Mono Husband trying to be understanding

GalaGirl

Well-known member
If I was, in fact, "enough" then you would not require more.

Well, what if you are enough YOU. As a partner.

But you are not enough if the want/need is to practice poly. If she wants to have more than 1 sweetie? It's not like can magically turn yourself into TWO people so you can be the two sweeties.

BTW Labriola covers that belief in http://www.kathylabriola.com/articl...nster-managing-jealousy-in-open-relationships in the

Core Belief #2

If my partner were happy with me, and if I were a good partner/spouse/lover/etc., my partner would be so satisfied that (s)he wouldn’t want to get involved with anyone else.

section.

She told me it was weird that I wanted to meet the men before she had sex with them.

Sounds like you get (even if you don't like) how asking her dates to meet you so you can be more comfortable before (she+date) get to share sex is awkward and maybe not appropriate. Would you like some BF of hers saying how/when you and her get to share sex? Prob not.

Prob best to let her be in charge of her body and SHE decides how / when / with who she shares sex.

And you be in charge of YOUR body, and you decide how/when/with who you share sex.

Maybe use barriers/stop being fluid bonded if wife takes on partners you don't care to be connected to. It can be hard to think about that for long term married couples who have long enjoyed not dealing in condoms and being fluid bonded and all that. That part of the "detangling" can feel a painful letting go til they realize that actually... practicing safer sex to protect each other is another expression of love and care and concern for spouse.

Then she brought up the possibility of casual sex.

Maybe that is the line for you then. You may be willing to do all this work that is not comfortable for you.

So you can keep participating in marriage with her while she poly dates looking for a serious partner.

So she can keep participating in marriage with you while she poly dates looking for a serious partner.

You are willing to flex and bend and give some.

But then maybe she needs to be willing to give too. And agree NOT go around having casual sex with random people if she wants you to participate in marriage and polyship here with her. Because you can only do and accept so much. And your consent to participate in things belongs to YOU.

It is fair to ask and bring up possibilities as you both figure out the "new normal." What is in bounds and what is out of bounds. Otherwise how do you figure it out?

Try not to take it personally like it's a slight or like you don't matter. It's part of the work. If some causes a flare up, pay attention to what that something is. Address it. Try not to make it bigger than it is or get too hot under the collar though.

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.

If you do not like being called an object like "safe place" -- ask her to call you something else. "Safe person, valued person, etc."

I wonder if because you are upset about what she calls you, and this whole poly convo you are having to deal in now... maybe you are overlooking? Are you seeing that she values you a lot? Read this out loud to yourself. Where is the horrible? :confused:

  • 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.

What is the "it" that makes you feel used and cheap?

  • That she values you as a partner?
  • Or having to think about her dating other people when you believe if you were enough for her, she wouldn't be thinking it?
  • Or having to think about her sharing casual sex? Like she's contemplating it while you are going "Sex with randoms?! Seriously? That turns you on?"
  • Something else?

Be careful in these tricky conversations not to lump all the things together. Esp if you are having some kind of emotional flooding whooshy in the moment. Practice the pause, and don't lash out/react. Take the time to digest and needle out what bugs you. Rest if you are getting overwhelmed. It's ok to table stuff.

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.

Prob a good idea. Like deal with ONE thing at a time. And not talk more if emotional whooshies are happening. Practice HAALT -- take a break if you are hungry, anxious, angry, lonely, tired. Not the time to do serious conversation when HAALT.

Anyway, we realized the conversation was too much for us at the moment and tabled it.

I think you learned that having TOO many topics on the table at the same time can lead to emotional flooding.

1) Talking about poly dating.

2) Seeing pix of the dudes she's been chatting with.

3) Talking about casual sex being in or out of bounds.

4) Talking about how she values you.

That's like - then -/+ then - then +. All up and down roller coaster feeling things. Be easier to take if you just did 1 or 2 topics at most with time to rest in between.

FWIW, a long time ago my DH told me he didn't mind my having other serious relationships. But they were MY problem. He would NOT appreciate dealing with me all in a mess from some break up like here he is... the one left holding the bag when he didn't even do anything. Some care and concern, sure, freely given. But left holding the bag all the time? C'mon!

I knew what he meant. Just cuz he's my spouse, he's not my free therapist or woobie or something. Like that kind of relationship with him might help or be great for ME... but that's not so great for HIM. He wants and deserves to have his own separate dyad relationship where it is just (me + him) without all this "bleed over" from any other relationships just cuz he's the one left.

Be honest with your wife. Not in the heat of the moment, necessarily, because you need time to collect your wits about you again if you get emotionally drained or emotionally flooded.

But do let her know what's going on. This isn't like some journey she's taking on her own. You are both on this journey right now trying to figure out where this bus is even going.

(cont)

Galagirl
 
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GalaGirl

Well-known member
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.

You both realize that noticing beauty in the world is not the same as actually pursuing people for poly dating, right?

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.

What logic leap did she make that you cannot do? I got confused there.

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.

That's called NRE. It's brain chemistry stuff happening.

http://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2017/love-actually-science-behind-lust-attraction-companionship/

I could never want to feel like that towards her.

Not every poly person enjoys NRE. Some find it annoying. To have brain dumping chemistry and the whole distracting roller coaster of feelings that go with it.

I prefer ORE -- old relationship energy. Or established relationship energy.

I keep seeing people say that more love does not take away from existing love. I can't see how it doesn't.

