I think my husband wants to leave me

naturalblue

New member
I just discovered this and my head is spinning, so forgive me if I'm all over the place.

My husband and I have been together for over 6 years, married since March. We have been open for a little over a year. He has a girlfriend that he has been with pretty much since we opened, and I have one primary fuck buddy and occasionally hook up with others as time/situations warrant.

There has been a history of him concealing how he feels about her from me. We had a big blowout several months ago because when we first opened, we agreed that it would just be sex and no other relationships. He was seeing her exclusively though and my warning bells were going off so I asked to be able to read the texts between them. There was a lot in there that he never told me so I was upset. I also realized that it was partially my fault as I had never spoken with her about our expectations, I left him to do it and trusted him when he said that he had and she understood. Well, he hadn't or at least not in the way that I understood them and she had fallen in love with him. It was a giant fight but in the end, I asked myself whether I felt that their relationship was a threat to our marriage and the answer was no, so I let it go and understood that there would be emotion involved in their relationship.

I have been feeling like we're disconnected lately though and have been concerned about it. I've asked him if he's in love with her and he avoids the question or says something like "well I do feel a love for her, but I wouldn't say I'm IN LOVE". This totally counters my gut instinct and his actions though. We're at the point where he almost spends more time with her than he does with me (Thurs - Sun almost every week). They call and text all the time. To be clear, I don't have a problem with them having a relationship or even loving each other. It's the hiding it that concerns me and my fear that he will decide that he only wants to be with her.

So, here's the crux of it. I snooped. I know, I know, it's terrible and I got exactly what I deserved by doing it. My worst fear has apparently come true. He sent her a message a month ago that said that he had been thinking about their relationship and he was so in love with her and he has been secretly hoping that I'll develop feelings for one of the guys that I'm seeing so that he can be with her. He said he wants to be her one and only forever and that he wants to be her husband.

I don't know what to do with this knowledge. I don't know what her reaction to that message was. I'm a jumble and am having trouble sorting out how I feel about this. I honestly think that if I say nothing he would just stay married to me forever no matter how he felt, he's bad at confrontation. On one hand, I don't want to be married to someone that doesn't want to be married to me. I also don't want to just give up on my marriage 8 months in. If I bring this up, do I make them break up? Make him swear that he won't divorce me? Close the relationship? I don't really want to do that but I also don't really know how I should respond to this.

I'm honestly less devastated than I thought I would be, but maybe that's just shock. Like I said, I have been feeling less connected to him and to be frank, our sex life has taken a nose dive in the last month or so. I chalked that up to bad timing, plus he was having some health issues for a bit. Also, we have historically gone through periodic dry spells, so I figured it was that. Now I'm wondering if it's due to him preferring her.

I really don't know what to think here and could use some perspective. I know this is a novel, I'm sorry.
 

SchrodingersCat

Active member
First off, I'm really sorry to hear that things turned out this way. It's not what you agreed to, and that super sucks.

I have a couple questions that might help assess the situation.

Was opening up your idea or his? What about the boundary of emotional exclusivity? You say she's been there pretty much since you opened up. To me, that sounds like he'd already met her and was using this opening up stuff as a pretence to validate his relationship with her.

Did you get married before or after you opened up the relationship? You say he dislikes confrontation. Could it be that he was too scared to tell you what he felt, so he did the unthinkable and married you when he wasn't 100% committed?

The texts you uncovered are pretty conclusive. If he's the type who can't maintain multiple romantic relationships, then he's just being a big chicken-shit by dragging you along. How you choose to handle that depends on your personality. I'm confrontational, so I would probably tell him upfront that I read his text, and that I expect some answers.

In my opinion, you shouldn't feel guilty or shamed for snooping in his phone. The fact that your fears were validated reinforces my opinion. Frankly, you should never have been put in a position where you felt the need to do that. I don't think partners should keep secrets from each other.

