First poly experience - Crashed but recovering

Shaya

New member
Hi,

I'm new here and need help. I have found comments in here that seem to be honest and insightful. My aim in writing my intro story would be to benefit from the community's feedback. Take off your kiddie gloves. I would welcome any feedback that is constructive and helpful.

My intro story is unusual, involving my wife and I attempting polyamory to save our monogamous relationship by incorporating her (emotional) affair partner. It didn't work, but somehow my wife and I are still together, struggling, recovering, and I wonder if we have a future or even a poly future ahead of us despite the hurt so far. As far as intro stories go, I find it similar to Al99's but with obvious time-frame differences. I would be keen if people could point out other similar ones to me and help me with my goals in healing from this crash.
 

Shaya

New member
My wife and I are in our mid thirties. We have dated for 12 years monogamously, lived together for 10, married for 3, no children. We are each others' first relationship. Neither of us have felt jealousy before. My wife and I both identify intellectually with the philosophy of polyamory but moved too quickly when changing our monogamous relationship to that of polyamory.

We failed in our attempt in polyamory because:
  • Of an intellectual-emotional discrepancy in our acceptance of polyamory.
  • An eagerness to escalate the affair partner into a model of polyamory in an unrealistically short time-frame on a background of competing priorities that were more important than polyamory.
  • We underestimated the power of jealousy.
  • We underestimated the impact of New Relationship Energy (NRE) on the vulnerable relationship between my wife and I during this transition period from monogamy to polyamory (she was too excited about her new relationship without compensating for its impact on us).
  • Lack of agreement on boundaries because of NRE and jealousy pulling in opposite directions.

The history:
My wife and I are monogamous. My wife and the other man had a 6-month history of (potential) flirting. I left for an overseas funeral and during those few days, my wife and the other man disclosed their feelings for each other without my knowledge and had subsequent private meet-ups and emails of an emotional nature. Their discussion topics included a possible future together, jobs, children and airing our rather private relationship issues without my consent and without discussing firstly with me that she was considering leaving. My wife stopped contact with him before my return, for fear of it escalating into a full-scale affair. I am grateful for her in stopping it after a few short days. I realize how difficult this must have been for her.

We did not think or label this as an emotional affair at the time despite it being a true betrayal of trust and love. I was able to overlook it because I felt she was hurting more than me. Our relationship was rocky and I was considering leaving not because of anger or hurt, but more so that she could move on and explore the relationships with other men that she had been craving for years. Apart from a craving for other men, we probably had a good relationship with minimal other problems (possibly debatable, but let's not derail the story. It really is/was a good relationship and absolutely worth saving in my opinion).

The word polyamory came up 3 weeks later. We took to the concept like ducks to the water. Suddenly, she could rationalize loving two men at the same time. She could have her cake and eat it too. I didn't have to forcibly change myself to become the man she wanted in life – she could enjoy these things in other men.

I was overwhelmed with what I now know to be compersion. Watching her fall in love and smile... I felt like I was falling in love a second time with emotions so strong I'd only felt it stronger once before and that was when I first started dating my wife. I was truly happy for her. Our relationship improved dramatically, both physically and emotionally.

I blitzed 80 hours of research on the subject and on day 6 after discovering the word polyamory, we went to the affair partner with a plan. I thought the plan generous. I felt I could give them any intimacy they wanted starting with a first date on day 16 including overnights after that if that was the direction their relationship took as long as clothes stayed on. I felt that a safe sex talk was needed before clothes came off. I felt that in time, I would be able to remove all other sexual boundaries. Please bear in mind that I had never heard the term polyamory or even considered non-monogamy 6 days ago. I felt progressive. I felt proud of my ability to make my wife happy. I was filled with compersion.

I thought it went well, but my wife did not appreciate some of the boundaries I had set despite having agreed to those boundaries in private with me earlier that day. She became angry and it seemed to me that all the work I had done was inadequate. 6 days of non stop work was deemed by her to be insufficient. She later apologized for being angry but later that night voiced that the other man was the best thing ever and had no faults whilst all the boundaries and subtle friction during the conversation earlier was my fault and that I hadn't tried hard enough to prepare for this very important first meeting. I was crushed. Something green consumed me and I didn't recognize it for what it was. I swore at him. She thought I was crazy. I cried all night and had zero sleep, calling in sick to work the next day which landed me in employee-mandated psychological counseling for the first time in my life and fearing for my re-employment opportunities.

Polyamory has a way of working its way into the smallest insecurities in you and hurting you in ways you never thought possible. I was hurting. She seemed to care sometimes, but wasn't able to stop. She still wanted him. I was getting uncomfortable because this had started as an emotional affair in which he had said he would have been happy with a full-blown affair if he hadn't known me personally. I said his comment and the way in which the relationship started made me feel insecure. I was jealous because I felt insecure. She said jealousy didn't come from insecurities. I wanted to stop polyamory or slow down. She didn't. I felt that polyamory was a gift I was giving to her, she felt it was her right. We didn't have the insight at the time to voice it quite like that. We were sleep deprived, day 7 of coming across the word polyamory. We clearly did not understand jealousy at all.

