Interested in pursuing Polyamory yet afraid. Need advice/support


New member
Hello Everyone,

I'll try to keep this brief. My husband and I have been together for over three years now. Before getting married he said he was into having an open relationship and sent me some articles on polyamory. He has difficulty being intimate, including sex once every three months or so. When he brought it up I was open to the idea (and have been since high school), but did not feel secure enough in the relationship and said no. Now I feel pretty secure with him. The low sexual frequency remains a problem for me but after some individual counseling, have stopped believing that it is a reflection of how he feels about me or my desirability. After three years of trying to work on the sex issue, I have given up on him dealing with any underlying issues that might be the cause. I don't hound him about it or try to make him feel guilty. I really love him, who he is, and want to share my life with him. I feel like we have a good relationship, but it doesn't fulfill all of my needs.

I suggested we consider having an open relationship (before knowing much about the polyfi option) and he said he no longer felt the need to be with other people...but apparently not with me either. I feel the need to be physically and emotionally intimate on a level that a simple friend is unable to satisfy. I would like to have someone to talk to and who enjoys physical intimacy and affection at a level closer to my own.

My Questions/Concerns: Have I just warped things for polyamory to make sense by over-thinking? I am afraid that pursuing this course might destroy our relationship because the hubby isn't very good at discussing anything at length. I think it's important to establish some rules and expectations, but very much doubt he will put the time and thought that would be necessary to have a solid plan that would safeguard our relationship. We also have a baby on the way. How have any of you negotiated having children in a non-traditional relationship?

Thanks for any help or advice you can provide!
I can't speak to the children thing; I have two kids, but they're from my first marriage. Hubby is their stepdad, and he and I were monogamous for five years before we opened our marriage, which led into the poly dynamic we're now in. My 16-year-old hasn't been told about any of it; my 19-year-old knows and thinks it's "cool" because she sees that it makes me happy.

As for the rest... Personally, having been in a situation where Hubby's need and drive for sex was much lower than mine, I would say you have a valid reason to talk to your husband about having (an)other lover(s) to meet your physical needs, while assuring him that he is meeting your other needs.

You have the right to ask. He has the right to say no.

There's always the danger of overthinking and overanalyzing, but you can't guess how he'll respond. The only way to know for sure is to actually talk about it. And if he isn't willing to talk, then that's an answer in itself, in my opinion.

When Hubby and I decided to open our marriage, he didn't know much about that type of dynamic. I did, from the perspective of having been friends with several couples who were either open or polyamorous, and I had seen EIGHT of those marriages completely implode because of lack of agreement or communication. Hubby isn't much for discussions, so before I brought it up with him, I wrote out a list of the agreements and boundaries I felt we needed in order to protect the marriage and ourselves. Instead of asking him to come up with the list *with* me, I showed it to him and asked if he had anything he wanted to add, remove, or modify. That made the discussion easier and more productive.
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Eh, you might have lost your opportunity on this one. It's possible that you can still encourage him into this, but it will take patience and understanding.
Do you know why he was initially interested in an open relationship? Has he had any experience with one? Now that he has lost interest for himself, does he also object to it for you? Or is it just that you feel he's not able to do the work that it takes, or that it would be u fair for it to be one-sided?

My husband also needs much less emotional intimacy than I do, although he needs/wants way more sex. We have 2 kids; however, I wasn't involved with anyone else at the time they were born. It is possible to have kids in a non-traditional structure, as many here will attest, but I think many might also caution you about starting something right now, with a newborn on the way. You will have a new relationship with your child to deal with soon, and that (and sleep disruption!) may be more than enough to occupy your emotions without trying to add in a new partner as well.

What I would advise -from admittedly very limited knowledge of your situation - is that you use this time to really try to talk to hubby. Probably more at his pace than yours, since you said he's not good at discussing things, and potentially not just focusing on poly. (Or least not just on rules and expectations; talk too about hopes for your life together, parenting, other dreams.) Get as good at communicating, finding ways that work for you both, before you have big problems that you need to communicate about.

And good luck!
Very Helpful. Thanks!

Thanks to all of you!

I will definitely talk to him about it.

PolyinPractice: I have no desire to go behind his back and would rather put the time and patience into finding an arrangement that would be okay with him too. I sure hope I didn't miss the boat, but it took a while for me to understand his way of loving.

Wildflowers: He brought it up because he has been in open relationships, but I also think a little bit of a freakout because we were only a couple months from our wedding. I have a somewhat insecure attachment style and between his revealing that he would like an open relationship, that he is bi-sexual and that the frequency of sex had diminished so much, I didn't feel like he would stay with me if given other options. I'm also not sure if he differentiates between "open" and poly-fi. I want there to be openness about what's going on with either of us, not relationships that the other doesn't know about. I have never cheated on anyone I was with, but my husband and I have had some adventures with others together, which I think led to his request in the first place.

I am planning on waiting until after the baby and we have gotten used to our new lives to implement any new arrangements, but I feel like now is the perfect time to start because I don't have much if any desire for sex right now. It takes all of the emotion out of it so that we can just have discussions. I think it takes the pressure off and he is unsettled when I demonstrate much emotion.

KC43: thanks so much for your input. Sounds like a similar situation. I like the idea of writing out the agreement beforehand and seeing if he wants to add or change anything. He just doesn't want to spend time on stuff like that and I have a pretty good idea of ways that it might work.

Thank you all again! It really helps me feel like this might be possible without ruining our relationship. I want to preserve that above all else.
Questioner, I'm glad my input was helpful. Hubby very much prefers to avoid discussions and emotions and "how, why, what" types of things, so I've found with him it's better to present a partially finished product and let him tweak it, rather than asking him to sit through an entire brainstorming session. Sounds like your guy might be similar.