And then I would probably leave him. I wouldn't give him the chance to explain, I wouldn't offer him the opportunity to break-up with her and come back to me, I would just pack my bags and go. 8 months is really nothing when it comes to a marriage. This situation isn't likely to improve. Are you going to feel any better about leaving when it's 8 years and not 8 months, and if he's not still with her then he's doing this with someone else?
 

rory

New member
I'm sorry for what you're going through... :(

I'm trying to think of an explanation to the message, but all the alternatives do really suck. It could be true, and he just hasn't told you (yet). Or it could be he's saying that to please her, i.e. that is what she is expecting to hear from him. But then, even if that were true, would you want to be with somebody who had so little respect for you that he would do that kind of thing... :( Seems like he is lying to at least one of you.
 

gomugirl1656

New member
I am sorry to hear this is happening to you. Here at our house, if it isn't honest and upfront there had better be a good reason for it. Even if he hasn't outright lied, even if he's just "waiting for the right time to tell you" even if he really loves you both and wants you to be happy without him. Secretly harboring feelings that you will, sort of, find someone else so he can sneak off with her is cowardly behavior and does not come off as ethical or responsible to me. You Deserve Better! I say leave him, he has already broken your contract and hasn't bothered to negotiate another one. Quietly make your plans and do what you must do to move on. And again, I am sorry I know this is painful.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
I am sorry you are going through this. :(
I don't really want to do that but I also don't really know how I should respond to this.

Well... You need feedback from him at this point. You could ASK HIM. Where's his head at here? But come clean and with an attitude of "let's sort this out" and not with an attitude of "you rat fink! GRRR!"

The initial agreement had evidence of not being well written.
We had a big blowout several months ago because when we first opened, we agreed that it would just be sex and no other relationships.

That bold part just NOT a realistic, reasonable thing. People cannot control feelings. They bubble up and ensue after behavior. They CAN control how they behave in response to those feelings though.

You guys made an agreement that was not realistic. (First Behavior)

He become this woman's lover. (Next Behavior).
He had feelings ensue and bubble up for her. (New Feelings.)

But the agreement left him NO place to go to air that out. He was just supposed to NOT have the feelings at all.
So he kept them to himself then and chose silence. (New Behavior)
So when you noticed changes in him (observation behavior) and you felt weird. (New feelings) the agreement left you no space to talk to him in. If he's supposed to NOT HAVE the feelings at all, why would you ever have need to talk about it? You don't ever need to deal with it, right? So you guys never planned ahead to cover that potential need -- your need to be able to talk to him about feelings of his that "just do not exist." It could just as easily have been the other way around with YOU struggling with feelings for a new lover.

You chose to snoop rather than ask him straight up or ask to change the agreement to address the need for space to air things out. (New behavior) Because this agreement you made was limiting for you both.
Now you feel confused and ugh from unwelcome knowledge. (New Feeling)

Now you get to pick a NEW behavior to see if better feelings will ensue.

I don't think you are bad people -- but this agreement you made was just not a good well designed agreement to begin with. The agreement did not help you to be your best selves and be in right relationship to each other or help you to choose good behavior toward the partner.

So new behavior choices at THIS crossroads to aid in better emotional management:

1) We can fuss about the poorly designed agreement that was broken and "assign blame" and "who was worse". Spend time sidelined on blue feeling things and go round in circles some to see who is the bluest.

2) We can accept we made a poorly designed agreeement that failed us both. We both accept we both feel blue. We address the original behavior that wasn't working. And take the opportunity to move things forward and change this agreement.​

I'd go with move it forward and CHANGE FOR THE BETTER. How you guys change is up to you.

If you choose that behavior #2 you could own your part of it and apologize for snooping and open the discussion. Maybe it could be something like...

1) Yes, I peeked. I am sorry.

2) I found unwelcome knowledge. So let's talk.

3) Where is your head now? Since this message is a month old? Are we done with the poly experiment?

  • Have you come to find that you are monoamorous in your wiring and wish to part ways? If so, let's talk about a sensible, sane, quick divorce so we both get to the Healing Place as soon as possible.
  • Have you come to find that you are monoamorous in your wiring and wish to be with just me and we need to talk about CLOSING the marriage? If so, let's talk and sort how that might look for us.
  • Have you come to find that you are polyamorous but need things adjusted? Because this open model is NOT the model? If so, let's talk and sort out how that might look. Learn about other models.

4) Again, I apologize for peeking. I own my part in creating this agreement that was just not a good fit for either of us. I own my part in not great communication as things arose and changed. I should have spoken up rather than peek and ask you for clear communication.

