Advice?

Kim000

New member
I have been with my husband for 13 years. We have always had a great marriage, even when things were rough in life. This is kinda a long story so I feel like it might jump back and forth a little. But anyway... About maybe 6 years ago ? He had brought up the idea of maybe sleeping with other people, specifically one woman for him. Before this we were completely monogamous. We talked a little bit and even tho he brought up the idea, he was uncomfortable with me sleeping with someone else. I, on the other hand was not so uncomfortable with him having sex with other people. So I told him it's fine if he wanted to and I really had no need to sleep with anyone else at the time. Which was true. He went out a few times with her and found out he really couldn't sleep with her like he thought he could. They kinda just drifted off and stopped talking. Fast-forward to about a year ago he asked me again. If it would be okay for him to sleep with a girl he met at work. This time I thought about it because I realized that maybe now this is something that I want for myself. So I told him that would be okay ..In hopes he would be able to now reciprocate the same freedom for me. Well he was still iffy about it. So we agreed to start slow. But the second I try to talk to other people he just can't handle it. But in the mean time he's fine with talking to this woman from work and trying to persue a relationship with her. So I kinda just held back because I didn't want to start something and then have him say nevermind he couldn't do it, which I knew would happen. Well in the mean time he becomes good friends with coworker. And yet they never slept together. She ends up getting back with her husband so my husband and her just remain friends. And now he doesn't want to do this at all. He says it has nothing to do with her. And that he realizes this isn't what he wants and he is monogamous. I on the other hand can't help but feel like I got played and now I just get to sit here and wonder what could have been. I know I am not monogamous. I have spent the last year really looking into myself and figuring out who I am. I know I want to have another relationship besides my marriage. And now I just feel like stuck. We had an argument this week and he basically told me I have a choice. But in reality that choice is either leaving him or not. And I don't want to leave him I love him. I always have and always will. I meant it when I married him and I know I want him forever. And he says he just doesn't understand how I want a nother relationship. That if I want another relationship it's because he is not enough for me. And I really don't know how to explain to him that that is not why I am the way I am. Any tips on how to explain this to him would be helpful. And also how do I get over this feeling of missing out? I know I don't want to leave my husband and if I have to live a monogamous life I will. But how do I do that happily without wanting more ??
 

TXretired

Member
Sorry for your rough time. One should never play with those you work with in today’s sexual harassment environment. Scary cosequences. There seems to have been a shortage of honesty from the beginning. If poly is good for one, it is good for the other. Jealousy is a difficult master to overcome. Some will never do so. Many will not admit it. When you get a chance to talk about your desires, do so. But first, make efforts to reassure him that you are not leaving. He may be one of those that turn everything you say so that you are to blame. Best wishes.
 

TinCup

Member
What homework have the two of you done? Book? Podcasts? You don't specifically mention poly(amory) so I'm wondering if you two might benefit from some research.

For example, as @TXretired mentions, "If poly is good for one, it is good for the other" which implies it's important that both partners do the important emotional work.
 

Magdlyn

Well-known member
Your husband has a patriarchal hypocritical viewpoint and attitude. What's good for the goose is good for the gander! If he can crush on and flirt with 2 different women, and make plans to have sex with them, whether he carried through with that or not, you can too.

Men tend to be possessive. I mean, it's built into our culture, and it was actually a literal fact until fairly recently, that men did own their wives, fathers owned their daughters.

It's not fair of him to keep changing "the rules." If he was practicing polyamory for a while, and then you got interested in it, and liked the idea, he can't just force you to go back to monogamy. That's kind of rude. It's a double standard. We call it a One Penis Policy, or OPP.
 
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Kim000

New member
What homework have the two of you done? Book? Podcasts? You don't specifically mention poly(amory) so I'm wondering if you two might benefit from some research.

For example, as @TXretired mentions, "If poly is good for one, it is good for the other" which implies it's important that both partners do the important emotional work.
I have done a lot of research. He has not. And I've been trying to get him to try to do some so he can understand better where I'm coming from
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
So you and husband tried two openings.

He tried to explore with two women. You chose not to explore the first time and chose to hang back the second time from fear (?) of him changing his mind.

In the end? You landed on opposite sides.

He discovered he actually prefers to stick with monogamy and wants to close it back up.

And you discovered that you want to have more relationships and don't want to close.

You could tell him that. That you don't want to close back up and are willing to let the chips fall where they may. He can choose to stay or leave, and you hope he stays because you want to be with him as one of your romantic partners.

It's on him to decide if that's a deal he wants to take or not.

We had an argument this week and he basically told me I have a choice. But in reality that choice is either leaving him or not. And I don't want to leave him I love him. I always have and always will. I meant it when I married him and I know I want him forever. And he says he just doesn't understand how I want a another relationship. That if I want another relationship it's because he is not enough for me.

Well, on some level it is true. He isn't enough for you. He might be enough HIM, who you love very much. But he cannot magically turn himself into two people so you can have two sweeties. If you want to have more than one partner? He can't be both partners.

I suppose you could ask if this is a hard limit or soft limit with him. I cannot tell from your writing if he's disappointed that his two attempts ended up not being runners for him. Maybe he's frustrated by dating outside the marriage and wants to throw in the towel because of that.

