Looking for advice and information

Jubei

New member
Thank you for being so open, hopefully.

This post is due to my gf currently possibly wanting a poly relationship now, after we’ve been together for 7 yrs as a monogamous couple. I’ve been doing a lot of reading and stuff, since this is all new to me.

So, a little backstory: in July this year I found out she had been messing around behind my back with a guy she'd met and fallen in love with in April. She said they'd never done anything physical, except for hold hands, but they did a lot of sexting and secret dates. We talked about this and she said it was an accident, she didn’t mean to.

I totally understand that you can’t help who you get attracted to. I asked her if there had been anyone else, and she said no.

Well, a week later, she told me there was another guy she'd met and was sexually attracted to and she'd only sexted with him. Again we talked and I brought up if she thought she was poly or wanted an open relationship. She said no, it wouldn’t work because I’d get jealous. But if she could sleep with others with no repercussions, she would.

Fast forward to right before Thanksgiving, she went out with a guy and got drunk. The next day she told me she tried to make out with a guy but he wouldn’t, because he was gay. Now I’m really starting to question things.

The Tuesday before Thanksgiving, she went out with the guy from the week before and came home late drunk. I didn’t think much of it because I’m ok with her having guy friends, and I know a lot of them.

Thanksgiving Day she went on a trip to a festival and came back that Sunday. While at the festival, she texted me asking if she could make out with a girl. This bothered me some because we had talked about things and how I felt she was disrespecting me and our relationship because we hadn’t agreed to the things she was doing. She gets back from her trip and we talk again and she tells me that the Tuesday before she left she had been making out with her guy friend, but they hadn’t had sex.

I get being able to love other people, and that she loves me when she says it. But she’s been bringing up open/poly stuff now and I kind of feel like it’s only because she’s been caught cheating numerous times recently.

I’ve ordered a couple books as I’m trying to understand it all. I’ve even told her I just want her to be honest with me, even if she thinks it’s difficult to talk about, because I wanna help her. Maybe we are both confused. I’m just trying to get a better understanding. I also know trust and communication are big and an open/poly relationship shouldn’t start after cheating has been done.

For those of you who are poly, did you know for a while, or was it just like a sudden urge?

Sorry for the long read. Like I said, I’m just trying to get a better understanding as this is new to me. If she really is poly I’d like to have a better understanding of what she may be feeling, as well.
 
As I understand poly, its about loving more than one person, not random hookups with whomever. Some may disagree with me. This all sounds very messy to me. Lots of cheating, doing her own thing without any thought about you. The disrespect of you and your relationship is vast. Poly or not, you don’t behave that way in a relationship unless you have sat down, discussed thoroughly what your relationship is and isn’t, find mutual understanding and agreements, if any, and know what each of you wants, needs and expects.

if my mono partner did whatever they wanted without even considering my feelings, that would be a clear indication of how they feel, and how much they respect and value me and our relationship. It’s not hard to put desires on hold to really work things out with my partner first.

I have these discussions with all of my poly partners, as well.

I'm sorry you are going through this.
 
Hello Jubei,

It definitely sounds like your girlfriend is poly, she just doesn't realize it right now. It's just that she is not poly in the right way. She wants to go behind your back, then she asks for your forgiveness afterwards because that's easier than asking for your permission beforehand. Also I am unclear on whether she would allow you to be poly too? It's important that she not hold you to a double standard.

It is usually not healthy for polyamory to emerge out of a cheating situation, although there are exceptions to that rule. A lot of it has to do with whether she is ready to start being honest with you, and it depends on what you think you can forgive (past) and tolerate (present).

I did not know about poly until after I had fallen in love with a married woman, and she did some research on the web. I did come to the conclusion, a few years before, that the key to moral behavior is mutual consent. So I was already prepared to move past monogamy.

You are in a tough situation. I hope you can work things out.
Sincerely,
Kevin T.
 
I totally understand you can’t help who you get attracted to
Yeah, totally. But you know what responsible adults can do? They can abide by the commitments they made, like the monogamous commitment to not act on those feelings of attraction.

I'm not here to say whether polyamory is or is not an "identity" in the same way as sexual orientation or gender identity. But I am developing a whole lot of side-eye for the large number of posts I see in which someone's partner "realizes they are polyamorous" (like, innately and essentially, as opposed to merely wanting relationships which are polyamorous in structure) and then expects that fact to excuse their behaviour.

If your partner is treating you badly (e.g. by cheating on you) then they're treating you badly. "But it's my identity, I can't help it" is a bogus excuse.
 
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After I found out about the 2nd guy, I was talking to a friend who is poly and she said it sounded like maybe she was poly. So I started doing research and bought a book she told me to read. I brought it up to my gf, seeing how maybe she might be afraid to start that topic with me and might feel more comfortable talking about it if I brought it up. She mentioned she was in an open relationship once before, but caught am STD the first week and decided it wasn’t for her. She also said it wouldn’t work because I would get jealous and that maybe even she would get jealous.

And as far as the being honest part, even if we decided to try poly out and set rules, I doubt I could trust her to follow those rules since she can’t even be honest and open with me currently with everything that has happened. I would ask her questions I knew the answer to and she would lie to my face about it till I told her what I knew. I’ve asked her many times to be open and honest, no matter how painful she feels it might be to say.
 
