I just can't seem to accept it.

CTF

Member
No disrespect to the poly folks out there, but try as I might, I just don't understand it. Let me be clear, I don't pass judgement on it as being "wrong", provided that everyone involved is fully aware, consenting, and has their feelings taken into concern. But in my case, this is not something that I will ever be willing to accept in my household, and marriage.

I've posted about a month ago regarding my wife and her reveal to me that she considers herself to be poly, yet insists that the others involved are platonic, but does not have a problem with the possibility of things going further if her feelings change, and of course, I were to be on board.While I appreciate her consideration, I can say with absolute certainty, that I will NEVER be on board with her getting physical with another. We have a "closed" marriage, and it must continue to be so for me to be a part of it.

I know that poly people tend to view love as infinite. Personally, I don't. I think that love involves actions, just as much as feelings. And when one chooses to spend more time with another, leaving less time for someone else, it's impossible to accurately claim that they can love the two equally. Now, in my case, she says that she loves me far more than any of the others, yet, I've had to find myself practically begging for her attention. This has sent me into a tailspin, resulting in the worst 5 week stretch of my life. I've suffered sever anxiety, insomnia, have been in therapy, lost interest in work, loss of appetite, lost 19lbs, and have climbed to almost 2 packs/day. This has destroyed me both mentally and physically.

Upon discussing this matter daily, where she keeps insisting that I'm making mountains out of molehills, the fact that she kept continuing this, despite knowing the damage done, had left me actually considering leaving her. I came home one day & walked in the door in the midst of a severe panic attack, which was exacerbated by seeing her on a Skype call with the one she has been closest with. She took me in her arms & attempted to calm me down from hyperventilating. Once I sort of regained my composure, I just repeated "I can't do this anymore, I can't do this anymore". She began to grow frustrated & was disturbed that I felt that the ONLY way our marriage could move forward, was that she had to completely sever any & all contact with them, especially the one she had been closest with.

Now, understand that I've never had problems with her having friends online,or anywhere else. I also don't have a problem with her having male friends. I'm not jealous of her ability to have friendships with people. The fact is, that with this guy in particular, she was talking to him far more than most rational people would consider normal. Morning, noon & night, playing games, watching movies together via webcam on Skype - often 2 or 3 back to back, while I found myself doing everything I could to keep busy while waiting for her to throw me a bone every now & then. A few weeks ago, I came home early from work due to the upcoming holiday weekend (July 4), hoping to have a day with just her & I. Well, after we went to have a bite to eat, and came home, she went online to "watch a couple of movies" at 3pm. She didn't get offline until 2:30 am. Nearly 12 hours, and she didn't seem to see anything wrong with that. This was my breaking point, and the moment where I knew that this could not continue if our marriage is to survive. We discussed compromise, and she began to see my point a little more. Unfortunately, the damage has been done so greatly, that there never really was going to be a chance for us as long as they were in the picture.

I also had discovered, that this guy in particular, has made a habit out of getting involved in online relationships with married women. According to a mutual friend, my wife is #6 on his list. I had had a gut feeling about him that I didn't trust. But did everything I could to stuff it down for months. Once she revealed this side of her, my distrust of him only grew. And even though she claims that he has never given her the impression that he's after more than just a platonic friendship, I still didn't trust him. And I've heard the same BS over & over where people claim that by saying I don't trust him, is just like saying that I don't trust her. Nothing could be further from the truth. The fact is, that my job is to keep my family safe. And I could NEVER condone with wife telling another man that she "loves" him, knowing that he'd be all over her like a cheap suit the second the opportunity could present itself. Even if she were to reject him.

She revealed that there were 5 others. Although, she had not told 3 of them as of yet. And admits that she will likely never will based on my reaction to the other two. I have a huge problem with the fact that she discussed this with those two before telling me. If our marriage is first & foremost, then it should be us discussing it first. And as of now, she has promised to completely cut off contact with them.

