One Mistake at a Time

BathedInSalt

New member
I think it might be helpful to have a public space to talk-think my situation.
So, here it goes and after much reading of your stories, other sites, talking to poly friends, and listening to podcasts I'm fairly certain I've made about million mistakes so far.

I'm 35, found my first grey hair two days ago. I have three girls under 8 years old. I had a career in Veterinary Medicine but currently nanny in my home for a dear friend. I've been married for 7 years this July to a man (31) who seems thus far to be maybe bi and probably mono.

A month ago I found myself with some serious feelings for another man. Let's call him J. These strong feelings led me to reflect on my past relationships, that reflection led me to identify as poly.

I've had a few conversations with my husband (D) that went as well as they possibly could I think. We both communicate well, could be better, but well enough to feel solid.
My longtime friend who is familiar with poly and kink and the whole world (she's brilliant) when hearing my conclusion was like "I thought you already knew that about yourself" .

So my BIG mistake is that what has already transpired between J and I might be considered an affair by D.
My other perceived mistake is that I came into poly with a third already in mind. That clearly is very risky and my friend described it as an intro penalty, meaning that a relationship with J will probably never happen. I understand it, but I dread the day I have to feel the heartache that's headed my way.

What I'm doing right though is: moving at the slowest members pace, researching researching researching, enjoying my new found feelings, enjoying not feeling guilty for having feelings, feeling relief like I can breathe easier, learning about myself, learning about my partner, having amazing sex with D as a result of deepening our bonds from all the discussion we've already had and if I'm being honest I found it super hot that D let me have coffee with J yesterday knowing what he knows, using the anxiety of the situation to fuel me creatively, and in general allowing myself to feel happy

I have fear, I hope to grow, I hope to bond more with D, I hope to be happy. I hope you'll help me by asking thoughtful questions! (please and thank you)

I hope to learn things about your journey and that you'll learn something from mine.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Hi BathedInSalt,

How much have you told D so far? How much has he told you?

Regards,
Kevin T.
 
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BathedInSalt

New member
How much have you told D so far? How much has he told you?

D and I talk every couple of days. I can list what I've told him:
- I've shared my reflections on past relationships and my conclusion
- He knows I have feelings and want to express them sexually with another man and knows a couple things about the other man
- I've shared with him the resources I've found about the subject
- He knows I'm on this board and I share the info I get here with him

He's told me less, but in general I talk away more than he does.
When I asked if he thought her was poly at all he shook his head no
He's told me he loves me and wants me to be happy
He's told me that he will look at the resources I've sent, yesterday he even apologized for not getting to it yet.
He's told me to continue a friendship with J, just "don't put yourself in situations where you will have sex"

We both know just talking about this stuff, learning about one another has bonded us more and a fun benefit of that deepening bond is better sex( not the point, but a super result).
The fact that he didn't have a more exaggerated response when we first talked about this to me speaks volumes. Our "poly-bomb" didn't seem to do too much damage, if any. That remains to be seen though. I think the sight be a time to look for more subtle ripple effects of it.

Is that the kind of info you were looking for when you asked?
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Yes, that's what I was looking for.

Do you ever want to add a sexual element to your relationship with J? Do you think D will ever go for that? Will J?
 

BathedInSalt

New member
Yes I would like that. Physical expression of love is very important to me in addition to plain 'ol pleasure.
At this time, no. In the future maybe, but I still think no if I had to guess. We have to have more conversations to know.
How do I address the OPP without sounding like I'm pressing D into something I want but he doesn't?
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Re:
"How do I address the OPP without sounding like I'm pressing D into something I want but he doesn't?"

I'm not sure. Do you confess to D that you would like something sexual with J eventually? I'm not sure.
 

BathedInSalt

New member
I've already told D that I have the desire to have sex with J.
It was part of our original talk. Ive only brought J up specifically again once. Since then we've been focusing more on our relationship and understanding what polyamory is and what a poly relationship would look like. There is a list of topics I want to discuss with D. Trying not to push or make it the only thing we talk about.
 

BathedInSalt

New member
Growth Spurts

I feel like my journey has all been on the inside the past month. It's good, great maybe, but I'm starting to get worried that I'll outgrow my husband. It's a little worry right now, a mini worry. I was hoping that since we are away from home and have help with our kids that we would talk more, but we haven't had one conversation about it and here I am reading and learning, asking myself hard questions...every day. So that's one reflection I've made in the last couple days.
There's another, but it's long and requires me to write it up first, edit it and then post so it doesn't make you crazy.
 
