Mono Husband trying to be understanding

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Hi Broken,

I am actually cautiously optimistic about your situation, I think it hurts right now but it may hurt less in the future. You are certainly doing your due diligence to learn as much as you can. This diligence will serve you well. Here's a few additional links and resources that you may find helpful. Nothing urgent, just some items you can browse through, and see if any call to you.

If you have any questions let me know. The last item in the above list is a resource for finding poly-neutral therapists. I hope it helps!

Sincerely,
Kevin T.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
From your words I can't help feeling that you might be reading me as some sort of shut-in leech. If this is the case I really hope I can dissuade you from that image in the future.

No, not a shut-in. A person who is stunned by this news who might not have enough IRL support.

You are certainly right that I don't have too many close friends IRL, though. Unfortunately my work requires that I relocate. Not even a year ago, in fact, my family and I moved to our current location from around the world. While I make friends wherever I go, most of those are work friends who I'll only know for the 2-4 years I'm at that location. A select few will become lifelong friends but we're often separated by distance and time zones.

That it tough. It can be hard to make friends like that when moving a lot for work.

If you read what I've written earlier you should be able to see that I would never "pile it ALL" on my wife.

Glad to know you are moving through this carefully. It's hard to tell over internet when body language/tone is missing and it is only text. It's also hard (for me anyway) right now withe pandemic stress to parse things.

Hang in there!

Galagirl
 

BrokenArrow

Member
Magdlyn:
Let me be clear. I have not been in the battlefield. It would be disgraceful for me to let you continue thinking that. I do deploy but the only thing I've ever had to battle is a few fires and flooding compartments. One of the first things my wife and I talked about when we started dating was whether or not our relationship could survive a deployment. I waited to pop the question until we'd been together for 2 years and after I'd gotten back from an 8 month deployment on the boat. I'd even bought her ring in Bahrain. It seemed unfair to ask her before she had a chance to see what she was signing up for. I do promise you, though, that there are plenty of situations at work that require a cool and quick head. Being separated that long is stressful for both sides. You are right, though. The stress of the job does take away some of the sting. When you've been awake and going hard for 2-3 days straight you're not really thinking about who's not sleeping next to you. Luckily the last 2 positions I've had have been on the shore. Unfortunately the last one ate up more of my time than we had been expecting. I was working 13-15 hour days about 5 days a week and for a while I was working 4 week night shifts every other month. It was a real burden on our relationship. This time around I took what we like to call a "career killer" position to devote some time to my family. Just as well though. I don't know that I could have handled a polybomb while being on the ship, or even worse that she might have been afraid to voice her needs.

Now that I've spoken way more about my career than I had ever intended to, let me redirect towards your other excellent point.

An idea I ascribe to is that men have evolved to show less emotion, just as they evolved stronger bodies, to enable them to pursue game, while women networked at the camp, needing emotional skills to raise and educate the children, do the "domestic work" and cooperate with the other women.

Now that women are less forced into motherhood, or at least into have very large families, we are getting more into the military, medicine, politics and other male dominated areas. Our better emotional and networking skills are benefiting society.

I like this idea very much. It reminds me of something we went over in anthropology but for the life of me I cannot put my finger on it.

I really want to thank everyone for these conversations. Whatever I'm writing, I have a tendency to pour a lot of myself, thought, time and emotion into it. It's actually very draining but I find myself feeling very Zen afterwards. Thank you.
 

Evie

Well-known member
Hi BA, nothing to add but just wanted to say I enjoy reading you. Your writing style is compelling.
All the best,
Evie
 

