Because I communicate far better in writing than speaking, my therapist had me write up some paragraphs for her on some specific topics. With a little editing to maintain privacy, I'd like to share some of them here. Here's the first:
Could have made them another color. Or made a separate thread with "I need help with my therapy writing."
It's easy to miss the heads up of "This is stuff I had to write for therapy. Can you guys give be feedback on it?"
I noticed it, but was trying to digest the quantity of material.
Don't sweat it though. It's ok to be new to the forum. You don't have to keep apologizing. Try to relax a little bit.
Remember, you have been LIVING this. You are the expert in your lived experience.
The participants? This topic just landed from the sky two seconds ago. It takes time to get up to speed and parse your writing style. You have SO MUCH going on!
I'll also be honest in that I only skim-read the therapy pages. Mostly what stuck out to me?
Yet within an hour I hear 'em talking once again about personal liberty galore, autonomy in relationships, etc.
Is this sense of "JEEZ! What's he been filling up with? Who are these "poly people" he's reading?"
I don't know what kind of people you were interacting with or reading or what. But just like "Your kink Is not my kink?"
"Your poly is not my poly" may apply here. It's ok to read stuff online and then... not take it on board because it doesn't jive with your values.
Yes, some people want poly so they can ethically play the field. They want to explore without a lot of entanglements, etc.
Others want it because they want MORE entanglements, MORE commitments.
Others want something else in between or a combo. The point is that people in the poly group get to design their polyship to suit themselves and form their own agreements that work for them.
It's not exhaustive, but here's a list of open models. Maybe it helps show you how different people design their agreements.
Models of Open Relationships by Kathy Labriola
Mostly though? With the therapy writing? I hope it helped you do the exercise.
If it was for the couples therapist and you don't trust her any more? Maybe don't bother turning in the homework. Esp if lately the therapist has been "ganging up on you" or "pressuring you."
If it is for wife to digest? I suggest you stop talking about "all those poly people out there" or "the poly community" and bring the focus in more. They aren't the ones in this marriage.
Talk about YOU AND WONDA. Because you and Wonda are in this marriage.
You have a lot of unanswered questions, and valid concerns. Make a simpler list of questions for her to answer. Something based on these concerns.
"It seems to me polyamory would 1) cut back on our quality time together, 2) reduce our discretionary income, 3) put more of the burden of parenting on my shoulders, 4) make it harder to be emotionally attuned to one another, 5) jeopardize my career if ever we were outed, 6) make our home life more unstable for our family, 7) eat up more of your limited emotional energy, and 8) violate my beliefs about the nature of marriage. Are you willing to at least explain how any of that is inaccurate from your perspective?"
But smaller words and more bullet list style. And more direct in tone. TO WONDA.
Because you guys must be EXHAUSTED with the baby and all this therapy processing.
What are your current beliefs about the nature of marriage? Have they changed any since we took our wedding vows?
If you and I did poly... how would that fit in this marriage we share?
- How would you ensure you and I get enough quality time together?
- Enough for me is....
- What is enough time to you?
- How would we deal with finances so dating money doesn't ding house money?
- How would parenting duties be fairly split?
- How would we maintain emotional and mental intimacy?
- What's the emergency plan if for some crazy reason, we get outted and there goes my job?
- How would you help ensure stable family life?
- How would you guard against burnt out? Manage your time and emotional energy?
To me? You sound like you have done a lot of thinking, maybe verging on TOO MUCH thinking and shouldering too much of this load.
How about Wonda does some thinking and takes a turn now?
And the one thing for you to reflect on maybe...
The marital vision I affirm, and usually live by, is that we’re husband and wife, so we both have a voice in all major decisions as create our joint lives together. That’s why it seems altogether bizarre to bracket off this most intimate area of her life to say she’s basically free to do whatever she wants with her heart, mind, body, and soul without me, as her husband, having a voice in the process.
You DO have a voice in the process. One person in a marriage cannot go “Ok, open marriage now!” and make a unilateral decision for the couple.
A polyship (to me) consists of all the other relationships inside. In the imaginary scenario...
- You + Wonda
- Wonda + her GF Gloria (just to have a name)
- Her GF + you <— not involved, just hopefully able to be basic polite
- Wonda + Bob <-- not involved, just hopefully able to be basic polite
- You + Bob <--- not involved, just hopefully able to be basic polite
- Gloria + Bob (Cuz the reason she is fine being Wonda's secondary is becuse she already has her own primary in her hubby Bob.)
You seem to want to be present during sex, and realize the other people might not want that. It raises questions like...
- Wonda and Gloria can NEVER share romance and sex on their own? Without the husbands in the room like odd chaperones?
- To make it “fair” does Gloria have to stand in the room when you share sex with Wonda?
- Does Wonda have to go supervise Gloria and Bob sharing sex?
- Or can that area of each relationship be one of those “self differentiated” areas? Because all the people got to have a voice and consent to be here in this primary-secondary model?
If the bottom line is that even that model of poly is too big a stretch for you? THAT IS OK TOO.
You sound frustrated. Could stop banging head on the poly wall. Just say you do not consent to do any poly. That doesn't make you a bad person. You just know what you are and are not up for. And your consent to participate in things belongs to you.
Presumably her word IS bond, and you just go back to married people life with occasional swing.
Is there something else you are worried about?