New and anxious

FishstickFrank

New member
Hello,

I’m new to this journey with my wife. I’ll explain a bit of my situation.

I went through a traumatic experience and wasn’t ready to begin a relationship, but instantly fell in love with this woman. Literally, no bullshit, no cute storytelling: my friend asked me what my dream girl would be like, and I described it from hair, cup size, personality, upbringing, the works. Full details.

I started looking for other parents in the area on Facebook, to reach out and begin new friendships so my daughter could socialize more. Saw this girl and noted she had dogs, and 2 kids and said okay, let’s try this person. Messaged her and she postponed meeting me for a while - totally understandable when a random guy appears in your inbox and says hey, maybe I could treat you and your kids to ice cream. I’m awkward like that. Hopefully I never enter the dating game again. lol

She finally decided to come over to my house and meet me and my daughter, bringing her 2 children. Boom: dressed as I described to my buddy, accessories as I described. Even the cup size, for fuck's sake. Do you understand the amount of restraint it took to not make the first interaction awkward as hell? Like somehow I'd manifested my dream girl. Hobbies, patience - thank god for the patience. And just. Everything. I fell in love and disclosed my emotions clearly. Then we began living with each other.

Cue the vengeful and jealous ex. She did everything to try and ruin my new relationship and put my daughter against my new girlfriend, even after a year of us being separated and everything being fine. Just an absolute shit storm of baby mama drama, which was the one and only sure-fire rule this new partner was firm on. Fuck.

4.5 years later, I was an emotional wreck and married to that dream girl. No contact with my daughter because of the lies told by the ex, and neglect and emotional abuse that my daughter believed/endured. My kid chose to lie for the unsafe parent, and almost ruin the dynamic in this household, just so the ex wouldn’t throw away her cat or the bf wouldn’t call her a fucking retard and throw stuff at her. None of which I could prove to the court, as there was no physical or video evidence I could provide. The judge called me a bonehead and told me to get out my checkbook.

So at the tail end of those 4.5 years... I was emotionless, barely human. Explosive towards the wife when she said I needed therapy. The list goes on. She ended up confiding in a trusted friend. We will call him Kyle. Well, you can all figure where that led. I found pictures and lost my temper. Then she sat me down and explained how hard it was to essentially watch me slowly die, not appreciate her, not give her affection, as I was beyond depressed. She needed to feel good again and Kyle provided that.

I took a long time to think it over. And you know what? Kyle has every right to have fallen in love with my wife. She’s an amazing and intellectual being with an abundance of love to give. And her feelings for Kyle are valid too, I realized they simply won’t go away because of “till death do us part." Like, whoa. Let’s pick that apart; you need to die before you end monogamy?

I'd read stories in the past. I sat my wife down and explained. The feelings are genuine, and I understand them. I could continue being a dick because I want you. But that’s not healthy for you, for our children and looking with a fully open mind: it’s not good for Kyle either. I’ve been in his position, and the only difference is I didn’t sneak behind backs. I disclosed how I felt to both the female and her partner. So naturally, that’s what hurt. I expected another man to be that open and honest, and to be frank, I shouldn’t have. Look so the society we live in today. Most husbands would have brutally assaulted Kyle. So looking at it now, I understand the secrecy.

We all came to a mutual agreement of an open marriage after I explained it thoroughly, and made the proposal to my wife. This provides my wife to explore her feelings without shame, guilt, or the need to hide a genuine part of her personality/being. Kyle and I have come to terms, and respectfully communicate together. He has even provided a little emotional support for me, which was unexpected.

So now that you’re caught up, onto why I’m here with you all. This is the very first time I’ve done anything like this, aside from accepting previous partner's personalities and such. I.e., an ex flashed one of my friends and let him grope her chest as a birthday present.

But my main questions are:

Does the anxiety settle down?

We have established Kyle is not to take my role as a husband and father. Acknowledge the importance of my wife and me living together with the children.

I do agree to facilitate time for the wife and Kyle to spend together. If it’s just a phone call or something more intimate, it’s really none of my business, right? That relationship is for them to sort out.

