First Poly Relationship, Need Advice

TankDiveGirl

New member
Thanks Quath & Mark --

I think that's part of the issue, is that she wanted to speak to her friends about it and let them know what was going on before we were out at school, and S and I didn't respect that, because well... it's not that I don't want to respect my wife's wishes, but I've never cared what anyone thought of me or my sexuality, and i'm open about it almost to a fault. Anyone can ask me anything and get an honest answer; I don't believe in hiding things because things were hidden from me as a kid, and my parent's attitude about sex was always really really like, closed and secretive and stuff. and any time anything was brought up, they'd freak. So i try my darndest to be the opposite of that. Occasionally it bites me in the butt, but usually it's a pretty good policy.

And S feels the same way. We both were instantly comfortable with this situation, while L needs a lot more time to get used to things. I underestimated the amount of time she'd really need, thinking it would be something that would be okay in a matter of weeks, but now we're three months in and in some ways we've gone backwards.... I know that's my fault for rushing at the beginning, so I've decided the best thing is to just go back to the beginning and be nothing but honest, open, and patient. Patience isn't easy for me, but I'm learning.

It's kindof weird being in this position -- I'm not used to being the one who has to wait things out because I pretty much always get what i want.

This is completely worth it though.

J
 

openlove25

New member
We're so lucky.

Yeah, it sounds like you're on the right track. I completely understand how your partner felt about the hand-holding. Unfortunately, we live (no matter where you live) in a society that has some pretty serious issues without any relationship deemed unconventional, particularly polyamory. As a swinger, I understand the need for discretion, you never know who is watching and judging: employers, future employers, board members, whatever.

I've had trouble expressing my emotions in the past too, and really, you just have to deal with making yourself vulnerable. Remember, she needs to hear how you're feeling and what you're thinking every step of the way in the relationship, so do it for her and your relationship. She needs to feel like someone that you come to to talk and confide in, not a hindering presence that you have to keep secrets from (though i think you're past this point).

Celebrate her as I do my girlfriend, as someone who is ridiculously great, and secure enough to participate in a polyamourous relationship.

We're very, very lucky people.
 

TankDiveGirl

New member
Update!

Hi Everyone,

Well, it was a really up and down week for all three of us -- I had felt like S was being distant (which he was, to his own admission) and I know L was hurting because I was really stressed out. I couldn't get ahold of S all day yesterday, which is COMPLETELY unlike him, and L and I had been invited to a fetish event thing (vanilla b/c in public) -- we had invited S, but his social anxiety was really high yesterday and he didn't feel like he could go. So i had been hoping to touch base with him because he'd dismissed a concern that I had, and i ended up being completely hurt.

BUT

we finally spoke around 11pm, and we worked a lot of things out. L was SOOO supportive and amazing while i was hurting... And S was back to being himself once he realized how hurt i was and how concerned about the situation i was.

And this morning we all went together with another friend of ours and played discgolf. When we all got back to his place, the three of us took a shower (mostly platonic) and hung out for a few minutes, and then L and I went back to our place, and he went to do some yardwork at his parents' place to earn a little quick cash. I texted him when we got home that I had had fun, and he texted back that he had also had a lot of fun and that he was feeling better about all three of us. THEN he called and asked to speak to L to find out if I could spend the night over at his place tomorrow night. She said that sounded alright to her, and we'd make sure we negotiated boundaries and everything today.

SOOOO... right now I feel absolutely super. I feel like all three of us communicated really well, and like this will now begin to go forward instead of being in the stalled place it was in.

I'm really happy at the moment.

thanks for the advice guys, it helps SO much.

*hugs*
Jamie
 

TankDiveGirl

New member
A Sad Update

As of Monday, S decided that he can no longer deal with being in our relationship. L and I, as you know, have been having marriage problems, and S had to bear the brunt of some of those problems. We were not entirely honest, even when we were doing our best to be, and it came back to bite me, especially, in the butt. To say I am devastated is an understatement. He says that his feelings for me haven't changed in the least, and i shouldn't think that he doesn't love me, but that my marriage needs to come first and that I need to make significant changes in that in order to move on with my life. He's right of course, but I hate that it came down to this.