I prefer up front, honest communication from this point forward. I'm willing to grow those skills. So let's talk and set an appointment for a good long talk on this. Thank you.​

It's not fun to feel all this right now, but BREATHE. Take it one thing at a time. And move it forward. Sometimes taking sensible, solid action to move things forward is better than what iffing and staying stuck.

Hang in there. It's rough. :(

Galagirl
 
Last edited:

naturalblue

New member
thanks

Thank you everyone for your input. I'll do my best to address the questions brought up.

We were married after we opened the relationship, about 6 months. Opening the relationship was actually my idea. I had had open relationships before and enjoyed them. When we first got together, he was not amenable to the idea but as our relationship grew stronger, plus the fact that several of our friends are in open relationships that work and he was able to see that, he became more open to it. We started slow, with just loosening boundaries and then became fully open a little over a year ago.

His girlfriend is a mutual friend that was actually originally trying to hook up with me, but I wasn't interested. They started hooking up around the time that we were loosening boundaries and then took it further when we opened. He is not the type to sleep around casually so I always understood that there would be a level of caring since they were friends beforehand and also, they both lost a parent within a month of each other so they were able to support each other in that in a way that I couldn't; but when we first started it was both of our understanding that our marriage was our main relationship and anything else was secondary.

I understand what you are saying, GalaGirl, about the original agreement being bad. I realized that after our big blowout about their feelings for each other and part of the reason that I let it go was because I did realize that it was unrealistic. I do believe that love is not finite and that if he loves her it doesn't necessarily mean he loves me less. So after that fight, we all understood that there would be an emotional connection between them and I was truly ok with that. There is, however, a difference between loving both of us and wishing he was married to her instead.

To add another layer to this, this has made me really question my feelings for him as well. I have been asking myself if I'm still in love with him and so far I don't have an answer for that. I am not good with picking apart and identifying my emotions though and I am still kind of in shock about all of this, so I know I'm going to need some time to fully understand how I feel about that. I have also built a pretty strong connection to the guy that I'm seeing so that makes me very hesitant about insisting that they break up or closing the relationship since I don't want to discontinue seeing my dude.

It's still pretty confusing. He acts like nothing has changed and in fact has been reaching out to me more in the last few days. He's in a great mood today, although the pessimistic side of me thinks that's probably because she's coming up for a visit today. It's very tempting to just pretend I never saw that message and just continue along in the relationship. I know that what other people think isn't important and normally I don't care, but the thought of breaking up or divorcing after only having been married 8 months is humiliating. And we were SO SMUG about how we had everything figured out and how our communication was so great and how we were doing this open relationship thing the right way. Ugh. I guess that should have been my first clue that something wasn't right haha

I know I need to talk to him about all of this, but I am dreading it. Plus, with Christmas around the corner, I don't know if I want to blow all this up right now. I'm just really unsure about a lot of things right now.
 
T

To add another layer to this, this has made me really question my feelings for him as well. I have been asking myself if I'm still in love with him and so far I don't have an answer for that. I am not good with picking apart and identifying my emotions though and I am still kind of in shock about all of this, so I know I'm going to need some time to fully understand how I feel about that. I have also built a pretty strong connection to the guy that I'm seeing so that makes me very hesitant about insisting that they break up or closing the relationship since I don't want to discontinue seeing my dude.

It's still pretty confusing. He acts like nothing has changed and in fact has been reaching out to me more in the last few days. He's in a great mood today, although the pessimistic side of me thinks that's probably because she's coming up for a visit today. It's very tempting to just pretend I never saw that message and just continue along in the relationship. I know that what other people think isn't important and normally I don't care, but the thought of breaking up or divorcing after only having been married 8 months is humiliating. And we were SO SMUG about how we had everything figured out and how our communication was so great and how we were doing this open relationship thing the right way. Ugh. I guess that should have been my first clue that something wasn't right haha

I know I need to talk to him about all of this, but I am dreading it. Plus, with Christmas around the corner, I don't know if I want to blow all this up right now. I'm just really unsure about a lot of things right now.

