Polyamory as an excuse?

MrMom

New member
First off, if any of my questions are not appropriate or not within the focus of this community (i.e. more for a counselor than a bunch of strangers on the internet) I apologize and feel free to move on.

My wife just told me she's been having an affair for a while with another man. She blames this on needing to find something that's been lacking in our relationship. She want to be able to continue seeing this person and move our relationship into polyamory.

Here's my concern: I told her that with some time I may consider an open marriage to a degree, but that I'm not comfortable with the person she's with. She says that she doesn't want to be with anyone else besides him (and me). Is she just using polyamory and the concept of an open marriage as a tool to enable her to stay with this person and not destroy our family? I feel as if she's not really interested in polyamory if she can't have this one particular individual.

Thanks for any advice. I do respect the concept and I respect those living it for being able to overcome the things that I'm struggling with.
 

Derbylicious

New member
I think out of respect for you she might want to consider taking a break from this other man while you work through the trust issues that she has brought up in your relationship. It's not fair to come to someone and tell them that you have been lying to them for however long but that you're unwilling to change anything to help rebuild that lost trust.

What makes you uncomfortable about this other man? Is it just that she has been having an affair with him? Poly requires a lot of communication. You both need to talk about what you need and how you feel. It's not about someone having their cake and eating it too while anyone else involved stays quiet, regardless of how they feel.

Hope that helps a little

-Derby
 

Rarechild

New member
That just sucks. Sorry you are going through that.

Good relationships require trust in any configuration- I would say you she need to concentrate on re-establishing shattered trust first if your relationship is going to survive and be fulfilling.

From what you wrote, it sounds like there are much more important issues to deal with here before any discussion of polyamory is possible.

I hope you'll keep reading here on the forums and hopefully find some things you can relate to. Fulfilling love relationships involve trust, communication, and mutual consent if they are going to have a chance in hell, and it doesn't sound like these elements are present in your marriage.
 
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Ceoli

Guest
People explore polyamorous relationships for a variety of reasons so it's difficult to say what's an excuse and what isn't. It's not uncommon for people to arrive at open relationships or polyamory through some act of cheating. Sometimes it works out with a lot of work, other times it doesn't.

For what it's worth, I don't choose additional relationships because of things that might be "missing" or "lacking" in one relationship. Every relationship is whole for me and I wouldn't be getting into any relationship that was great in some ways but lacking in others. I find most poly relationships thrive if each relationship is whole and healthy. It would probably be a good idea to address that first.
 

CielDuMatin

New member
I just posted on your intro thread - didn't realise that this was here.

How many times have you heard the old one about "marriage broken - let's have kids - that'll fix it!" and you just know that it's not really going to fix anything.

A similar saying goes for poly "marriage in trouble - add more people - that'll fix it!" - it doesn't apply either.

When trust isn't there... when someone is doing it because they can't "get what they need at home" those are not bases for good, stable polyamorous relationships, but recipes fo on-going drama.

Most people that come to poly this way (and I am one of them) really need to realise that the cheater has done something to damage the original relationship and that this has to be repaired before anything polyamorous is considered (and no, I didn't do that either, and paid the price for it).

The big thing is that in any loving relationship, trusting each other is vital. if that isn't there, then poly is going to be a very hard, or impossible slog.
 

GroundedSpirit

New member
Hello MrMom,

I see some good points in some of the posts here already.

The point Derbylicious made: "What makes you uncomfortable about this other man? Is it just that she has been having an affair with him?" is a good first point for you to REALLY analyze for a variety of reasons. Because this may be the first point you and she will want to sit down and discuss (unemotionally). In an ideal (this case) 3 way relationship everyone has at least mutual respect & understanding for each other. To have that you have to get to know each other pretty well. It may be that you have some information about the other guy that your wife in fact is not aware of. It's been hidden or blinded to from the what we often call NRE (look it up & learn about it). But that may in fact not be the case at all. You may know little about him (other than a first impression) and you need to be able to ask her to tell you more about him including some examples of what he's providing her that you haven't been. Be open to this - don't be defensive. It is what it is.

