New way to love-- opening my marriage

moiandre

New member
Hi All,

Just looking for any similar scenarios and advice for the future.

M 50, married for 28 years to wife F 50. 4 wonderful children, 28, 25, 22 and 19 (2 boys and then 2 girls). Very blessed, good incomes, kids healthy, all have partners of the opposite sex and are working or studying. I consider myself semi-retired!! I am truly blessed-- my life is a postcard.

When COVID hit my wife sought a lot of emotional support from a female colleague at work whom I know and we both like.

I had emotional issues and it was the hardest time our marriage has ever faced. I got professional help, started thyroid medication, so hormones and mental state realigned. I have bounced back to being the "normal loving bubbly hubby" me.

Since COVID, with Friday drinks or catch-ups at our house involving the female co-worker (actually her boss), I became very aware of the way my wife looked at her, gave her attention-- snuggling hugs, falling asleep together after a long party. I saw it as "fawning," not lust.

We three would discuss opening, sex, sexual partners, etc. The friend is a widow.

Then around a year ago I got a confession as my wife came to bed. The friend was downstairs spending the night. (She lives over an hour away, so this is very normal; the kids ask if she will start paying rent!!) My wife confessed to me they had kissed, hugged and played/sucked/fondled each other's breasts that evening and she couldn't live with the guilt if she didn't tell me.

We have been married a long time and trust each other 100%. I'm quite level-headed and took it all in. We talked and found that these feelings had been developing for a while, and my wife hadn't recognized how she felt and interacted. She wanted to explore this relationship more. We discussed a threesome as part of exploring sexual fantasies and boundaries. (We were each other's only partners, but I always push the boundaries of our very healthy sex life.)

So we decided if anything feels good, and the friend is open to it, we can try a threesome. This was basically sprung on the friend and we all shared an incredible experience. Then it consumed my wife. I think it is the NRE.

On a whim, drive the hour at 10pm to have a session.

While fruitful, it opened my wife up to experiencing and exploring love in a very non-monogamous way.

A few times I had enormous regret and could feel myself losing my wife. My self-esteem was shot. I sought professional help again and I am doing great.

My wife, seeing this, agreed for our marriage, the kids, etc., that she would call it off, for she felt in love with our friend, the woman. I asked her if she was a lesbian, and it was a firm no.

Now, a few months go by, and I am very suspicious about the texting, phone calls at weird times and the messages late at night (the phone would flash bright). I discovered they had never stopped texting, messaging, reels on insta, on top of seeing each other daily at work. I called her out on cheating and I called out our "friend," saying they both needed professional help. My wife has been told I'd leave if we can't be open and honest.

By keeping it a secret, they thought they were protecting my feelings. I explained how it made everything 10 times worse. Open communication and dialogue are required always.

So now I have the confirmation that my wife loves a woman and she loves me just as much, more, for being understanding and enabling her to explore/sit easy with this side of her she didn't know about.

I care a lot for my wife of 28 yrs. I am not prepared to say love is finite. Love is boundless. I asked her about being a triad/closed group of three.
I watched my wife's fears lift off her shoulders. She could have her cake and eat it too.

I am confident we can make this poly arrangement work, but they, the two women in my life, need professional help to understand each other's needs and how mine get satisfied and need to be treated too.

Since starting on the "closed triad," my wife is jealous of things I may do with the other. She doesn't want her to make me orgasm. She hates watching us kiss. It's too intimate? We can only be intimate if she is there, same room-- very controlling, in my view, because she is not sure how she actually feels.

But there are no such lines in the sand for herself or our friend. I am caring of what is and isn't comfortable for my wife, so I don't do anything that makes her feel uneasy. I leave her to drive this story. But the friend's feelings get hurt too.

I would like some ways to gently approach exploring the needs and boundaries so we are all respected. I always talk about three equals, but my wife thinks of us where she is the V, which is selfish and not listening to each set of needs/expectations. I like this friend and love her, in a very different way to my wife: she is my second sexual partner, so it's special to me. I like it and realize how happy my wife is, and it hasn't diminished how much we love each other. I see it as having another person I can lavish love on, we can lavish love on, we can love together and they can love back with what feels good and correct to them.

I would like to know what the long-term outlook is. We all live some experiences together as a "group," apart from the wineries, etc., we have already done. I think we are ready for a holiday together. Or am I moving too fast?