Could anyone share their experience with a more exclusive poly structure like this?

No random partners. Just one, working his way up from intimate friendship towards a more genuine and romantic partnership with the wife, acknowledging I’m the husband and actually - yes he seems to, genuinely - respecting this.

I really don’t feel the need or desire for another partner myself. My wife supplies all I need. I’m fairly simple, despite having been broken in a complex way. She also noted she wouldn’t be able to handle me being with someone else personally.

Double standard, if you look at it from a narrow mindset. lol

Anyway, that leads into my last question. Has anyone has success in being exclusive to their open partner? What should I do? Should I request that rule being changed? I’m obscenely selective on who I have sex with, so it wouldn’t be anytime soon. But should the event arise, I get fed up she gets that freedom with Kyle, but I just get her, and would like another partner to satisfy me sexually when she’s unavailable. Would that be an acceptable request?

Is it weird being exclusive and allowing your wife to explore her feelings?

Is it weird I actually feel like he’s genuine, and that he even helps me keep my chin up?

Why am I so comfortable with this, but also anxious and full of questions?

Thank you for your time!
 
Welcome to the group.

Before I address your final questions about having a mono/poly arrangement, let me ask if you've received any help for the traumatic issues surrounding your ex and your child with her. Are you still extremely depressed to this day? How do you get through your days? It sounds like your current wife was deeply unhappy with your ability to be a fulfilling partner, one who could give her support, affection, etc., so she sought or accidentally found a more responsive partner.

Are you still "explosively" opposed to therapy? Why? You're willing to just take a backseat in many ways to Kyle, other than claiming some vague "husband" rights. Let me be frank. Even if your wife and Kyle are in the blissful infatuation stage of their relationship, and haven't been tried by problems/issues of their own, you run the risk of losing her to someone who is more fun, more sexually satisfying, etc.

Are you willing to step up to the plate and get therapy and get out of the rut of this almost inhuman, emotionally-stunted place? I would also recommend therapy for your wife, frankly. She married you against her own better judgment, since the drama with your ex was supposed to be a hard boundary. Now she's moving on, it sounds like, instead of seeking individual or couple's counseling with you. She leaned on a friend and he turned into a lover, and here you all are.
 
Hello FishstickFrank,

Don't worry, the anxiety will settle down eventually. You just need time to wrap your mind around the polyamorous ideal. You are right to facilitate time for your wife and Kyle to spend together. Try to let them sort their own relationship out.

There is such a thing as a mono/poly relationship, people have done that and made that work. If you don't feel a need for another partner yourself, there will not be a problem with your wife not being able to handle you being with someone else. She may want to examine why she feels that way though. Having another partner to satisfy you sexually when your wife is unavailable would be a reasonable request.

It is not weird to feel like Kyle is genuine, and that he helps you keep your chin up. That's what polyamory is all about, more love to go around, not love being a scarcity. It is not unusual to be both comfortable and anxious and full of questions, that is a typical way for poly to start out. Just take it one day at a time, you do not have to figure everything out right this instant. Poly is not an all-or-nothing proposition, it is okay to only have part of the picture.

Regards,
Kevin T.
 
Welcome to the group.

Before I address your final questions about having a mono/poly arrangement, let me ask if you've received any help for the traumatic issues surrounding your ex and your child with her. Are you still extremely depressed to this day? How do you get through your days? It sounds like your current wife was deeply unhappy with your ability to be a fulfilling partner, one who could give her support, affection, etc., so she sought or accidentally found a more responsive partner.

Are you still "explosively" opposed to therapy? Why? You're willing to just take a backseat in many ways to Kyle, other than claiming some vague "husband" rights. Let me be frank. Even if your wife and Kyle are in the blissful infatuation stage of their relationship, and haven't been tried by problems/issues of their own, you run the risk of losing her to someone who is more fun, more sexually satisfying, etc.

