StubbleSelector Introduction

StubbleSelector

New member
Hi,

My name is StubbleSelector (39M). I'm a poly-curious, married, father of two, from Sweden.

I've been looking for a community to get better answers to some of my questions.

I tend to question norms at the same time as I'm kind of dependent on a set of rules to function.

I'm a bit on the introvert side, perhaps.

The first time I heard about poly was when I listened to a podcast about 5 years ago. I tried to talk to my wife about it a few times, but the discussion didn't go anywhere. I just end up feeling like a creep. I have never talked to anyone else about it.

I don't know if it's something for me. That's what I want to find out.

I ended up here when trying to find ways to work on my insecurities regarding my thoughts about my wife being with someone else.

I've been lurking here for a few days, and I'm looking forward to being greeted by Kevin T.
 
Why do you feel like a creep when you discuss polyamory with your wife? Is it how she responds, or an internal judgment?
 
Why do you feel like a creep when you discuss polyamory with your wife? Is it how she responds, or an internal judgment?
I think it's a little bit of both, but more internal judgement. I'm also thinking that a reason for the creepy feelings could be that I'm not sure if want to do poly "for real," or if I just want to try relationships with other people, which I think would make me a "creep." She is my first and only partner. We got together when I was in my late 20s. We got pregnant the year after that, and married the following year.
 
Welcome. Great folks here. Ask questions and just jump in.
 
Greetings StubbleSelector,

Welcome to our forum. Please feel free to lurk, browse, etc.

I'm glad you're here. I hope we can answer your questions. For starters, you might want to read the following FAQ pages:
Poly is nothing to be ashamed of. As long as you do it ethically you are fine. I hope to hear more of your posts in the future!

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!
 
Welcome!

I tend to question norms at the same time as I'm kind of dependent on a set of rules to function.

Are you saying you are experiencing inner conflict? Part of you relies on a set of rules to function. But you are at a place where you are questioning "Hang on a minute... who made these rules? Do *I* subscribe to these rules? Do I agree with them?" like the "norm" where you live is to practice monogamous relationships, but you are wondering if polyamory suits you better?

I think it's a little bit of both, but more internal judgement.

Is that judgmental voice your internal voice, or someone else's voice, a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, whoever, from your past, that is now playing like an old recording in your head?

I'm not sure if want to do poly "for real" or if I just want to try relationships with other people, which I think would make me a "creep".

Would you please clarify what you mean?
  • You think having honest conversations with your wife about what's on your mind is creepy?
  • You think that if you reveal what has been on your mind to your wife, she will think less of you, think you are a creep?
  • You think "doing poly for real" -- sharing both sex and love -- is behaving in a creepy way toward people?
  • You think "trying relationships with other people" -- sharing consenting safer sex with other consenting people -- is creepy behavior?
  • Or something else?
I have never talked to anyone else about it. I don't know if it's something for me. That's what I want to find out.

You can read or talk on the forums here, and do some other reading.

https://practicalpolyamory.com/downloadabledocuments.html

http://www.kathylabriola.com/system/app/pages/subPages?path=/articles

Again, welcome.

Galagirl
 
Are you saying you are experiencing inner conflict? Part of you relies on a set of rules to function. But you are at a place where you are questioning "Hang on a minute... who made these rules? Do *I* subscribe to these rules? Do I agree with them?"

Like the "norm" where you live is to practice monogamous relationships. And you are wondering if polyamory suits you better?
Yes, yes, and yes.

After listening to podcasts, what really got my brain going was the fact that I did not understand that I could define my own terms and conditions. This is something that is bothering me. I want to decide for myself what I want. Sometimes it feels like just clicked [Yes] on the EULA, because that's what people do. And I don't mean this in a disrespectful way towards my wife. It's hard to speak about these things after the fact.

I don't know if poly is for me, but I'm damn sure I want to figure it out, so that I can make an informed decision, perhaps retroactively.

Is that judgmental voice your internal voice? Or someone else's, like a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, whoever from your past, that is now like playing like an old recording in your head?

I think it's both my own voice, and society's voice: "This is just an excuse to fool around, because you feel entitled for missing out earlier in life."

You think having honest conversations with your wife about what's on your mind is creepy?
No, I'm having trouble having an honest conversation with my wife because of the fear of being judged. And I have a habit of saying things in weird ways, and I end up hurting her feelings, and I feel misunderstood.

