Spelunking through the posts, quoting as willy-nilly as I see fit... lalalalalalala...
I am not, however, obligated to stay with someone who is willfully breaking his vows, who is willfully hurting me by his own decisions and actions; furthermore by actions and decisions he is actively making and pursuing, knowing those actions are hurting me.
This is what I mean by compassion - there's a difference between stumbling around like a half-cocked bull in a Waterford shop and willfully hurting one's partner, and it's not always easy to tell the difference in the beginning. A whoooooole lot of talking (and counseling!) will help, but it can take time to figure out if he's just being an asshat, or if he's trying but not doing so hot. Sounds as though (from some of your later posts) that he's trying, which is good.
Okay, how do you handle intimacy issues after being told your spouse wants other lovers? I didn't want him touching me for a long time after he told me he wants to open our marriage.
I'm a bit of an oddball in that this aspect of poly has never bothered me, and I was about to punt and not address this, but I figured I'd ask this: are your intimate moments focused on you? Are they beautiful/wonderful? Then he is focusing on you, and it is beautiful. End. Fin.
If I start to entertain thoughts about what Chops feels/does when he's with other partners, I stop myself, because when he's with me, he's with ME. Our intimate time together doesn't lack - it'd be the same (I'm sure) regardless of whether or not he has one other partner or twelve.
Does hubby do the things you like, because he knows you like them? Is he tender when/where you need tenderness and/or rough when/where you need roughness? Then he's with you. All the way. And that is a wonderful thing.
Wanted to also add that you have been caregiver to high-needs kids. AND helping to run a business. Of COURSE you have personal needs that haven't been met.
Please, PLEASE do not feel that asking for time away (I can see that you've asked for help with the business, and I think that it's wonderful that you did so) is a bad thing. You need some time to be YOU. Especially if you're feeling as though your hubby is asking for time to be himself without regard for your time as well. Compassion/reciprocation can be huge. Please remember to ask for what you need. Far too many people feel (unnecessarily) guilty for doing so.
I was looking forward to some time alone with him this summer. And now he's talking about spending time dating and building relationships with someone else, so it seems like he wasn't as excited about spending time with me as I was with him.
Have you mentioned this to him? I would tell him exactly this - that I was hoping to spend more time with him, and now it seems like he doesn't want this. Have this conversation... even if it's during counseling. Lay out what you hoped and dreamed. You may find that he does want more time with you, even if he wants time with others. You may find something to work with. Assuming he doesn't want time with you, though, takes that all away before you can even talk about it. Don't do that to yourself. We really can be our own worst enemies here.
Poly is smacking your love in the head every time you pass because it's "who you are and what you need" and it's your love's responsibility to deal with it.
It's the "I fall in love with other people" thing. That's about it. What does HE do with it. What does he expect/hope YOU to do with it? There's a whole lotta discussion/agreement to happen here, and it isn't just 'suck it up, Buttercup.'
Maybe it's, "I would like to talk about these other people I have feelings for."
Maybe it's, "I would like to talk about the fact that I have these feelings at all."
Or, maybe it's, "I would like to date this person."
What is it with you and hubs? What can you start with that would be comfortable... with BOTH of you? Can you talk about *being* poly and having feelings, without dating (as GG alluded to)? Talking about feelings but not acting on them? Maybe baby steps will help your hubby feel more accepted without feeling threatening?
I'll add my voice to NYC's to say that there is no "Poly Way". Chops is Chops. Your hubby is your hubby. People are who they are, and just because they can love more than one person, it doesn't mean that they're the same.
Chops tends to get aggravated by the "Poly Scene", anyway, so there ya go. Another non-statistic.
And I seriously don't get how you can NOT know someone you love is hurting, scared, needs reassurance and affection.
Because they're obtuse? Or maybe, because we're THAT good at putting on a good face for others...
It's not always "because they're poly." It may just be that you're so good at soldiering on, they just don't see it.
I fell into that trap when I had a breast cancer scare a few years back. I was fine until the kids went to bed, then broke down in front of my then-husband, who complained, "What the hell happened - you were fine when the kids were up!"
If we're THAT good at putting on the face? They may not have ANY idea what's going on behind that face. Drop it. Drop the face. It may confuse the hell out of them, but it's REAL.
So, now I'm asking for advice from anyone. I know poly is supposed to be one big happy family, everybody likes everybody and gets along
That's just one (poly-family) aspect of polyamory. It's not "how things should be". If you don't want that, you don't want that. It's something to TALK about, not something you should feel you've failed at from the start.
For the record, I have a strained relationship with my metamour... and we even started dating Chops at the same time. I'm working on changing that (update to the blog thread is coming), but still. You are friends with the people YOU like, correct? Hubs doesn't pick friends for you, correct? Then why in hell should it be any different here?
Some folks love the intertwined-family thing. Some don't. You're not weird for not feeling all squishy and welcommy inside. You're YOU. And that's OKAY.
BTW, DADT is fine in certain circumstances. Don't let other people dictate what's right for you.
I put off or cancelled anything I wanted to do, thinking our time, MY time, would come and it would be worth it. And now he's telling me he's never been completely happy and our life together isn't enough
No. No, no. NO.
I hope the others' comments have weighed in here, but... no. Your time matters. Your feelings matter. This is a PARTNERSHIP, and YOUR feeling matter. You don't just give until you can't give anymore. It's time to ask for the things you need. Please keep doing so.
having other love affairs, other sexual and romantic encounters, takes away from what we have
Time to plug the book if I haven't already, but please read Gary Chapman's "5 Love Languages" if you haven't already. It's not a poly book... in fact, it's written from a Christian monogamist point of view, but I found it HUGE in understanding how I and my partner relate to each other. This quote read very "Physical Touch" heavy, and I wonder if monomom and her hubby both have the same love languages. If not, it's a HUGE undertaking to try to understand each other, but it's extremely rewarding.
And by "shared laundry", I'm assuming sheets/towels and a couple of outfits, and not two weeks of oilfield muck covered jeans and shirts
A caution - don't compare here.
I will do Chops' laundry. I don't expect his financial input to this household. HOWEVER, I bought this house strictly as a big-old middle finger to those who thought I'd have trouble starting over. This house was my independence. I do the laundry that needs to be done. Nuff said.
I believe Chops would do his best to do more if I asked him to do. I don't. This house would be mine without him in my life, and that's my going-in position. When he does laundry, dishes, or what-not, it's a bonus to me. And yes, Chops gets his stuff dirty. He lays under cars and does stuff that I'd still like to learn how to do someday. And I still leave some of the decorating choices for him... because I know he likes that. The house? Mine. The home? Ours. There *is* a difference.
After being married for some time, I know that'd be conflated, but it's definitely worth a talk. What do YOU feel is YOURS? What do you take ownership of? What do you BOTH take ownership of? It's a good starting point.
I guess I got through all the posts. Yay on getting through to him that you need assistance in the business. You can't do it all. Yay on counseling. These things are HUGE!
Hang in there. You have folks here who are trying to help... please keep posting and asking questions. And heck, if hubby's up for it, have him make an account and start posting as well. You don't have to read each others' threads.
All my best.
Any other questions, please feel free to ask or PM me. I know we're not coming from the same circumstances... opening an existing relationship always seems to have to deal with trust issues that I didn't have going in. However, it doesn't mean there isn't something to relate to.
You be YOU, and ask for what you need. Here's hoping counseling and talking keeps going well.