Monogamist looking for help

CTF

Member
Hi everyone. I'n new here and I recognize that my point of view isn't, necessarily, going to be the most popular. I also know that many of you are going to see my situation as "insignificant" in the grand scheme of things. But rest assured that this is a very real, and difficult situation for me. I only ask that those who reply are respectful, as I will make every effort to reciprocate that respect.

My wife and I have been married for 16 years. We have 3 wonderful children, and a fantastic relationship. However, a few days ago, she revealed to me that she considers herself poly, and has a deep emotional connection with 5 other people. She even went so far as to say she loves them. Of the five, two of them live locally to us, and three live out of state. Three of them are women, and two of them are men. The two that live locally to us (both women), she has not expressed her feeling to them. One other, she said that she began to tell, but the conversation never fully allowed for her to completely get it out. And the final two, are people from an online role playing chat (like vampires,werewolves, etc..) that neither of us have meet in person.

She assured me that she hasn't slept with anyone, nor does she feel that she's at that point of wanting to yet. And yes, I do believe her. She also tells me that she will never sleep with anyone else as long as I'm not comfortable with it, even if she ever does feel that any of these relationships progress to that desire. Again, I believe her there too.

I told her that I can say, with absolute certainty, that I will never be comfortable with her sleeping with another person. And while some of you might think that I'm not being reasonable, or rational, I know my line in the sand in that regard. And please do not try & persuade me otherwise.

Personally, I view sex with someone that I love as deeply as I do, as something very personal between us. The mental image of her and another man OR woman, creates a lump in my stomach. It's just too painful of a thought to bear.

But just as importantly, is the emotional aspect. I know that I can only speak for myself personally, but I have never felt such a strong emotional bond with anyone besides my wife. And it hurts deeply to think that there could be anyone else that she feels even closely to that feeling to (aside from maybe her Mom, but I'm really not talking about that kind of love).

I will get deeper into detail as this thread progresses. Any questions? Feel free to ask.
 

Bluebird

Well-known member
Ok, what is your question? What advice are you looking for? I don't see where you've asked for anything...
 

CTF

Member
I'm sorry. I'm still a little scrambled on this. It's not so much a question that I'm asking, as much as some perspective on something that I cannot fully identify with, in an effort to help wrap my head around this.
 

Bluebird

Well-known member
I recommend the book "More Than Two" and the website called that as well, as a springboard to understanding your wife a bit better.

It is perfectly okay to be monogamous. (Both of my husbands are, so far.) It is also perfectly okay for others to be polyamorous, but I can understand the shock you must feel to hear that your wife is suddenly identifying herself this way.

So would you categorize her as having had emotional affairs then? Or are you okay with her having these deep feelings for others? You said it hurts you, but do you believe she has cheated on you emotionally?
 

CTF

Member
I recommend the book "More Than Two" and the website called that as well, as a springboard to understanding your wife a bit better.

It is perfectly okay to be monogamous. (Both of my husbands are, so far.) It is also perfectly okay for others to be polyamorous, but I can understand the shock you must feel to hear that your wife is suddenly identifying herself this way.

So would you categorize her as having had emotional affairs then? Or are you okay with her having these deep feelings for others? You said it hurts you, but do you believe she has cheated on you emotionally?


I haven't read any actual books on it so far, but I think I've seen that website. I've look up so many, it's kind of a blur as to which was which, especially that first night where I didn't get a wink of sleep and couldn't focus properly on anything.

And I know that it's okay to be either. Believe me, I'm not passing judgement on anyone, as long as we're talking about consenting adults.

Do I consider it an emotional affair? That's a tough one. Kind of, but without really knowing the depth, I can't say for sure - especially considering there are more than one other person here, and different levels of depth for each one. I do wish that she would have mentioned it to me before revealing feelings to any of the others. Not that it would have changed her feelings towards them, but at least I could've felt like my feelings were truly considered above those of the others. She does acknowledge that she probably should have told me first, but said that she was just so confused, that she didn't know if she should tell me, and risk me freaking out over something that may not be. And I guess I can see that point, even if I don't agree with the approach.

