Paradigm Shift to Polyamory

Manno

New member
My wife and I have very recently decided to become polyamorous and while the circumstances to us arriving to this point would be shocking to most people, I'm not completely shocked, but I know I have a few things that I need to come to terms with before I move much further.

And while I'm really feeling compelled to write, I'm not sure where I should begin with my post. (midpost: and now I see it will be a dissertation! end of post: yep, very long.)

My wife and I have been together for ten years, and we knew one another for several years before our relationship began, and we sacrificed everything to be with one another, committing to one another before we actually began anything romantic. In that, we're both keenly aware of one another's attractions to other people, her bisexual history made it both fun and exciting for us to people watch from afar and we found that we enjoyed one another flirting and making out with others. Our rule had always been that it was okay to do anything up to sex.

After several years together, we were married and then had a daughter who was heavily dependent on her requiring a great deal of attention for five years. So much that she lost a lot of her identity of self as she took on the responsibility of being "mom." Recently, at six, my daughter's independence has finally arrived. My wife became has finally been able to build some of her identity, has wanted to get out of the house more.

We recently moved across the country to Oregon from the buckle of the bible belt in NW Louisiana. We both sought out to meet new people, and while I've built a solid group of colleagues from work as well as a few fellow transplantees from Louisiana, she's done a bit better building a network of closer friends.

Over the past year, she's developed a friendship with a guy in our new town, but that was very slow at first, as she was still rarely energetic enough to motivate herself to go out. In fact, this summer she was away for several weeks but her friend and I hung out and went to a few parties together. I learned that he was a great guy and I'd hang out with him more, but work has had me bogged down, I'm a school teacher and the school year is still pretty new.

As the recent weeks have unfolded, she's gotten more energy and has wanted to go out more frequently, and usually with him. So I started to realize that a tighter bond had been established between the two. Nothing stated, no problemo.

This Friday, I got home and we had a talk about polyamory an issue with which we've fleetingly discussed in the past (I had friends that called themselves swingers), but nothing formal, no decisions either way. But in our talk, I learned that she really had developed genuine feelings for our friend and that they were fooling around (no surprise), but at no sacrifice to our relationship, and then after we really enjoyed ourselves, she went out.

I usually wait up for her, as she's usually keyed up and wants to tell me about how the night went and if she had someone hit on her or flirt with her, we usually bring that with us into the bedroom as she has done likewise with me over the years.

Friday I had fallen asleep on the couch and woke immediately as I heard the key in the door, it had been a helluva week. But when she come inside our home, she immediately sat down next to me, and told me, with no secrecy, no guilt about what she had done, no desire to hurt, but just honestly, that she had sex with her friend.

It was three a.m., though there are no curfews in our house. But that didn't make it easier for me to think clearly. I did not know what to say, but my biggest surprise was that I was not taken aback at all by this news. It didn't bother me, I felt no jealousy, no rage, and in fact, part of me was absolutely okay that she didn't ask my permission before she went out to do so. (I think I wouldn't have been really cool with that, and I'm not certain if I would have said yes, but I'll get to that part next.)

I was okay with this, but two things started to bother me. The first has been a problem since I realized that their friendship was formulating stronger over the past few weeks: I don't have a close friend right now, someone I can confide in, a male friend, or a platonic relationship, and I began to feel lonely and a little insecure, which leads to my other problem.

I've always been highly confident, sometimes even to a fault, but that has changed over time. During the last six years, our sex life has been severely low. As in sometimes one sexual encounter in several months time, and an entire year after her pregnancy. During that time, I would make advances and be shot down over and over only to have her tell me that if I really wanted to go and find someone to have sex with, I could, but I should know that I would never have sex with my wife again. And while I really wanted to have sexual encounters with female friends of mine, I never pursued them because of those consequences she laid down. While the frequency was low, those that happened were intense and I could not think of sacrificing that connection with my wife. But while I was hopeful, I still felt rejected then, which leads me back to my insecurities. Furthermore, I have been hesitant to pursue any friendship with women whom I was even slightly attracted because I felt like I would hit this impasse and would only be more frustrated in the end. The only apology that was needed early saturday morning, was because she said she feels horrible that she put me through that while she was sexually dormant.

