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  #1  
Old 05-24-2013, 03:54 PM
goosegirl goosegirl is offline
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Default Helping spouse understand?

So, I "came out" to my husband about three weeks ago, after struggling for awhile about whether I was really poly, whether to say anything, etc--and he was really cool with it, very understanding, even though it came as a shock to him as our relationship has always been monogamous (and for a time kind of asexual because of some health concerns). We've been talking about it on and off and I had been really enjoying the conversations--stuff like what I was looking for in a potential partner, if he could have other partners, etc while he was thinking about whether or not he was comfortable actually putting it into practice. I have tried not to push anything but I'm afraid that I may have come off as pushy just because the conversations were really exciting for me--I don't have anyone else to talk to about this sort of thing than my husband, and having him accept this as part of who I am was amazing. But last night, in the middle of a parking lot while running errands, he suddenly dropped this huge bomb about how he'll never be okay with my being poly, he could never "share" me with anyone else, and if that's a deal-breaker and I need a divorce to just say the word.

So, basically, we'd been having what I thought were really constructive conversations about how we feel, and then he slammed the door shut on the whole thing. I should probably add right now that there is no one in the pipeline, I'm not looking for a partner or anything, I have no one in mind, this is not (or, I feel that this shouldn't be) an immediate threat to him, etc. He's saying that my having sex with someone else is "bad enough", but to actually have a relationship with them is even worse--so I think there is some threat aspect to it.

We sat down at home afterward and talked (read: cried) some more and he kind of did some waffling on the no-not-ever bit, but now I think he's just upset (in general), weirded out, emotionally wounded, etc. He says that he understands polyamory from a logical viewpoint, that he can get it in his head but that it makes him emotionally upset. I don't know what to do with that... I've heard a lot of people say that or mention it but then there are no stories of what comes afterward, I have nothing to work with. Here's the hard part: he pretty much asked me to change his mind, almost like he wants to be able to stop being upset and be okay with it, but he doesn't know how to proceed. Neither do I! He brought up going to a local poly meetup, but I don't want to show up to a group of strangers' social gathering and dump my marital problems on them (awk-ward) and I'm having trouble finding a poly-friendly or even kink-aware marriage counselor in our area, as the closest one seems to be over two hours away. I'm just... kind of at a loss for ideas, and hoping that someone here will have some sage advice. I don't want to lose my marriage, because I love my husband dearly, and I'm as scared that I've just ruined everything as he seems to be that I'm going to leave him over this (although I've told him time and again I'm not).
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Old 05-24-2013, 04:02 PM
Vinccenzo Vinccenzo is offline
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I think the best place to start is with what seems like his abandonment issues. Whether it leads to poly or not, getting those healed is always a good and healthy idea. You don't need a poly counselor for that.
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Old 05-24-2013, 04:37 PM
Nox Nox is offline
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Also take some time. It's not an easy adjustment on either side. My wife and I have only needed to work out the sex part and we've been discussing it for months. Sometimes there's progress. Sometimes there's regression.

Pressure on either side is only going to make it worse though. Just take time and let it evolve naturally. That's not to say he will be ok with it, but understand it's not a change that can be made in a month or two.
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Old 05-24-2013, 10:48 PM
zombiecupcake zombiecupcake is offline
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My husband has known about me being poly since before we were married and he never wanted to talk about it. Just very recently have we started constructively communicating about it. Some days are better than others. He says he doesn't want to hold me back from what I need, etc. He has come to the point where he says he's ok with it. I haven't found or even looks for another partner, but some days are better. Some days he acts excited, other days he feels jealous and says he will always be mono with me and he never imagined the idea of sharing his wife. It's a huge adjustment and takes time. There will be emotional highs and lows from day to day. All I can say is communication is key.since we have started being open with the idea, we communicate daily about how we feel and if any new feelings about it has surfaced. Just know your not alone!
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Old 05-25-2013, 02:59 PM
goosegirl goosegirl is offline
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Well, last night I only asked him if we could talk for a minute because I wanted to apologize for pushing it and table the whole thing... which turned into hours of basically him saying (with varying degrees of anger) that he can't do this and I'm not allowed to be poly/he can't "let" me do this, and I'm his wife, why can't I understand that no one else is allowed to touch me, etc. At one point he told me to at least file the divorce papers quickly instead of drawing it out. At another, after I brought up trying marriage counseling (I don't want a divorce! I don't, I don't, I don't.) he said no, because he thinks counselors are holier-than-thou and talk down to people--but then he said that he wants me to go to counseling because I've changed so much! So it's okay for me to go because maybe I'll get fixed and forget all about this, but our marriage isn't worth trying it?! Oh, and apparently I'm a hypocrite, because right after we got married, one of his female friends was coming on to him (bringing beer to the house so they could drink together while I was at work stands out as a big one)--and I told him I wasn't comfortable with him being with her when I wasn't there, because I didn't like her motives. His other friends saw it, too, and said the same, but because I didn't like her coming around to hit on my husband when I wasn't home, I'm a hypocrite? Same thing because I used to get mad at my boyfriend when I was nineteen or so, we fought a lot and he'd go out and cheat on me (his other girlfriends would pop on his internet profiles). I think there's a difference between those situations and poly (I mean, I was 19 in the one, almost 10 years ago)... and besides, just because I'm poly, I'm not allowed to get jealous or have feelings at all?!

