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Old 11-04-2016, 10:03 PM
PetuniaP PetuniaP is offline
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Question Help!!

I met my husband over 5 years ago. When we met he had a wife and a girlfriend and they all lived together. He stated he was "poly" and I am not. When we started dating, I told him that I would not tolerate that lifestyle as it was not for me. He told me that he could be monogamous. We have been married for almost 5 years. He was monogamous for almost 4 years. During this time I started noticing many different changes in his behavior. He cheated on me with several women and when he was confronted he said that he was not sorry that he did what he did, but he was sorry that he hurt me as he loves me. I asked why he cheated on me an he claims that he is "poly" and that will never change. He was recently diagnosed bipolar with hyper sexuality. He has started taking medication for his illness. He claims that the medication will not change his being "poly". Since then he has started another relationship with a woman he met on a trip. He has told me that he is not attracted to her and they are just friends. He has "offered" to be her crash test dummy and allow her to figure out what she likes (apparently she's a virgin) and what pleases men. To me this doesn't sound like being "poly" as it sounds like he is a hooker / prostitute. He says that a "poly" relationship is where there is a primary couple and secondary relationships. Can someone help me understand his behavior.
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Old 11-04-2016, 11:41 PM
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Hi PetuniaP,

Sorry you are having troubles with your husband, it looks like he pulled a bait-and-switch on you (telling you he could be monogamous, then telling you he will always be polyamorous). He sounds rather impulsive, and that's my guess as to why he's acted this way. I wonder whatever happened to his previous wife and girlfriend from five years ago.

With sympathy,
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Old 11-04-2016, 11:52 PM
PetuniaP PetuniaP is offline
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Is he being "poly" if he is acting as a "crash test dummy" for a woman where there is no emotion? I was under the impression that a "poly relationship" is more emotion based otherwise its just cheating or being a hooker / prostitute.
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Old 11-05-2016, 12:07 AM
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He calls himself poly; we can't stop him from doing that. We can say he is nonmonogamous, but because he is acting without your consent, he is basically cheating. And in any case, if he is not in love with this new woman, then he is not having a polyamorous relationship -- which would be true even if you did consent. But do we even know he's not in love with her? Maybe he's telling you he's not because he thinks that's what you want to hear.

What I've been told is that it's possible for a polyamorous person to do things that aren't polyamorous. Such as swinging, or cheating. So maybe your husband is polyamorous at heart, but he is not practicing true polyamory at this time. Maybe he will later. In the meantime, you have to decide whether you want to stay with him under these circumstances. That's a tight spot to be in.
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Old 11-05-2016, 12:13 AM
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SNeacail SNeacail is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PetuniaP View Post
Is he being "poly" if he is acting as a "crash test dummy" for a woman where there is no emotion? I was under the impression that a "poly relationship" is more emotion based otherwise its just cheating or being a hooker / prostitute.
Poly has many different configurations, including some casual sex hook ups. Not everyone has strong emotions right from the start. However, based on what you have said, there is enough trust between the two for them to experiment. So I'm not sure I would call it emotion free.

I'm a bit offended at the hooker/prostitute label - your pissed and angry, he's being a shit to you, that doesn't mean he is sleeping with people for money (which is the definition of prostitute).

As for what he's doing now and how he's treating you - he is still cheating, as you haven't consented to accepting him as poly yet. It sounds to me like he tried to be monogamous, but found that it's impossible for him. He handled this revelation horribly. Yes he should have come to your first and been ready to end your relationship if you weren't willing to work with him on this. Being Poly usually means dating others, sometimes there are strong emotions, but not always (you don't get to decide if there is an adequate amount of emotion between them).

I would suggest marriage counseling with a poly friendly counselor if you want to make this work. Look around this site, there are some good books, sources of information and general definitions, etc n the Golden Nuggets thread and elsewhere. I would also familiarize yourself with bipolar disorders.