Love might be infinite as an abstract, but in the daily nitty gritty -- I'm not magic. I can only be in so many places at once.

Relationships DO take time, energy, and other resources.

There is such thing as being poly-saturated. One can only sustain so many relationships and do them WELL where the partners are all getting the time and attention they need to feel happy. AND one spends time with friends and family they need. AND one does one self care.

One can go wide. Do that well or not. One can go deep. Do that well or not. Trying to do both going wide with many partners AND deep with all of them? Depending on the number of partners that is doable OR it's a recipe for burning out.

My marriage is different than yours. My spouse knew way back when he was my college BF that I wasn't into monogamy. We were in a V thing for several years where I was the hinge. But it's been Closed thru parenting because hello! These kids took/take up SO MUCH of my time and energy. And now there's eldercare problems on top. I am THIS close to being done raising kids. The sickest of the elders have plain DIED so things are are a lot easier on me. But still a PITA. I've gotten tired and cranky and frankly? I want these kids out of here so I don't have to be an active parent any more. And the more elders I keep burying the less tears I have. It's like I've run out. It feels more like relief. Like there. One less person to deal with.

It's not just poly-saturated. One can get family-saturated. My friends are all my age and in the same boat, so they aren't mad that I haven't spent any quality time on them in YEARS. It's all little bits here and there. But our friendships have suffered the lack of time/care. I love them still. I know they love me still. But time and energy? Nobody has right now. I feel for one of my friends doing pandemic funeral for one of her elders.

Would I run out to poly date today? Nope. I recognize I'm in a burn out place, and I wouldn't be a fit person to date right now. I need some time to recover from the super stress years and time to reconnect with my spouse first. The elder work has taken a toll on our couple relationship. Shoot, on the kids too. I'm dealing in alzheimer weird so I'm to tired to deal in too much kid stuff though I try to be present for them. Finding work-life-spouse-kids-elders-friends balance is hard to me right now.

Then to go add poly dating in pandemic to boot? Nope. I don't want to date like that. Not right now!

I guess what I am saying is... when you read stuff? Have reality filters on. Because some poly writing is all fluffy lala clouds. At least to me. It's not always real, practical stuff.

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.

Do you know some couples take YEARS to talk things all out before Opening a marriage? You know this doesn't have to be all talked out in an a marathon conversation, right? Or even a few weeks or few months?

I hope you are more able to get better sleep. Because just having these conversations with a spouse can wear a person out.

To that aim... and after the rollercoaster talk of the weekend...

Have you and Spitfire considered metacommunication first? Talk about HOW you are going to talk? Before actually getting into it? And pacing yourselves?

Because you sound like you found out some valuable things this weekend. Stuff like...

1) Spitfire, I'm willing to talk this out. But I'm not happy about you kinda already trying on on low-level dating. Please stop that for now. We have not yet Opened the marriage. It is under consideration, but not yet Open. It's one thing to seek out poly forums online or meetups for group dinner and discussion so you can start making poly friends and figure some stuff out. It's another to be going on dating apps to kinda sorta flirt up dudes when you and I haven't even figured our own stuff out yet.

2) Spitfire, I can only talk about 1 maybe 2 topics at a time. I get that you are on Track A where this new stuff is exciting for you. I'm on track B where this new stuff is a bummer. (visual aid middle of page here. https://www.eoslifework.co.uk/transmgt1.htm) You might want to talk to other people like in online forums about your "wheee!" stuff at discovering you are poly. I'm talking to online forum people about my "ugh!" stuff. So when you and I talk together, we can be more "middle medium" with each other and not go off the tracks one way or the other.

Asking me to share in your joy when it actually causes me pain? Like be your cheerleader all "You go spouse! On your journey of self discovery!" when I am going "Is this journey leading you away from me/us and the life we built together so far?" is a tall order. I'm willing to try to meet in the middle, but please cut me a break. I will try to understand your side if you try to understand mine.

To me you are doing amazingly well even if it feels really tough. Spitfire is very fortunate that you are even willing to talk about it. Some spouses don't even want to, which makes the poly spouse feel bad. Like their spouse doesn't really love ALL of them. I wrote a few things about that perspective here.

http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showpost.php?p=147308&postcount=6

So I wonder... Like what's Spitfire really want right now?

  • To figure her poly self out?
  • To undersand herself as a poly person?
  • To be understood as a poly person by you because you are her valued person in life?
  • To start ACTUALLY poly dating?
  • Or just enjoy some flirting and some attention now that she lost some baby weight to remind her she's still alive and attractive but not date?
  • Something else?

Cuz she doesn't seem all that clear to you. And watching the person you thought you knew suddenly come out with all "nebulous fog" stuff can be as discombobulating for you as it may or may not be for her. Like "Who are YOU? I thought you were my wife." While she's doing "Who am I? I thought I knew who I was."

You are going to hurt, but try not to let your own fog color everything horrible. She DOES value you. And admits her communication skills are not as good as yours. That's an area for her to work on then, as it will be a potential road block to these conversations. And you? You are going to have to work on listening OVER the your own fog of ugh feelings. Not always easy, but that can also be a potential roadblock.

I guess what I am saying is kudos for being willing to talk it out, but take it SLOW. It doesn't have to be "solved" overnight! Be gentle on you both.
Maybe it is ok to NOT talk so much all the time. Spend SOME of the time doing normal family stuff. You really seemed to value the break this weekend. Maybe more of that?

