Differences in Open Relationship

Amitola

New member
My last poly experience didn't work out so well on either end. It was something that we had not discussed before because we never expected me to find a woman that I connected with. He approved of me experimenting just didn't know how me being in 2 relationships at once would effect both of us. I hurt him so bad. I don't know the full extent how I hurt him because he won't talk to me. I don't want to make the same mistake twice so I am trying to learn from past mistakes.

Some of the boundaries that he set is realistic and I do agree with them.

Like him meeting her (he didn't get to meet the last one). Rules set by her husband.

My husband is set on a full triad. He wants the relationships to be completely equal.

It is difficult to find a woman who I feel comfortable with and want to have a relationship with. It took me 8 years to find the first woman. My husband is 65 and I am 36 so finding someone who would like to be with both of us is going to be impossible.

I don't even think that I want a triad. I loved the separation of the two relationships from the last experience.

I don't know if most of that was still NRE running wild, but I felt like a different person when I was with her than when I am with him. I know that part of that was self discovery on both mine and her parts. I don't mind them being friends, I want them to get along, but I really don't want him to be there when I am with her intimately.

Being in a triad would mean he would want to be involved sexually too.

I know one of the major problems we are having right now is communication.

What do you do when you have different needs and wants in a poly relationship without hurting the other partner?
 

Polysnow

Member
Being "set on a triad" and looking for the "hot bi babe" is usually termed unicorn hunting.

I am 29, current husband 46, so I can relate to age difference.

Are you sure this isn't a pocket veto? Like intentionally making the search for a new partner impossible so it doesn't happen? I only ask that cause of what you said about past experiences. Are you sure he can actually handle you being poly?

I think you might have to make some tough decisions. You handle differences through talking and compromise. But unless he gives you space to have seperate relationships, I don't see this happening...
 

lunabunny

New member
Without meaning to sound too negative, this seems like a lot of trouble waiting in the wings.

Not only do you have a huge age difference (not itself a problem necessarily, however male libido AND ability to perform can wane around this age, which can cause a sexual mismatch), and are still dealing with residual hurt and feelings of betrayal from your last relationship... but now your (essentially mono?) partner is claiming to be tentatively on board, yet is setting relationship rules that will be almost impossible to fulfil.

As Polysnow says, perhaps he is deliberately or subconsciously sabotaging your attempts to find another lover because he is not nearly as ready for this as he purports to be. There is a strong chance he will never be alright with you having multiple lovers, in which case you both need to get honest about this. (Difficult when he won't talk, I know.)

Or perhaps he is setting the "fully equal triad" rule because he actually does want to find a girlfriend or sleep with another woman, but thinks YOU (being a younger female) might have a better prospect of finding somebody to bring into your existing relationship.

Relationships are never equal. And as you say, the chances of finding a woman who is going to be equally physically attracted to AND emotionally connected with BOTH yourself and your husband are virtually zero. I won't say it CAN'T happen, but it's unlikely. Even if you find someone willing to adhere to these demands in terms of sex and companionship, the "romantic" feelings for both of you will probably vary, and eventually this will become obvious and may cause further problems.

Having been in this situation (including a slight age difference), I can definitely relate to your reluctance and feelings of trepidation about trying to share your lover equally with your S.O. in order to assuage their insecurities or simply to make them feel less "left out" of a situation they're not comfortable with.

In my case, I tried my best to accommodate my girlfriend's desire to also be involved with my male lover (seriously considered a poly-fi triad), even going as far as to share sex with them simultaneously... but in the end I couldn't deal with it, his feelings for her weren't there, and after much angst and lengthy discussion we all agreed it wasn't going to happen. These days we remain in a "V" with me as hinge, more or less happily.
 
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vinsanity0

Active member
+1 on the "pocket veto". It's either that or completely unrealistic expectations. I suspect there is tons of insecurity due to the age difference as well. Insisting on a triad is a way to attempt control of the situation.

If he won't talk to you about it there is no real way to move forward. To me that means he is not ready to face himself. If he won't communicate with you, hurting him is inevitable. That is the way he is setting it up.

Insisting on meeting metas always creeps me out, but it is a fairly common thing. That seems to be the only boundary that could be called reasonable. The rest you have to discuss. If the two of you can't come to an agreement it is time to move on.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
A pocket veto in this scenario is an indirect veto.

