Polyamory.com Forum  

Go Back   Polyamory.com Forum > Polyamory > Introductions

Notices

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 11-18-2013, 03:15 PM
Ellipsis Ellipsis is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: UK
Posts: 5
Default Hello from the UK

Good afternoon all, not sure where to start, so I'll do my best to describe my current situation, background and ultimate aims, in the hope of seeking guidance from more experience people who have been in similar situations and in time to share my own experiences, hopefully to the benefit of others.

The basics are that I am a straight male in a loving relationship with a happily married lady and by association, her husband.

We are all new to this type of relationship and are finding our feet as we go, with the attendant stumbles you would typically expect and I gather from reading around are to be expected and negotiated.

The couple made the joint decision to open their relationship a year ago, originally to explore swinging with couples only. A few couples were met, but the chemistry never quite worked out for all concerned, play was only between the ladies.

Then I came along (then single, married ten years, separated), she & I met online, struck up an immediate rapport that quickly led to us meeting and spending time together with her, her husband and children over the summer.

It was communicated to me from the outset by both parties that what they were looking for was a long-lasting relationship that went beyond just sex and that was every bit as important.

The following meeting went very well, we had fun and feelings continued to grow between the wife and I, to a point where hubby began to really struggle. Sharing her body was fine, but her heart and mind are more challenging.

After I left them, it became apparent that the two of them had distinctly different ideas about opening their marriage. For him, it was meant to be just about sex and fun, however for her she wanted a lover, in time a second husband and possibly an extended family too.

We continued talking, they took time alone to refocus and reground themselves as a married couple and agreed that we would continue to pursue this relationship.

So, we met again with the understanding that we would all focus on the friendship aspect of things and involving the children more, rather than excluding them from "adult stuff" as we had previously, whilst the lady and I kept a lid on the openness of our feelings for one another.

There are some trust issues for hubby to resolve; from the outset, the wife and I were free to communicate between ourselves, hubby and I communicated between ourselves, we all three together, the introduction and any contact with their children was of course supervised by both of them.

Once the first meeting/visit had occurred and it was established I was not a threat to their children and good basic relationships established, there, was trusted to communicate with them individually too if they wished to do so. They did, have and still do.

However, since she and I fell in love, he has not been OK with us talking privately and it causes friction between each pair to greater or lesser degrees. He and I still communicate privately, so it's a frustration for me that I can communicate freely with the whole household, except the woman I love.

Yet she remains free to talk with other couples and singles if she wishes to, unsupervised by him (as part of the swinging aspect that he wishes to retain and pursue, but she does not until we are at least stable in our relationship, recognising that in itself poses threats to our stability - I have little interest in that side of things, apart from her being free to enjoy another lady now and then because she does have bi-curious tendencies, but isn't looking for a relationship of that kind).

The reason I mention visits and trips is that I am located across the Atlantic from them, but can, have and do travel semi-regularly to spend time with them as needed.

It's challenging. She's struggling because she needs an outlet to talk to that isn't her family, she doesn't have close friends in her life and other acquaintances she can talk to have a slight conflict of interest in so far as they have all been people or couples who have expressed sexual interest in her.

Questions, opinions and suggestions as to how we manage going forward are all welcome.

Last edited by Ellipsis; 11-18-2013 at 03:24 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 11-18-2013, 05:17 PM
Spock Spock is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: East Bay California
Posts: 134
Default

Have her join the board.

I'm in the opposite situation as you. I'm the husband, the wife is looking for a second. We aren't convinced it's going to work the way we want it to, and we are working through the issues that come up.

I started a blog if you want to see what it's like from the husband's perspective

Of course my situation is different too. We can't tell you what it is exactly we want, given it hasn't been a year into the process yet.

My biggest concern out of this entire process is how she will have the time and energy to manage what appears to me a miracle. One relationship is exhausting and draining to her, and I'm not sure why a second would help, other than the fact that there is a short term burst of NRE; once that wears off, it will be twice as much work as what she has to deal with on top of the fact that she has kids and such.

We've brought that up, and we have agreed that maybe it won't work for a long term lover-husband unless he fully commits into our tribe, pulling in a paycheck, helping with childcare, funding retirement, etc.

In other words, instead of two kids and two adults, it's two (possibly a third) and three adults, with the kids interacting with each other too. I'm not sure I'm comfortable with her having another child with another man, either, but that's so far down the road that we have agreed to talk about that later, especially since she celebrates having her period every month meaning she isn't pregnant.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 11-18-2013, 05:39 PM
Ellipsis Ellipsis is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: UK
Posts: 5
Default

I would be interested to read your blog, if you could post or PM me a link I would be grateful.

I think our biggest challenge is rooted in the very different things they both wanted from opening their relationship and the results with which each has been met.

