Easier said than done

MONELLA28

New member
Hello...extremely new to polyam. (Less than 6 months) I am very comfortable having multiple lovers. I have my husband and one lover and I enjoy the arrangement very much. What I am struggling with is sharing my spouse. Yes, I recognize the double standard...yes I realize how unfair this is to him. Yes! I do want to change my behavior to be more supportive of him in his endeavors. I'm reading a few books and can't seem to find information to help me be a more supportive spouse. I have actually even been thrown into depression over his secondary relationship. Due to poor communication and previous breaks in trust between my husband and myself I was just spiraling emotionaly and I can't stomach my own behavior. I was focusing my stress on his secondary but then realized I had a lot of unresolved feelings towards my husband that I needed to address with him. (However, for the record, she has tried to cross mine and my husband's boundaries on 3 separate occasions, but my husband did not entertain her suggestions of breaking mine and my husband's agreements.) This way of life can be fulfilling and enjoyable I'm sure, I'm just struggling to get myself to a place where I feel some compersion. I have ZERO compersion at this moment. Any kind suggestions would be greatly appreciated ❤
 

Magdlyn

Well-known member
You don't need to have compersion to be successful at polyamory. But you do need to come to a better place with jealousy and envy.

I'm sorry your h's gf tried to "cross your boundaries," but it's great that your h stopped her.

If you and your h have unresolved trust issues, this can definitely make poly difficult. Maybe there was so kind of lying or cheating on his side before you both decided to try polyamory? It can take a while to rebuild trust. Spiraling emotionally is not good.
 

MONELLA28

New member
Hello Magdlyn,
Yes, there was infidelity on both sides prior to deciding to become polyam. And my H has broke agreements since becoming poly, which I have chalked up to growing pains, and have faith as our communication grows, we will raise ourselves up to a better place.
Thank you for saying I don't have to feel compersion. I physically sighed with relief when I read that.
 

Magdlyn

Well-known member
Did h cheat on your with his current gf? Was there any kind of break in between the cheating (on both sides) to build trust and communication skills, before formally Opening your marriage?

What are your agreements for splitting time? Where do dates happen?
 

MONELLA28

New member
It felt like cheating to me...with his current girlfriend. He made the rule that we would participate in enm, no love, no strong emotional attachment, which I agreed to, only to learn they're telling each other "I love you" which...totally was against HIS rule. It was a punch in the gut to me. It felt like he cheated in a sense.

We have sorted out our visitation fairly well. We have our time and have been good about sticking to schedules. His gf kept asking him to break that agreement and have more time, so it made me uncomfortable for her to keep trying to push my h and my boundaries in that area.

And in hindsight, no, I don't think there was enough time in between our infidelity and the time needed to build trust. So it makes sense we are struggling 😕
 

icesong

Moderator
I'll second the not having to feel compersion, at least not to the glowing degree that a lot of polyamorous folks preach. I mean, I'm vaguely glad that my partners have lovely people in their lives but it's not the "omg I'm ecstatic" sort of thing some people describe.

On the other hand... the "this is only physical, no emotions" type of rule is probably the most common one broken, and I tell people it's a terrible idea in general. Humans just aren't that predictable, and feelings do what feelings do. Spend time with someone, touch them, kiss them, talk to them... chances are pretty good some flavor of love is going to develop, even if it's not "hearts and flowers and candles and forever" sort of romance.
 

MONELLA28

New member
That is something I will have to come to terms with. (Some flavor of love is going to develop) I don't argue the validity of your statement...it was just that it was his rule and he broke it. I think that is part of what was so painful. And I am certainly on your wave of thought...I am vaugely glad he has someone in his life that gives him joy...lol those are perfect words!! Thank you 😊 I smiled and chuckled and 100% agree with that.
Thank you for validating my feelings about compersion. ❤
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
When you are the "hinge" that is one set of skills. You are the "shared sweetie" and you know how you behave and act. You also know YOU can do something about it if either of your partners behaves poorly or like a nutjob.

That's different than when you are the "meta." You have to trust that the hinge (in this case your husband) will behave and act in trustworthy ways. And this may be a whole new side of him and you might not be sure if he handles being a hinge well or not. That is one stress load.

