opened my Heart to Polyamory but feel used


New member
So I have posted a couple times here and read allot of the other post to get advice, but I’m at a lost. For those new here I’ll give a back story and catch you all up to date.

3 years ago my wife was an alcoholic and meet a guy from our church who was also a recovering alcoholic 18 years sober while on a church retreat. He convinced her that she was also and to seek help. She was hiding her drinking from me and I had no clue how much she was drinking. Well this lead to a friendship between church guy and her. In my gut I didn’t like the way this was going, She was always saying that they are friends and not to worry. So I put my jealousy aside and let them go to AA meetings together. This all started in the May/June timeframe. I was thankful for church guy for helping my wife with her issues and even invited him to a Major league Baseball game. So around august I decided that I also needed a group to talk about what was happening with my life and alcohol. I knew my wife went to this one AA chat group online. She had meet her sponsor there, Dave. He was in England and had just finished the 12 steps and was one year sober. She was making good progress with her steps and she was staying sober. Once again she told me not to worry. I was hoping they had an AL-Anon group where I could get help. So I made an account and logged in, Well they didn’t have anything for me, but out of curiosity I did a search for my wife’s name. (I know ethically wrong but I had a gut feeling). In my search I found a post from my wife where she stated she had to leave the chat cause she had a date with her boyfriend. And that she was also in love with one guy while still married and in love with me. At the time I thought it was church guy. So that evening I confronted her about it and found out that she was not in love with church guy but heavily flirting, but in love with Dave her sponsor and loved me didn’t know if she was in love with me.

So I had a lot to think about. I knew her sobriety journey had to come first. I also for some reason was angry with church guy, but not with Dave. I couldn’t explain why I felt this way. I just did. That is when I did a search for what to do when your wife is in love with two people. I came across the site morethentwo which explained Polyamory to me. I did a lot of reading about it and after a week I brought it up to my wife. I told her that she could have Dave in her life. In a Polyamory relationship. They were making great progress in her sobriety and I didn’t feel jealous of him. We dealt with church guy, who I later found out had whispered in my wife’s ear on the way back from the retreat that he loved her and then denied it. So after getting Church guy out of our life and my wife and me talking allot more we were doing good. She had asked to go visit Dave in England. I said yes. This turned into going to see Dave a 3 more time. Everything still seemed ok with our relationship. We were still communicating, still being intimate. Then Dave came right before Covid hit and was stuck here for 3 months. During that time it gave a look at to what it would be like if Dave moved in full time. We got along, did projects together. The only complaint I told my wife was that I felt left out a lot of the time. But I knew this was still NRE. That after a while this would settle down. She said she was sorry about that. Over the next year and a half there were several more trips to see him and my wife was trying to figure out how to get him here. Each time her coming back in tears wondering when she was going to be able to see him again. Not I’m glad to see you. In August of 2021 he came here on a student visa. I tried to give them space to get accustom to the big change. By December things were not going well, I was being left out of things and not being part of things unless it was all three of us. At one point my wife yelled at me cause I tried to hold her hand while watching a tv show. Saying I was being needy. I went to her and told her I was unhappy that I didn’t know if I could do this anymore. She interpreted as I wanted a divorce. When I reality I was referring to Polyamory. We continued to talk and we both need to work on seeing the others needs. That I had no problem with Dave, even though she said I had blown him off or grunted at him when he had talked to me. By the end of the talk I though we ended good.

This good vibe lasted for about till Feb and then another argument over not wanting to do anything with me. This lead to her slowly distancing her self from me. I stayed friendly and did not keep track of what she did with Dave. But it was easy to see that she would go to the store and kids practices with Dave, but when I went to the store or practices I was always by myself. So we went away in July to a concert that I had purchased tickets for back for March. Just the two of us and I hoped this would be a re-connection. The trip was ok, but she was still distant from me. We had another argument of the way back about how our relationship was going. I thought we had resolved stuff, she thought we hadn’t.