Are you willing to step up to the plate and get therapy and get out of the rut of this almost inhuman, emotionally-stunted place? I would also recommend therapy for your wife, frankly. She married you against her own better judgment, since the drama with your ex was supposed to be a hard boundary. Now she's moving on, it sounds like, instead of seeking individual or couple's counseling with you. She leaned on a friend and he turned into a lover, and here you all are.
Ah I guess I should have included that. Yes indeed I have been attending therapy to progress myself. It has reignited passion and reconnected us in a way I didn’t think would have been possible. As now that I am on the proper medication for ADHD and depression; I can navigate with a clear head and she has shown utter gratitude. Yes the damage has been done. But she’s very happy with my efforts. Alas, by the sounds of it polyamory has been an idea she’s had for longer than we’ve been together. But had to suppress that side of her as she never had a partner whom would accept it. Her eyes utterly glowed the moment I said “if this is a part of your personality, and just a part of who you are as a human being - I accept, respect and can understand it.” Humans were rarely monogomous until religion really hammered down and made it seem disgusting. But when you go down to it, you fall in love frequently. So why not respect that, and allow exploration of those feelings with respect?
 
Hello FishstickFrank,

Don't worry, the anxiety will settle down eventually. You just need time to wrap your mind around the polyamorous ideal. You are right to facilitate time for your wife and Kyle to spend together. Try to let them sort their own relationship out.

There is such a thing as a mono/poly relationship, people have done that and made that work. If you don't feel a need for another partner yourself, there will not be a problem with your wife not being able to handle you being with someone else. She may want to examine why she feels that way though. Having another partner to satisfy you sexually when your wife is unavailable would be a reasonable request.

It is not weird to feel like Kyle is genuine, and that he helps you keep your chin up. That's what polyamory is all about, more love to go around, not love being a scarcity. It is not unusual to be both comfortable and anxious and full of questions, that is a typical way for poly to start out. Just take it one day at a time, you do not have to figure everything out right this instant. Poly is not an all-or-nothing proposition, it is okay to only have part of the picture.

Regards,
Kevin T.
Thank you for the more direct answer.

Honestly I’m a simple person and have my needs satisfied with just my wife. The one thing I did do, is reopen communication with an old female friend that has loved and supported me platonically. We spoke deeply about what’s going on, and she also reassured me that these relationships can work wonders. Spoke of a few friends she had that are much better off this way. We also solidified the fact we’d never be sexually involved with each other. I shared the conversation with my wife, as she’s being honest about Kyle, I to need to be honest about my actions that may make her uncomfortable. She ran through our conversation and agreed with everything my friend had to say, and at the end told me she felt much better. So I have my additional support when she is spending time with Kyle, or I need to bounce ideas off someone more knowledgeable than my other friends.
 
It's good that you have the old female friend to support you and to bounce ideas off of. And I'm glad you're getting meds and therapy, keep continuing with that.
 
Generally it's frowned on in poly for one partner to lay down a rule that only they can have another partner, but their partners can't. This is more often seen when husbands want to have a gf, but don't want their wife to date other men. We call this a One Penis Policy, or OPP, In your case, your wife is trying to establish a OVP? That's not fair.

Sometimes one member of a couple practicing poly does not want to date others. But that has to be their own choice. Whom you get to date is up to you. Your wife might feel jealous or insecure if you date others, say, if things with your supportive platonic friend go romantic. But your wife's jealousy is her own issue. She's not really poly unless she's okay with you poly-dating too.

I am glad you are receiving medication and therapy for your mental conditions. Good for you. That's important.
 
Let's give your wife a name to make these posts clearer to read. How about Dreamy?

I admire how mature you were in accepting Dreamy being poly and having a relationship with Kyle. It sounds like you're in good shape so far.

I'm sorry about your custody battle with your ex and everything your daughter has gone through.

So, your daughter is not living with you, but Dreamy's children are? How old are they?
 
Generally it's frowned on in poly for one partner to lay down a rule that only they can have another partner, but their partners can't. This is more often seen when husbands want to have a gf, but don't want their wife to date other men. We call this a One Penis Policy, or OPP, In your case, your wife is trying to establish a OVP? That's not fair.