I (or we) came to the conclusion that I should try to figure out what it is I want. But it's hard on my own.

You think that if you reveal what has been on your mind to your wife, she will think less of you, think you are a creep?

Yes. I believe I want to experience other relationships, in part because I haven't had any other relationships. But I'm trying to figure out if I want "something else" or "something in addition to." The "something else" is scaring the shit out of me, because it would lead to us breaking up.

It feels a little like she thinks I want to cheat, but let her know about it, so it's "not as bad as cheating." But I don't want that.

You think "doing poly for real" -- sharing both sex and love -- is creepy behavior?
No.

You think "trying relationships with other people" -- sharing consenting safer sex with other consenting people -- is creepy?
No. But suggesting it after-the-fact could perhaps be seen as a little creepy.
 
It's completely understandable that you're curious about sex/love/romance with others, if your wife is the only partner you've ever had. Are you the only partner she's ever had?

Most people date several people before committing to one, especially to marriage. But sometimes people are raised to think god will choose them their one and only, and that's that, only to realize there are other options later. On the other hand, we may then have a fear of burning our bridges, and losing the bird in the hand for the 2 in the bush that never show up.

It's nice if partners can be open enough to just discuss that fact that they find others attractive from time to time, at the very least, without that admission making one or both of them think the world is about to end. Humans are actually naturally promiscuous. In fact, all mammals are. There is no true monogamy. If there was, we'd have no divorce, no porn, no romance novels or movies, no serial dating when you're unmarried, etc. We are just trained to bury those feelings, and lie about them if they come up, to ourselves and to our partners.

Monogamy is just a handy economic political structure. Our society rewards monogamy and married people in many ways.
 
Thank you for more information.

After listening to podcasts; what really got my brain going was the fact that I did not understand that I could define my own terms and conditions. This is something that is bothering me. I want to decide for myself what I want. Sometimes it feels like just clicked [Yes] on the EULA, because that's what people do. And I don't mean this in a disrespectful way towards my wife. It's hard to speak about these things after the fact.

Are you saying you got married without thinking about it, like, "That's just the next step," but without taking any kind of marriage prep class or thinking out life plans with your fiancee? Or maybe you went on automatic pilot because there was a baby on the way?

Or are you saying you did all the marriage prep work and had a life plan.... but things changed for you. You didn't want this plan any more, because who you were in your late 20s is not who you are now, approaching 40? Or something else?

I don't know if poly is for me. But I'm damn sure I want to figure it out, so that I can make an informed decision, perhaps retroactively.

It's okay to want to know who you are today so you can make choices for your next chapter of life.

I think it's both my own voice, and society's voice: "This is just an excuse to fool around, because you feel entitled for missing out earlier in life."

It sounds like this process is hard enough as it is. How about just sticking to the plain words and skipping the judgment? You don't need to be your own self bully and add to your burden.

If you did that, it sounds like it would be, "I feel like I missed out earlier in life because this has been my only partner and I got married young."

What do you think you are missing out on? I know "different people" or "variety" is one thing, because your wife cannot magically turn herself into more than one person for you to date. But apart from that... what do you think you missed?

Making your own decisions and writing your own EULA?
Figuring out who you are in the inside?

I'm having trouble having an honest conversation with my wife because of the fear of being judged. And I have a habit of saying things in weird ways, and I end up hurting her feelings, and I feel misunderstood. I (or we) came to the conclusion that I should try to figure out what it is I want. But it's hard on my own.

You could do the work of detangling. It's not like you don't care about your wife at all, but you could be less caught up in her stuff. This may or may not help on emotional detangling.


Her thoughts are her job. She can think whatever inside her head. That's not your area to do anything in. And your thoughts are your job. You can think whatever inside your head. That's not her area to do anything in.

You job is to communicate clearly, not leave things out or skip things because you are afraid she will think X or respond like Y or react like Z. That would be letting your anxiety jump the gun. You could let her have her own space to think, react, respond with what she actually DOES do. rather than than get carried away, predicting whatever and scaring yourself into silence. That doesn't serve anyone well.

She cannot be a mind reader, so do your end of the job, communicate.

As for saying things weirdly, what is it that you want say? Maybe people can help you form the words.

If you worry about being misunderstood, you could tell her you are struggling and doing your best. You could also ask her to repeat back in her own words what you said so you can know she got it how you meant it.