His "convince me" deal from the night before? That was actually "I might be okay with it in the far, far future, so far away that I actually mean never and I only said it to get you to shut up". He said that and then flipped out on me--I mean, really flipped out on me--and stormed away. After awhile I went out to go get him and told him that I'd never bring it up again, because I don't want to ruin my marriage (though I think I already have), I don't want a divorce, I don't want to leave him. I'm wishing I had some kind of magical poly switch that I could just turn off and we could forget I ever brought it up... I pretty much just feel like crap at this point, and now it's this huge elephant in the room that neither of us really want to mention, and everything is awful. I'm not sure how to fix what I've caused.
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Old 05-25-2013, 03:50 PM
Vinccenzo Vinccenzo is offline
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You are a possession and his fears are normal. Why can't you get that?
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Old 05-25-2013, 06:55 PM
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Magdlyn Magdlyn is offline
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Just wanted to offer some cyber hugs. I am sorry you are hurting. How long have you two been together? Have you always felt poly? Were there never any hints from your behavior or things you've said in the past, that you might like multiple love relationships, until now?
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  #8  
Old 05-25-2013, 07:20 PM
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Derbylicious Derbylicious is offline
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It's only been 3 weeks since you first brought this up. I'm sure your husband is dealing with a lot of conflicting emotions. How long did it take for you to come to terms with your own poly-ness internally? If there isn't anyone in the pipeline you might want to consider not talking about it anymore for a while but work out a date where you can revisit the conversation. That allows him time to do some internal work without feeling pressured. It doesn't sound like there's any huge rush on your part to start pursuing other relationships.

One of the personal pet peeves of mine is that he doesn't want to share you. He doesn't get to share you, you chose to share yourself (or not). You don't belong to him.
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Old 07-10-2013, 04:07 PM
goosegirl goosegirl is offline
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Hey everyone--sorry for disappearing for a bit, things in real-life land got a little hectic. But I wanted to check back in... and, damn, sorry, this is a total wall of text, and I'll completely understand if anyone passes it off as TL;DR. Also, I hit the text limit, so the post directly after this one is a continuation of the same, FYI...

We had a less explosive talk a week or so after his blow-up and left it at "there's no one in the pipeline, so let's just leave it, think it over, and see what happens". At least, that's where I thought we were; after tonight it seems we had very different ideas of where we left off. He'd be content to never mention it again, but says he's "considered" it--and his final decision is still that I'm not allowed to have any other relationships, that the possibility of an emotional connection with another man is even worse than the possibility of sex outside our marriage, and that if I ever decided to pursue poly practice, I should leave, because he only wants a wife who is going to love/support him and only him. That's his definition of marriage and I should accept it, because those are the terms I agreed to when we married--and now I'm "changing the game" and "breaking the rules" because I "didn't tell the truth before", that polyamory is “asking for permission to cheat” and that if he had known I was poly before we got married, he would've eventually dumped me for someone monogamous... yes, eventually, as in we could have dated until he found someone... dare I say it... better?! Then he turns around and keeps insisting that he doesn't want a divorce, wants me around forever, etc., etc. I don't know how I'm supposed to react to that—slap me in the face with that one, and then tell me how much you love me and want me around for the rest of your life?

I feel as though I'm being set up on one big guilt trip, designed to keep our marriage "intact" through bullying me into complacency. The more I read and talk to poly folks, the surer I am that I'm wired for poly--I know the whole "wiring" thing can be a cause for debate, but I just don't think I'm suited for monogamy, at least not at this point in my life. I would like to have my husband around and to have him at least try to give me some support as I stumble through this and try to figure out where I'm going, but instead I feel as though my feelings aren't being treated as valid. I don't like it. I feel like crap, and whatever decision I ultimately make, it'll be the wrong one.

