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Old 09-04-2010, 08:09 PM
Rachelina Rachelina is offline
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Hello. I am researching polyamory at the request of my husband. He has fallen in love with a much younger woman (he is 44, I am 37, she is 24). We agree that we are still in love and want to stay together regardless of what happens with her, but he has asked me to be open to letting him have this relationship, and I am struggling so hard with it. My heart is broken and I've become badly depressed; am barely eating or sleeping and have lost interest in everything I used to love. This was a complete shock; I had thought our marriage was great, though now I see that he had unmet needs he was not expressing. So we are going to work on the problems in our marriage, but I still feel rejected and less-loved, because he is very much in love with her and can't let go of that.

They have been on several dates and spent one night together, with my permission, which to me was like cutting off a limb - probably the hardest thing I've ever done. There has been no sex so far, only kissing and cuddling, but to me this is just as painful. I've met her twice now - once shortly before they had the night together, which I insisted on because I didn't think I could tolerate it otherwise. Then last weekend she came over for a more extended time and I got to spend several hours alone with her. We both came to like each other very much and want to be friends. She reassured me that she had no intention of displacing me. But the times when she and my husband were alone together were absolute torture; I felt like I was going mad from jealousy and pain.

I guess my question is, is there any hope that I could come to accept this situation? My husband believes this could be good for me, that she could become a good friend to me and all of our lives would be enriched. There's also the chance that she and I could become involved as well - she is bi, and I have had crushes on girls in the past, though no actual experience. My feelings are unbelievably confused. Part of me sees this as a potentially wonderful adventure, and it is also something that I would like to do as a gift of love for my husband. But most of me is in unspeakable pain. Have you seen situations like this where the initially hurt/reluctant partner was able to grow and eventually thrive in a poly situation? What can I do to deal with the pain and open my heart to this kind of love?

I should add that my husband has said that I'm free to see other people, but I have absolutely no interest in this. The only other person I could imagine getting involved with is her, but I wonder if this is merely obsession - I have this intense need to know her, to know just who it is he fell in love with, to have the same experience even. Probably this is not healthy.

All this is complicated by the fact that she has just moved a great distance away. But she may move back to this area in a year or so, and will definitely be back for holidays and vacations, and will want to see my husband then. I feel like the distance will actually make it harder - instead of this getting resolved one way or the other, there will be this passionate email correspondence and this will remain a future potentiality for a very long time, which I don't know if I can deal with.

I'm corresponding with her also, so that we can get to know each other better. She does know that this is extremely painful for me but is so much in love with my husband that it may be impossible for her to let go of him.

I hope this was halfway coherent; I'm so unhinged with pain and confusion that I fear it might not be. Thank you in advance for any advice or insight you can provide.

Last edited by Rachelina; 09-05-2010 at 12:02 AM.
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Old 09-04-2010, 08:27 PM
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ImaginaryIllusion ImaginaryIllusion is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rachelina View Post
I guess my question is, is there any hope that I could come to accept this situation?
My personal feeling is that people can learn to accept whatever they want to. Do you want to?

You could probably search around the forum for similar stories...it rings a familiar tune. The results seem to vary.

At the moment however, it sounds like this has all been dropped on you rather suddenly. It also seems to be ten times harder to introduce poly to a reluctant partner when there's already another partner waiting in the wings so to speak. At least her moving away for a while might give you time to process the feelings you're having.

I'm sure others will jump in with better specifics, and perhaps similar experiences. But my suggestion would be to take some time to learn more about poly, and take things very very slowly. My suggestion to your husband would also be to slow way way down, let go of the fantasies, and be patient. You're probably in for a long road ahead. No need to rush it.

And Welcome to the Forum.
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Old 09-04-2010, 08:35 PM
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Hello rachelina, what a pretty name. I like that.

There are a few questions I have. Its sounds like the age difference is a concern for you. Does this woman have any goals to marry, have babies, career etc.? Because these would be reasons for this not to work out for the long haul or for her to want these things with your husband. This kind of woman is called a cowgirl. One that lassos a man away from a tribe to have him for herself.

Is she poly? Does she have other loves? She may find someone in her new town to fill her needs there eventually when their NRE wears off. Is your husband ready for that?

It kinda bugged that you say your husband says you should do research. Where is he? How come he's not doing it with you? And who says he knows everything there is to know about poly? Or is this how you interpetted what he said?

It sounds like you and them are doing everything you can do at the moment. They sound deep in NRE (new relationship energy). That sucks for you, but, it does die down eventually. Unfortunately with LDRs (Long distant relationships) this takes longer. With me and Mono it took about 8 months of crazy NRE and then it was a simmer for a long time. Still simmering after almost 2 years.