Whether or not her feelings get hurt having these conversations, you aren't TRYING to be a jerk to her. You are trying to be upfront and honest and a more authentic person. You're probably going to have your own struggling feelings, having these conversations.

Growth doesn't happen inside our comfort zone. It happens on the edges, when we go outside our comfort zone. So even if you don't normally talk about this stuff or are this frank with each other, maybe it's time to take the risk.

How long do you have to be married before you do this?

Maybe limit talking about it to Friday night only, for about an hour, then live your regular lives the rest of the week. Then, if anyone needs recovery time, there's the weekend to do it in, with no work the next morning. Your while life can't be spent doing this work. Normal things, cooking, eating, sleeping, exercise, chores, family time, employment, etc., need to happen too.

If this marriage were a coat, you would make adjustments. Maybe you compromise in a middle place of her becoming more open to hearing about your poly thoughts and feelings without taking it personally, so it becomes open enough for you and you don't have to go around bottled up. But you don't date anyone else, so it stays closed enough for her.

Or maybe that's not the right fit,, and you just have to let go of the whole marriage coat. Put on something else called the "coparenting, divorced exes and friends" coat.

Discovering that two people have grown in different directions is painful. I won't kid you on that. But at the same time... how's it any less painful than being in marriage that no longer fits correctly?

How are you supposed to figure anything out without talking to each other?

I believe I want to experience other relationships, in part because I haven't had any other relationship. But I'm trying to figure out if I want "something else" or "something in addition to". The "something else" is scaring the shit out of me because it would lead to us breaking up.

It feels a little like she thinks I want to cheat, but let her know so it's not as bad as "cheating", I don't want that.

You aren't cheating. You are trying to be up front and struggling to articulate, so I greyed that part out. You could stay in your own lane and deal with your OWN thoughts and feelings and not try to "manage" hers for her. That is her job. You do yours.

I mean this kindly, okay? Why is breaking up so scary? It is not fun. It's a big life change. But why is the mere idea of parting ways (if you end up wanting very different things) scaring you? Sometimes the last loving act is to gently let go.

Are you able to see that she might not be up for "in addition to" -- and that might mean you part ways, so you can be free to pursue poly, and she can be free FROM poly, if she doesn't want it? Then you can seek more compatible partners, who are willing to do "in addition to."

If you do move on to poly dating, some of those new relationships aren't going to work out. There will be other break-ups. They won't be as big as disbanding a marriage, but it's part of finding the compatible ones -- sorting through the ones that are NOT compatible.

Maybe you want to spend some time thinking, reading, and/or start a blog thread to organize your thoughts as you reflect?


If you have questions and do want comments from people, post in Poly Relationships Corner,


or General Discussion


HTH!
 
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Are you saying you got married without thinking about it, like, "That's the next step," without taking any kind of marriage prep class or thinking out life plans with your wife? Or maybe you went on automatic pilot because there was a baby on the way?

Or are you saying you did all the marriage prep work and had a life plan, but then things changed for you? You don't want this plan anymore, because who you were in your late 20s is not who you are now, approaching 40?
I believe I thought it through a lot. I have always had a life plan for us. I don't think anything has changed for me, except I've gotten to know myself better as I've grown older (but not necessarily wiser). I still picture us as together forever. That has never changed.

The new piece of information to me is that poly exists. I didn't know that back then. Now I want to figure out if that is something important to me.

If you did that, it sounds like it would be, "I feel like I missed out earlier in life, because this has been my only partner and I got married young."

What do you think you are missing out on?

I know "different people" or "variety" is one thing, because your wife cannot magically turn herself into more than one person for you to date. But apart from that, what do you think you missed?
I think what I'm experiencing is some kind of "fear of missing out." I don't know what it is I think I might have missed. One solution to this could be to simply "figure it out" by going to therapy or talking to friends. But I think it's a difficult topic to discuss for fear of being judged.

You job is to communicate clearly.
I think this is something I need to work on.
 
As we grow older we often desire to be who we really are, the judgment of others be damned. We only get one life. We might as well be our authentic selves. As you know better, you do better. Life is all about change. Conservative people try to stop change by lying to themselves and ignoring their true desires. Life is so so so much fuller and richer when we decide to do what we really want to do. Of course, we can try not to intentionally hurt others.

Ironically, some people would rather be cheated on than divorce or formally Open a relationship. They'd rather lie to themselves and others than be true to themselves. IMO, that's no way to live.

"Most people live lives of quiet desperation."

"Life's a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death."
 
