Living my truth and it hurts

Crystal1990

New member
Hey, very new to this and would love some support! Feel like I'm being torn up inside and no one to talk to about it.

Background - I am in a 17 year relationship. We started going out when I was 14 and we are now married and have 2 children. Due to family issues my partner had very extreme views on monogamy which I desperately tried to fit into leaving me with hardly any friends and us hugely codepentant. I always knew I was bisexual but never explored it.

I have always been a very open, bubbly and some may say flirty person who loves to connect with others. I have had several friendships where strong feelings developed so I cut them off out of fear of what this would mean in relation to my partners extreme rules (no looking/thinking/being attracted to/emotional connection/ no porn etc.). This always left me in a huge amount of pain and I'd take months to recover. Feel like I've had to shrink myself down to fit expectations.

Current situation- Recently my husband gave me the go ahead to open my side of the relationship to explore being with women so I've been exploring via apps. However something unexpected happened. I went on a work trip with an awesome individual I've known for around a year and we really bonded whilst away. On the last night we had a little too much to drink and ended up having sex. It felt so right and after lots of conversation we concluded that we both wanted to continue developing the relationship. However the person is male meaning I'd crossed my husbands boundary.

This was a month ago and I've since confessed all and my husband has been very supportive. I've known my ability to love more than one person for as long as I've been in relationships and acknowledging my true nature feels like I can finally breathe and look up for the first time.

My husband is really trying to adapt and says he has see the benefits of a poly relationship after such an unhealthy perspective on monogamy. He has great days where he wants to hang out with my partner but he has really low days where jealousy is so intense that he pushes me away. He is exploring porn and poly apps but the lack of likes on the app only knocks his confidence further.

I have had a few day trips with my partner so we can have some face time and my husband can practice knowing I'm with him. He sets the boundaries but struggles to keep to them and although I follow them I also am told I'm in the wrong. This puts a huge amount of distance between us and pushes me away.

At the same time my feelings for my partner are getting stronger and I feel like my primary relationship is deteriorating. I'm often left wishing that I'd never opened this can of worms and continued to repress all my feelings or that I just want to be with my new partner.

I know we are early days in our journey and my husband has been so forgiving but I'm at a loss as to what the right thing to do is. Is it just time we need or is my husband just changing for me which is sure to end our relationship anyway?

If you got this far then thank you and would be grateful for any advice from people who have travelled the same path 🙏
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Hello Crystal1990,

Searching for poly people to date is usually harder for men than it is for women, so your husband should not feel that there is something wrong with him that he isn't having much luck on the apps.

As for your partner, you are experiencing NRE with him, you are going to want to be with him for a while, it's not that you don't want to be with your husband, it's just that your NRE for your husband died out a long time ago.

You must try to show your husband as much affection as you can. Let him know that you are not going anywhere, you are just going through a thing with your new partner. Your husband is having a struggle, he is trying to accept polyamory when monogamy is how he was raised. Appreciate his efforts, and let him know you appreciate them.

And keep us posted on how things are going for you.
Sincerely,
Kevin T.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
I'm sorry you struggle. I hope you feel a bit better for airing out here. I don't know if any of this helps you. You have a lot going on. I do mean it kindly, ok?

Personal boundaries are something you set for yourself to obey. It is not something other people set for you. Like if I have a personal boundary of
"I don't loan my things to careless people" and the neighbor who borrowed my weed whacker broke it? Never offered to fix or replace? And now they want to borrow my lawn mower?

They aren't mind readers. They have to ask me if I'm up for lending or not. It's on ME to honor my boundary. And say "Sorry, not loaning things right now. Try another neighbor." So I can be free of new shenanigans.

If your husband grew up with family issues and didn't get help with them? And it skewed his view on relationships to really restrictive, extreme monogamy to try to keep himself safe from whatever he endured?

And then you were a very young 14 yrs old and didn't know better? Just went along with whatever he said to keep the relationship going? And then the "rules" he wanted you to follow weren't even realistic or rational? (No looking/thinking/being attracted to/emotional connection/ no porn etc.)

It's ok to have grown up and outgrown that and realized it was wonky going.

It sounds like your spouse has also realized it was an unhealthy view of monogamy and a wonky way of going. Coming to realize that is healthy, but it doesn't make you AUTOMATICALLY compatible for practicing poly together.

Recently my husband gave me the go ahead to open my side of the relationship to explore being with women so I've been exploring via apps. However something unexpected happened.

If you are bisexual, I'm not sure why unexpected.

I could be wrong, but it kinda sounds like you both fell back into the habit. DH making the "rules" for the couple, and you rolling with it rather than stopping to ask "Why do you want to do Open? What are the expectations and agreements if we change relationship models? How will we resolve conflict?" and so on.

Kinda sounds like you took whatever open deal because it was a taste of freedom -- to get out of the box you put yourself in. But if you are bisexual, that means you are attracted to both men and women. The unrealistic agreements were not keepable. And then you ended up cheating on agreements with a man. That adds another load/problem.

It sounds like you and DH realized these open agreements were not realistic or rational and are trying to work things out.

Because you both got together very young, you each might not have a lot of dating experience. And since you found a partner? DH might not just be jealous. Like scared someone else (Dude) will take away something he has (close relationship with you.)

He might also be envious of you. Seeing you have something (social skills?) and wanting them for himself. So he's going to have to take some time to develop them. And right now he's not meeting anyone.