Last edited by SNeacail; 11-05-2016 at 12:15 AM.
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Old 11-05-2016, 02:18 AM
GreenAcres GreenAcres is offline
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Originally Posted by PetuniaP View Post
I met my husband over 5 years ago. When we met he had a wife and a girlfriend and they all lived together. He stated he was "poly" and I am not. When we started dating, I told him that I would not tolerate that lifestyle as it was not for me. He told me that he could be monogamous. We have been married for almost 5 years. He was monogamous for almost 4 years. During this time I started noticing many different changes in his behavior. He cheated on me with several women and when he was confronted he said that he was not sorry that he did what he did, but he was sorry that he hurt me as he loves me. I asked why he cheated on me an he claims that he is "poly" and that will never change. He was recently diagnosed bipolar with hyper sexuality. He has started taking medication for his illness. He claims that the medication will not change his being "poly". Since then he has started another relationship with a woman he met on a trip. He has told me that he is not attracted to her and they are just friends. He has "offered" to be her crash test dummy and allow her to figure out what she likes (apparently she's a virgin) and what pleases men. To me this doesn't sound like being "poly" as it sounds like he is a hooker / prostitute. He says that a "poly" relationship is where there is a primary couple and secondary relationships. Can someone help me understand his behavior.
First, am I reading correctly that he left his wife and his girlfriend to be monogamous with you?

Second, it's not poly if you didn't know it was going on and the agreement was that he would be monogamous. That's cheating.

Third, poly is simply having more than one romantic relationship. That might mean a couple is primary and have "secondary" partners, but that is by no means the only or most common form of poly (and the wording wreaks of couple privilege). There are people with more than one primary partner (several of them on this board, like Bluebird, for example). There are single poly people. There are many poly people who do not subscribe to the hierarchical model, so do not assign "primary" or "secondary" to relationships. The permutations are many.

But, regardless, what is happening right now is not a healthy poly relationship. There is dishonesty and a lack of communication that is unhealthy in any relationship, poly or mono, but it's going to make having a poly relationship extra difficult.

What other partners and he do, in terms of specifics, isn't really up to you to define. What is up to you is what kind of relationship shape you want to be involved in. If you do not want to be in a poly relationship (you can, btw, be mono and he be poly, if you don't have an interest in dating), you get to say that. You define your boundaries. That doesn't mean he has to consent to that relationship shape--he is free to decide what relationship shape he wants, as well. You may find you are just incompatible, and paring ways may be best. If you decide to give it a go, though, you guys need to engage in serious counseling, regardless of whether it's a mono or poly relationship.
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Old 11-05-2016, 02:21 AM
powerpuffgrl1969 powerpuffgrl1969 is offline
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I wonder how much consideration was given to the former wife and girlfriend
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Old 11-05-2016, 08:58 AM
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Sounds like a case of both you and he knowing that he was poly when you met, but both (mistakingly) thinking that he could switch to be monogamous with you as soon as you got married. He's been an idiot. He should have spoken up the minute he realised he couldn't remain monogamous, and he should not have cheater. However, I feel like you have been pretty naive (and dare I say, judgemental?) here too. A person doesn't wake up one day and accidentally find themselves with a wife, a girlfriend, and also dating a new squeeze (you) without some effort on their part. In other words, he was showing loudly and clearly signs that he was willing to expend a lot of effort into being poly from day one. Maybe you spoke about it together, and he realised he was NOT happy living his life like that, but it seems more likely that he just fell head over heels for you and wanted to do whatever it took (monogamy) to keep you. It takes more to create an environment where a loved one feels safe to come to us to talk honestly about themselves and their desires. More than simply knowing they have a moral obligation at any rate. The way you talk about his desires, cheapening them and judging them by saying he wants to be a prostitute or a slut, makes me think that perhaps you are not helping to create a safe space for him to be open and honest with you. When the option to be honest is taken away from people, we cannot then heap all the blame on them when they inevitably turn to dishonesty to get what they need.

