Relationship recently ended

IvanTrentBrown

New member
Greetings!

I am Ivan. I'm in my late 30s, straight male, single.

A couple of months ago, a relationship I had with a woman ended. I was friends with her and her husband for many years. About 2 years ago, she came out to me that she was polyamorous. I didn't fully understand what that meant and I probably still don't. She essentially told me that she saw other women and her husband was allowed to do the same.

She proposed to that we start a physical relationship. It was confusing at first, but eventually I pursued it. It lasted for over a year. Towards the end, our relationship fell apart. My friendship with the husband is no more.

Trying to navigate through my experience and maybe make some sense of it all.

Looking forward to engaging in this community.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
Welcome.

Polyamory means "many loves." So a person might have more than one sweetie that they share love, romance, and sex with. All people know and consent to the arrangement. Not like anything hinky is going on.

She essentially told me that she saw other women and her husband was allowed to do the same.

What about seeing other men? Or was she cheating on agreements with husband in seeing you, since men were not included?

Is that the source of confusion? And why you aren't friends with the husband any more? This experience wasn't as above board as you had hoped it was?

Galagirl
 

TXretired

Active member
Well Sir, sometimes it just sucks. A poly breakup is no different then a mono one. Search away and ask questions. Folks here are very open.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Greetings Ivan,
Welcome to our forum. Please feel free to lurk, browse, etc.

Sorry to hear about your recent breakup, I don't know if you could summarize what led up to it, and maybe we could help you make some sense of it. You may want to post about your situation in the Poly Relationships Corner, where you will usually get more replies, from a wider range of people.

Glad you're here in any case!
Sincerely,
Kevin T., "official greeter" :)

Notes:

There's a *lot* of good info in Golden Nuggets. Have a look!

Please read through the guidelines if you haven't already.

Note: You needn't read every reply to your posts, especially if someone posts in a disagreeable way. Given the size and scope of the site it's hard not to run into the occasional disagreeable person. Please contact the mods if you do (or if you see any spam), and you can block the person if you want.

If you have any questions about the board itself, please private-message a mod and they'll do their best to help.

Welcome aboard!
 

IvanTrentBrown

New member
Thanks for the welcome :)

@GalaGirl
What about seeing other men? Or was she cheating on agreements with husband in seeing you, since men were not included?
She only sees other women. But I was the exception. I don't it the agreement with her husband had anything to do with seeing other men. It's just her personal preference of being with other women.

Is that the source of confusion? And why you aren't friends with the husband any more? This experience wasn't as above board as you had hoped it was?
I'm still figuring out the confusion. But I think these were some key factors to our relationship ending -

Her husband's jealously of me:
I feel he didn't have an issue with her seeing other women. But since I'm male and also was a friend, it created a rift between us.

My inexperience with polyamory:
At first I felt like it was cheating. I felt guilt because her husband is a good and kind person. I will admit that I chose sex with her at the cost of the friendship. She told me I didn't have to feel that way, but some of those emotions still lingered.

Our sexual exploits:
She told me that one rule she had with her husband was that they didn't have to share or divulge their sexual experiences. However, I'm very certain that she had told him about some of the things we did. This probably added to his jealously because from what I understand he wasn't satisfying her physically.

Purpose of our relationship changed:
Don't want to get into graphic details since I'm not sure if it's appropriate here, but during the course of our relationship we explored our sexual boundaries. I think our emotions towards each other turned negative.

Galagirl - you've asked some questions that really made me think and re-think.
Thank you :)
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
I feel he didn't have an issue with her seeing other women. But since I'm male and also was a friend, it created a rift between us.

That's why I asked.

Because if their deal for open marriage was seeing other women ONLY, and here you come and you are a man? That could be a dealbreaker for the husband. So if the wife did not ask to renegotiate their agreements first to include men? Just took up with you without saying?

Husband may have considered wife's behavior her cheating on their agreement then.

In addition, they may not have been clear and articulated who the "messy people" are. Like flat out say "Don't date my parents, my friends, my boss, my roomie." There's plenty of people to pursue without going right for the messy ones.

Maybe he thought it "goes without saying" and that came to bite him in the butt. Because he never actually SAID friends are off limits to her, and she took up with one of his friends... you. And there you go. A mess.

And if in your naivete you were letting her do all the communicating? You didn't check in in with your friend to go "It's cool that I date your wife, right? Or is that a dealbreaker in your poly agreements?" Husband may have decided you weren't being much of a friend. Even though he maybe was expecting some unrealistic mind reader-ing. Like you are just magically supposed to know what their open/poly agreements are around dating friends.

Not trying to point fingers or make you feel bad.

You said you wanted to try to figure out the confusion... well... those would be my guesses as to possible confusion spots.

In the end you won't know what they actually were if you have severed ties.

What you could do if you try to poly date again? Is learn from the experience. Try to make sure all is above board and consenting. And ask "Do you have any agreements with your other partners that could affect me?"

Our sexual exploits:
She told me that one rule she had with her husband was that they didn't have to share or divulge their sexual experiences.
However, I'm very certain that she had told him about some of the things we did. This probably added to his jealously because from what I understand he wasn't satisfying her physically.

So... she also broke the agreement with husband then, by telling him detail things? Is that it?

Was there an agreement or expectation between you and her not share TMI sex details of encounters between (you and her) with other people? Because that's not just her info only. It belongs to you too.

Sharing basics like "Yes, I have a new partner. Condoms and safer sex practices were used" is just basic sex health hygiene info all could share as responsible adults.