Thanks in advance.
 
It sounds like things are going pretty well, considering you come from a long-term mono hetero marriage. You and wife like this friend, she likes you, you started a triad. You felt some kind of way. You got therapy. You're good with it.

However, Wife had a crush on Friend first. So maybe she doesn't really want to be in a triad. Maybe she really wants a V, where she dates both of you, but you and Friend don't date each other. Jealousy, envy, fear of loss or FOMO are pretty normal human emotions.

Therapy works well for you, so you reckon the women should do as you do and get therapy. They are resistant, it seems.

You could show them the thread at the top of this forum with recommendations of articles and books and a podcast about ethical non-monogamy. Maybe just doing some research would help them.


I am not sure if Wife is ready for a big romantic vacation with you and Friend right now, if she's already feeling jealous just from the kissing and sexual issues. Maybe she could do some reading into how others do polyamory successfully first. It's one thing to be poly and enjoy having two or more partners. The hard part is seeing your partners have other partners. Triads are much harder to navigate than Vs. Both of your lovers are also each other's metamours, so there are more layers of dynamics involved.
 
I think I know exactly how you are feeling. After 20 years, my wife sprung it on me that she wanted to explore a relationship with her friend who had moved in to help with childcare. It took me on a rollercoaster of emotions for months before things felt normal again. There are still some tough days, but all things considered, we are all much happier. You can read my posts if you are interested in my story.
My advice is to take things slow and enjoy the journey. Clear, open communication is key.
 
It sounds like things are going pretty well, considering you come from a long-term mono hetero marriage. You and wife like this friend, she likes you, you started a triad. You felt some kind of way. You got therapy. You're good with it.

However, Wife had a crush on Friend first. So maybe she doesn't really want to be in a triad. Maybe she really wants a V, where she dates both of you, but you and Friend don't date each other. Jealousy, envy, fear of loss or FOMO are pretty normal human emotions.

Therapy works well for you, so you reckon the women should do as you do and get therapy. They are resistant, it seems.

You could show them the thread at the top of this forum with recommendations of articles and books and a podcast about ethical non-monogamy. Maybe just doing some research would help them.


I am not sure if Wife is ready for a big romantic vacation with you and Friend right now, if she's already feeling jealous just from the kissing and sexual issues. Maybe she could do some reading into how others do polyamory successfully first. It's one thing to be poly and enjoy having two or more partners. The hard part is seeing your partners have other partners. Triads are much harder to navigate than Vs. Both of your lovers are also each other's metamours, so there are more layers of dynamics involved.
Thank you.

My wife has booked in for therapy. Our metamour is still reluctant, but says she sees the need and will likely address it in the coming weeks/months.

I agree wholeheartedly that they both need to read more and appreciate a few of the different dynamics involved and how being poly can work.

I'll keep you posted.
 
I think I know exactly how you are feeling. After 20 years, my wife sprung it on me that she wanted to explore a relationship with her friend who had moved in to help with childcare. It took me on a rollercoaster of emotions for months before things felt normal again. There are still some tough days, but all things considered, we are all much happier. You can read my posts if you are interested in my story.
My advice is to take things slow and enjoy the journey. Clear, open communication is key.
Hello,

Thank you for the feedback. I read your post, and it gave me the confidence to open up for some advice.

Slow and steady is my approach, but holidays over Christmas (Dec/Jan) (I'm in Australia) are booked for 2, with an invite for our third. There are 2 sets of school holidays before we get there, so I hope a few trial runs will show if we can make it work.

I'll keep you posted.
 
Hello moiandre,

It sounds like you have a really nice triad (your wife thinks it's a V), you just need it to be more fair, where you and the friend can be freely affectionate to each other and not have limits on your sexual interactions. You seem to be ready for a holiday together, but just make sure your wife is ready to lay her jealousy aside.

Just some thoughts,
Kevin T.
 
Hello moiandre,

It sounds like you have a really nice triad (your wife thinks it's a V), you just need it to be more fair, where you and the friend can be freely affectionate to each other and not have limits on your sexual interactions. You seem to be ready for a holiday together, but just make sure your wife is ready to lay her jealousy aside.