It sounds very clear that non-monogamy is a total deal-breaker for you (and that is completely understandable, many people feel the same). It also sounds clear that non-monogamy is important to him (also a valid stance, many people also feel the same). Hopefully you can find a way to part from one another with respect and compassion, because this is one of those situations, like wanting or not wanting children, where there are very few compromises if both parties are at opposing ends of the spectrum.
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People tenK (bi, f, early 30's) is likely to blabber on about, and why:

Nina (bi, f, late 20's) <- life-partners with tenK; Scandi (hetero, m, early 30's) <- dating/fwb with tenK (on hiatus at the moment); Zymurgist (hetero, m, early 30's) <- dating with tenK; Aries (heteroflex, m, late 40's) <- fwb with tenK and Nina;

Adam (bi, m, early 30's) <- dating/fwb with Nina
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  #9  
Old 11-05-2016, 02:32 PM
PetuniaP PetuniaP is offline
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I want to clarify, I am not here to bash my husband but to learn about this lifestyle that he has brought into our home. When I met my husband prior to us greeting together I knew that he was married and had a girlfriend just as I was involved with someone at the time. He has told me many times that when he met his ex wife he was not looking to be in a "poly" relationship but a manomagous one and it was her lifestyle that introduced him to the "poly" relationship lifestyle. After they divorced he started dating again (not exclusively any one person) and then we met. After several years of marriage and a lot of changes in his life, being unemployed several times and stuck at home, changes in his medication, my getting sick, him being diagnosed with a mental illness has put a strain on our relationship. When he talks about a "poly" relationship it's that there is one primary couple and then secondary relationships. He has also told me that when the primary relationship is in trouble that all other relationships step aside for the primary couple to work it out. When he cheated on me almost a year ago he said it was not cheating since he was "poly". After reading about the "poly" lifestyle I a learning that you have to be open and communicate with all your partners or it is "cheating". In regards to this new relationship, I do not know the complete dynamics of it, however from what I do know and am told from him, they are just friends. He has offered to be her "crash test dummy" so she can figure out what she likes and learn how to please men. That is why I equated it to a hooker / prostitute relationship as he has told me they are just friends and he doesn't and wouldn't be with her. I have always told him he can be open and honest with me and can tell me anything, rather it has been him not being open which always ends up hurting me. I feel that he is using the term "poly" so that he can be married to me but then can have sexual relationships with other women and say it's ok because he's "poly". I'm trying to learn about this lifestyle or determine if he is just using it as an excuse to cheat on me.
Any advice is greatly appreciated.
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Old 11-05-2016, 02:54 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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I am very sorry you deal in this.

To me? Cheating is cheating. It isn't like poly is magically "cheat proof." People can make poly agreements and then cheat on them. Just like people can make mono agreements and then cheat on them.

To me? What makes agreements reliable and trustworthy is the character of the people involved. They have integrity and what they say matches their actions. If they say one thing but do another? I cannot trust them. I cannot trust their word. So I cannot trust their word when they make agreements with me.

Quote:
Can someone help me understand his behavior.
I think he's basically cheating on you. It's not going to change. It's been happening over and over.

When "talk" and "walk" do not match? I think talk is cheap when not backed up by supporting actions. I'll ignore the talk and the pretty "stories." Instead I will believe the walk. If his actions are (cheating over and over?) I would believe that it will likely happen again.

Quote:
He cheated on me with several women and when he was confronted he said that he was not sorry that he did what he did, but he was sorry that he hurt me as he loves me.
When he makes agreements he does not keep, and says he's not sorry for cheating? YOU COULD BELIEVE HIM. He is not sorry!

How is any of that behavior demonstrating love and respect toward you?

When he says "I love you" does he mean "I love the stuff I can get from you / the stuff you do for me?" Not really loving you as a person so much but loving the services het gets from you? To me there is a difference.

