I'm Really Struggling

acrystalmess

New member
I have been married to my husband for 12 years. I have always been curious about the poly lifestyle but never really brought it up to him, mainly because I knew that it would not be something he'd be interested in.

Well, two weeks ago, he asked me how I felt about polyamory. He told me there was a girl at work interested in him. She is married and they are poly. I told him that it was fine and he could see her. Well, four days after that, they had their first date and had sex. He's also telling her that he loves her now. It took him over a month when we begin dating to tell me he loved me. And although we knew each other all of our lives, even dated as teenagers, still took a little time for sex to come around.
I am really struggling. And when I say really struggling, I mean I am crying every day and I don't know if I can share him. I have voiced all of this to him. He assures me that he's not going anywhere and she is also very committed to her husband. However, I just have this sick feeling in my stomach.

I don't know if it matters but we are 38. Does anyone have advice for me? How do I get used to this new dynamic? Is it possible to get used to. And although I've been interested in the lifestyle, I have no desire for anyone else.
 

Magdlyn

Moderator
Staff member
This is moving very fast. Even though you had a secret interest in poly, you and your husband never discussed it, set boundaries, stated preferences, etc. It's too bad you agreed to just let him jump right in without more preparation. And now you're overwhelmed and feeling envious because you are comparing him to the person he was 12 years ago, and to the way your relationship began when you were much younger.

It's kind of too bad he shared the TMI that he told this person he loved her already. You didn't need to know that. Openness and honesty is important in poly, but not everything needs to be shared about your meta with you.

I'd recommend reading more here, and also reading the book Opening Up with your husband. Maybe he could take a step back with the gf until you and he are more on the same page and can function with the least amount of hurt and upset. Here's something to read while you wait for the book to come.

 

acrystalmess

New member
We actually do have some guidelines in place. I am the primary partner. No more than 2 nights a week. And no coming into a our home. I guess sex did not even cross my mind. And I know how cautious he is with the 'L' word so that also didn't occur to me.
 

Rooster

Member
When my wife and I opened up it was like being a teenager all over again. Starting a new "way of life" brings on a whole learning curve that can be an emotional roller coaster.

Do you currently feel like you are struggling to make poly work, or are you wanting to close the relationship back up?
 

acrystalmess

New member
When my wife and I opened up it was like being a teenager all over again. Starting a new "way of life" brings on a whole learning curve that can be an emotional roller coaster.

Do you currently feel like you are struggling to make poly work, or are you wanting to close the relationship back up?
Um, I'm not sure. On one hand, I want him happy and I can tell that she has brought more happiness to him. I deal with a lot of mental health stuff and he has been handling all of that better so I just wonder if he is having an 'outlet' with her. And, then, on the other hand, I didn't realize poly would be this hard and I just want it to stop.
 

TXretired

Active member
It is important the the two of you talk. He has a responsibility to communicate to you and reassure his desire for you. You also need to be receptive of it. Don’t shut him out. It’s hard. My wife struggles at times with my other relationship. Soon to be 3 days a week when she moves nearby (1000 apart now).

As said above, reading poly material together is good. Talk about the material. Be open with each other.
 

acrystalmess

New member
It is important the the two of you talk. He has a responsibility to communicate to you and reassure his desire for you. You also need to be receptive of it. Don’t shut him out. It’s hard. My wife struggles at times with my other relationship. Soon to be 3 days a week when she moves nearby (1000 apart now).

As said above, reading poly material together is good. Talk about the material. Be open with each other.
I guess that's one part I'm having problems with. He has told me he still loves me and still desires me. I just can't wrap my head around it. I have a therapist (for depression, anxiety, and PTSD) and plan to talk to her during our next session.
 

Magdlyn

Moderator
Staff member
There is so much good information out there about polyamory. Do the best you can to read up. Meanwhile, make sure you take care of yourself. Get enough rest, eat a balanced diet, exercise, etc. When you do talk to hubs, don't overdo it and exhaust yourself. Try to keep talks to one hour. And don't make your lives all about this transition. Remember to go on nice dates where it's just about the 2 of you. Hubs has the responsibility to not allow himself to be consumed with his NRE and still show you how much he loves and honors you.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Hello acrystalmess,

It sounds like your husband is extra excited about this new relationship, probably because it is so "forbidden" by society and so, he gets to say, "I get to do something that I'm not supposed to do." Granted that's a little childish on his part, but that seems to be what's happening here.