Just some thoughts,
Kevin T.
Hi Kevin,

The crux of it will be how they both manage their emotions and needs and what level of freedom we each express. Currently it is closed, and I'm comfortable with that due to STDs, etc.

(Let's give them names: wife = Island Queen, girlfriend = Red Beauty.)

I am emotionally attracted to Red Beauty and sexually to Island Queen. So it's fun navigating that I am okay with only interacting sexually with Red Beauty while Island Queen is around.

But having Island Queen want to keep it closed - even if I potentially fall in love with someone else - like she has; this conversation has been a very firm NO - you are mine type of reaction/discussion (like imposing a one penis rule).

There is a lot for US to keep discussing, even if I am the devil's advocate and Red Beauty falls in love with another man. Tricky topics, but better discussed than a shock reality!

By the way, I'm in Australia.

Thank you tremendously for the support and open clear non-judgmental feedback.
 
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No problem, it sounds like the three of you still have some pending discussions. Good luck and keep us posted.
 
So we are in the middle of a holiday break and Island Queen and Red Beauty have had 5 days together, with me visiting on day 5 for a group sleepover to mark the end of their alone time.

Island Queen and I are the primary couple, so this week was a chance for the two of them to create their own new tapestry of life moments. It has gone well, from what I am told, but their have been many times Island Queen missed me and recognized that a few of the things they were doing were previously held special moments for us-- like a spa retreat, couples massage, and even some sexual acts she now performs like I would on her.

Island Queen is becoming riddled with guilt and processing the fact that her actions come with consequences. She is living a "double life" because we will not "come out" due to work/family consequences. This builds up very strongly when we are having family functions, like a BBQ or visiting relatives.

I don't know how to help her compartmentalize her sense of guilt, apart from helping her seek professional help. Does anyone have any advice?
 
Hi moiandre,

Thanks for that update. I wonder if some of Island Queen's guilt feelings stem from the fact that she has more freedom with Red Beauty than you do? I think if things were more equal between the three of you, Island Queen might not feel so guilty. This is what I would tell her, if I were you.

As for coming out, not all polyamorists can do that. This is because the world as a whole isn't ready to accept polyamory. That is not the fault of polyamorists, it is just a reality that we have to live with. I'm not out about being poly. It sucks to have to pretend I'm "just a friend," but I guess I have gotten used to it.

Just some thoughts,
Kevin T.
 
We are in the middle of a holiday break and Island Queen and Red Beauty have had 5 days together, with me visiting on day 5 for a group sleepover... This week was a chance for the two of them to create their own new tapestry of life moments. It has gone well, from what I am told, but their have been many times Island Queen missed me and recognized that a few of the things they were doing were previously held special moments for us-- like a spa retreat, couples massage, and even some sexual acts she now performs like I would on her.
That's part of being poly. It's not a road block, just a speed bump. Feel the feelings, and they will pass. They will become ordinary and just part of life.
Island Queen is becoming riddled with guilt
Guilt about what?
and processing the fact that her actions come with consequences.
What consequences?
She is living a "double life" because we will not "come out" due to work/family consequences. This builds up very strongly when we are having family functions, like a BBQ or visiting relatives.
Yeah, coming out (or staying in the closet) is hard, for gay/queer/trans people, and for poly people. It helps to vent... eventually you get used to it. And you can find certain people you can be out to so you don't feel like a social outcast. For me, I've always been into alternatives, so most of my social circle is either poly or queer or kinky or just have a good degree of tolerance.

Some couples pass off the extra lover as just a close friend and bring them to those family events.
I don't know how to help her compartmentalize her sense of guilt, apart from helping her seek professional help. Does anyone have any advice?
Well, we recommended books and articles to read, so she can learn coping skills. You also said she was seeking professional help. Has that not begun yet?

It's one thing to feel love and lust for more than one partner. Heck, lots of monos feel that. It's learning to share yourself, your time, your energy, and learning how to face social judgement that is the hard part.
 
Hi moiandre,

Thanks for that update. I wonder if some of Island Queen's guilt feelings stem from the fact that she has more freedom with Red Beauty than you do? I think if things were more equal between the three of you, Island Queen might not feel so guilty. This is what I would tell her, if I were you.

As for coming out, not all polyamorists can do that. This is because the world as a whole isn't ready to accept polyamory. That is not the fault of polyamorists, it is just a reality that we have to live with. I'm not out about being poly. It sucks to have to pretend I'm "just a friend," but I guess I have gotten used to it.