He said some very cruel things to L on Sunday afternoon via text message (this whole story is really long and involved, but I will post it if anyone really wants to hear it), which triggered her PTSD symptoms in a way that neither she nor I, once i found out for sure what was said, find acceptable. On Monday, after he dropped me off at my car at school and asked for his key back, i emailed him to tell him that i loved him and that this hurt like hell and that i'd miss him... he responded to that email with some things that were really cruel to me and really hurtful. I know that he's in pain from this as well, and that he's one of those people who, when they hurt, feel that they have to take that hurt out on other people, but it wasn't something he had to do by any means. He could have just said that he was unhappy and things needed to change. Yesterday he emailed me about returning the few things that i'd left at his place and said that he still loved me, which helps to know but also hurts terribly.

Last night i didn't sleep well -- i realized that he wouldn't be texting or calling before bed like he's done every night for the last 4 months to tell me he loves me.

Today has been easier, but also much harder, because my phone has been silent all day. We used to talk via text or voice dozens of times a day.

L has been very supportive through this, but is feeling now that i need to get started making the changes that precipitated this in the first place. I think she's right, and I desperately want to make the changes that I know i need to make in order for our marriage to get back to being strong and whole... but this is killing me.

I never anticipated this ending like this. He went from "I'm trying to get a really good job so i can support you because i want you in my life forever" on Saturday to "I can't do this anymore" on Sunday night.

I understand why it happened, and I'm trying very hard not to dwell on the bad things, but this really really hurts. I love him in the same way that I love my wife, and to lose that like this is one of the hardest things i've ever had to deal with.

I'm not leaving the forum though, I need to keep reading and learning, and maybe we can try this again, if not with him (L has said she doesn't think she can ever try again with him after the things he said, I would go back to this with him tomorrow if he asked me to), then with someone else farther down the road.

I know what i need to do next time to allow this to work better, and huge changes will be made in my current relationship to reflect that.

It just hurts like hell right now.

Thanks for listening guys,

Jamie
 

Mark1npt

New member
What is it that came back to bite you? What do you and your wife think you need to work on to make your marriage better? What does S think you need to work on?
 

TankDiveGirl

New member
The thing that came back to bite me was that I was dishonest about how much time I was spending with S. L had said she wanted us to slow it down and spend more time with her, and we were doing that, but we also were seeing each other in the mornings before I went in to my lab. She found out about it because she had my phone (hers has been out of commission for a while) so that she could check in with us over the weekend, as he and I had an "actual date" on Friday night. She checked my text messages, both in and outboxes, and found out that I had been sneaking over to see him in the mornings, which she had not forbidden, but which we'd never discussed. In everything else I was being completely honest, but that one thing is what turned this upside down. She called at 8am saturday morning when we'd only been asleep for a very short time and said that I shouldn't come home until Monday afternoon and she didn't know if she could stay married to me anymore. I didn't respond to this too well since I was still quite asleep when she called, and I'm sure i didn't give it the gravity it deserved... At any rate, I spent the weekend at his place, and things seemed to be fine until sunday night. Or, if not fine, not strained...

S has not said one way or the other what he thinks we/I need to work on. I haven't spoken to him physically since monday, or via email since yesterday. He had no contact with me at all today, and I am not going to push for contact at this point, even though I'd desperately like to hear his voice. I don't want to put any seeming pressure on him at all, and i know i couldn't handle it if he were as cruel to me as i know he can be when he's hurt.

What i have learned is that I need to be WAY more aware of how L is feeling, and with that awareness, i need to respect and listen to her, and to take her boundaries VERY seriously. We've already started to discuss what needs to change if this is going to happen again, and those things are very very high on the list. Of course, it's something I'll have to work on day to day so that it's already entrenched by the time I meet someone else that i might like to try again with. I know i wasn't as respectful of some of her hard boundaries as i should have been, by any stretch of the imagination. Another thing that needs to happen is that i need to be more aware of what i'm feeling and thinking and doing. I was really swept along by my emotions in all of this, and I know that's how both of them got hurt. So next time i have to keep a handle on myself, or at least be much more open to thinking about what i'm feeling instead of just feeling it and going with that.
 