BrokenArrow

Member
Can't sleep. I've been having a lot of trouble sleeping lately. Today was pretty great. My wife didn't have to go into work until later and she got to leave early. I had the whole day off for the sake of social distancing. We dropped the kids off at daycare together for the first time (we're paying for it whether they're there or not so you bet I'm going to cash in on 6 hours of silence) and we came home and talked. I've been working my way through a book called The 5 Love Languages to help strengthen our relationship and improve my ability to communicate my feelings to her. We were having a great time talking and laughing and then she started telling me about the guys she's been talking to. It's like a punch right to the diaphragm. I listened and tried to be fair. Seems like I did pretty good at first but then she told me that two of them want to meet her in person already. My heart was screaming "it's too soon! It's too fucking soon!" In my head, though, I was referencing a conversation from 2 weeks ago where I said "well I guess the next step is you meet one of them and we just see how it goes from there." I green lit this! I was mulling it over back and forth in my head till finally I told her "it's too fast. I'm not comfortable with this." She looked confused and a little annoyed but she understood and told me it was okay. Good fucking lord! It's choking me up right now and just thinking about it and we've already worked past it. We talked about it. For her, she just wants to make new friends and get to know other poly people while sussing out how she feels about them. She has no intention of starting a romantic relationship with them just yet. However, in my eyes... these are men that she connected with over a dating app. "They are looking for some form of relationship. They are willing to drive 2 hours to meet you. They are men. They are looking for something." She hadn't really thought of it like that before. She agreed to pump the brakes and understands that I might need more time. She needs more time too. She tells me about the guys often. They sound nice, fairly cool. One seems a bit self absorbed but he's a bit younger so I guess that might account for it. I kind of hate hearing about them. I just don't want to be left in the dark while my wife is starting new relationships behind my back. I don't want to feel like I'm being cheated on.
And so, my wife tells me when she starts talking to someone new and a little bit about them. She was telling me what she likes about each of them and I broke out sobbing. I realized I didn't know what it was she liked about me and I wanted to be included. That really hurts to type. I know. I'm embarrassed I had to ask. I'm embarrassed to be so insecure. I'm embarrassed I'm keeping her from exploring this new part of herself that she' just discovered. I've never been so insecure in my life. I feel so needy. Despite how I feel at this particular moment the rest of the day was pretty good. We talked and joked some more and she went to work. I felt pretty good. I posted here, I did some reading, I worked on some exercises in the Love Languages book. Then she came home and I was super happy. We talked about her day and then went to get the kids and the rest of the day was just chilling out and keeping the girls from destroying the house. We packed for a trip this weekend and even got McDonalds for dinner. I swear I cook most nights but the girls saw my wife's McDonalds cup from lunch and felt a child's ultimate betrayal. It was a good day. That brings me to now. Here I am with that pit in my chest. I can't sleep. I went and laid in bed, kissed my sleeping wife and turned off the TV. Then I just laid there thinking about her meeting these other guys. I admitted to her earlier through my sobs that I'm worried that she's going to meet a guy that's better than me. Remember when I said insecure? Oh, I really meant it. It's eating at me. The lack of sleep certainly doesn't help. Pouring it all out here helps a bit. I can at least feel that I'm tired now. Earlier this week I started writing a journal where I just dumped all my pain and analyzed my feelings as they happened. Then I realized I was just shouting into an echo chamber and that's not good for anyone. I'm attributing the peace I've found the last few days to inflicting my broken thoughts on you, the readers. I know that I haven't even really started making my way through this yet and I see some steep downhills ahead but I look forward to typing these posts out everyday and responding to the people who comment on them. Speaking of which...

GalaGirl:
I'm glad you don't think I'm a shut-in and I'm sorry to hear the stress of the pandemic is wearing you down. I wish you the best and I'll do my damnedest to hang in there!

Evie:
It makes me happy that you enjoy it but I think that if you knew how much money I spent on college English and writing classes, you would be sorely disappointed with my efforts. But really this is just my best attempt to get my head on straight. My posts are the type of material I was looking for when I first came to this site. Maybe it'll help someone else make sense of things somewhere down the road.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
Thanks. And thanks for taking it in spirit intended -- trying to help you.

Pandemic stress is def wearing me out.

I kind of hate hearing about them. I just don't want to be left in the dark while my wife is starting new relationships behind my back. I don't want to feel like I'm being cheated on.

Did you tell wife this? That you struggle between hating hearing about them and not wanting to be in the dark? Or feel like you are being cheated on?

There are mono-poly support groups around. I can't remember off the top of my head where those mailing lists/forums are. Maybe someone else knows?

And so, my wife tells me when she starts talking to someone new and a little bit about them. She was telling me what she likes about each of them and I broke out sobbing. I realized I didn't know what it was she liked about me and I wanted to be included. That really hurts to type. I know. I'm embarrassed I had to ask.

This journey is going to show you things. Including things that maybe you would like to have that were a bit missing in the marriage.

Sounds like you want to hear how she likes/appreciates you. Maybe it's been a long time since you heard it.

I'm embarrassed to be so insecure.

The stable marriage of before has been thrown a loop. Your situation has changed. It has been destabilized. You are where you are at.

If an earthquake hit and jiggled the house? It would not be stable like before, right? That would be the situation. You would feel things like "Ack! I'm scared the house is jiggling!" and you prob wouldn't feel bad feeling how you feel because a jiggling house IS scary.

Here you have this other situation. It's ok to feel destabilized. Things changed on you. You feel what you feel -- insecure in a situation that changed from stable to shaken up. Like single load. You don't have to pile on an extra double load -- feeling embarrassed you have natural and normal feeling about the situation.

Maybe you could apply some of the 5 love languages to yourself? Go gentle on you.

I'm embarrassed I'm keeping her from exploring this new part of herself that she' just discovered. I've never been so insecure in my life. I feel so needy.

Having some needs during an unstable time doesn't not make you needy like some cling on person. You simply have some needs.

I'm glad you were honest with her about this going too fast for you. And that she is listening.

I admitted to her earlier through my sobs that I'm worried that she's going to meet a guy that's better than me. Remember when I said insecure? Oh, I really meant it. It's eating at me.

So she meets some people. I imagine that she sees people in the world all the time. Just because one is poly doesn't mean they go out and sex up everyone they see. You have to trust in your wife's character. Trust that she isn't going to go bananas. She IS hearing you, there isn't anyone "waiting in the wings" here.

For her, she just wants to make new friends and get to know other poly people while sussing out how she feels about them. She has no intention of starting a romantic relationship with them just yet.