Ask him. If a hard limit? And if he's firm on monogamy? He doesn't want to be one of two. It's him and that's it and he won't be changing his mind later.

If it's more a soft limit? That he doesn't want to deal in poly right now, but might be willing to consider it later down? Maybe you just wait for him to get over this most recent relationship ending in nothing.

Staying in gridlock doesn't help, so eventually you have to decide something.
  • Stay married to him and return to living monogamously.
  • Say "No, thanks. I prefer to leave it open" and let him choose to adjust and stay or go.
  • Or you let this marriage go so you can be free to pursue poly without him.
And I really don't know how to explain to him that that is not why I am the way I am. Any tips on how to explain this to him would be helpful.

You could tell him just that. He's enough HIM, but no. He cannot magically be two people. You would like to have more than one partner and he cannot magically be both. You could ask if he's willing to read things like this


and work through his fear/jealousy/whatever it is.

And also how do I get over this feeling of missing out? I know I don't want to leave my husband and if I have to live a monogamous life I will.
But how do I do that happily without wanting more?

Only you know how you feel. So only you can answer all that.

Maybe it is a compromise place where he becomes more open to talking to you about your poly thoughts and feelings so you aren't going around bottled up. A bit more open for you. And you promise not to see others so he feels like it is closed enough for him.

If you can give up the want to poly and be with just him in a closed, monogamous marriage and be happy? Do that.

Because if you end up trying that and are still not happy? And he's still unwilling to do open marriage? You can break up with him later down.

I can imagine these are hard feelings to feel. But the actions seem straightforward.

I can see you want him to be willing to come with you on this poly journey and be one of your romantic partners... but you are in charge of your willingness and consent. Just as he is in charge of his.

It's a crossroads place.

All you can do is be honest about what it it you want and ask him to do the same. See what lines up or not.

Galagirl
 
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dingedheart

Well-known member
That if I want another relationship it's because he is not enough for me.
you mean just like when he wanted EXACTLY THAT twice before ?? maybe ask him why and he wanted another relationship.....what was that about ...just some comparison litmus test ???

And I really don't know how to explain to him that that is not why I am the way I am.

Outside of delicate egos and hurt feeling what’s wrong with facing the reality that NO this marriage, this relationship, this dynamic isn’t enough. I WANT MORE.

And also how do I get over this feeling of missing out? I know I don't want to leave my husband and if I have to live a monogamous life I will. But how do I do that happily without wanting more ??

Most people regret things they didn’t do, things they missed out on rather than playing it safe or sacrificing their happiness for the sake of hypocritical spouse.

Heres a couple ideas to ponder. IT took 13-15 yrs for you both to roughly get to this point to having this heavy debate how many yrs will it take for the resentment to boil over ? Why or how would this go away ?? So hypothetically how many yrs are you willing to invest to see if you can stuff theses feeling away ?
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Hello Kim000,

It seems to me that your husband has all the power in this marriage. When he says he wants open/poly (for him only), he gets open/poly. When he says he wants monogamy (for both of you), he gets monogamy. You're afraid to even ask for something other than what he seems to want. Meanwhile, he switches back and forth. "I want monogamy ... I want nonmonogamy ... I want monogamy ... I want nonmonogamy ... I want monogamy again, and this time I've decided for sure." Each time he changes his mind, you're the one who has to deal with it and accommodate. I'm sure he's a great guy and everything, but this particular part of his behavior is unacceptable.

He says he doesn't understand why you would need to be with other people. Does he understand why he wanted to be with other people? or did he forget? When he wanted another relationship, was that because you weren't enough for him? Ask him those questions, and take note of how he answers (including silence/avoidance or deflection/distraction, which is actually a kind of answer).

Right now you are seeing the answer as being for you to be happily monogamous with him. I would say that's not enough. You would have to alternate between happily monogamous, and happily mono/poly, where you're the "mono" and he's the "poly." Unless at some point you put your foot down, and say, "No, this isn't fair. I should get to explore nonmonogamy too."

The closest you can come, to doing what he wants, is to resign yourself to having only him as a partner, while he goes back and forth between having just you, and having you plus other women. Pretend you're happy. Fake it until you make it.

I'm sorry I can't think of any better ideas.
Sincerely,
Kevin T.
 

tdh

Member
He is insecure and seems to be doing a bit of gaslighting here. He understands how you can feel this way because HE understands why he feels that way for himself. Saying things you don't really think is kind of a bs move and just a way to "win" (does anyone win really) an argument without much of a leg to stand on.

You love him which is great. You feel he loves you, also great. However, that does not a relationship make. How really is the communication? If you are not allowed to be yourself yet he is....that is some BS
 

Frankie

Member
On the question about how to explain it to him.

I would ask him to dig deep and recall back to the two times he wanted to open up. I would ask him why and what was his purpose. I would ask him what was his goal. What did he hope to achieve. Was it just because he wanted sex and he thought he had a chance because the other women seemed interested in him? Or was he looking for a relationship or emotional connection. I would ask him how it made him feel when he discussed it with you and you agreed. I would ask him if he thought it was fair of you to agree to opening up, if it was kind of you to agree to his freedom to explore those feelings while you were supportive.