I suggest you AND your husband and this woman do some reading on here. Your story is not different than many people here going through similar stuff. You may find some solace in knowing you are not alone and some comfort in knowing how others have and are managing.
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Old 09-04-2010, 11:35 PM
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Sorry I find the quoting thing really hard to use so I've bolded my responses it's going to look weird but please bear with me.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rachelina View Post
I guess my question is, is there any hope that I could come to accept this situation?

Yes of course there is hope I for one am living proof and there are others. There is a link at the bottom of this post to my blog. Check out the post on jealousy and you will see that I was exactly where you are not that long ago. It has taken me a couple of years to get to the place I am today but the process would have been a lot smoother if I had done what your husband has suggested for you: researched and involved myself on online forums.

There is a lot of reading on my blog that will help and one of the reasons I started it was so that I wouldn't have to keep repeating myself. You are not alone in your experience it happens quite often and there are lots of people who have dealt with it and come out the other end stronger, better for it and with amazing relationships.

Have you seen situations like this where the initially hurt/reluctant partner was able to grow and eventually thrive in a poly situation?

I am living it

What can I do to deal with the pain and open my heart to this kind of love?

Firstly try to relax a bit and just breathe. Then read as much as you can and take baby steps to tackle each issue as it comes up. Remember that it's a process and will not all be better overnight.

The only other person I could imagine getting involved with is her, but I wonder if this is merely obsession - I have this intense need to know her, to know just who it is he fell in love with, to have the same experience even. Probably this is not healthy.

Depends, I think it's great that you have met and enjoy each other but I do agree with Redpepper about her age. I'd say enjoy her where possible but maintain a healthy protection around your heart it is obviously feeling very vulnerable at the moment and more than a little battered.

All this is complicated by the fact that she has just moved a great distance away. But she may move back to this area in a year or so, and will definitely be back for holidays and vacations, and will want to see my husband then. I feel like the distance will actually make it harder - instead of this getting resolved one way or the other, there will be this passionate email correspondence and this will remain a future potentiality for a very long time, which I don't know if I can deal with.

You have got more than enough to deal with right here and now don't let your mind wander into future possibilities that you have no control over and that may never happen.
I think you have the right sort of attitude to make this work.

Smiles and Hugs
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Old 09-04-2010, 11:36 PM
Rachelina Rachelina is offline
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Thank you both for your thoughtful replies. My husband has read and appreciates them also.

Quote:
Originally Posted by redpepper View Post
There are a few questions I have. Its sounds like the age difference is a concern for you. Does this woman have any goals to marry, have babies, career etc.? Because these would be reasons for this not to work out for the long haul or for her to want these things with your husband. This kind of woman is called a cowgirl. One that lassos a man away from a tribe to have him for herself.

Is she poly? Does she have other loves? She may find someone in her new town to fill her needs there eventually when their NRE wears off. Is your husband ready for that?

It kinda bugged that you say your husband says you should do research. Where is he? How come he's not doing it with you? And who says he knows everything there is to know about poly? Or is this how you interpetted what he said?
She doesn't have these goals right now; she is still so young that she's just exploring life. I don't think she is a "cowgirl" at all. She doesn't want him for herself. She has personal reasons for wanting to be the secondary person in a poly relationship, and was interested in polyamory even before she met my husband. She doesn't have other loves now; this one is all-consuming. My husband is perfectly ready for her to find love in her new town and downgrade their relationship to a close friendship; it would certainly simplify our lives. But his feelings for her are such that as long as she is interested in him, it will be extremely difficult for him to detach from her.

Actually we were researching polyamory together and found this site together; I just meant it was his idea that we do that. He doesn't think he knows everything about poly but he does know exactly what he wants and so doesn't have much to sort out or ask for advice on, whereas I am the one that is hurt and confused and needs help. So that's why it's me posting, but he's very interested in the replies I get. I'll try and convince him to join and post his side of things.

It's true that we are in for a long road ahead and there is no need to settle everything now. I'm just having a hard time living with this pain, of knowing that part of his heart is with her. I do want to accept this, it's just very very difficult. It's going to be hard living with this uncertainty for months and months to come.

Thank you again for your support. I'm looking forward to reading this site and learning all I can.
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Old 09-04-2010, 11:40 PM
Rachelina Rachelina is offline
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Oh, thank you so much, Sage! We posted at the same time so I hadn't seen your reply when I wrote that last post. Your thoughts are very helpful and I will check out your blog right now.
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Old 09-05-2010, 12:35 AM
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I know its hard to understand, but speaking as a poly woman in a functional long term poly relationship, your husband has not separated his heart, he has expanded it. That expansion means more love for you too. He gets to see how much you love him by sacrificing your comfort for his in the initial out set. If he is anything like me, he is loving you far beyond what he thought possible as he is feeling added love for someone elsewhere.