I will share this forum with her in due course. Hopefully him too. At the moment, I think part of the problem is that because we're still in the closet about the true nature of my "friendship" with the family (although coworkers and other family members have their theories...), talking to people outside the relationship/s is challenging for the two of them due to their perception of reactions.

I am fortunate enough to have a pretty open minded circle of friends and can and do discuss issues with them, but not being poly, whilst they can accept it, they can't really help from an experiential point of view as they could otherwise.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 11-18-2013, 05:46 PM
Spock Spock is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: East Bay California
Posts: 134
Default

Here it is.

Yeah, I was struggling at first (well, more than I am now) because I felt isolated and couldn't talk to my wife without getting her upset because she was invested in the situation too.

So just having a sounding board relieved a lot of pressure, and meeting people like you as well, since, well, you're going through this too.

Our current situation isn't the same of course; R2 is a lot more sexually forward and aggressive and appears to have a much lower desire to build a long term relationship with my wife. So my issues are less (at this point) about sharing her heart and mind and more about sharing her body. Not that he won't be affectionate and loving, or that he wouldn't fall in love with her (who wouldn't? She's amazing!), just that his behavior is more physical than emotional at this point.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 11-18-2013, 06:15 PM
Ellipsis Ellipsis is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: UK
Posts: 5
Default

Thanks. It is a different situation, but there are also some echoes with ours.

We are different at how we express affection for her physically, in the every day sense of little touches, hugs, kisses, even looks (it was the looks that gave us away at first meeting) and so on, to the point of having to consciously monitor them the next time around.

In turn, he gave us free time together in person each day as an outlet for that stuff, just to talk, cuddle and be generally loving without overstepping into sexual activity. Next time we're together, he will be working all day and we will be alone together during the day whilst the children are at school as she has taken vacation.

So there's a trust exercise in that we won't step beyond agreed to boundaries when he is not present. He says he trusts us now not to, because he knows we both value the longer-term relationship over the instant gratification of sex by ourselves (currently, sex only happens when he is present, whether directly involved or not).

For the record, we do not intend to break that trust, as hard as it has been to regain after falling in love (that was the only "rule" we broke on first meeting). We actually just want to spend the time as any new couple, getting to know more of each others' pasts, going on dates and so on.

Part of it as you point out is due to NRE vs. a long established marriage, we are effectively where they were at in their first year of courting and dating. Since then, his behaviour started to mirror mine and he couldn't understand why this actually had the opposite effect on her, leaving him feel undesired.

He has said he feels their joint identity as a couple will get lost under the weight of this joint relationship because in her heart & mind, we are much closer to equal than in his and it's hard for him to accept and adjust to when it's something he "never signed up for".
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 11-18-2013, 06:33 PM
Natja's Avatar
Natja Natja is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 824
Default

Hello there and welcome, there are a few of us over here in Blighty so you're not alone!!!
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 11-18-2013, 07:15 PM
Spock Spock is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: East Bay California
Posts: 134
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ellipsis View Post
Thanks. It is a different situation, but there are also some echoes with ours.

We are different at how we express affection for her physically, in the every day sense of little touches, hugs, kisses, even looks (it was the looks that gave us away at first meeting) and so on, to the point of having to consciously monitor them the next time around.

In turn, he gave us free time together in person each day as an outlet for that stuff, just to talk, cuddle and be generally loving without overstepping into sexual activity. Next time we're together, he will be working all day and we will be alone together during the day whilst the children are at school as she has taken vacation.
I'm not sure what the issue is? He doesn't like that you are falling in love? Or is his relationship with hers suffering because she isn't as affectionate with him?

Quote:
So there's a trust exercise in that we won't step beyond agreed to boundaries when he is not present. He says he trusts us now not to, because he knows we both value the longer-term relationship over the instant gratification of sex by ourselves (currently, sex only happens when he is present, whether directly involved or not).

For the record, we do not intend to break that trust, as hard as it has been to regain after falling in love (that was the only "rule" we broke on first meeting). We actually just want to spend the time as any new couple, getting to know more of each others' pasts, going on dates and so on.

Part of it as you point out is due to NRE vs. a long established marriage, we are effectively where they were at in their first year of courting and dating. Since then, his behaviour started to mirror mine and he couldn't understand why this actually had the opposite effect on her, leaving him feel undesired.
This is the confusing part. If he is starting to be more affectionate with her, why is she shutting him out? That seems terribly dishonest/unfair on her part.