I doubt I could trust her to follow those rules since she can’t even be honest and open with me currently with everything that has happened
Yes. Once trust is eroded it very hard to get back. Without trust you don’t have a healthy relationship. If she is indeed poly, she needs to do a ton of growing up, which includes how to talk honestly about everything, including sex and the use of protection, which it seems she isn’t able to do.

Poly takes a level of confidence, strong boundaries, and an ability to say no, at a minimum.
 
Hi Jubei,

I don't know if this matters, but it is permissible to feel jealous in poly. The difference between monogamous jealousy, and polyamorous jealousy, is that in poly, we analyze and manage the jealousy, we do not act impulsively on it. But sure, polyamorists often feel jealous, it doesn't necessarily make poly a bad fit for them.

Now dishonesty does make poly a poor fit. I'm not saying your girlfriend can't be poly, I'm just saying that she would have to start being honest first. Based on your description, you can't trust her to be honest, in which case I don't think you can do poly with her. You could try, but it probably wouldn't work out well.

Sympathetically,
Kevin T.
 
Thank you, everyone, for the replies. Like I said, I care about her.

I know a lot of people would be like, Why, after everything she has done?

I truly want to understand and help her, if she is poly.
 
And I truly want to understand and help her if she is poly.
What does she believe being poly is? Because it's sounding like she's positing it as an orientation, but it's like light...particle and wave. Orientation and relationship structure choice.

If you want to understand her, ask her. The rest of us can only tell you our journeys. I personally also feel like I'm wired for the capacity to love abundantly, but that doesn't mean I love everyone equally or even equitably. Over the course of my life, I've attempted monogamy, polyamory, relationship anarchy; I've been the side chick, the fwb, the one who is called to help get over a break up by getting under him. I'm about to embark on solo-poly with--hopefully--a hefty dose of making new fwbs. I'm not big on one night stands, but used to do them to see if a friendship would develop and we'd become regular fwbs. An audition, if you will. I might again, if I can still get anyone interested now I'm middle aged LOL. But there's a common thread through all of this, and it's that I "catch feels" really quite easily.

I've been like this since I was a teenager. I enjoy loving people, but unless I was really, really drawn to a guy, I didn't want to even attempt monogamy, even temporarily. There's been a handful of times I've been content with being with that one person...at least until the NRE wore off. I didn't necessarily feel like I was then wanting to chase my next "hit" (we sometimes refer to this as being an NRE junkie) and I've honestly attempted monogamy as an adult a few times, but I didn't feel like I was being true to myself. I watched my bff go through serial monogamy and didn't like the look of that either, there was always a "grass is greener" thing involved with that, and I didn't feel right writing someone off for good just because a new-shiny comes along. I've also had long gaps between relationships where I'm happy being single (but often having friends with benefits), and I've broken two engagements because I just really wasn't feeling it anymore. I was quite young with the first one (and never should have said yes) and collapsed into a hole of self flagellation and depression, feeling like a failure. A bit over a decade later, I ended the second one because the relationship had become a total dead end (we should have just stayed fwbs) and I was sad, but I didn't feel like a failure, I was better at breaking up then.

Since you guys have been together for quite a while without a history behind you, neither of you are practiced at breaking up. You'll probably have to experience some of that if you open the relationship. It's unlikely you'll find an(other) lifetime relationship straight off the bat, if at all.

Reason, Season, Lifetime.

If/when you open your relationship, you're likely to become open to all of these possibilities. Are you both ready for the ups and downs of first dates, first holidays, first breakups, and then lather, rinse, repeat? It can be quite impactful on your lives, both positive and negative.
 
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And as far as the being honest part even if we decided to try poly out and set rules I doubt I could trust her to follow those rules since she can’t even be honest and open with me currently with everything that has happened. I would ask her questions I knew the answer to and she would lie to my face about it till I told her what I knew. I’ve asked her many times to be open and honest no matter how painful she feels it might be to say.
I'm going to address this separately. From what you've described, she really seems to be acting out recently. I wouldn't call her behaviour particularly respectful towards you, and I'm wondering if she's trying to force you to break up with her because she doesn't have the experience and/or courage to do it herself. I think there is the possibility of moving to polyamory after cheating, but you're really going to have to agree on what your commitments to each other actually are...from keeping a date with each other, to buying a house together and meeting costs, to having and raising kids together. What do you want out of a potentially long time together, or is it better to part ways now because you actually aren't on the same page anymore?
 
I'm going to address this separately. From what you've described, she really seems to be acting out recently. I wouldn't call her behaviour particularly respectful towards you, and I'm wondering if she's trying to force you to break up with her because she doesn't have the experience and/or courage to do it herself. I think there is the possibility of moving to polyamory after cheating, but you're really going to have to agree on what your commitments to each other actually are...from keeping a date with each other, to buying a house together and meeting costs, to having and raising kids together. What do you want out of a potentially long time together, or is it better to part ways now because you actually aren't on the same page anymore?
I’m sure she has plenty of experience breaking up with people. Guess I should have mentioned I’m 44 and she’s 40.
 
But do you want to stay with her? That is the question.
 
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