Maybe wife wants to join an online forum? Or attend a poly group meet up when pandemic allows. More like "group social -- dinner and talk thing" and less "date thing" so she can start to make some poly friends and it also goes a bit easier on you because it isn't poly dating yet?

How I see it is that you are willing to consider. You haven't yet agreed to participate in a polyship of some kind. So no jumping the gun, right?

Is that where this is at?

Galagirl
 
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Magdlyn

Well-known member
Hey Arrow, the next time you post, could you do more paragraph breaks, please? It's very hard to read a wall of text. And we're all exhausted from the horrors going on, at least in the US, right now! I'll edit this one. Generally, a good paragraph has 3-5 sentences.

Can't sleep. I've been having a lot of trouble sleeping lately.

Today was pretty great. My wife didn't have to go into work until later, and she got to leave early. I had the whole day off for the sake of social distancing. We dropped the kids off at daycare together for the first time (we're paying for it whether they're there or not, so you bet I'm going to cash in on 6 hours of silence) and we came home and talked.

I've been working my way through a book called The 5 Love Languages, to help strengthen our relationship and improve my ability to communicate my feelings to her.

We were having a great time talking and laughing, and then she started telling me about the guys she's been talking to. It's like a punch right to the diaphragm. I listened and tried to be fair. Seems like I did pretty good at first, but then she told me that two of them want to meet her in person already.

My heart was screaming, "It's too soon! It's too fucking soon!" In my head, though, I was referencing a conversation from 2 weeks ago where I said, "Well, I guess the next step is you meet one of them,and we just see how it goes from there." I green lit this!

I was mulling it over back and forth in my head till finally I told her, "It's too fast. I'm not comfortable with this." She looked confused and a little annoyed, but she understood and told me it was okay.

Good fucking lord! It's choking me up right now, and just thinking about it, and we've already worked past it. We talked about it. For her, she just wants to make new friends and get to know other poly people, while sussing out how she feels about them. She has no intention of starting a romantic relationship with them just yet.

However, in my eyes... these are men that she connected with over a dating app. "They are looking for some form of relationship. They are willing to drive 2 hours to meet you. They are men. They are looking for something." She hadn't really thought of it like that before.

She agreed to pump the brakes, and understood that I might need more time. She needs more time too. She tells me about the guys often. They sound nice, fairly cool. One seems a bit self absorbed, but he's a bit younger, so I guess that might account for it.

I kind of hate hearing about them. I just don't want to be left in the dark while my wife is starting new relationships behind my back. I don't want to feel like I'm being cheated on.

And so, my wife tells me when she starts talking to someone new and a little bit about them. She was telling me what she likes about each of them and I broke out sobbing. I realized I didn't know what it was she liked about me, and I wanted to be included.

That really hurts to type. I know. I'm embarrassed I had to ask. I'm embarrassed to be so insecure. I'm embarrassed I'm keeping her from exploring this new part of herself that she's just discovered. I've never been so insecure in my life. I feel so needy.

Despite how I feel at this particular moment, the rest of the day was pretty good. We talked and joked some more and she went to work. I felt pretty good. I posted here, I did some reading, I worked on some exercises in the Love Languages book.

Then she came home and I was super happy. We talked about her day, and then went to get the kids, and the rest of the day was just chilling out and keeping the girls from destroying the house. We packed for a trip this weekend, and even got McDonald's for dinner. I swear I cook most nights, but the girls saw my wife's McDonald's cup from lunch, and felt a child's ultimate betrayal. It was a good day.

That brings me to now. Here I am with that pit in my chest. I can't sleep. I went and laid in bed, kissed my sleeping wife and turned off the TV. Then I just laid there thinking about her meeting these other guys.

I admitted to her earlier, through my sobs, that I'm worried that she's going to meet a guy that's better than me. Remember when I said insecure? Oh, I really meant it. It's eating at me. The lack of sleep certainly doesn't help.

Pouring it all out here helps a bit. I can at least feel that I'm tired now. Earlier this week I started writing a journal where I just dumped all my pain and analyzed my feelings as they happened. Then I realized I was just shouting into an echo chamber and that's not good for anyone. I'm attributing the peace I've found the last few days to inflicting my broken thoughts on you, the readers.

I know that I haven't even really started making my way through this yet and I see some steep downhills ahead, but I look forward to typing these posts out everyday and responding to the people who comment on them. Speaking of which...

GalaGirl:
I'm glad you don't think I'm a shut-in and I'm sorry to hear the stress of the pandemic is wearing you down. I wish you the best and I'll do my damnedest to hang in there!

Evie:
It makes me happy that you enjoy it but I think that if you knew how much money I spent on college English and writing classes, you would be sorely disappointed with my efforts. But really, this is just my best attempt to get my head on straight. My posts are the type of material I was looking for when I first came to this site. Maybe it'll help someone else make sense of things somewhere down the road.
 

icesong

Member
Asking for reassurance is NOT needy. Would you find it needy if she said "what do you love about me?" I'm betting no, that you'd probably list lots of things right off, and enjoy doing it. It's ok to want the same.
 

