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Old 08-18-2013, 03:51 AM
ALpolyman ALpolyman is offline
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Default Worried about how Dating May Make My Wife Feel...

Hi all! I have some questions about an aspect of poly that I've not seen addressed anywhere, though maybe I've not looked hard enough.

A bit of background: My wife and have been married for 4 years and we've talked about/fantasized about what it would be like to make love to another woman as a couple. When we started watching Polyamory: Married and Dating, we both asked ourselves: Why have we never heard of poly before? Anyway, it was at that point that we explored the possibility and gave each other the thumbs up to pursue poly. We agreed that a relationship is what we are ultimately after and not just sex. We've had a few non-starter attempts and put a brief moratorium on the poly thing due to some health issues. Since that's been addressed now, we are going to post profiles on OKC as individuals instead of a couple since that seems to our best chance at dating outside of our marriage...with the hopes of trying to establish a triad at some point.

Anyway, to my point, I've read some material regarding jealously, possessiveness, rules/boundaries, etc, etc. What I've not come across is this: I've imagined myself on a date with another woman...just getting to know her, like over dinner or something. What I can't get over is the inner guilt that I will feel about sharing a romantic and intimate part of myself with someone other than my wife. And I'm not even talking about sex yet either! I think about how she might feel...I suppose empathetic would be the word I'm looking for. How do I get over this and tell myself that this is an okay venture to explore? Am I really that "trained" in our culture and society to still think that marriage is sacred and not be "violated" despite the fact that I've always thought about what it would be like to date other people? We both have talked about how we firmly believe that we are poly-wired. Does this mean that I'm not poly-wired? Maybe I'm not completely trusting that my wife is still okay with it. After all, we are heading into some uncharted waters here. I would greatly appreciate some insight and perspective in this.

Thanks!
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Old 08-18-2013, 04:08 AM
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Inyourendo Inyourendo is online now
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Even I struggle at times that N might be uncomfortable. It makes me uncomfortable. Well I've been uncomfortable plenty, being the one at home waiting for him, I dealt with it, got over it and if he felt that way, which he says he doesn't, he can get over it too. There isn't anything wrong with being uncomfortable, its a good lesson in understanding yourself.
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Old 08-18-2013, 04:40 AM
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Originally Posted by ALpolyman View Post
Am I really that "trained" in our culture and society to still think that marriage is sacred and not be "violated" despite the fact that I've always thought about what it would be like to date other people?
Judging but what you've described, I would have to say "yes". Social tradition is a bitch; it is built upon semi-truths (and outright falsities) which are reenforced every moment of our lives.

Breaking the shackles of tradition is tough... and I personally wouldn't have it any other way. One of the benefits of knowing that I am on the right track toward breaking down my capitulation to ideology which I don't believe in is... how difficult it versus how reasonable it is. In your current situation, you know that you don't believe you are causing harm yet you STILL feel like you are doing harm.

In my world that tells me I have identified irrational social tradition which needs to be scrutinized (as you are doing currently).

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Originally Posted by ALpolyman View Post
We both have talked about how we firmly believe that we are poly-wired. Does this mean that I'm not poly-wired? Maybe I'm not completely trusting that my wife is still okay with it. After all, we are heading into some uncharted waters here. I would greatly appreciate some insight and perspective in this.
I suggest easing down on the "wired" throttle. Human experience is a spectrum in pretty much all (behavioral) things - even in what we would call "hard-wiring". It's more a question about potential, and desire to challenge the possibilities.

I would also recommend you separate the investigation of "am I poly" and "is she poly". Note that these might be two completely different answers. Your deciding about your worldview will likely be difficult enough without trying to decide someone elses worldview for them at the same time.
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Last edited by Marcus; 08-18-2013 at 04:46 AM.
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Old 08-18-2013, 07:18 AM
InfinitePossibility InfinitePossibility is offline
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I very much agree with Marcus - I wouldn't worry too much about the 'wiring' thing. Relationship configurations involve a load of complex thinking and decision making and so are very unlikely to be influenced by some kind of unchangeable 'wiring'.

Genuinely hard wired behaviours tend to be very simple things like lifting legs to pee in male dogs. Even within those there are massive individual variations due to life experience and individual personality.

You are married, have made vows about how you will live your life with your wife. If you now are questioning that, it's no wonder you envisage an amount of guilt.