He wasn't actually involved in the picture physically after that. He was away somewhere. But the coming days involved daily arguments on boundaries. We agreed I was at a crossroads in life with other priorities that took precedence and agreed to a set of temporary boundaries for 4 weeks, allowing contact as long as such contact would not provoke my jealousy. We cemented this with exact details about what contact meant. However, she woke every day demanding more, bending every boundary, distracting me from my other priorities. I felt drained and tired. I was unable to focus on anything else. I felt that NRE was consuming her in an unhealthy way and to give in to its demands could lead to my jealousy, destroying my other priorities in life which only needed 4 more weeks of peace to attain.

In the end, it didn't work. Agreed boundaries kept having different meanings to each of us. My other priorities were going nowhere. I felt crushed. I felt like a failure. I'd promised my wife polyamory and I delighted in her happiness then stole the light from her. We felt we'd messed with the other man's emotions unfairly. Her NRE was exhaustingly creative in finding a way around every boundary including our final 'no contact in any way, shape or form forever' implemented on day 20.

No contact forever finally meant the same thing to my wife and I by day 40.

I learned at the end of this that NRE has an unhealthy way of bending boundaries. Equivalently, boundaries (even temporary boundaries) can be difficult to maintain in the face of NRE.
 

Shaya

New member
Summary of issues:
Trying polyamory with the intent to fix a relationship is like having a baby to fix a relationship. I believe the hurt I feel is similar to that of the wronged partner in an emotional affair. I feel as if my wife abused my love for her and hurt me psychologically even after my consent for polyamory was withdrawn. I feel I was emotionally manipulated into bending boundaries in order to further her pursuit of NRE, with manipulations that included pleas, tears, anger, logic and even the threat of divorce. My partner's limerence or obsession blinded her to my pain which was manifesting in a way that was impacting my job, my other priorities and my psychological well being. A big reason for the hurt is due to my inability to transition from a monogamous world view to a polyamorous world view in the required time-frame of my wife. I felt that my wife saw my hurt but ignored it in her quest for a relationship with her affair partner. My hurt is less than that of most affairs due to the short duration, but at the same time more than that of most affairs because of the way she took the love that I had demonstrated for her in sanctioning her affair and destroying me with this love. Even now, Day 50, I don't think she really understands how gut-wrenchingly difficult this has been for me. I feel that giving your wife the freedom to explore another man after 12 years of a monogamous relationship is a really hard transition to demand of someone in less than a fortnight of preparation. You may say that the time-frame was suicidally short. I agree. But the NRE was strong and actually wanted it quicker.

Direction of our relationship:
I feel I have given an unfair representation of the issues, focusing only on the negatives. The essay is long enough as it is and I need to keep it brief. I would remind you that my wife and I have 12 years of history, a shared philosophy and have previously been able to resolve most differences or arguments before sleeping. Her lack of honesty in starting the emotional affair is uncharacteristic of her otherwise sincere personality and casts our communication skills in an unfair light. Compared to most of the (monogamous) relationships we know, our communication skills rank highly.

We are in agreement that we need to focus on rebuilding what we have together before delving into polyamory again. We may also decide we are unsuited for polyamory or even unsuited to be together.

Things that will need to change in myself and in our relationship seem to include many principles of polyamory, even if we are not practicing polyamorists, including recognition that:
  • The individuals in a relationship are more important than the relationship.
    - I have to love my wife more than I love the relationship that I have with her. An example of loving the relationship more than my wife is when I (monogamously) insist my wife bury her feelings for another man in order to preserve our relationship. This has to change.​
  • Self sufficiency.
    - My self esteem cannot be based on my wife's approval of me, but rather on my own worth as a person.​
    - Self sufficiency breaks the cycle of co-dependency. I don't believe we are co-dependent but like many long-term couples, we probably have some aspects of co-dependency that need addressing.​
    - Spend time on my own hobbies and friends.​
  • Be able to transition to a more loving relationship with my wife based on the benefit we add to each others' lives rather than remaining together due societal expectations of monogamy.
  • Recognizing new relationship energy and jealousy, including how to manage them or experience them positively.
  • Presuming we undertake polyamory in the future, I have to come to terms with multiple possibilities of abandonment including:
    - Being option B as my wife searches for a monogamous option A, possibly under the guise of polyamory.​
    - Starting a family (i.e. children) with my wife and then having her choose to move in with another man instead (in essence, a divorce from the kids' perspective even if we remained friendly).​
    - My wife choosing to start a family with another man (this is a big issue for me. I have wanted children for years now, with my wife hesitatingly agreeing but not wanting children right now due to work commitments. If she were to choose to have children with another man in the near future instead of with me, I feel that I will likely be crushed).​
  • Recovering from the betrayal of this event.
    - I need to trust that my wife is cares for me. More specifically, that she can manage her emotional desires (or NRE) healthily if they conflict with my well being in future.​
    - I need to believe that my wife can be honest with me and with herself.​

I would conclude by saying that putting my story out here feels healthy for me and thank you for reading. I have found few similar stories of others in a monogamous framework who transitioned from affair to polyamory but I have never heard of one that succeeded beyond a few months.