Magdlyn

Well-known member
I'm glad letting it all out, to a sympathetic audience, is helping you more than bottling things up, or just writing a private journal. We have a Journal/Blog section here too. It's not so much for advice, as just for venting, but you can ask for people's comments. Some people only want advice sometimes, so they post in the Relationships section for specific advice, and then write on their Blog to vomit out all the feels.

I think you see how the long periods you've spent apart from your wife (who needs a nickname if you plan to stick around) has damaged, or at least stunted, your relationship. It sounds like taking a "career killer" break happened none too soon, and hopefully not too late.

It can be hard to hear about one's spouse's other dating prospects, but in the early days, you also want to hear everything, no matter how much it kills you to hear it! It's a terribly quandary.

You're allowed to take back your uninformed consent for her to start dating. In poly, it's always OK to renegotiate. Most newbie couples take a least a year of reading, podcasts, posting here, etc., before actually starting to date. If you move too quickly, it could do serious damage to the marriage.

Of course, the men she's chatting with are raring to go, sexually. Most men, however, don't understand polyamory. They just see a way to get sex without (they think) commitment, especially if the woman is already married or in a serious relationship.

I've experienced this over and over. Men love to pursue. That testosterone. Some will work and work on you, saying anything, until they finally get sex, then they will ghost. It really sucks. I find it fucking weird, myself. All that work, for one shag? A free fuck, as if you found a prostitute that doesn't charge? How insulting.

So don't think your wife has Mr Right lined up already. Most of them will be Mr Very Wrong.
 

BrokenArrow

Member
Today was a bit rough for some reason. A lot of self doubt. I'm working on building myself back up while I work on trying to reshape our marriage.

About to go off on a family excursion for the weekend so I figured I'd shoot out a few replies.

GalaGirl:

Did you tell wife this? That you struggle between hating hearing about them and not wanting to be in the dark? Or feel like you are being cheated on?

It's one of the first things we decided together. Her relationship prior to me lasted a long time and he cheated on her a lot. She understands the fear and paranoia. It was actually one of the problems with our original marriage. She feels she's let a lot of that go with the new understanding of herself.

So she meets some people. I imagine that she sees people in the world all the time. Just because one is poly doesn't mean they go out and sex up everyone they see. You have to trust in your wife's character. Trust that she isn't going to go bananas. She IS hearing you, there isn't anyone "waiting in the wings" here.

It's not really about sex. It never really has been for me. I certainly enjoy it but I've always found myself more driven to relationships by emotions and intellectual stimulus. The thought of her having sex with another man fucks me up pretty hard at this point but, I'm not even there yet. It's the fear of her developing feelings for another man that hurts me the most and that is a possibility that is impossible to control.

Maybe wife wants to join an online forum? Or attend a poly group meet up when pandemic allows. More like "group social -- dinner and talk thing" and less "date thing" so she can start to make some poly friends and it also goes a bit easier on you because it isn't poly dating yet?

I am much more comfortable with that. Thank you. I will have to talk with her and see how she feels about that.

How I see it is that you are willing to consider. You haven't yet agreed to participate in a polyship of some kind. So no jumping the gun, right?

Is that where this is at?

Truthfully... I'm not sure. In the end the answer is I will do whatever it takes to make her happy and keep our marriage strong. Figuring out exactly what that means is where this is at.

icesong:
You're right. Thanks for the reality check.

Magdlyn:
I apologize for the word wall. I'll try to be more considerate from here on out.

We have a Journal/Blog section here too. It's not so much for advice, as just for venting, but you can ask for people's comments. Some people only want advice sometimes, so they post in the Relationships section for specific advice, and then write on their Blog to vomit out all the feels.

Have I lingered too long in this thread? I'm not well versed in forum etiquette and if I'm messing up I do apologize.

I think you see how the long periods you've spent apart from your wife (who needs a nickname if you plan to stick around) has damaged, or at least stunted, your relationship. It sounds like taking a "career killer" break happened none too soon, and hopefully not too late.
[\quote]

I'll call her Spitfire. It's one of the things I love about her. I'm the tact, she's the teeth. We work well together especially when dealing with our wireless carrier.
You're right. A cushy shore duty was what our relationship needed.

I've experienced this over and over. Men love to pursue. That testosterone. Some will work and work on you, saying anything, until they finally get sex, then they will ghost. It really sucks. I find it fucking weird, myself. All that work, for one shag? A free fuck, as if you found a prostitute that doesn't charge? How insulting.

You're right again. I've seen this oh too many times myself in friends and family. It pisses me off thinking some piece of shit could be trying to use my best friend this way. Ultimately Spitfire's a grown woman and very capable of handling herself. Doesn't keep me from adding this to my stockpile of fears and insecurities.

I hope everyone has a safe and happy weekend.
 

Magdlyn

Well-known member
Today was a bit rough, for some reason. A lot of self doubt. I'm working on building myself back up, while I work on trying to reshape our marriage.

It's not really about sex. It never really has been for me. I certainly enjoy it, but I've always found myself more driven to relationships by emotions and intellectual stimulus. The thought of her having sex with another man fucks me up pretty hard at this point, but, I'm not even there yet. It's the fear of her developing feelings for another man that hurts me the most, and that is a possibility that is impossible to control.

