In the throes of lust, and feeling guilty

Part of the reason that R and I opened up our relationship was our differing sex drives. R is content with once every 4-6 weeks, I would prefer at least once a week. I feel guilty if I ask for more than once a month, and even worse if I initiate and she's not into it. She admitted to me a couple nights ago that in some ways, it's easier for her to spend time with K2 because there's no pressure to have sex. I was floored; I didn't think I was putting pressure on her. (BTW, I always take "No" for an answer.)

I've connected with a couple of women online, and one in particular, L, is incredibly exciting to me. She's intelligent, funny, and honest -- some of the many things that I love about R. She's also gorgeous, almost to the point of out of my league, and we share a lot of the same sexual and kinky interests. We've had some very intense text conversations and plan to meet face-to-face in two weeks (we live in different cities, about three hours apart).

Even though I've gotten the green light from R to pursue L, I still feel like I'm cheating. I don't know if it's residual Catholic guilt (I'm a secular humanist but have trouble letting go of some of the dogma) or what's causing it. Is it normal, and what can I do about it?
 
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dingedheart

Well-known member
Are you sure it's guilt or disappointment as to the underlying sexual compatibility issue that forced this change.
 

Magdlyn

Moderator
Staff member
All feelings are normal, but that doesn't make them fun.

You're in a sexless but otherwise good marriage (?), and you are given the green light to go get friendship and sex elsewhere (how about love?), but your guilt is hampering you. I wasn't raised Catholic or Jewish, but I recently dated a guy who was raised by a Catholic mom (and his bio dad was Jewish!). I have seen closeup the damage living with guilt can cause.

Maybe get some counseling.
 

sunray

New member
Sorting out desire and satisfaction

I was floored; I didn't think I was putting pressure on her. (BTW, I always take "No" for an answer.)

Just to speak to this piece for a second--this is something my nesting partner and I had to work through (and it took work!). It is possible that she is feeling pressure that doesn't come directly from you, but is implied by our wider culture. Isn't sex (and providing sexual satisfaction) high on the list of 'things romantic/sexual/life partners typically do for each other'? Maybe she's holding on to that expectation of herself even though it doesn't quite fit the relationship between the two of you, and feeling pressure where you don't mean to apply any--either by reading into things that you say or do, or generating it all internally? I certainly used to. I felt, a lot of times, like my partner's arousal was my responsibility to satisfy--often when he didn't feel that way at all!

I highly recommend talking it out with her. And it may or may not not be relevant to your/her situation, but I got a lot out of reading 'Come As You Are' by Emily Nagoski when I was working it through. Good luck! <3
 

GrowingTogether

New member
Hey WC,

Do you think there could be a bit of an underlying disbelief (for you) that R is actually okay with you pursuing L, even if it's a completely unwarranted disbelief?

Maybe it's something that you just need to work through with baby steps. Maybe as you pursue this activity with L you'll be able to have really good, open communication with R that will confirm for that, notwithstanding some potential for natural bumps in the road, she is okay with your unfolding relationship?
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Hi WildColonial,

Is it possible your misgivings stem at least in part from a deeply-inculcated link to mononormativity? The normativity of monogamy is so thoroughly taught by society, media, and authority figures, that I wonder if even polyamorists can entirely escape it.

You'll have to decide if this applies to you. If it does, maybe the thing to do is just endure it until it slowly recedes. At least, I believe and hope it will recede.

Sincerely,
Kevin T.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
You could take these feelings as a sign to slow down and do some deep thinking before jumping into dating.

Another thought to consider I had not seen mentioned yet...

Even though I've gotten the green light from R to pursue L, I still feel like I'm cheating. I don't know if it's residual Catholic guilt (I'm a secular humanist but have trouble letting go of some of the dogma) or what's causing it. Is it normal, and what can I do about it?

Is it "guilt" like you are doing something wrong?

