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Old 12-13-2012, 07:07 AM
curiousaboutpoly curiousaboutpoly is offline
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Default Struggling to make it work for us

We are attempting to navigate a transition from swinging to poly, and it's not going so well. She has taken to it like a fish to water, discovering what was missing from the swinging: a deep emotional component. He, seeing how strongly fulfilled she is by loving other men, is having a very hard time feeling compersion. He wants to. But when he comes home and sees "him" on her webcam, it just sends him to a very dark place.

She enjoys poly because it allows her to open her heart to a multitude of people while remaining primary to her husband. She needs people and connections beyond just one person. He gets all that, and has really warmed to the idea of good friends, of occasional romantic encounters with couples who've become our friends, and he gets that she needs much more stimulation in the course her day, particularly when he's at work.

What he isn't getting is where the friendship shades over into love. It just hurts.

We are at an impasse, and are struggling to figure out where consent and control meet. He's pretty well decided that a) he's not poly, but is actually very fulfilled loving her and her alone, and that b) he is being broken down, bit by bit. She feels like if she recognizes that there's no mutual consent, and agrees to pull back from polyamory, that she is being emotionally controlled and blackmailed.

This is all about a month old.

Help us?
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Old 12-13-2012, 10:22 AM
bella123456 bella123456 is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Australia
Posts: 182

I'm not an active advice giver, but here I go

Be gentle with yourselves and with each other. Your compassion for each other is evident in your post.
It's ok to accept it's a hard path. At times it may feel like two different paths, rather than the one path that you may be used to walking together.
And life is like that in many ways...

There's been many times when I've felt my love/s have veered onto a path that is askew with my own, and often that's had nothing to do with relationship issues.. Or polyamory. It's always been a pleasure to find a reconnecting path.

I'm not sure about poly/open/swinging either... And I've spent many years studying and researching the fine lines.
A month is not long. Spend some time cuddling in bed, drifting to sleep in each others arms without the need to talk or analyse.
You've probably been spending so much time thinking, and that can be exhausting.
Rest I would advise,
Take care
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Old 12-13-2012, 10:40 AM
bella123456 bella123456 is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Australia
Posts: 182

I should add, I have a poly background and my darling has a swinging background.
We're 2 years in our relationship and still can't decide on where we sit together.

There's no rush though
I'd never want to pressure my darling and he would never want to pressure me. So, it's a good thing to cuddle in bed whilst you work it out.
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Old 12-13-2012, 03:44 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is online now
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Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 6,219

Does this resonate?


Doing enough page 5 and 6 things?

For him -- what needs are not being met by her? That cause the feelings of jealous? If not her, what inner monologue thoughts are causing the upset that you could change? You control your thinking pattern/habits.

For her -- your partner is struggling. Are you swept up in New Relationship Energy? Oversharing your joys? Feelings are not objective -- measure specifically. How many days a week do you set time aside for just husband? To nurture THAT relationship? Is it balanced with the time set aside for the new BF?

Practical suggestion:

He wants to. But when he comes home and sees "him" on her webcam, it just sends him to a very dark place.
  • Perhaps could schedule webcam dates for times husband is not in the line of site of the computer?
  • Perhaps could schedule time with husband before and after dates for preparation (before care) and reconnection? (after care)


Last edited by GalaGirl; 12-13-2012 at 03:48 PM.
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Old 12-13-2012, 04:12 PM
curiousaboutpoly curiousaboutpoly is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 2

Thanks for the thoughtful reply!

Yes, we've been doing a great deal of holding each other, falling asleep in each other's arms. At the moment, he's pretty sick (flu), and that's definitely a stressor, and also makes cuddling not so great.

We talked into the night last night, and definitely realized that the flu was part of the trigger for this particular episode of doubt and anxiety. She went out for a drink with a couple, at his suggestion, even though he had to back off (it was to have been the four of us). When she came home all aglow, using phrases like "I have so much room in my heart to love everyone..." It just sent him to that dark place

One thing we've talked about during all of that holding each other time (and at other times too) is setting some boundaries around language. On the one hand, he wishes she would reserve the word "love" for their relationship, and find other words ("care deeply," "great friendship") for the other ones, including the long-distance boyfriend. On the other hand, he recognizes that it's a bit silly to take the role of language police. The feelings don't change based on his need to hear and not hear certain words. That is, if she loves him -- if she's in love with him -- then avoiding the words is just silly. Furthermore, it only reinforces her sense of him as someone with a need to maintain some degree of control over her.

What he really wants, in his heart of hearts, is for her NOT to love him. He wants her to have a friend. He's got compersion around the fact that her days pass more enjoyably with a chat buddy, and he's also got compersion around the sexual component (he's always had that in the swinging, too -- nothing more beautiful than her having a blast in the bedroom). But he's not sure he's built to be a hinge on a V, and he's not convinced that this is going to end anywhere other than there. She assures him that's not what she intends, and he believes that she means it...but after 20 years of marriage, he knows her propensity for taking everything she does "all the way." It's one of her best qualities :-)

Thanks again for your response.
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Old 12-14-2012, 09:49 PM
katja24 katja24 is offline
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Pacific Northwest
Posts: 46

I don't give advice/feedback very often but I sympathize with your situation amd felt like I could at least offer emotional support.
A framework that is helpful to both myself and one of my secondaries is thinking about our relationships as friendships that may or may not include a sexual or romantic component. Thinking about my primary partner as my super crazy best friend and my secondary relationships as very deep friendships that sometime include sex helps me keep perspective on everything. It's also really helpful for me in not getting overwhelmed by the relationships that my primary partner develops.
I think, too, it's worth considering the fact that we are conditioned to allow ourselves to love multiple friends and family members. What is it about for you that is so challenging about your partner having multiple romantic loves? I realize that's a tough question I'm still in process of managing that myself. Hang in there
29 yr old queer woman with primary male partner, J
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