Please understand, I'm not puffing my chest as though I "won" something. She's been noticeably upset over doing this. But as I told her, this is both of our marriage. And if one feels that they cannot be part of it based on certain conditions, then the other has a choice to make. I've always been raised under the philosophy that no one has the right to actively engage in activities that hurt those they love. If you're making your spouse uncomfortable, stop it.
 

breathemusic

Active member
While you can't stop your wife from being poly, she needs to decide if she wants to be poly and not in a relationship with you, or if she's willing to be mono to stay in a relationship with you.

She broke your trust by engaging in an emotional relationship with other people and not discussing it with you, so I can completely understand why you wouldn't be ok with continued involvement with those people. And while yes, she can be friends with anyone she wants, I also agree with you that staying online and skyping with someone for 12 hours a day isn't acceptable when it means she's neglecting her marriage with you.

Sounds like you've made yourself abundantly clear with what your expectations are in the marriage and what you can and can't accept. Unfortunately, it's now up to your wife to figure out what she wants in her relationship(s). You'll want to be careful that if she backs off an continues to be mono, that it doesn't turn into her resenting you years down the road. But that all just depends on whether she needs to be poly with other people, or just wants to be poly with other people but is happy to live without it.
 

JessicaBurde

New member
If the situation is upsetting you to the point you are having panic attacks, then you definitely need to address it. Attempting to accept your wife's feelings/desires does not and should not require making yourself ill.

You approach to your marriage is far more possessive than I would be comfortable with, but I'm neither you nor your wife. What matters is what works and is comfortable for both of you.

And if one feels that they cannot be part of it based on certain conditions, then the other has a choice to make.

You completely right. If you cannot be a part of a marriage that involves poly your wife has a choice to make.

Have you considered what you will do if your wife is unable to be part of a relationship that defines monogamy in such a way it dictates how to she related to people in platonic relationships? Or if she decides she is unable to be part of monogamy at all?

This is the really heartbreaking part of mono/poly relationships. If your wife is "wired" for poly (some of us are, some of us aren't), then your making this demand of her will, in the long run, be just as hurtful to her as the past time has been for you.

That doesn't mean you shouldn't make this demand--as I said before, if the situation is literally making you ill, you damn well need to do something about it. But just because she's accepted doesn't mean she might not be suffering. And if she is, eventually you'll be right back here, just on opposite sides of the same issue. You need to be aware of that possibility.
 

CTF

Member
Thank you for your understanding. She keeps saying that, while she's not going to be "all shiny happy" for a while, she'll get over it. She seems to think that I'm being unreasonable in taking it this far, since she says that I've never had anything to worry about from the beginning. And while that may be true when it comes to anything sexual, I feel that it had to come to this point for her to understand that that was not my only concern. While I love her dearly, and would be devastated to see her go, she is a grown woman and I cannot "force" her to make any decision. I explained to her that, while I don't find it impossible to accept who she is (although, in 16 years of marriage, she's never once shown a single sign of it, making it a total shock), I don't feel that it's right for me to accept what she did. I also explained that who I am should also be accepted if that's what's expected of me. And I've been very adamant about my monogamy for as long as we've known each other.
 

CTF

Member
If the situation is upsetting you to the point you are having panic attacks, then you definitely need to address it. Attempting to accept your wife's feelings/desires does not and should not require making yourself ill.

You approach to your marriage is far more possessive than I would be comfortable with, but I'm neither you nor your wife. What matters is what works and is comfortable for both of you.



You completely right. If you cannot be a part of a marriage that involves poly your wife has a choice to make.

Have you considered what you will do if your wife is unable to be part of a relationship that defines monogamy in such a way it dictates how to she related to people in platonic relationships? Or if she decides she is unable to be part of monogamy at all?

This is the really heartbreaking part of mono/poly relationships. If your wife is "wired" for poly (some of us are, some of us aren't), then your making this demand of her will, in the long run, be just as hurtful to her as the past time has been for you.

That doesn't mean you shouldn't make this demand--as I said before, if the situation is literally making you ill, you damn well need to do something about it. But just because she's accepted doesn't mean she might not be suffering. And if she is, eventually you'll be right back here, just on opposite sides of the same issue. You need to be aware of that possibility.