You know, you wouldn't be the first man whose wife found someone else to love, poly or not, dating sites or not. It happens now, it happened 3000 years ago. But if your marriage is solid, and Spitfire really is poly, she can love you, and like, be fond of, become infatuated with, or even love another guy, and not stop loving you, and not want to leave you and the girls.

Just try and wrap your head around that. This isn't "either/or," it's "yes/and."

Truthfully... I'm not sure. In the end the answer is I will do whatever it takes to make her happy and keep our marriage strong. Figuring out exactly what that means is where this is at.

Take care of yourself. It's not healthy to DO ANYTHING, WHATEVER IT TAKES, to keep a wife. Seriously. Would you kneel down and let her new bf use you as a coffee table? No, you would not. (Well, unless you're into that kind of thing.) But seriously, there are a lot of things no one should do for another person.


I apologize for the word wall. I'll try to be more considerate from here on out.

Have I lingered too long in this thread? I'm not well versed in forum etiquette and if I'm messing up I do apologize.

No need to apologize for either thing.

This section of the board is more for brief intros, and then usually people move to Relationships for advice/feedback, and/or to Blogs for the day to day stuff.

I'll call her Spitfire.

You're right. A cushy shore duty was what our relationship needed.

You're right again. I've seen this oh too many times myself in friends and family. It pisses me off thinking some piece of shit could be trying to use my best friend this way. Ultimately Spitfire's a grown woman and very capable of handling herself. That doesn't keep me from adding this to my stockpile of fears and insecurities.

One thing that is important to do when considering polyamory is to begin disentangling. To start to learn where she starts and ends, and where you start and end. Married couples aren't really units, "two become One." That's a bit creepy. We can be super close as lovers and friends, and yet still have independence. And our independence can actually, maybe strangely, bring us closer, since we have more trust, and respect each others' boundaries. There doesn't have to be any hiding or pretending, which are intimacy killers.

To complement The 5 Love Languages, which is a very important book, you and Spitfire could read Opening Up together. And another great book for understanding human mating, and how we are hardwired to have multiple sex partners, is called Sex at Dawn.

If Spitfire is on OK Cupid, and just getting hit on, and wants a poly community (and you've already claimed this board), she could join Fetlife, which has poly chat groups. There are also poly groups on Facebook.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Re (from BrokenArrow):
"Have I lingered too long in this thread? I'm not well versed in forum etiquette and if I'm messing up I do apologize."

I know of no forum rule that says you can't linger very long on a particular thread. As far as I am concerned, you are doing just fine to continue here. I have actually added this thread to my list of mono/poly links, I think it will help a lot of people in the future. Just to put things in perspective, many of our threads on this forum have hundreds (even thousands) of posts.

Re:
"I will do whatever it takes to make her happy and keep our marriage strong."

Don't forget about your own happiness ... that's an important part of the equation too.

Re (from GalaGirl):
"There are mono-poly support groups around. I can't remember off the top of my head where those mailing lists/forums are. Maybe someone else knows?"

I know of the Yahoo group ... https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/PolyMono/info

There may also be FetLife and Facebook groups.

Re:
"Maybe wife wants to join an online forum?"

It's actually conceivable that it could be helpful for her to join *this* forum. BrokenArrow, it depends on whether you would feel comfortable having her read what you've posted here. And on whether you would feel comfortable reading what she posts. Otherwise, FetLife and Facebook are possibilities.
 

Magdlyn

Well-known member
Re (from BrokenArrow):


I know of no forum rule that says you can't linger very long on a particular thread. As far as I am concerned, you are doing just fine to continue here.

Kevin, you're always fine with everything! ;)

No, there's no rule. I'm just offering information about the set up of the freaking board. Sheesh.
 

fuchka

Member
It does sound like Spitfire is low-level dating (scouting the field) as well as looking to learn about poly, which might be putting unnecessary pressure on this stage of your exploration. Dealing with the theory of poly itself seems hard enough for you without an extra layer of processing her feeling attraction towards some of the guys she's chatting with.

As others have pointed out, there's no reason why Spitfire needs to use online dating to learn more about poly. It could be fun and exciting for her to do it this way, but if I was just into learning (with the view of consensually opening up a previously monogamous marriage) I wouldn't be only seeking out people I could conceivably date. Why is she only chatting with "guys"? She could be learning from anyone with experience.

If she's willing to scale back from that, I think it would help make things more gentle for you both.
 

BrokenArrow

Member
We had a pretty good weekend. Spitfire and I rented a beach house and took the girls and the dog. We got to spend a lot of quality time together there.

The first night we stayed up late and talked about a lot of things. We started a firm plan for disentanglement. Set some dates in the calendar and told each other how we felt about each other. She showed me pictures of the other guys she was talking to and that instantly helped my ego. There mostly meh. One guy, though, is a bit older but even I thought he was attractive. Still, it helped.

I was feeling pretty happy. Having spent so much time reflecting and talking it out on this forum and researching strategies really made me feel like I was in a good place with this. I'm proud of the work I've put into myself and feel like I've accomplished something.