I think it would be more loving to say "I tried the mono thing, and it turns out I cannot do it. I need different agreements I can actually keep or we need to disband respectfully. This arrangement I cannot do any more and I don't want to be a cheater and hurt you."

Quote:
I asked why he cheated on me an he claims that he is "poly" and that will never change. He was recently diagnosed bipolar with hyper sexuality. He has started taking medication for his illness. He claims that the medication will not change his being "poly".
BELIEVE HIM. Take him at his word. He is not going to stop seeing other women.

He might call it "poly." I would call it cheating/ unethical non-monogamy/ I would not call his way of doing it "ethical poly." But that neither here nor there because in the end?

You said you don't want any part of Open models of any kind. You were very clear about it from the start.

Quote:
I told him that I would not tolerate that lifestyle as it was not for me.
You don't sound like you are having fun here. So why keep tolerating?

Quote:
Since then he has started another relationship with a woman he met on a trip. He has told me that he is not attracted to her and they are just friends. He has "offered" to be her crash test dummy and allow her to figure out what she likes (apparently she's a virgin) and what pleases men. To me this doesn't sound like being "poly" as it sounds like he is a hooker / prostitute. He says that a "poly" relationship is where there is a primary couple and secondary relationships.
That sounds like another big cheating mess.

At this point? You have not consented to participate in Open the Marriage. He's making unilateral decisions that affect both of you. He's cheating out in the open now and expecting you to lump it. I guess he is banking on you doing the same behavior as before -- he does whatever... you complain some, but keep staying.

Quote:
When he talks about a "poly" relationship it's that there is one primary couple and then secondary relationships. He has also told me that when the primary relationship is in trouble that all other relationships step aside for the primary couple to work it out.
There are many ways to practice Open Models. Not just "primary-secondary." But the current model you guys agreed to practice together is "Closed Monogamous Marriage."

Which he is failing to practice.

There is trouble in the primary relationship (you + him) and what does he do? Does he follow through on his word and stop everything to work it out? Nope. He starts up with some new woman.

You are not in an Open marriage. Yet he just does whatever he pleases? That sounds disrespectful.

Quote:
I have always told him he can be open and honest with me and can tell me anything, rather it has been him not being open which always ends up hurting me. I feel that he is using the term "poly" so that he can be married to me but then can have sexual relationships with other women and say it's ok because he's "poly". I'm trying to learn about this lifestyle or determine if he is just using it as an excuse to cheat on me.
I think he is being open and honest: He's basically told you he's going to keep seeing other women and he not sorry about doing it how he's doing it. Now he's even telling you the "crash test dummy" details! What he is NOT being is respectful and loving toward you. He is not treating you how you want to be treated.

Maybe that is what you meant by "open and honest" -- to be respectful and take you into consideration and work something out. Not just be cheating again. But remember that how you mean something and how someone else takes it are two different thing.


FWIF I think you pretty much call it right. To me he sounds like he does cheating behavior, and tries to "whitewash" it with the "poly brush." If he can make it be about you not "understanding how poly works" then it isn't about his behavior of cheating on agreements.

He doesn't seem to have a good grasp on ethical polyamory.

If in his behavior, he is constantly hurting you? You could walk away and get you out of the line of fire so he cannot ding you any more.

Since he's not keeping his word with honoring his agreements? You could honor your word and not tolerate this any more. Again...

Quote:
I told him that I would not tolerate that lifestyle as it was not for me.
It's not an easy decision, but how many cheating affairs have there been now? Several by the sound of it, and he's not changing his behavior any.

So if you want to be free of all this cheating, you could change your staying-ness behavior. You could walk away.

I am very sorry you deal in this.

But you have to deal with it and sort it out. I hope you get yourself out of the line of fire.

Galagirl

Last edited by GalaGirl; 11-05-2016 at 07:36 PM.
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