Initially, I thought that opening our marriage would be a positive thing for both of us. We have plenty of mutual interests, but there are also a few major ones that we don't share—I thought it might be nice for him to have someone who can actually work a game controller, much less not mind sitting on the couch for three hours playing Generic Dungeon Crawler 14; I wouldn't mind someone coming to the museum with me and not anxiously staring toward the exit, counting down the seconds until we leave. He's very much a stay-at-home kind of person; I go crazy if I don't get out of the house every day. I realize that none of these things have anything to do with romance or sex, and could be reasonably filled in platonically—but (for me, at least) these activities would be 100% more enjoyable with someone I was intimately connected to. When it does come to sex, my husband's libido is much higher than mine, even though I'm not sick anymore—I'm good for maybe every other day, he can go twice or three times a day. The sex we've been having is good—at least, there are no complaints from me, and I haven't heard any from him—but I know he'd like more, and my body just isn't up to it all the time. I thought that he would think opening up would be a fun thing to try, maybe even a good idea—after all, I was under the impression that we had a damn solid relationship before I brought this up, and that I was proposing something that would add to that and make it even better—but instead I've turned a good thing into a total clusterfuck. Hooray.

The odd thing is that, for some reason, I still believe that we can work this thing out, even if it means a poly/mono ship (I refuse to write mono/poly because I always end up reading it as “monopoly”). Is it completely insane of me to think that way? He keeps turning around and saying that the most important thing is that we don't separate—which I'm inclined to agree with. Despite currently tearing my hair out, I am rather partial to my husband and would like to continue our relationship, preferably at the level of awesome it was at before. But two things have changed: my non-monogamous orientation (once again, debatable choice of word, but that's what I feel is appropriate to use in my case) and the fact that I can't just take all of these arguments we've had and cram them back in the box to be forgotten about. The poly cat is out of the bag--even if I strangle it, I've still got a dead cat hanging around stinking up the place. (That was morbid, sorry.) One way or the other, thought, we've got to deal with the situation. Complicating matters is that somewhere along the line (I can't pinpoint exactly where), I developed a little bit of a crush on one of my guy friends, which I think he's picked up on—and might be reciprocating, except neither of us wants to bring it up. I tried telling this to my husband, who laughed at me—I get that it's a little surreal, but, really? I'm concerned and trying to be honest about my feelings, and I'm being laughed off. My husband says he doesn't care if I hang out with this guy, so long as I'm not hooking up with him. The exact words he keeps repeating are, “I don't care if you have friends, so long as you're not fucking them. If you're not [insert sex act here] when you're out with them, I don't care.” Well, I think there's a big disconnect there, that leaves me absolutely no boundaries to work with—I'm not allowed to have emotional connections with anyone by my husband, but then it's okay so long as I'm not fucking them? I don't know how to handle this. I don't know if I'm even allowed to have friends, then—is a two-second hello/goodbye hug a gross imposition of personal space? I'm touchy-feely, I hug my friends. I suppose I could start making out with all of my male friends, on grounds that I'm not fucking them, so it must be okay—or am I supposed to start maintaining an eight-foot bubble at all times, to quash any risk of someone's penis accidentally wandering into my vagina? I have no idea how invested I'm allowed to get (emotionally, not physically—I'm currently interpreting the “fuck” in “don't fuck your friends” extremely liberally, as “anything that could possibly be interpreted as a romantic gesture”). If my crush is reciprocated, that'd be both fantastic and horrible—while I'd like to pursue it, I'm not going to risk my husband leaving me over it... but then that leaves the situation pretty awkward, as I think the guy in question is pretty awesome, and I'd like to keep the friendship intact.
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Old 07-11-2013, 06:56 AM
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nycindie nycindie is offline
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May I point out that you only see your conversations with him as "constructive" if he agrees with you or appears to be ready to consent to poly? Just because he is angry, upset, in disagreement with the proposal of putting polyamory into practice, and does not give consent to it at this time, does not mean the conversation can't be constructive. Look at all you are learning about him, yourself, and your dynamic by having these conversations. He may change his mind, or he may not, and you might find yourself happy with either option, or you might not, but this process is important and valuable for you right now.

Look - you dropped a bomb on him. He's reacting, of course. Was your purpose in discussing it solely to convince and persuade him into giving you what you want, or was it to explore options and become closer to each other by revealing more of yourself to him? Big difference.

You are very attached, it seems, to a particular outcome - which says you are as close-minded as he is being. This is not something that can be resolved in a few weeks or even a few months - opening up an established relationship can take a year or longer. Now is the time to build and strengthen the foundation of your marriage by looking inward, voicing concerns, sharing fears, expressing fantasies, and supporting each other through all the rough stuff. Stop having a tantrum because you want what you want when you want it and don't like his response - that won't bode well for either of you. Leave it alone for a bit, focus on and appreciate what you've got right now, be as loving, empathetic, and compassionate as you can, and then come back to talking about it another time. It's a process.
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Last edited by nycindie; 07-11-2013 at 07:19 AM.
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