Need some advice/support new to polyamory

lovely

New member
I have been reading for about 6 weeks now and I have read a lot about and thought it was time to post. A little background, I have been married for 11 years to my husband and we have been together for a total of 15. We have two small school aged children. About 2 years ago he had an affair with my best friend (I'll call her Mary), he was honest the entire time about what was happening (not all of the details, there was still a lot of deceit involved), I cut off my relationship with her and it was a very painful time for everyone involved. Last March the affair ended and Mary went back to her husband, I moved back home and my husband and I began the hard work of repairing our marriage. He was always honest about his love for Mary and between March and November we had lots of conversations about what happened and processed the pain etc. A few of those conversations involved the idea of opening up our marriage. During that time we recaptured our friendship and passion for one another.

On the first of November Mary left her husband and admitted to herself that she still loved my husband. I gave my blessing for the relationship to resume and that's what brought me here. It is one thing to discuss an open relationship, it's an entirely other thing to live it. I am committed to my husband's happiness and I have realized over the last 2 years that I am not in control of his feelings, and he can't change his feelings. I have a lot of pain over the affair and spent the first 4 weeks not trusting either one of them, but we have been actively communicating and I am also actively trying to heal my friendship with Mary. I have had really good days and a lot of bad, where I wake up with an ache in my heart that I can't explain. My contradictory feelings have led to lots of confusion and stress in my marriage, because one minute I'm fine and my higher self knows that this is not only great for him but also for us...and the next minute I am crying and yelling over the smallest thing. I don't want to lose my marriage and am hoping for some advice from some folks who have been down this road before me. I feel like right now my behavior could potentially sabotage what could potentially be a great thing for all involved.
 

MonoVCPHG

New member
I have no great advice but your story touched me regardless. Simply be honest about what you want. Take a look at the relationship without considering anything besides the connection you have with your husband. Forget the house, retirement plans, kids, family pressure, and everything else just for a while. That is the stuff that artificially bonds people together.

When you reach that point of just seeing you and him, then listen to what your heart says. This is where I find my truth.

Take care
Mono
 

Catfish

New member
It is one thing to discuss an open relationship, it's an entirely other thing to live it.

sage words.

My heart goes out to you. You sound like a very loving and committed person. I wish the very best for you, whatever that may be.
 

crisare

New member
Hey Lovely. Welcome to the forum.

I'm with Mono that your story touched me. Some of the elements of it I can relate to in my own life, and others I empathise with.

I have a few questions - not necessarily for the board, although if you wanted to answer them as a way of getting your own thoughts straight, that's good - but mostly for you to ponder as you work your way through this.

Why did you "give your blessing" to their relationship?
Did you feel that you had to allow this opening of your marriage or risk losing your husband?
Do you think that you will ever seek another partner?
If you do, is that something you've discussed with your husband?
Is Mary also going back to her husband?
What is she seeking out of this relationship with your husband, regardless of where she goes?

For me, all of these questions would need to be answered for me to feel comfortable moving forward - and maybe you've already answered them between you. :) But if not, maybe working on some of these things will help with your anger and hurt.
 

lovely

New member
Thanks for the advice and support.

Mono, I think you are right on about letting go of the big picture right now, I think those thoughts can trigger me because I am not sure what the future holds or will look like. I just know I have to let go of what ever vision I have been holding for the last number of years. It seems like the message of monogamy bombards us everywhere, songs, movies, commercials, books..and that is currently the thinking I am trying to restructure.

Crisare, you asked some good questions I'll try to answer because I agree processing happens in asking the right questions and thoughtfully considering the answers.

First of all I gave my blessing because I love my husband and support his happiness. During the 7 months we had together to process the affair and rebuild our relationship I began to realize the love he had for Mary was real and wasn't going away. It was quite an ego blow but something I have worked through. I also realized the love he had for me was real, he loves me deeply and didn't want our marriage to end. I also realized during the affair that I wasn't necessarily a possessive person so an open marriage could possibly be an option.

I never felt like I had to offer it or risk losing my husband, I knew I had to offer it to have a happy marriage.

I haven't decided if another partner is a necessary element for my happiness. My husband would be supportive if I ever chose to pursue that option.

Mary is not going back to her husband, she would like her primary relationship to be with my husband. She understands that he will never leave me and is happy to have whatever time she can get. Mary and I don't have any real relationship at this point although there is a very long history of us being friends, we have only spoken once in person since they began seeing each other again. My husband would like to keep both of us in his life, for the rest of his life. He is a very passionate man and loves 110%.