Bleh, I had some advice until I got to his messages to her that he hoped you'd want to leave him so he could be with her primarily. It is hard to do poly with somebody who is also a coward. My ex and I also broke up about 9 months after opening our 12 year marriage, we were probably a bit smug, poly people we met were saying they wished they had a marriage like ours :cool: and I certainly thought things were going well.

I can understand not wanting to discuss this right around Christmas, I can never keep my mouth shut about a problem for more than 5 minutes so it's nice to know that some people aren't so impatient.

It is NOT humiliating to end a relationship that isn't working, it's brave. You just have your memorized response for people who are nosy and ask you what happened - you tell them its none of their business or say "We really care about each other but realized that we weren't getting what we needed out of the relationship anymore, and it seemed better to part and stay friends than try to force it" Or..whatever.

The part I bolded - them breaking up or you closing your relationships is almost guaranteed to cause nothing but trouble. With what you know, it'd really seem like a passive aggressive way to get him to initiate a divorce, or encourage him to cheat, or worse, sit at home and start hating you, because what reason would you give him if you didn't tell him the truth?

I am really sorry - it's one of those snooping is wrong but it's information you deserved to have, and it's too bad he didn't give it to you freely when you asked about it :(
 

riftara

New member
I'm sure my reply wont be as well thought out as everyone elses as I'm kinda tired.

I think you have a few choices to make...
The big one that seems to be looming over your head is stay or go. And I understand that one completely.
I read a book once, too good to leave, too bad to stay and although I dont adhear to its all or none philosophy, it DID help me sort out my feelings about my ex and eventually led me to leaving him. I think you should check it out. Its best place, in a poly relationship especially, is to help you sort out your feelings, so its not a perfect guide by any means and its written for monogamous relationships quite heavily.

Closing your marriage is not a good idea, you both will feel resentment and it will lead to a definate "go" eventually. You want it open, he wants it open, you just need to work on communicating your boundaries and reestablishing your agreement.
Same thing with insisting he ends it with her, it will lead to resentment and guilt.

However, I DO think you need to confront him on this, and find out where he is NOW, since that could have been NRE talking or even come from something she said or he thought she wanted to hear. Maybe they talked after and she didnt want that. Or maybe they did and they have secret plans to run away together in January. You cant know unless you talk to him about it.

No matter what happens, you have to think of YOUR happiness, not what others think!
 

naturalblue

New member
Still here

I haven't talked to him yet. I've been sorting through my feelings and while I'm still unsure, what I do know is that I'm not willing to give up my marriage without a fight. I didn't get married to just walk out when it gets tough.

I had been telling myself that it's better to wait until after Christmas to do all of this, plus we're coming up on the year anniversary of his dad's death, but now I'm finding myself picking fights with him (granted, discussion that needed to happen about unrelated day to day stuff, but I blew it up out of proportion to what the issue was) so I think maybe I should do this sooner rather than later or it's just going to eat at me.

What I've come up with so far is that I'm going to tell him what I found and ask if he still feels that way and go from there. I do think he needs to choose though. I have been ok with their relationship because I never felt that it was a threat to our marriage, but that has clearly changed. I have never felt like I or we are "poly" in the sense that all our relationships are equal and have always been vocal about my expectation that our marriage is primary and always comes first.

If he would prefer to be with/married to her, then I don't know that there is anything I can do about that. But if he's going to remain married to me, he can no longer be with her. I hate to draw that line because I know it will hurt him, but at the same time I can't live in a marriage where I'm constantly worried that he would rather be somewhere else.

Am I out of line on this? I understand that veto-ing a partner's partner is frowned upon in the poly community, but as I said, we have always been more "open" than "poly". I'm really struggling with how to handle this.

What kills me about this is that had he just been honest with me about the fact that he loves her, I wouldn't have had a problem with it. Also, I really can't understand how he could feel like he would prefer just her when he could have both of us, freely. I mean, WTF? I've always been so secure in his love, always so sure that he would NEVER cheat, that he would NEVER leave me, that he would always love me. I feel like a rug has been pulled out from under me. I've struggled for years with self-worth and depression, always feeling like I was undeserving of love. He's the one that really helped me with that, he made me feel lovable finally. And now he may not be in love with me anymore.

This is going to be a shitty fucking Christmas.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
I don't think there's any easy answers here. You just have to figure out what you can/can't live with, and stick to that.