Or more like "regret" like you wish you didn't have to go outside the marriage to seek a lover who is more compatible? Like even if R gives her blessing... it's still not your ideal marriage situation. Like your ideal marriage situation would be to be married to someone who is actually compatible in all the things you want to be compatible in. If there wasn't this sex incompatibility... would you still be doing Open marriage? Or would you prefer to be in a Closed marriage? :confused:

If you would ideally prefer being in a Closed marriage, maybe Open marriage isn't the best solution to (I'm not happy in my marriage with this partner.)

Maybe divorce is a better one. So your sweetie slot is not taken up by someone who is no longer compatible. And then when you do date you are free to seek that compatible person without guilt or regrets weighing you down. It's moving forward CLEAN. Not all... weird.

Are you trying to use open marriage like a "crutch" or "bandaid" to avoid whatever core problems in the marriage? These things don't magically go away. If anything they get magnified once Open. I sometimes see couples try to avoid the divorce conversation by going with Open marriage. Like they can finally go date someone more compatible while still avoiding dealing with the old problems. That's not treating the marital relationship with respect. Nor is it dating the new person with respect. It's kinda just making more mess. (To me anyway.)

So I would say to slow it down and take the time soul search and REALLY figure out what you want and how to best approach that.

Galagirl
 
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Hi WildColonial,

Is it possible your misgivings stem at least in part from a deeply-inculcated link to mononormativity? The normativity of monogamy is so thoroughly taught by society, media, and authority figures, that I wonder if even polyamorists can entirely escape it.

You'll have to decide if this applies to you. If it does, maybe the thing to do is just endure it until it slowly recedes. At least, I believe and hope it will recede.

Sincerely,
Kevin T.

This explanation really resonated with me. I'm three years out of the closet, and my thinking can still be heteronormative at times. So it makes sense that the mononormativity wouldn't just go away either.

Hey WC,

Do you think there could be a bit of an underlying disbelief (for you) that R is actually okay with you pursuing L, even if it's a completely unwarranted disbelief?

Maybe it's something that you just need to work through with baby steps. Maybe as you pursue this activity with L you'll be able to have really good, open communication with R that will confirm for that, notwithstanding some potential for natural bumps in the road, she is okay with your unfolding relationship?

This also resonated with me. I couldn't believe my luck when I met R. I had reconciled myself to being alone for a very long time and was fine with that. Then it was like the universe said, "Oh really?" and put this amazing woman in my path. It still feels a little unreal sometimes.


You could take these feelings as a sign to slow down and do some deep thinking before jumping into dating.

Another thought to consider I had not seen mentioned yet...



Is it "guilt" like you are doing something wrong?

Or more like "regret" like you wish you didn't have to go outside the marriage to seek a lover who is more compatible? Like even if R gives her blessing... it's still not your ideal marriage situation. Like your ideal marriage situation would be to be married to someone who is actually compatible in all the things you want to be compatible in. If there wasn't this sex incompatibility... would you still be doing Open marriage? Or would you prefer to be in a Closed marriage? :confused:

If you would ideally prefer being in a Closed marriage, maybe Open marriage isn't the best solution to (I'm not happy in my marriage with this partner.)

Maybe divorce is a better one. So your sweetie slot is not taken up by someone who is no longer compatible. And then when you do date you are free to seek that compatible person without guilt or regrets weighing you down. It's moving forward CLEAN. Not all... weird.

Are you trying to use open marriage like a "crutch" or "bandaid" to avoid whatever core problems in the marriage? These things don't magically go away. If anything they get magnified once Open. I sometimes see couples try to avoid the divorce conversation by going with Open marriage. Like they can finally go date someone more compatible while still avoiding dealing with the old problems. That's not treating the marital relationship with respect. Nor is it dating the new person with respect. It's kinda just making more mess. (To me anyway.)

So I would say to slow it down and take the time soul search and REALLY figure out what you want and how to best approach that.

Galagirl

Apart from the differing sex drives, we are very compatible. We're best friends and bring out the best in each other. We have each other's back no matter what. We have the normal hiccups that most couples do, but we've been through a lot together and come out stronger. Because I love her so much, I can see why other people would love her too. Also because I love her, I know how capable I am of loving people and I want to share that. (Did that last part make sense?)