Thinking this through, I think my pain is around the unknown of the future and letting go of a dream I had for my future. I have been inspired by the success stories I have read on the forum and am trying to create a positive vision for my life. It has just been a lot to assimilate in a short amount of time...no real warm up period where I could get used to all of this in baby steps. I have already experienced the tangible benefits, my relationship is more intimate with my husband. I am uncovering many things personally that I need to deal with, regardless of the status of my marriage, and I always see the positive opportunity for personal growth. But again, the actual day to day still has some pain, he just left to see her and I can't say I am overjoyed.
 

redpepper

New member
Thinking this through, I think my pain is around the unknown of the future and letting go of a dream I had for my future.


first of all may I just say if I could be half the woman you have been I would consider myself an incredible person. You are amazing. My hat goes off to you for putting in so much effort.

Is it possible that you could see a future with both of them in it? You were her best friend and she yours... your husband still loves you and I would wager that your ex best friend loves you too. It might take a change of thinking but is possible.

When all is said and done things settle and life goes on normally. Perhaps this can happen again, but with the understanding that your husband and her are in love also.

Mark1npt has a similar situation to you... he lives with his wife and her best friend, who he fell in love with. Perhaps he could help. Reading his posts might. They have been through similar stuff, but he would be talking from where your husband sits.
Might me helpful to read his words.
 

Mark1npt

New member
Thanks for the props, RP.......Lovely......first let me state, that coming exactly from where your husband did, he never meant to hurt you or break your heart in all of this. My situation is remarkably similar to yours, and to many more out there in the real world, I'm sure. But very few of us get to try to live out our lives in this manner, I'm afraid. Too often, personal loss and tragedy follows, families uprooted, homes torn apart. It doesn't have to be that way. But of course, that's the norm in our society. Do you feel like not being normal? For the first time in my life, I do.

I had only ever been mono in my first 50 years, though growing up always had a lot of girl friends and few guys I hung out with. Straight arrow, no drugs, no experimentation of any kind, a pillar of the community.....but, circumstances changed and came together, people changed, times changed....viola! I'm living with my wife of 27 years still and her best friend of 20+ lives upstairs in our kids' old room. It's been 9 months that way now. It's difficult for each of us in some way, on some days. I'm sure worst for my wife, as she's the most possessive by nature. I don't mean that in a bad way at all, she's just the most traditional and conservative now, which is a far cry from her younger years. But it's been hard on her best friend too. She's also very mono. And also new to the dynamics of what we're trying to do.

How you describe your husband, it seems he is exactly like me, it really hit a nerve. I know this situation is not what you signed on for when you two got married. It certainly isn't where I thought I'd be after 27 years of marriage. I certainly never wanted to crush my wife's spirit like this, but.........things change. We grow, we expand, we flourish, sometimes we die. All I can tell you, is that if it's in your husband's heart and ability to love the two of you and if you still love him and your best friend, it can be a tremendously wonderful time. Yes, there are issues and problems but show me a marriage or relationship that doesn't have any, and I tell you they're lying!

If the three of you want this together and want it badly enough, it can be done. My heart goes out to you and your situation. I know I can't take back the hurt and pain I've caused my wife and I will carry that burden to my grave. I'm sure your husband will too. I hope this helps in some small way.
 

LovingRadiance

Active member
I cheated on Maca (my husband) with GreenGecko (my best friend).

After a big dramatic mess mostly created by me (see my early posts by clicking on my name and going to "see all posts" and finding ones from Sept 09) we went "poly" Sept 25th.

We all live together and it's not easy.

BUT-my point in posting here wasn't to share my side. :)

I wanted to suggest writing a post to Maca and asking him for his perspective, as he's only a few steps ahead of where you are right now-and our relationship is blossoming BEAUTIFULLY because of his patience with himself, me and GreenGecko.

Good luck!!!!
 

Fidelia

New member
First, I want to second RedPepper's hat's off to you. You are an amazing spirit, and you must love your husband very, very much indeed. If his love is equal to yours, y'all will undoubtedly find your way through this vale of tears.

It's wonderful that you and he have been working on getting your marriage back on solid ground; IMO, that's exactly what must be done for to clear the way for any future happiness and stability in your relationship, regardless of what else happens. Heal this relationship first, then go from there. Adding additonal relationships to a troubled one is a recipe for disaster, again IMO.

And don't feel like you have to rush through the healing process. You've gone through a terrible trauma, created by your nearest and dearest. Your trust has been undermined, your security in those relationships destroyed. It's an earthshattering experience; I know. It's okay to go slow, as slow as you need to, and to do the things you need to do to heal.

Ask yourself:
What do YOU need for your healing? What do you need to be healthy and whole in your relationship to him, to her, and to the two of them?