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Originally Posted by ALpolyman View Post
What I've not come across is this: I've imagined myself on a date with another woman...just getting to know her, like over dinner or something. What I can't get over is the inner guilt that I will feel about sharing a romantic and intimate part of myself with someone other than my wife. And I'm not even talking about sex yet either!
What happens when you make a new friend - somebody who sex will never be on the table with? Somebody who is thrilling, interesting, exciting? Somebody who you share secrets, hopes, dreams, the intimate details of yourself with?

Do you feel guilty about those sorts of friendships? Or do you think it is only where there is a possibility of sex at some point?

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Old 08-18-2013, 01:34 PM
ALpolyman ALpolyman is offline
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I would also recommend you separate the investigation of "am I poly" and "is she poly". Note that these might be two completely different answers. Your deciding about your worldview will likely be difficult enough without trying to decide someone elses worldview for them at the same time.
So it sounds as though we will have to experience some aspects of poly like finding a date, going out on a date, talking about how we feel, etc?

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Originally Posted by InfinitePossibility View Post
What happens when you make a new friend - somebody who sex will never be on the table with? Somebody who is thrilling, interesting, exciting? Somebody who you share secrets, hopes, dreams, the intimate details of yourself with?

Do you feel guilty about those sorts of friendships? Or do you think it is only where there is a possibility of sex at some point?
Well, for me it's both, though one is obviously much stronger than the other. I have a very good female friend now with that kind of relationship but I do not have romantic or sexual feelings toward her (yet she turns heads when she walks into a room). Still, I feel a certain amount of guilt with sharing things with her. My wife it completely ok with it too. I guess the guilt is that I think I get something from my friend that I don't get from my wife. That's not a knock against my wife at all...but my friend and I "just get each other". I think about how my wife would feel if she heard some of the things we talk about. I hope that makes sense as I'm struggling to articulate it.

I definitely would feel even more guilty at the possibility of sex with another woman besides my wife. I think it's because the act itself is both emotional and physical and I've never been able to separate the two. I've never even had a one-night stand. I'm just not like that. To share myself like that with another woman would, even with permission or in front of my wife, I'd probably be in tears telling my wife how sorry I am.
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Old 08-18-2013, 06:56 PM
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Default Guilt

Guilt is an emotion that occurs when a person believes that they have violated a moral standard that they themselves believe in. So- although guilt is an emotion- beliefs are thoughts. You are responsible for forming and periodically revising your own beliefs about moral standards.....which is probably one of the things you are doing here.

It takes emotional maturity to break out of the cultural "norms" and become responsible for ones own ethical and moral standards.
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Old 08-18-2013, 07:13 PM
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Originally Posted by ALpolyman View Post

Well, for me it's both, though one is obviously much stronger than the other. I have a very good female friend now with that kind of relationship but I do not have romantic or sexual feelings toward her (yet she turns heads when she walks into a room). Still, I feel a certain amount of guilt with sharing things with her. My wife it completely ok with it too. I guess the guilt is that I think I get something from my friend that I don't get from my wife. That's not a knock against my wife at all...but my friend and I "just get each other". I think about how my wife would feel if she heard some of the things we talk about. I hope that makes sense as I'm struggling to articulate it.
The fact that you are so cognizant of not wanting to hurt your wife bodes well for traversing this new aspect to your relationship.

Okay, so you have a non-sexual female friend that you confide in, who gets you. What if that friend were male? You realize that your wife probably has a friend that she can confide in as well as she does you or perhaps on certain topics even better? How does that make you feel? Are you worried about it?

For myself, the amount of intimacy achieved in any relationship depends on the quality of that relationship, the amount of open-mindedness of the other person, the level of trust, etc. Consequently, I have a number of friends who know practically all there is to know about me. I don't have just one that I confide in. To me the more people with whom I can confide, the richer my world is - and the richer my world is, the more joy I have to share with all of them.

Here is another shot at it: Say you are doing something you really love (some activity, sport, hobby or whatever) that your wife does not partake in (because she has her own interests and hobbies), and you come home really happy and jazzed after getting to enjoy this hobby. Doesn't that just make the energy between you all the better? Is she supposed to feel jealous because you got high off mountain biking (or whatever)?

Why are we supposed to get all upset because we enjoy spending time with more than just one person? I am doubting that you have just one hobby that does it all for you. We get different things from each of our activities, and we get different things - flavors, nuances - from different people.
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Old 08-18-2013, 08:19 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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Maybe I'm not completely trusting that my wife is still okay with it. After all, we are heading into some uncharted waters here.
That's pretty much what it sounds like to me.

It's new. You can hope it goes well, you can know she's willing to try. But you cannot yet say you have had the experience of a date, and wife was fine afterward. Because that hasn't happened yet for you to to KNOW that from experience. Experience has not yet been had, confidence in this area is not yet grown.

