After a terrible poly experience, what do you do?

JoMartin

New member
Hello everyone,

I really don't know what I'm looking for here. The answer may be completely obvious and I just don't want to face it but if anyone has any ideas, I'm really just trying to figure this out.

My wife and I were monogamous for the first five years of our marriage. Unfortunately in January, we lost our son, he was stillborn. My wife's mental health collapsed and things got very bad. One of my oldest and best friends (S) and her wife (B) moved in to help us with her mental health and our two living children. Very quickly after moving in, my wife slept with B while she was impaired and really mentally unwell. A few days later, they brought the idea of a polyamorous relationship to S and then a few days later to me. Of course, I didn't know that this is what had happened at that time. However, I've always been okay with polyamory as a concept and these were people I loved and trusted, I thought we could have a good life and I agreed.

What followed was in absolutely no way a polyamorous relationship. It was brutally cruel, full of lies, manipulation, and gaslighting.

Eventually, I left.

My wife is doing a lot better now and trying to address her mental health. S and B are no longer together and B has left the house. My wife wants to try and rebuild our relationship and I love her and desperately want my life and home back and to put my kids' home back together. But she is not willing to end her relationship with S either.

I don't believe I'm capable of polyamory. I don't know if I'm capable of being in a monogamous relationship with someone else who is polyamorous. I can't tell how much of my feelings are a consequence of the terrbile experience I had and how much is from my understanding and knowing myself better now than I did before.

I have a great support structure of loving family and friends, but they are all pretty pro-monogamy. I'm just looking for the point of view of some polyamorous folks who might see things a little differently.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
I'm sorry you hurt. I'm also sorry for your son being stillborn, wife's mental collapose, the cheating affair diguised as "poly" and all the rest.

It's been a lot. :(


My wife is doing a lot better now and trying to address her mental health. S and B are no longer together and B has left the house. My wife wants to try and rebuild our relationship

What do you need for YOUR mental health? What KIND of relationship?

I think you could become more firm of purpose. And tell her you prefer to be good exes and good co-parents and skip trying to be romantic partners because wife wants poly and you do not.

and I love her and desperately want my life and home back and to put my kids' home back together. But she is not willing to end her relationship with S either.

You know "family" doesn't have to always be a nuclear family model, right?

I don't believe I'm capable of polyamory. I don't know if I'm capable of being in a monogamous relationship with someone else who is polyamorous.

Well, you might not be into it at all. You are strictly monogamous. Which is a valid preference. Don't bend yourself into pretzels just to hang on to her.

Or maybe you are monoamorous and want 1 sweetie to love, but are "relationship shape flexible" and could do either monogamy or poly. You seemed open to it before you got burned. Maybe you still are willing to try with NEW people.

But maybe you are no longer up for that with THESE people. Because too much happened and too many lines were crossed.

So maybe you tell her "No, thanks" on you and her getting back together romantically. And "yes" on building a healthy post divorce family who co-parents and maybe later co-grandparents without drama.

I'm just looking for the point of view of some polyamorous folks who might see things a little differently.

I might be poly, but I'm not pro-shenanigans. I like my life being relatively low stress and drama free.

If it were me in these shoes? I would rather focus on a healthy post-divorce co-parenting family life so I can help finish raising the remaining children but not open myself to new romantic dings from wife.

Like I'm sorry her mental health broke down and all that. But this?

What followed was in absolutely no way a polyamorous relationship. It was brutally cruel, full of lies, manipulation, and gaslighting.

If it had been me? That is just too much. Wife is not the only one with mental health. I can forgive. But I have a personal limit. I sure wouldn't put me in the line of fire again. I have my OWN mental health to consider.

I'd rather forgive, be divorced, and whatever new weirdness happens for (wife and S) in their polyshipping? That's their deal, not mine. I'm not part of that any more. I only deal in co-parenting issues, and my new romantic life would be between me and my new romantic partner(s).

But I'm not the one there, and the emotions are super high/fresh for you. This just happened to you this year. Maybe you need more time on your own to let things settle. Maybe you want to seek a counselor if you haven't already.

Here is the assessment tool I give my kids.

https://www.scarleteen.com/article/relationships/should_i_stay_or_should_i_go

Maybe you want to do all three sets of questions?

People in monogamous marriages sometimes move in different directions and break up. So do poly people.

You do not have to remain married to BioMom but def don't use poly like a weird kind of "bandaid."

It's up to you how you author your own life and what your next chapter holds. I encourage you to do your soul searching.

But know "family" comes in many ways. Adopted families, divorced families, etc. One divorced family I know did next door houses to make coparenting easier and the kids could just freely go to and fro. Another kept the "family house" for the kids to have stability. And the parents would come for their coparenting weeks and went to their own separate apartments on other weeks. Another, Dad stayed with kid til end of lease in the family flat and mom moved out. Then when the lease was up dad got a new place and by then the kid could drive themselves. So the kid goes to and fro.

Galagirl
 
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Marcus

Well-known member
One of my oldest and best friends (S) and her wife (B) moved in to help us with her mental health and our two living children. Very quickly after moving in, my wife slept with B while she was impaired and really mentally unwell. A few days later, they brought the idea of a polyamorous relationship to S and then a few days later to me.