And only talk poly stuff once a week -- like Fridays at 8 PM. Better paced out so if you do have sleeplessness as a result of the poly conversations, there's the weekend to recover in.

Maybe each unload some of your other stuff SOMEWHERE ELSE rather than at/with each other.

You found and online forum here. She can also post here or find a different board.

Could each could also see a counselor for extra support in a stressy time. (And look at that. Something else sucking up your resources of money/time/energy.)

Pace yourself. And hang in there. :eek:

Galagirl
 
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GalaGirl

Well-known member
More than likely it's just her syntax. She does not feel the same way about words that I do.
Ok. She doesn't feel about words like you.

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.

And her plan is to do what? Work on improving her skills or not?

(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.)

So... you are not actually NOT ok with that behavior.

And you would like to request that she work on improving her communication skills. So you can stop having to correct her and bring it to her attention how her word choices can hurt so often.

And on your end, you will work on detangling. So you can stop thinking that making her aware of your hurt feelings is you doing a guilt trip to her.

(Unless you ARE doing a guilt trip. In which case, cut that out.)

Is that more of what you meant by that statement above?

Because if she eventually wants to poly date, she's could get better at her people skills and communication skills. If she's dinging one partner (you) like that, she may ding others.

And you are going to have to get better at just telling her when she steps on your toes without you feeling bad if she feels bad hearing it.

You lifting up behavior she does that bugs you is not you being MEAN to her. It is you advocating for your own self so you get bugged less often.

While at the same time, it is trying to help her become more aware and a better skilled with people.

Cuz who loves getting toes trampled? :confused:

Not everything has to be so emotionally charged, YKWIM?

Galagirl
 
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YouAreHere

Active member

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Thanks YAH; I did not know that.

Re (from BrokenArrow):
"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."

That makes sense. Good/clear/accurate communication is a skill, it's not something one can learn overnight. She will have to put deliberate effort, for a long time, into improving her choices of words in her various conversations with you. Like it takes time to build good habits, it doesn't come naturally at first. She can do it though with just a moderate amount of effort, it just takes time. In the meantime, you just know that you have to be patient with her, while she learns.
 

Magdlyn

Well-known member
3 long posts from GalaGirl! They might take some time to ponder. Good stuff, but it's a lot.

Take your time.

Speaking of rocks:

A joke for Al. When Jesus told Simon he was going to now call him Petros/Peter, a rock (on which I will build my ecclesia), was he really saying, "Your lack of understanding and poor behavior has shown me you're as dumb as a box of rocks, and so the Church will easily be able to take advantage of you and billions of others like you"?

This just seems like too good of a pun and word play not to be intentional. Oh, Bible, you crack me up.
 

BrokenArrow

Member
So I didn't drop off the face of the Earth or anything, I was just incredibly busy last night. Got to the whole "acts of service" part in the book I'm reading and did all the dishes, laundry (wash/fold/put away), cook dinner, cleaned the bedroom after I picked up the kids and before she got home to show her that I love her. Spitfire slept on the couch.
It's fair. The night before I vented some anger at her. I told her that it makes me mad that "you get to have your cake and eat it while I'm left writhing on the hook!" and that "our love doesn't feel the same anymore." I dropped that shit on her at 11 at night.
She forgave me and eventually went to bed but she had to decompress. She's been dealing with a broken man who is not the man she married. Instead he's an insecure, emotional wreck. She needed a night where she could fall asleep with the TV on and not feel guilty she's keeping me awake. She needed time to relax and not have to deal.
So there I was, in bed, alone. All I could think was "she broke me and doesn't want to help me pick up the pieces. She'd rather be talking to the new guys. I'm such a wreck she's not even going to want to be with me anymore." I needed her but I was afraid if I woke her I'd lose her.
Around 3am, after crying into my pillow for four hours, I hit on this realization. I'm just being loyal to the ghost of our old marriage. I keep trying to drag this monogamy piece with me into the new one. Well that sucks and it's just making my life hard. I told Spitfire tonight that I'm going to try poly.
She was really happy about it. She's worried I'm just forcing myself to do it to make her feel better. In fact, I feel better than I have in a long time.
Really it's just me accepting the new dynamic and rolling with it. There's a chance she's right. I may have deluded myself into thinking I'm cool with this when actually I'm just stuck in a bargaining stage but that's why we're taking it real slow.
The plan remains the same. Disentangle, do research, strengthen the marriage, communicate. Once we're in a good place, we'll start talking about really dating.

And that's my story of how I made the transition from mono to poly. It played out before your very eyes. Stay tuned to see if it all blows up in my face or if we get the happily ever after we all deserve...
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
And that's my story of how I made the transition from mono to poly. It played out before your very eyes.

You just find out 4 weeks ago, are all over the place with fear, anger, upset etc. But you are ready to do poly now.

Is that a realistic expectation of yourself when you are still grieving the old marriage? :confused:

I told Spitfire tonight that I'm going to try poly.

What's THAT mean? You have decided you are willing to Open the marriage? And be a mono end point in a V? Or that you think you want to start dating too? :confused:

She was really happy about it. She's worried I'm just forcing myself to do it to make her feel better. In fact, I feel better than I have in a long time.Really it's just me accepting the new dynamic and rolling with it.

There's a chance she's right. I may have deluded myself into thinking I'm cool with this when actually I'm just stuck in a bargaining stage but that's why we're taking it real slow.

Glad you both see those potential pitfalls!