My only problem with how this has gone down is not the manner in which she steered our relationship by sleeping with her friend. In fact, my initial reaction kind of sealed the thought that I have always felt that this lifestyle was really for me, especially after I heard about the emotional void that I heard about from my swinger friends' escapades. But what I have a problem with was the restrictions, frustrations, rejections, and insecurity that came about the past six years of our life. And being that I'm not looking to rush into a secondary relationship, I don't want to resent my wife while she's enjoying hers.

So now, I'm not certain where I go. Should I start searching for someone to help fill this loneliness? I honestly don't know how I would even start looking and then approach someone sounding as lame as, "Hey, you know I'm married, but my wife is totally okay with me dating other women," and I'm fearful of that rejection, damned insecurities.

We've always had a wide open system of communication, and we're not jealous people, and we have a grand sense of partnership in our marriage. However, both know now, I think she's learned a lot more recently, that the traditional closed marriage relationship is for neither of us.

I just want to make sure I don't wind up resenting her in the future because of our past.

Any advice? (and yes, I'm done writing)
 

rolypoly

New member
Thanks for sharing your story. The first thing that strikes me is the imbalance of, what I'm understanding to be, freedom for her to enjoy sex with her friend but the consequence of severing sexual ties with her forever if you do the same. Am I reading this correctly?
 

Manno

New member
Clarification

Thought I was specific enough...

No, the restrictions of our relationship have been lifted on both sides. I would not believe it would realistic nor do I think I'd still be cool with this if the gates weren't opened on both sides.

-M
 

rolypoly

New member
Thought I was specific enough...

You might very well have been. I have been known to misread. I'm glad that things are balanced, though.

I understand that insecurity of approaching people with "Hey, my wife's ok if I sleep with you" or whatever variety that takes.

If this helps at all, I have unconsciously attracted many "open", "poly" type lovers in the past, simply because that's how I'm wired. I'm beginning to find it amazing how many people that I've clicked with have ended up being poly to some degree.

Like attracts like. Maybe you will begin attracting people who will already be open to this lifestyle and it will evidence itself in some kind of organic unfolding, rather than the awkward approach??

Hope that's a help...
 

Manno

New member
Thanks

really just getting that off of my chest was a big deal.

I don't have anyone really to talk to about this that gets it. She does.
 

rolypoly

New member
Oh, you know, I was thinking as I type that, "This could be taken the wrong way, but these people are mature and will understand what I mean".

Thanks for proving me wrong. HAHAHA!!
 

redpepper

New member
I think I get what your wife has been through. I have a six year old too. I had crazy hormones, got over weight and breast fed until my boy was 3. Didn't make me feel sexy at all and I did not feel like having sex at all! Now it has totally turned around. I had a bit of a time where I was in party mode over my new freedom and felt so good. My husband and I talked about getting back into poly at that time and it came about in our lives again slowly with a lot of interesting interludes.

I would suggest that your wife told you to go out and find a woman to have sex with because of her own frustration with her lack of freedom from your daughter, her body not being what it used to be and the seemingly endlessness of feeling like that. Now she has found that she can have some freedom back, her body back and be desirious of sex again. She is just beginning to enjoy that I'm sure. Try and remember that she said all that and acted like that in the past. This is now and a new leave has turned.

Do I think she should of done what she did? No! She cheated in my book. Her having sex with her friend should of been discussed with you in great detail in terms of what you could both do together in order to maintain your bond and connection. It should of been talked about with the friend and everyones boundaries and rules discussed. Of course they seem to get blown out of the water anyway after the act happens and re-thought out, but that would of been the most respectful to you.