Where one partner say "Ok, but only if..."

And then the conditions for "yes" are so difficult to actually achieve that it may as well be "No. Not happening."

In this case?

You don't want to practice a triad. You want a separate V model.

He will only say "yes" to a triad model where he is sexually involved also.

It is difficult to find a woman who I feel comfortable with and want to have a relationship with. It took me 8 years to find the first woman. My husband is 65 and I am 36 so finding someone who would like to be with both of us is going to be impossible.

So... that all may as well be "No. No poly."

What do you do when you have different needs and wants in a poly relationship without hurting the other partner?

Well, if he only wants Closed or triad? And those are hard limits?

And you don't want Closed or triad? And those are hard limits? You could accept you are no longer compatible and part ways peacefully and respectfully. Then he is free FROM any models he does not like. And you are free TO pursue models you like. Neither one of you is hurting the other on purpose. Or hurting selves.

Like you are doing Closed or triad when you dislike those models.

Or he's doing Open or separate V things when he doesn't like those.

Galagirl
 
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Amitola

New member
The one and only experience we've had was when I was involved with her. That relationship was unexpected on all accounts. The relationship ended and everyone is trying to move on.

Yes he is set on a closed or triad. He is even trying to find someone online. A woman for both of us.

I don't have enough experience with poly to know what exactly I want.

One thing he said... He wanted all parties to have veto power not just one person. He stressed that all parties be equal.

Right now I think the best thing is for me to go my own path but it will take several months to get to where I can be free. It is hard to know I am a lesbian and be married to a man.

How do I go about finding out what I want in a poly relationship without experience.
 

lunabunny

New member
Right now I think the best thing is for me to go my own path but it will take several months to get to where I can be free. It is hard to know I am a lesbian and be married to a man.

I'm sorry... I missed the part in your OP where you say you're a lesbian. That throws a completely different complexion on the issue.

The wording of your post indicates that you are a bisexual or perhaps bi-curious female who has had one relationship with another woman, now ended, but that this experience confirmed your interest (and possibly your husband's interest) in developing a relationship with a woman who would want to join both of you in a closed triad.

So, okay... since you now believe yourself to be a lesbian:

- What do you hope to get out of continuing a sexual and romantic partnership with your husband (considering that lesbianism largely precludes sexual attraction to men.) :/
- Do you think you are obliged to stay with him out of loyalty or guilt?
OR
- Do you consider yourself to be in "non-sexual love" with him - i.e. you still have feelings of romantic love and affection for him, yet virtually no sexual interest anymore - so are hoping both you AND he will get your sexual needs met by this other woman, instead of each other?

Personally, I believe this is a lot of pressure to put on a (potential) new partner. If your last poly experience proved that you are in fact sexually-oriented exclusively towards women, then it's worth considering whether it will be kinder on both you and your husband to part ways now so that you can each seek what you each need, separately.

One thing he said... He wanted all parties to have veto power not just one person. He stressed that all parties be equal.

While aiming to be fair is a worthy goal, it is simply not possible for all parties in a multi-person relationship to be equal in ALL aspects.

What's more, I'm not sure I understand how it would be possible for ALL partners to hold veto power. Veto in what way exactly? Let's say you find a girl you're both compatible with and move her into your home, but start having problems three or six months down the track.

- Will SHE have the power to enact veto power over YOU by demanding your husband end his relationship with you or make you move out?
- Or over HIM, so that you and this woman continue as lovers, but cut your husband out of the loop?
- Does veto power include certain sexual acts or rules, such as one of you saying, "I won't allow you two to have sex unless everybody is in the same room/involved"? or your husband saying, "You may engage in oral sex with our girlfriend, but you're not allowed to use toys because that's my job" (A variation of the One Penis Policy.)

Do you understand/agree with the veto notion as it's been explained to you, Amitola?
 
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SchrodingersCat

Active member
Insisting on meeting metas always creeps me out, but it is a fairly common thing. That seems to be the only boundary that could be called reasonable. The rest you have to discuss. If the two of you can't come to an agreement it is time to move on.

While I'm someone who prefers to meet anyone my husband is having an ongoing relationship with, romantic or kink or otherwise, I don't consider that a boundary. Boundaries are one's rules for one's self. "If people do such-and-such behaviour around me, this is how I will react." I consider always needing to meet metas to be more of an agreement than a boundary: "Do you agree to introduce me to anyone with whom you enter a relationship?"