But I compared it to the sexual aspect. I asked her how either of us would have felt, had one of us slept with someone else just to "test the waters" & see if it felt right.
 

Bluebird

Well-known member
Some people consider an emotional affair worse than a sexual one. Just wondering where your head was at with that.

I am sure it has felt like a whirlwind. Your view of your wife has completely changed, and your life will be forever changed as a result, even if nothing more ever comes from this information she has shared with you.

What is her endgame here? Does she want your blessing to open up fully, to continue these emotional connections as they are, or to deepen them? You said she was okay with not being with anyone else sexually, but is she asking for permission to do so? Would she move forward with that, if you were to say it was acceptable to you?
 

graviton

New member
I know where you are coming from. Some realizations that you will do well to quickly learn before it is shoved on you.
1. your wife is a separate independent woman, no matter how long you have been married and how close you think you are to her and how special and magical your love my be, she is and always will be an autonomous woman. Marriage often pulls the wool over our eyes and gives us a sense of false security that two people have been joined and will henceforth always do things together and keep each other at the top of their concerns. I think the divorce rate tells us that this is untrue.
2. Your wife loving another person has very little to do with any inadequacies on your part. Each person is unique and has something to offer. It awakens different parts of our souls in ways that may be impossible for you to do the same. The takeaway lesson from this is that it is futile to try to compete with any of these people because it is not a competition and you will simply look foolish trying to make it one.
3. Do everything within your power to control your jealousies and insecurities. These are emotions that you own and are not caused by her but your own self. Since they are a part of you they are solely yours to control.
4. Do everything within your power to prevent yourself from becoming controlling to your wife. If you fail at this it will only create more distance between the two of you and it becomes a lesson in futility.
5. Understand that just because something is different and out of the norm does not make it wrong.
6. Listen to your wife and do your best to try to understand where she is coming from. Browse these forums and tell her to take it slowly so that you can regain your balance.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
I'm sorry you are struggling with your wife's reveal.

There's nothing wrong with you being monoamorous and preferring a monogamous relationship shape. You seem to have told her that without threatening or bullying or anything over the top like that. So good for you -- being up front, firm, and fair without drama.

I'm not sure what kind of perspective you are seeking. If she's polyamorous in love style, that's just how she is. She has the capacity to love more than one at a time. She's presently in a monogamous, Closed relationship with you, and she's going to continue to abide by your shared agreements. That's good.

Is this more about her wanting to talk to you about what confusing things are going on inside her head? :confused: Have you asked her what she would like from you? More listening to her inner life stuff? Or renegotiate the marriage shape? Something in between the two?


I do wish that she would have mentioned it to me before revealing feelings to any of the others. Not that it would have changed her feelings towards them, but at least I could've felt like my feelings were truly considered above those of the others.

It sounds like you guys are talking about how you prefer to be told the next time she has a crush. If it helps any? When I crush, I just tell my spouse. I don't tell the "crush-ee" though. I don't see the point in doing so since we are currently Closed and I'm not looking to pursue anything at this time. That's not the present agreement. If I want to renegotiate agreements, I can do that. But until then, I stick to the agreements we have now.

Crushes also blow over pretty soon. I enjoy it while it lasts, but I'm not seeking to grow anything there. My spouse tends to take it in stride and is usually amused I have a new one. He enjoys yanking my chain about it and teasing me. I don't mind. For us, that whole teasing experience is part of the cozy between (me + my spouse) not (me and the crushee.) The crushee is not even aware that I crush on them.

Maybe that's where you guys decide to draw the line? You "open" up to hearing her thoughts more if that is what she's after (more emotional intimacy with YOU) and she tightens up her behavior a bit and stops revealing her crushes to the crush-ee people? That part seems to bug you and seems to cross a line -- that she told other people before telling you. Or she told them at all.