I feel like my journey has all been on the inside the past month. It's good, great maybe, but I'm starting to get worried that I'll outgrow my husband. It's a little worry right now, a mini worry. I was hoping that since we are away from home and have help with our kids that we would talk more, but we haven't had one conversation about it and here I am reading and learning, asking myself hard questions...every day. So that's one reflection I've made in the last couple days.
There's another, but it's long and requires me to write it up first, edit it and then post so it doesn't make you crazy.

It's possible that he's a little tired of talking about it and just wants to enjoy the time away from home without any processing. It's understandable for him to want to enjoy his vacation. It doesn't mean you're outgrowing him or that he doesn't care but if you've been talking about it a lot, he could need a break.
 

Magdlyn

Moderator
Staff member
Hi Salt, I'm glad you started a blog and have asked for feedback.

A request: this forum suggests you pick nicknames for partners, instead of just using initials or saying "my bf/gf" "my spouse." Would you be willing to pick nicknames for D and J AND for your bff/former female lover whom you have mentioned in your intro thread?

So far, your blog doesn't mention your long standing sexual relationship with her and how you never IDed as poly until you fell for another man...

One penis policies are definitely weird (IMO) and need to be unpacked if you're going to be bi and poly.

Enjoy your vacation! If D doesn't want to talk about heavy stuff and just wants to relax while relatives help with your brood, that's fine. This isn't really urgent, you know. Move at the pace of the slowest member (D).
 

BathedInSalt

New member
Hi Salt, I'm glad you started a blog and have asked for feedback.

A request: this forum suggests you pick nicknames for partners, instead of just using initials or saying "my bf/gf" "my spouse." Would you be willing to pick nicknames for D and J AND for your bff/former female lover whom you have mentioned in your intro thread?

So far, your blog doesn't mention your long standing sexual relationship with her and how you never IDed as poly until you fell for another man...

One penis policies are definitely weird (IMO) and need to be unpacked if you're going to be bi and poly.

Enjoy your vacation! If D doesn't want to talk about heavy stuff and just wants to relax while relatives help with your brood, that's fine. This isn't really urgent, you know. Move at the pace of the slowest member (D).

I think I've been allover the place in this forum. I guess I should do one of those footers I see, for now though husband D, interest J, bff/former lover K.
I will attach K and I's story here. I had it as a separate post.
Yeah, we have a lot of unpacking to do. OPP is part of that.
We are enjoying our vacation. Both of us are. I understand this isn't urgent.
My introduction post is called "Here's to First Posts".

So, logistically should I post everything under my blog? Currently I have three threads including this one that all seem to have different parts of my story based on the questions people have asked and I've answered. I'm up for any help. I haven't been on a forum in over a decade :p I'm a bit rusty.
 

BathedInSalt

New member
K and I

Something I started picking apart yesterday is about my relationship with K.
I have so far used it as a positive, like a "Hey, look we've been "doing" polyamory all long". I'd like to pick it apart, find out why it WASN’T polyamory.

Here's the story of me (f,bi,married with kids) and K (f, bi, married with kids).
I met K when I was pregnant with my first daughter, in the Summer 9 years ago.
I was married to my eldest daughter's father, Mike. We were introduced by a mutual friend. I was invited to her bachelorette party because she didn't have many friends, having just moved from Boston with her daughter and fiance. I didn't go, I was in my 6th month of my first pregnancy and feeling very home-bound. A month or more later that K gave me a ride to an OB appointment. I didn't have a car at the time. We connected first about music. Not much later our mutual friend started helping K remove herself from her abusive relationship with her husband. We started out as friends who provided mutual support through some pretty intense situations. The timing of these parts are blurry to me, but she left her husband, it was ugly and scary. Mike and I let K stay with us for a bit, we helped her get her stuff from her own home. All very intense. During that time I had my baby, 5 weeks later my husband accidentally overdosed. (I realize that this story is glossing over details of events that deserve novels written about them, bare with me. You are free to ask questions about anything also. I don't mind talking about any of this.)

I remember the first time I felt the urgency to kiss her. I was at her house visiting. I wasn't even fully accepting of my attraction to women at the time, mostly because my husband disapproved and poked fun at me for it. I had had experiences/experiments with 2 different women by then though. Enough to know. I didn't kiss her and much later on I realized she felt that same urgency that night too. Crazy.