You take the leap of faith at that point-- faith that you both have prepared adequately, and can handle it. Then you do it, and come to find that your faith in your skills was well placed or not.

The "new normal" is just gonna feel weird until it becomes "old normal." You become more confident.

You could tell your wife you are feeling nervous about what her reaction post-date might be and would like her reassurance that she really is ok with it. Ask her if she's willing to reassure you.

But if deep down you feel you are monoamorous, there's nothing wrong with that either. Maybe you are monoamorous and poly-friendly -- ok with your wife having other Sweeties but you don't want any yourself.

HTH!
GG

Last edited by GalaGirl; 08-19-2013 at 04:40 AM.
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Old 08-19-2013, 12:22 AM
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Don't worry about that "wiring" idea - that's not really important. Plenty of people practice and live poly without identifying as poly or wondering if we're wired for it. You may as well ask yourself, "is the sky blue?" If you're open to polyamory and can fit it into your life in a satisfying and fulfilling way, isn't that enough?

Keep talking about your feelings and thoughts about dating and possible guilt reactions with your wife until you really feel ready to go out with someone.

Don't force yourself to be with anyone else before you are ready. However, when you are ready, don't be tentative - jump in with both feet. In other words, be fully present to the experience!

Try not to make up stories about yourself that could become self-fulfilling prophesies, such as "I know I will feel guilty if I have sex with someone other than my wife." You don't really know that for sure - you might be surprised! If/when it happens that you are with another woman sexually, knowing you are doing it with your wife's knowledge and consent could feel incredibly freeing and you might feel very alive and wonderfully free of guilt. My point is to take each step slowly and thoughtfully, and not to give in to judging yourself or expecting certain outcomes.
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An excellent blog post on hierarchy in polyamory:
solopoly.net/2014/10/31/why-im-not-a-secondary-partner-the-short-version/

Last edited by nycindie; 08-19-2013 at 02:52 AM.
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Old 08-19-2013, 01:49 AM
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LovingRadiance LovingRadiance is offline
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Sounds like you are getting lots of great suggestions.

My only thought was to remember that just because you traverse poly-and POTENTIALLY building other relationships, doesn't in any way mean you have to be a jerk about it.

I love two men. I always concern myself with their feelings-both of them. I make my plans with ALL of our interests at heart. For example, I'm not going out Tuesday with GG, because it's Maca's bday. I also am not going out with Maca-because he is stuck working in a remote location at the moment. I will be home-with the kids. Because I would be bummed if I were stuck in a remote location alone and my love was out having the time of his/her life on my b-day.
Maca hasn't asked me not to-I just don't because I thinks its distasteful.

Likewise, I plan to go out Friday with a good friend-to a concert (which I happen to know Maca wanted to go to). I'm not missing the concert just because he's stuck out of town. But-I did express my wish that he could be here and I will make a point of talking to him before and after the concert-about whatever HE wants to talk about (which likely won't be the concert).

When we go on a date with someone else, (any combo of we) we make a point of "reconnection time" together. So for example, if I go out with Maca, I make time to reconnect with GG after and if I go out with GG I make a point to reconnect with Maca after.
Sometimes, that is just a hug, sometimes it's more. Depends on the mood of the person who was "left behind". Hell sometimes it's ravenous wild crazy sex and sometimes it's a peck on the cheek.
But-the moment is created by the person who was out enjoying their time away.
(I do this even if the "date" was with a friend or family member and not romantic in nature & I do it with the kids too).

I think a lot of people think about dating from a "single" perspective and they feel like they have to do dating the way people who are single do dating-but that isn't true. You can date AS YOU ARE. You don't have to be "single" to date. You have to be available.
It's perfectly reasonable to date with your wedding band in place.
It's perfectly reasonable to date and talk about your current partners and their importance to you (as well as kids, work, family, friends).
It's perfectly reasonable to date AROUND your already existing obligations and to expect anyone who wants repeat dates to respect those existing obligations.
Etc.

Instead of feeling guilty-or working yourself up before it even exists to that idea. Start thinking about how you can do/be those things on a date-while still being what is important to you to your wife.

I OFTEN order a dessert "to go" when I go out on a date-for whichever partner was at home.
Reasonably often I order a whole dinner to go for them.
If I go somewhere special I might get them a trinket or gift of some sort while I'm there.
Just a small something that reminds them that even when I am with my other love-they are still in my heart and soul and mind.
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