Mark1npt

New member
Jamie......yes it appears you got a little caught up in him and maybe forgot you were married?......L certainly had reason to flip. Guess your quick and under the table moves really freaked her out......boundaries def need to be set in your marriage and need to be respected by all parties...remember she needs to be secure and happy in her relationship with you, in order to be ok with any other relationship you may enter into. if you don't gain her complete approval and permission from her with any other party, it'll never work out for all 3 parties. Now if she gives her complete permission and still freaks, then you two have another problem.......poly isn't for her. What then do you do?
 

TankDiveGirl

New member
Yeah, I think you're pretty close to the mark, Mark. (that was completely unintentional, btw.) I got so wrapped up in the NRE and the promises and the emotions with him that I completely neglected my lovely wife. We've been talking about writing out what we need as far as boundaries and things that might in future be flexible and things that never will (like being financially dependent on a male partner, or having a male partner live in the house with us, because L is woman identified and that violates not only her spacial boundaries, but her fundamental knowledge of herself) so that it's all there, in black and white, for the next person who I choose to bring into our life. Or she chooses, for that matter, i don't want to seem selfish.

She still has her "friend", also an S, though a female one, but they don't have a commitment and are not sexually intimate. L is very fond of her S, but has no expectations of her, because her S is not in a place where she could be expected to make those type of decisions, nor does L want her to. So as far as L not being poly, i think that's not something to worry about at this stage -- but if I meet someone else that i would like to have a relationship with and these same things start to happen again, even if I'm doing the things I need to be doing for all of us to be on the same page, then we'll have to re-evaluate our situation.

The one thing that i worry about is that I don't have "flings"... I never have. If i am flirting with someone with the intention of dating that person, it's because I want a serious relationship and I feel like that possibility is there. L, right now, doesn't want another serious relationship of her own, and her relationship with her S, although deep, is far from serious. I know that this was an unexpected issue with my S, because he and I got very serious very quickly, an unanticipated thing for all three of us, and what proved to be our undoing in the end.

I'm not doing as well as i'd hoped, but I'm working on it.

J
 

Mark1npt

New member
J, it sounds like you're getting a handle on it all.....maybe the speed with which you and S progressed was the clincher...it seems very fast, I would be threatened if I were your spouse and I'm a guy!......I believe in your 1st post you said L had trouble with someone who left her once for a guy? There's the rub.....just keep working on it, ok? Life is always a work in progress!
 

TankDiveGirl

New member
I think that had a whole lot to do with it... and we didn't respect L's discomfort with the situation at all. She made a lot of sacrifices to her own comfort and boundaries so that we could be together, but we didn't even begin to respect that the way we should have, and I see that now.

And it wasn't just one of her past relationships that ended with her being left for a man, it was, to my knowledge, ALL of her past relationships ended with her partner leaving her for a man. I know that's going to be a reoccurring theme in this, but i also know that it's something i have to be much more aware of than i had been in order to keep her knowing that she's my wife and i'm not going anywhere. It would be easier if we were both strictly gay and S was an experiment, but he wasn't, and I'm not. *shrugs* It complicates things, but I don't want to close myself off from half of the population just because they have Y chromosomes; that's not what poly is about to me... and if i can have the kind of relationship i have with my wife with a man, which i did with S, (emotionally that is) and hadn't ever had before, then it can happen again, and I should be open to that. And if my next "long term potential" partner is a woman, well, that's fine too.

A friend of ours is going to speak to him tonight to see what happened, and then hopefully S and I will be able to sit down and talk early next week so that we can all start to get some closure. I have no expectations that S and I will have anything after this, though I would deeply, deeply cherish his friendship if he feels able to give it to me at any point after this. That's his call though, and I respect that.

In the meantime, I'll just start trying to deal with this in the best way I know how.

Oh... and of COURSE the copy of "the Ethical Slut" that I requested from intralibrary loan came today... *sigh*

J
 

MonoVCPHG

New member
Oh... and of COURSE the copy of "the Ethical Slut" that I requested from intralibrary loan came today... *sigh*

J

The Ethical Slut....shiver..my arch nemesis LOL! This was definitely not the best book to give me when I was having initial problems with polyamory. Honestly, to my mono mind it read like a training guide for people who want to just have lots of sex with lots of people!! If that was what poly was about I would have bolted as fast as possible. I stopped reading it before it ruined my whole outlook. A book titled "Polyamory;The New Love " I think, was much more beneficial.
I go to poly meetings and funny enough, I am the only person who doesn't like that book at all...I am also the only mono person there out of about 25!
 