You also have unresolved feelings with husband. Because you both cheated on the closed marriage agreements before trying poly. And you maybe didn't do enough repair work there to heal that before stating to poly date. That's another stress load.

Then there was this naive rule...

He made the rule that we would participate in enm, no love, no strong emotional attachment, which I agreed to, only to learn they're telling each other "I love you" which...totally was against HIS rule.

So why did you naively agree to that rule? Rather than say "No thanks, I don't want to do that" when he suggested it?

Maybe he was afraid like you are. Not knowing how you'd be as a hinge. Then over time he broke this "rule" and told his GF he loves her. If you are practicing polyamory, isn't many loves ok? What's so horrible? Maybe seeing this makes him chill out on the flip side of the coin so this rule of his is not even needed any more. He doesn't have to worry about you telling your other partners that you love them.

And you have learned that NO. You don't just have to go with whatever he says.

Or you have learned to exercise your own boundaries with him. "Look, we made an agreement. You are breaking it. So I'm not keeping it any more either." Without rancor, without grudges, just... let it go because it wasn't a good agreement.

Bright side -- you ARE trying to work out the wrinkles. Be ok with being in transition time. The old normal is gone. The new normal isn't quite here yet. The space in between is gonna feel weird and maybe a little turbulent. Weather it out.

And my H has broke agreements since becoming poly, which I have chalked up to growing pains, and have faith as our communication grows, we will raise ourselves up to a better place.

I think this attitude will serve you better moving forward. That's not gonna be instantaneous. It takes some time to "arrive."

If you are all newbies together, or newbies to poly entirely? Just EXPECT some learning mistakes. Nobody is perfect right out of the gate. Be ok making them, having growing pains, improving skills and communication, etc. That's better than holding grudges and having unrealistic expectations of selves and each other.

Stop having "rules" that one person makes for all. Make "agreement suggestions" and talk it out. Review the agreements to see if they are even realistic, rational, and keepable before agreeing to hold them up for a time. If after "trying them out" for a while you change your mind? You can do that.

You just tell the other people. "This agreement X? Sounded good in theory but not working for me in practice. I don't want to cheat on agreements so I'm making you aware that I will not be holding it up any more. I want to renegotiate something else that is more keepable."

so it made me uncomfortable for her to keep trying to push my h and my boundaries in that area.

Well... could examine that. You might not be the only one in this polyship struggling with stuff. Is it that she's struggling with NRE? Was she included in the schedule conversation? Or are you and husband decided it and she just has to lump it?

Could this schedule agreement be revisited? Like once a quarter?

If she knows it will be updated on X date, then maybe she can live with it for now and stop asking for it to change because she knows she will be part of the conversation for the next quarter's schedule.

While you don't have to have compersion, you could have "basic polite."

If he has two partners, then you both have to learn to share his time and attention. You aren't each other's enemies or like two dogs fighting over a bone, right?

I mean, it'd be the same the other way. When you have a husband and a lover, they have to learn to share your time and attention too. Or if this GF of his has another partner... then husband would have to learn to share her time and attention too.

Galagirl
 
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Marcus

Well-known member
I don't argue the validity of your statement...it was just that it was his rule and he broke it. I think that is part of what was so painful.

The "don't fall in love" rule is unrealistic (which is putting it gently), but you mention a couple of times that it was his rule. Was this rule imposed on you? Or did the two of you agree on it? If you both agreed on it then I encourage you to work on re-framing whose rule it is and why that matters.

When we voluntarily agree to a rule, it becomes our rule. If someone breaks the rule, bringing up who mentioned it first is just a way to kind of gain the upper hand in the disagreement. Rules, certainly extremely high rate of failure rules like this one, get broken and bent. Instead of focusing on who mentioned a rule first, I suggest taking a closer look at what motivated the rule to begin with.

What do you think motivated the need for this rule in the first place?
 

dingedheart

Well-known member
Hello...extremely new to polyam. (Less than 6 months) I am very comfortable having multiple lovers. I have my husband and one lover and I enjoy the arrangement very much. What I am struggling with is sharing my spouse.
how did you and your husband arrive specifically on polyamory vs just being open ??