Sometimes one member of a couple practicing poly does not want to date others. But that has to be their own choice. Whom you get to date is up to you. Your wife might feel jealous or insecure if you date others, say, if things with your supportive platonic friend go romantic. But your wife's jealousy is her own issue. She's not really poly unless she's okay with you poly-dating too.

I am glad you are receiving medication and therapy for your mental conditions. Good for you. That's important.
The choice for me to remain non-poly is my own. I am obscenely selective in regard to romantic partners. I don’t ever do short-term flings; I prefer long-lasting relationships. There is a girl that I met in the hospital that reminded me of my wife, and it was almost too easy to consider allowing myself to become infatuated because of that fact. We spent hours talking and playing chess and even walked in the hall together. It was kind of nice, but the main thought that came through my head during all of it was I can’t wait to have this when I return home. Honestly, if anything, this other patient made me miss my wife even more. Lastly, before it’s even brought up, I do not think pursuing anyone you meet in the mental health department of a hospital a good idea for a romantic endeavor.

I am open to the idea of dating someone else, but it has to be somebody that matches my wavelength of energy. I’m also a hopeless romantic, so if I fall, I fall hard and tend to get attached. So I don’t want anybody dealing with that obnoxious energy unless they consent. And yeah, I’d be absolutely open to end potential individual about that fact, as well.

Only a few days in, and I’m actually having fun and loving this. It’s amazing to watch my wife going through the transference between mutual attraction to full infatuation. The other night she spent 3 hours on the phone with him. It’s a long distance thing. They’re seeing how things go before deciding to advance physically. But the glowing aura, and upbeat energy she has is amazing to see. With that all said, I think I’m naturally poly, myself.


Let's give your wife a name to make these posts clearer to read. How about Dreamy?

I admire how mature you were in accepting Dreamy being poly and having a relationship with Kyle. It sounds like you're in good shape so far.

I'm sorry about your custody battle with your ex and everything your daughter has gone through.

So, your daughter is not living with you, but Dreamy's children are? How old are they?
My daughter with my ex does not, no. I’m letting her grow intellectually and reach out. She’s got a flare for drama and disrupts everyone in the household.

Dreamy's two children are 12 and 9. The 12-year old just found her first idea of love, or “like,” and we are supporting it. I told this daughter I absolutely enjoy watching people fall in love.

I will also be adopting the oldest child as my own soon, she’s wire excited!
 
A lot is changing in your life - your deep seeded views of your own self worth. This will make anyone anxious. Great to read your getting therapy. The anxiety will settle, but likely rear its head at odd times, with undefinable triggers like a song, or ad on TV.

Reading between the lines, you seem to be consciously choosing happiness for you and what feels right for you. Well done.

These simple choices, to worry only about what you can control and how you react and process these challenges will ultimately allow you to reflect upon the benefits as your needs and sense of self worth strengthens.

Best of luck on your journey.
 
A lot is changing in your life - your deep seeded views of your own self worth. This will make anyone anxious. Great to read your getting therapy.
The anxiety will settle, but likely rear its head at odd times, with undefinable triggers, like a song, or ad on TV.
Reading between the lines, you seem to be consciously choosing happiness for you and what feels right for you . Well done.
These simple choices, to worry only about what you can control and how you react and process these challenges will ultimately allow you to reflect upon the benefits as your needs and sense of self worth strengthens.
Best of luck on your journey.
Dang, this was a good one to read.

I appreciate the trigger warning. I didn’t think that deeply into the potential.

