Poly is going great for husband, but not for me

Starburst

New member
This is going to be long and complicated, but I need help figuring things out.

Brief synopsis:
I've been with my husband for 10 years. I have always been able to date other women, but that was it. We decided to dive deeper into poly, where we could date and be with anyone, around March, 2023. I was the one who started the conversation, but was not thinking clearly. I didn't fully think it through on how it would be emotionally, just sexually. I started being friends with benefits with a guy for about a month. That ended very badly. I introduced the other girl he was seeing to my husband and gave him permission to build a relationship with her. Over the year, he's grown very close to this woman, and fell in love with her.

This whole time, I have been unable to build a connection to anyone. Now I am unsure how I feel about being poly, but can't request him to go back now.

Deeper issues:
I've been suffering from severe depression, especially in this past year. That depression pushed them closer and sped up their love for each other.
When we really started to figure things out about how we wanted things to be, we started talking with each other more. We discovered we had been masking a lot of our relationship and had a lot to work on with each other.

Instead of being able to work on them, I isolated and he went to her for consolation. Also, since I was so depressed, I didn't want to be the reason anything went wrong with them, so I ignored my own feelings and said yes without thinking about things I found out I am uncomfortable with.

Now I have medication and am more balanced emotionally. I'm still struggling to work on our relationship, especially since all I find myself doing now is comparing myself to her. In my eyes, she is everything I'm not, and I will never be able to build us back after so long.

He reassures me all the time that he still loves me, and that I'm his first priority, but my mind refuses to listen and believe it. I feel like I am just in the way.

Their relationship is not her first priority, either. She is married and has a live-in partner, so it's not like they are just going to run off with each other. Their relationship started because I started to be her friend, then thought she could help my husband work through his feelings about me bringing up being poly.

Since then, I am still considered a friend, but I find it extremely hard to have a relationship. I feel slightly betrayed, but we weren't close friends anyway. Also, I feel like this is what I wanted, so I shouldn't have these feelings.

I have tried to date, but keep not being successful, partially due to feelings of depression, thinking if I can't be good enough in my primary relationship, then how can I be good enough for someone else? Another reason is wanting it to be easy, like their relationship was and is.

I also struggle from not knowing what I want, so I just stop for long periods. My lack of success has made me have extremely jealous feelings towards them and every little thing they do.

It doesn't help that we have kids and every time he leaves for his dates I am home alone with them.

Any thoughts, advice, consolation would be nice. Thanks for reading my rant.
 
I'm sorry you struggle.

You seem to talk down to yourself a lot, so it becomes like a double load, feeling bad AND kicking yourself for feeling what you feel.

Are you seeing a counselor for the depression? Is the counselor experienced with poly? Maybe you want an additional couple's counselor to help you and your spouse. YMMV, but you could try:


He reassures me all the time that he still loves me, and that I'm his first priority, but my mind refuses to listen and believe it. I feel like I am just in the way.
I'm going to guess; I could be wrong: if you don't like yourself very much right now, it's probably hard to even believe that others like you. Is something like that going on here?

Do kind words from husband fill you up for a bit, but whatever temporary uplift you get just leaks back out again because you are kinda poking holes in your own bucket, or something like that?

I started being friends with benefits with a guy for about a month. That ended very badly. I introduced the other girl he was seeing to my husband and gave him permission to build a relationship with her. Over the year, he's grown very close to this woman, and fell in love with her.

Their relationship started because I started to be her friend, then thought she could help my husband work through his feelings about me bringing up being poly.

So this GF was your FWB's other partner. You wanted to befriend her so she would come help your husband work through his feelings about polyamory, even though you yourself were thinking more "open" relationship to share sex and didn't really think "polyamory" meant sharing love too? Why did you think it was her job to be like your husband's free therapist?

This whole time, I have been unable to build a connection to anyone. Now I am unsure how I feel about being poly, but can't request him to go back now.

Depression can affect people in many life areas, including their desire/ability to date.

You could say, "Would you be willing to agree to not date new people (but the existing people stay) for the next X months, while I set up my individual counseling and our couple's counseling? I'd like to complete X sessions before dating new people."

He wouldn't have to break up with his GF, but you could relax some because no NEW people would be joining the poly network while you are coping with your health and couple things.

Would that help you any? If so, ask him if he's willing.

If you find that poly is not for you after all, you could inform him and tell him you are bowing out. What happens with (him + GF) is their deal, not yours.

It doesn't help that we have kids and every time he leaves for his dates I am home alone with them.