I was hoping the community here would be able to:
  • Link me to other similar stories of either successes or failures in similar situations. Hearing others with an inability to give their significant others their affair partner may restore my self esteem as part of me still feels like a failure. At the same time, I would cherish any bitter-sweet tales of what it might have been like for me and my wife had I not been forced to juggle my competing priorities. My compersion is strong. Hearing success stories will make me feel that what we were struggling for may actually have been possible and makes me feel that all the hurt I have endured could have been worth it.
  • Be up front and radically honest with me and my story please. If you feel I'm being unfair with my wife either now or in further posts, I want to hear it.
  • Be up front and radically honest with me about my goals and self improvement plan.

Being honest with people in general can be hard, but hopefully the anonymity of the internet makes it easier. Also, I would be really grateful for any shared insights. I have read many other stories and felt that the people on this forum have been truly honest in their suggestions and surprisingly deep in their comments. I really feel that I have an opportunity to learn from your constructive feedback.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Greetings Shaya,
Welcome to our forum. Please feel free to lurk, browse, etc.

Transitioning from an affair into poly is difficult and a lot of people believe it's impossible, especially if the other person in the affair is brought on board as part of the transition. I don't think it's impossible but I do think it requires a ton of time and patience. On the order of a year (or more). In those cases where it is possible. It depends on the individuals involved, and how the details are handled.

FWIW, I think you were exceptionally smart to do as much research as you did. Even if it wasn't enough to keep things from falling apart, it was enough to help you recover from all that, and might have been enough to save the original arrangement if your wife had done her research as well (and recognized the effects of NRE). Polyamory isn't an easy proposition; people who dive in without doing a great deal of research tend to drown, even if there was no affair at the beginning. Unfortunately Polyamory.com can't give everyone fair warning about that. We usually have to help diagnose what went wrong after the fact. People don't turn to us for counsel soon enough. They don't know that they need to.

Certainly you made some mistakes along the way, but overall I think you did much better than average, it's just that your wife wanted things to progress much faster than you were able to do, being new to poly and certainly influenced by the fact that she'd had an affair. Her lack of patience was a costly error, but NRE is a powerful concoction, and impairs judgment, so I don't blame her either. Sometimes you have to learn from experience.

I encourage you to continue participating on this site, reading and posting, sharing your thoughts, questions, and concern as we go along. You'll find it beneficial even if you do steer away from poly in the future. Thanks for sharing your story in this thread, people can benefit from your experience.

Sincerely,
Kevin T., "official greeter"

Notes:

There's a *lot* of good info in Golden Nuggets. Have a look!

Please read through the guidelines if you haven't already.

Note: You needn't read every reply to your posts, especially if someone posts in a disagreeable way. Given the size and scope of the site it's hard not to run into the occasional disagreeable person. Please contact the mods if you do (or if you see any spam), and you can block the person if you want.

If you have any questions about the board itself, please private-message a mod and they'll do their best to help.

Welcome aboard!
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
I am glad you realized that "relationship broken, add more people" is not the way to go. You have a lot of layers going on. I'm not sure I can address them all.

OPENING TOO FAST/FOR WRONG REASONS

It sounds like you tried poly mainly to "not loose her." Is that true? :confused:

One can go from cheating to poly but it is rare that the spouse's cheating partner remains in the network.

http://felislunae.org/relationships-love/coming-clean/

You sound like it was intense poly hell for you, while wife was not seeing that. Opening a bit too fast in order to please her maybe. And her being a poor hinge -- eyes full of the New Person and taking you/your experience a bit for granted. Even out to manipulative/abusive places. That's not good. :(

You have a list of things to work on for you, which I think is a good start. I hope on her list she's included "stop manipualting/abusing" and "become a better hinge."

Also "take personal responsibility" on her list.

my wife did not appreciate some of the boundaries I had set despite having agreed to those boundaries in private with me earlier that day. She became angry and it seemed to me that all the work I had done was inadequate. 6 days of non stop work was deemed by her to be insufficient. She later apologized for being angry but later that night voiced that the other man was the best thing ever and had no faults whilst all the boundaries and subtle friction during the conversation earlier was my fault and that I hadn't tried hard enough to prepare for this very important first meeting.

When she makes agreements she later is angry about? Why did she agree? She could be mad at her own self, and ask to renegotiate agreements rather than blow up at you. She could also bring her OWN suggestions for agreements to the table rather than leave it all up to you and later get mad that her needs are met. That's not fair.