When your heart aches, or when you find yourself yelling and crying, take the time right then to ask your deepest self why? What's causing this? Look at the pain; it's coming from the places that need healing. Spend some time looking deep into your heart and figure out what you need and want. Then ask him/them for it.

Good luck to you, SisterWoman, and godspeed.
 

lovely

New member
first of all may I just say if I could be half the woman you have been I would consider myself an incredible person. You are amazing. My hat goes off to you for putting in so much effort.

Is it possible that you could see a future with both of them in it? You were her best friend and she yours... your husband still loves you and I would wager that your ex best friend loves you too. It might take a change of thinking but is possible.

Redpepper, Thanks for the compliment, I have admired your ability to love so freely and see that I have a lot to learn from your example. It's that kind of freedom where my happiness may lie.

It is possible that I could see a future with both of them in it. I think the part I am having a hard time with is knowing what it would look like. I know I need to heal my relationship with Mary so that I can neutralize my emotional charge about her. It feels like right now we are creating compartments for my relationship with my husband and his relationship with her, and in the long run that won't create a satisfying situation for anyone. So tapping into the love that Mary and I potentially have (and had for sure) for one another is key. It's hard to process all of the pain of the initial betrayal, and to feel like I am the only one feeling the pain now. Their pain was in not being together and is gone now.
 

crisare

New member
It's hard to process all of the pain of the initial betrayal, and to feel like I am the only one feeling the pain now. Their pain was in not being together and is gone now.
If they both truly care about you, then there is (was, probably still is) some pain revolving around hurting you as well. Also don't discount that Mary may be feeling pain at the loss of your friendship as well (whether or not she hides it or is willing to admit it - losing a "best friend" is a blow).

Not to say that anyone of you has a greater or lesser pain ... but just that I don't want you to discount what else might be going on. Their pain at being apart may be gone, but it may lead to a different pain of knowing that you still hurt because they're together.

All of these varieties of pain and guilt are ones that my H, my b/f, and I dealt with over time. Some of the pain is still there - although much lessened by time and communication.

Sometimes compartmentalizing - for the time being - is a good thing. As long as it doesn't become exclusionary over the long term. Giving people time to recover is sometimes necessary.

I wish there were an emoticon for a soft, slighly wry smile that didn't seem so "perky" as the bright yellow smiley face. :) It's hard to express the emotions w/out the body language sometimes ... but at the root of it all is a "hang in there" from me. If you all care about each other, it will get better.
 

lovely

New member
All I can tell you, is that if it's in your husband's heart and ability to love the two of you and if you still love him and your best friend, it can be a tremendously wonderful time. Yes, there are issues and problems but show me a marriage or relationship that doesn't have any, and I tell you they're lying!

If the three of you want this together and want it badly enough, it can be done. My heart goes out to you and your situation. I know I can't take back the hurt and pain I've caused my wife and I will carry that burden to my grave. I'm sure your husband will too. I hope this helps in some small way.

Mark1npt, Thanks so much for reaching out to me, I read your original thread and lots of other posts and have found it very helpful. Does your wife post on here as well? I agree that this thing happens more often than is realized and usually it does end tragically with lives torn apart. No one wants that to happen in our lives and I am committed to doing the hard work of working this out so it meets all of our needs. We have two kids, 6 and 8 and Mary has two kids 5 and 7. Most likely our future doesn't include all living together because logistically it would prove very difficult. I thought I was dealing with a lot until I read about your situation and imagined what living together would be like. I admire the fearlessness of your wife, I'm not sure I could not have handled that right off the bat.
 

lovely

New member
If they both truly care about you, then there is (was, probably still is) some pain revolving around hurting you as well. Also don't discount that Mary may be feeling pain at the loss of your friendship as well (whether or not she hides it or is willing to admit it - losing a "best friend" is a blow).

Not to say that anyone of you has a greater or lesser pain ... but just that I don't want you to discount what else might be going on. Their pain at being apart may be gone, but it may lead to a different pain of knowing that you still hurt because they're together.

You're right about not discounting any pain they may be feeling still. Thanks for the reminder. I think I have tunnel vision right now and my feeling are so close to the surface and if I don't have any visible signs from anyone else I assume I am alone.

I also see the value in the compartments currently, in fact it feels necessary. I am not sure I could currently handle any real integrated scenario.

It gives me comfort to know that you have worked through some of these issues in your own life. And your support means a lot to me. Thanks!
 

redpepper

New member
You're right about not discounting any pain they may be feeling still. Thanks for the reminder. I think I have tunnel vision right now and my feeling are so close to the surface and if I don't have any visible signs from anyone else I assume I am alone.