Def go slow. Or even slower! Let some of the roller coaster emotions calm down and dissipate before adding any more new stimulus. Like one stimulus rock makes a ripple in the lake. Rocks the boat some. But maybe livable.

Dumping a whole mess on there makes for crazy choppy water that could tip the boat over.

The plan remains the same. Disentangle, do research, strengthen the marriage, communicate. Once we're in a good place, we'll start talking about really dating.

Well, I think it would strengthen the marriage to stop doing this stuff so late in the night. You both need sleep.

And stop acting out at your wife. Or acting in at you.

I could be wrong in my impression... It's like you wore yourself out cleaning the house hoping she'd take the "hint" and comfort/cuddle you and tell you she loves you as a reward. Maybe expecting some sort of mind reader-ing.

But why does she have to do that? Don't all roomies (married or not) share the load of cleaning the home space?

Maybe it's faster to just ASK for what it is you need? You sound like you wanted loving words and connection with wife. Then when what you hoped for didn't happen because she was busy attending to her own recovery needs first from yesterday's argument?

You blow up at her anew.

Is that what happened? :confused:

Is it that you need help asking more direct for what you need? Could print and circle from the need inventory or feeling inventory.

It's fair. The night before I vented some anger at her. I told her that it makes me mad that "(I think) you get to have your cake and eat it while I'm left writhing on the hook!" and that "(I think) our love doesn't feel the same anymore." I dropped that shit on her at 11 at night.

It's ok to be mad. Notice the missing pieces in blue.

Making "you" statements tends to escalate things in conversation. It's better to use "I statements" and when that's fixed? You see YOU are the one thinking things (a behavior) that then upsets you. (feelings)

And then you blame it on her when it's you kicking your own bucket over.

Be fair. It is YOUR CHOICE to continue to participate here. You are in charge of your consent to participate. If it gets to be too much, you can withdraw consent. You can STOP. YOU do not have to keep you writhing on any hooks.

You could tell her "Hon, I have thought and read and you know what? I really am not into it. I don't know where we go from here, but I really don't want to participate in any poly stuff. I know that much."

Then let the chips fall where they may. I get the idea of breaking up super scares you from your post above, but being scared doesn't make it ok to act out at you partner and blow up or blame shift. It doesn't make it ok to act in and go beat your own self up either. It doesn't help.

You seemed to recognize that spinning out into anger over and dumping it on her head was not a good idea in this post.

So find ways to express your anger WITHOUT dumping it on her head. Or on your own head.

You have to find a way to express your anger without you taking it to beat her or yourself up with it. Anger is part of grief. You may need to finish just grieving first. Before moving on to more poly talking. This JUST HAPPENED a few weeks ago, dude.

You and her are both inside the system. One could comfort in and kvetch out.

Get yourselves a counselor to help navigate hard conversations if doing it by yourselves just ends up in a mess.

So there I was, in bed, alone. All I could think was "she broke me and doesn't want to help me pick up the pieces. She'd rather be talking to the new guys. I'm such a wreck she's not even going to want to be with me anymore." I needed her but I was afraid if I woke her I'd lose her.

There you owned it. YOU were thinking things, and upsetting yourself with the thinks.

Are you not used to doing your own emotional management? You expect that emotional labor automatically from your wife? Like she does all this work in the day and in the night at 11 PM when she's trying to take care of herself after the argument the night before? You act out at her and expect her to put in MORE work comforting you? When you are the one kicking your own bucket over?

Again... consider a counselor. I'm not trying to be mean to you here. I do sympathize. :eek:

Maybe when you are calmer you can see that how you talk to yourself in your head just fans the flames.

All I could think was "she broke me and doesn't want to help me pick up the pieces. She'd rather be talking to the new guys. I'm such a wreck she's not even going to want to be with me anymore."

You name yourself BrokenArrow and earlier in the thread you tell me you are not broken and don't need to fix anything.

Now you blame her that she broke you and won't help you put the pieces together.

I could be wrong... but that sounds like an area that might need some work to me. An area to improve. Part of the detangling process for you may include learning what is "your" stuff, what is "her" stuff, and what is "our" shared stuff. Because not everything in a marriage is "our stuff."

Sigh. You are in a lot of places with the up and downy roller coaster. I get it is hard. It's only been a few weeks! Of COURSE you are all upset and messed up and all over the place!

But please... go a lot gentler on you. And on her. :eek:

Like her taking care of herself on the couch -- that's her doing her stuff.

You were not able to take care of yourself in the bed? Like you doing your stuff? It's like you lay there for hours beating up on your own self making your own self cry. Why are you being your own self bully? :(

Aren't there enough problems here without adding that layer? :confused:

Could catch yourself when your feelings are too big and too much and try something else.

  • Talk to yourself more kindly. Instead of doom talking for hours in your head, how about "Look, I know it's tough. But hang in there, breathe, try and get some rest. Things might be a bit better in the morning. She taking her rest. I can take my rest. It's ok to take a time out for rest. Taking a time out to cool off and rest is not the same and just up and dumping me or abandoning me. It's just late at night. People need sleep."

  • Or maybe just ASKING for what you need. Telling her "Hi. My feelings are too big and too much. I need some comforting. Are you willing to help me with that at this time? And if not, can we set an appointment for later and maybe a quick hug for now?" Maybe even though she was trying to take care of her own stress, she has some spoons to spare for you right then. Or if she doesn't have the spoons, but is willing to make an appointment. Either way, you can rest easier in bed knowing she's still in this marriage and not just abandoning you.