I don't know if this would be worth asking him, but you might say, "You told her that you wanted to leave me. Do you really want to leave me? Why do you want to leave me?" Perhaps there are deeper problems in the relationship between you and him that he hasn't talked about.

It's not okay for him to be dishonest -- to you or her. If you decide to stay with him, it should probably be on the condition that he's going to tell (both of you) the truth from now on.

I don't personally think "veto power" is evil per se, but I do think it should be used with utmost caution, and only under the most strenuous circumstances. However, the your circumstances here are pretty strenuous, so I don't blame you for considering this veto. Just make sure you know this is a hard boundary for you before you go through with it. There is always the notion of, your husband screwed up, can he be trusted to do better in the future?

Sorry things have gotten this bad.
 

BoringGuy

Banned
Telling him to choose is not the same thing as a veto. Also, the OP seems prepared for the possibility that he might choose the other person. There is nothing in this that is at odds with the basic principles of polyamory. Nowhere in the One Poly Bible does it say relationships have to last forever, and nowhere does it say you can't have a relationship with conditions. Now I feel an editorial coming on so I better stop before I get full of myself.
 

naturalblue

New member
kdt26417 and Boring Guy, I'm glad that there are people who see it that way. I had been nervous about saying anything about it because when I first came on this forum a while ago, there was a thread from a woman who felt threatened by her husbands secondary relationship and wanted to veto it. Most of the comments were extremely negative, with a lot of "you're not really poly if you don't let your husband have this relationship" and "suck it up, you let him do it so now you have to live with it forever" kind of attitudes. I know not everyone is like that, but it did make me nervous.

Honestly, I think I know why he feels this way. When he's with her, it's like vacation romance. They don't have any responsibilities, it's just hanging out and sex all the time. Also, she is crazy attracted to him and all over him all the time, which I'm sure feeds his ego and makes him feel good. While, with me, it's real life and paying bills and stressing about money and cleaning the house, etc. Also, while I love him more than anything and our sex life has always been pretty good, neither of us has been "on fire" for the other in quite a while. And that's fine with me. It's part of the reason that we opened the relationship, so that we could have other sexual experiences and still have our steady and strong relationship. Now though, apparently, that makes her more attractive as a partner.

That said, I do understand that it is going to be painful either way. I'm also worried that if I do veto his relationship, he will want to make me stop seeing the guy I've been dating (who I like a lot and care for) or will want to close the relationship. I suppose if that were the only way to save my marriage, I could do it. Hell, we were monogamous for 5 years successfully so it's not like it can't be done - it's just not as much fun.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Sounds like he is caught in an "NRE syndrome" (New Relationship Energy.) Perhaps you're on different pages as far as appreciating different kinds of relationships (e.g. both shiny/new and tried/true).

Just make sure you give it ample time/thought (which you seem to already be doing) before making a decision on this one. It's a huge decision.
 

BoringGuy

Banned
It doesn't seem right that you should have to dump your boyfriend when the boyfriend hasn't had anything to do with the problem. Sounds like it's this specific individual, the girlfriend, that is the problem for you, and doing this tit-for-tat "If I have to give up my toy, you have to give up yours" is a bit juvenile. But I did just say that relationships can be conditional, so if it must be then it must be, but i feel bad for the innocent people caught in someone else's tornado.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
It doesn't seem right to me to wait til Christmas. Just talk to him, set aside a time to talk, and talk it out.

I mean, what does prolonging making appt to talk til the end of the month do? Is there a reason to wait THAT long? Just set the appt time.

GG
 

polyq4

Spaminator
I think a veto is a bad thing. You have given in to change your boundaries and now that you feel threatened you want to pull the plug? You can only control you and not what he does, you can say how you feel about things. If he wants to leave you again that his choice. I am not saying he has done everything right, probably not, however you are here now.
 

nycindie

Active member
Seems to me that the two of you opened your marriage so that you could have more of the "fun stuff" (sex, excitement, hot dates) with other people, but neglected to deliberately set aside time and space for still having fun stuff with each other. No wonder your sex life cooled down - your marriage became all about bills and laundry. Where were the dates with each other?