Just some thoughts,
Kevin T.
the freedom she has with Red Beauty is new - and Red Beauty is also getting used to the idea of how understanding I am for them to grow.
I am ok not being overly sexual with Red Beauty. so I think we are "V ish"". We agreed on ground rules - no kissing and no coming inside Red Beauty; to intimate. We are a closed group and will only share details of dates etc if the other party is comfortable with it.
I think this is working as it is involves trust and equal relationship status.

Now I have to explore a bit more of my needs.
 
That's part of being poly. It's not a road block, just a speed bump. Feel the feelings, and they will pass. They will become ordinary and just part of life.

Guilt about what?

What consequences?

Yeah, coming out (or staying in the closet) is hard, for gay/queer/trans people, and for poly people. It helps to vent... eventually you get used to it. And you can find certain people you can be out to so you don't feel like a social outcast. For me, I've always been into alternatives, so most of my social circle is either poly or queer or kinky or just have a good degree of tolerance.

Some couples pass off the extra lover as just a close friend and bring them to those family events.

Well, we recommended books and articles to read, so she can learn coping skills. You also said she was seeking professional help. Has that not begun yet?

It's one thing to feel love and lust for more than one partner. Heck, lots of monos feel that. It's learning to share yourself, your time, your energy, and learning how to face social judgement that is the hard part.
Hi Magdlyn,

I'll reply in point form, as I don't know how to do it with the associated text.

Speedbumps are a part of the journey. I totally agree.

The guilt Island Queen is facing involve her sense of self worth, identity, values, religion, view of life-- everything.

The consequences of loving another person, that sometimes she can hurt either of us, and she can't control our feelings - so she approaches a lot of things on eggshells - which I've told her not to do. I can manage my emotions, and its ok if they get hurt - just keep communication up.

Red Beauty knows both of our families and they know her as a close friend. But when Island Queen sits back reflecting on the situation, i.e., lunch, Saturday night football game on TV - she feel deceptive/dirty/guilty. I can't help her process that. We know we can't come out, but I think going to a swingers/poly event would do wonders to know you can express yourself how you want in front of a non-judgmental arena. Bit I'm not sure how these establishments work, or how friendly they are, etc. We three will need to discuss this a lot more.

Professional help is starting this Thursday. It was cancelled twice up to this point. I've sent lots of links and reading material, but the two of them are in NRE and don't know how to take a breath and reflect, yet. However, they did take onboard an adult discussion around boundaries before having a few drinks and having an exceptionally passionate night together.

Thanks again for all the support.
 
The guilt Island Queen is facing involve her sense of self worth, identity, values, religion, view of life-- everything.
I think you're saying she was raised by conservative parents, perhaps a fundamentalist church situation. That's definitely going to have an impact on learning to live and love in a poly way. Maybe she feels guilty around enjoying sex of any kind, never mind gay poly sex.
The consequences are loving another person, that sometimes she can hurt either of us, and she can't control our feelings - so she approaches a lot of things on eggshells - which I've told her not to do. I can manage my emotions, and it's ok if they get hurt - just keep communication up.
It also sounds like you're saying she was perhaps raised in an environment where she didn't feel safe around her parents, so she tried to pre-manage their emotions in order to not be abused. This is something to be unlearned as an adult. We don't need to pre-manage our adult partners' emotions. Each person is responsible for that.

This is a pretty common problem. So many people think they shouldn't cause others to have anything but positive feelings, so they try and hide the "bad stuff" by lying or omitting information, thinking one thing but saying another, avoiding emotionally raw conversations altogether. You can't do polyamory with this sort of attitude. Open and honest communication is key.
Red Beauty knows both of our families and they know her as a close friend. But when Island Queen sits back reflecting on the situation, i.e., lunch, Saturday night football game on TV, she feel deceptive/dirty/guilty. I can't help her process that. We know we can't come out,
You mean you and she had lunch and watched football with her parents, and she felt like she was living a double life?