But let's pretend, for a moment, that he wasn't so stoked about it. Do you then believe that you wouldn't be having this traumatic reaction to it? I mean maybe it's poly itself that is rubbing you the wrong way, not so much the fact that he is moving so fast with her. Like maybe you thought you wanted poly, but now that poly is here, and especially now that it's him (rather than you) who is practicing the poly, you are finding out that poly isn't as great as you thought it would be.

I don't know if he would be willing to slow down with her, or even what kind of slowing down he would need to do to make you feel better. But maybe if he could slow down, that would then give you more opportunity to read up on poly, and see if it's something you could stand, or get used to.

On the other hand, maybe the signs are telling you that poly just isn't right for you? I don't know.

I hope the forum has been of some help so far.
Sincerely,
Kevin T.
 

Carmina

Member
I know from past experience that rushing into poly unprepared can bring up issues you had not anticipated (particularly when past trauma and mental health, or trust issues, are involved), we went through a similar experience a few years back and it led to us putting poly on hold completely until recently. I don't have any great advice really being new to this myself and still struggling, but it does sound like you had some interest in poly for yourself so maybe think and talk about what your vision of poly looks (or looked) like and whether you can find something that works for you both. My partner and I are doing that now and it is also hard at times, but it isn't as hard as it was previously when everything was feeling like a runaway train wreck and I just wanted to get off.
 

Marcus

Well-known member
Well, four days after that, they had their first date and had sex. He's also telling her that he loves her now. It took him over a month when we begin dating to tell me he loved me. And although we knew each other all of our lives, even dated as teenagers, still took a little time for sex to come around.

Can you clarify why this time table is an important point for you? It is important to understand that all relationships are different, because they involve different people. He was one way with you, and he will likely never be that way with anyone else... because the dynamic he has with you is specific to you.

I encourage you to embrace this reality and step away from trying to weigh your relationship against other relationships. They're all different and won't line up well when trying to compare them tit for tat.

I am really struggling. And when I say really struggling, I mean I am crying every day and I don't know if I can share him. I have voiced all of this to him.
And, then, on the other hand, I didn't realize poly would be this hard and I just want it to stop.

It is a good idea to step outside our comfort zone to try to understand and even embrace other ways of life. It's good for us to stretch ourselves into new shapes to see what fits and what doesn't.

While this is true, it is also a good idea to recognize when there is a fundamental mismatch that is causing harm to one or both of the people involved in the association. You want to give him the chance to experience polyamory, which is great, but you still need to take care of yourself. It's a mistake to take a lashing under the guise of "taking one for the team", or whatever the rationale is. In the end, your own health and happiness are your responsibility so you should take it seriously.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
Others have already given good suggestions. I only have this to add...

Do you have agreements around safer sex? You mentioned sex not even crossing your mind.

He's also telling her that he loves her now.

Did he tell you that? Some long term couples get into the habit of going to each other for EVERYTHING. Like got married into some kind of "CoupleBlob." When really a couple is still two individual people AND a couple.

Is he telling you TMI details right now? Maybe some agreements around communication are needed?

If he's in NRE, him going around gushing his lalalas at you might be off putting even if he's always gushed his lalas at you before about other things -- hobbies, tv shows, whatever.

Have you done the work of detangling?

I know some people are so used to having the spouse be their sounding board for everything from habit that they just take the spouse and services provided for granted. They don't seek consent first by asking if the spouse wants to even deal in this conversation. They just start inundating the spouse inappropriately with their polydating stuff assuming spouse is up for it any time night or day.

On your end? You might have been used to always helping him with his stuff as spouse/helpmate. But now that he polydates, some areas of his life don't actually require your assistance and may bring to light that you were overassisting before. So it may feel weird to stop yourself and take a step back. "No, that's not actually my job." Or say "Hey, you know just because I'm your spouse, it doesn't mean I have to..." Or say "Hey, you know just because I'm your spouse, it doesn't mean you get to..."

It took him over a month when we begin dating to tell me he loved me. And although we knew each other all of our lives, even dated as teenagers, still took a little time for sex to come around.

