Navigating this for the first time..

Sarai

New member
Hi, new here. I'm 44 and have been married for over 20 years, together for 25, monogamously to the same man. We met when I was 18 so literally, I've been with one man my entire adult life. Until about two months ago, that is.

I brought up the idea of poly with my husband a couple years ago. He was open to it, though not intrigued by it himself. I love my husband dearly and he's been a rock-solid life partner and in certain ways we're extremely compatible, especially when it comes to co-managing our life together and having a very solid friendship. Sexually, romantically, and spiritually however.. we've been at best adequately compatible. No conflict or anything just.. adequacy. I've through the years broached the areas where I've been dissatisfied and while he's always had a willing spirit, I can only say it was clear I was wanting him to be something he's not, which isn't reasonable, so I dropped it.

After a couple decades I guess, and with our kids almost grown, it really started getting to me and I can't see spending decades more in this state.

I've read some polyamorous people describe themselves as *needing* multiple partners. I'm not sure I feel that exactly. I don't have a specific desire for multiple people; heck I don't even LOOK at most people. I just knew I wanted certain human relationship experiences that husband is just not going to be the one to provide me with, but there's also literally nothing about him that makes me want to leave him. He is a loyal, resourceful, good partner and friend, more than deserving of my continued partnership. At the same time I feel strongly about what I am missing, that if he wasn't open-minded about this, I'd be sad but OK with him leaving me. At the same time, I've never actually known anyone that would fill this void, so until two months ago, this was all very theoretical.

And then a couple months ago I crossed paths with an acquaintance. I learned he is compatible with me in all the ways I feel like I've been missing. And he very much appears interested in me. And even in the two amazing months I've had with this man, I've been able to verify that yes, there are things I very, very much want to have part of my life that can only be fulfilled by a partner/lover who is not my husband.

Husband has been supportive but.. also distant. He doesn't want to talk to me about this other relationship much at all, and doesn't ask questions. My new partner is very open to having a friendship with husband, and the one time they met they did get along very well - though that was pre-relationship. Husband is just disengaged, and has opted out of my attempts to engage him about it, so I have not pushed it. I'm personally VERY happy and do not want to do anything to rock this lovely little boat of mine. I'm unclear as to whether I need to make this progress somehow, or to just accept and respect that this is how husband wants this managed on his end.

While both husband and new partner have enough in common to have it off and (I think) have a friendship, they also inhabit vastly different worlds. They are both innovative, geeky, and for lack of a better word.. *good*. But husband is a highly educated engineer, lucrative career, orderly, neurotic, vanilla. Partner is a minimally educated artist, erratic work history, a bit chaotic, chill, and kinky. I am confident that husband has zero sense of superiority about these differences, but he has made some comments to suggest that maybe he fears he would develop such feelings if he got to know partner better (given the context of my relationship with him), and he knows that if he developed such feelings it would cause conflict.

Also, the burden of having this secret is strange and hard. My heart is full and it's so weird that when my partner comes up in conversation with others, I talk about him as if he's a casual friend.

I'm not sure what to do or what advice I'm looking for. Right now I just feel a little paralyzed, and this pandemic and its associated problems makes doing anything organic to transition this situation next to impossible for the near future. Guess I'm just looking for support and any words of wisdom from folks who have been here before.
 
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Evie

Well-known member
A few words of wisdom then...

Enjoy what you've got.

Don't push for more, especially not in this pandemic focused time. Some partners remain parallel (not in contact) the entire relationship, their entire lives even. That's okay. Just so long as your husband would be able to contact your partner if you couldn't (or vice versa) that might be their only need for contact.

Sounds like you're not out to friends either. That's a separate issue and one that you might find becomes a necessary conversation between you and hubby. In my own experience, Adam (hubby) doesn't want his family to know and is still not ready to say yes to mine knowing (but open to at least working though the thoughts that accompany that). But many of our personal friends do and the occasional work friend. Plus I journal here and Fetlife if I want to really get all emotional and sometimes that's enough.
 

icesong

Active member
The dichotomy in your life sounds a little bit like the me/Knight/Artist V, right down to the "married my high school partner" portion of the experience, though I think Knight and Artist differ less in their... material success? so there's more mutual respect and friendship there than what you describe. (And Knight and I started poly from a ... hmm... less monogamous place, although our detour through swinging / casual FWB was based on not wanting to be each other's only partners ever. But I digress.) That space of loving someone intensely yet being also unsatisfied... it's hard, and very few people would understand how I could be in love with someone amazing AND ALSO sure that if you weren't open/poly you'd have long since split due to a number of incompatibilities.

I totally agree that having a secret about a partner like that is so wildly difficult - I've done it and refuse to ever do it again. But it's, I think, as Evie said not a boat I would rock right now. It feels urgent, because you're wrapped up in this new thing, but ... it's only been two months. Let your husband get used to you being poly and then, perhaps, it won't feel so odd for him to open up about how you live your life.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Hello Sarai,

It is common knowledge amongst polyamorists that it is not realistic to expect one partner to meet *all* of one's needs, so you are smart to realize that about yourself with respect to your husband. It would be unfair to him (and you) to expect him to be your *everything.* It is no surprise that you found another guy who filled in the missing areas.