Do you and husband have date nights alone without kids, in-house and out of the house?

Do you have child-free time when you are NOT the one responsible for childcare, where you can either be home or go out, and if childcare arrangements need to be made because he also wants to go out, he is responsible for arranging the sitter?

I used to split with my spouse so I was "parent on call" for night parenting 2x a week, he was the one 2x a week, 2x was family time and then we took turns on the extra night. We would use "parents night out" things at the community centers, churches, schools. We'd trade with friends. And when the kids were in school we'd take days off to have day dates, so school could be the "babysitter."

I don't know if any of this is a help to you.

I'm sorry this is happening though.

Galagirl
 
Hello Starburst,

It is somewhat unusual for poly to be going well for the husband, but not for the wife. For somewhat mysterious reasons, women usually get flooded with propositions on a dating site, while men seldom get any propositions. It seems that you have had the opposite experience.

Keep in mind that your husband probably has NRE with this new woman, and if so, it won't last forever. In the meantime, he will tend to be drawn towards her and away from you. This is just how NRE works, he is not in his right mind right now. All you can do is advocate for your own needs. Remind him that you are still here, and that you need his loving attention too.

Even if you aren't dating someone at this time, you should still get equal time away from the kids. There should be times when he stays at home with the kids, while you go out and have fun in whatever way works for you at this time.

I hope the two of you can work things out.
Kevin T.
 
Hello Starburst,

It is somewhat unusual for poly to be going well for the husband, but not for the wife. For somewhat mysterious reasons, women usually get flooded with propositions on a dating site, while men seldom get any propositions. It seems that you have had the opposite experience.

Keep in mind that your husband probably has NRE with this new woman, and if so, it won't last forever. In the meantime, he will tend to be drawn towards her and away from you. This is just how NRE works, he is not in his right mind right now. All you can do is advocate for your own needs. Remind him that you are still here, and that you need his loving attention too.

Even if you aren't dating someone at this time, you should still get equal time away from the kids. There should be times when he stays at home with the kids, while you go out and have fun in whatever way works for you at this time.

I hope the two of you can work things out.
Kevin T.
Thank you for your response. I get propositions but all they want is sex and I am tired of that and need more. I don't go out equally mostly due to lack of friends. I'm very introvert so its hard to get out.
 
I'm sorry you struggle.

You seem to talk down to yourself a lot, so it becomes like a double load, feeling bad AND kicking yourself for feeling what you feel.

Are you seeing a counselor for the depression? Is the counselor experienced with poly? Maybe you want an additional couple's counselor to help you and your spouse. YMMV, but you could try:



I'm going to guess; I could be wrong: if you don't like yourself very much right now, it's probably hard to even believe that others like you. Is something like that going on here?

Do kind words from husband fill you up for a bit, but whatever temporary uplift you get just leaks back out again because you are kinda poking holes in your own bucket, or something like that?





So this GF was your FWB's other partner. You wanted to befriend her so she would come help your husband work through his feelings about polyamory, even though you yourself were thinking more "open" relationship to share sex and didn't really think "polyamory" meant sharing love too? Why did you think it was her job to be like your husband's free therapist?



Depression can affect people in many life areas, including their desire/ability to date.

You could say, "Would you be willing to agree to not date new people (but the existing people stay) for the next X months, while I set up my individual counseling and our couple's counseling? I'd like to complete X sessions before dating new people."

He wouldn't have to break up with his GF, but you could relax some because no NEW people would be joining the poly network while you are coping with your health and couple things.

Would that help you any? If so, ask him if he's willing.

If you find that poly is not for you after all, you could inform him and tell him you are bowing out. What happens with (him + GF) is their deal, not yours.



Do you and husband have date nights alone without kids, in-house and out of the house?

Do you have child-free time when you are NOT the one responsible for childcare, where you can either be home or go out, and if childcare arrangements need to be made because he also wants to go out, he is responsible for arranging the sitter?

I used to split with my spouse so I was "parent on call" for night parenting 2x a week, he was the one 2x a week, 2x was family time and then we took turns on the extra night. We would use "parents night out" things at the community centers, churches, schools. We'd trade with friends. And when the kids were in school we'd take days off to have day dates, so school could be the "babysitter."

I don't know if any of this is a help to you.

I'm sorry this is happening though.

Galagirl
You are correct about how I am feeling bad and making myself feel bad for the feelings.

I am not seeing a counselor because money is tight. I made the decision to see a psychiatrist instead so I could get the meds to help balance me out.