Trust me, I've been called "possessive" more times, by more people than I can count. I really don't see myself in that way. Rather, I state clearly what I'm after in a relationship, and others can choose whether or not to accept it. This communication with the one guy in particular, has been going on for 9 months. I began to suspect something 6 months ago (the day after my Dad died), and still said nothing to try & stop it, until she brought up the poly conversation. That actually made it worse, because I was no longer able to dismiss my suspicions as irrational, now there was a distinct possibility that something more could have been, or eventually could be going on.

We've been together for 20 years, including our dating & engagement. What I want has not been a secret. I don't even have the "bring another girl into the bedroom just for fun" fantasies that a lot of guys do. My intentions are her & I and no one else. And up until recently, she's explained that those were hers as well. So yeah, I'm not just going to roll over & accept something that turns everything on its head.

I am also aware that there may be a time when she feels that it suffocates her too. She may feel the need to explore it to the point where she cannot contain herself. And if that happens, I'm sorry to say, but our marriage will be over in order for that to be possible. I don't want her to be unhappy, quite the opposite in fact. And if we cannot both be happy under the same parameters, then it wouldn't have ever been meant to be.
 

PinkPig

Well-known member
Honestly? It sounds like you're at an impasse. You want a closed marriage and will accept nothing less. She wants open (and has betrayed trust with her emotional relationships.) She says she'll close...but her actions speak differently. It doesn't matter if you saw signs previously. It doesn't matter if there were signs previously. This is where you are now. The choices I see are (simplistically put):

(1) Stay closed - you're happy, she's not
(2) Open - she's happy, you're not
(3) Divorce and each pursue the relationship style that you want with other people.

It's sad, but people do change and grow. And, frequently, in that process of change, they grow apart. Sometimes the most loving thing that we can do for ourselves and our partner is to let them go. (I was married for over 20 years so I do understand the pain that's involved in realizing that a relationship is no longer working in it's current form.) Just because we love someone does not mean we should be in a romantic relationship with them.

The only other thing I'd add is that if you've been called possessive many times, it may be in your best interest to really look at that. People are not possessions. Treating them as such is not loving behavior. Ultimately, it's destructive to the relationship and counterproductive to our own happiness.
 

CTF

Member
I'm not discounting the possibility that we might be at an impasse. Honestly, the ball is in her court at the moment. She says that she's willing to remain in a closed marriage, and that she would have never wanted me to engage in a parameter that I wouldn't be comfortable or happy with. She says that ultimately, not having me would make her more unhappy than anything else. So what can I do, other than take her at her word on that?

Maybe those are the 3 choices, and maybe there's a fourth, assuming that she meant what she said. But either way, I would be perfectly willing to "set her free" (for lack of a better phrase) if she really needed that to be happy. I just know, that I could never be happy by opening up our marriage.

And yes, I know that people are not possessions. I've also never done anything to warrant making her, or anyone else feel that way. I've been called "possessive", but in reality, I don't think that it's been quite so justified. Is it "possessive" to not want your wife to neglect you in favor of someone online who lives on the opposite coast? Is it "possessive" to say that one shouldn't be spending 8-12 hours chatting with someone online? Is it "possessive" to get upset about waiting around for an extra hour and a half to leave, because her time with him took longer than she anticipated? Like I said, I've gone 8+ months of this happening almost daily without saying a word.
 

Norwegianpoly

New member
. I've always been raised under the philosophy that no one has the right to actively engage in activities that hurt those they love. If you're making your spouse uncomfortable, stop it.
While agree with that sentiment, you still have to deal with her feelings and emotions. Even if she chooses to stay in the relationship with you and not pursue other men, you still have to deal with the attraction. Are you up for that?

My husband used about two years to become comfortable with me even kissing someone else. There were lots of tears and scared feelings on each side. But I pretty much never did something's unless he was ok with it, and I did promise that unless he felt comfortablein the future I would never do it. I know in other relationships someone had said sorry, I have to do this, which can also work I guess, and relationships where one person just said sorry I need us mono and that was it, and they are still together. Different ways for different people.
 