These questions would put the ball in his court of the why's and hows of him wanting it. Then ask why he changed his mind. Was it because it didn't work out? Ask him what he would do the next time he felt all those things that made him want an open relationship the last two times.

In my opinion he walked himself into this, he created an environment for you consider the possibility for yourself. You were kind enough to say you felt ok and secure with the decision for him. The least he could do is provide you with the same support to see if this is a choice you would like to make for yourself.
 

FallenAngelina

Well-known member
Any tips on how to explain this to him would be helpful.
Yes, some research and education can be helpful for a person who is poly-curious, but there's no amount of explaining that can make someone want what he does not want - and never wanted. Your husband was never OK with the idea of you having a lover. Never. It doesn't matter how many people agree with you that he is being unfair or unreasonable, he is who he has always been.

So, you declare that you'll never leave this marriage. Now what?
 

Magdlyn

Well-known member
One thing that hasn't been mentioned in your h's flip-flopping is the concept of shame and guilt. It's possible that he saw his past dalliances as going against his own moral code. Our society pays strong lip service to monogamy. This is just a fact. So, when someone feels attracted to someone other than their spouse, they may feel compelled to pursue them, while at the same time believing what they are feeling and doing is wrong, even evil.

Since those 2 women either rejected him, or somehow began to seem less attractive to him, and he stopped pursuing them, he might have thought, "Oh, good. My desire for them was evil anyway, so I am glad I was able to let go of that and go back to being a proper mono husband."

Even though he "strayed" twice, he's now telling you he's mono for life.

But who's to say this won't crop up again?

And now, you, his faithful mono "good" wife, is feeling like she may want to get with other people. She is open to meeting men and seeing where it goes! So alarms are going off in his head. His poly desires are being repressed and are lurking just under the surface. But your interest in poly is triggering his "evil thoughts" to surface.

Maybe a good talk (or a few talks) to acknowledge that yes, you both sometimes find others attractive, would be in order. Pretty much everyone, whether they are ostensibly mono or not, feels attraction for people other than their spouse (or partner) now and then. It's just how humans work. There are plenty of gorgeous attractive interesting charming charismatic people out there in the world. Why can we not just acknowledge that?

Just admitting that you'll both feel this way sometimes, and understand that it's natural and not evil/sinful, would be a step in the right direction. Sure, the "Bible says" that lusting after another person in your heart is just as bad as actually committing adultery. I don't believe this. I'm not a Christian. Many people aren't Christian have still had this concept beaten into them.

But the mono-normative culture is not natural. It really boils down to economics. In our current culture, up until recently, most people have lived in nuclear families- mom, dad, kids. But this old family structure no longer suits how people want to live. And in fact, for a million years, humans did not live this way. We are not hard-wired to be monogamous. No animal is monogamous. It's not healthy to be monogamous. It doesn't even perpetuate the survival of the species as well as open relationships do.

Anyway, before I'm on the soap box too long, I'll go back to my original point. Maybe you could both learn to allow yourselves to just admit to being attracted to others. You don't have to act on it. You can just take away the shame and guilt around having those feelings. When my partner and I watch TV, or walk down the street, we can point out a cute person to each other, and enjoy the sight, and not feel the least bit threatened by our partner liking how another person looks or acts. I wish everyone could at least get to that point.
 

Kim000

New member
On the question about how to explain it to him.

I would ask him to dig deep and recall back to the two times he wanted to open up. I would ask him why and what was his purpose. I would ask him what was his goal. What did he hope to achieve. Was it just because he wanted sex and he thought he had a chance because the other women seemed interested in him? Or was he looking for a relationship or emotional connection. I would ask him how it made him feel when he discussed it with you and you agreed. I would ask him if he thought it was fair of you to agree to opening up, if it was kind of you to agree to his freedom to explore those feelings while you were supportive.

These questions would put the ball in his court of the why's and hows of him wanting it. Then ask why he changed his mind. Was it because it didn't work out? Ask him what he would do the next time he felt all those things that made him want an open relationship the last two times.

In my opinion he walked himself into this, he created an environment for you consider the possibility for yourself. You were kind enough to say you felt ok and secure with the decision for him. The least he could do is provide you with the same support to see if this is a choice you would like to make for yourself.
When I asked why he wanted to do it he said because he felt like something was wrong between us and he thought that that was a solution. Which I was confused because I never felt like anything between us was wrong. And that's definitely not a solution for that if it were the case.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
What was this "something" that he supposedly felt was "wrong" between you?
 

MeeraReed

Active member
When I asked why he wanted to do it he said because he felt like something was wrong between us and he thought that that was a solution. Which I was confused because I never felt like anything between us was wrong. And that's definitely not a solution for that if it were the case.
I'm with the previous poster who called BS on his gaslighting. He is gaslighting you. He wanted sex with other women in the past, and felt like it was fine for him to pursue that...it didn't work out with those other women for whatever reason...now that you want other men, he's decided that his attraction to other women was YOUR fault, YOUR failing.
 
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