  • Or make appt with a counselor to work thru all that.

Even though hard? Don't rush to leave this uncomfortable space. Take the time to SIT WITH THIS.

I've seen newbies do that. Like "Aaah! Old marriage gone. This transition time feels yucky! I don't like being here! Fine let's just do poly then!" Like rush to get it "over with" and be on the other side already, in the "new normal" place. So the discomfort of being "all up in the air" can go away.

And then what happens? Going in underprepared. The people they date ending up like collateral damage. All sorts of other pitfalls.

Don't be like out of the frying pan into the fire. YKWIM?

Pace yourself, dude. Hang in there. Rest. Go easy on yourself with this grief process and this poly talk process. Cuz what's happening right now really?

  • You are grieving. So is she, but prob in her way.
  • You and her are talking about poly.
  • She sounds willing to chill on the dating apps and try to make poly friends in other ways. (Right? You asked her?)
  • You are still cleaning the house like normal. Dealing with kids like normal. Had a nice weekend recently. Right?

Stuff right now is different, but nothing DOOM doom.

BREATHE. Go slower. Baby steps. It does NOT have to all be solved this minute.

Galagirl
 
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BrokenArrow

Member
GalaGirl:
So many questions. I'll try and answer the best I can.

It's like you wore yourself out cleaning the house hoping she'd take the "hint" and comfort/cuddle you and tell you she loves you as a reward. Maybe expecting some sort of mind reader-ing.

But why does she have to do that? Don't all roomies (married or not) share the load of cleaning the home space?

Spitfire works about 3 hours later than I do. Traditionally we share the chores but with her working so much I'm doing roughly 80% of the housework. I've left her laundry for her to put away because I prefer to put away my own laundry because I understand the organizational structure of my own closet. When I got to the exercise on acts of service, I asked her what I could do around the house that would make her feel loved. She told me "laundry." We talked and made up that night but I was determined to do that the next day because it's what she wanted.

Maybe it's faster to just ASK for what it is you need? You sound like you wanted loving words and connection with wife. Then when what you hoped for didn't happen because she was busy attending to her own recovery needs first from yesterday's argument?

You blow up at her anew.

Is that what happened?

It most certainly is not. I don't blow up. Even when I told her what was making me angry I did not yell it at her.
I always want loving words and connection with my wife. She came home exhausted and needed a break. I gave her that. We didn't address it at all. We had some tender moments and then I gave her the space she requested. She decided to sleep on the couch. I went to sleep in the bedroom. When I told her about it this morning she was grateful I didn't wake her up. There was no "blow up at her anew."

Are you not used to doing your own emotional management? You expect that emotional labor automatically from your wife? Like she does all this work in the day and in the night at 11 PM when she's trying to take care of herself after the argument the night before? You act out at her and expect her to put in MORE work comforting you? When you are the one kicking your own bucket over?

This is actually a role reversal I never saw coming. Before this she was always the one to dump her feelings on me at 11pm. Really my reaching out to her and talking to her was what she told me to do. And yes. I do expect Spitfire to participate in the relationship even when things get rough. I've been handling plenty of this with just the few talks we get to squeeze in after the kids go to bed. I didn't think it's unreasonable to ask that out of the 18+ hours a day that I have to shoulder the problem I can get 30 minutes to an hour of her time to clarify things and discuss how I feel. I am not just some roomate that's here to fuck. I'm her best friend and the father of her children. I am the man that she wants to stay married to. I think it's more than fair that I not be the only one putting effort into maintaining the relationship. She agrees. I don't ask for a lot but what I do ask for is difficult. Difficult enough that I can't shoulder it alone.

That being said I recognized she works hard and needed a break and some solid rest so I kept the children off her all night and gave her some space as requested.

Of course that left me alone and trapped in my own head all night. I went through some angry shit. I'll admit it. I also went through some sad and jealous thoughts. That's only natural for someone who's single most important relationship crumbled before his eyes.

You name yourself BrokenArrow and earlier in the thread you tell me you are not broken and don't need to fix anything.

Now you blame her that she broke you and won't help you put the pieces together.

If you look back and read that part of our conversation in context, you'll see that we were discussing my relationship with Spitfire at the beginning. The polybomb broke me. There's a lot of fallout and collateral damage when a bomb like that goes off.

I'm burnt out and need to get some sleep. I appreciate you taking the time to write all that. Thank you.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Re (from BrokenArrow):
"Around 3:00 a.m., after crying into my pillow for four hours, I hit on this realization. I'm just being loyal to the ghost of our old marriage. I keep trying to drag this monogamy piece with me into the new one. Well that sucks and it's just making my life hard. I told Spitfire tonight that I'm going to try poly."

I actually don't have a problem with that. Perhaps that was always how things were meant to turn out. If you were going to leap into poly dating right now, I might be a little concerned. But you have clearly stated that that's not how the plan rolls. There has merely been a shift in your thinking process. You're now oriented toward a poly/poly, rather than a mono/poly, eventuality. And your gut reaction (so far) is that this is right for you *right now.* There's still plenty of time to change your mind about that, should there prove to be a need to do so in the future.

Re:
"She was really happy about it. She's worried I'm just forcing myself to do it to make her feel better. In fact, I feel better than I have in a long time."

This is your gut, telling you that you are doing the right thing *for you* in the present moment. It simplifies things, as a poly/poly relationship tends to be simpler than a mono/poly relationship.