After Mike passed I moved into a duplex next to my grandparents for about 8 months in a city I didn't want to live in. K stayed in the other city. We were both struggling in our grief. We supported the hell out of each other in a loving way, but not a partnered one. We'd become solidly best friends though. Over the course of the year we'd kissed and fooled around, never talked about what it was, what it meant, etc. We ended up living together for a year. I watched her 2 kids when she was working, and she watched my 1 kid when I worked. We split the bills and the responsibilities. We took care of each other and each other's kids. Our girls still think they are sisters because of that time. During that time K and I only hooked up twice, made out a lot, but it always seemed so casual. During that time we dated men, sometimes we shared them. We had fun. One drunken night she asked me why "can't it just be us". At the time I hadn't considered a relationship like that with her. I wasn't in the same place. I wasn't in any place to do the work needed to in order to give a lesbian relationship a shot, especially when we already lived together and had three kids under 3 yrs old. Mostly though I was grieving, or not grieving because of my baby. I wasn't fully accepting of who I was. We helped each other build a foundation so we could go our separate ways financially.

Not long after we met our husbands (2010). She married first, we still carried on our relationship. We spent a lot of time together, took care of each other, we hooked up often ( I realize that word is so vague, but it's everything you think of - the whole gamut from holding hands to sex). It wasn't 100% sanctioned by her new husband. He was aware, but mostly after the fact. My husband however knew from the very beginning that K and I had an intimate relationship, both emotional and physical. When I met my husband K and I had already been something for 2 years. She and I tried to cool down the physical stuff. It didn't always work, mostly because we would get so drunk and lose all impulse control. At a party in July of 2011 I was pregnant with my son, K's husband basically ousted me as bisexual at a party at his house. He was "kidding" and just kept asking me "you like women right? until I just said very loudly, "yes, J, I like women, is that a problem for you?" I said it right next to my husband, I said it so the party could hear. I was pushed out of the closet and you know what? It was great.

In September 2011 our (husband and my) son was born stillborn. Again K was there for me, every day.

A year later something changed in my heart about the way I felt for K. I really fell in love with her, I really let myself sink into those deep feelings. Then next time we were intimate it was more bonding and less purely physical (for me). She could tell something had changed too. At that point we both confronted these feelings and had the familiar conversation that happens when you are practicing monogamy (even if we weren’t practicing it well or good for everyone involved.) “I’m in love with you, you’re in love with me, we both love our families.” My husband was ok with me loving K, her husband was NOT ok with it. Neither of us wanted to break up our families, she had 3 kids total by then, I had 2 and one was an infant still. I never entertained the idea of poly then, I never thought I would leave my husband and be with K now. That was my choice. So, we backed off again.

Around 2014 word got round to our whole friend group about how serious K and I had gotten. It fractured the group. There were about 3 events: Oct., NYE, and in March. I’ll tell you about March. I hadn’t seen K since a NYE party at my house. We had, had a huge fight then. I was nervous about seeing her, she was nervous about seeing me too. It didn’t take long before we were up to our old antics though. We were at a local music festival. We, everyone started drinking early. By the end of the day I found myself having a sobbing conversation with K. I had abandoned my husband and what was worse was that I didn’t care. I didn’t care about him, I didn’t care about my kids, my friends. I had one care, her. Maybe two if I include myself. That night opened my eyes as to how selfish I could truly be, how awful I could act, how unhealthy K and I had become. It changed my world. I could clearly see how much dysfunction K and I were capable of. K’s husband left her at the festival. My husband, well he handled it well, but this event is going to be rehashed real soon because I don’t actually know the ways in which the event affected him.

Out of self-preservation (among other things) I pulled back from everyone. I ended two friendships, one never recovered. The other was K, but I ended it because I needed to figure out my heart and couldn’t do it talking to her all the time. I could no longer tell what was manipulated, what was alcohol fueled and yeah (if you couldn’t see it), aspects of our relationship were co-dependent.
The following almost 2 years I learned how to support myself. It was great for me to be my own best friend. It did wonders for me. I combatted self esteem issues, jealousy, learned to make new friends and invested in old friendships that I didn’t “have time” for in the past. When K and I started talking again we were both different and better versions of ourselves. She had recognized she was an alcoholic and was seeking treatment. So, for the last 2 years we’ve had our best friendship back. We’ve consciously not picked up again with a sexual relationship. Her sobriety certainly helps, but I’ve also changed. I didn’t like any of the negative ramifications of our physically intimate moments. That catches you up to today. We are still best friends, still love each other to the moon and back. Still supporting one another. Still caring for each other’s kids. Still sharing life. Consciously keeping and nourishing our friendship.