I checked the thread once the next day. I saw fuchka's comment and realized I needed to talk to Spitfire about that. Her comment echoed some of my own thoughts these last weeks that I've been unwilling to make Spitfire endure but, I figured it's time we called a spade a spade. Just like the "you're enough" conversation.

Trying to soften a blow by using factually incorrect syntax doesn't help anything. It's like trying to get a soft dick into an asshole. If you ever manage to get that thing up there more than likely everyone's going to be miserable. Better to push it in hard. It might hurt for a bit but in the end you just might find you're both enjoying yourselves. If I was, in fact, "enough" then you would not require more. She agreed that particular expression was keeping me from healing and agreed to call it what it is.

Back to our conversation last night, I presented my feelings to her and she agreed. I wasn't accusatory. I wasn't angry. I just wanted to call it like it is. In case you haven't noticed, syntax is very important to me. She reminded me that I okayed this. I agreed. We talked some more and everything was going fine. Then things went a little sideways and the floor kind of fell from under me.

She told me it was weird that I wanted to meet the men before she had sex with them. My heart dropped to my diaphragm. I just wanted to try and feel comfortable about who she was with. She brought up an excellent point that if the moment arrived and she had to stop it to say that they had to meet her husband first it would be incredibly awkward and potentially damaging to the relationship. I can see her point even though I don't like it. Then she brought up the possibility of casual sex. My heart fucking dropped out of my chest.

To clarify, Spitfire is not ready for a sexual relationship just yet and she is willing to have patience while I get my head around it. We found ourselves in a conversation we were not ready for.

It feels like she gets to do whatever she wants while I'm left holding the bag full of consequences because I'm her "safe place". She calls me that a lot. She says it's because I'm the only man she knows who always tells the truth despite the consequences. I take care of her and our children. I protect her and listen to her and make her feel better and treat her with respect.

It makes me feel so fucking used and cheap. That is one of the feelings I just don't have the heart to tell her about. It has to come out sometime. She's right. I always tell the truth despite the consequences. I just need time to understand that feeling better before we discuss it.

Anyway, we realized the conversation was too much for us at the moment and tabled it. I was already crushed. We talked about other aspects. I asked her for the whole story on how she realized she was poly.

So she kept on a bit of weight after our youngest was born. After about 2 years the weight finally came off and she lost 80 lbs. She got a job and men started hitting on her. She liked the attention and realized she was attracted to some of them. She had never considered other men before.

Now I have found other men/women attractive in the past. I have never considered pursuing them. I just appreciate that they have that going on for themselves and promise myself I'll get back into the shape I was in 6 years ago. That is a logic leap that I am not able to make at this time and that Spitfire was able to made me feel incredibly insecure about myself.

So now I'm working on trying to understand from the poly perspective. It's hard to put myself in those shoes but I know that I can do it given enough time. I tried last night. I imagined myself starting a relationship with a man (cause lets face it, I've been suppressing a whole side of my sexuality for 7 years) and I focused on my feelings. Like how I would really feel. I could only see myself feeling hyper-focused that new relationship and felt it taking precedence over my feelings for my wife. Certainly not negating her but a significant portion of my thoughts would sit with him. I could never want to feel like that towards her. I keep seeing people say that more love does not take away from existing love. I can't see how it doesn't.

I'm having a hard time understanding this whole thing right now and writing this out is causing me quite a bit of pain. I'm just going to cut this short and move onto replying.

Magdlyn:

But if your marriage is solid, and Spitfire really is poly, she can love you, and like, be fond of, become infatuated with, or even love another guy, and not stop loving you, and not want to leave you and the girls.

I'm not afraid of her ever wanting to leave me and the girls. You have to understand that the girls are the most important things in her world. She is an excellent and loving mother. As for me, we have 14 years of history and she will likely never find another man like me. Not to toot my own horn but I've never met another man that thinks the way I do. I'm not ruling out the possibility they exist but we are certainly few and far between.

Would you kneel down and let her new bf use you as a coffee table?

You're correct. I would not do that. Any man who seriously asked me to do that would earn himself a fat lip. I am not a violent person by any means but I do stand up for myself and do not appreciate disrespect on that level. Of course I have a line. I can't honestly tell you where it is right now.

Thank you for turning me on to Al99. I was reading his threads after our talk last night and was discussing them with Spitfire. It got us to an okay place where I could actually fall asleep. I'll have to thank him for that someday. We see several things differently (mostly where it comes to compersion and the desire to have sex with someone who recently had sex with someone else) but his threads have been helpful to me. Friday night was the first time I've slept 7 hours in weeks. For the past couple weeks I've been averaging between 3-4 hours a night. Last night suffered but finding an okay place to bookmark the day got me at least 6 hours.

Kevin/Virgil:

Thanks. I'm trying not to forget my happiness but it seems like I will have to make a whole lot of compromise right now. I'm kind of down at the moment but I'm hanging onto hope that I'll get myself feeling good again like I was on Friday.

fuchka:

Thanks for your comment. It had always been kind of an unspoken thing just floating out there that we both knew and didn't verbalize. You reminded me that it was time we called it what it is.