I made this choice after much, much deliberation, research and communication with my wife. At first she swore up and down it wasn’t continuing, but I learned behavioural science to survive an abusive mother. I saw through it. Which is where worrying about what I CAN control really sinks in. While I was in the hospital I sat long, and thought hard about their feelings for each other. And I knew this to be an option. I passively communicated to my wife, in great detail, why it’s an option (I can’t control your feelings, nor Kyle’s). But was assertive - not aggressive - with the fact of if he really does love you, he to needs to be selfless and sacrifice some, as I am willing to. He MUST respect our marriage and understand that’s priority one. But that doesn’t mean I won’t facilitate time for you two. If everything is known, I support and appreciate these feelings because I know damn well how easily and how hard someone can genuinely fall in love with you. It’s also not something that can be brushed off or slowly suppressed. You’re a one-of-a-kind, intellectual, powerful and enticing being, so infatuation can come quite easily.

I didn’t do it just for myself, and what feels right. I knew I could adjust pretty easily, as this is something I have questioned for many years of my life, but never got to put into practice - and inevitably forgot about trying to “fit in, and be normal” like the rest of society.

But this makes EVERYONE happy.

Kyle and my wife get to explore, and potentially expand upon their infatuation/puppy love (which, now that we’re here, is obscenely adorable). That almost fades out after a decade of monotony and no support from family.

It keeps me from absolutely breaking, and not knowing what to do with myself-- maybe living in a van so I can support my family financially. And inevitably relapsing psychologically and possible succession with an attempt, because I cannot see my children every morning/night and rejoice in their chaos daily. We were almost at the point of divorce because of their feelings. Then, after my mental break and getting the proper help and medication, I realized very quickly: love is limitless, and should always be supported and celebrated!

Most importantly:
The children, whose mental heath and upbringing my wife and I are responsible for: they still get to see their parents love each other, be romantic (flowers, shoulder rubs, SCALP RUBS-- OH BOY, DO WE LOVE OUR SCALP RUBS, spontaneous dancing, drawings, notes, candlelight dinners, so on and so forth). It’s not just a desire for her oldest who needs that ONE solid father figure, it is a genuine NEED for all the children.
That was another point in our discussion: “And if this ends up working out, once they’re mature enough to understand, it will show them that you can take a bad situation, and break societal conditioning, and turn it into something amazing!”
 
Good for you, you have taken a challenging situation, and turned it into something wonderful. It sounds like this is a win-win for everyone in your family.
 
Too good to be true. She started prioritizing Kyle, then even I spoke up about being neglected I got shit on left and right. I have no idea what to do because if we get divorced the oldest child might attempt suicide….
 
She is in NRE and handling it badly....sounds like poly hell
 
NRE?
I can’t find the terms/abbreviations page
Honeymoon phase. New relationship energy. It's when some people newly in love become more selfish, and give unwanted space to the other people they are with.

Healthy communication and boundaries are key.

Good luck. Everyone is different with NRE at different times. Some go absolutely wild and forget life. For others it's moderate. Anyone respectful will try to moderate it.
 
NRE?
I can’t find the terms/abbreviations page
 
Welcome. Others have given lots of good info.

But should the event arise, I get fed up she gets that freedom with Kyle, but I just get her, and would like another partner to satisfy me sexually when she’s unavailable, would that be an acceptable request?

Yes. It could be open on both sides NOW, rather than open on her side only. That's reasonable. If it is open on both sides, but not used because YOU don't feel like dating people right now, it's because YOU decided that, and not like you didn't have the option at all.

Even Kyle might want to poly-date someone else down the road. You all could talk that out.

Is it weird being exclusive and allowing your wife to explore her feelings?

No, it's not weird. Plenty of people do polyamory. How many there are in YOUR area depends on where you are. Cities tend to have more poly people than rural areas do. Some polyamorists set themselves up as "mono-poly." People arrange themselves as they want.

I think it's healthier when it is "mono-poly" because the mono person actively chooses not to pursue it. They have the option, they just don't feel like using it, rather than them not having the option at all.

Is it weird I actually feel like he’s genuine, and that he even helps me keep my chin up?

No, that's not weird. It sounds like he's a decent enough fellow.

Why am I so comfortable with this, but also anxious and full of questions?

Because this is NEW, you never did it before, and there's been a lot of tumult recently. It might be hard to trust that "things are okay" when you are used to "things are topsy turvy."