How much reading or prep did either of you do or collectively did you do prior to jumping in?

Was there a specific partner or situation that pushed for open or specifically polyarmory?
Yes, I recognize the double standard...yes I realize how unfair this is to him. Yes! I do want to change my behavior to be more supportive of him in his endeavors. I'm reading a few books and can't seem to find information to help me be a more supportive spouse. I have actually even been thrown into depression over his secondary relationship. Due to poor communication and previous breaks in trust between my husband and myself I was just spiraling emotionaly and I can't stomach my own behavior.
have you read any articles on disentanglement ? It sounds like there’s a lot to unpack...the guilt of struggling and not preforming to your own standards. There’s all the bumps and bruises that occur from this transition. There’s probably some mourning of the old marriage and the residual effects from the cheating.

I think you should pick the target or topic that will help you move out of depression first. Work on that feel better and then slowly work on another aspect. And treat this as a marathon and not like a mile jog. Don’t expect instantaneous relief.

This way of life can be fulfilling and enjoyable I'm sure, I'm just struggling to get myself to a place where I feel some compersion. I have ZERO compersion at this moment. Any kind suggestions would be greatly appreciated ❤

MAYBE start at your fulfillment and joy or enjoyment and let go what your husband and his lover are doing or NOT doing. And like what some of the other have said ....completely release the idea of compersion....youre in poly 100...or 101 ....compersion is a level graduate course. It nice but not necessary for an operator license. 😝👍
 
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MONELLA28

New member
That is a great suggestion to look into why he wanted that rule established in the first place. I am not sure what motivated him to come up with the rule, but I think he's realized it is unrealistic for him, but I agreed to it to give him peace of mind because it was seemingly very important to him. T
his rule was established before he gained a secondary. It is a conversation to be had, to be sure!
 

MONELLA28

New member
how did you and your husband arrive specifically on polyamory vs just being open ??

How much reading or prep did either of you do or collectively did you do prior to jumping in?

Was there a specific partner or situation that pushed for open or specifically polyarmory?

have you read any articles on disentanglement ? It sounds like there’s a lot to unpack...the guilt of struggling and not preforming to your own standards. There’s all the bumps and bruises that occur from this transition. There’s probably some mourning of the old marriage and the residual effects from the cheating.

I think you should pick the target or topic that will help you move out of depression first. Work on that feel better and then slowly work on another aspect. And treat this as a marathon and not like a mile jog. Don’t expect instantaneous relief.



MAYBE start at your fulfillment and joy or enjoyment and let go what your husband and his lover are doing or NOT doing. And like what some of the other have said ....completely release the idea of compersion....youre in poly 100...or 101 ....compersion is a level graduate course. It nice but not necessary for an operator license. 😝👍
Hi Dingedheart,
I've got a couple of books on the subject that I've read, I've read articles and talked with friends who've been in the lifestyle for years. I handled the infidelity of our past 200% better than his secondary relationship. I totally thought I was ready for this. I'm the one that asked for this...which now sounds insane with the amount discord I am experiencing...I'm 😲🙀😮 SHOCKED at my own responses/behavior.
My husband suggested the just being in an open marriage NOT so much polyam, and I guess it was just that much more shocking to have him practicing polyamory and loving his secondary...and forming that deep bond. It wasn't the jumping point he and I started from so that kind of threw me for a loop. Perhaps it stirred up more trust issues for me...like...THIS ISN'T WHAT WE AGREED ON!! It has been a bit of a roller coaster, which again, I want to chalk up to growing pains, but when this kind of thing takes you by surprise...at least for me, its a bit harder to work though; adjust to.
I appreciate your suggestion of looking into disentanglement. I will do that tonight.

Spending time with my secondary...that fulfillment and joy you referenced starting with, is when I can breathe a sigh of relief and think to myself, in this moment, all of that struggle I've been suffering through is worth it. 🥰

And the last bit about compersion...thanks!! Smiles 😃 all around from that comment! And such wise words to treat it as a marathon, not a mile jog!
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Hello MONELLA28,

Here is a thread that may help you: How do you achieve compersion? If you want, I can post other links on jealousy. Let me know if that would be helpful.