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PinkPig

Well-known member
Sure, there are other options. Off the top of my head, the one I'd choose in your situation is to not make a decision. Table the discussion on closed/open relationship while working on myself and our marriage (and seriously looking at why I want what I want.) Then, readdress the issue at a later date, when we've addressed our own issues and the issues in our marriage. I didn't list that as an option for you because, by your own admission, you aren't open to anything but a monogamous relationship (it is your right to choose that.)

And, no, I do not think the things you've listed are possessive behaviors. They're reasonable expectations. However, if you've been called possessive many times, then it's reasonable to think that some of your behavior may possibly be possessive or rigid.

As for whether to believe your wife, I'd look at her actions over her words.
 

CTF

Member
While agree with that sentiment, you still have to deal with her feelings and emotions. Even if she chooses to stay in the relationship with you and not pursue other men, you still have to deal with the attraction. Are you up for that?

My husband used about two years to become comfortable with me even kissing someone else. There were lots of tears and scared feelings on each side. But I pretty much never did something's unless he was ok with it, and I did promise that unless he felt comfortablein the future I would never do it. I know in other relationships someone had said sorry, I have to do this, which can also work I guess, and relationships where one person just said sorry I need us mono and that was it, and they are still together. Different ways for different people.



It's not the attraction that I can't handle. We're human being, and even I can be physically attracted to someone. It's the pursuit of anything beyond the recognition. I'm fully aware of how I'm coming across, but the truth is, that polyamory is completely unacceptable for me in our marriage. And I don't just draw the line at sexual contact. In my opinion, kissing, cuddling, and even hand holding is just as heart wrenching of an image as sex. Part of what has made our marriage so spectacular over the years, has been the ability to blend the emotional connection with the physical.
 

CTF

Member
Sure, there are other options. Off the top of my head, the one I'd choose in your situation is to not make a decision. Table the discussion on closed/open relationship while working on myself and our marriage (and seriously looking at why I want what I want.) Then, readdress the issue at a later date, when we've addressed our own issues and the issues in our marriage. I didn't list that as an option for you because, by your own admission, you aren't open to anything but a monogamous relationship (it is your right to choose that.)

And, no, I do not think the things you've listed are possessive behaviors. They're reasonable expectations. However, if you've been called possessive many times, then it's reasonable to think that some of your behavior may possibly be possessive or rigid.

As for whether to believe your wife, I'd look at her actions over her words.

Right. And while there certainly is the option to put the conversation on hold, while we can continue to work on us (which, to me, is what should have happened this time), there is no doubt my feelings at a later date will be unchanged. We can talk about the polyamory in general, but there really is no need to discuss whether or not we will consider "opening" our marriage. There is no wiggle room or leniency on my end. But again, that's not to say that, if it's that important to her, that she cannot explore it & experience it if it makes her happy... She would simply have to make the choice to do that with me out of the picture.

The problem is, that it's my getting upset with such actions that are the cause for me to be called "possessive". I don't get angry every time a guy looks at her in public, or talks to her. I have never dictated the types of friends that she has. I have never told her what to do, and when to do it. However, in this case, I HAVE told her that as long as she talks to those two individuals, I will never be comfortable. Maybe, if she'd have approached me about the poly tendencies first, we would have had a different situation. Although, I still would have not been comfortable with spending such an exorbitant amount with someone where such feelings exist between them.
 

graviton

New member
You sound a bit like a chest thumper that could use some therapy. I think you view this more as an affront to your masculinity and role as "alpha". Have you stopped to think that perhaps it is your possessive behavior that has driven her to seek this other relationship? Imagine it from her point of view. This might be the first time where she has been reminded that she is an autonomous individual and that there is life outside of the walls that you have constructed from your marriage. She's being reminded that she is not property and that she is a lovely human being.
 