It sounds like you and she and your families of origin are pretty close. Well, obviously you're not emotionally close! But you're expected to hang out with them a lot, and conform to their ways of thinking, doing and being. Maybe you could gradually start to pull away some, and find more simpatico people to hang out with.
I think going to a swingers/poly event would do wonders to know you can express yourself how you want in front of a non-judgmental arena. Bit I'm not sure how these establishments work, or how friendly they are, etc. We three will need to discuss this a lot more.
Swinging is very different from polyamory, and the two groups don't always mesh very well. You can google "polyamory your state/city" to find poly groups. You might check on Facebook and Fetlife too. You don't need to regularly attend munches if they seem socially awkward, but if you go a few times, you might meet 2 or 3 people you mesh with, who are poly and willing to hang out. It's so freeing to not have to hide all the time.
Professional help is starting this Thursday. It was cancelled twice up to this point. I've sent lots of links and reading material, but the two of them are in NRE and don't know how to take a breath and reflect, yet.
Well, if she won't help herself, and just wants to sit and complain to you, without doing any work around her problems, you don't have to sit and listen. You can walk away.

I hope the therapy happens this week.
However, they did take onboard an adult discussion around boundaries before having a few drinks and having an exceptionally passionate night together.
Do they have to get drunk to enjoy their gay sex? I can see if they are very repressed and feeling guilty and dirty, it helps to be drunk while doing it. But then, the booze wears off and she/they have to face the next morning, once again feeling dirty and guilty. Not a great way to live.
 
I think you're saying she was raised by conservative parents, perhaps a fundamentalist church situation. That's definitely going to have an impact on learning to live and love in a poly way. Maybe she feels guilty around enjoying sex of any kind, never mind gay poly sex.
Roman Catholic, so not conservative, but 100% monogamous. She loves sex - just getting over all her hang ups re gay sex and 'our' poly arrangement.
It also sounds like you're saying she was perhaps raised in an environment where she didn't feel safe around her parents, so she tried to pre-manage their emotions in order to not be abused. This is something to be unlearned as an adult. We don't need to pre-manage our adult partners' emotions. Each person is responsible for that.
No, she feels safe, but Mum is bipolar, has had affairs, and they have now separated. It has taken 25 yrs of subtle encouragement and learning by doing/copying me in not managing her mum's emotions, and her father's coldness, zero outward affection, for Island Queen to re-learn navigating her parents life's and emotions. So yes, she is now defaulting back to managing the emotions of those she loves, which she will have to unlearn and become responsible for her own emotions.

This is a pretty common problem. So many people think they shouldn't cause others to have anything but positive feelings, so they try and hide the "bad stuff" by lying or omitting information, thinking one thing but saying another, avoiding emotionally raw conversations altogether. You can't do polyamory with this sort of attitude. Open and honest communication is key.
Yes, she is re-learning to let me/us have our own feelings based on actions, good or bad feelings, which can't/shouldn't be managed. We are all on the same page that we must openly and honestly communicate.
You mean you and she had lunch and watched football with her parents, and she felt like she was living a double life?
Yes, our family knows Red Beauty well and she is often invited by the 'in-laws' from both sides. She is an extension of our normal circle of friends.
And due to our new poly arrangement, yes, Island Girl feels she is living a double life.
It sounds like you and she and your families of origin are pretty close. Well, obviously you're not emotionally close! But you're expected to hang out with them a lot, and conform to their ways of thinking, doing and being. Maybe you could gradually start to pull away some, and find more simpatico people to hang out with.
We are close, probably more emotionally than we realise. I'm happy not to be sexual with Red Beauty, but the carnal side when we engage in the act is truly quite a new set of pleasurable sensations, and it makes my wife so very happy, and my tactile and sensual side enjoys it.
Swinging is very different from polyamory, and the two groups don't always mesh very well. You can google "polyamory your state/city" to find poly groups. You might check on Facebook and Fetlife too. You don't need to regularly attend munches if they seem socially awkward, but if you go a few times, you might meet 2 or 3 people you mesh with, who are poly and willing to hang out. It's so freeing to not have to hide all the time.
I agree. Thanks for the advice. I'll put it past the group; hopefully we can be ourselves as a group and it will be liberating. I don't like hiding, and I think this will help the guilt Island Queen feels. Being out may offer some liberation in different circles.
Well, if she won't help herself, and just wants to sit and complain to you, without doing any work around her problems, you don't have to sit and listen. You can walk away.
I do walk away, but I am also caring to continue to point her in the right direction. I help those who can't help themselves.
I hope the therapy happens this week.
Today 2 pm. I'll update what she is prepared to share with me.
Do they have to get drunk to enjoy their gay sex? I can see if they are very repressed and feeling guilty and dirty, it helps to be drunk while doing it. But then, the booze wears off and she/they have to face the next morning, once again feeling dirty and guilty. Not a great way to live.
No, they don't get drunk. They enjoy their sex without anything. It was just Friday night drinks, after I'd been away, a celebration of sorts. We are all in this wide-eyed, but still facing many new emotions.

