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  #1  
Old 06-26-2015, 03:00 AM
Jstar Jstar is offline
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Unhappy How do I tell my husband I want and need open relationship

Hi I have been married a few years but have been with my party for 10 years. It was always known and communicated that I am bisexual and need to be with women too, however in the last few years I have discovered what I truly am is polyamourous. When my husband and I got married we were experimenting with an open relationship and had a girlfriend while we were engaged. It seemed like we were both on the same page about wanting to explore and experience non monogamy but over the last few years I have expressed that I want to experience being in an open relationship like we had talked about and he acts like we never discussed those things and has gotten more and more closed off to the idea and extremely judgemental about it even though when he wanted to be with our girlfriend without me I gave him full permission to do so. I have tried over and over again to talk to him and help him to understand I am poly and I am not being true to myself pretending not to be. I have expressed this but each time he shuts me down saying he could never be ok with me being with other men even though that is not consistent with the life we talked about before we got married. I love him very much and want to spend my life with him but I feel like a wild animal being forced to live in captivity. I can not go on much longer pretending to be something I am not. I need to experience being in an open relationship and I need to figure out how to tell him this without making it worse causing him to shut down pushing a wedge further between us. I am starting to really resent him for not loving me
enough to let me experience what I need to experience when I am willing to do that for him. I can't carry this weight any longer. How do I start this discussion in a way that he understands it does not mean I love him any less? I am really unhappy carrying this weight around and am desperate to find a way to communicate this with him. Please help! Thank you
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  #2  
Old 06-26-2015, 05:31 AM
sparklepop sparklepop is offline
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Hi Jstar,

It is very difficult when we enter, and progress through, a relationship thinking that we've covered certain ground only to later find that what we thought we signed up for is no longer the case.

Unfortunately, change is the nature of relationships and human beings. So often we expect situations to forever remain the same, yet they very rarely - if ever - do.

I'm hearing that you feel resentful because you made certain allowances for your husband early in your marriage, and your husband isn't willing to make the same allowances for you now. I'm also hearing that you feel you signed up for the possibility of non-monogamy, but your husband insists that it was never 100% on the cards.

In my opinion, the most effective way forward right now would be to address what is current and validate what has passed.

Current:
Whatever you explored or talked of in the past, the current situation is that you have a strong desire to explore polyamory and he has a strong aversion to the idea.

Past:
You can both acknowledge that you're not seeing eye-to-eye on things that have/haven't been discussed. You can validate each other. You can say to him "I understand that you feel we left this behind us and you feel we never discussed it. I know that this is daunting for you and it isn't something that's easy to hear." This way, you show empathy and understanding. He could connect with you by saying that regardless of what has or hasn't been discussed in the past, he sees that you want this now. You could show him this post.

As it stands, it seems like he's not so much shutting you down but that he's actually given you his answer: he can't see himself being able to handle poly.

What you now need to determine is whether he's willing to discuss it further or whether that is his absolute answer. There is no point in trying to persuade him or talk to him about poly until you find out if he's even willing to engage in that discussion.

I don't think that it's necessarily fair or accurate to assume that he doesn't love you as much as you love him. It could be that he is not as secure as you are, not as poly-minded, or that he feels he's tried non-monogamy and found it wasn't for him. He could equally assume that you love him less than he loves you since you're unwilling to forsake all others like he is willing to do.

Quote:
How do I start this discussion in a way that he understands it does not mean I love him any less?
I would literally communicate to him that you need to arrange to talk to him about something important. Ask him when would be a good time (make sure neither of you are over-tired, hungry, cranky, etc.). Don't just launch it on him. When you're having the actual conversation, stay calm, loving and empathetic. Ask if you can say your piece, if he can listen quietly, and tell him that you will listen quietly to his thoughts afterwards.

Start by telling him how much you love him. Acknowledge and validate that things may not have been communicated clearly over the years. Tell him that you understand that this is hard for him, and that you don't want to lose him. Then tell him that you have decided polyamory is something you want and need to explore. Tell him that you would like to know if he's up for discussing it before the two of you make a decision on what to do.

Then sit back and listen to his response. Every time you want to interrupt or you find yourself thinking of responses instead of really hearing what he's saying, actively listen. Do nothing but listen until he has finished. Then relay to him what you have heard - demonstrate that you have listened and that you understand where he is coming from.

If he makes accusations or tries to draw you into arguments over semantics ("we never discussed it" "you weren't clear" etc.), ignore it. Let it pass you by. Don't get caught in the details. Stick to the here-and-now in your own mind. You don't have to agree on the past, you only have to decide what to do with your future.

