Looking for advice

intothewild

New member
I am not proud, but I slept with my ex and lied to my partner about it.

I (M34) started seeing my current and only partner 'M' (F42) 2 years ago while openly polyam with two partners. Both of those relationships ended and about a year ago M and I started seeing each other exclusively out of circumstance. M is mono and said that she is much happier being exclusive and doesn't feel polyam is for her. Out of fear of losing her, and because I felt pressured I agreed to give monogamy a try. I feel this was a mistake, because I know in my heart I am polyam and will always want to be free to connect with and love other people too. A few months ago I reconnected with one of my ex's 'P' and we started sleeping together. I hid this from M. I also told P that M knew about our arrangement and was fine with it. I lied to them both and hurt them both and I have hated myself for it.

I have been depressed over the last few months and I believe part of that is because I have been living a lie. I never should have compromised myself for another person. I have since been honest with both M and P. I have also told M that I am poly and she needs to decide whether she can be okay with it. I want to try and fix the situation but I don't know what to do. They both love me and want to be with me. Currently, I have put things on hold with P and offered her friendship, but she wants more. I want more too, but I feel like I need time to try to repair my relationship with M. But am I doing the right thing? I'm feeling lost.
 

Evie

Kaitiaki
So it sounds like right now you've begun to make amends with M as a primary partner, and pushed pause on P, as a secondary one.

But you're possibly actually second guessing whether you want that primary relationship with M (that may end up with monogamy as the price of admission).

If I were in your shoes, having a preference towards poly, I'd end the relationship with M as she'll unlikely ever be secure or comfortable or happy in a mono-poly relationship, especially now there is a history of cheating. Let her go be mono with a mono person, and you go be poly with poly people.

I don't doubt other members will be along with much more detailed and helpful posts. This is just what I'd do. Take that as you will.
 

intothewild

New member
So it sounds like right now you've begun to make amends with M as a primary partner, and pushed pause on P, as a secondary one.

But you're possibly actually second guessing whether you want that primary relationship with M (that may end up with monogamy as the price of admission).

If I were in your shoes, having a preference towards poly, I'd end the relationship with M as she'll unlikely ever be secure or comfortable or happy in a mono-poly relationship, especially now there is a history of cheating. Let her go be mono with a mono person, and you go be poly with poly people.

I don't doubt other members will be along with much more detailed and helpful posts. This is just what I'd do. Take that as you will.
I actually don't believe in hierarchy at all. But I may need to compromise for M. I know P won't be happy to be secondary, but I also know she will to keep me in her life. It's not an ideal situation at all.
 
I'm monogamous but have a poly partner. I think you will have to make a decision. M may be able to overcome the hurt you have caused her and learn to accept your poly ways, however, I would say the likelihood of her accepting you dating P again is quite low. I have been cheated on before, and decided to continue the relationship. It took a lot of work and my partner had to cut off all ties that the woman he cheated on me with, I couldn't have her be apart of our life moving forward. On the other side, P didn't deserve to be lied to either and is also rightly hurting.

You have to accept that you likely won't be able to make both women happy. You can decide to continue with M setting a boundary that you require other relationships. She may not accept that or may have other boundaries (a break to work on you, messy list, etc). You will need to put a lot of effort into that relationship. You could end things M and continue with P or perhaps others.

But from my own experiences, it would be messy if not impossible to keep both relationships.
 

Evie

Kaitiaki
I actually don't believe in hierarchy at all. But I may need to compromise for M. I know P won't be happy to be secondary, but I also know she will to keep me in her life. It's not an ideal situation at all.
So although it would go against your grain to practice heirarchy, you are effectively doing it to salvage these two relationships.

Something's gonna give here, sooner or later.
 
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intothewild

New member
I'm monogamous but have a poly partner. I think you will have to make a decision. M may be able to overcome the hurt you have caused her and learn to accept your poly ways, however, I would say the likelihood of her accepting you dating P again is quite low. I have been cheated on before, and decided to continue the relationship. It took a lot of work and my partner had to cut off all ties that the woman he cheated on me with, I couldn't have her be apart of our life moving forward. On the other side, P didn't deserve to be lied to either and is also rightly hurting.