Click on the following link:

Your husband is a "parallel poly" kind of guy. He does not want to rub shoulders with your other guy (who is his metamour). You are a "kitchen table poly" kind of gal. You would like all three of you to be able to sit down at the kitchen table together, drinking coffee and sharing your thoughts and feelings with each other. It is important to recognize this difference between you and your husband, it is not your responsibility to see to it that the two guys get chummy with one another. It sounds like your other/second guy (the kinky artist) is also a kitchen table polyamorist, he would be willing to be your husband's friend, but your husband doesn't want that. And that is your husband's right to feel that way, friendships cannot be formed without mutual consent. Don't try to force it. Poly doesn't have to be kitchen table, it can be parallel and that is okay.

You say that keeping this a secret is burdensome for you, but you don't say why you have to keep it a secret. There's no rule in poly that you have to keep it a secret, it is up to the three of you to decide whether you want to out yourselves to the world. And even if you decide you don't want to out yourselves, you don't have to speak of your other guy as if he's just a casual friend, you could represent him as a very close friend, or even adopted family.

The one rule that poly has, is that you must have the consent of all (three) involved parties. Other than that, you can customize your poly to what works for you. Good luck!

Sincerely,
Kevin T.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
Do I understand this right?

You were married for 20 years, together for 25. You brought up the idea of poly with my husband a couple years ago. He was open to it, though not intrigued by it himself. You love your husband, have a solid friendship, get along as life partners. Sexually, romantically, and spiritually however.. there's a gap. While spouse was willing when you brought these things up, you realized you were wanting him to be something he's not so you dropped it.

Then you met a new person. Asked to open the marriage so you could date them, spouse said ok and is supportive. But doesn't really want kitchen table poly -- he prefers a separate V model. He doesn't want to talk to me about this other relationship much at all, and doesn't ask questions.

In general, you are happy with how things are and don't want to rock the boat.

PROBLEMS

  • You are not sure if you need to make their friendship progress somehow. (Do nothing. You are not in the (husband + BF) dyad. It's on them to figure out if they want to be friends or not. )

  • You are not sure if you should just accept and respect that this is how husband wants this managed on his end -- a separate V. ( I would respect his choice. Because it IS his choice. And in the end if he changes his mind, it's on him and BF to figure out how to be friends, not on you. Just cuz you are the hinge doesn't meant you have to do ALL the things.)

  • When BF comes up in conversation with others, you talk about him as if he's a casual friend. So it feels like you have this burdensome secret. (Well, if you, spouse, and BF agree, then you could be completely "out" with your friends and family, or only partially out with the ones you trust most, or be "online out" here and other websites under and alias so you can talk about your poly stuff SOMEWHERE and not feel bottled up. There is no need to rush on that -- pandemic makes all things weird. It's ok to take your time.)
If so, I answered what I think in blue. I don't know if that helps you any.

HTH!
Galagirl
 

Sarai

New member
Thank you all for the thoughtful replies. Reinforces what my inclination has been which is to leave well enough alone. It's just very *counter* to not only my personal nature, but the nature of my relationship with husband in general. We're very communicative and honest with each other, so not communicating much about this one thing makes me fear things are not okay with him. But when I've checked in with him, he says everything's fine.

The only poly friend I have is very much a 'kitchen table polyamorist' and talking to her has also reinforced the idea that we "should" be talking more. New partner has also expressed reservations about getting deeper into this relationship until he spends time with husband but also is very intuitive about not being pushy about it.

And of course situation being what it is (gestures vaguely at everything) there are no opportunities where more casual interactions might take place, such as gatherings.

But it's good to hear some other perspectives reassuring that his way of handling this is sustainable and not definitely going to blow up or something.

As for being out, a couple very close people know. I guess I do still fear how others will react, and I do still have two teens at home and I fear how they will react. About a year ago my eldest (now 18) casually brought up her disgust with polyamory with me playing the apologist in a discussion on the matter. I gave her food for thought but definitely did not fully sway her.
 

Evie

Well-known member
Quick, send teen off to conquer the world, while she still knows everything 😉

(Stolen from a tea towel or mug or something)
 

Sarai

New member
To be fair, her assessment of poly was from freakin high school relationships she had observed. Holy. I guess that's another discussion but I imagine poly would almost always work out very poorly for teens unless and until it was a social norm. Freakin' teenagers can barely have a mono relationship without someone getting jealous that someone else got a text from so-and-so or whatever. :rolleyes:
 

Evie

Well-known member
To be fair, her assessment of poly was from freakin high school relationships she had observed. Holy. I guess that's another discussion but I imagine poly would almost always work out very poorly for teens unless and until it was a social norm. Freakin' teenagers can barely have a mono relationship without someone getting jealous that someone else got a text from so-and-so or whatever. :rolleyes:
Agreed, and the less power they have in other parts of their lives, the worse it is.
 
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