I believe I thought it through a lot. I have always had a life plan for us. I don't think anything has changed for me, except I've gotten to know myself better as I grow older (but not necessarily wiser). I still picture us together forever. That has never changed.

The new piece of information to me is that poly exists. Now I want to figure out if that is something important to me.

I think what I'm experiencing is some kind of "fear of missing out." I don't know what it is I think I might have missed. One solution to this could be to simply "figure it out" by going to therapy or talking to friends. It's a difficult topic to discuss for fear of being judged.
I'm so with you on this-- where you meet someone and you feel something, and then the guilt comes, and the questions come, and somewhere inside you find you aren't happy. You've been ignoring those inner cues telling you to pay attention. I am a big introvert.

One day I was sitting at the kitchen table on the phone, and my husband was asking me what was wrong, and the anxiety was building in my chest and I didn't have answers. And then I said, "I want to open the marriage." There was silence on the phone, but I could feel the anxiety backing off. I realized I needed to follow that thread. I needed to listen to myself and start deciding for myself, because no one truly can look after your happiness but you.

I started digging then and realized there was a name for it, and a group for it, and off we went. It's been rocky. My husband is working on it. We found it opened some wounds that had nothing to do with our relationship, but where we came from and our old hurts.

I will say, even though it's been painful, I am learning about myself every day, and so is he. I am now embracing it, and defining for myself. For once, I feel like I'm totally here, if that makes sense. I guess the first step is speaking for yourself and then doing it with those that matter most.
 
I don't know what it is I think I might have missed. One solution to this could be to simply "figure it out" by going to therapy or talking to friends. It's a difficult topic to discuss, for fear of being judged.
My wife recently proposed opening our marriage. It can be really difficult to hear this from your spouse or partner and it is a really hard thing to talk about. We started going back to counseling when it came up. Before finding this group, the only other person I said anything to about it was the therapist. This group is incredibly supportive and helpful.

I think it’s good that both Emmjay and StubbleSelector are being honest about their feelings and thoughts. It was devastating to hear from my wife initially, but I do appreciate that she told me what she was really thinking. So many people just act on their impulses or desires without being honest. Infidelity rates are so high.
Ironically, some people would rather be cheated on than divorce or formally Open a relationship. They'd rather lie to themselves and others than be true to themselves. IMO, that's no way to live.
I live in Asia and this would be very consistent with the idea of “saving face." Let infidelity happen, don’t acknowledge it, just make sure to appear on the surface (especially socially) that everything is okay. I completely agree that it is no way to live.
 
Since humans are innately poly, and monogamy is just a social construct, it forces most people to lie to their partners/spouses about their attractions to others. Jealousy is seen as a sign of love, so if we stray even by looking at others irl, or using porn, all hell can break loose between a couple, and this is seen as normal and healthy! It's so weird, honestly (imo).

I think it was in the book Sex at Dawn, where I read about certain traditional peoples who have never made the switch to monogamy. In one group, a young woman needs to have premarital sex, for example, and get pregnant, to even be eligible for marriage. In another group, while a woman might marry, once she gets pregnant she is expected to lean into her desire for any male she wants, who is willing/eager to have sex with her. Each man is also then considered the father of her baby, giving it more social support.

So, we humans used to have poly skills; they've just been lost over the last 2-3 millennia.
 
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My wife recently proposed opening our marriage. It can be really difficult to hear this from your spouse or partner and it is a really hard thing to talk about. We started going back to counseling when it came up. Before finding this group, the only other person I said anything to about it was the therapist. This group is incredibly supportive and helpful.

I think it’s good that both Emmjay and StubbleSelector are being honest about their feelings and thoughts. It was devastating to hear from my wife initially, but I do appreciate that she told me what she was really thinking. So many people just act on their impulses or desires without being honest, infidelity rates are so high.

I live in Asia and this would be very consistent with the idea of “saving face”. Let infidelity happen, don’t acknowledge it, just make sure to appear on the surface (especially socially) that everything is okay. I completely agree that it is no way to live.
Hey there Expatamor!

I'd love to know your side of things. How are you dealing? What helps you and what is getting in your way? Why did you find it so difficult to hear? Are the discussions getting easier for you? Is it okay for me to pick your brain?

I think the worst part is the struggle of trying to be true to myself, and seeing the result of that hurting my partner, and then the automatic guilt that comes with that. Maybe this would help Stubble on what her perspective would be. Does gender make a difference here? (The partner being the wife or the husband.)
 