I think you have to accept your wife's explanation of desiring a way to acquire certain 'missing pieces' that she values in her life as valid. The fact that she's taken the path she has has validated it. Although as Ceoli pointed out, some might hold up some 'ideal' that ALL relationships would include ALL these pieces, reality has spoken that that's unlikely in the vast majority of people unless your desires are extremely simplistic. (not a bad thing - just rare)

As I'm sure you'll hear from a number of people, the progression is not what anyone would WISH, it's not at all uncommon. You're question and concern over whether it's real or only an excuse is kind of a moot issue at this point. What will matter is how you guys proceed forward from this point. Your actions will determine to some degree the 'truthfulness' of it. I feel she does love you as her attempts to find a solution to the quandary illustrate. This CAN bring you even closer and make your relationship deeper & more meaningful as most everyone here will testify too. But that now depends a lot on YOU !

Good luck. We're here to help any way we can.

GS
 
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MrMom

New member
Some more info on my situation...

I've been reading some books that my wife has purchased, such as "Open" and "The Marriage Makeover". I'm honestly still on the fence about an open marriage and have certainly not ruled it out. But the way I see her relationship with this other man is that they were college boyfriend/girlfriend. She transferred to another school and they broke up. That was well over 15 years ago. Now they've reconnected (yeah, thanks alot stupid facebook) and I find out that he's not had another real woman in his life since my wife, and he's never gotten over her. From what I've seen, they are in love with each other, and she wants to carry on this relationship via an open marriage. I might be ok with us involving others in our sex life, but I don't think I'm OK with her having a separate life-partner where if I was out of the picture they'd probably end up getting married and having a monogamous life.

Is this a normal reaction on my behalf? Are there different levels of open marriage, as set by the rules that I keep reading must be set? What if either my wife or I don't like the third person?
 

CielDuMatin

New member
I don't think I'm OK with her having a separate life-partner where if I was out of the picture they'd probably end up getting married and having a monogamous life.
Has she actually said this to you, or is this something that you are inferring from her actions?
 

GroundedSpirit

New member
From what I've seen, they are in love with each other, and she wants to carry on this relationship via an open marriage. I might be ok with us involving others in our sex life, but I don't think I'm OK with her having a separate life-partner where if I was out of the picture they'd probably end up getting married and having a monogamous life.

Is this a normal reaction on my behalf? Are there different levels of open marriage, as set by the rules that I keep reading must be set? What if either my wife or I don't like the third person?

Is it normal ? ABSOLUTELY ! It's the culture we are raised in. Prior to this - did you have any real understanding of the concept of 'polyamory' ? Probably not.

Big question............

Do YOU love HER ???????
REALLY love her ?

If you answer 'yes' - then the next logical question would be "how can (or should) I deny her something that is positive in her life and does no harm to anyone else (other than maybe my own ego) ? Is that an expression of love ? This of course assumes that any 3rd (or more) person is in fact a decent, clean, trustworthy etc person.

Sorry if that seems blunt but that's the question I had to ask myself some looonnnnggggggggg time back.
 

redpepper

New member
hi Mr. mom, I'm sorry you are going through this. There has been a lot written on this forum about cheating and affairs. I hope you take the time to not only read some of the threads but search out other threads with a similar story to yours. There have been a few if not many.

As far as I am concerned she fucked up big time and if I were you I would be very angry. Assuming you are angry, anger can be a very moving emotion if directed. It can move relationships into far deeper forms and create wonderful things. It is up to you and her if you chose to do that. I'm sure a poly friendly therapist could help with that.

