my husband's actions - NRE or something else?


New member
We've been married for twenty seven years. The last six of those years being polyamorous. It was something that I suggested after I fell in love with a friend. I started dating the friend about a year after our first serious discussion. There's also another guy that I started seeing three years ago.

My husband was never thrilled with the idea. I've offered to break things off with my boyfriends a number of times. My H has said that there was not point since the door was already open and couldn't be shut. One time, when it became really clear that H was unhappy, I took the initiative and went on a break with my bfs. H was not happy about that. He said "Go back to them. Do what makes you happy."

Our son moved out just over a year ago. This is when H got a girlfriend of his own. His gf and I are friendly with each other. For the past few months, H has been more distant. He started blowing off our date nights to spend time with his gf. Our communication has gotten progressively worse. He doesn't open up anymore.

I attributed it to NRE and brougbt the issue up with him. He says that it has nothing to do with NRE. I have two other theories which he disagrees with.

1. This is an exit affair.
2. He's doing it out of revenge.

I've gotten to the point where I wonder if my marriage is already over and I can't just admit it to myself.

What are your opinions? Can anyone relate?


New member
I am not in your marriage, so it is impossible for me to really understand what it is like. But it sounds like he is getting back at you, perhaps subconsciously? He sounds like he really cares for you, wanting your happiness so much over the years. Even so, it must feel so great for him to have a gf of his own. Perhaps he is doing what he felt you were doing to him?

I would give him a break, he is new at this. NRE is powerful and stealthy. Giving him a break doesn't mean not communicating though! I would sit him down, have a serious conversation with him about his actions and how they are making you feel. Then perhaps, compare it to how he felt for the past few years. Just be there for each other and talk about your feelings.

I am in a similar position, as I pushed for poly and am the only one dating right now. I keep pushing my husband to get a gf, but he is only partially interested. I check in very often with him, making sure that he is alright with the way things went that week. It can be hard.


New member
I don't have any insight, but I do have questions.

If your husband doesn't attribute his blowing off date nights with you to NRE, an exit affair, or revenge, what reason does he give?

Is his gf seeing him only?


Active member
You say you're friendly with his gf, your metamour. Do you ever hang out and chat with her? Maybe she can give you some insight into anything in their relationship which might have created a shift in him. Does she realize that he's been going out with her on your designated nights?


On very little info, it sounds a bit like he is debating an exit strategy. When you say that he was never thrilled with the idea, can you expand a bit on that ? I am also curious if his girlfriend identifies as poly, and if so, if she has other partners besides him.


Well-known member
Have you read the thread by KindaPOD. This sounds very simliar.

It would be interesting to analyze the language and conversations in the early years. Meaning what he said ...what you heard.

A possible reason the break offer failed is the concept behind it.... only a temp fix or gesture, heart is still divided among several other men. The mental and emotional component is out the door ...whats the point of denying the physical at that point.

An exit affair ...don't know what that is or why anyone would want to do that but you know him. Is he a long term planner. Did he talk about finding a Gf or did he just show up with one out of the blue?

Revenge ...maybe ...again is he capable of that. Could it be he did what he
had to do for the last six years coping wise and now he just doesn't care how it may effect you. You asked for this dynamic he didn' its your turn to suck it up.

Exist affair, or pay back, either way it's not good if you want your marriage to survive. Was there ever talk about how this could end your marriage?

My gut feeling is you lost him along time ago ...perhaps years.
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New member
Honestly, it doesn't sound good. He may have resigned from the relationship along time ago. But all the outside opinion in the world is not equal to honest open dialog between the two of you. You need to ask him where he is at, permitting him to be completely honest, and be ready to hear things you may not want to hear. He has likely been carrying a lot of resentment for the last six years and may be paving his way out of the relationship. Then again, that may not be the case, but you can only guess and feel miserable unless you talk to him.



Active member
dinged, thread addresses are helpful as this thread will get lost in time and if someone finds it again they are likely going to wonder who the heck KindaPOD is. Also the OP might benefit from not having to search around. If you need some help giving a thread address let me know.

I think I would cut this guy some slack and see where it goes. Likely its NRE. Some people are not very quick to admit NRE and do stupid things that they don't even know they are doing in NRE even if they do admit it. Try to have compersion, smile lovingly when he walks out of the door to see his gf and get about doing stuff you want to do without him. This is what PN did for me and I am grateful. I had shit to deal with and go through and he let me go and do it. Every now and then he said he needed my attention and I gave it to him. other than that the balance was off for a good long time.


Active member
Some people are emotionally capable of loving more than one person at the same time. Some people are not. If your husband is not capable of it, then in order for him to develop romantic feelings for another woman, he has to lose romantic feelings for you.

This is what worries me whenever poly folk "push" their partners into dating. If they were so inclined, they would explore the opportunity of their own volition. If a monoamorous person is pushed into dating, it can feel to them like they're being rejected.