UNSTABLE SITUATION

I said his comment and the way in which the relationship started made me feel insecure. I was jealous because I felt insecure. She said jealousy didn't come from insecurities.

You are in an insecure situation. Of COURSE you feel insecure. You wife started an emotional affair with Dude thinking about leaving you. Then you both rushed too fast into a poly "V" with Dude. Then wife acts out at you because you aren't a mind reader (when she doesn't bring her suggestions for agreements to the table and she agrees to your suggestion even if they don't suit her) and you aren't "fast enough" (when most people take years talking about Opening).

How's any of this behavior help to bring stability? I hope both of you have "go slower" on your lists.

Jealousy is a flag emotion. You are afraid someone will take what you have.
Envy is also a flag emotion. You want something someone else has.

You guys could talk about jealousy management.
http://www.practicalpolyamory.com/images/Jealousy_Updated_10-6-10.pdf

I was jealous because I felt insecure. She said jealousy didn't come from insecurities.

She could work on LISTENING when you express yourself rather than shoot it down like you cannot be feeling that or what you feel is "wrong." You are the one inside you. You are the one who knows how you feel. Not people outside of you.

If she doesn't want to talk about it? Better she "own" her stuff and stay "I hear you say that you feel this way. At this time, I don't want to talk about it." rather than "You don't feel that." More "I statements" rather than "you statements."

ARE YOU HEALTHY TOGETHER?

We are in agreement that we need to focus on rebuilding what we have together before delving into polyamory again. We may also decide we are unsuited for polyamory or even unsuited to be together.

That's being more realistic than you were being before in trying to Open so fast with her cheating affair partner.. But I think you have it flipped. It could be this... I quote just to visually block it off.

Decide if we are suited to be together in a healthy way.
  • If not, part ways now.
  • If yes... be together HOW? Decide if we are healthiest together polyamorous or not.
    • If no poly, set poly aside. Work on rebuilding what we have together so we can function together better.
    • If yes poly, work rebuilding what we have together before delving into polyamory again and this time don't rush it.
Better to fix the broken relationship or end the broken relationship so whatever you start next is "clean."

These are hub pages that lead to more reading:

If you decide to try poly again, I strongly suggest you read these two together early on and talk about how to combat that in future:

http://www.practicalpolyamory.com/images/A._Wagner_-_Avoid_the_Pitfalls_of_Polyamory.pdf

http://www.kathylabriola.com/articles/are-you-in-poly-hell

LEAVING

But before you even do that... talk about the reasons for leaving. It sounds like both of you wanted to part ways at the start.

my wife and the other man disclosed their feelings for each other without my knowledge and had subsequent private meet-ups and emails of an emotional nature. Their discussion topics included a possible future together, jobs, children and airing our rather private relationship issues without my consent and without discussing firstly with me that she was considering leaving.

Our relationship was rocky and I was considering leaving not because of anger or hurt, but more so that she could move on and explore the relationships with other men that she had been craving for years.

Either of you could have parted ways at that point cleaner. That's better then rushing into a wonky "V" situation.

Are the reasons for leaving before still there for each of you?

Why are you wanting to stay with her at this point in time? Especially after all the manipulations/abuse/threat of divorce?

(cont.)
 
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GalaGirl

Well-known member
BIGGEST ISSUE -- ABUSIVE BEHAVIOR

I left it for last, but to me this is the biggest issue. You have worth, dignity and value. You deserve to be treated well.

I feel as if my wife abused my love for her and hurt me psychologically even after my consent for polyamory was withdrawn. I feel I was emotionally manipulated into bending boundaries in order to further her pursuit of NRE, with manipulations that included pleas, tears, anger, logic and even the threat of divorce. My partner's limerence or obsession blinded her to my pain which was manifesting in a way that was impacting my job, my other priorities and my psychological well being. A big reason for the hurt is due to my inability to transition from a monogamous world view to a polyamorous world view in the required time-frame of my wife. I felt that my wife saw my hurt but ignored it in her quest for a relationship with her affair partner.

Your wife is not treating you well. These behaviors do not build trust, safety, or security. They tear you down.

She had wanted to leave earlier. Why didn't she simply say she wanted a divorce rather than move into emotional manipulation? What's the reason for her staying? Does she get off on treating you bad? Or gets off on you "making it up to her" later like an ego trip?:confused:

If she threatened divorce, I wonder why you did not agree? In order to relieve yourself of all this pain you were experiencing? Divorce is not fun, but it has a clear end point, and you can move on to creating your own stability in the next chapter of your life.

The individuals in a relationship are more important than the relationship.
- I have to love my wife more than I love the relationship that I have with her. An example of loving the relationship more than my wife is when I (monogamously) insist my wife bury her feelings for another man in order to preserve our relationship. This has to change.

The people are more important than the relationship shape. Why are you framing it all around your wife though? Aren't you an individual in the relationship? Why is is not something like...

