Mono wife wants me to be poly


New member
Hello everyone. My story is like this: my wife had a stroke one year and a half ago. (We found out then it was the second. The first was not so strong.) After a difficult recovery she now feels better but of course, she will never be the same. The thing is, a few months ago, out of the blue, she said she wants to divorce (we are married for 7 years), reasoning she is sick and can't be good enough for me anymore. I calmed down. I explained I still love her very much and I would never divorce her. A few months passed and she had another MRI. The doctors said she need medication all her life, every day, and to be very careful because a third stroke can be fatal . After that she started to have this idea: if I don't divorce her, at least I can try to be poly and meet another woman too. Sounded crazy at the beginning, but still I tried recently and I don't think I can do it, more than some hugs and two fast kisses on lips, I didn't feel the urge to go further, even felt a little guilty. My date knew the situation from the beginning: my married status and everything. Actually she initiated the kisses both times. My question is: if I don't feel ready now to be poly, I will never be ready to be poly?
I'm sorry to her about your wife's strokes. :(

Gently... is she going through some grief stuff, like "not wanting to be a burden," or "you should have a companion besides me if I die," or similar? Is she worried about dying and planning ahead for that event? Did her brain get affected with the strokes?

Does she have a counselor? Do you?

If you don't want to poly date people, you do not have to do it just because your wife says she wants you to. You do not have to poly date. You could just go out on your own, with friends, with family etc., and balance your social wellness against being a spouse caregiver. Take breaks or rest when you need them.

I help my mom do eldercare for my dementia dad and one of the hardest things Mom had to learn to do was "therapeutic lies," basically lying to people with dementia or other cognitive impairment when it can give them calm or comfort. If you have a counselor you could talk to them about how you need to be now with your wife after her strokes.

I don't think right after something like this is be best time to ACTUALLY branch out into poly practice, especially if you don't even want it in the first place. But if it brings your wife some kind of chill or peace if she's worried about what would happen to you should she pass... I think you could talk to a counselor about whether or not you need to start doing therpeutic lies.

Maybe something like, "Sure, hon. We can look at that next year. Right now, let's get past this hurdle first," even if you have no actual intention of poly dating next year.

Illness time can be VERY challenging, with all kinds of things one never would have even thought they'd have to deal in. You have my sympathies.

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I can say that for me, it was difficult to break my vows and my monogamous nature. For months I felt guilty even kissing the girlfriend despite my wife assuring me that it made her very happy seeing us together. It's hard work. Only you can decide if it's worth it for you.
It sounds like your wife's doctors told her if she took her medications every day she could be okay. I mean, I am in my late 60s and I take meds every day to keep myself as healthy as possible. We all develop health conditions as we age, and often, even when we are young or middle aged, medications are necessary! I'm sure both you and wife are pretty scared. She's afraid she won't be around to care for you for as long as she thought, so her solution is to see you fixed up with another woman.

You don't need another woman to take care of you. I am sure you can take care of yourself, or get help from other family and friends and/or social services, were you to be on your own at some point. Sometimes when a spouse passes, people do fall in love again. But sometimes, especially if they are older, they have been so used to the spouse that they aren't motivated to find romance again. And so they find other ways to be fulfilled in life, and other helpers for when they need help.

I wish your wife a full and speedy recovery and a return to good health and activities.
Thank you for taking your time to advise me . There are few more details I omitted :
I am 39 yo and she is 40 yo .
She hates everyone and everything except me and her mother.
She don't want to hear anymore about doctors .
She refuses to go to psychologists(I am still doing some soft pushing towards that ).
Most affected was dexterity, speed and she started to forget small things (we make fun together that she needs to start to write a journal like in The Notebook) .
When second stroke happened our life just started to be more easy, we worked together for the same company and I was halfway to open my own small business.
She hates everyone and everything except me and her mother.
She don't want to hear anymore about doctors .
She refuses to go to psychologists(I am still doing some soft pushing towards that ).

Not to be indelicate or anything... but is that temporary due to the strokes? Like she's frustrated right now?

Or like she's gonna quit in the long term and just not take personal responsibility for managing her health any more?

Unfortunately, is towards second option you described. I am her "psychologist" for now but some days are more difficult than others. I try to make her think positive about the future and everything will be alright. I would be very happy to convince her to go to a real specialist (work in progress) .
I guess you get to decide where your limit of tolerance lies, then.

To me, you are a young 39 and have a huge chunk of your life yet to come.

If she won't take personal responsibility for managing her health conditions and wants to divorce you? She's basically pushing you away? And being here is taking a toll on your own health and well-being, feels draining? It's a negative pattern here, like she's hell bent on going down? It's not your lot in life to go down with her, just to keep her company. :(

I get you care about her a lot, and this whole thing really stinks. But be careful. You have to look out for your health and well-being too.

I strongly suggest you talk with a counselor for YOU, even if she won't go to one. You are dealing with a lot here. :(

Hello Cos85,

You may have some monogamous conditioning that is making you feel guilty when you date another woman. It that's the case, then you may be able to overcome that conditioning eventually, and then not feel so guilty. On the other hand, poly is not for everyone, and you may be hardwired for monogamy in which case that uncomfortable guilt may never go away. It's hard for me to say which is the case for you.

You can, of course, do some research about poly, as there is a lot to learn about poly, and exposing yourself to the information about poly may increase poly's familiarity to you, and as I said if monogamous conditioning is what's holding you back, then the increased familiarity may help you to overcome that conditioning. At the very least, I think it would clarify to you whether you are hardwired for monogamy.

Don't try to force yourself into poly if it's not for you.
Kevin T.