TBH, we've never actually discussed this as an agreement per se. It just happens as a matter of course. I guess because we both have good taste in people, and we tend to enjoy the company of one another's partners. When we meet someone new and interesting, we're both excited to introduce them to our partner. It's just never even occurred to us not to introduce them. That would feel so weird and secretive.

I'm human with normal human fears and insecurities. From time to time, my Monkey Brain comes up with all kinds of chatter that spins around in circles, usually questioning someone else's motives or why they did something the way they did. Meeting the other person is really useful for settling the chatter and making you realise they're also just a normal person, not a Cowgirl or something.

Yes he is set on a closed or triad. He is even trying to find someone online. A woman for both of us.

Well, that's bound for failure. Especially if you're not on board. So you really need to just put a hard limit there: "Look, Dear Husband. I know this is something you want, but it's not going to happen. Period. So, how do we move on?"

One thing he said... He wanted all parties to have veto power not just one person. He stressed that all parties be equal.

Eh? So he means that if you both start dating a woman, she then has veto power to out either one of you? I'm 99.9999999% sure that's not what he intended... Does he perhaps mean that "all parties" is actually "you and him?"
 
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polychronopolous

New member
...... I hurt him so bad. I don't know the full extent how I hurt him because he won't talk to me.

I got stuck here. I can't imagine trying to continue along this path while my partner has decided not to talk to me about very related issues. That would be a red flag for me. If someone told me I'd be expected to navigate an obstacle course with a blindfold on I'd have to accept that I didn't stand a chance of making it through without a great deal of difficulty as well as personal injury.
 

Amitola

New member
Do you think you are obliged to stay with him out of loyalty or guilt?
OR
- Do you consider yourself to be in "non-sexual love" with him - i.e. you still have feelings of romantic love and affection for him, yet virtually no sexual interest anymore - so are hoping both you AND he will get your sexual needs met by this other woman, instead of each other?

- Does veto power include certain sexual acts or rules, such as one of you saying, "I won't allow you two to have sex unless everybody is in the same room/involved"? or your husband saying, "You may engage in oral sex with our girlfriend, but you're not allowed to use toys because that's my job" (A variation of the One Penis Policy.)

Do you understand/agree with the veto notion as it's been explained to you, Amitola?

Yes there are several reasons why I feel like I should stay the two major ones are loyalty and guilt. I have been with him or 17 years. He has always been loving, stable, and supportive. He has been my rock all these years. He has helped me through the toughest parts of my life.

You are right, I am still in love with him. I enjoy being with him, doing things together, and hanging out. It has turned into a more platonic relationship. I do not have any sexual interest anymore. They lie elsewhere.

I am not sure 100% what he means regarding his veto power. I can't really get him to open up to me and talk to me.

Where I differ from him is I really don't want him sexually involved with my next partner. I want that relationship between me and her. I don't mind them being friends, hanging out. I wouldn't even sharing a bed as long as I am in the middle. I have tried to stress in the past and he has not listened. I want that separation and privacy with my gf. If he was ever involved the only person I would want him to have sex with is me. I don't think I would feel comfortable sharing her with someone else, even my husband.

I know I sound very selfish and hurting him is the last thing I want to do.
I really don't see our relationship continuing for another year. I see myself getting out and starting over in about 6-7 mths.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
I really don't see our relationship continuing for another year. I see myself getting out and starting over in about 6-7 mths.

Could perhaps skip poly dating right now. Focus on that and have a good parting first. Then date as you please later on.

When you do date again?

I don't think you wanting to have a separate GF is "selfish." A V is simply the model you prefer. You don't want to do triads. The potential GF herself may have zero interest in dating your other partner(s.)

Galagirl
 

Magdlyn

Moderator
Staff member
You started a relationship with your husband when you were 19 and he was approximately 30 years older. So around 49.

Hm.

Surely he's been your rock, a father figure even. But now you're a grown up. You're still young vibrant. You've realised you're gay... Or so you think. If this much older father figure guy has been your only lover for 17 years, maybe a much younger man would hold some appeal. But maybe you ARE gay. Maybe you're bi. Time and experience will tell.

How is it you're only noticing you're gay at 36? Did you have very unsatisfying, maybe extremely infrequent, maybe even disgust inducing, sex with your husband for many years?