I also see the value in the compartments currently, in fact it feels necessary. I am not sure I could currently handle any real integrated scenario.

Wow. I am amazed with you and so humbled.

This statement blows me away so much because it show exactly the emotional integrity that I personally respect and appreciate. Not to mention STRIVE for on a daily basis!

You are so in touch with your feelings, honour your husbands and the woman he is in love with and honour the delicate nature of the whole situation. Your respect for them is incredible! Yet you don't belittle your own feelings/needs and need to have them. You seem to have a plan on how to handle what will come up and what is going on now emotionally. There are also tones of what could come up in the future that you have considered but acknowledge that you aren't there yet. It sounds like you have a good self esteem and feelings of self worth.

I don't know you, but my heart is swollen with admiration! Your unique ability to achieve such emotional integrity and share it so eloquently with us is much appreciated :) (no smiley fits that!)

Your man is very lucky to have you. I hope he realizes that. If not, you tell him I said so ;)
 

lovely

New member
You are so in touch with your feelings, honour your husbands and the woman he is in love with and honour the delicate nature of the whole situation. Your respect for them is incredible! Yet you don't belittle your own feelings/needs and need to have them. You seem to have a plan on how to handle what will come up and what is going on now emotionally. There are also tones of what could come up in the future that you have considered but acknowledge that you aren't there yet. It sounds like you have a good self esteem and feelings of self worth.

Ahh, that was very kind. My clarity about my feelings and respect for their relationship is my spiritual goal. In reality, I have been ruled by my emotions and in plenty of moments have contradicted that goal. It's hard to remember that emotions are just temporary and they too will pass. I have been reacting hastily in some very irratic emotional moments and it has been hurtful to me personally and my relationship...it's hard to always stay in that place of clarity and heart.

And I wish I felt like my feelings of self esteem and worth were strong. I think the thing I have discovered about myself in the last 6 weeks is that my self esteem/worth is lacking in a lot of ways. My most irrational moments are rooted in fears that only exist in my head. Fear of being replaced, fear of losing something sacred about my marriage etc. My husband has done nothing to reinforce or create these fears, they only exist inside of me. I find that I am having a hard time letting the love he feels for me truly in. So even when he is providing love, comfort and reassurance I can accept it in the moment as real, but it does nothing for me later if I get overcome by an emotion. I feel like I need to find the tools to manage the fear. And add in the pain of the betrayal that I may have left to process and it has gotten a little messy for me. It feels like work I am suppose to do, regardless of my marriage, because to live my life more freely, without irrational fear and self doubt would be a great thing. At 42, I am ready for that kind of transformation. And I think waiting on the other side is an unlimited supply of LOVE!
 

LovingRadiance

Active member
You're right about not discounting any pain they may be feeling still. Thanks for the reminder. I think I have tunnel vision right now and my feeling are so close to the surface and if I don't have any visible signs from anyone else I assume I am alone.

I also see the value in the compartments currently, in fact it feels necessary. I am not sure I could currently handle any real integrated scenario.

It gives me comfort to know that you have worked through some of these issues in your own life. And your support means a lot to me. Thanks!

Please don't take this as a push-just a thought ok?

I wonder if it wouldn't be a good idea to plan 1-2 "dates" a month between you and Mary? Not LONG dates, nor dates at home or with your husband.
Just time for you each to express your sorry over the loss of your friendship and start working through your pain with one another.
Truly-your loss is multi-fold.
here's an off the top of my head list in no particular order:

You lost the trust you had for your husband.
You lost the trust you had for your friend.
You lost the relationship you had with your husband (trying to create a new one now)
You lost the relationship you had with your friend (as of yet not tryng to create a new one)

You may be able to identify MORE.

But with just those-what I see as a complication is that IF you and your husband are agreeing to have a V relationship (he is "with" you and he is "with" her) then it is going to be necessary to do several things:

Heal the trust between you and he (working on that from what you've said) Heal the trust between you and she (does'nt sound like you've started dealing with that)
Building a NEW relationship between you and he, healthier and stronger than the previous one.
Building a NEW relationship between you and her.

I don't think the last thing is possible without the first two being dealt with. The first step to dealign with any problem is admitting it exists, but the second is taking a step to acknowledge it and make a plan for fixing it.
If you and Mary start meeting on your own-it will be much easier to to take those steps. Her "love" for your husband and his "love" for her will NEVER heal the hurt in your about her. ONLY you and her working together can heal your relationship....