I have a lot to unpack. Both literally and figuratively. Once again I'm glad I have this place to word vomit my feelings. Thank you everybody.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Hi Broken,

Quite a few poly people consider love to be an infinite resource. I don't think it's infinite, but I do think it's abundant. Compare romantic love with parental love. You have two daughters, but you don't love either of them any less just because you also love the other. The thing is, time, money, energy, and attention are relatively limited resources. The time and attention required to think about one of your daughters, may use up some of the time and attention required to think about the other. And certainly, more money and energy allocated to one daughter leaves less money and energy available to the other. Those are limited resources, and you have to balance them between the two girls. So to the extent that love is composed of time, money, energy, and attention, love is a limited resource, and loving one person does take away from one's love for another person. But looked at another way, there is a part of love that is not so limited. You can look at it both ways.

I actually have to agree with you, that it sucks for Spitfire to say you're her "safe place." That's almost like saying you're her "blank check," like it's safe to do whatever she wants around and to you. Hopefully that's not how she means it; maybe she is messing up her syntax, like what she really means is that she knows she can trust you. She can trust you to tell the truth. She can trust you to be fair and loving towards her and the kids. I hope she doesn't mean that she can "trust" you to be a "good little doormat." :( Like you'll continue to be "useful" to her no matter how she treats you! :eek: Or like she can "depend" on you to be the "one" who shoulders all the consequences? :( As I said I hope she is misspeaking about her true feelings.

Just some thoughts I wanted to share.
Sincerely,
Kevin T.
 

BrokenArrow

Member
Kevin:

I brought up that same analogy to Spitfire last night. She hadn't thought of it like that before.

More than likely it's just her syntax. She does not feel the same way about words that I do. It's another thing we talked about last night. She admitted that she doesn't know how to express herself as well as I do. I'm okay with that but I don't want to always be correcting her or constantly guilting her that her choice in words has hurt my feelings.
 

Al99

Active member
Hi BrokenArrow - and a belated welcome to the Forum. I see that you have received a boatload of great advice already, and I noted that my story was mentioned along the way as well. And yeah, I can definitely relate to your tale. I too was "poly bombed" out of the blue - when my wife asked me to transition our marriage to poly a few years back so she could ethically explore her resurgent feelings for an old college boyfriend. Ultimately, I did agree - and eventually came to self identify as poly (full story is in signature link below).

I won't reiterate what has been discussed here in depth already. Obviously you have made the choice to honor Spitfire's request to alter your mono-marriage contract and transition to poly - and are now trying to figure out exactly what that will look like and how you will cope with the knowledge that your wife is out having sex with another guy . Not the easiest thing to figure out - been there....

Congrats, though, on all the great communication that you and Spitfire are having - nothing more important in successful poly relationships. Becky and I spent countless hours talking things out in the beginning - and still spend a lot of time discussing poly-related issues, especially at critical junctures such as breakups and new partners.

Since I am one of those kind of people with a need to know, when Becky asked me to open things up, I spent a whole lot of time in researching the topic (books, web articles, podcasts, and this forum), as well as a giving the issue a great deal of thought and contemplation, even some time spent in meditation - and reached a few conclusions.

First, it was obvious that virtually everyone experiences multiple attractions, and that the vast majority experience romantic feelings two or more people simultaneously at some point in their lives, even if they never act on them. Those attractions and feelings do not make one poly, they are simply the human condition - easily observed by simply looking at the society around us. Ryan's "Sex at Dawn" (already mentioned on this thread) provides some excellent insights into the biological and anthropological aspects of our very human propensity to experience multiple attractions.

Given that we all have the capacity to experience to multiple attractions, then it must be the decision to act (or at least the desire and capacity to act) on those attractions that make one polyamorous, just as the choice to not act on those same feelings makes one monogamous. Granted - some, by nature, may have a greater propensity to act on them, but ultimately polyamory is a practice - made by choice, just as is monogamy.

You have noted in your posts that both of you acknowledge having attractions to others. Spitfire wants to act on them and have polyamorous relationships - you also have these attractions but have never really considered acting on them.

I, also, chose to be monogamous - and while certainly open minded enough to acknowledge everyone's freedom to make their own choices - believed monogamy to be the "norm". But then - I realized I had to ask myself why I believed that monogamy was the norm, and even why I felt compelled to believe that I must be monogamous, with all the potential for expectations, control, and jealousy that monogamy entailed.

I did not oppose poly (or support monogamy) on religious or moral grounds. Although I was raised Bible Belt Evangelical Fundamentalist, I had given that theology up before I was out of high school, and my current spiritual beliefs (roughly Gnostic Christian) certainly were not in conflict with polyamory. But - I finally concluded, the social and cultural influence of that fundamentalist indoctrination still led to the natural conclusion that monogamy was, by nature, the "best way" - all reinforced by our culture at large, which gives at least token support to this idea.

My preference for monogamy - and the expectations, control, and jealousy that went along with that - were, I finally realized, simply a cultural indoctrination. It was equally easy to imagine that if I had been raised in a predominantly poly society, that I would naturally believe that to the "norm".