What followed was in absolutely no way a polyamorous relationship. It was brutally cruel, full of lies, manipulation, and gaslighting.

It was a relationship born of an affair, during an emotionally chaotic and traumatic moment. The fact that it ended in absolute destruction is not at all surprising.

This is a pretty clear learning opportunity for you. Embrace the reality that the decisions we make when we are in a state of complete emotional and intellectual collapse, are likely not going to be our most rational or reasonable choices. Hitting the "no big life decisions" pause button in a circumstance like this is an excellent decision, to the degree it's possible.

Sometimes it isn't possible because... we just aren't in our right minds. These will most likely result in messy, painful, and unforgettable learning moments.

My wife wants to try and rebuild our relationship and I love her and desperately want my life and home back and to put my kids' home back together. But she is not willing to end her relationship with S either.

I don't believe I'm capable of polyamory. I don't know if I'm capable of being in a monogamous relationship with someone else who is polyamorous.

I recommend you don't pretend to be something that you are not just for the sake of "the household". You will just be squirting new and exciting fuel onto the fire, and building an environment of insecurity and resentment for the poor minors who don't have the ability to bail out.

In a perfect world I would suggest seeing if you guys can figure out a way to cohabitate without being in a romantic relationship with anyone. Maybe just get a place where you are able to have a master bedroom, they can have theirs, and the kids have their space. Then just let the kids know that their mom is in a relationship with this fellow, and their dad is currently single. This would obviously depend on everyone being COMPLETELY on board with every aspect of this.

Just like you pretending that you are a hep-cool-poly-kid, your wife and her fella pretending that they are cool with this arrangement will be equally successful (it won't be).

Depending on the financial situation of everyone involved, having independent homes next door or very close by could be a great solution. Just so long as what you guys are building is actually in line with reality, and not what you WISH was reality.
 

Marcus

Well-known member
But she is not willing to end her relationship with S either.

I didn't mention it previously but it is also critical that you get out of the mindset of decisions being made by you and your wife. You aren't in that situation, because there is a third decision maker in the mix.

I strongly recommend bringing S to the table, and giving their voice equal weight in all decisions related to that household. He will be a member just like you and your wife, so it would serve you well to fully embrace the reality of the situation. If you try to push him to the side that will be fertile ground for hurt feelings, resentment, and the resulting drama.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Hello JoMartin,

My initial take on your situation is that what you went through was way too painful to be trying again now. I'm thinking you should divorce your wife, and build a new life as co-parents for your kids. You personally would then be free to seek a new spouse who was a better match for you, perhaps a monogamous spouse since you are feeling doubtful that you are poly or even poly-compatible. I mean, is poly something you *want* to try? or is it more like something that -- at best -- you could take it or leave it? Maybe you don't need a poly (or poly-compatible) partner, you sound like you could use a quiet life with a more traditional (monogamous) partner. Anyway I don't mean to tell you what to do, I am just sharing my initial thoughts based on your description of your situation. I'm really sorry you had to go through that.

Sincerely,
Kevin T.
 

Magdlyn

Moderator
Staff member
I am very sorry for your tragic loss.

I am not sure of the genders of everyone involved. It seems that S is not a "fella," as Marcus said (you said, "her" wife.) I am not sure if you are male/female/other. It doesn't really matter in the long run, but it might help a little to know.

Also, it often helps a lot in our understanding if you choose nicknames for everyone, rather than just using "my wife" or initials.

Anyway, it sounds like your wife had sex with B, but then they left. Apparently your wife also had/is having sex with S. They wish to continue their sexual/romantic relationship while living in the house with you and the kids. S is one of your your oldest, dearest friends, so it must seem like a betrayal that they started an affair with your wife right under your nose. That's not cool. It's part of the grieving mess. I'm sure it adds to your grief.

Maybe some grief counseling/therapy is in order for all 3 adults, to get some help with sorting out this tangle. You are being left in the dust, and that's not fair, ethical or responsible. This is not polyamory, since your consent was not sought or freely given. You sound like you were coerced.
 

Ductcha

New member
I been in something similar. Watched my marriage slowly collapse around me under the guise of poly. Just know you aren't alone, and there is a tommorow. Oh, and these fine folk on this forum know what they are talking about.
 

WaywardWillow

New member
HI there. I will be honest; I have not read other comments, but I felt compelled to respond because I feel for you.

What you are feeling is completely valid. I had a pretty traumatizing experience in my first delve into poly as well. I can tell you right now that what you are feeling is not permanent. It just takes time.

My concern is that you seem to still be with your wife? I am not one to push leaving a relationship, but I do wonder how you could possibly find healing when the one who deceived you still has a grapple on your life.

You seem to have a lot of compassion. I feel for both you and your wife for what you have gone through, but I can tell you after nearly a decade of being in this lifestyle, sometimes people use their pain to hurt others. Even when they don't intend to.

You decide what you deserve. And some people have to find healing on their own. I do wish you all the healing, I really do. And I have respect for your level of compassion.
 
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