Quote:
He has said he feels their joint identity as a couple will get lost under the weight of this joint relationship because in her heart & mind, we are much closer to equal than in his and it's hard for him to accept and adjust to when it's something he "never signed up for".
And it sounds like, if I read it correctly, she rebuffs him when he tries to invest into their existing relationship. Of course it's hard for him to adjust to that, because she is now preferring you to him, instead of being kind and reciprocating to his advances. Am I misunderstanding your post?
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 11-18-2013, 08:10 PM
Ellipsis Ellipsis is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: UK
Posts: 5
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spock View Post
I'm not sure what the issue is? He doesn't like that you are falling in love? Or is his relationship with hers suffering because she isn't as affectionate with him?
We weren't ever meant to go as far as falling in love with one another. Meant to be just friends with benefits on an ongoing basis, rather than a one-off. But we did and here we are.

Part of it is due to how and when we get to see each other. Due to geography, it's in periods of a couple of weeks every few months instead of being a constant presence, so at those times she's disproportionately interested in me and he feels like he and their marriage almost ceases to exist by itself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spock View Post
This is the confusing part. If he is starting to be more affectionate with her, why is she shutting him out? That seems terribly dishonest/unfair on her part.
Because he's not being himself as he's always been, which is the man she knows and loves. Instead he was being more like me. She's trying to get him to see that I'm just different, not better. She loves him just as he is/was and me just as I am.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spock View Post
And it sounds like, if I read it correctly, she rebuffs him when he tries to invest into their existing relationship. Of course it's hard for him to adjust to that, because she is now preferring you to him, instead of being kind and reciprocating to his advances. Am I misunderstanding your post?

She doesn't rebuff him when he tries to invest in their marriage. This weekend just past was dedicated them time, phones off, at home, just the family, me - and a lady he chats to as well as other people - out of the loop.

But he could tell at a few points that she was missing me so much she was brought to tears and that was very hard for him. He wishes he and their family were enough for her.

His problem is not that we have a very close friendship and care for one another. It's not that we have sex either and he trusts us not to break his trust and have it without his knowledge or involvement. It's the "in between stuff" that's too "open", the hugging, holding hands, little meaningful kisses, glances and so on when we're together.

Knowing that we'll be together for most of the daytime during my next visit without the children or him present is presenting him with a big issue in that respect, because he knows we'll be spending it not fucking, but doing the rest of stuff that new lovers do, walks in the park, lunch together, and so on.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 11-18-2013, 09:41 PM
Spock Spock is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: East Bay California
Posts: 134
Default

Ah, I see.

Even more parallels! As the husband, I totally understand, I think, where is he is coming from. The difference is that I have never stopped wanting to hold hands, have lunch together, go walking in the park, etc.

And his attempts to be like you are in fact also understood. He wants to displace you from her heart. It's not unlike a cargo cult, except on a smaller, more personal scale.

In other words, the energy you bring to her, I think, and the affection she returns to you, is what he wants too. In my case the only reason that I am still open to the idea of my wife opening our relationship is because she is in fact returning some of the affection and energy to me, too.

I mean, she gazes longingly at me, she looks into my eyes for no reason other than to catch my gaze, she holds hands with me, we walk together, and this is something I have been wanting/asking for years now. It's terribly selfish of me to steal this from whomever she is dating, but I don't know how I can blame myself for it either because I am still madly in love with her.

She needs a voice in this conversation however. Does she talk to her husband about this? That maybe she needs to be someone different too? You said,

Quote:
Because he's not being himself as he's always been, which is the man she knows and loves. Instead he was being more like me. She's trying to get him to see that I'm just different, not better. She loves him just as he is/was and me just as I am.
But that disagrees with your later point:

Quote:
he knows we'll be spending it not fucking, but doing the rest of stuff that new lovers do, walks in the park, lunch together, and so on.
He may not be saying it out loud, but it sounds like he wants to be the new lover; why isn't she indulging him? What is wrong with walking in the park, having lunch together, etc?

Or are you saying they do, in fact, already do that?
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 11-20-2013, 06:01 PM
kdt26417's Avatar
kdt26417 kdt26417 is offline
Official Greeter
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Yelm, Washington
Posts: 5,917
Default

Greetings Ellipsis,
Welcome to our forum.

I am following your story (and convo with Spock) with interest. The combination of your posts alternating with Spock's seems to cast a 3D light on the situation by way of differing perspectives and how they can interact synergistically.

The upshot is that I am struck by two immediate apparencies:
  • your girlfriend wants two differing relationships with two differing men;
  • her husband wants the kind of relationship that he observes between you and her, and to obtain it, he's virtually trying to *be* you (or a virtual clone of you).
Which of course puts her off since she wants him to be himself, yet he envies what he sees between her and you so he tries even harder to imitate you, which puts her off all the more and then he has even less of a relationship/romance of any kind with her, so then he tries anew, even harder, to imitate you, which puts her off even more and ... well, you can see where that's going.