Leetah

Member
So CTF who is it who has called you possessive many times? It does not seem possessive that you have been unhappy that she spends hours and hours with someone else when she knows you are waiting for her to spend time with you. Did she know that you wanted the time? What has been going on in your lives previous to her striking up these intense friendships that may have led to her feeling a lack of connection to you and local friends? It sounds to me that if the two of you can work on your relationship and general life balance she is willing to put polyamory aside. If she is experiencing the glories of New Relationship Energy with her love interests it will be very painful to cut off contact with them and it is loving of her to say she is willing to do so. Maybe she can go back to being more emotionally monogamous and maybe not. For your own sanity as well as hers make sure you keep the lines of communication on this open so she is not afraid to tell you if, down the line, it does not work for her anymore.

Leetah
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Hi CTF,

Re (from OP):
"... she keeps insisting that I'm making mountains out of molehills ..."

You feel what you feel. That's not making mountains out of molehills. It just is.

It sounds like your wife hasn't been handling poly very well. Spending way too much time with the one guy and hardly any time with you. I guess she's lost in her NRE, but that's not really a good excuse.

You seem to be very sure that poly is not for you. That is okay, everyone has a right to their own boundaries. Hopefully your wife can be mono from now on, but if it turns out that she can't, you have already prepared yourself to set her free.

Sorry this has been such a painful experience for you. :(
Sincerely,
Kevin T.
 
Hi CTF, I'm in a very similar situation yet I'm on the other side, where your wife is. It'll be hard for me to comment on this because of how hard I'm finding my own situation but I wanted to throw some thoughts out there.

You say you wish she had told you about being poly before forming these friendships/relationships. I can understand why, but for me it didn't work like that. I spent 8 years with my husband (who I love dearly) and any feelings I had for others I shoved down. I found that really difficult to do, the feelings of guilt I had at the same time were worse. Guilt over even thinking that about someone else other than him. When I met my 'friend' online, the feelings grew and grew through our friendship (which was formed through gaming) and it was confusing and guilt-filled for me. I tried several times to break off the friendship, tried to be 'just friends' and eventually I realised that I felt more for him than just an online fling, even though I tried not to. It wasn't until I was faced with this fact that I reevaluated my relationship style. Why was I always feeling this way when in a relationship? Was there something wrong with me? That is when information on polyamory found me, I didn't even go searching for it and it was like a lightbulb moment. So my point is...perhaps it's the same for your wife. You're not told you are polyamorous, you just figure it out through experience.

In my case, it was mostly emotional attraction than physical because that's just the way I work. So it's not like "ooh he/she is really good looking", it's more like "this person has something about them that I really like, I'd love to spend more time with that person" (and not just as a friend). This is where the current 'norm' for relationships can struggle...when you are partnered with someone, everything else has to be labelled as 'friend' and there are limits put on how you can be with someone. You are happy with those limits and she is not. I understand how her spending so much time with another person online is distressing for you, but perhaps she feels he understands or accepts her more than you do. It's easier to spend time with someone who 'gets' you. The other reason might be because spending time with someone online isn't all that fulfilling. When you really care for someone, being with them in person is completely different. Perhaps she is spending so much time online with him because she's filling that longing for being with him, but it's just not hitting the spot. Does that make sense? Like I said I'm just throwing ideas out there. Your best bet is to communicate with her, get her to really think about what she is doing.

From the possessive side of things...once you realise your true nature in the ability to love several people and the desire to be that way, anything else feels restrictive. You start to reevaluate your relationships and try to figure it all out based on this knowledge. I don't see what you've described as 'possessive' but it is 'restrictive'. And that's okay really because you see that as loving behaviour to keep the relationship model you are happy with. But from her point of view it can be restrictive because her ideal model is different.

I'm sorry that you are struggling with this, just as I'm sorry that my husband is going through this too. But she's not 'doing this to you'. She is living her life, following her journey. Perhaps she's not doing it perfectly or the way she 'should' but all you can do is respond from how you feel and from what you want.
 