Money is also the reason we don't go out together often. We have been trying to make time to have in-home dates, but it's not the easiest due to one of our kids is 3, not the best sleeper, and stubborn.

Another part of my struggle is they go out at least once a month and it's an entire weekend basically, where he leaves mid-day Saturday and comes back afternoon Sunday. If I try to take an even amount of time I have nowhere to go.

We have tried to do day dates, but until recently he had no one to cover his position, making it hard for him to take time off. This left it up to me to take off any time a kid was sick (which is often) and took all my allowed days from work.

Your words help some, just to be seen, and know there are people out there who understand.
 
Because you both work, it sounds like weekends are the time to get personal time for each of you. You might renegotiate the time he spends away so you have a day without the kids.

Maybe he gets Saturday and an overnight, but comes home by 8am so you can have your day without kids. Go to the movies, a park, walk, or read a book somewhere away from home.

Go on Meetup and find a group with something you are interested in to meet people and have social time. You could also choose to spend your day with him connecting or doing something special every now and then.

I’m 3 years in and I never take a full weekend unless we are traveling.

Struggling with depression is hard. I’ve had success listening to a podcast called “UnF*ck Your Brain." It helps a ton with negative self-talk and self esteem. You cannot get better by just listening every now and then. You need to hear her message over and over. Try to binge at least two episodes daily for three months. I did at least 4 per day. They aren't long episodes. Start at UFYB episode 1. The more the better.

I had a very hard time changing my thoughts at first, but around the three-month mark I started seeing improvement and now I'm in control of the story in my head. I feel empowered and amazing.

Once you get a grasp on your depression, then dating will become something different.
 
I am not seeing a counselor because money is tight. I made the decision to see a psychiatrist instead so I could get the meds to help balance me out.

Money is also the reason we don't go out together often. We have been trying to make time to have in-home dates, but it's not the easiest due to one of our kids is 3, not the best sleeper, and stubborn.
Relatable. I remember parenting in the early childhood years when we also had less money. It was rough.

You do not have to say where you live, but you could check what's going on locally. Here, some of my friends go to AA-type things to talk their things out there. Some do Recovery International. Some do CODA. Some colleges do free/sliding scale appointments. Because the grad students do the work under the supervision of the professor, and get credit for school, the community gets more mental health helpers. The NAMI chapter here does events. One of the churches does "Deep Listening in the Park" for whoever wants to talk to someone in that setting.


Another part of my struggle is they go out at least once a month and it's an entire weekend basically, where he leaves mid-day Saturday and comes back afternoon Sunday. If I try to take an even amount of time I have nowhere to go.
Do you each have your own personal acct, where his fun/date money comes out of his, and your fun/date money comes out of yours?

Free ideas -- You can go out for a walk in nature, or if weather is yucky at an indoor mall. You can visit the library to look at books or attend their free events. Visit a bookshop or another shop, to just browse.

Check the neighborhood newsletter, blog, or other periodical for free events. Right now, mine is listing a lot of things for the Lunar New Year happenings.

We have tried to do day dates, but until recently he had no one to cover his position, making it hard for him to take time off. This left it up to me to take off any time a kid was sick (which is often) and took all my allowed days from work.

It sounds like at this time it's going to have to be "at-home dates" then. We used to stay up late on Fridays to watch movies or play board games or do puzzles.

Your words help some, just to be seen, and know there are people out there who understand.

I'm glad being seen helped you some.

Hang in there,
Galagirl
 
Because you both work, it sounds like weekends are the time to get personal time for each of you. You might renegotiate the time he spends away so you have a day without the kids.

Maybe he gets Saturday and an overnight, but comes home by 8am so you can have your day without kids. Go to the movies, a park, walk, or read a book somewhere away from home.

Go on Meetup and find a group with something you are interested in to meet people and have social time. You could also choose to spend your day with him connecting or doing something special every now and then.

I’m 3 years in and I never take a full weekend unless we are traveling.

Struggling with depression is hard. I’ve had success listening to a podcast called “UnF*ck Your Brain." It helps a ton with negative self-talk and self esteem. You cannot get better by just listening every now and then. You need to hear her message over and over. Try to binge at least two episodes daily for three months. I did at least 4 per day. They aren't long episodes. Start at UFYB episode 1. The more the better.

I had a very hard time changing my thoughts at first, but around the three-month mark I started seeing improvement and now I'm in control of the story in my head. I feel empowered and amazing.

Once you get a grasp on your depression, then dating will become something different.
Thank you. I will look into the podcast. It sounds like it will be helpful.
 
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