So in answer to your question, I honestly think we could be happy either monogamously or polyamorously.
 
All feelings are normal, but that doesn't make them fun.

You're in a sexless but otherwise good marriage (?), and you are given the green light to go get friendship and sex elsewhere (how about love?), but your guilt is hampering you. I wasn't raised Catholic or Jewish, but I recently dated a guy who was raised by a Catholic mom (and his bio dad was Jewish!). I have seen closeup the damage living with guilt can cause.

Maybe get some counseling.

Counseling would be an awesome idea, if I could find a poly-friendly counselor that I could see evenings or weekends.

And yes, our relationship is otherwise quite happy. I want to spend the rest of my life with her, no matter who else is in the picture.
 
Just to speak to this piece for a second--this is something my nesting partner and I had to work through (and it took work!). It is possible that she is feeling pressure that doesn't come directly from you, but is implied by our wider culture. Isn't sex (and providing sexual satisfaction) high on the list of 'things romantic/sexual/life partners typically do for each other'? Maybe she's holding on to that expectation of herself even though it doesn't quite fit the relationship between the two of you, and feeling pressure where you don't mean to apply any--either by reading into things that you say or do, or generating it all internally? I certainly used to. I felt, a lot of times, like my partner's arousal was my responsibility to satisfy--often when he didn't feel that way at all!

I highly recommend talking it out with her. And it may or may not not be relevant to your/her situation, but I got a lot out of reading 'Come As You Are' by Emily Nagoski when I was working it through. Good luck! <3

Thanks for the recommendation -- I put that book on my Amazon shopping list.
 

Shaya

New member
I read somewhere about a genital theory of sexual attraction. The polty-friendly article pointed out the fallacy of mononormativity when we assume that the person whom we are genitally attracted to is also supposed to be most compatible with us friendship wise, intellectually, philosophically and someone whom we would trust with our kids. Clearly the person whom we are generally attracted to may display none of these traits.
 
I read somewhere about a genital theory of sexual attraction. The polty-friendly article pointed out the fallacy of mononormativity when we assume that the person whom we are genitally attracted to is also supposed to be most compatible with us friendship wise, intellectually, philosophically and someone whom we would trust with our kids. Clearly the person whom we are generally attracted to may display none of these traits.

I have sort of the reverse problem; R and I are compatible in every way except for sex. I'm very attracted to her, but she has very little interest in sex due to a combination of sexual trauma and dysphoria about her body (she has not yet had gender-affirming surgery). I'm also concerned that she's not attracted to me physically, although she reassures me that this is not the case.

The impression I get from my conversations with L is that we're compatible in the same ways that R and I are compatible, but with the added dimension of sexual compatibility. Of course, we haven't met face-to-face yet, and things could be very different when we do.
 
It's been a while. . .

It seems like the worst of the guilt has passed. When L and I met face-to-face back in July, everything felt unreal and I didn't have time to feel guilty. The next day was a challenge, though. R expressed some jealousy to me, and we talked about it. We continue to check in with each other as new things come up, and we make sure we make time for each other.

I think it's helped that R has met someone as well, after a few months of online dating.

I think it also helps that L and I both have Catholic backgrounds and so can help each other process the associated guilt.
 

Magdlyn

Moderator
Staff member
One of our longtime members here, GirlfromTexlahoma, is married to a man who is a cross dresser... He can't or won't do PIV (penis in vagina) sex. So GFT dates men who do enjoy PIV. But she loves her husband deeply. And she always seems to want an "all in" relationship with the other men she dates.

It's very conflicting for her.

Maybe you should read her blog.

My story is a little bit similar... I am a cis gendered woman (with gender queer tendencies). My nesting partner of 8 years is a pre op transwoman. Her body dysphoria does impact her sexual desire... not to the extent of you partner's problem. But sex with her isn't enough for me. I'd prefer 3 times a week with her. Sometimes that happens, sometimes it's just once a week. Sometimes it's not fully satisfying when it happens. So I date men too.

I've got a blog too.
 
I will definitely read both your blogs! Thank you!
 
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