Get that bit straightened out and more clear about what the boundaries are. Not boundaries for her feelings -- she can feel whatever. But boundaries for her behavior. If she's agreeing to be in a Closed thing with you, maybe that means she's not going off telling crushes she likes them. Enjoy her crushes privately, tell you about them if she wants to, enjoy them together even but... the line is in telling the crush person. Then boundaries can be more clear between you. Figure out what the boundaries are.

If her behavior crossed a line somewhere... she crossed a line somewhere. Make her aware of the line, and ask her not to do it again, please.

If she tripped up and made a mistake this time with jumping the gun and telling her crushee whatever... ok. Mistakes happen. Could sort that out for next time though.

I also think maybe this new knowledge could feel "intrusive" or maybe makes you feel "demoted?" I'm not sure. See if these help you sort how else you feel besides "not considered."

http://www.kathylabriola.com/articles/are-you-in-poly-hell
http://www.kathylabriola.com/articl...nster-managing-jealousy-in-open-relationships

HTH!
Galagirl
 
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CTF

Member
Some people consider an emotional affair worse than a sexual one. Just wondering where your head was at with that.

I am sure it has felt like a whirlwind. Your view of your wife has completely changed, and your life will be forever changed as a result, even if nothing more ever comes from this information she has shared with you.

What is her endgame here? Does she want your blessing to open up fully, to continue these emotional connections as they are, or to deepen them? You said she was okay with not being with anyone else sexually, but is she asking for permission to do so? Would she move forward with that, if you were to say it was acceptable to you?

Oh yes... Whirlwind is a bit of an understatement. As to whether an emotional affair - in my opinion - is worse, I think it really all depends in the depth of that emotional connection. I think that solid points could be made on both sides of the sex/emotional affair. I think that cheating on your spouse, sexually, is a clear sign of a lack of respect, that I'm not sure how I could ever get over. But rationalizing it as a mistake in a moment of weakness could allow some people to move beyond it. On the other hand, the thought of my wife envisioning the same sort of relationship with another person (in which my mind, thinks about all of the things we've gone through together), in the same manner as she views it with me, to me is also very hurtful to think about. I guess I could summarize it best as though I see them as equally detrimental, just in different ways. But since the mind is fluid, I think that the level of involvement (that I don't 100% know) is key.

She's not asking for my permission to condone anything sexual. She said that she knows that, even if I ever did, that she feels that it would be out of reluctance, and that it would still bother me (which is true). And that she could get no happiness out of my misery. Now, if I truly was okay with it at some point and time, I suppose maybe she might think about exploring it. We've talked about that. She said that there was one in particular that has the best chance of her ever seeing it happen with. But I'm sure that, in the right circumstances, she could eventually be on board with most of them. She has stressed, however, that she's not there yet with any of them. It's like she's taking the "never say never" approach. But I would guess that she's probably hoping that I might, one day, be more open to it. But I really don't know her endgame exactly. And the way she talks, she doesn't exactly know either. She just basically says that these are people that, calling them "close friends", doesn't do it justice. But there not quite like brothers or sisters either, because she does see a physical attraction with them.
 

CTF

Member
1042

I know where you are coming from. Some realizations that you will do well to quickly learn before it is shoved on you.
1. your wife is a separate independent woman, no matter how long you have been married and how close you think you are to her and how special and magical your love my be, she is and always will be an autonomous woman. Marriage often pulls the wool over our eyes and gives us a sense of false security that two people have been joined and will henceforth always do things together and keep each other at the top of their concerns. I think the divorce rate tells us that this is untrue.
2. Your wife loving another person has very little to do with any inadequacies on your part. Each person is unique and has something to offer. It awakens different parts of our souls in ways that may be impossible for you to do the same. The takeaway lesson from this is that it is futile to try to compete with any of these people because it is not a competition and you will simply look foolish trying to make it one.
3. Do everything within your power to control your jealousies and insecurities. These are emotions that you own and are not caused by her but your own self. Since they are a part of you they are solely yours to control.
4. Do everything within your power to prevent yourself from becoming controlling to your wife. If you fail at this it will only create more distance between the two of you and it becomes a lesson in futility.
5. Understand that just because something is different and out of the norm does not make it wrong.
6. Listen to your wife and do your best to try to understand where she is coming from. Browse these forums and tell her to take it slowly so that you can regain your balance.