Re:
"The plan remains the same. Disentangle, do research, strengthen the marriage, communicate. Once we're in a good place, we'll start talking about really dating."

Yes. This is the right way to approach the situation. Don't worry so much about what will eventually happen; for now just focus on your research, disentangling, communication, and work on the marriage. Worry more later on about who's going to end up poly dating. That part can wait. There's still plenty of room for change.

Good luck and keep us posted,
Sincerely,
Kevin T.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
I hope you feel a little better airing out here.

It sounds very stressful for you. :(

I didn't think it's unreasonable to ask that out of the 18+ hours a day that I have to shoulder the problem I can get 30 minutes to an hour of her time to clarify things and discuss how I feel. I am not just some roomate that's here to fuck. I'm her best friend and the father of her children. I am the man that she wants to stay married to. I think it's more than fair that I not be the only one putting effort into maintaining the relationship. She agrees. I don't ask for a lot but what I do ask for is difficult. Difficult enough that I can't shoulder it alone.
Of course. Both partners in a marriage participate.

What I am trying to say (and probably coming out poorly) is that you both have to deal with this new poly bomb thing.

If you cannot shoulder it alone? And she cannot shoulder her own load plus helping you with yours? You guys might want to think about extra support from a counselor. This whole dumping things at each other at 11 PM at night -- that's going to take a toll. People need sleep too. You can't live, sleep, and eat poly stuff ALL the time. Regular life stuff has to happen in between too.

That's only natural for someone who's single most important relationship crumbled before his eyes.

Which is why I say to take your time with grief for the old marriage.

Not to rush the poly talks or rush into new agreements where you are going to try poly too. (If that's what you meant. I'm still not sure.)

Go slow and take the time you need to process.

Galagirl
 

FallenAngelina

Active member
You could tell her "Hon, I have thought and read and you know what? I really am not into it. I don't know where we go from here, but I really don't want to participate in any poly stuff. I know that much."

Then let the chips fall where they may.

If you want a good relationship, any kind of good relationship, you need to operate from a base of honesty about your values - what you want in life. Navigating with the highest aspiration of holding onto a relationship generally leads to resentment, unhappiness and often coming apart anyway. When you navigate from your own true values and allow others to freely either come closer or fall away, that is what leads to fulfillment. Think about what you want. Nevermind what Spitfire is throwing at you for a moment, what do you want from a marriage relationship?
 

Mzill

New member
Thanks to all for this well written and well thought out topic, I have enjoyed reading it very much.
 

BrokenArrow

Member
So a quick update:

So far, things are going well. I've really come to appreciate Spitfire more. We're taking things pretty slow.

She's still talking to the men from before but she hasn't moved past that. She's told me one wants to set up a time to meet her. I'm just not there yet. I'm mulling it over and trying to come to terms with it. I just don't want to rush and damage what we have if we're not ready.

I am talking to a man. Nothing too serious, mostly just nerd shit. I've filled him in on the situation and explained it may be a while before we progress beyond anything more than friends, if ever. I am not ready to meet him yet.

I feel a lot better. My emotions seem to be under control. I still feel a little sad sometimes. I've been working out a lot. It makes me feel less insecure to take care of my body. I've dropped a bit of weight and went from doing less than a hundred to a few hundred pushups every day.

I've been working on my marriage. We each got a personal night. Thanks to COVID, mine was spent hanging out in my car down by the water, listening to music. I also went and got takeout sushi (I love it but Spitfire can't stand the smell of fish). It was very freeing to just be me and do some things that I like. Spitfire went to lunch with some friends and visited a plant nursery.

Our conversations have been much more open and productive. We've found that she's still not okay with me talking to other women and she's not sure she ever will be. She gets pretty fired up about it. I respond with it's an unfair double standard. It's an issue we realized we need to table. We have the rest of our lives to figure it out. We talk about a lot of things. Is playing video games together online a boundary? Am I okay with him sending you shirtless pics? She called me to see if moving from texts to phone calls was a boundary. It makes me feel safe and appreciated. Like I have some semblance of control of my own life again.

A lot of the time she's worried she's going to hurt me again. I'd like to think I'm past that, but I'm still worried there's another bomb that's set to go off. What happens when she sleeps with another guy? Sometimes when I'm doing pushups I think of that and the pain and anger let me push past my breaking point. I'm afraid that when that moment comes that'll I'll lose all this progress. I'm terrified of it.

So not so quick an update as I thought.

FallenAngelina:

Navigating with the highest aspiration of holding onto a relationship generally leads to resentment, unhappiness and often coming apart anyway.
I'm trying to step outside of that box but my family is my first and highest priority. That's not a heading I can easily deviate from. Trying to chart polyamory into the course is a big job and will take a lot of time. It's good food for thought. Thank you.

Mzill:

No, no! Thank you. I hope it was helpful to you.
 

Magdlyn

Well-known member
So far, things are going well. I've really come to appreciate Spitfire more. We're taking things pretty slow.

She's still talking to the men from before, but she hasn't moved past that. She's told me one wants to set up a time to meet her... I just don't want to rush and damage what we have, if we're not ready.

I am talking to a man... I am not ready to meet him yet.

I feel a lot better. My emotions seem to be under control. I still feel a little sad sometimes. I've been working out a lot. It makes me feel less insecure to take care of my body. I've dropped a bit of weight and went from doing less than a hundred to a few hundred push ups every day.

Wow! That's a lot of push ups!