You have to accept that you likely won't be able to make both women happy. You can decide to continue with M setting a boundary that you require other relationships. She may not accept that or may have other boundaries (a break to work on you, messy list, etc). You will need to put a lot of effort into that relationship. You could end things M and continue with P or perhaps others.

But from my own experiences, it would be messy if not impossible to keep both relationships.
I won’t compromise who I am again or hold myself back from anyone I love. I need to be true to myself.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Hello intothewild,

So P still wants to be with you, in spite of the previous dishonesty. What about M? Now that she knows the truth, what does she want? What does she say to you about it?

Pretending to be monogamous (for M) while really being polyamorous, was probably your biggest untruth. You have done the right thing in admitting to M that you are poly.

Don't compound that original untruth by pretending to be hierarchical. Admit to M that you are egalitarian. M and P will both be primary to you. That is what you are offering. It may not be what M wants to hear, but it's honest.

These are my thoughts.
Regards,
Kevin T.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
It's good that you have been honest with both.

M is mono and said that she is much happier being exclusive and doesn't feel polyam is for her.

Could respect this about her.

I have been depressed over the last few months and I believe part of that is because I have been living a lie. I never should have compromised myself for another person.

AND respect this about you.

Then do what you could have done earlier. Break up as peacefully as possible. Then each are free to pursue other partners who align more with your values and are hopefully more compatible. No break up is FUN. But why drag it out? Isn't it better to linger in the healing place rather than in the dragging it out space?

P? Well, if P is actually up for poly maybe that side of it can work out. But remember that P was an ex for a reason. So maybe you want to end that as peacefully as possible also.

I actually don't believe in hierarchy at all. But I may need to compromise for M. I know P won't be happy to be secondary, but I also know she will to keep me in her life. It's not an ideal situation at all.

Rather than starting up NEW bending yourself into pretzels. Or settling for less than ideal situations.

Because if you have decided this is your highest value?

I won’t compromise who I am again or hold myself back from anyone I love. I need to be true to myself.

Why would you keep settling for "less than ideal" stuff?

Is it that you are not comfortable being alone or unpartnered?

Something else?

Galagirl
 
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Marcus

Well-known member
Why would you keep settling for "less than ideal" stuff?
Is it that you are not comfortable being alone or unpartnered?
Something else?

This is the big takeaway for me as well. OP, you seem like you're setting yourself up for failure, but you're aware that is exactly what you are doing. So why keep doing it?

Are you generally conflict avoidant when it comes to your personal relationships?

I actually don't believe in hierarchy at all. But I may need to compromise for M. I know P won't be happy to be secondary, but I also know she will to keep me in her life. It's not an ideal situation at all.

I strongly encourage you to start taking better care of yourself.

We like to think that we're saving people's feelings by "not rocking the boat", but your situation is a great example of why that just isn't true. When we are honest, have healthy and clear boundaries, and we don't try to fit molds created by other people, we are actually preserving the integrity of our relationships. A healthy relationship can't happen where at least one person is being dishonest and trying to bend themselves into a shape that doesn't work for them.
 

tdh

Active member
I won’t compromise who I am again or hold myself back from anyone I love. I need to be true to myself.
This reads as selfish. Like your love need/desire to love them trumps their needs. You lied to everyone, including yourself, to get what you wanted. Now you are trying to figure out how to "fix it" so you get what you want instead of lie yet ignoring clear requests from your partners.

This appears to be an everyone loses situation. You can never really be trusted by either partner back. You can't really trust yourself as you violated your own needs repeatedly. Ending both relationships and starting new with non-hyerachecial poly upfront would probably the most ethical path instead of trying to get M in a relationship type she doesn't appear to want, putting P in the situation of the other/cheating partner when she thought things were above board, and you by trying to force everyone into your preferred design. It sucks but probably restarting with new partners who identify as poly is your best option.

I have been depressed over the last few months
And consider talking to a therapist before starting new relationships. Depression can take many forms and cause self sabotage if the root problem isn't worked on. Else this might repeat again. Whether poly or mono, cheating can happen through lying and this might repeat itself in different ways if you are still depressed.
 
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