I'm well aware that she's a separate, independent person. I've never been a believer in that "we are one person" now concept. We are united in our marriage, but we are individuals as well.

And I've been trying to rationalize the part about feeling inadequate. The problem is, that it's tough to put yourself in the place of a mindset that you've never been able to understand. I've heard people say that loving another person, does not diminish the love of the first person. With me, however, that is not the case. I've loved others before my wife (and keep in mind, I'm talking about romantic love, not like it is with kids or parents). But I can tell you with confidence, that my love for those with whom I've had relationships in the past, had completely vanished. Some see romantic love as infinite. I see it more like an abacus, when you slide a bead to the left, one is missing from the right. Most poly people would disagree, or even get offended by that. But that's honestly the way I experience it.

And I do everything I can to control my emotions. I was always brought up to think before you react. They may be hard to control at times, but I really do my best at it. I also don't believe in controlling her. She's a grown woman can do as she pleases. But I also feel that it's my duty to make sure that I'm crystal clear about my feelings as well. But there are no ultimatums, no making her get out, or me threatening to leave. I don't "forbid" her to talk to people, or anything like that.

I know that just because it's different, doesn't make it wrong. But it doesn't make it any less hurtful.

I am doing my best to understand. That's the reason that I'm on here in the first place. Up until this, I've had zero experience with polyamory. I've known OF it, but had nothing practical in my life to give me an insight. We do talk about it. And I have been listening to her. We've always had fantastic communication. So I'm not worried there. Plus, I want her insight. I want her thoughts, and her feelings. There's no way that I could ever get an understanding, without listening to what should hope to be understood. Even if it hurts. I'd rather have a hard truth, than an easy lie.
 

FallenAngelina

Well-known member
Hi CTF.


Your quote below is from another thread and I didn't want to go into it there, so will ask you here. I'm not sure what your wife is telling you. According to this, it sounds like she has a few crushes and nothing more. I'm not sure I understand how this is a crisis because everyone gets crushes and if she's telling you that she has no interest in pursuing these relationships seriously, what is the problem? Just trying to understand.
....my wife has stated that she would never sleep with someone else as long as I'm uncomfortable with it. And she also said that her feelings for any of the others don't really go that deep to begin with. She's never lied to me before, so I don't have any reason not to believe that. She tells me that she loves me much more than she could love anyone else.....
 

Inyourendo

New member
I think if I got married and I was monogamous and my husband was too yet years later decided that he wanted to have a polyamorus relationship I would be at a situation where I either have to accept it and give my blessing or say no, I'm not willing to be in a polyamorous relationship and they could either accept that or move on.

Just like you can't force your wife to continue a monogamous relationship, she can't force you into a polyamorous one. This is where you are at. Either you say yes I r say no and lwt the chips fall where they may. You could try it and decide it's not that bad and even date others yourself or you might really struggle and decide it's not right for your life and give her the best of luck and move on. It's really up to you how you play it
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Re (from CTF):
"It's not so much a question that I'm asking, as much as some perspective on something that I cannot fully identify with, in an effort to help wrap my head around this."

So, you want to understand why your wife would feel the way she does, or how she could feel that way (when she's supposed to love you)?

Franklin Veaux has a Poly FAQ page that is pretty good for beginners for getting some perspective on poly.