I'm glad to hear she is asking for something now and has decided to have integrity and do the right thing by that. I feel for her in that she has probably been going crazy with this and feels terrible, but that doesn't mean that it is forgivable at this point. You are very entitled to your feelings of hurt, abandonment, anger, confusion, resentment if you are feeling that... not to mention the damage to your sense of worth and self esteem. You both have a lot of work to do to heal all that. It will take years, speaking from experience, or a life time even. Unless you are good at coming back from something like that. As others have said, it either works or it doesn't. I'm sorry to have to say, but I have only seen that it doesn't work. Apparently others make it work or have seen others make it work for them in terms of arrangements after an affair.

It sounds like a good sit down chat and some plotting out of your futures together is in great need. I hope that you will consider thinking about what you want in terms of freedom in your relationship to have your own time and space. Nerdist, my husband finds that this is an area that creates lonliness and makes him feel like he isn't included as he is the one who stays home with the boy quite often and I go to my boyfriends house (Mono) twice a week. Also leaving him alone.

Also I would hope you would consider meeting this man, getting to know him, find out what he wants and talk about their NRE. If this is in fact what they want for their futures then I would suggest a chunk of time before making some huge decisions to include him in your lives. I am finding there is no better way to balance out everyones lives than to include everyone in the drama. If this man wants to be in your wifes life then he also has to be in yours in my opinion. Why should he live drama free and get all the fun times with your wife while you two just get heartache and drama.

I also have found that NRE has to be good an over before making choices that effect your kids and yourself. Otherwise it could be a flash in the pan and they could be leading you down the path that's just a song and dance. Not that they would do that on purpose, but that is just the way of NRE. I have found that NRE goes in stops and starts as it comes near the end... don't necessarily think it's over and dead in one fell swoop, as if something happens and it's done... it doesn't seem to work like that.

I think that some time away, just the two of you, would help you re-connect and for you to get some of your needs met in terms of closeness in order to feel okay again in your worth to her. Lots of cuddling, holding, head stroking, these things work for me, I'm sure you know what works for you.

Lastly is the communication. Your wife has invited you to be completely open and honest with her and if you turn back from that something will be missed and the relationship will suffer even more in my opinion. Now is the time to tell her everything and anything that has been going on for you, put it all on the table and dare to dream about what you want to do with your life. This could be a wonderful gift to both of you.

Good luck, again, there is lots to read on here! Both of you reading it together may be a big bonding experience.
 

CielDuMatin

New member
It will take years, speaking from experience, or a life time even. Unless you are good at coming back from something like that. As others have said, it either works or it doesn't. I'm sorry to have to say, but I have only seen that it doesn't work. Apparently others make it work or have seen others make it work for them in terms of arrangements after an affair.
Chalk me up as as example of this working out. A long story as to the "why" but bottom line is I cheated on my partner. Years and years of work and we regained a level of trust, but it takes a huge amount of commitment on both sides to make it work.
 

redpepper

New member
Chalk me up as as example of this working out. A long story as to the "why" but bottom line is I cheated on my partner. Years and years of work and we regained a level of trust, but it takes a huge amount of commitment on both sides to make it work.

My role model for it "working out" is my parents. They choice to stay together because of us kids. They hated each other our whole youth and teen years and now just tolerate each other. They have moments of love now that they are in their 70s but they are a crap example of a successful relationship. I have good reason to believe that it more often doesn't work or is not worth staying miserable for. Of course this is not very positive and I'm sorry for that, with a couple of perspectives maybe it will help.
 

StitchwitchD

New member
Is she just using polyamory and the concept of an open marriage as a tool to enable her to stay with this person and not destroy our family? I feel as if she's not really interested in polyamory if she can't have this one particular individual.
.

Polyamory, like monogamy, is about relationships with particular individuals. So, her wanting to have a poly relationship with the 2 particular men who she loves, but lacking interest in just going out and finding random strangers to have poly relationships with is equivalent to you wanting to have a monogamous relationship with her, but not being interested in just going out and finding some random stranger to have a monogamous relationship with.

I might be ok with us involving others in our sex life, but I don't think I'm OK with her having a separate life-partner where if I was out of the picture they'd probably end up getting married and having a monogamous life.