I've been working on my marriage. We each got a personal night. Thanks to COVID, mine was spent hanging out in my car down by the water, listening to music. I also went and got takeout sushi (I love it but Spitfire can't stand the smell of fish).

Mmm, my favorite food.

One of my favorite things about poly is the me-time! I went from living at home as a kid, to living with roommates in college, to living with a husband right after college, and then we had 3 clingy kids.

After my divorce, I finally got my own place (although my 17 year old son would spend some time at my place and some time at his dad's for a year or so, then he moved out). The peace was so delightful. I lived alone for 3 years, even though I had met Pixi soon after splitting from my husband. We saw each other a couple nights a week, most weeks. I still loved my alone time. And I hosted men at my apartment. :)

And now, even though Pixi and I live together, she goes to her bf's 3 nights a week. In the summer (not this year, of course), she works as an overnight camp director, and I get even longer stretches of alone time to do my own projects and see friends and just do whatever I want. It is so freeing, and it helps me get more in touch with myself and who I am!


It was very freeing to just be me and do some things that I like. Spitfire went to lunch with some friends and visited a plant nursery.

Good! Keep that up! Learn to be individuals.

Our conversations have been much more open and productive. We've found that she's still not okay with me talking to other women and she's not sure she ever will be. She gets pretty fired up about it. I respond with, it's an unfair double standard.

Just a suggestion: you could mirror her feelings. Tell her you hear that that bothers her. Sometimes if we feel Heard, we can let go of that emotion and move on. It doesn't help to just deny it and tell her she's wrong for feeling that way.

You both have sexual jealousy issues. It's brainwashing from our culture. I promise you, it's a thing people can move past. Acknowledge it and move on... Sometimes you have to just do it. The reality might be different than what you imagine.

It's an issue we realized we need to table. We have the rest of our lives to figure it out. We talk about a lot of things. Is playing video games together online a boundary? Am I okay with him sending you shirtless pics? She called me to see if moving from texts to phone calls was a boundary. It makes me feel safe and appreciated. Like I have some semblance of control of my own life again.

A note: boundaries are not you telling someone else what they can or can't do. A boundary is something you decide you will or will not do.

What you have are "rules," you telling her what she can or can't do in her other relationship. Many newbies have "rules," which can ease you into each of you having full autonomy in how you practice your relationships with others. You can of course have agreements, such as "We each agree to only spend 2 nights a week with our other lover(s)," we can each spend X amount of time texting or having phone calls with others a week, we can host here at our house (or not), etc.

The main agreement most poly people have is to use condoms for intercourse, unless all parties agree to fluid bond, and have been tested. And if another partner is added by anyone, again, condoms with them, until testing has been done and trust has been built about the safety of their choices with their others.

A lot of the time she's worried she's going to hurt me again. I'd like to think I'm past that, but I'm still worried there's another bomb that's set to go off.

Hurts happen in life. We can just be kind, and thoughtful, and considerate and polite. But we can't live our lives fearing hurt, or fearing we may hurt another. That way, we'd never get anything done, and we'd grow resentful. Don't be a people pleaser, in other words.

What happens when she sleeps with another guy? Sometimes when I'm doing push ups I think of that and the pain and anger let me push past my breaking point. I'm afraid that when that moment comes that'll I'll lose all this progress. I'm terrified of it.

Are you afraid she'll like sex with another guy more than she likes the sex with you? Will his cock be bigger? Will he have different sexual skills up his sleeve? Will she have more or better orgasms with him?

Please try to remember that sex with another will be different, but different does not mean better. Since I've been poly, I have had a couple of men who I'd say were my "best" lovers, whose style best suited my needs. But that doesn't mean that I love them more than Pixi... There is more to a relationship than sex. Sometimes the best lovers can be emotionally unavailable. Despite my high libido, I need emotional connection more than stellar sex. I didn't love those guys. At best, I am fond of them.

Trying to chart polyamory into the course is a big job and will take a lot of time.
 

Mzill

New member
Thanks for the update. i share a lot of your concerns, they are familiar to me. I hope sharing helps.
I have been looking into "Internal Family Systems" as a way to help understand how a part of me can accept this, while another part of me seems to react poorly.

maybe you will find something there of use?

https://ifs-institute.com/
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Hi BrokenArrow,

Thanks for that new update; it sounds like things are improving, that is good to hear. For the most part I'll say carry on as you are doing, you are already doing the right things. Let me just add, my suggestion to keep moving at a slow pace, in tiny increments. Don't jump at any point to Spitfire having sex with another man. Instead, work up to it a little at a time, taking as much time as is necessary for you to cope with it, with each small step. Right now you're still getting used to her chatting with men online. Next, you'll start getting used to her talking with them over the phone. Once you're good with that, you could move on to her meeting a man for coffee. Later, you could move on to her meeting the man for dinner. Then, later, meeting him at a park. Then, later, holding his hand. Then a kiss on the cheek. So on and so forth, working towards sex in tiny increments, giving yourself ample time to adjust with each step.

I should add, that with Covid-19 in the air, you may want to keep meeting up with other people off the table for now. Stick with texts and phone calls until there is a vaccine, or until the pandemic slows down enough to make it safe to meet people in person. I suppose that will give you plenty of time to get used to that particular step, but what can you do? Maybe taking things in small measured steps is another way to approach the Covid situation.

Just some thoughts. If you find at some point that you feel rushed, it's probably because you are rushed. That's your heart telling you to slow down. So slow down as much as you need to.

Regards,
Kevin T.
 