I really strongly suggest reading on www.lovemore.com and on xeromag.com the articles about jealousy and insecurity. They have some GREAT suggestions for actual STEPS to take to get things under control. One BIG thing is understanding that YOU DO HAVE A RIGHT TO YOUR FEELINGS. Its not necessary (or helpful) to deny them, but you have to acknowledge them AND face them AND ceal with them too. :)

It's not easy-but it can be done and you sound like an amazing woman-I believe that with the amount of character your posts show you have, you can do this-and maybe even be the guide to your husband and "ex-friend" in learning a HEALTHIER way of doing this!
 

LovingRadiance

Active member
By the way, Maca and I live in a house with two other adults (my sister and boyfriend) and soon to be a 3rd adult (friend in crisis) as well as 3 "kids" (oldest is 18, but still in highschool) and soon to be a 4th (child of friend in crisis).

As much as it SOUNDS impossible-it's very possible to have a large family with an odd mix live together as a family. :)

NOT saying you should do that NOW. NO WAY.

But don't discount the possibility that IF you and Mary build a TRUE loving friendship AND you and your husband build a healthy happy strong marriage AND he remains in love with both of you, that you couldn't happily live together and very productively raise all 4 kids.
The kids tend to be the EASIEST part to integrate! ;)
 

LovingRadiance

Active member
My most irrational moments are rooted in fears that only exist in my head. Fear of being replaced, fear of losing something sacred about my marriage etc. My husband has done nothing to reinforce or create these fears, they only exist inside of me.

Please forgive me but I feel I MUST correct you. I watch Maca struggle with this too-but it's not JUST in your head.
It IS in your head. But not ONLY in your head.
It's also in the way we are taught to see things, in the way society TELLS US we should think and feel.
So it's not just a problem of YOURS.

One of the biggest struggles we face in life is recognizing our own strengths WITHIN our failures. It's easy to see our accomplishment when we win the race in 1st place. Its much harder to SEE our accomplishment when we come in 136th place. BUT if we met or beat our own goal/time, then it is an accomplishment, even if the only accomplishment was that we didn't quit!

I could give lots of examples-but I won't unless you tell me too!
I will go see if I can find some helpful articles to share with you though!
No promises-I am having some medical issues as laptop died-so in order to be online I have to use a desktop-which is something I am very limited in ability to do right now. But I'll see what I can do!

You touch me with your perseverence and honesty and integrity about your feelings and your situation!
 

crisare

New member
My most irrational moments are rooted in fears that only exist in my head. Fear of being replaced, fear of losing something sacred about my marriage etc. My husband has done nothing to reinforce or create these fears, they only exist inside of me.
I would disagree with this. Don't be so quick to dismiss your own feelings in these situations. Your feelings are your feelings and you still have to work through them, whether others think they are rational or not.

And the fact is that your husband *did* do something to create those fears by betraying your trust and confidence when he had the affair. Even though you've given permission for their relationship to resume, it doesn't negate the previous breach of trust. Now, I'm not saying you should dwell on it, but forgiving doesn't always mean forgetting ... or failing to be vigilant so it doesn't happen again.

It's a hard place to be in and they are hard feelings to work over. In my last relationship my b/f did something extremely cruel to me - it wasn't intentional; he was reacting instead of thinking, but it was cruel and hurtful nonetheless. He admitted it was cruel, promised not to react that way again, and apologized. However, he would get defensive when I would react cautiously in some circumstances, saying "I apologized for what happened already, many times." I finally had to explain to him that even though I accepted the apology and was willing to move on, the act itself left a mark and he was going to have to accept that I was going to be cautious about certain situations for a while. He expected the apology to just wipe the slate clean as though it had never happened ... and life just doesn't work like that. :)

Let yourself feel the hurt you feel and work through it rather than branding it irrational and trying to force it away.
 

LovingRadiance

Active member
http://www.xeromag.com/fvpolyjealousy.html

That one is "the theory of jealousy management: so how do you deal with jealousy"


http://www.xeromag.com/fvpolyrefrigerator.html

That one is "The practice of jealousy managment:fixing the refrigerator "(GOOD ONE!)

http://www.xeromag.com/fvpolypiano.html

"How to become a secure person" (this one I found very useful and thought it was well put)


http://www.xeromag.com/fvpolycommunication.html

That is "communication it's harder than you think"
(I included it-because especially when trying to fix something that is already been damaged this is SO critical!
Also-check out the thread started by RIVER about Communication... I tihnk I have it in my private messages sent folder...

http://www.lovemore.com/articles/abyss.php
This one is called "jealousy and the abyss" (I haven't read it yet so if it sucks-sorry!)


Just to clarify-I chose these because they address how to handle our physical reactions to our emotions-not because there is ANYTHING wrong with HAVING said emotions! :)
 
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