Incidentally, why did you two break up with the girlfriend? I wonder if something happened there that is contributing to his aversion to go back to non-monogamy?
__________________

Me: (30f) open poly
GF: (40f) My long-term, long-distance partner

Metamours:
Hubby (37m): GF's husband
Garcon (26m): GF's submissive/third partner



“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without." ~ Buddha
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  #3  
Old 06-26-2015, 07:43 AM
Jstar Jstar is offline
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Thumbs up Thank you so much

Wow thank you so much! Everything you wrote is incredibly helpful. You are right I should not assume he loves less just because he loves in a different way than I do. I am really scared because I truly do love him more than words but I love myself too- and don't want to have regrets and if I don't ever let myself explore this zit will be one, a big one-And ultimately I feel that poses a great risk to our marriage than anything.
As for our girlfriend, she was quite a bit younger than us and though that didn't really matter on its own it was clear she was willing to give up her dreams for us and we knew that wasn't best in the long run. She only lived where we did part time and had to move back home 5hrs away for school and we just knew she needed to do that for herself even if she couldn't see it at that time. We are still friends and she indeed did thank us later when she understood.
I am going to read what you wrote over and over as I prepare to start this conversation. I hate confrontation but trying to ignore my heart is not working and I don't want to end up cheating. I also don't want to lose him or make him unhappy but I don't want to be unhappy either.
One contributing factor I didn't mention is that over the last two years I lost 60 pounds and have gotten in shape and definitely feel a lot hotter. Strangely though he seems to be the only one who doesn't really notice or care. He's just not interested in me. For the last year I tried everything to entice him and nothing worked. Meanwhile everyone else is telling me how beautiful I look and stuff but he doesn't. Part of me thought our relationship would improve by me losing Weight. I thought he'd be attracted to me again. At times it even seems like he could be cheating but it doesn't make sense why you'd cheat on someone who would allow you to be with someone else-unless just he wants his cake but doesn't want me to have mine. However I think it is more likely he is just feeling insecure, afraid that I want to leave him when thats not what I want at all.
Thank you so much for your time and thoughts. I am going to do my best to really take into account everything you said. I know it is really good advice. I was scared to join but now I am really glad I did. Thank you so very much!!!
💜
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  #4  
Old 06-26-2015, 08:25 AM
AwareManNYC AwareManNYC is offline
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Default Proceed from strength

JStar,

I'm going through the same process right now but my partner, my wife of 20 years, has never been interested in being poly or having an open relationship. Over the year's I've had lots of really intimate and emotional relationships with both men and women and she has been supportive and tolerant of my need to have lots of rich intimacy in mind and heart in my life.

I'm preparing to open up our relationship in the sexual dimension, but the course I'm taking is to spend a lot of time and attention making our relationship stronger. This process has really showed me what I am getting and what I'm not getting from my current situation. The result is that our relationship has become deeper and more stable, but that it is still clear to me that I need to have more partners because my appetite for intimacy of the mind, heart, and body is large. I am happier when I am involved in a meaningful way with two or three partners who want the same kind of intimacy as I do.

I just don't see how our marriage will stay together our relationship is opened up out of a power struggle. I am seeking to make our relationship as strong as possible so it can be opened up out of love, out of a desire to support each other's happiness.

What will I get out of an open relationship?: The intimacy I need to be happy. What will my partner get?: A sense of relief that the unacknowledged frustration between can end and she doesn't have to worry that she has to be everything to me. If she feels my strong commitment and how deeply I want our life together to last, I am hoping that she can see that I need to be involved with other women in a sexual dimension as well as on the mind, heart level.

If this doesn't happen from a place of love, all the tensions that ensue will tear us apart. I've see this happen so much in this forum when a relationship is opened up out of a power struggle.

My idea is this: How can you strengthen your bond with your husband? How can your husband benefit from becoming open? Can you open up from a foundation of love?
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Old 06-26-2015, 08:37 AM
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graviton graviton is offline
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What are your reasons for believing he might be cheating? If you have strong reason to believe this, it is not at all unusual for him to want to have an open relationship on his side and to keep you at home not enjoying the same thing. Your need to practice poly sounds like it's crushing you in which case it may be necessary for you to really put your money where your mouth is and give him a time limit to get on board and at least do some learning with you about polyamory. Maybe give him 6 months. After that time see where you two stand and perhaps progress to a separation if he is still adamant.
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  #6  
Old 06-26-2015, 12:59 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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Quote:
I am starting to really resent him for not loving me enough to let me experience what I need to experience when I am willing to do that for him.
You are making yourself upset thinking that he doesn't love you. It is possible for him to love you without being into the things you are into.

The things you do in love are "free." The do not come with strings like "tit for tat" expectations. If you are doing things to show your love expecting things in return... that's tit for tat expectations to me.