9 years later, K and I are still one another’s “person”. For the sake of my primary goal (figuring out why it wasn’t polyamory) I’ve left out all of the good moments, the romance, the tenderness and tried to keep it to the facts. We fucked up a lot. I didn’t act ethically always. We were bad for each other at times, we were great for eachother. I wouldn’t be the same me right now if it weren’t for her.
I’m asking you now, how was this polyamory and how wasn’t it. I feel like I’m consulting the experts on this one, it’s ok to be brutal because I know how shitty parts of this are, how shameful.

You’ll just have to trust that there were a million other moments of good stuff. Moments where everyone in this story bonded, shared wonderful experiences, acted out of love. Even K’s husband and I have recovered our friendship. We’re all at a pretty good place now. We’ve all grown. So much.
 

Shaya

New member
Hi Salt.

You can link other threads of yours when you write a new post by pressing the url link icon located next to the options to bold, italicize and underline your text, if you want. Not sure if you've seen that option yet or if you preferred the copy paste method you just used.

Your husband has less of an interest doing poly than you. I can totally understand why he's not hammering himself to learn about poly. Makes sense to me. He doesn't necessarily want poly. What does he want? If he's like me, he may be wanting a better relationship with you. If so, maybe he would like to mix up poly reading with some relationship books to improve your joint monogamy. Every poly resource you share with him sends him a message that you want J. Every relationship resource you read with him tells him you want him. I may be reading too much of my situation into yours (always a problem when talking to internet strangers rather than a trained psychologist), but that's how I imagine your husband ticking. Feel free to ignore me if I do not seem to be describing an issue relevant to you or your husband, please.

Finally, you ask why your relationship with K (SoulSister) isn't polyamory. I gave a vague answer about labels in your other thread. I see from the context of this thread that you actually want to know what aspects were not polyamory so that you can make your next attempt polyamorous. That's an interesting way of looking at things. In that case, I'll be happy to oblige with the caveat that I'm pretty new to these forums and find myself correct as often as I find myself corrected by others. So... I could be wrong about my list of why what you had may not have been polyamory. And just so you know, I think what you had with Soulsister was beautiful, at least from your eyes, not sure I know it from Soulsister's husband's perspective. But, things that could be different next time you choose to do polyamory:
  • Consent. Letting Soulsister's husband know after the act is honest but clearly not ideal. If alcohol is a factor then avoid alcohol. Can't blame alcohol.
  • Polyamory, to me, also isn't just about love and consent. It's also about being able to maintain your old relationships whilst pursuing your new relationships, otherwise, it's just serial monogamy.
  • There are other aspects that I feel are important to healthy polyamory that you probably haven't had the chance to demonstrate yet. For instance, how sane can you remain if SoulSister found another woman with whom she connected really REALLY well with and wanted to spend more time with this person than with you? I am, of course, talking about jealousy and insecurity. To me, they are two separate issues. If you are unable to control your jealousy and it negatively impacts your metamours (repeatedly), then that to me says that you are struggling with polyamory, despite the ability to love multiple people or to be consensual and all the rest of it. And it doesn't mean you can't do polyamory - plenty of polyamorous relationships have jealousy, but I've also read of many relationships that got vetoed or fizzled because of jealousy. Insecurity is potentially another issue. Polyamory to me is as much about loving yourself as it is about loving multiple people. After all, there will come a dark lonely night when you are feeling emotionally unwell, but all the people who claim to love you are off with their other partners, forcing you to spend a long lonely night with just yourself. How self reliant are you if no one is there for you? Breakups are common in polyamory too. How self reliant are you if no one is there for you? How do you handle a breakup and how will you keep the emotional turmoil from destroying your other relationships? I think Redpepper's blog has an example of one breakup causing ripples that affected many other relationships. Although polyamory is by definition consensual non monogamy with love, there are many other requirements for healthy polyamory. And you've had no chance to demonstrate whether you can do these yet, though I suspect you'll be better at it than most. I suspect there are many more things I haven't yet encountered in my short time here, but these are the ones that stand out to me most.

In summary, I feel many humans are non monogamous by nature. Polyamory is one type of ethical non monogamy. I don't belive we are born polyamorous and i think it's hard to practice healthy polyamory by accident without learning first from others. Doing polyamory with SoulSister without first having read on the ethics of polyamory would have been near impossible. You were up against terrible odds. You mention you lived with and had sexual relations with SoulSister for a while. Maybe the relationship escalator worked against you since society enforces that the goal in life is to marry (to a man) and have kids, leading you two apart. Maybe you feel heteronormativity or heteroprivilege worked against you when you both felt you had to choose your husbands and family over each other. I reiterate - without the philosophy of polyamory, you were up against impossible odds.

