Hello Community

Stem

New member
Originally from UK, now Canadian citizen living near Toronto. I am a university prof teaching in STEM. I enjoyed two healthy, communicative open relationships in my 20s, so when my wife proposed we try ENM I was at ease with exploring it. After a year it became clear that while I find compersion comes easily, she does not. We are now separating amicably and are focused on the well-being and co-parenting of our two children. This community might offer insights here?

I am on the spectrum (would say I am not alone in academia) and I am conscious that I have spent a lot of my life looking around me trying to workout 'how humans behave'. Not anymore. Poly fits. Happy and 'whelmed' (opposite of over-whelmed?).

My intimate relationships are het. The happiest ones have been 'non-conforming'. My closest friends are women. I value and experience love and connection with or without physical intimacy. I'd rather have a friend that is not a lover, than a lover that is not a friend.

Looking to become a more active and supportive member of this community, locally and globally.
 
Welcome,

Are you and wife separating just because she finds compersion elusive, or for other reasons of incompatibility as well? Compersion is not necessary to have to practice polyamory. But maybe you mean she has jealousy/envy issues, or just prefers monogamy.
 
Thank you for the welcome and the clarifying question. There were certainly more issues than 'elusive compersion' and I glossed over a lot for the sake of brevity and not revealing detail my partner might not appreciate in this forum. I was happy to see my partner explore their sexuality and outside relationships, and I felt they were also owed support in their efforts to shed the weight of repression imposed on them in their upbringing. After a few months of CNM, when I announced that I was also going to explore an outside relationship jealousy was expressed, and again nearly every time I took my 'day away' each week. When I took issue with this disparity the argument I was given was that my lack of jealousy represented a deficit in humanity/real emotion and was 'robotic'. Eventually, the choice became a return to monogamy or separation. I respect my partner's understanding of herself and her relationship needs, and that undertaking exploration was necessary to reach this understanding. I could do without the 'robotic' label though.
 
I'm sorry she called you robotic for not feeling jealous, that's not cool. I don't feel jealousy either, and I really do believe we are taught to feel jealous both from our upbringing and from the social conditioning around relationship expectations when we are early teens. Youth tend to dive straight into serial monogamy.
 
Greetings Stem,
Welcome to our forum. Please feel free to lurk, browse, etc.

This community can hopefully offer insights here, there is a lot of collective wisdom here. Just tell us more about your situation, and any questions you may have. I understand why you and your partner broke up, you don't have to go into any more detail about that (unless you want to), just start with where you're at as far as your own situation goes, start from the present (with an eye toward the future). We'll do our best to help.

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!
 
I am not sure if you want to use "wife" and "she," or "partner" and "they." I like to be respectful, but you've used both. Would you clarify?

Anyway, this other person wanted to be able to poly-date, but this other person didn't want you to poly-date, or couldn't handle it when you did. It can be very difficult to handle seeing one's significant other becoming fond of another when we are taught that only happens when we "cheat." Yes, this was a double standard.

Some people seem to not feel jealousy when they first practice an open relationship, despite our cultural programming. We are taught that jealousy "proves" our love to our partner, when, in fact, it just expresses a fear of loss, and sometimes a lack of self esteem that we are even worthy of love.

It's too bad this person suggested opening and then couldn't seem to handle it. That's a kick in the pants for you, especially since you have kids in the mix!

Some people who are poly do not practice it when their kids are small because they don't have enough emotional spoons, energy, time or money to spend on more than one adult relationship.
 
I am not sure if you want to use "wife" and "she," or "partner" and "they." I like to be respectful, but you've used both. Would you clarify?

Anyway, this other person wanted to be able to poly-date, but this other person didn't want you to poly-date, or couldn't handle it when you did. It can be very difficult to handle seeing one's significant other becoming fond of another when we are taught that only happens when we "cheat." Yes, this was a double standard.

Some people seem to not feel jealousy when they first practice an open relationship, despite our cultural programming. We are taught that jealousy "proves" our love to our partner, when, in fact, it just expresses a fear of loss, and sometimes a lack of self esteem that we are even worthy of love.

It's too bad this person suggested opening and then couldn't seem to handle it. That's a kick in the pants for you, especially since you have kids in the mix!

Some people who are poly do not practice it when their kids are small because they don't have enough emotional spoons, energy, time or money to spend on more than one adult relationship.
You're right, I should be clear and respectful. In this instance:
wife = human I am married to, but separating from = partner = partner in family/child-rearing
she/her = her preferred pronouns.
they = not preferred pronoun in this case but referring to a/the person previously identified

I guess they didn't know they couldn't handle both sides of non-monogamy until they tried? I commend them for their bravery and honesty in suggesting opening-up the relationship. I had had meaningful long-term open relationships previously, ended in both cases by geographical separation and the misconception that family and open-relationships aren't compatible. My wife was (courageously) trying something entirely new to them.
 
I'm sorry she called you robotic for not feeling jealous, that's not cool. I don't feel jealousy either, and I really do believe we are taught to feel jealous both from our upbringing and from the social conditioning around relationship expectations when we are early teens. Youth tend to dive straight into serial monogamy.
Absolutely.
Open-relationships present a different challenge for me. The jealousy isn't there, but I have always had enormous anxiety about social interaction and about my emotional and verbal responses being 'abnormal'. Relationships on the spectrum are challenging, likely for all concerned? The amount of relationship communication and trouble-shooting in non-monogamy in all its various forms is very intimidating to me. Conversely, the tendency to blurt honest thoughts and perspectives has actually often turned out to be a real asset in this realm.
 
Back
Top