So, you'd be okay with swinging, but not poly to the degree of having a co-primary---but she has no interest in swinging and really wants poly...and offering her swinging when she wants poly is like offering her sushi when she wants chocolate cake.

You need to sit down and really talk about your wants, her wants, your fears, her fears, get everything out on the table--- I'm suspecting that there was already a breakdown in communication before the affair started, or she would have told you when she first got in touch with him, or at least when things started going past your boundaries. So, you need to get communication back on track, and set some boundaries at least while trust is being rebuilt.

(And maybe get to know this guy, if you can actually give him a fair shot after what happened. At least give him a chance to explain things to you from his point of view, find out his intentions, etc. )
 

River

Active member
I'm in agreement with those who say the wife should be willing to put this other relationship on hold (at least) until the trust and cheating stuff has been worked with and through.

On another point very different...

For what it's worth, I don't choose additional relationships because of things that might be "missing" or "lacking" in one relationship. Every relationship is whole for me and I wouldn't be getting into any relationship that was great in some ways but lacking in others. I find most poly relationships thrive if each relationship is whole and healthy. It would probably be a good idea to address that first.

What Ceoli says here is a nice ideal to shoot for, and it's worthy of much respect, but I would add that I think (my opinion) that very few people compliment one another in a totally complete sort of way. Most very good relationships, good and healthy relationships, involve and include both (or all three or four...) feeling as if there is some less than perfect connection or complementarity. As a good friend put it to me, we all have to do some "putting up with" in our relationships. Ideals make good targets, but are seldom realized in space and time (a.k.a., "the real world").

I love my partner tremendously, but there are ways we don't connect perfectly; we have our issues and troubles; but we love one another and -- yes our relationship is whole. But maybe he or I could meet some of our needs for intimacy, in part, by allowing others into the picture? I don't think that's a bad thing. I don't think it makes our love for one another less whole if we recognize that we're not a "perfect fit/match", that we're different, that our needs are slightly off-kilter because of our differences....
 
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Ceoli

Guest
What Ceoli says here is a nice ideal to shoot for, and it's worthy of much respect, but I would add that I think (my opinion) that very few people compliment one another in a totally complete sort of way. Most very good relationships, good and healthy relationships, involve and include both (or all three or four...) feeling as if there is some less than perfect connection or complementarity. As a good friend put it to me, we all have to do some "putting up with" in our relationships. Ideals make good targets, but are seldom realized in space and time (a.k.a., "the real world").

I'm not saying that things that people "put up with" don't exist in ideal relationships, but those things are not what make or break a relationship. However, I don't go seeking relationships based upon what is lacking in what relationships I might already have. I seek relationships with people, not with qualities that might be missing in one partner but evident in another so that when you combine them, I get to have all the qualities I want.

I choose to have relationships based upon the person and that's it. And if they as a person don't contain the qualities I need for a thriving and healthy relationship in and of itself and regardless of what other relationships I have, I don't have a relationship with them. I don't take part of one and part of another. So far, having experienced this in real time and "the real world", it seems an entirely reasonable and not idealistic thing at all.
 
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River

Active member
I choose to have relationships based upon the person and that's it. And if they as a person don't contain the qualities I need for a thriving and healthy relationship in and of itself and regardless of what other relationships I have, I don't have a relationship with them. I don't take part of one and part of another. So far, having experienced this in real time and "the real world", it seems an entirely reasonable and not idealistic thing at all.

Thanks for helping me to get yet more clear in my own understanding on this, Ceoli. I also don't seek further relationships because of something lacking, some quality I imagine I need to collect like stamps or butterflies.... And I do see my relationship with my partner (of 14 yrs) as "thriving and healthy". And he and I connect real nicely in numerous ways -- but I know there are ways we cannot connect because of our temperamental (?etc.) differences. For example, I'm quite a verbal person. He's not. That doesn't make either of us bad people, or incompatible. It does make our relationship more challenging than it might otherwise be. I love him no less because of our difference in this dept. He loves me no less because of it. We love one another very much. And our differences challenge each of us to grow, develop, expand.... So there's nothing wrong, per se. And I am not actively looking to complete my stamp collection or anything. But, yes, it could/would be real nice to have another partner who can meet me in some of the ways my sweet K cannot.
 