That sounds like you comparing how he was in the past to how he is as a 38 year old. And maybe feeling worried that the new person is going to oust you from being important in his life just because right now, he NRE babbles at you, and he's hitting some milestones faster with her than he did with you, etc.

Every relationship unfolds how it does, and it's not going to be the same. Even him meeting you now? Would not unfold the same. Because you are not dating as teens but people in their late 30s.

How has he been up to now? What is his character? How does he treat you? Loving? Respectful? If his track record has been dependable, and he's just new hinge babbly? Maybe you could weather the transition time if he talked to you LESS because you can't be helping him with his poly changes because you have your own poly changes.

Well, two weeks ago, he asked me how I felt about polyamory. He told me there was a girl at work interested in him. She is married and they are poly. I told him that it was fine and he could see her.

And then this. Why did you say it was fine? What did you think it was going to be?

If you have realized you jumped in without really doing enough preparation? Best you tell him before they get too deeply attached.

Maybe it's a good time to think about seeing a poly friendly counselor to help you each navigate the transition time better if you plan to keep going?

I am really struggling. And when I say really struggling, I mean I am crying every day and I don't know if I can share him. I have voiced all of this to him.

Well, you are mourning several losses. The "old normal" is gone. The "new normal" isn't here. You have been caught off guard with some things. You might need some attention, care, reassuring.

You are also comparing and might need to reign that in some.

And then he might be oversharing details that just make your adjustment time harder. So he might need to reign in some of that.

I am really struggling. And when I say really struggling, I mean I am crying every day and I don't know if I can share him. I have voiced all of this to him.

What was his response when you shared all this with him?

Do you even want to be doing poly? Or is it that you don't want to be doing poly like THIS and need a time out to catch up on some reading, make some agreements, etc? Slow things down some?

At minimum while you are figuring things out, you could request no more new people. Like this lady, fine, she's already here. But you realized both jumped into the deep end without doing enough preparation work. So let's not be adding MORE new people til you both catch some stuff up.

Then read some things together while waiting to set up a counselor.



There's checklists from the book "Opening Up." The website is wonky but you can read the forms through WayBack Machine.

Wayback Machine
Creating Authentic Relationships

Wayback Machine
Open Relationship Checklist

Wayback Machine
Reflecting on Change

Wayback Machine
Self Evaluation

Maybe those help you think and have meaningful conversation with spouse.

NRE usually lasts 6-24 months. You do not have benefit of past experience to think "This again. He always gets NRE crazy for the first 4 mos and then calms down. What helped me last time was X, Y and Z."

Not only is it the first time with this lady, but it is the FIRST first, so you don't even know how to take care of you when he's going through NRE, and he doesn't even know how not to be annoying in NRE.

But if you REALLY don't want to be doing this? Speak up. Your consent to do this belongs to you. And best you say "Look, I thought I could, but I can't. I'm overwhelmed and I don't like it. I am not going to stop you if you really want to move on to practicing Polyamory. But I need to get off this poly bus. I can't travel down that road with you."

Because putting off saying it isn't going to get any better a year later, two years later. I encourage you to do some soul searching.

My 2 cents,
Galagirl
 
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Marcus

Well-known member
Hubs has the responsibility to not allow himself to be consumed with his NRE and still show you how much he loves and honors you.
He has a responsibility to communicate to you and reassure his desire for you.

I just want to add to this idea that he is not at all responsible for your internal sense of security. He is in no way required to sate your insecurity in a particular way, and hoisting our own insecurities onto our partner is a sure fire way to build resentment and tear down trust.

What I would instead focus on is making sure that you are being an excellent receiver of information. Meaning, you've got an agitating situation in front of you, and you will likely continue to hear things that are uncomfortable for you, so it is important to make sure that you are receiving that information as gracefully as possible. That isn't to say that you aren't entitled to have an emotional response, but it's critical to keep in mind that each time we cry, raise our voices, clam up, or retaliate, we are tearing down the likelihood that they will be honest with us in the future.

So for me, I would avoid focusing on what he owes you, and focus more on what you are feeling, being honest without blaming, and being a grand master at getting new information that is uncomfortable for you. The more groundwork you lay showing him that you are a responsible adult and can hear uncomfortable news without punishing him for it, the better your communication will be going forward.

It's easier said than done, but if you're going to be putting in effort anyway, you might as well put it toward something that will yield positive results.
 
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