I think you did the best you could without a theory of polyamory. I can see why you're so excited about Polyamory, but would caution against expecting your husband to be as excited as you are, or expecting him to ever be okay with polyamory. Polyamory is not the relationship he signed up for when he married you. Go cautiously and slowly would be my advice, to both you and me actually.

Good luck, Salt. Thank you for your blog, and I look forward to seeing more of your writings.
 
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BathedInSalt

New member
"Every poly resource you share with him sends him a message that you want J. Every relationship resource you read with him tells him you want him. "

Doesn't it also say that I want my husband?
Doesn't it say that I trust my husband and want him to understand me?

I am afraid that every time I bring it up I am hurting him, but he doesn't appear to react that way.
 

BathedInSalt

New member
Shaya, you figured out what I was trying to get into. I wanted to see the missteps. I wanted to know if I got anything "right" too. It is hopeful that you said I did the best I could without a theory of poly. That was nice to hear.
I think what SoulSister and I have is beautiful. Her husband Jim saw it as cheating and lying and ugly. Jim and I are in a better place now, a much better place.
I have also asked myself "what kind of marriage DID we sign up for?"
I don't blame alcohol, I do know SoulSister's sobriety helps us both stay within boundaries.
Maintaining current relationships: I think that's what I'm learning now. I've had experience with it though. D and SoulSister, plus I am a very attentive friend. I nurture my friendships like watering plants. I don't think this will be a big stretch for me to do well. I can see what others need pretty easily. The logistics of another official romantic relationship though I have no idea what I'll do, how I'll do.

  • There are other aspects that I feel are important to healthy polyamory that you probably haven't had the chance to demonstrate yet. For instance, how sane can you remain if SoulSister found another woman with whom she connected really REALLY well with and wanted to spend more time with this person than with you? I am, of course, talking about jealousy and insecurity. To me, they are two separate issues. If you are unable to control your jealousy and it negatively impacts your metamours (repeatedly), then that to me says that you are struggling with polyamory, despite the ability to love multiple people or to be consensual and all the rest of it. And it doesn't mean you can't do polyamory - plenty of polyamorous relationships have jealousy, but I've also read of many relationships that got vetoed or fizzled because of jealousy. Insecurity is potentially another issue. Polyamory to me is as much about loving yourself as it is about loving multiple people. After all, there will come a dark lonely night when you are feeling emotionally unwell, but all the people who claim to love you are off with their other partners, forcing you to spend a long lonely night with just yourself. How self reliant are you if no one is there for you? Breakups are common in polyamory too. How self reliant are you if no one is there for you? How do you handle a breakup and how will you keep the emotional turmoil from destroying your other relationships? I think Redpepper's blog has an example of one breakup causing ripples that affected many other relationships. Although polyamory is by definition consensual non monogamy with love, there are many other requirements for healthy polyamory. And you've had no chance to demonstrate whether you can do these yet, though I suspect you'll be better at it than most. I suspect there are many more things I haven't yet encountered in my short time here, but these are the ones that stand out to me most.

So much this. This are all things I won't know until it happens. I can theorize all day, but I won't know. These are all great points and questions though.
 

Shaya

New member
Hi Salt,

I'm glad if any of what I've said helps. Sorry if I got a few off mark, but it's probably to be expected given the impersonal nature of the internet, and if your husband and J are saying "you're good", then that's all that matters.:)

Regarding your comment on "theorizing all day"...

People have sometimes told me that I can only theorize so far and need to do it to get it. I agree, to an extent. I am a firm believer that you learn more from your mistakes. So if the average number of sexual relationships that a person goes through these days is 8 (I'm sure I have a link somewhere for that), those people would (presumably) be relationship experts by their eighth. However, I'm unwilling to burn through 8 relationships at my age in order to gain relationship expertise. My wife is too important to me. We choose to grow together by reading and theorizing. Nothing wrong with theorizing so don't sell yourself short on it. I cautioned earlier to go slower, but I believe you are actually going relatively slow already. In fact, Kevin, Ravenscroft and I have all commented in your opening thread that we found your slow approach to poly to be refreshing. Just read a few more of the introductions and you'll see we mean.

You're good. Carry on. I wish you better luck than what my wife and I had. :)
 

Magdlyn

Moderator
Staff member
So if the average number of sexual relationships that a person goes through these days is 8 (I'm sure I have a link somewhere for that), those people would (presumably) be relationship experts by their eighth. However, I'm unwilling to burn through 8 relationships at my age in order to gain relationship expertise.

8?? Oops. :eek:
 
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