Quath

New member
Yeah, I got my wife the Ethical Slut. I don't think that went over too well. The basic idea she got from it was that polyamory people just want to have lots and lots of sex with lots of people. Not one of my better ideas...
 

Mark1npt

New member
So glad you guys posted about the book, I was about to order a copy for my girls to look over.....that might have been disastrous.

Jamie, I hope everything works out for you, L and S. Looking at L's history, I am amazed she even ever let you talk to S! Boy, has she been burned. I am curious though about one thing....You obviously are bi and probably poly.....what made you choose to marry another woman, and want poly with a guy? I would have thought you would have married a male and incorporated another woman into your triad. Were you rescuing her from being burned by so many men? Just wondering.
 

MonoVCPHG

New member
Yeah, I got my wife the Ethical Slut. I don't think that went over too well. The basic idea she got from it was that polyamory people just want to have lots and lots of sex with lots of people. Not one of my better ideas...

There is some humour to it. As long as it works out. And really, I know some people that identify as poly who do want to have sex with lots of people. That is just not an environment I can be healthy in or will participate in. To each thier own though:)
Take care
 
A

alphafour

Guest
The basic idea she got from it was that polyamory people just want to have lots and lots of sex with lots of people. .


It seems to be a popular view. I met my first asexuals on this site. For some reason, I don't think it has to do with sex for them. I can't put my finger on it just yet, but give me time and I will figure out why.

I just spoke to another mono about it, and she seemed to think that it was just an excuse to cheat. For some I suppose that is what they get out of it. Many mono people are not prepared for the honesty required, so cheating is their only excuse to advocate poly, and simply another way to hide or excuse their cheating behaviors. I have heard so many cheating stories over the last few years that I just get sick of it. I will never see poly as an excuse, but I do see it as a way out of the stigma, and a way into a very honest and trusting relationship.

I only have a mono relationship at this time. I love my wife. God rest her soul. Tina passed in 2004. I am looking for a second.

Thanks for quick book review. I won't be recommending it.
 
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AutumnalTone

New member
Try Jenny Block's new book, or Tristan Taromino's book.
 

Lemondrop

New member
Yeah, I got my wife the Ethical Slut. I don't think that went over too well. The basic idea she got from it was that polyamory people just want to have lots and lots of sex with lots of people. Not one of my better ideas...

That's very interesting. I found it very sensitive and helpful. But perhaps my mindset is slightly different...I wasn't trying to open up to polyamory, I was already involved and trying to understand.
 

TankDiveGirl

New member
So glad you guys posted about the book, I was about to order a copy for my girls to look over.....that might have been disastrous.

Jamie, I hope everything works out for you, L and S. Looking at L's history, I am amazed she even ever let you talk to S! Boy, has she been burned. I am curious though about one thing....You obviously are bi and probably poly.....what made you choose to marry another woman, and want poly with a guy? I would have thought you would have married a male and incorporated another woman into your triad. Were you rescuing her from being burned by so many men? Just wondering.

Thanks Mark, so do i. Let me give a quick update, and then i'll address the quote above.

A mutual friend of the three of us spoke with S last night after I had spoken with him (friend) several times in the course of the day. He is really upset that S and I broke up, but is also in a (new, inspired by me, S, and L) poly relationship and wants to see this work out for all of us. He's also extremely non-threatening and probably the best person IMO to work as a go between at the beginning of this. The friend told S that he and i spoke, and S the told my friend that they needed to talk if he had talked to me. My friend told me this and then said he'd let me know what S said when he got back.

S said that he really misses both L and I and that he loves both of us. He also said that if we were to get back together, he would have to know that it was something L wanted, and not something that just I wanted. He told my friend that he doesn't want to be with me if i would walk out on my wife, and that if we were to work this out, lots of things need to change.

So i felt like my hands were completely tied, because L had said that she wanted nothing more to do with him, and I respect that.

But L read the transcript of the chat with my friend, and she saw how important S is to me (which she knew, but it was reiterated) as well as seeing some of the things that I had not told her yet (but was going to this weekend when we had our discussion about where to go from here, etc.). She was deeply, deeply hurt, but she says she forgives me and that she loves me and that we can move forward from this. She also said that she doesn't know how to re-establish a relationship with someone who has such little regard for her boundaries...