Here's an article that may help you: The Most Skipped Step When Opening a Relationship. It is the forum's go-to link, if you will, for disentanglement.

It seems to me that the biggest problem here, is that your husband made a rule that neither of you would catch any feelings for any other people ... and then he went right out and caught some feelings for his current girlfriend. It's as if he was saying, "This is important to me, more than important it is vital." Then he went out and did actions that said, "This doesn't matter to me." So it was like he was lying. He lied to you. No wonder your trust was broken.

I think it is going to take a long time to rebuild that trust, and I'm not sure that he should be seeing the woman with whom he broke that trust, especially not when the trust hasn't even been rebuilt yet. I don't know what he would be willing to do. Would he be willing to break up with his girlfriend? Would he be willing to take a break with her, at least until the trust has been restored for you? If not, maybe that says something about his true feelings for you.

I don't blame you for being upset.
Sincerely,
Kevin T.
 

dingedheart

Well-known member
Hi Dingedheart,
I've got a couple of books on the subject that I've read, I've read articles and talked with friends who've been in the lifestyle for years.
awesome and what about your husband ?

I handled the infidelity of our past 200% better than his secondary relationship. I totally thought I was ready for this. I'm the one that asked for this...which now sounds insane with the amount discord I am experiencing...I'm 😲🙀😮 SHOCKED at my own responses/behavior.
hey we don’t know what we don’t know. you might want to let yourself off the hook on this. It’s uncharted water for most people.

My husband suggested the just being in an open marriage NOT so much polyam, and I guess it was just that much more shocking to have him practicing polyamory and loving his secondary...and forming that deep bond. It wasn't the jumping point he and I started from so that kind of threw me for a loop. Perhaps it stirred up more trust issues for me...like...THIS ISN'T WHAT WE AGREED ON!! It has been a bit of a roller coaster, which again, I want to chalk up to growing pains, but when this kind of thing takes you by surprise...at least for me, its a bit harder to work though; adjust to.

yes I very much agree a lot to adjust to. The only thing would say about your husband violating your agreement is he was probably caught way off guard and shocked by his own feeling and behavior just like you. and that in both cases it more ignorance than malicious intent.


Spending time with my secondary...that fulfillment and joy you referenced starting with, is when I can breathe a sigh of relief and think to myself, in this moment, all of that struggle I've been suffering through is worth it. 🥰
I think focusing on that will help shift some of the heaviness away from the other topics.

And the last bit about compersion...thanks!! Smiles 😃 all around from that comment! And such wise words to treat it as a marathon, not a mile jog!
I should have said treat this as prepping to run a marathon. Lots of shorter runs always building up in distance And endurance. Either way you get the point.😝.
 

Magdlyn

Well-known member
I do not think your husband lied to you or betrayed you by falling in love. As GG and others have said, being with someone you like and enjoy and desire can and often does lead to love. It's just how we humans work, and what our hormones and hearts do.

After all, there are several hormones that come into play: dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin. They are feel-good and bonding hormones which nature provides to make couples want to be together and repeatedly have sex until someone gets pregnant. It's strong basic survival-of-the-species stuff. I think it's less natural to just "sport fuck" and move on. However, I know casual hookups are oddly popular today.

Swingers made it seem like casual sex was the only kind permissible for a married couple to have with others. But that idea is monocentric. It is based on possessiveness. It's not based on women's autonomy, as polyamory is. Otherwise, casual sex is popular because people are "afraid of commitment," or they are extremely socially awkward, are "working too hard to invest in a relationship." Heck, lots of people these days don't even want real sex, much less love. They'd rather just masturbate to porn, or hire a webcam girl, or find a partner who is willing to have cybersex (for free) with them, and get on with their day!