But if it's blabbing personal TMI details like what you look like naked or what you like in bed? And she didn't obtain your consent to share that? personal data? She was crossing lines with you too.

Or did you never think about it? Who the data belongs to and what consent might look like in that area?

Galagirl
 
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IvanTrentBrown

New member
@GalaGirl
And if in your naivete you were letting her do all the communicating? You didn't check in in with your friend to go "It's cool that I date your wife, right? Or is that a dealbreaker in your poly agreements?"
Basically, this is how it unfolded:

• Me and her were at a pub one night. This is when she came out to me that she was poly. I asked a lot of questions and she answered.
I was intrigued by her relationship, but never really pressed afterwards.

• A year later, she was at my place. We were just chatting and the topic came up again. Conversation was very blunt - we could have sex and her husband would be okay with it. She laid out some ground rules, such as she would not stay the night, she would tell her husband we had sex but would not divulge details. So we ended up having sex that night.

• A week later, I was having coffee with the wife and husband. While she was in the bathroom, he brought it up. He said he was okay with it. I didn't really know how to respond. I was overwhelmed with guilt. But he reassured me it was fine. So I accepted it.

However, I should mention that she sort of runs the marriage. Sometimes it feels like he's a puppet and it's her words coming out of his mouth.

And yes - she did all the communicating. Me and the husband drifted apart, so I never truly knew how he felt.

Was that an agreement with YOU also? To not share TMI sex details with other people including her husband without obtaining your consent first?
Her agreement with her husband was not to share their sex details with each other. She said they did it to protect each other's emotions.

But I feel it was more to protect him. I got the sense that he wasn't seeing other people during my time with his wife. And from what I understood, their physical relationship was stagnant for a couple of years. She told me they hadn't had sex in over a year.

I know that she had told her husband some of our sex details. And I know that it upset him because she wasn't having those kind of sexual experiences with him.

But if it's blabbing personal TMI details? And she didn't obtain your consent to share that? She was crossing lines with you too.
Yes. I agree she crossed a line with me. Although I do share the blame. Over the course of the relationship we crossed boundaries we probably shouldn't have. We both became selfish and didn't take the husband into consideration.

What you could do if you try ti poly date again? Is learn from the experience. Try to make sure all is above board and consenting. And ask "Do you have any agreements with your other partners that could affect me?"
I feel I've definitely learned from the experience. Learned about myself and my sexuality. We experimented during our time together and sometimes we didn't take a step back and question our actions. We got lost and eventually so did our relationship and friendship.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
A week later, I was having coffee with the wife and husband. While she was in the bathroom, he brought it up. He said he was okay with it. I didn't really know how to respond. I was overwhelmed with guilt. But he reassured me it was fine. So I accepted it.

However, I should mention that she sort of runs the marriage. Sometimes it feels like he's a puppet and it's her words coming out of his mouth.

And yes - she did all the communicating. Me and the husband drifted apart, so I never truly knew how he felt.

That is maybe another source of confusion.

When a spouse doesn't really want to be doing poly, but goes along with it anyway just to avoid a break up/remain in the spouse's orbit. I don't know that this happened here, but if he allows her to run the marriage, he's like a puppet, etc? It may be that his identity is tied up in being married to her, and he is loathe to lose that identity, even to the point of throwing himself under the bus and doing stuff that is not good for him/he doesn't really want, saying stuff he doesn't really mean.

His behavior has nothing to do with you directly. But I could see where it would lead toward him being resentful of you. Like he says it's ok, and you keep on, but then he gets mad at you because you are supposed to magically know it really isn't ok.

Her agreement with her husband was not to share their sex details with each other. She said they did it to protect each other's emotions.

But I feel it was more to protect him.

Protect emotions from WHAT? Protect him what WHAT?

I know that she had told her husband some of our sex details. And I know that it upset him because she wasn't having those kind of sexual experiences with him.

So she doesn't "protect his emotions" then.

Over the course of the relationship we crossed boundaries we probably shouldn't have. We both became selfish and didn't take the husband into consideration.

Some people use polyamory as a marriage exit. Rather than just leave? They try to line up a new person before leaving the old person. Or they go do poly things just to cause a blow up so the other person gets fed up and leaves, and then they don't have to be the breaker upper themselves.

On your end, you don't have to become best friends with a meta you just met. But having already BEEN friends with him before this started? I guess you could have thought about how to maintain that friendship while also dating his wife.

We experimented during our time together and sometimes we didn't take a step back and question our actions. We got lost and eventually so did our relationship and friendship.

It's fine to experiment. But perhaps ALSO step back and question on occasion.

Again, not pointing fingers or blaming. Just noticing places you might think about some more if you are going to try again. Hopefully the next experience goes better.

Don't know if this helps you any.


Galagirl
 
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IvanTrentBrown

New member
@GalaGirl
On you end, you don't have to become best friends with a meta you just met. But having already BEEN friends with him before this started? I guess you could have thought about how to maintain that friendship while also dating his wife.
You are absolutely correct on this matter. I should have been mindful about maintaining the friendship.

The honest truth was I put the sex with his wife over our friendship. The sex was something I was willing to sacrifice the friendship for. The experiences I had with the wife were new and exciting and too good to give up.

I feel some guilt over how the friendship ended and is something I will learn from. Thanks for not making me feel like I was totally at fault. Your assessment of my situation is very enlightening. :)

Don't know if this helps you any.
It's helped way more than you realize. I really appreciate your responses. :D
 
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