I'd definitely say you've grown and changed, become more self aware, and are ready to move on. I can see feeling guilty about letting down this much older man you love platonically. But if he's still lusty, I'm sure he'd be better off with a woman who likes sex with men. It would be a kindness to him. He is grasping at straws now with his unicorn fantasy.

Two women in the bed is the most common sex fantasy men have. Nowadays it's become weirdly common for 2 straight women to kiss or simulate sex to turn a guy on. I think it's gross.

And he won't even talk all this out. Bleh.

After the breakup and a period of healing, perhaps he can still be a good friend for you.
 

dragonette

New member
Presumably when he said "all parties" he meant you and him. Both that, and the unrealistic expectation of total equality, suggests to me he is not thinking of this desired unicorn as a person with her own needs and rights.

It sounds like he's stressing that both you and he have veto power to make it sound "fair." But in reality, because you are so much younger, you are more likely to find a partner and he is more likely to exercise the veto. So this is about his insecurities and there's not much benefit to you.

I would not date anyone whose partner had the right to veto me, unless it was limited to the first few dates. After that, any partner can express reservations about another relationship for a hinge to consider, and can even make a hinge choose if necessary, but I would not be comfortable with an agreement that said my partner had to get rid of me on demand. I'm a person, and being dumped hurts. Being dumped by someone you're in love with, who's still in love with you, would hurt even more.
 

Amitola

New member
Right now communication is our major problem. I feel like I cant approach him to talk to him. We used to have a very open communicative relationship. It started breaking down as after I met my ex gf. I'm not blaming her for our problems she did nothing wrong.

It seemed like my husband wanted to know everything about mine and her relationship. I held back a lot of info because I felt that he didn't have any right to know.

I did tell him the important things like how I felt about her etc.

The last time I tried talking to him all he wanted to do was watch tv. As I sat there cuddled up to him crying and trying to be 100% honest with him.

How do I go about trying to open up the lines of communication without him shutting down on me?

How do I start the conversation in order to try and talk things out?

I'm stuck. I tried writing a letter but I don't know who to put the words on paper.

Any advice would be appreciated.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
Communication has two ends.

  • You broadcast your message.
  • He receives your message.

When turns are flipped?

  • He broadcasts his message.
  • You receive his message.

How do I go about trying to open up the lines of communication without him shutting down on me?

Right now? You can only broadcast your message.

How he receives it? That's on him. You cannot control if he is willing to listen, shuts down, stonewalls, etc.

You can only broadcast. So try to broadcast well.

How do I start the conversation in order to try and talk things out?

If you end up crying if you try to communicate orally because you lose your place, get frustrated with his lack of response, etc? I would suggest writing what you want to say on paper. Then give it to him to read. You have done your broadcasting job then.

I'm stuck. I tried writing a letter but I don't know who to put the words on paper.

Forum people could try to help you. What is it you are trying to say?

From this thread, these seem to some highlights. Which ones do you want to include in your letter at this time?

  • you do not want a triad, you prefer a V
  • you need better communication, not this shutting down thing
  • you don't like veto/pocket veto
  • you are a lesbian married to a man
  • you prefer to part in 6 ish months

If the plan is to break up? Could not bother mentioning the poly preferences because you won't be doing poly with him. Then it reduces to...

  • you are a lesbian married to a man
  • you would like to divorce/ part ways in 6 ish months
  • you need better communication to navigate a peaceful parting, not this shutting down thing

And then a question of WHEN to give him the letter. You are there. You know him. If he's going to make life hell for the next six months if you tell him you plan to file for divorce now? Maybe you choose not to tell him til closer to time and you have a new place to live and stuff in place already.

Not all choices in life are win/lose. Some are "this stink and that stinks. So which stinks least?"

Galagirl
 

Amitola

New member
Right now I'm not even going to mention the separation.
I want to make sure I got some things lined up first. I want to have a full exit plan.

I will try and re write the letter and give it to him soon so we can try and open our communication lines again.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
Ok, then maybe you letter at this time reduces to something more like...


  • I would like better communication. Sometimes I think you don't listen to me.

  • Please stop seeking woman online for both of us to share.
    • If you want to date someone on your end -- go ahead.
    • But if you expect me to participate in a triad thing? I don't want to triad at this time. I want a dating break on my end.


Is that along the lines you are thinking for now? While you prepare for the near future?

Galagirl
 
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