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CTF

Member
You sound a bit like a chest thumper that could use some therapy. I think you view this more as an affront to your masculinity and role as "alpha". Have you stopped to think that perhaps it is your possessive behavior that has driven her to seek this other relationship? Imagine it from her point of view. This might be the first time where she has been reminded that she is an autonomous individual and that there is life outside of the walls that you have constructed from your marriage. She's being reminded that she is not property and that she is a lovely human being.

Absolutely not. I'm not the chest thumping type, never have been. I've been in therapy over this, as I've already stated. This has nothing to do with my masculinity, but rather, I view this as a situation where I've been severely taken for granted. My wife knows that I've always been there, and plan to always be for the foreseeable future. This "possessive" behavior you speak of, has only surfaced in the wake of her beginning to get as close with one individual in particular, as well as this revelation that came out of left field. Like I said, I said nothing for the first 8 months that she began to talk to him. Even when we would attempt to have dates with just the two of us, she'd be texting him in the car on the way to the restaurant, all through the meal, and the whole way home, where she would end the night watching a movie via Netflix & Skype instead of spending the evening with me.

Of course she'd a lovely human being, and I do my best to remind her of that as often as possible. Look, I'll admit that I'm far from a perfect person, I have my flaws just like everyone else. And you don't know me, nor do you know her. But I could guarantee you that if you did, you'd be hard pressed to say that I view her as "property".
 

CTF

Member
So CTF who is it who has called you possessive many times? It does not seem possessive that you have been unhappy that she spends hours and hours with someone else when she knows you are waiting for her to spend time with you. Did she know that you wanted the time? What has been going on in your lives previous to her striking up these intense friendships that may have led to her feeling a lack of connection to you and local friends? It sounds to me that if the two of you can work on your relationship and general life balance she is willing to put polyamory aside. If she is experiencing the glories of New Relationship Energy with her love interests it will be very painful to cut off contact with them and it is loving of her to say she is willing to do so. Maybe she can go back to being more emotionally monogamous and maybe not. For your own sanity as well as hers make sure you keep the lines of communication on this open so she is not afraid to tell you if, down the line, it does not work for her anymore.

Leetah


Essentially, it's been her that's called me that. Granted, one of the individuals did try to encourage her to leave me because he thinks (his words) "he doesn't understand you like I do". Which is complete nonsense.

Here's the thing... The timing of this is what really complicates things. She began talking to him last October. By the end of November, they were talking constantly. Take the holidays, combined with my Dad passing away on Jan 4, and we have a situation where I felt like I needed to lean on her for emotional support more than usual. Now, imagine the woman you've been completely devoted to, and love more than anything in the world, rejecting your attempts to open up to her, in favor of chatting with some guy on the internet day after day. You begin to suspect something might be going on, and then come June, you learn that your suspicions were right all along.

Yes, I give her credit for seeming willing to cast them aside and work on our marriage. And I certainly hope it stays that way. But keep in mind that this is still a choice that she's making. Even if it seems heavy handed on my end. But as my therapist had suggested, if I know what I seek out this marriage, it's my duty to say it without beating around the bush. It's possible that she may not accept what I want, but I owe it to both of us to be truthful about it. If I cave & allow something that will cause me anguish, then it's only a matter of time before the same problem will surface again.
 

CTF

Member
Hi CTF,

Re (from OP):


You feel what you feel. That's not making mountains out of molehills. It just is.

It sounds like your wife hasn't been handling poly very well. Spending way too much time with the one guy and hardly any time with you. I guess she's lost in her NRE, but that's not really a good excuse.

You seem to be very sure that poly is not for you. That is okay, everyone has a right to their own boundaries. Hopefully your wife can be mono from now on, but if it turns out that she can't, you have already prepared yourself to set her free.

Sorry this has been such a painful experience for you. :(
Sincerely,
Kevin T.


Thank you for that. Honestly, I kind of have doubts on whether she really is poly. I'm not saying that she's not. But part of me feels like she just got swept up in this one guy, but it somehow seems that pulling the poly card relieves her of some of the responsibility. I could be wrong, and I hope so, but she barely talks to any of the others. She says that there are (were) 5 other people. I know 3 of them personally. One is a very good mutual friend of ours that lives locally to us, that I know she hasn't spoken to more than once or twice this year.