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NeonKaos

Custodian
that very few people compliment one another in a totally complete sort of way.

This sounds like "reverse monogamism" to me. Monogamism holds the tenet that there is "the one" right person for everyone out there, and that if things aren't "totally complete", then those two people are "wrong" for each other. This statement suggests that polyamorous people still need to be "completed" but they just need more people in order to do so. That's kind of pathetic and co-dependent. Not only do I not need someone to "complete" ME, but I do not want to be thought of as the "missing pieces" of someone ELSE.

I'm not saying that things that people "put up with" don't exist in ideal relationships, but those things are not what make or break a relationship. However, I don't go seeking relationships based upon what is lacking in what relationships I might already have. I seek relationships with people, not with qualities that might be missing in one partner but evident in another so that when you combine them, I get to have all the qualities I want.

I choose to have relationships based upon the person and that's it. And if they as a person don't contain the qualities I need for a thriving and healthy relationship in and of itself and regardless of what other relationships I have, I don't have a relationship with them. I don't take part of one and part of another. So far, having experienced this in real time and "the real world", it seems an entirely reasonable and not idealistic thing at all.


I quoted this just because it is an excellent answer and i would have said the same kind of thing if i'd thought of it first.
 
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River

Active member
This sounds like "reverse monogamism" to me. Monogamism holds the tenet that there is "the one" right person for everyone out there, and that if things aren't "totally complete", then those two people are "wrong" for each other. This statement suggests that polyamorous people still need to be "completed" but they just need more people in order to do so. That's kind of pathetic and co-dependent. Not only do I not need someone to "complete" ME, but I do not want to be thought of as the "missing pieces" of someone ELSE.

All I know is that I reject both the notion that some one person can or should "complete" me and the notion that some several people would be required to "complete" me. I'm not leaping out of the monogamism frying pan only to land in some other sort of incompleteness fire. Loving relationships do not "complete" people..., cannot.... That's not the point or purpose of loving relationship. Loving is.

"This statement suggests that polyamorous people still need to be "completed" but they just need more people in order to do so."

Nah! I can reject what you've called "monogamism," YGirl, without falling into what you're calling "reverse monogamism" -- or the incompleteness theorem.
 

NeonKaos

Custodian
I forgot to add "this is the general-you not you-as-in-a-particular-individual-on-this-forum" to my last post.

My bad!
 

River

Active member
... but I would add that I think (my opinion) that very few people compliment one another in a totally complete sort of way.

Looking at the words I actually uttered, I think it is clear that I never said anything about anyone "completing" anyone at all.

What I said was that few people compliment one another in a complete way. But I see that there are two spellings, with somewhat divergent usages.

http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/complement.html

And now I see from looking at various online dictionaries that I perhaps didn't choose precisely the most apt term for what I meant to convey. What I did NOT mean to convey is the idea of one or more persons completing one another. That would require that each person was not already whole in him-/herself. That, I did not mean.

So..., what did i mean by "compliment" (which I clearly misused)?

I simply meant that it is unrealistic (as I see it) to presume that it may often occur that any two people will likely "meet" (encounter and understand one another) in every area of life, on all things and matters. This does perhaps happen every once in a while, but it is a severe disservice to many good relationships to presume that they are failed, broken, insufficient, wrong... because both (or more) parties aren't "meeting" on all levels, in every area of their existence.

Wanting to have a diversity of intimate relationships, it seems to me, is a natural way of acknowledging that no one can be all things for anyone. Acknowledging that this is so does not amount to just another version of a game of seeking "completeness".
 
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