Maybe you and DH want to slow down because you already have so many layers -- past family trauma, healing from unhealthy view of monogamy, codependency, cheating on agreements, poly newbies, etc.

Maybe you don't date more new people, and neither does DH for the next 6 mos or so and work to stabilize and clear some of this load first?

I'll be honest. If I knew this was going on? I sure wouldn't want to date your DH and get involved in a messy sounding network. Adding "DH's new GF" to the pile just adds more things to deal with. :(

I have had a few day trips with my partner so we can have some face time and my husband can practice knowing I'm with him. He sets the boundaries but struggles to keep to them and although I follow them I also am told I'm in the wrong. This puts a huge amount of distance between us and pushes me away.

Sounds like he's acting out. Slow this down and think it out.

Is he setting boundaries FOR HIMSELF? Or still trying to make rules for the couple that you have to obey?

Why did you agree to them? Could you make a counter proposal? Ask what the need is and meet it in a different way? How do you approach agreement making?

Rather than DH policing (you+Dude)? Would it be more effective to tend to (you+DH) relationship and talk about before care and after care? And maybe scale back? Maybe a few days trip was too big to start with? Could it have been a single day trip instead? Separation anxiety can happen with adults, not just babies. You mentioned codependency and kids. Maybe your DH doesn't have the skills YET for being more on his own alone, much less being on his own while tending to children. Could it have been sending kids to grandma, and you take your trip and DH does his thing? REDUCE the loads?

I'm often left wishing that I'd never opened this can of worms and continued to repress all my feelings or that I just want to be with my new partner.

A seed must break open in order to grow. So even if it's rough going right now, allow your spouse time and space in which to heal from his previous unhealthy view on relationships, codependency, heal, etc. This is a big backlog of stuff. It won't have been solved in a month.

And you have to do your own growing -- codependency, learning to say "No, thank you. I do not agree to that" and so on. While at the same time asking "What can I help you with? In a healthy, appropriate way?"

Because you aren't gonna trade one disfunction for another, right? Maybe reading Polysecure together might help. Thinking about a couples counselor to help support you both as you navigate changing relationship models and individual counseling for DH to heal whatever family trauma he had.

Even if you two didn't get divorced? You and DH basically broke up on purpose. The old deal is over because you both decided to go for a new relationship model -- a "V." Or maybe in time, an "N" if DH finds another partner.

There's gonna be some sadness to process. And he might be hitting break up sadness first, because you have your new thing with Dude to distract or buoy you up. He's struggling and he doesn't see you struggle with break up stuff. But maybe you do, you just haven't shared it.

There's issues of detangling you might be dealing with too.

The "old normal" is gone. The "new normal" isn't here yet. There's a visual aid here for stages of change.


Over time you will find out if your relationship with your husband can make it through the change, or if you need to part ways. You JUST threw the rock in the pond. Let some of the ripples chill out first before making ANOTHER big life decision.

Kinda wish you had cleared some stuff from your plates first (ex: codependency) before trying to do Open and now changing to Poly. But if you have stuff to catch up now... catch it up. Do some reading. Educate yourselves.

The new relationship that is still in NRE? That might be more fun right now because it's new and light, but if that one lasts? One day that one too will have its own up and downs. Once upon a time you were in NRE with your husband too. So deal with each relationship separately, at the time/place THAT particular relationship is at. Don't compare apples to oranges. That's my suggestion.

I know we are early days in our journey and my husband has been so forgiving but I'm at a loss as to what the right thing to do is. Is it just time we need or is my husband just changing for me which is sure to end our relationship anyway?
Why this either/or thing?

It can't be BOTH? You need more time, since it's only been a month since you took up with Dude. AND you need to talk to husband about why he's doing poly and share why you are doing it. To make sure you are coming to polyamory in the right spirit and not trying to make it be like some marriage bandaid thing.

Because he really wants to do poly, or because he's just trying to avoid a break up with you?

Because you really want to do poly? Or because you are trying to avoid a break up with DH while still be able to keep seeing Dude?

You may have to have a super honest conversation with yourself and then with husband. Like...

"DH, are you just agreeing to do poly because of codependency or to avoid a break up? Because we got together young. If it's that we've simply grown apart, best we deal with that issue head on. Rather take the long way around just to end up back at square one, but having hurt ourselves or other people along the journey.

If it's that you really want to participate in poly, and are dealing with growing pains/changes, that is one thing. We can give it time, get help, read things, etc.

But if you are putting yourself in a box doing stuff you don't really want to be doing? Don't make the same mistakes I did when I put myself in a box, stuffing things down. I hurt me.

I rather we be exes and friends that you go around hurting yourself."

And then let the chips fall where they may. Save the people. If the married relationship shape doesn't fit any more? Be ok letting it change to "good exes and coparents" shape instead. Rather than trying to "save the relationship" while the people in it are bending into pretzels and hurting inside.

If you and spouse cannot be honest with each other, share emotional intimacy, mental intimacy... what have you been doing for 17 years?

Lean in and have the conversations you need to be having.

GL!
Galagirl
 
Last edited:

WhatHappened

Active member
How does 'extreme monogamy' differ from monogamy? Is it the no-porn that makes it 'extreme' in your mind?

I do think that you need to meet your husband in discussions about this without viewing him as 'acting out.' This puts him in the position of a recalcitrant child and I don't see anything good coming from treating him that way.
 
Top