"The individuals in a relationship are more important than the relationship. We each have to love ourselves at least 51% more than we love our spouse. That way we don't let out soft feelings for our spouse lead us into self damaging behavior."

Think about leaving vs. staying. Is it healthiest for you to part ways? If so, put your energies into a good parting rather than taking the "long way around" to get there. Poly is not a "bandaid" for relationship issues. Deal with them head on.

She thought I was crazy. I cried all night and had zero sleep, calling in sick to work the next day which landed me in employee-mandated psychological counseling for the first time in my life and fearing for my re-employment opportunities.

She does all this provoking behavior and thinks you are "crazy?" Jeez!

If she valued being with Dude and wasn't wanting to be with you any more, the respectful decent thing to do it part ways. Not decide to abuse you.

I hope this is a wake up call to you. You have been under extreme stress and you have to stop doing this like this. You may love someone a whole lot, even up to 49% of your love. But the rest of the 51% of your love you save to love YOU. That prevents you from allowing your soft feelings for someone to cause you to do self damaging behavior. Not even for someone you love should you hurt your own self. You have been staying in a wonky poly V and it has been hurting you in all kinds of ways. :(

If your wife is not willing to change her poor behaviors? Then in order for you to become healthier? You might have to change your "staying-ness" in order to get away from this level of stress. You do not need a nervous break down over this.

You might leave with regrets, but you still leave because you love YOU more than anyone else. This is not being selfish. This is NECESSARY in order to be healthy. If staying with her behaving like this is hurting you THIS bad that you are crying, not sleeping for days and now having to attend employee-mandated psychological counseling?

This has to STOP.

Sometimes in life the choices are not "win or lose" but "this stinks and this stinks... which stinks least?"

I suggest you do some soul searching to decide what option stinks least.

  • She demonstrates improved behaviors and you try poly again together.
  • Just not putting the energy into another polyamory attempt and simply parting ways.

If you are feeling unsafe and insecure in your present relationship, and the abusive/manipulative behaviors will not be stopping? I think it would serve your health better to simply walk away.

NRE may cloud judgement just as drinking alcohol clouds judgement. But we still hold drunks accountable if they behave poorly -- like DUI's. I don't see why you cannot hold wife's behavior accountable. She might be in NRE, but there's no need to go abusing or manipulating you.

You were ok with her seeing Dude, but you might not be ok with her treating you this way.

Galagirl
 
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Shaya

New member
Thank you Gala girl for the effort and insight in your comments. I'd like to defend my wife. My story above is one-sided. It does not adequately cover the confusion, exhiliration, exhaustion and hurt of my wife on this roller coaster ride of hers. She has had 10 years of struggling with having feelings for other men whilst knowing in her heart that she loved me. In a monogamous framework, she kept feeling aweful for lusting for other men whilst grappling with her love for me. She was unable to separate lust and the feeling of falling in love, with actual growing in love that takes years to mature that anyone in a committed relationship can attest to. To her, the feelings she had for other men were a contradiction to the love she had for me. She felt she loved me, but was unable to see how this could be true given her feelings for others. Monogamy is not equipped to adequately deal with the duality of these emotions and society tends to recommend divorce.

My wife's only excuse for her actions in the last few weeks is that she feels she was drunk on NRE. We feel the word limerence describes it better in this case. Forgiveness is a vague word and I'm not sure she has it yet though I have no doubt that in time she will. Trust is something I'm less sure about. She feels her displayed behaviour was selfish and insensitive to my needs. We were both sleep deprived and weren't communicating as well as we usually do. Our communication has always been based on logic in the past with excellent resolution of conflict. This conflict was based on emotions and we had difficulty understanding where the other was coming from. We didn't understand NRE, we didn't understand jealousy. We've also never seriously dated anyone else before each other so these emotions were all new for us.

I'd like to work on our relationship now. After a certain timeframe, I want to take a look around and see what this new relationship we have is like. The old relationship is dead. My marriage vows are dead - they were based on monogamy. First day of poly for us (first time we heard the word poly) was 55 days ago. Our relationship is fundamentally different now, both on her end and my end. I want to give the new relationship a chance to grow and see what we have. People in affair-recovery (which is what I feel like I'm going through) often say that they can end up with a much better relationship than they ever thought possible. Even if our new relationship is not polyamorous, our new relationship will embrace many polyamorous ideas like the individuals in a relationship are more important than the relationship, she does not have to feel like a slut or villain when developing sexual attraction for other men, I do not need to change to become the everything-perfect-man my wife wants, jealousy as an interpersonal control mechanism, a conscious decision to choose monogamy based on intent rather than on control, and so on.

I want to thank you for your suggested resources. Not to brag, but I estimate I've put 500 hours into this endeavour over the last 55 days. You had a few new resources for me which I look forward to reading. Thank you Galagirl and kdt for welcoming me to the forums. I would be interested in hearing more thoughts, especially ones that can help me rationalise my wife's actions or sharing similar intro stories.
 