Yes, I've very sure that poly isn't for me. Like I said, the thought of my wife even holding hands with another man makes me sick to my stomach. And it seems (not on this site) like people tend to view my position as one that is obsolete, intolerant, and narrow minded. Believe me, as much as it would pain me to do so, I would be willing to "set her free" if she felt that it was something she couldn't live without. But I cannot be part of it. That would pain me even more.
 

PinkPig

Well-known member
Like I said, the thought of my wife even holding hands with another man makes me sick to my stomach. And it seems (not on this site) like people tend to view my position as one that is obsolete, intolerant, and narrow minded. Believe me, as much as it would pain me to do so, I would be willing to "set her free" if she felt that it was something she couldn't live without. But I cannot be part of it. That would pain me even more.

Just speaking for myself, I don't believe that your position is obsolete or intolerant. You aren't up for poly. You know that and are clearly stating that. I commend you for that. There is nothing at all wrong with wanting a monogamous relationship style. Polyamory isn't more evolved, it's just a different style.

That said, you do come across as rigid in your thinking which could be construed as narrow minded. In my experience, the thing about life is that it's ever changing... as are we. We change, grow, evolve. Things that were once unpalatable to us may become palatable or even preferable later. For that reason, I prefer to take a more open stance. "This is who I am now. This is what I want now. This is why I want what I want." As opposed to absolute statements like "never", "absolute certainty", etc. Of course, that's just my opinion. Take it or leave it.

As to my comments on possessiveness, they were based on this statement you made: "Trust me, I've been called "possessive" more times, by more people than I can count. I really don't see myself in that way. Rather, I state clearly what I'm after in a relationship, and others can choose whether or not to accept it." Based on that statement, I suggested that you take their comments into consideration and really look at your behaviors. My comments were not about your handling of this situation with your wife but about this statement (which also sounds very rigid and inflexible.)

Again, just my opinion, but since I'm 50% of a dyad relationship, if I want to improve the relationship, it's in my best interest to really look at my own behaviors, communication style, and treatment of the other person. If I change that which I can control (myself and only myself), then it will affect the relationship. Expecting the other person to do all the changing and compromising is a recipe for disaster.
 

CTF

Member
Hi CTF, I'm in a very similar situation yet I'm on the other side, where your wife is. It'll be hard for me to comment on this because of how hard I'm finding my own situation but I wanted to throw some thoughts out there.

You say you wish she had told you about being poly before forming these friendships/relationships. I can understand why, but for me it didn't work like that. I spent 8 years with my husband (who I love dearly) and any feelings I had for others I shoved down. I found that really difficult to do, the feelings of guilt I had at the same time were worse. Guilt over even thinking that about someone else other than him. When I met my 'friend' online, the feelings grew and grew through our friendship (which was formed through gaming) and it was confusing and guilt-filled for me. I tried several times to break off the friendship, tried to be 'just friends' and eventually I realised that I felt more for him than just an online fling, even though I tried not to. It wasn't until I was faced with this fact that I reevaluated my relationship style. Why was I always feeling this way when in a relationship? Was there something wrong with me? That is when information on polyamory found me, I didn't even go searching for it and it was like a lightbulb moment. So my point is...perhaps it's the same for your wife. You're not told you are polyamorous, you just figure it out through experience.

In my case, it was mostly emotional attraction than physical because that's just the way I work. So it's not like "ooh he/she is really good looking", it's more like "this person has something about them that I really like, I'd love to spend more time with that person" (and not just as a friend). This is where the current 'norm' for relationships can struggle...when you are partnered with someone, everything else has to be labelled as 'friend' and there are limits put on how you can be with someone. You are happy with those limits and she is not. I understand how her spending so much time with another person online is distressing for you, but perhaps she feels he understands or accepts her more than you do. It's easier to spend time with someone who 'gets' you. The other reason might be because spending time with someone online isn't all that fulfilling. When you really care for someone, being with them in person is completely different. Perhaps she is spending so much time online with him because she's filling that longing for being with him, but it's just not hitting the spot. Does that make sense? Like I said I'm just throwing ideas out there. Your best bet is to communicate with her, get her to really think about what she is doing.