Polyamory is precious, in my opinion. Making a strong loving and sexual bond with 2 or 3 people at the same time bonds the entire unit, making it a larger support group in times of joy and in times of trouble. I think our culture has the potential to reclaim some goodness from our tribal days, in having larger communities of consenting adults, rather than forced MF, one mom/one dad nuclear-hetero families. We humans are not always hetero, not always distinctly cis-male or female, not always monogamous. It's just a fact that we can love more than one person at a time. It's nothing to be ashamed of.
 

LoveBunny

Member
I am very comfortable having multiple lovers. I have my husband and one lover and I enjoy the arrangement very much. What I am struggling with is sharing my spouse. I have ZERO compersion at this moment. Any kind suggestions would be greatly appreciated ❤
Thank you so much for posting that, lol, I totally get it!

I have rarely experienced compersion, just a taste here or there when it's been between two people I really loved. In my current relationship, I, too struggled with jealousy and envy towards my boyfriend's secondary (when he had one.) I didn't know her and hadn't been with him long enough to establish deep trust, which didn't help. It's what GalaGirl said about metamour being a vulnerable position. You lost some trust because of broken agreements and pushed boundaries, and now you're trying to relax and hope the hinge can handle both partners without further drama. Kudos for trying to work through it!
 

MONELLA28

New member
My husband isn't a reader, so I kind of forced him to read an article and his secondary is quite well versed in polyam from years of practice. She's been guiding him. He's actually doing pretty well adjusting, certainly he's been better at this than I have been. I am surprised 😮and oddly a smidge off put with his lack of struggle. (But not in a way that's at all reflected in a negative fashion towards him) it's just more of my preconceived notions that I was going to transition easily and he was going to struggle. It's been quite the opposite. He's actually helped me get ready for my dates...and has been so kind and supportive 😌. I am fortunate.

I also agree that none of the "missteps" were malicious but based on inexperienced. 😉
 

MONELLA28

New member
Hello MONELLA28,

Here is a thread that may help you: How do you achieve compersion? If you want, I can post other links on jealousy. Let me know if that would be helpful.

Here's an article that may help you: The Most Skipped Step When Opening a Relationship. It is the forum's go-to link, if you will, for disentanglement.

It seems to me that the biggest problem here, is that your husband made a rule that neither of you would catch any feelings for any other people ... and then he went right out and caught some feelings for his current girlfriend. It's as if he was saying, "This is important to me, more than important it is vital." Then he went out and did actions that said, "This doesn't matter to me." So it was like he was lying. He lied to you. No wonder your trust was broken.

I think it is going to take a long time to rebuild that trust, and I'm not sure that he should be seeing the woman with whom he broke that trust, especially not when the trust hasn't even been rebuilt yet. I don't know what he would be willing to do. Would he be willing to break up with his girlfriend? Would he be willing to take a break with her, at least until the trust has been restored for you? If not, maybe that says something about his true feelings for you.

I don't blame you for being upset.
Sincerely,
Kevin T.
 

MONELLA28

New member
Hi Kevin!! That article felt like it was written from my own personal experiences. I read it together with my husband and he asked, when was this written? Yesterday?? We both really identified with it. Thank you for the link and yes please, if you've got articles on jealousy, I'd be very eager to read them as well. Thank you for helping us in our journey ❤
 

tdh

Member
@MONELLA28 Think 2 reads that could help you right now is the Rules Vs. Agreements chapter and the Hierarchical Relationship chapter in the book "More than Two". The very short summary:

1) Rules are inflexible and hard. Agreements can be renegotiated by all partners.
2) Hierarchical designs are focused on the viewed "primary couple" and things that happen that break the primary couple bubble end up really hurting all relationships.

There are other good bits in those chapters but worth a look. However, and I agree the "do not fall in love" rule was not practical, think part of the issue here is him doing without even giving you a heads up. The violation is it feels you were stil lied to either about the rule or the relationship or what your relationship meant or...

Everyone forgets in any ethically non-monogamous relationship cheating can still happen. Usually this comes from communication breaking down via things like lying, deceit or inflexibility. That is a decision only you can make if that happened or not.

Then you have the extra issue of the past. The past feelings can be brought back up if the patterns are similar which is why you are surprised at your reaction it seems. But just because you update the type of relationship does not wipe out the issues of the past.
 
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