules for him are more paranoid than his for me - I don't have a problem with another relationship, but I definitely want him to check with me and have detailed conversations before proceeding with anything. I will not tolerate a rerun of last time's hurt and disregard for me - NRE or not, psychological issues or not. He, on the other hand is fine with however I handle it and says he doesn't think I'd handle it in a way that harmed him. Apart from that this is mostly resolved in my head through some amount of logical thinking through.

Quote:
Maybe we should start with swinging/BDSM/kink and then move to poly? Perhaps that will be a healthier and less tumultuous transition?
I think you need to be certain what you want. Do YOU want poly? In that case you should initiate a conversation with your wife about YOU wanting poly. If you are making these plans for your wife, thinking she'll do it anyway at some point and you're trying to structure it to feel some control around the process, it will likely be pointless with you not really being into poly and she having chosen monogamy. Like standing on the edge of a dance floor and waiting for someone *else* to start dancing.
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Old 05-30-2017, 11:54 AM
WhatHappened WhatHappened is offline
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Still no book suggestions from you guys. I wonder if that's because nobody reads relationshipping books or if my criteria of "having read more than 1 book", before giving me a book suggestion, narrowed the field down to zero people.
I'm going for the benefit of the doubt, but grasping at straws. It sure sounds like you just suggested no one on this board has read more than one book, which would usually come across as a pretty insulting statement. Presumably you didn't mean it that way.

I first saw the statement quoted above and several books sprang to mind. Then I scrolled up to see the original request and found you had more criteria than just 'has read more than one book.'

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaya View Post
Books with pseudoscience will turn us off.
Having no idea what you regard as pseudoscience (opinions do differ on that), I would hesitate to put forward any of the many books I read. Not because I don't read books, but because I get the impression you can be rather scathing of things that don't line up with your world view.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaya View Post
Crystals or mainstream religiosity will also turn us off.
That rules out quite a large number of relationship books right there, in addition to the above criteria limiting what someone might otherwise recommend.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaya View Post
We're the sciency type. Equations will probably turn us on.
So you want a relationship book that's scientific (and in a way that's in line with your world view) and probably with equations. I've read many books over the years including many on relationships. I'm not sure I've seen any that involve equations.

I'm pretty sure many, if not most, people here have read more than one book on relationships, but you've narrowed the field quite a bit.

Maybe if you could give an example of what you call 'pseudoscience' that would at least help people know what you don't want.

As to advice on your current situation, gala has it right. You're in the near aftermath of an emotional affair. Don't rush into anything. Don't make any lifelong decisions. There is no need to choose poly or open marriage right now or even in the next year.

Honestly, although I've seen you (I think it was you) make some very critical remarks of infidelity forums, I think that you should really consider that infidelity is the immediate and first issue and I'm not sure getting advice on polyamory, especially when your wife does not want it, is going to help your situation right now.

It sounds like you have decided on monogamy at least for the time being?

It sounds like things are going well with you and Bella. Congratulations, and may it continue!
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Old 05-30-2017, 05:25 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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I am glad you guys are doing better.

Quote:
In fact, we now often joke that we should stage a fight just to get some practice with conflict resolution and to put the skills we've read about to good use!
Don't joke. Do it. Because practice when it is non-heated can help you better keep your cool when it IS heated.

Quote:
I'd rather spend my time and energy creating a new relationship with my wife Bella than on creating a new relationship with a third other. Bella feels the same.
Sounds like you are more willing at this point in time to consider Closed/Monogamy with Bella. So hopefully for the time being, you are both on the same page and pulling together as a team.

That's good.

Quote:
I blame the lack of choice that society gives us before railroading young couples into a relationship structure that they did not fully understand, explore alternatives to and therefore did not consent to. When the marriage turns sour, i blame society.
Becoming your own person is part of growing up. Doing something because you have given it careful consideration YOURSELF rather than just doing it because it is whatever everyone else does. Developing the ability to say "No, thank you" if someone tries to pressure/railroad you into doing something you are not sure about.

You sound like you want communication/relating basics without too much "woo woo." You could try here. But really? You have to do your own searching because what resonates for me might not for you.

Galagirl

Last edited by GalaGirl; 05-30-2017 at 06:07 PM.
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  #10  
Old 06-01-2017, 01:36 PM
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Magdlyn Magdlyn is offline
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I'd rather discuss relationship books here than in PM. I don't know why mentioning books would be "clutter" in your blog?

I can't say I've read many "vanilla mono" books in a long time. Back when I was mono, and struggling, I read Men are From Mars, Women are from Venus. lol

I read the Surrendered Wife when I was trying to be vanilla and propping up my old fashioned ex's ego. Now I know actual D/s books are better for me in that arena, and not sexist.

Many people here have read The Ethical Slut, More Than Two, and Opening Up. All of which, I am sure, provide excellent relationship advice that you can apply to a currently Closed relationship, with poly as a perhaps future lovestyle. I don't think you'll get much response on your request for mono relationship books here, considering our membership haha!
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Love withers under constraint; its very essence is liberty. It is compatible neither with envy, jealousy or fear. It is there most pure, perfect and unlimited when its votaries live in confidence, equality and unreserve. -- Shelley

Mags (poly, F, 62) loving Pixie (poly, F, 40) since January 2009, living together since 2013
Seeing Kahlo (polyish, M, 45)
Master, (mono, M, 36), Pixie's Dom/bf for 3+ years
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