From the possessive side of things...once you realise your true nature in the ability to love several people and the desire to be that way, anything else feels restrictive. You start to reevaluate your relationships and try to figure it all out based on this knowledge. I don't see what you've described as 'possessive' but it is 'restrictive'. And that's okay really because you see that as loving behaviour to keep the relationship model you are happy with. But from her point of view it can be restrictive because her ideal model is different.

I'm sorry that you are struggling with this, just as I'm sorry that my husband is going through this too. But she's not 'doing this to you'. She is living her life, following her journey. Perhaps she's not doing it perfectly or the way she 'should' but all you can do is respond from how you feel and from what you want.


Thank you Journey, I've been hoping to gain the perspective from another who is in her position. Yes, I understand the point about online, texting, etc... not being as fulfilling. Truthfully though, my concern is not over enabling this relationship(s) to flourish. From my standpoint, if our marriage is what matters most to both of us, then it should be at the forefront 100% of the time. And understand, that I've been dealing with this, while simultaneously coping with the loss of my Dad, as well as a laundry list of various issues that have reared their ugly heads in the midst. Work, finances, etc...

The problem with taking this online stuff too seriously, and allowing yourself to get so wrapped up in it, is that it becomes far too easy for some (as has been the case with her) to ignore reality. Just because I want her to be happy, doesn't mean that I'm not going to have to tell her things that she might not want to hear. Case in point: She had been having problems at work for a while. I told her repeatedly, that if she was unhappy there, then she should find something else & leave. He, on the other hand, convinced her to quit back in February, with, or without having another job lined up. Guess whose advice she followed? She claims that by my suggesting that she consider our finances, that I wasn't concerned about what SHE wanted. Meanwhile, he steps in, tells her what she wants to hear, and our household income drops by $65K overnight. Leaving a very real consequence that he doesn't have to be burdened with fixing... As long as they can just forget about & watch a movie... Who cares, right?

She might think that I don't "get" her, but this is not reality either. In fact, there's no one on the planet that truly "gets" her more than I do. For 20 years, I've know every nook & cranny of this woman. I've know her fears, her joys, her secrets that she's never told anyone (except for, apparently, this one), I've never once judged her negatively, failed to show her how much I love her. I've never said or done anything to make her feel small, or less than human. She's come to me for everything. I was her shoulder, and her "rock" (as she put it) when her mother passed a few years ago.

She probably did just figure out the poly. I don't deny that as being likely. The problem is, that if it really was as platonic as she claims, with no desire on her end to take it further, then why was something like that so difficult to tell me? She's known that I've never had a problem with her having friends online, or in person. Several years back, I even let one of them (a male) stay at our house for a week when he visited from Chicago. Why walk around saying things like "I (meaning her) created this mess", or "it's all my (meaning her) fault"?

I can see it being emotional on her end. But I also see how emotional leads to physical. Sometimes, physically attractive people become ugly when they have a terrible personality, and sometimes, people one wouldn't necessarily deem "attractive" can become so when they have a great personality. However, the added element, is that with this guy, it's mostly an act. And she either is in denial, or is oblivious, or perhaps, not telling the full truth (which I don't want to believe), but he is not what he represents himself to be. According to a mutual friend of my wife & I, who knows him, my wife is the 6th woman he's been involved like this with. Although, according to the others, it's gone much farther than my wife says it has with her. All of them married, one led to a divorce. He plays the part of the sweet, caring, self loathing individual, who gives this song & dance about being picked on by everyone. The women begin to prop him up to try & boost his self esteem, and then he "returns the favor" by being there to listen to all of the terrible things that happen to them. They get closer & closer by sharing all of the "tough times" with each other, then, bam, one of them drops the "I think I love you" bomb. And this is why I feel that he, in particular, needs to be completely out of her life & mine.
 
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