The bottom line is that your wife has a different way of handling romance. To you it's like an abacus, to her it's like the ocean, there is always more love to give. It doesn't sound to me like you and her will be able to reconcile those differences. You have to decide to stay together in spite of those differences. I am under the impression that breaking up is not an option here.
 

opalescent

Active member
And I've been trying to rationalize the part about feeling inadequate. The problem is, that it's tough to put yourself in the place of a mindset that you've never been able to understand. I've heard people say that loving another person, does not diminish the love of the first person. With me, however, that is not the case. I've loved others before my wife (and keep in mind, I'm talking about romantic love, not like it is with kids or parents). But I can tell you with confidence, that my love for those with whom I've had relationships in the past, had completely vanished. Some see romantic love as infinite. I see it more like an abacus, when you slide a bead to the left, one is missing from the right. Most poly people would disagree, or even get offended by that. But that's honestly the way I experience it.

...

I know that just because it's different, doesn't make it wrong. But it doesn't make it any less hurtful.

I am doing my best to understand. That's the reason that I'm on here in the first place. Up until this, I've had zero experience with polyamory. I've known OF it, but had nothing practical in my life to give me an insight. We do talk about it. And I have been listening to her. We've always had fantastic communication. So I'm not worried there. Plus, I want her insight. I want her thoughts, and her feelings. There's no way that I could ever get an understanding, without listening to what should hope to be understood. Even if it hurts. I'd rather have a hard truth, than an easy lie.

I encourage you to keep trying to understand as working through that process can only help. However, there may be a point when reaching a real understanding is sometimes not truly possible. I have no idea if you and your wife will ever reach that point.

At that point, acceptance becomes more important. Can you truly accept - without necessarily understanding - that your wife experiences love differently? Acceptance without understanding is really hard and something I fail at often myself.

I bring this up because you have every right to be monogamous, that seems to suit you. However, if you want to be able to give your wife space in which to be herself (even if that remains within a monogamous relationship) you will need that skill of acceptance without understanding. And this becomes even more important if you two decide to try a mono/poly arrangement where you remain monogamous but she may have other partners. It is possible to be monogamous, remain monogamous and choose to be in a poly relationship. I know this may never happen, may not be the best way for you two but I wanted to mention it as a possibility.

Good luck!
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
I know you're probably burned out on reading other sites, but I wanted to mention, Franklin Veaux also has some poly/mono pages that might help.

We're always here to answer questions and add insights, of course.
 

CTF

Member
Thank you everyone, so far, for your insights. Some points I can agree with, and come I may not, but this has been exactly what I was looking for to this point. Differing views without harsh judgement.

I feel that I do need to say that due to recent developments, I might be away for a short time. Last night, my wife needed an operation that found us in the ER at 4 A.M., and I need to devote the time and energy to help her recover, rather than continue to stew over this. Not saying that our feelings on the subject will change, but this isn't the time for us to discuss it.

I shall return at some point, and will finish addressing everyone as best I can. But priorities come first.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
I hope your wife gets feeling better.
 

CTF

Member
Thank you for that. A little update, she's recovering well. Going to be sore for a while, and probably 2 weeks before she'll be walking around like normal again. Lost of rest and sleep today, so I figured it's safe to go to work.

And now I feel guilty. My heart, and my thoughts are with her, and her recovery, but my brain just can't seem to shut this off. I know that she loves me. And I believe her when she says that I'm #1 above all else. But this anxiety is causing me to lose it. I've gone ahead and made an appointment to talk to a therapist, because I don't want to feel this way anymore. She hasn't slept with anyone, and says that she never will as long as I'm against it. So I have that positive to draw from. But I need to find a way to be okay, or at least, accepting, of the situation as I know it to be.

Please understand, that I really do not like feeling this way. I really wish that I could have simply felt and reacted with an accepting response. I would have much rather been able to say "Alright, cool", than to feel slighted like I do. Last night, I woke up in a fit of panic over a dream I had, where I walked in on her kissing one of them, and it kept me up for almost an hour. I recognize that it shouldn't hurt as much as it does, but it really, really does and I cannot seem to shake it.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
Glad to hear you have taken positive steps and made a counseling appointment.