I wonder if an increase/improvement in communication wouldn't help break that vicious circle. Has he tried asking her, "I see you and Ellipsis holding hands, exchanging looks, taking walks, kissing, etc. ... Could you and I do more of that? I am envious of the PDA's that you and Ellipsis share." If he has, what was her answer? or, as Spock wondered, is she already sharing the same kinds of PDA's with him that she is with you?

If it was he who initiated the vicious circle while she was already giving him the same PDA's as she gave you, then there must be something else he wants (that "being you" will get him, he believes). Perhaps he simply doesn't want to "be your equal" in her eyes, he wants to be "greater than you" in her eyes, therefore he actually tries to be both himself and you towards her? If so, then he's trying to get her to perceive that, "Hey, I get everything I want and more with my husband, whereas with Ellipsis, I get only half of that."

In my 5+ years of poly forum involvement, I've observed that it's very common for a married couple, or (as perhaps in this case) just one of the spouses in a married couple, to want the marriage to be held as superior (a.k.a. primary though primary can have other subtle meanings) over all other romantic relationships each of the two spouses may maintain. Sometimes this stems from insecurity: "Polyamory scares me, but as long as I know the marriage ultimately trumps all, then I'll feel secure enough to try polyamory." Other times it's simply because the marriage is seen (and believed in) as definitively superior. Or it can result from a sort of mind block, such as, the ingrained/conditioned belief that monogamy is "how it's supposed to be," and therefore, the leap to egalitarian polyamory is too far for the mind to navigate.

I'm wondering if your girlfriend and her husband see matters differntly in that regard; that is, maybe she sees marriage as just one of many kind of romantic relationships, to be held equal as a whole with additional polyamorous relationships, whereas he sees marriage as a kind of sacred ground, not to be crossed by any other romantic relationships. I think you mentioned that he's of a relatively swing mindset, compared to her relatively polyamorous mindset. Swingers frequently (almost by definition) hold "the original married couple" as special and sacred, never to be challenged by any other romantic relationship, which is surely one reason why a swinging (usually married) couple agrees to "play with others, but not fall in love with those others."

If all that is the case, then your girlfriend's husband might be looking at his wife and thinking, "Hey! She's breaking the rules! She's falling in love with this guy. Our marriage is no longer the only romance in her life. Its specialness and sacredness is being threatened by this equilaterality that she's trying to impose between Ellipsis and me. I must stop her! I must save the sanctity of this marriage. Somehow I must convince her that I am the superior of her two romantic partners. Only then will the marriage's proper place in the scheme of things be restored."

If, when it comes down to it, your girlfriend really wants polyamory while her husband wants swing, then a huge change in the shape of things must occur. She and he must agree to let her be "fully polyamorous" while he remains a "swinging monogamist," one of them must change their mind about whether swing or polyamory is their thing, they must part ways, or they must stay locked in combat over the issue for the rest of their lives.

The first change described above would probably be the best outcome, while the last change described above would probably be the worst outcome. But to get "the first change" (agreeing to become a poly/swing couple) to fly, he as well as she has to be willing to make that change. To me, it sounds like he's not willing to do that -- at least not yet. Hence all the friction and struggling (and the vicious circle) between him and her. Right now I think they're in a period of transition and are each trying to decide which of the changes described above they want to pursue. Until they can agree on one course of change to take, they'll certainly continue to strive and struggle with (themselves and) each other ... and you, indirectly, will be "drawn into that struggle" by way of how its manifestations affect you.

Example: Right now, there are limitations imposed on you (by your girlfriend's husband) about what kinds of romantic love you can physically share with her, how, where, and when. These (to my mind) are signs that he doesn't *really* like what's going on here, even if he professes consent to it. Perhaps he even believes he consents but there, nagging him in the back of his mind, is that shadowy imp that whispers, "You don't want this. It isn't good for you. It's not healthy. It won't end well." Et cetera.

There's really no easy way for anyone to solve such an impasse, you least of all because you're not directly involved in it. Honestly about the best you can do is, nurture your romance with your girlfriend as best you can under the circumstances, try to continue to show her husband that you're his friend, and be there to lend a sympathetic-but-neutral ear (and maybe even a shoulder to cry on) to either of them, if and whenever they might need that from you. You can certainly counsel them (if they ask for your counsel) on what you believe would be best for the three of you, but ultimately they do remain "the married couple" and as such, must make (jointly we all hope) the big decisions about polyamory on their own. This process may take awhile, and will probably be stressful for all three of you.

Well that's the most "advice" (actually it's mostly just food for thought) I can post for you for right now. Keep us updated on how things are going, and hopefully new solutions will present themselves (whether it be through us, straight to you, or both).

Regards,
Kevin T.
__________________
Love means never having to say, "Put down that meat cleaver!"
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 07:17 PM.