Too good to be true. She started prioritizing Kyle, then even I spoke up about being neglected. I got shit on left and right. I have no idea what to do because if we get divorced the oldest child might attempt suicide….

It sounds like she's caught up in NRE for Kyle. There's all this new relationship energy and feel-good brain chemistry going on. She's up in the lala clouds. You probably remember what that is like from past relationships or the early days with her.

Now this had a murky start. She stepped out and started a fling with Kyle. A lot of people would not do what you did and change to a poly V to include the previous cheating-affair partner. It sounds like you've all talked it out and have mostly healed from that kind of start.

Well, that is not going to be the ONLY bump in the road. Here is another: she needs to learn how to hinge. She needs some learning space in which to do it.


And to minimize poly hell things:


You could read that together and talk it out. If you decide to poly-date one day, you too will have to learn hinge skills. You will also need some learning space.

People are not perfect right out of the gate. Just like a kid learning to ride a bike, who maybe wobbles, hits bumps, falls, sometimes gets scrapes, y'all are going to wobble, hit bumps, maybe have some scrapes, as you learn how to do this poly practice and how to be together.

If in the past it was "assumed" that free time automatically meant date time for you and her, you can't be that casual any more. Now you actually have to ask each other out and/or put a regular date night on the calendar. She and Kyle have to do the same thing on that side of the poly V, schedule time together.

HOW you talk also matters.

After a LONG patch of you being absent, down in your depression, etc., and leaving her to hold the fort alone, talking to her about how YOU feel neglected sounds like it pushed some buttons, especially when a few days ago it was:

The children, whose mental heath and upbringing my wife and I are responsible for: they still get to see their parents love each other, be romantic (flowers, shoulder rubs, SCALP RUBS-- OH BOY, DO WE LOVE OUR SCALP RUBS, spontaneous dancing, drawings, notes, candlelight dinners, so on and so forth). It’s not just a desire for her oldest who needs that ONE solid father figure, it is a genuine NEED for all the children.

I'm not saying it's okay that she lashed out and shit on you left and right. But I could see why she got triggered. You were "absent" a long time and she HAS been making effort with you.

I'm glad you have meds and feel better now, but that doesn't mean it's all fixed. One bump and you are worried about divorce? That kind of sounds extreme, don't you think? There ARE going to be bumps.

Another way to meet your need would be to say, "I was thinking about you. How about we have a date this week on Friday and go do X?" You had a need for connection and closeness, so how about asking for what you actually need instead?

You might think about reading NVC books to improve your communication. Marshall Rosenberg has many, but I like this one.

You might also consider working with a poly counselor during this transition time, if you can avail yourselves.


There ARE going to be bumps. This is new. It's a huge change. It's coming after major illness/stress time, and coming up on an adoption. You are NOT in a "smooth sailing" kind of place.

You might think about doing the stress scale to give you some perspective.


I'm concerned about your overall well-being, since there's been SO much turbulence in the recent past.

Galagirl
 
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I’m now single because she shut me out emotionally for over 2 weeks. Couldn’t even get a response to see how the kids while I was at work and I ended up flirting with my female friend because I wanted to feel SOMETHING other than alone and neglected. 🫡
 
You're still living with Dreamy, right? Are you just interacting briefly, to make the household work? Are you no longer sharing a bedroom? Are you asking her on dates, or just whining and complaining and comparing your relationship with Dreamy to her relationship with Kyle?

Are you acting out because Dreamy isn't practicing hierarchical style poly, where the established couple's relationship comes first (aka couple's privilege), as you wanted, and is instead putting Kyle first?

Why is she neglecting you? I don't understand. Does she want to be poly, or is she just calling it that? Maybe she really wants to move on.

What does your therapist say about all this?

I had a feeling things might heat up between you and the female friend. You and Dreamy are both using other people as crutches to avoid each other, it seems like.

It sounds like you're saying you try to call/text Dreamy during the day, while you're at work, to see how the kids are doing, and she doesn't return your calls or respond to your texts. Can you not text the kids themselves?
 
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