Not least of all is Red Beauty and the complete lack of love in her life. She has always been used for sex, not had any affectionate lovers, only partners/cheaters that used her for sex. She doesn't believe she is beautiful at all, but understands her assets, uses them to attract a partner and gives sex, because that's what she expects. She has G-sized boobs, I mean HUGE, and powerful but shapely legs. She sees these as her assets, so when a man gets close, she flaunts them to have one night stand or a fling for a few weeks. But mostly she is or has been the other woman to married men, and used for sex.

Island Queen and I see all the great parts of her. She is a considerate lover, a big personality, big contagious laugh, intelligent and non-judgmental. So she struggles deeply, with my understanding, and the no-strings attached love that we both offer. I have told her to get professional help too - still to be completed. But Red Beauty does read the articles and links I send her, and is across being poly more so than my wife.

thanxs again Moiandre
 
You have a lot of great advice here, so I will just add this. You said that you were both going into this with the intention of it being long term. As you start to go through life experiences you will find the balance that you need. There will be times that Island Queen will need you and Red Beauty to pull together and support/assist her. With enough of those real life experiences you guys will find that balance and eventually that jealousy may turn into compersion. Just always be open and honest with each other and let things progress naturally. Don't force anything. Take your time and enjoy the ride. Good luck!
 
So our ride continues and I am seeing some light at the end of the tunnel.

Island Queen has had a therapy session and is less confused about the decisions she is having to live with and is still exploring how/why she fell in love with Red Beauty. She is also working through the guilt of not being able to share the relationship to the wider community (family and friends).

We three have set boundaries on kissing and orgasms, permission and what does and doesn't work in the bedroom, as well as our communication styles outside, and times for each other together and in pairs. It is fun, exploratory and a joyful journey.

We are not going to a swingers club, but will be visiting a female strip club. This turns them both on tremendously!!

Red Beauty has yet to start therapy, but now has to deal with two of us extolling the benefits.

Thanks to all that have given advice and support. It has meant a lot to me to be able to open up and share. My therapist said this was a really good way to clarify views and expectations and normalize this experience. xx
 
I am glad even just the first therapy session helped Island Queen. It must have felt good to be able to open up and express her experiences and feelings to an impartial party! I hope Red Beauty will make an appointment too, sooner rather than later.

I am not sure about setting boundaries and permissions around who can do what sexually... I guess sometimes people new to poly do this. It could be considered a baby step or training wheels. But hopefully, eventually, poly people get to trusting each other enough that no one person can tell another dyad what they can and can't do.
 
I read this thread carefully at first and then began merely skimming, then lost interest -- mainly because there was a lot of double standard stuff going on in the story without really being directly addressed as a problem.


Has the double standard problem been directly addressed and/or resolved?

I get really bored when there is a story where the barn has caught fire, but then in the next scene the barn fire is utterly ignored and no one is acknowledging that the barn is on fire.
 
I read this thread carefully at first and then began merely skimming, then lost interest -- mainly because there was a lot of double standard stuff going on in the story without really being directly addressed as a problem.


Has the double standard problem been directly addressed and/or resolved?

I get really bored when there is a story where the barn has caught fire, but then in the next scene the barn fire is utterly ignored and no one is acknowledging that the barn is on fire.
The double standard you refer to is the fact we use rules around what feels right with consideration for the other party. I don't see where your concern lies?

We are not far enough in our learning of "equal status - relationship" dynamics to proceed as if we all share a love interest, or want multiple partners at once, or are seeking others. We don't. I only love Island Queen as my primary, where we have a family with 4 kids and a life before Red Beauty entered our lives.
We are communicating openly and are living this V triad our way - with Island Queen and Red Beauty very in love and me showing affection, caring, and understanding to our dynamic.
 
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