And now I feel guilty. My heart, and my thoughts are with her, and her recovery, but my brain just can't seem to shut this off. I know that she loves me. And I believe her when she says that I'm #1 above all else. But this anxiety is causing me to lose it.

I see say you feel "guilty" but feeling some yucky things is not a crime. It just is how you feel right now. It's a process. Some feelings are fun to feel. Some are NOT fun to feel. They all pass as they get worked through.

I am going to guess. (I might guess wrong too. Correct me if I do.)

I see several layers that might weigh heavily on your mind right now.

1) "You are only one" is not the same thing as "You are #1 of 2" or similar. I can understand feeling loss, grief, etc when faced with that. That's why I suggested poly hell and examining some of the core beliefs in the jealousy article. -- you guys have not Opened the marriage, but you seem to be running down through some of the feelings of it. That is one layer of it.

2) Your wife told her crush person she likes them. Before telling you. No heads up or anything. She crossed a line. However small, it's a ding. One of the foundations for trust is being able to take people at their Word, and believe they will follow through on that. She tripped up a bit there.

3) What stops her from breaking it now? When she promises to remain Closed and that she'd never do anything without your blessing and goodwill? Being Closed was the agreement before. And she broke it.

4) "We are Closed" is a different thing than "We are Closed unless you say it is ok." You might not want that responsibility -- like you are the one in charge of her self control. Or like you are the one keeping her from something. You may want reassurance that if she gives continuing consent to participate in Closed with you, that she really does actually want to be there Closed. Doing it in good faith. Not secretly hoping to "change your mind" or something.

You might prefer it be worded as "We are Closed until wife asks for renegotiation. At that point in time, you either say "yes" and give continuing consent to participate. Or say "no" and withdraw your consent to participate and disband before she continues on to poly." It's subtle, but maybe it matters to you how it is worded so each one is owning their part of it?

5) Incomplete apology bugging you? I didn't quite hear a complete apology that in this bit...

She does acknowledge that she probably should have told me first, but said that she was just so confused, that she didn't know if she should tell me, and risk me freaking out over something that may not be. And I guess I can see that point, even if I don't agree with the approach.

I heard explanation for her behavior. But that's not owning it and apologizing formally. To me all the steps are these

  • I did this behavior. I own it.
  • It was the wrong thing to do. In future I will do...
  • Could you be willing to forgive me?
  • Could you be willing to give opportunity for to make amends?

To me it sounds like this hospital visit interrupted that process midstream. She owned it and said what she plans to do in future. Which is good... did the first two steps. But what rest? Did that get done too? I wonder if you might feel weird going out on a limb to re-trust without a full apology first. Could that be what's missing here?

It can stink if you have done nothing wrong and you are the one who has to pony up the initial "trust re-investment." It's just the nature of the thing though. You get to risk being hurt again, she gets to NOT hurt you, and you can breathe a sigh of relief and go "Yes. I am ok after all."​

Are there more layers to it than what I guess?

Maybe you want to print those links I posted above and take them with you to the appointment? Sort out what else is you might have going on? Hopefully the counselor can help you resolve all that is triggering your present anxiety.

Take it easy on yourself. It's a ding, not the end of the world. Don't blow it out of proportion. At the same time, it IS a ding, so repair trust together. Don't sweep it under the rug where it might fester just because it is hard or overwhelming to think about to discern what about it all bugs you so you can figure out what to do about it.

Do not make too much made of it. But not too little made of it. YKWIM? Just the right amount of attention on this. Talk it out with you counselor and then with your wife.

In the meanwhile do your self care. If you need a sleeping aid -- think about one. Processing on low sleep makes it that much harder. Get some sleep, eat on time, get out to walk in the fresh air. Stick to your routines.

Hang in there!

Galagirl
 
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