Confused and Hurting


New member
Greetings and Salutations,

Wow, where to start?

My spouse was my only relationship. We dated for a few years, got married, had kids, moved a few times, changed jobs a few times. We moved closer to their family, I took a pay cut for a more demanding (but more rewarding job).

In nearly every visible way I am conventional person. I try very hard to be a very egalitarian and giving spouse. I have a reputation as an upstanding person, fair-minded, a good partner and a good parent.

BUT But even before I had ever been in a relationship, I realized I wasn't very jealous, and had a lot of sexual fantasies about 3-ways, swinging, group-sex, and the like. I've brought this up to my spouse numerous times throughout our marriage and each time they demurred. More recently they expressed a lot of hurt that I keep bringing this idea up. Somewhere along the marriage I was introduced to the concept of polyamory in a though piece in Slate, or Salon, or the Atlantic, or something like that. It captured my attention, and over time I began to read more and more about it. I started lurking on forums and even had an online affair with someone who left their spouse to start a poly lifestyle. In retrospect I realize that I also find I am sexually attracted to and curious about a lot of people I encounter, easily fall for new people, and have fallen into several emotional affairs.

All of this has left me feeling really conflicted. I feel like I am leading this life as this great person while harboring these secret desires. I feel like it's a double life, the person I present (and who I like being), and this other part, more carnal and more selfish. With each denial of exploring this by my partner I could feel the other side winning out and I knew it was only a matter of time before I start acting on it, with or without my spouse.

This all came to a head recently when we were discussing someone else who outed themselves as "poly". I wound up confessing to my spouse that I thought I was that way too, and that it felt like a core part of my personality.
The fallout was predictably, bad, involving both our families and all of our mutual friends. I didn't help things by doing an awful job of explaining all of this, and constantly putting my foot in my mouth - saying things that were either wrong or that she interpreted incorrectly.

Now my spouse and I are trying to move forward together, but we both understand that there is no future for us if I continue to feel this way or having these longings.

All of this has left me horribly confused about what it is I want, and how to explain something that isn't just something I "want" but feels deeper. How do I explain that all of these feelings and the mask I've put on didn't and don't mean that my relationship with my partner has been a lie or about some deficiency they have? How do ensure for myself that this isn't being driven by the normal ups and downs and tensions of a long-term relationship? How do I know if "this" is who I am? How can I save and maintain a relationship and partner and family I love and value more than anything else when I have this other part of me tugging me in the opposite direction?

(yes, I have started seeing a therapist) But I'm sure others here have been through this and help is appreciated!


New member
Join the crowd...and least you haven't fucked up an went ahead with trying it out whether you had permission or not...That's what I I'm nothing more than just a lying cheater...any feelings I had before are pretty much null and void...all I can tell you is that you better decide if it is really what you want or not. I guess those of us who discover this about ourselves while in relationships do not have the luxury of testing the waters to see whether if it is that we really want or not. We can only leap...dump someone you adore and love, or cheat... I have been repeatedly told I should have broken up with the man I am with...whom I love, before exploring what I wanted...which would have devastated him and me....I really tried doing this the same way as you...trying to talk, begging to talk, wondering what I was really feeling...etc... I guess it doesn't matter if you love're supposed to dump them if they don't like what you feel like you need to try. And then go try it and if it works, great, if not you fucked up what you had...or burry it forever no matter how much it feels wrong.. for you...

On a side not I find it highly ironic that the title of your post here is Confused and Hurt and you're going through what I was going through....and my man who I cheated on so I could find myself (WAY more to that story that the simple way I am putting it here) goes by Hurt and Confused and is totally on the opposite end of this from should read his side of our story and see if it helps you see the side of your SO. I will maybe tell my story at some point...but for now I don't have the energy. But, I can tell you my side of the story has a chapter in it that is exactly like what you are describing you are going through here.
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Official Greeter
Hello 3eben7,

I am inclined to vote that you not try open/poly unless you are 100% sure that you are 100% hardwired to be 100% nonmonogamous. On the other hand, you can keep studying and learning about open/poly even if you don't put it into practice. By studying and learning, you can get a better idea of whether you're 100% hardwired. There's a book you may want to get, it's called "Opening Up: a guide to creating and sustaining open relationships," by Tristan Taormino. More than Two is a great website to visit. Also you can continue to read and post on this forum, there is a lot you can learn here. You can post questions and get personalized answers.

Ultimately you have to make your own choice about whether you'll go poly. If you decide to go poly, you'll probably have to divorce. Not a happy thought, but it's the reality of the situation. That's one reason I think you should be 100% sure. Your marriage is at stake.

Let me know if I can help.
Kevin T.


Well-known member
I am sorry you struggle.

Now my spouse and I are trying to move forward together, but we both understand that there is no future for us if I continue to feel this way or having these longings.

Could there be a middle place where you remain married with spouse and don't date so it is Closed enough for them? And they start to talk to you about your poly thoughts/feelings more so it becomes Open enough for you so you don't feel so stifled and bottled up?

Before you sounded like you had to hide a whole part of yourself. Maybe it started to feel like spouse only loved a part of you rather than all of you?

Is there a middle place like that where you two can come together?

If spouse is not willing? And the choices you face are (all monogamous marriage with no more talk of poly thoughts or feelings) or (stop being married and divorce so you can poly)? If your spouse is not willing to help create safe space for you to talk and sort yourself out in? Then they just are not.

Then you may have to make call -- a separation for a year to think things out. Or outright divorce.

You already know what (being married with no outlet for your thoughts and feelings) is like.

It may turn out you are NOT poly after all. But then you aren't married to a spouse who doesn't make safe space to talk in, they don't offer support when you struggle, they really don't want to know you/all of you... what kind of marriage is that really?

How can I save and maintain a relationship and partner and family I love and value more than anything else when I have this other part of me tugging me in the opposite direction?

What are you saving it from? Honesty? Emotional/mental intimacy?

Some people come at it like "save the relationship!" but really they mean "avoid a break up."

I think it is better to allow the relationship shape to change. (Save the people) rather than (keep the relationship shape going not matter what, even if it hurts.)

So that the people can be healthy. If a break up is what is needed so that one partner can be free FROM poly stuff they do not want, and so the other partner can be free TO poly? Then they could consider what a peaceful break up looks like, and how they want to be as good exes and maybe friends.

Empty nest families, divorced families, step families, widowed families -- they all have to figure out how to maintain a relationship with people even when things change for X reason. Sometimes people part ways because they've grown apart. Things happen in a Life.

I suggest you have the honest conversations you need to be having with spouse. Lean into it and not away. Sort stuff out.

I can imagine that it feels scary/disconcerting but in the end no matter how it feels? It still needs sorting out. So.... sort. Do see a counselor if you think that would help your organize your thoughts.

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New member
I really wish I had taken time to open up about how I was feeling on this forum BEFORE I went and messed everything up in my relationship with HAC. The advice you juts gave to 3eben7 would have really helped me out a lot GalaGirl.