So that brings us to this afternoon. S called. He said that my friend had said that I wanted to speak to him, which was indeed the case, but I was going to wait until after the weekend so that i could have written some things down and gotten my head into a little bit better place about it. However, I told him that yes, i did indeed want to speak to him, but I wanted to do it face to face if possible. he was a little taken aback by this, asked how L and I were. I told him, honestly, better. Not a full 180 degree turnaround, but better. So he said that now would be a good time for him (his dog had minor surgery yesterday) and that he was at home. I asked him to give me a few minutes to think and I'd come over when I had done that.

I spoke with L, and I asked her what it would take for her to give this another chance, if she could. I told her that if she didn't have an answer yet, that i completely respected that and that was totally okay. She gave me a list of things, which i wrote down and took over there.

It was really weird to go to his place and act like we had never had a relationship. He didn't touch me. We sat across from each other on the couch with a full cushion between us, facing each other cross legged. I told him the things that L had said first... the only thing he asked me was "what are you doing to save your marriage?" and i told him, honestly, the things that I am doing. I said "i'm being completely, totally, 100% honest about everything. She knows everything that happened now, everything. i'm communicating and trying to meet her needs in this. I'm talking about what went wrong." Those are the things we've been doing -- it's only been 4 days afterall. I also told him that i was fully committed to making any changes that i need to make so that both of these relationships can work, and if saving my marriage means not seeing him, well, i don't like that, but I'll do it. He seemed surprised by that; it's not been my typical attitude throughout this, but I wanted him to see how serious i was about making things right, not just with L, but with him if he wanted it. I told him the changes we needed to make. I told him where we went wrong, and where L's boundaries had been overlooked and why that was important given the context of her history. He seemed to listen to all of this... And then he said "I can't see you until you fix your marriage, and I have to know that L is okay." He doesn't want to hear that L is okay from me, he HAS to hear it from her, and I think that's fine. If she can get to a point with me where she feels safe enough and comfortable enough to speak to him, then I have done my job.

I'm still very sad, because I don't know how long it will take for him to see that I'm committed to doing this, and I'm not sure that it will work, regardless. But I'm also EXTREMELY Cautiously optimistic, because I know that if i do the right thing and i prove to him that my marriage is the most important thing, and my wife is the most important person in my life, then he will come back to me. And if he doesn't come back to me, for whatever reason, then at least I've done my work and my share and tried as hard as i could to make this work.

Now, Mark, to address what you said WAY up there. *scrolls back up*

Yes, L has been burned many many times, and i should have respected that ENTIRELY instead of continually pushing for what S and I wanted rather than what she wanted. We've talked about that quite a bit over the last few days, and I think we're both in a place where we're willing to address those hurts and move forward.

Why did i marry her? Was I trying to save her? Actually..no. Long story short: i met her, 5 years ago last month, while i was in an extremely verbally and sexually abusive relationship with a man. He agreed to let me see her "as a toy," and I, of course, fell in love with her. She got me out of his life and gave me the opportunity to grow and explore all the sides of me that he broke. I'm completely comfortable and confident with her. And the reason that I married her is because i knew if i didn't, i would regret it for the rest of my life. I have never had a love with anyone like i have with her, and certainly never with a man. With one notable exception: S. I feel the same depth and warmth of emotion with S that i do with L. So...yes...it would have been perhaps "easier" and "more societally acceptable" to have married a man and been poly with a woman, but it didn't quite work out that way. And both L and S are completely unique for their respective genders, because although i've had relationships with women which were deep and fulfilling, they weren't as sexually charged as my relationship with L is, and although i've had wonderful sexual relationships with men, NONE has had the emotional impact as my relationship with S.

*whew*

Okay, those of you who read all of this get cookies!

*hugs*
Jamie
 

Mark1npt

New member
Jamie, what a fantastic update and even more fantastic story. It sounds as though you are taking all the right steps now. You and S are correct, you must preserve your marriage first. Keep working on that. If everything else is meant to be, meaning you and S (and L)...it'll fall into place eventually. When everyone is ready, not just you..... or S. Good job so far, now keep going! It sounds like you and L (and S) might have a decent chance at a very good poly life. Keeping my fingers crossed for you all.
 
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