Is all lost? I don't think so. Its not like you were blind sided. You knew that things were in the works and were not surprised or concerned. I think you should do your best to put the past behind you in terms of your wifes early childhood years and move forward. I think that you should ask for what you want from her in terms of intimacy and strive to work on your sexual relationship together before she sleeps with her friend again. If this is someone she wants to continue with then now is the time to work on boundaries and rules with the friend before they become closer.

It will be interesting to see how the energy between them changes as sometimes a bit of a sexual release is all that is needed and the desire to have sex again diminishes forever or at least a time. Use that time to regain connection with your wife. Be really honest about what you want. That is your right. She can always say no and if she does then you will have to negotiate what she wants to do and what she doesn't.

Lots of communicating to do. Get at it my friend.
 

LovingRadiance

Active member
Updates appreciated. (hint hint).

Feel free to make some friends on here! We're generally all willing to "listen" when we are here!

I wouldn't run out looking for a girlfriend.
But do work on going out to meet people, make some closer friendships. You deserve that and if one ends up being more-well wadda ya know!
 

Manno

New member
Thanks for the help and the humor!

Roly: I was abbreviated today in my replies, as I was at work, and my first remark about being "specific enough" was because I'm a little long winded usually.

Red Pepper: I really appreciate the advice and while I know this happens a lot, I didn't know many people who have gone through it. As for how this all turned a new leaf, I don't feel cheated or disrespected, though I understand every relationship is a bit different. Throughout our lives together, we've paid particular attention to make sure we talk through everything. And your last comment about getting that sexual release out of the way in their friendship, I'm fairly certain it needed to happen, for them and actually for us.

LovingRadiance: Thank you for the encouragement, and I'll keep you posted, though I feel a lot better now that I simply focused and wrote it all down.
 

Mark1npt

New member
Mono......don't you ever take a giant step back and unload? Oh, that picture.......I'm in dire need of a mental eraser.......lol
 

redpepper

New member
Red Pepper: I really appreciate the advice and while I know this happens a lot, I didn't know many people who have gone through it. As for how this all turned a new leaf, I don't feel cheated or disrespected, though I understand every relationship is a bit different. Throughout our lives together, we've paid particular attention to make sure we talk through everything. And your last comment about getting that sexual release out of the way in their friendship, I'm fairly certain it needed to happen, for them and actually for us.

Yes, I didn't think you felt cheated on, but some others might see it as so if it wasn't talked about. You know your own relationship and it's boundaries, it sounds like a "blip" like that is just a "blip," so be it.

It sounds like you are in the habit of talking and that things have settled. I do hope you can get through your thoughts of loneliness though. My husband went through that terribly at the beginning of my relationship to Mono. He took it upon himself to better himself and his self esteem (he is kinda like that, always wants to be the best person ever... no small reason I chose TWO men like that! I respect it) and do things that he wouldn't normally do because I am around. He blogs a lot now on polyamory among other things and has gotten back to some long lost hobbies that he gave up when we had a child. He too gave up things as did I. We both are back on course with our own interests and are much happier for it.

I hope you are able to find what it is that can make you happy too although I don't suggest you start with finding a girlfriend.... one relationship starting is a lot already, settling into that dynamic first might be better until everyone has settled. My husband started a new relationship a few months ago after 8 months of working on the dynamic between Mono, him and I. He tried a relationship after a month of Mono and I getting together out of loneliness and boredom and it was too much drama for us all to handle at the time. Of course, again, you know your limits and your own dynamic.
 

Manno

New member
When the going gets weird...

...The weird turn pro. -HST

This line has been a great description of my life so far, and this recent "shift" hasn't been any different.

Again, as I think I stated in the context of the tomb that was my first post, that I've learned just as much if not more about myself that about my wife in all of these recent events.

I've found over the last few days that I am really invested in my wife's relationship experience with J (as I'll refer to him).

She went to visit him again Monday, after minimal talking, over the weekend, and I was just as concerned as she was that he was not weirded out or what not. I still haven't talked to him, and A (as I'll refer to my wife) has been really wanting me to go play cards with him or do something with him. But the last thing that I wanted to do was go play a poker game with a bunch of folks, yet not being able to talk with him personally about things that were imperative to say to him.