Magdlyn

Well-known member
My suggestion to keep moving at a slow pace, in tiny increments. Don't jump at any point to Spitfire having sex with another man. Instead, work up to it a little at a time, taking as much time as is necessary for you to cope with it, with each small step.

Right now you're still getting used to her chatting with men online. Next, you'll start getting used to her talking with them over the phone. Once you're good with that, you could move on to her meeting a man for coffee. Later, you could move on to her meeting the man for dinner. Then, later, meeting him at a park. Then, later, holding his hand. Then a kiss on the cheek. So on and so forth, working towards sex in tiny increments, giving yourself ample time to adjust with each step.

Giving "himself" time to adjust? What about the actual people actually dating? What about their feelings of connection, their tingling genitalia?

You have a theory, a hypothesis and a plan. I don't think it's workable. First of all, we are adults, not 9 year olds. Walking along a park path holding hands (and nothing else, except maybe watching cartoons and eating pizza) is what a couple of 5 year old kids might do. Two grown adults with libidos, only being "allowed" (because of a third party's fears) to drink coffee and hold hands?

Maybe his wife would agree (reluctantly) do that for X amount of days/weeks/months, for her husband's sake. But will she really find many healthy men who will settle for these kinds of teensy weensy increments?

This isn't 1867 either. It's 2020.

Most adults these days who are dating make out on the second date and have sex on the third date. Let's just be real here. Did you make up this idea for tiny incremental dating for poly newbies, or read it somewhere? Because I've never seen anyone on this board or anywhere actually date like this, not these days, and certainly not because they were limiting their desires for the sake of a third party!

I know some polysexual people won't kiss their OSO, because their primary won't "allow" it. Or they might agree to reserve PiV or PiA just for their primary. I don't think their lovers are thrilled with this kind of limitation, ever.

The bill of rights for poly declares that each dyad gets to decide what kinds of activities they do, independently from what other parties might or might not be comfortable with them doing.

If you're not ready to say, "Yes, partner, you have my blessing to do any intimate or sexual thing with your OSO," and for them to say back, "Ditto," you're not ready for either person in the primary dyad to date anyone else, at all.

I should add, that with Covid-19 in the air, you may want to keep meeting up with other people off the table for now. Stick with texts and phone calls until there is a vaccine, or until the pandemic slows down enough to make it safe to meet people in person. I suppose that will give you plenty of time to get used to that particular step, but what can you do? Maybe taking things in small measured steps is another way to approach the Covid situation.

Just some thoughts. If you find at some point that you feel rushed, it's probably because you are rushed. That's your heart telling you to slow down. So slow down as much as you need to.

Regards,
Kevin T.

Again, this is all about his feelings and desires and not about his wife or her potential dating partners.

For what it's worth, I agree about the Covid stuff. Personally, I am chatting with several men, and we might flirt or come close to cybersex, but I am turning down all offers to actually meet in the flesh. It's just not worth the risk.
 

BrokenArrow

Member
So, just another update in case people are still reading this.

We're still alive. We had a real good phase there. I was talking to a dude or 2, Spitfire was talking to a dude or 4. She encouraged me to make the first move and be the one to go out and meet someone in person first. It would help me get comfortable with the idea of her meeting up with someone.

I'd been talking to this one guy just about everyday. I didn't find him super attractive but I enjoyed our talks. I figured I'd wait to make any sort of judgment until we actually met. Then the day came and we sorted out a time. Spitfire gave me her blessing to go "all the way" if I felt the situation called for it. A: I don't fuck on the first date. B: Now I feel guilty because I'm still not ready for her to even kiss another guy.

So I meet the guy. I'm not really feeling the attraction but I resolve to do my due diligence. We talk for about 6 hours. In the end I have no idea what the right way to say goodbye is. I decide on a hug. It didn't feel right. I had no romantic attachment to this man. I simply enjoyed his conversation.

I thought on it more as I drove home. Spitfire and I had a good heart to heart and I told the guy I'm really feeling the just friends vibe. I'm pretty sure he's done talking to me.

So now I find myself in this position where I'm not talking to anyone, and I'm watching Spitfire juggle conversation with 3 or 4 guys and a couple of women. I'm jealous of her success. Did you know that with OKCupid the program only counts likes up to 100. Then it goes to 100+. I have 12. I knew that as a woman she would have way better success but come on! Also she showed me a guy that had just started talking to her. It was a guy that I had liked a week earlier. Getting a little more jealous.

Just a bit of a rant... she not comfortable with me dating females, limiting me to the small percentage of men that are gay/bi/pan, and then proceeds to fish out of the same pool. Grrrrrr. I know that's not her fault but it's annoying as hell.

I've gotten to this point where I'm really worried there's no one else out there for me. I know it's early on in the game and I might have better success when COVID is passed and I can go out and meet people. Right now, though, shit feels real bleak. Spitfire does her best to reassure me that I'll do alright but it's hard to take her word for it because she doesn't even have to try. She could just put up an "Open for business" sign and the line forms around the block (Spitfire is smokin hot BTW).

I can't seem to get out of this funk. Does anyone have any experience with feeling like this? How did you get past it?

On a good note, things have never been better between me and Spitfire. We have really good talks almost everyday. Our sex life has spiked. The kids are happier because we're happier. I've lost 12 pounds already and now I've added running to my workouts. I feel good physically. Life would be great except for the jealousy and the bleak outlook on my poly life keeps dragging down my mood.
 
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