If it's an exit strategy, he may not even be aware that he's doing it. He might sincerely be trying to experience the same thing you are. But if he's not wired that way, then it will only have one ending, which is him going off with the other girl and leaving you to your boyfriends. Well, that, or you give up on the poly idea and work on restoring the marriage the way he would prefer it to be.

... I also sense some codependency on his part. "Do what makes you happy even if it makes me miserable" is a classic sign of that. Cancelling your date nights and dropping communication could be a passive-aggressive coping technique he's using to protect himself.

I've found that "taking breaks to protect your primary" works best if you don't announce that you're doing it. That just makes them feel like you're trying to sacrifice your happiness for theirs. If you think taking a break from other relationships can help, you could try saying that you need some time to focus on yourself right now. Which isn't even a lie, because who can't use some time to focus on herself every now and then??
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Staff member
Yeah, I'm reading passive aggressive and martyr complex all over this thread. :(


New member
I would have a more serious conversation with H, but it's hard when he says that there's nothing to talk about.

Bookbug, he attributes it to his own pesonal choice and nothing more. His gf is only seeing him and she says that she identifies herself as monogamous.

nycindie, I've spent time with his gf. She said that if I want her to, she'll discuss spending less time w/ H. But isn't it my H's responsibility to arrange something like this with his gf, and not the other way around?

When I say that he was never thrilled with the idea, I mean that my H was hesitant to be in a polyamorous relationship during our first few years. This is when I repeatedly asked if we should return to monogamy, and when I took a break with my bfs. He has never been crazy about the idea.

H has always been a planner. His gf is a longtime family friend and he brought it up out of the blue. Exit affair - "A spouse who has an exit affair may have been faithful throughout the marriage until being emotionally ready to leave the marriage. It is not difficult to find someone to have an affair with and the dynamics of the affair itself will provide the support the exiting spouse needs to pull away from the marriage."

I don't know if he has codependency issues. I do know that his parents taught him to always put other people first and that he takes those words seriously.

Could I just be overreacting? I can be neurotic sometimes.
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New member
I wish there was some way to interpret his behaviour. It could be what you are afraid of but it could be that he's in NRE and inconsiderate. Or it could be something else. I think you can have some idea intuitively, since you know him; but then again, poly situation where he has another partner is new to you, so if you don't feel certain, you shouldn't make any rash decisions based on that feeling. However, there are limits to how much people here can help you to know what's going on. If he isn't telling you, that's a problem in itself.

Maybe you could shift your focus, though? What if, instead of trying to figure out what he wants and means and is thinking and not telling you, you focus on yourself. How do you feel? Where are your boundaries? What kind of treatment are you willing to accept? How inconsiderate is he towards you? If he has chosen to not talk to you (whatever the reason), what are you going to do with that?

You can't make him communicate, he has to want to. You should communicate to him that you take it very seriously when he cancels plans with you to spend time with gf. But if he still does it after you've done that, you can't make him stop, you can only decide how you react to that.

I think that if time and my attempts to communication didn't cause my partner to change their hurtful behaviour, and if he refused to communicate, I would take a step back emotionally. I wouldn't throw in the towel right away. But I would think about the issue in terms of if his behaviour is something I can live with or not. If not, I would choose a time, in my head, and say to myself "if things haven't changed in x amount of time I can no longer stay in this relationship".

His behaviour is, ultimately, in his control, you can only control yourself. You should decide where your boundaries are, i.e. what kind of treatment you will accept, and react accordingly.


Well-known member
RP, thanks for the suggestion. You are correct I have no clue on how to find or post thread addresses. However I did locate it and post on it which should put with in a few threads on this page.

How did this start for you said you fell in love. Was there an affair?

Was his staying for the kid or kids ever discussed?

Did you ever go to counseling?

Have the 2 of you used this site as a resource in the past?

On the topic of exit affairs ...It didn't make sense to me in the context of a poly dynamic.
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New member
RP, thanks for the suggestion. You are correct I have no clue on how to find or post thread addresses. However I did locate it and post on it which should put with in a few threads on this page.

I'll help you out here for others as well. Here's the thread


New member
There wasn't an affair. H never discussed staying with the kids. We tried counselling but it didn't help. Never used this site before.

I think I need to build up my self-esteem and focus on myself, just like you suggested, rory. We hasd a big fight two weeks ago and he's been blowing off all out date nights to spend with his gf.


Well-known member
Usually people find counseling a tool to get communications started, or cleaned up (removing emotional triggers ) and or just generally improved with a train referee present. (fight nice kids) Also it opens up avenues to address past grievances and resentments.

When you say counseling didn't help I assume you to mean it didn't help him like or enjoy the concept of sharing you (body or time) with other guys.

Did you read the thread by kindapod???? Was your husband consistently sending you a similar message. Perhaps you didn't want to hear it so you ignored it? Perhaps his message was more subtle and it was in his actions and demeanor.

Has yourself-esteem ever been an issue in this. How many dates has he blown off. Is it the blowing off of the dates that's bothersome or the greater concept of him checking out of the marriage?

How bad do you want to be married or partners with him?

Has he read this thread?? If not it Could be a good way to start a conversation.