I told her that the first time I hang out with him I need to have her there with us so we can all talk about this together, place everything on the table, and then move from there.

We're supposed to do this friday evening, and honestly, I wish it was tonight so that it wouldn't still be on my mind. However, when A said she'd arrange it and be present, an instant layer of awkwardness was removed from my perceived future discussion with J.

I got out of the house last night, and while all I did was watch a movie with two friends (non-couple) of ours in a living room, the time was well spent.

Still haven't talked to someone else in person about this, and I'm not sure how I will approach it with anyone that already knows A and I because I don't want them to be weirded out.
 

Manno

New member
this is on my mind evidently

I'm really trying to figure out who I can in fact talk to about this:
My tight friends: My best guy friend just had his wife cheat on him with his brother and leave their marriage of 8 years for said brother. This guy's really not keen on open relationships as well. My wife and I's "fantasy unicorn," and her boyfriend are not options either, she's a little to tightly wound up and doesn't like to share really deep feelings (much the reason of why we know she's only a fantasy) even though we're tight friends (we moved across the country together). Her boyfriend is a man of MANY insecurities and jealousness, and I just don't think he'd respond well to this.

My casual friends are really closer to A than me, and while she and I flirt openly with many of them, she does so more and I'm really waiting for both of us to reveal this choice to /some/ of them.

My personal casual friends/acquaintances: Most of these are coworkers, which I already do not share many of my lifestyle choices.

My family: they live 2500 miles away, and while I know they'd be okay, my brother is having a rocky time with his marriage because an extramarital affair and I do not want to add any drama to that mix.

A new development comes from a dinner party we through on Sunday night (we're really big foodies and are friends reap the benefits) At the party, I spent time with this a friend of ours with whom I'm attracted, my wife took notice and encouraged me to pursue my attraction to her (the friend I went out with last night did as well, though she subtly revealed it). But at the same time, I don't know how I'm going to approach this, and I don't want to weird her out by asking to meet with her without A.
 

Manno

New member
Yet another update

So, I agreed that I'd keep this forum posted into the happenings of this paradigm shift, and now I'm at the end of a full week since we really for sure went down this path.

Despite both of us having some hellish physical afflictions, I'm learning how to deal with migranes and she has some siatic nerve problems on her back, we're doing well together and have learned a few more things about our relationship.

The big news: I kinda have a relaxed atmosphere hang-out date with a friend of ours whom I'm really attracted. Now I'm just kinda wondering how to approach this, and what have you.

I got out of the house this to meet with a friend, K, and unbeknownst to me, A (my wife) told her about the goings on in our relationship, and that night I mentioned another friend of ours, S, that I really enjoyed visiting with at our dinner party. K provided me with her number and we've made some plans.

I'm not sure if our friend K has briefed S on my relationship, and I'm wondering if I'd completely surprising her if I bring anything up. Maybe it is just dating jitters I've never really felt since the 90s.

I know I'm not the only person new to polyamory who has felt this way.

Any tips?
 

redpepper

New member
Welcome back to dating jitters.

The only tips I have is to make sure you stay really in tune with your wife and her feelings. Even if she says she is fine, that can change on a dime, so keep asking. Better to annoy her with asking how she is too much than to find she has been hurting and you didn't know it. Otherwise, there's the fact that you need to make sure you balance your time and energy accordingly with your wife and daughter. Try to leave your excitment at the door about a particular person and use it to fuel a good home life.
Have fun :)
 
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Manno

New member
thanks Red Pepper

Are you sure you don't have a Ph.D? :p

No, I'm a little lucky on this situation. A knows this woman and she's kind of fond of her as well, and she did in fact suggest I have her over.

As for the whole energy thing and attention to the missus, I'm actually looking forward to what this will do in that regard.

And yes, I'm sure A will want to know all of the details. I think I'd be hurt if she didn't ask.

-M
 
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