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GalaGirl

Well-known member
If you two have decided to try to make repairs? And you have apologized to each other for poor behaviors, have plans to make amends, and are looking to improve in future?

I would suggest you start here:

We were both sleep deprived and weren't communicating as well as we usually do. Our communication has always been based on logic in the past with excellent resolution of conflict. This conflict was based on emotions and we had difficulty understanding where the other was coming from.

Learn not do do serious relationship talks while HAALT. (Hungry, angry, anxious, lonely, tired.)

Learn to stop talking after 20-30 minutes. Don't try to do marathon sessions. It helps prevent emotional flooding and some problems simply NEED multi sessions.

Not to brag, but I estimate I've put 500 hours into this endeavour over the last 55 days
I wonder why you keep bringing up how many hours in a short amount of time you have clocked.

You likely spend 8 hours at work 5 days a week. PLUS another 9 hours each day dealing with this poly stuff over the last 2 months? Sounds like you made it be your second full time job. Even on the weekends you are still working. That behavior sounds like it ADDED to your tiredness and then to your stress. You aren't taking good care of you when you skimp on rest. :(

Is it because you are uncomfortable sitting with anxiety? And wanted it to "go away" fast? :confused:

What did you think was going to happen if you did not "solve it right away?" :confused:

Learn to tell the difference between "important" and "urgent."

Some things are important AND urgent. You chop off your fingers mowing the lawn? That's important AND urgent and you need to go to ER right away!

Some things are important, but not urgent. They may FEEL urgent, but not actually urgent.

This NRE drunkeness making her feel desperate and all... if she wants to keep both partners in good health, she learns to sit with her uncomfortable emotions and impatience. Same for you -- if you are anxious and trying "to get it over with faster" or something. Learn to sit with it. Some things TAKE TIME to do well. Establishing a well functioning V is not supposed to be a sprint or race.

Some things are urgent, but not important. Last issue of the magazine. If you want to have uninterrupted magazines, you have to get on it and turn in the renewal card NOW. But if you don't, not the end of the world. Turn in the card late and just pick up the "missing" issue at the bookstore.

Some things are neither important nor urgent. You can take or leave it. Pizza or chinese for dinner. Doesn't matter what so long as you get a break from cooking dinner.​

When you talk together and review the recent past, think about where HAALT may have helped. Or where the litmus test of

What type thing is this...
  • important AND urgent?
  • important but not urgent.
  • not important but urgent
  • neither important nor urgent

could have helped.

Polyamory is a challenging relationship model. You cannot treat EVERYTHING about it like it is "Important and urgent" or you guys are going to burn out fast.

Hope things work out like you want them to.

GL!
Galagirl
 
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Shaya

New member
Thanks Galagirl,

I think that's the sort of feedback I need to go forward. Advice on burnout. I'd subconsciously known it but don't think I was practising it. 500 hours in 55 weeks is stupid. Not something to be proud of at all. For those curious, it stems from fear of losing my marriage.

The healthier approach would be to take a break from all this for now.
 
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GalaGirl

Well-known member
Do take a break from thinking so much about the poly stuff. When you are better rested, think about learning to stand more on your own.

I am going to guess. I might guess wrong.

You listed this in your things to work on:

The individuals in a relationship are more important than the relationship.

So when you take on poly-processing as a second full time job...

For those curious, it stems from fear of losing my marriage.

Is that you valuing the relationship first or the valuing health of the individual people first? (You are one of the individuals.)

I wonder if you were trying to be "Superman" Doing all this rapid processing even if it costs you rest and dinged your health because you wanted her to approve of you or value you.

You listed this:

Self sufficiency.
- My self esteem cannot be based on my wife's approval of me, but rather on my own worth as a person.

I think "self esteem" is being able to feel proud of your behavior. It is hard to feel proud of your behavior if you behave in ways that are less than self honoring and self respecting. When you shortchange yourself on rest, ruminate, stress out your mental health... that's simply not taking good care of you.

It's hard to feel proud of doing that to yourself. :(

Why this fear of losing your marriage? What do you think is going to happen? Can you not stand on your own two feet?

If you have relied on you "performing" and then your wife "validating the performance" for you to be able to feel good about yourself?

I could see why you would fear losing your wife as a validating tool if you don't know how to self-validate.

I could also see why you fear NOT performing or being out-performed. You are always "on trial" and you are only as good as your last performance.

But isn't that something you could work on? Learn to self-validate so you can STOP having to "perform?" Love doesn't have to be PROVEN over and over. It's simply shared.

When you can self-validate directly? Then you don't need indirect self validation. You can STOP jumping through hoops to please your wife so you can feel good about yourself. (She might not even want the job of being your validator/constant re-assurer.)

Then you are staying together with your wife because you CHOOSE to be there, truly.

Rather than you are staying together because you fear being alone/apart/need her to prop you up.

Maybe something to think about later when you organize your self improvement list as to which ones to want to tackle first?