So last night I told her I was unhappy with our relationship. That she didn’t want to hold my hand, didn’t want to be intimate, didn’t want to do anything with just me. She said the only thing she could give me was friendship. That things had not been the same with us since I said I wanted a divorce back in December. I told her I never said those words. I said I didn’t know if I could do this anymore. Referring to Polyamory. I said things have not been the same since Dave moved in full time. She then tried to say that do to her surgery that happened a month before Dave moved here her hormones were now different. She said I had a choice that I could be her friend and help take care of the kids and see where things went or we could separate and I could see other people. I told her that I didn’t want a divorce and that was harsh to see you and Dave fight all the time, but you still have desire to be with him. She just came back with the same answer. I left with telling her we could be friends.

I can’t help but feel that I have been used. That I opened my heart to something new and was taken advantage of. I have been married to my wife for 22 years and she is everything to me. But hearing that she can only offer me friendship is hard. I have no clue what will happen when Dave finished this year of School and can’t get a work Visa and has to move back to England. I do know I can’t go back to the back and forth. I also don’t know if living together as friends for the kids how that will pan out.
I'm so sorry. :(

Just to clarify... Dave was 1 year sober and started sponsoring your wife. And they started dating before she was one year sober, and before you and her really opened the marriage? So basically cheating on agreements? (Did she ever apologizing/make repairs for the cheating?)

Then you suggest poly so this would be on the level, and you were patient the the NRE thing. And still basically wife neglected her connection with you?

Then you said you weren't sure you could do poly any more, and she took it like you wanted a divorce and further distanced herself.

Even though the misunderstanding was discovered later, at this point in time she's not interested in rekindling a romantic connection with you . She can only offer coparenting/friendship.

And now you are trying to figure out what to do next. You don't want to divorce at this time. But living together "just as friends" to make coparenting easier doesn't sound thrilling to you either.

Is that about it?

If this was a cheating start, she didn't apologize or take responsibility, and she declined marriage counseling, I guess I don't understand why you thought polyamory would fix anything. I guess because you love her and didn't want to think about a break up at that point. And still don't.

To me it sounds like she was checking out. Like... going through the motions of marriage but not really in it any more. Maybe even wanting you to be the breaker upper so she didn't have to be?

Did you go to counseling on your own?

She said I had a choice that I could be her friend and help take care of the kids and see where things went or we could separate and I could see other people

It sounds like a really tough situation for you. You can love her a lot, but you cannot make her love you back in the same way.

And in a marriage? You cannot do the work of two spouses. :(

So maybe it could be best to live apart? Like a trial separation? You still have to do the coparenting tasks but you don't have to be living with her and Dave.

Back when we first started she agreed to go to counseling after she finished her steps. I agreed to this. It wasn't till i brought up marriage counseling last night that I got the NO. No I do not go to counseling. Have though about it. I understand that I cannot make her love me. She is her own person. While she works a job, there is no way she could support a place to live around here. Rent is as much as she makes in a month. I am the main breadwinner in the house.
I know a lot can be said about this situation. But what this all culminated to is your wife breaking up with you. And if you can’t figure out what to do next maybe you should seek solo counseling to talk about your attachment issues.
Wow, I feel exhausted after reading that original post.

Yeah I don't see anything here that is healthy or ethical. "Relationship broken, add more people" never does anyone any good, and you're not supposed to get involved emotionally/romantically/sexually with your AA sponsor. That sponsor dude should have known better. Your wife needs to *really* get help for her alcoholism because it seems like she's replacing one vice with another and just running away from herself.

You need an adultery forum, not a polyamory forum.
Hi ironwill,

I have to say, it does sound like your wife has used you; she has not handled her NRE well at all. I'm sorry that has happened, I know you love her, you certainly don't want to divorce her, I don't think you even want to separate from her, but I am thinking a separation might be the best thing. She can find a cheaper place to live, can't she? or she can look for better-paying employment. One thing I'll agree with, is that all of your options suck at this point. I am very sorry you find yourself in this predicament.

Kevin T.
She may have used your patience to enable her soft exit from your marriage, yes. Honestly, let her go as gracefully as you can and move on to the next phase of your life. Prioritize you.
Back when we first started she agreed to go to counseling after she finished her steps. I agreed to this. It wasn't till i brought up marriage counseling last night that I got the NO.