I'm glad you are reading around and checking out the links. There are many of us who have been here a long time who know what has been discussed. There are some really great threads that go into great detail and then there are great threads that just point out that we are all in the same boat and can rely on each others journeys to feel comfort in our own.

*hugs* to you, its a hard journey to start but you will find, I think, that your depth of knowledge about yourself and your relationship with your husband will be incredible. The connections that can be built are beyond what you might think is possible. I'm excited for you.
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Old 09-05-2010, 12:55 AM
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Wow, I can imagine that my being excited for you could be really fing annoying...
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Old 09-05-2010, 03:57 PM
GroundedSpirit GroundedSpirit is offline
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Hi Rachelina, (yes lovely name!)

I'll toss out a couple comments relative to questions you asked. Maybe they'll be of some help...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rachelina View Post
............., but he has asked me to be open to letting him have this relationship, and I am struggling so hard with it. My heart is broken and I've become badly depressed; am barely eating or sleeping and have lost interest in everything I used to love.
Good start - at least you and he are approaching it intelligently.
I can totally understand the shock/depression etc. It's hard when the models we built turn out to false or structurally weak. We thought we were in some safe zone. Remember Santa and the Tooth Fairy. Major depressing events. Keep perspective, this is really not much different. After the shock passes it will get easier - especially where you are adding a learning component to it ! Way to go !


Quote:
Originally Posted by Rachelina View Post
So we are going to work on the problems in our marriage, but I still feel rejected and less-loved, because he is very much in love with her and can't let go of that.
Working on issues that may have lain below the surface is how relationships get stronger. It may not be big things either - maybe just lack of deep conversation. That's pretty common in relationships - coasting along, not wanting to rock the boat, avoid the tricky topics (which sometimes aren't as tricky as we thought )


Quote:
Originally Posted by Rachelina View Post
I guess my question is, is there any hope that I could come to accept this situation? My husband believes this could be good for me, that she could become a good friend to me and all of our lives would be enriched.
Absolutely there is hope ! it's happened to most of the people here and most have come out the other side better in some way. That said, it's not for everyone either. But I suggest approaching it like you would any other serious endeavor like a skill, profession etc. Be totally open, assume nothing, study, think & absorb. Then see if it makes sense.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Rachelina View Post
Have you seen situations like this where the initially hurt/reluctant partner was able to grow and eventually thrive in a poly situation? What can I do to deal with the pain and open my heart to this kind of love?
Yes - seen it numerous times !
What can you do ? Reread above. The pain is real but temporary. If you believe in being open, being a loving person in general, building solid, genuine relationships with people then you may slip quite naturally into it. But like slipping into a cold mountain stream - the first touch is still a shock. Spend some time and it feels wonderful.

Now.............

That all being said........

There's a certain fascination with mid/older guys with younger girls. Always been that way - always will be. No point in going into all the reasoning for it here.
No matter how this particular relationship pans out long term - EVERYONE is going to come away with a bit of a different outlook on life & love. That alone will be worth it in my opinion. It's up to you (all) whether this knew outlook is a positive addition or not. If it was me, that would be my goal.

Destination unknown, journey fascinating & exciting.

Good luck - keep us posted

GS
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Old 09-05-2010, 10:25 PM
Rachelina Rachelina is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redpepper View Post
your husband has not separated his heart, he has expanded it. That expansion means more love for you too. He gets to see how much you love him by sacrificing your comfort for his in the initial out set. If he is anything like me, he is loving you far beyond what he thought possible as he is feeling added love for someone elsewhere.
My husband read this and said that this is exactly what he feels. It's still hard for me to comprehend, but I do want to challenge my heart to love in this new way. Thank you for your comments and hugs. No, it's not annoying that you're excited for me! My feelings are like a rollercoaster but there are times when I'm starting to feel excited about it too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GroundedSpirit View Post
But like slipping into a cold mountain stream - the first touch is still a shock. Spend some time and it feels wonderful.
What a beautiful analogy this is. Thank you for all your comments, Grounded Spirit. Everything you said was insightful and helpful.

Quote:
EVERYONE is going to come away with a bit of a different outlook on life & love. That alone will be worth it in my opinion.
Destination unknown, journey fascinating & exciting.
That is what I am hoping. Thank you again!
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