Galagirl
 
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JaneQSmythe

Active member
Thank you for sharing your experience, you write very well.

My own relationship with Dude was initiated in a "almost cheating" scenario (Which can be read about in my Journey blog - the Jackassery section starting at post #21) - we came out the other side but it was not an easy road (this was 6 years ago now). On the other hand, I had always identified as poly from the very beginning of my relationship with MrS (25 years ago) - so the concept was not alien.

One of the most important aspects in our recovery, I believe, was the area of trust and forgiveness. I wrote about my take on this in my thread Trust Broken...and Re-Built.

(-- Going back now to read others' replies :eek:)
 

Magdlyn

Well-known member
Speaking of false urgency, Shaya, you and GG had your conversation all in ONE DAY. I am tired just reading it.

You sound very intelligent. Your OP reads like a Master's thesis. Your intense journey of reading sounds extremely exhausting. You sure did push yourself hard!

GG often takes new members at their word and recommends immediate separation/divorce. I understand you don't want to split up a long term relationship 55 days after a problem surfaces. We are also getting your story from only your side. I don't believe your wife was "manipulating or abusing" you with her tears and indecisiveness. She is just as new to this as you. She was, and is, suffering, as you are. If your job recommended counseling to you, I believe your wife is just as confused and upset, despite the "happy hormones" of her NRE. She might still feel evil and slutty when she sees your distress.

People who always put others first, as you put your wife first, often have poor self esteem. You seem aware of this. I am sure it will sink in more as the months go by. You want to be loved, by your wife. Also by your future children, without whom, even hypothetically, you feel you will be "crushed."

I see much of this problem stemming from your marriage of long duration being your only romantic relationship, for both of you. Most people these days date or at least hook up with, several people... or many people! before choosing one (or not choosing one). You live and learn about relationships this way. One's first relationship (often in high school or just afterwards) is a "starter relationship." Certain aspects will be unique to just the two of you. More experience with different people with a large range of personalities will give you more material to work with. Some people are calmer, some more kind, some more physically beautiful, some from large families, some orphans, some career driven and wealthy, some more laid back. Some who like to travel, some who are homebodies, some who have gotten degrees, some who have gone into careers as blue collar workers. Some religious, some atheist. Some from homes of abuse, some from a more healthy home. And so on. The variety is infinite.

Your response to your current situation is largely based on your lack of experience with a range of partners, with relationships of differing intensity and style.

You also say you lack your own friends and hobbies. You do sound co-dependent. It's not your fault, our society still encourages us to find The One and "settle down" asap. It's not very healthy. Two becoming one is in Christianity and in advertisements. It's not reality. We are all individuals, more or less linked as personalities meld or clash.

I also feared being alone. I did have 11 lovers before I chose The One. But I was only 19 (started dating at 15, having intercourse at 16) when I chose him. So I settled for a man that adored me, worshiped me. He had low self esteem and was extremely jealous if I so much as looked at another man (and he wasn't comfortable with my bisexual nature either). I seemed to take it as a sign of his deep love for me, his possessiveness. Later, I found it to be a burden.

We did stay together 30 years. After 10 years together, we had children. He immediately became envious of the time and energy I expended on their care, since it robbed him of time and care. They were his competitors!

At year 20 we delved into polyamory (1999). Our children were older now and we had time to experiment. I'd always felt poly but didn't have a word for it. Unfortunately, I went in thinking we could have a FMF triad. We found a woman but as often happens, she fell in love with him, and vice versa, and I was, I felt, left out in the cold.

We separated 8 years later and divorce followed. Because it took so long to circle the drain and flush away, I was emotionally fine when we finally broke up. But I do regret staying so long. It was a tragic rollercoaster. I shrank myself to placate my husband, in an effort to feel I had "tried everything." This was a mistake.

Happy ending is I am now rather successfully polyamorous, with a poly nesting partner whom I met soon after my marriage ended.
 

Al99

Active member
Hi, Shaya - we've been on a Spring Break vacation with our young daughter so I have been off line from the forum for several days - but did want to take a minute to welcome you to the Forum - especially since you referenced my introductory post in your original post.

We're a few months into this now - about 3.5 months since the first conversation and just over two months since the "consummation" (first sex since college, first overnight). It's an ldr so their physical time together is limited but Becky has had two overnights now and an afternoon rendezvous - with the next overnight coming up in a few days. The road has been occasionally bumpy but we are making steady progress - and although this may not have been the path that I would have chosen for us - the truth is that our marriage is probably stronger than it has ever been - with less arguments, more laughs, and hotter sex.

Hope all is going well for you folks.

Best,

Al
 
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Ravenscroft

Banned
Shaya, I totally defer here to the posts by Magdlyn & GalaGirl.

I would only add that you MUST slow down let more time elapse. Your blitz-learning methods are admirable for me... but that's because I'm a bit ADD & OCD :cool: & thus also very aware whata razor-edge dance this can be. So I'll tell ya, you CANNOT pound polyamory into your head, & obsessing WON'T help.