Sounds like she is no longer willing to attend.

No I do not go to counseling. Have though about it.

You could attend on your own for just your own benefit and extra support as you navigate this next chapter and come to terms with all that has happened.

She said I had a choice that I could be her friend and help take care of the kids and see where things went or we could separate and I could see other people.

Those are three separate things to me.

I think no matter what happens in your romantic relationship with the mom? You could be present as a decent coparent to the children and meet your parenting responsibilities. Try to be as peaceful coparents as possible. Model THAT for the kids, in case they ever have to break up their own adult relationships and deal in coparenting.

In your romantic relationship with the mom? If you have been bending over backwards trying to whitewash a cheating affair with polyamory to "make it ok" on your end? And on her end she does not apologize for or own the cheating start? And this has become pretty much an unsatisfactory relationship for you and she's not interested in repair, reconnecting, or revitalizing? You sound like you are grieving. Because you still love her a lot, but are starting to accept that she's mostly checked out of the marriage. But she doesn't want to be the actual "breaker upper."

Being good exes and friends? Well, could just be exes who are polite when you have to see each other for kid things. But you don't have to be friends after if both people don't want that.

I left with telling her we could be friends.

Like exes and friends? Or like "friends" where you are secretly hoping when Dave's student visa runs out and he goes home, you can reconnect with wife? Could you please be willing to clarify where you are at?

While she works a job, there is no way she could support a place to live around here. Rent is as much as she makes in a month. I am the main breadwinner in the house.

That kind of thing you sort out with a mediator if you choose to move on to a trial separation and/or final divorce. Be fair about financial support for spouse/kids, since you share children and they need seeing to when they are living with her.

But decouple as much as possible in stages.

I knew a divorcing family that got a 2 bedroom flat. And then the children stayed in the family home throughout and the parents took turns living out at their room of the flat or doing their week as the "home parent" in the parent bedroom so the children's routines were not disturbed more than needed during their trial separation.

Then eventually when the trial came to an end, and it was firm that divorce was needed? They sold the family home and each took two separate homes. It was intentional decoupling. If it can be managed? Great.

If it cannot? Well... whoever can maintain the family home stays. Then the others move out to a flat they can deal with. Maybe even with roomies. Or some other kind of plan. If the family home has the space, the parents take separate bedrooms in it maybe. Or if you make the most money, you take a small flat for just you and kids when you have them. Because YOU can afford to, and then you get away from wife and Dave fighting all the time. (The kids are ok in this kind of environment?)

One divorce family I knew got next door houses. Another one did "in the same apartment complex" apartments to be able to be separate, but still handy for coparenting tasks.

My DH is adult child of divorce and he wished the parents had not stayed "together for the children" because all the kids knew, and living in an argument house was ugh. Better had they divorced and lived apart, and even if the kids had to shuttle back and forth, because their home life would have been quieter with either single parent. Not constant fights.

Again, I encourage you to seek individual counseling to help your process all this stuff and formulate a HEALTHY plan for yourself. And think about counseling for the kids if they need too. Your wife can arrange her own.

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This is an ugly harmful situation. Like ref said, your wife should not be dating until one year sober, and should definitely not be dating her long-distance so-called sponsor. He should not be anyone's sponsor if he doesn't respect the parameters! Jesus. Both of them are being unethical and devious.

And their long-term plan is shit. From here, from what you've said so far, it seems to me she is a "recovering alcoholic," who just switched her "hidden" addiction to alcohol to hidden affairs with two men. The high of the booze was just replaced with the high of infatuation (and probably duper's delight-- the thrill of hiding things from you).

Dave has a student visa but you and she have been married for 22 years? So is he a younger student dating an older, long-time married woman with kids? What is her plan once his student visa runs out? Abandon the kids and move to the UK? Also, you say wife and Dave fight all the time. They are no more stable than you and she are, it seems.

I agree, you definitely could use some counseling to get your own ducks in a row. This is a powder keg right here. Your kids, who sound young, need stability. If you won't seek therapy for your own benefit, do it for your kids.