And since it was an indoctrination, it could be undone - at least to the point where I could be ok with a poly marriage, even if it wasn't my preference. And, in fact, this was my mantra for the first year or so - "poly may not be my first choice, but I can live with it". This sufficed for me to be able to cope with my wife having another partner, even though I did not. But, importantly, I made a conscious effort to "uncondition" myself from my mono-normative indoctrination - through lots of reading, podcasts, and a lot of interactive dialogue here on this forum as well as some Facebook groups for local poly groups. Ultimately, I was reasonably successful - but it did require some considerable effort.

I was certainly open to the idea of also having another partner, but doubted that it was logistically possible. When I did connect with my first partner several months into our poly agreement, my own preference gradually shifted from a tolerance for poly to finally self identifying as poly. You mentioned in a recent post that you had started to think about another partner for yourself as well at some point - I think that is a healthy thought. I recall hearing a podcast one day by an experienced polyamorist in which she said that poly marriages where each spouse each had their own other partner(s) were far more stable than a mono-poly marriage. I would believe this to be true.

I do have a couple of additional thoughts in reply to your most recent post especially, but will save them for a separate post.

I wish you the best of luck along this path!

Al
 
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Al99

Active member
BrokenArrow,

I realize that it was pointed out to you early on in the thread that you do have every right to just say no - and refuse to modify your monogamous marital contract. And, further, since that probably won't go well, it might be better for both of you to just dissolve the contract and divorce. Mono-poly relationships are notoriously difficult - and in many cases, divorce is indeed the best answer.

However, you have said that for reasons involving your children and the demands of your career, that divorce was not an option - and that you were willing to do the work. Again, I relate. In my case - although I never actually feared divorce if I refused to consent to opening our marriage - I did factor in the importance of of maintaining marital harmony for the sake of our kiddo - and, again in my case, I factored in the stress that our age gap relationship had on her (sort of like, since she was willing to learn to deal with that issue, I can at least consider poly). Many factors do weigh in to our decisions.

In regard to compersion - to the staunch mono guy, this can be a seriously challenging concept, especially the sexual aspect of it. All I can say is that idea grows on you as you realize that in loving someone, you will be naturally happy for their happiness, even when it involves the happiness they find with another partner (not to say that any of us are always perfect at it). However, as my favorite author, Mr. Robert Heinlein, wrote:
“Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own....Jealousy is a disease, love is a healthy condition. The immature mind often mistakes one for the other, or assumes that the greater the love, the greater the jealousy - in fact, they are almost incompatible; one emotion hardly leaves room for the other.”

And on the "transfer of sexual energy thing", this is not an uncommon theme in the poly world - and is discussed in two of the classic poly texts, "The Ethical Slut" and "Opening Up" (as noted earlier in the thread, Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships by Tristan Taormino is highly recommended for couples opening up their relationship) - both with the basic advice that it works well for some couples, and not so much for others - matter of personal preference without a right or wrong answer. It helped my wife and I bond in the beginning when it was all still new and uncertain - and especially when she had the partner and I didn't. Now, it is just every day life stuff - and after having had a few threesomes (not all that common in poly, by the way, but it can happen), it is far from novel, but can still add a little spice.

In regard to your recent concerns about her comments regarding casual sexual encounters, remember that in opening a marriage, you two can negotiate whatever contract you want. This can be helpful when first opening up a marriage and usually becomes less important later. The general advice is to think in terms of boundaries instead of rules, however. In other words, "I have this boundary" - not "I have this rule that you must follow".

Finally, I obviously don't know the complete context of the "safe place" comment - but I would not necessarily jump to a dark place on this. It may mean that while she does want to experience other loves, you are her rock - her anchor in love and life.

My wife recently wrote a love note to me for our anniversary that said to "my partner in crime, my rock, my love" - and acknowledgement that despite whatever NRE she may be inflicted with, I am the relationship rock that anchors her. This may not be a "pure poly" sentiment - but not a bad thought for a couple that has opened up.

Oh, and glad to hear that you found some of my prior posts helpful.

Again, best of luck!

Al
 
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icesong

Member
It feels like she gets to do whatever she wants while I'm left holding the bag full of consequences because I'm her "safe place". She calls me that a lot. She says it's because I'm the only man she knows who always tells the truth despite the consequences. I take care of her and our children. I protect her and listen to her and make her feel better and treat her with respect.

It makes me feel so fucking used and cheap. That is one of the feelings I just don't have the heart to tell her about. It has to come out sometime. She's right. I always tell the truth despite the consequences. I just need time to understand that feeling better before we discuss it.

Y'know, I've said similar things about Knight, even on this board, but it was actually an indication of how much I *value* our relationship, not of me using him or taking him for granted. A thing that I talk about a lot in my blog is whether or not I feel secure in my partnerships, and whether I even can feel secure due to my particular origin story. But here's the thing - what I was *trying* to say when I said safe place is that even at the absolute WORST bits of our relationship, and there've been some pretty dark ones, I trusted Knight to not deliberately hurt me and to be honest with me. And, especially that latter form of trust, is really really hard to build - I think I've only really had it with Artist for the past year or so and quarantine tested it - because it just takes so much time and repeated proof.
 
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