Getting acclimated to a massive paradigm shift (like polyamory) takes TIME. It's like developing muscle memory --
When a movement is repeated over time, a long-term muscle memory is created for that task, eventually allowing it to be performed without conscious effort.

This process decreases the need for attention and creates maximum efficiency within the motor and memory systems. Examples of muscle memory are found in many everyday activities that become automatic and improve with practice...
Actually, now that I consider, it's even more basic than that. I'm trying to get back into regular gym visits, after a series of setbacks (bruised back, foot problems, & more). For me, the aches set in ~40 hours after a workout. At first, just simple routines left me feeling terrible, even though I was stretching more fully & cautiously than before, & the weights were about HALF what I used to use for even a casual workout.

Those pains DID NOT in any way mean I'd "failed." Matter of fact, they indicated I was succeeding; knowing that, I feel encouraged every time I loosen up a stiff joint.

Soon enough, I was ramping up again, & the aches are a little less every time.

It hurts to grow. Learn to tell "good pain" from "bad pain."
 

Shaya

New member
Thank you JaneQSmythe, Magdlyn and Galagirl. You all have good insight into my situation.

I wrote my intro post at a time when feeling hurt and vulnerable. There are few people in real life whom I feel I can tell the story and the feedback I have obtained has been minimal. In hindsight and with a clearer head now, I realise I wrote my story because I felt I needed support and a way to sort through my emotions. I regret some of what I wrote, in particular the parts which seem to cast my wife negatively. While the hurt I felt was real and I feel I have a right to express my hurt towards her in a constructive manner that enables us to learn from the experience, allowing strangers to use my hurt to judge her seems disrespectful. This is especially true since you see events only through my own polarised lens.

There is the often-used cliche of an emotional roller coaster ride. It's definitely applicable to myself. I feel better already after 3 days of rest. Galagirl's suggestion of HALTT is definitely useful.

We are day 60 now post hearing the term polyamory. Our future efforts will be on relationship building and trust. The aim will be to see what our new relationship is like and if it is a relationship we both want. To this end, I look forward to reading JaneQSmythe's recommended post as I feel trust is a huge thing for us to rebuild. At the same time, how does one rebuild trust in such a situation without taking on another lover? I already trust my wife in almost every aspect of life, with the single exception in 12 years being when she was filled with NRE for someone else. How does one rebuild trust in such a situation without going through the situation again?

I thank you all for being a wonderful sounding-board for me to bounce my feelings off and for not immediately being critical of my wife. She understands what she has done and is also struggling to make sense of it. We are both committed towards learning from our past mistakes and to create a better future for ourselves.
 

Shaya

New member
For others who read this post in future, my advice would be that transitioning from a previously monogamous relationship into a polyamorous relationship that involves an affair partner is more challenging than one would expect. Polyamory is difficult enough that the majority of the population shy away from it. Processing an affair is also difficult. Even if neither of those two pose any intellectual difficulty for you (they didn't pose any difficulty for me initially), the combination of the two has a way of working itself into finding the chinks in your armor of insecurity, magnifying the difficulty of both polyamory and affair recovery. In addition to this, you are likely to find yourself struggling to make this work in the context of a fairly-advanced NRE. My advice to the affair pair is to look towards the third member of your trio and try to transition from monogamy to polyamory at the rate of the slowest person. Success will be unusual, but can be achieved if done slowly over months or years.
 

Cahier

New member
Thank you for posting your story & allowing others to comment on it. My partner and I are considering opening our long-term monogamous relationship and while there hasn't been an affair, there are some similarities. It's really useful to hear about your experience and how our actions can impact so strongly on our partners - though I'm sorry to hear this has been so traumatic for you.
 

Shaya

New member
Thank you cahier. In many ways, I'm glad that my experience can help others. It feels better knowing that the pain and hurt I went through has a positive benefit.

My journey has been described by others as poly hell . Not sure I agree with the term but the article that Galagirl pointed out is a must read for anyone planning to take an otherwise monogamous relationship to polyamory.
 

Shaya

New member
I've updated this story here. If others are reading this in the future, let me know by private messaging or by replying here please if you found aspects of this story helpful. Thank you.
 

Astirarose

New member
I actually love this thread and linked it to my husband to look at. There is a lot of information within it, and advice. But you so wonderfully laid out a lot of what I was experiencing that I had difficulty putting into words.

We did not enter into Poly because of an emotional affair however (so this differs), But once we said Go on Poly, Husband had a serious relationship right out of the gate.

I obsessed and read, and just tried so hard to catch up to where he (and GF) were in their relationship.

AS far as it seeming one sided, I also have posted. Its raw emotion you are posting and one sided, and there were times I went back and read and realized I put husband in a much worse light then was fair. He was also very inexperienced with NRE and although he did try, did not know how to handle it for both sides.

I'm more then willing to chat privately if you like, it would be nice to have someone to talk to.
 
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