How are you dealing? What helps you, and what is getting in your way? Why did you find it so difficult to hear? Are the discussions getting easier for you?
Greetings Emmjay,

Every person is an individual and each will react differently. I’m happy to share my views and experience. Hopefully it can help others.

Stubble is actually a man (39M) and also a father, like myself. I think his children are older, as he’s been married a lot longer. I have two young children (almost 3 & 5) and my wife is about 17 weeks pregnant now. She first introduced the idea of opening our marriage when she was about a month pregnant.

To be honest, it’s still really hard. I’m not sure what to do. There is a long thread about it in the introductions. Another member sent me some private messages that have really helped. They explained the idea of being “poly-bombed”-- when one partner drops the news on the unsuspecting other.

It was brutal, especially at first. It almost hit like a physical pain. I have known that my marriage has problems, but her dropping this was a shocking surprise. Sharing the experience here and getting feedback and different perspectives has been incredibly helpful, especially the private conversations with those who have been in a similar place.

I remember reading that statistically men are more likely to be open to it, but like I said, we’re all unique individuals. It was extremely difficult to hear, especially because she wants physical and emotional relationships with other men. If she wanted to be with women only it would have been easier. It may sound like an exaggeration, but it’s basically like going through the stages of grieving. There is definitely a loss to deal with. Even just bringing up the possibility of opening a relationship changes everything. It can (and did for me) bring up insecurities and feelings of inadequacy, even if the partner is saying that they will still love you and always want to be with you.

My wife actually said she felt relieved to introduce the idea of opening our marriage. It was like removing a burden, even if she knew it was a heavy weight shifted to me. She didn’t feel guilty at all. She did absolutely no research, knew nothing about it. She just threw it out there. Maybe that’s where there is a gender difference. Is one gender more likely to learn about polyamory before mentioning it or proposing it? Do men and women introduce it differently? Do we react differently?

I hope that helps, Emmjay, and anyone else, especially those in a similar situation. It’s easy to feel alone and isolated when going through this. Finding the supportive community here was extremely helpful.
 
It may sound like an exaggeration, but it’s basically like going through the stages of grieving. There is definitely a loss to deal with. Even just bringing up the possibility of opening a relationship changes everything. It can (and did for me) bring up insecurities and feelings of inadequacy, even if the partner is saying that they will still love you and always want to be with you.
I don't think it an exaggeration. Grief is exactly what it is. One gets married in a monogamous relationship thinking "THIS is the deal:" this vision of a future, these shared goals. If the poly bomb happens after such a marriage, the partner is suggesting something that basically negates the original deal. Grieving over the loss of the "old normal," the old idea of what the future was supposed to be, is natural.

Then the couple has to figure out what is next. This may very well be a dealbreaker for some. They don't want to sign up for a new deal.

And it means a total shift for others, who might be willing to try, but then have to find out if they actually are able to do poly together, or not. Just because you've been married monogamously to someone doesn't mean you are automatically compatible for doing poly together.

My wife actually said she felt relieved to introduce the idea of opening our marriage, like removing a burden, even if she knew it was a heavy weight shifted to me. She didn’t feel guilty at all. She did absolutely no research, knew nothing about it. She just threw it out there. Maybe that’s where there is a gender difference. Is one gender more likely to learn about polyamory before mentioning it or proposing it? Do men and women introduce it differently? Do we react differently?

I don't think it is a gender thing. I think it is an individual thing. I'm female. I'm not going to buy a car, a house, etc., without looking into it and figuring out what suits me and my budget best. I certainly wouldn't do a major relationship dynamic change without looking into it and figuring out what suits me best on my bandwidth.

Galagirl
 
Thank you both! It's a person thing, I guess. I didn't even expect to say it. I had triggers. I'm sure part of me was mulling it over. It was a poly bomb, and I regret that, but now I can't change it. There is no backspace button on this one. I've been tripping all over the place, doing things and then saying to myself, "Well, that was a bad idea. Don't want to do that again."

I have been studying and I am doing a lot of self-exploration and working with my partner and letting down those defensive walls; I didn't realize how strong and high they were. Two things have helped immensely: communication with my partner, and looking deeper into myself and asking myself questions about emotions, responses and where I want to go from here.

Like you, I am very grateful to have found this site.
 
Sorry to hear that, but I'm glad you came back here.
 
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