I also think there is a way to save it without either of you ending your other relationships. You both have apologies to make, and need to rebuild your trust in each other. It will take a huge amount of inner work, soul-searching, and deeply honest communication - but most of all, I think it demands that each of you examine your beliefs about what love is, what marriage is supposed to be, and what kinds of commitments you can make and would be happy with. There are so many shades of love, and so many ways to love someone. Love alone is not enough to make a relationship succeed and bring joy and satisfaction - there are so many other factors, like respect, caring, consideration, honesty, trust, and affection. But I also think that very successful relationships can happen even if the love shared between two people is not the storybook kind of passionate romance. I tend to think that the ideas society has taught us about the importance of being "in love" is nonsensical mumbo-jumbo. More and more in my own life, I am realizing that the questions shouldn't be "Do I love him, and does he love me?" but "Do we care about each other?" And then demonstrating that caring, which is really how lovingness gets manifested anyhow, in the long run.
 

naturalblue

New member
polyq4 - Yes I do think I have the right to veto her. He is MY husband. Not hers. Boundaries changed once before, they can change again. There was never anything in our agreement that said that this was permanent and I resent this idea in the poly community that once you open up, you no longer have any say in what happens in your relationship. Marriage is not something that you just throw away or trivialize, to me. We made vows to each other and that is not something that I can just walk away from just because he is caught up in NRE. You're right, I can't control his behavior. But I can say that if he wants to remain married to me, he can no longer be with her. That's my boundary and he can react as he sees fit.

nycindie - we do have dates and we do set time aside for just us. Perhaps not as often as we should, due to money concerns, but it does happen. But because we also live in reality, our lives also include a lot of paying bills and day to day crap. My point is that he doesn't have to do any of that with her, it's all vacation and having fun and lots of sex.

Look, I would prefer to allow him to keep this relationship because them breaking up is going to cause a lot of drama (we are all part of a larger group so there is little chance of them having a clean break, we would have to see her again at group get togethers), but if having it is going to make him seriously consider leaving me for her then it's gotta go. I am 100% more important in this equation than she is. I know that's not the "poly" way of seeing things, but as I've stated several times in this thread, I have never considered us poly, just open. I'm the one he married, not her. I'm the one he promised to spend the rest of his life with, not her. I'm the one that has supported him nearly our entire relationship, not her.

GalaGirl - I understand what you are saying. I'm just nervous about making Christmas severely awkward. Also, as I mentioned, the 1 year anniversary of his dad's death is coming up at the end of January and I worry that this, plus that will send him into a tailspin of depression. He hasn't really dealt with it yet and had a really hard time on Thanksgiving and his dad's birthday. That, and a part of me is a little scared that he will choose her so I'm being a chicken. :)
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
GalaGirl - I understand what you are saying. I'm just nervous about making Christmas severely awkward. Also, as I mentioned, the 1 year anniversary of his dad's death is coming up at the end of January and I worry that this, plus that will send him into a tailspin of depression. He hasn't really dealt with it yet and had a really hard time on Thanksgiving and his dad's birthday. That, and a part of me is a little scared that he will choose her so I'm being a chicken.

I can appreciate all that. But you are suffering here. Christmas is ALREADY awkward for you. Don't set him up to be blindsided later if you pop! From holding it in.

Just ask him "Hon, I want to set an appointment time to have serious conversation with you. I don't want to make Christmas awkward. I know Thanksgiving was already rough, and Dad's passing away anniversary is in Janaury. I want to respect all that and pace ourselves over busy holidays. But for my own needs, I need to have an appointment date so I know somewhere in there I will get attention too. So... my top 3 dates are somewhere in ___, ____, and ____. What's good for you for having serious relationship talk time? "

Then you have it on the calendar and there! You can relax a tiny bit. And he was included so he's not getting a blindsided moment. He knows (just like you!) that it is on the caledar.

The other reason is to address that last sentence. The chicken thing. Make appt and then you can show your chicken that YES! You can handle things anyway! "So shut up chicken! Pecking at me in my head!"

Sometimes taking action, even a tiny one like appt setting, can soothe ruffled feathers and stop what ifffing crazy from taking over. Alleviate a tiny bit of the suffering so you can start to feel a tiny bit better.

*hug*

Hang in there.

GG
 
Last edited:
Top