Quote:
I have tried over and over again to talk to him and help him to understand I am poly and I am not being true to myself pretending not to be. I have expressed this but each time he shuts me down saying he could never be ok with me being with other men even though that is not consistent with the life we talked about before we got married.
Have you asked him if this is not a good time to have this conversation, when could be good time and set an appointment? Would Friday at 8 PM work for him?

If he is doing stonewalling behavior, that's not tending to the marriage nor to the individuals within it. Hopefully he just needs some time to gather his thoughts. So i encourage you to make an appointment. Then he can not shut down from "being ambushed" by heavy talk and you can relax knowing that while not this second, the conversation time IS coming and you aren't being blow off entirely. Could that help?

When the time comes... ask him if he still aligns with the life you talked about before you got married? Or if he's changed his mind on that? Sort this stuff out between you.

Quote:
I can't carry this weight any longer. How do I start this discussion in a way that he understands it does not mean I love him any less? I am really unhappy carrying this weight around and am desperate to find a way to communicate this with him.
Maybe something like
"Thank you for setting time to talk with me.

We seemed to be on the same page about exploring non monogamy before. The actuality is that we are practicing Closed right now. I would like to return to exploring. I wanted to give you the heads up. Did you want to tweak or update agreements or are you are still fine with previous agreements of _____?

I also wanted to talk about my thoughts on agreements. I would like to add/change _______."
Keep it simple. Stop making it be about "love" and who loves who "less" or "more." Just keep the focus on the agreements that are working/not working at this point in time.

Talk about contributing factors in the same simple way, but schedule a separate date for that. Don't overwhelm yourselves. Maybe make a list of bullet points together and agree to talk each week for 30 min till you knock it all out. One of yours and one of his.

Then nobody is flooding or tired. Manageable bites and not marathon talking.

Galagirl

Last edited by GalaGirl; 06-26-2015 at 01:14 PM.
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  #7  
Old 06-28-2015, 12:56 AM
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kdt26417 kdt26417 is offline
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Hi Jstar,

I actually wonder if your husband originally thought you just needed a poly relationship with a woman, whereas now you are wanting the freedom to pursue something with another man. Has that always been your interest, and has he always known it?

He seems to be determined to not hear or understand you. It's almost like he is covering his ears and yelling, "Nah nah nah nah nah!" I think you will need him to listen more receptively before you can tell him you want to open the relationship. Hopefully talking about it at scheduled times, for fixed amounts of time, will help.

Sincerely,
Kevin T.
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  #8  
Old 06-28-2015, 01:03 AM
LostInCanada LostInCanada is online now
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Ah yes, the ol' double standard. I'm dealing with this with my husband now who is bi and has yet another male lover (which I love). He says it's okay for me to have a girlfriend, even fall in love with her, but doesn't even want to talk about me or us having a boyfriend. Honestly my only advice is to try to reason with him by 1) seeing what his fears are about you having another man and 2) try to figure out if those fears can be assuaged before you make a move towards opening up your marriage. That's what I'm doing now and although my husband is still saying no to me having a boyfriend, he is starting to open up about some other things that may make that possible down the road.
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  #9  
Old 07-01-2015, 12:32 AM
Jstar Jstar is offline
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Default Thank you all!

Thank you all for your helpful tips and suggestions. I have come to the conclusion that there will never be a right or comfortable time to have this discussion and honestly kind of wondering if he does that on purpose cuz I know he knows something is bothering me that I've been trying to talk to him about and he is making himself excessively busy to push me away and also make me feel guilty about. He definitely likes to play the guilt card. I am making myself sick over this and really just can't keep carrying it. I am planning on trying to talk to him tonight and say that I am poly and I have tried to deny that even tried to change that about myself but I can't and not being true to myself is making me and him miserable. I'll remind him that when we went into this marriage we both were open to exploring non monogamy and that somewhere along the way that got lost and communication faltered. I'll make sure he knows I love him very much and want to spend my life with him but that I need to be true to myself in order to be true to him and honestly I think being open could make our relationship a lot better. I'm hoping he will be receptive to what I have to say and that it will be productive. If he closes off and shuts down again than I have a difficult decision to make- be true to myself or be true to him cuz if he's not willing to try than I can't have both. I hope he will be open minded and at least willing to give it a try. Wish me luck. I am scared, terrified actually but literally can't go on like this any more. Thank you all for your thoughts. I really appreciate it and hope I replied right so you all can see it. Much thanks.
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  #10  
Old 07-01-2015, 12:50 AM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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I hope the honest talk happens and goes well.

He doesn't have to agree. But he could listen rather than avoid/run away/block communication. That sounds like it has been frustrating you.

GL!

Galagirl

Last edited by GalaGirl; 07-01-2015 at 01:38 AM.
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