Want to Switch from Mono to Poly: How do I talk to my Husband?

I've been married to my husband for a year and a half, we've lived together for four and have been together for almost nine total. I've loved him deeply through this time and we've never tried a poly relationship. In the last year I've realized in myself the desire for other people to love. I've mentioned these desires casually to my husband who realizes how I feel but dismissed the idea quickly and I haven't really pressed the matter further. But I can't help feel like I've missed the boat on polyamory -there's this whole society of people all loving one another that I find myself craving to be a part of.

In recent months we've met someone who I've fallen deeply in love with and who loves me and my husband. We've connected so intensely in the short time we've known each other. He's a wonderful, open person who would be okay with being in a shared relationship.

I know that I can't expect my husband to just all of a sudden be okay with polyamory but I want to try to have this discussion with him. I love him so much and he is an open person who I think might be okay with this if he truly reflected on it. But I'm scared that if I tell him how deeply I feel for my new love that he'll ask me cut him out of my life which I'm not willing to do.

How do I talk about my husband about this? Am I completely delusional to think that I can have a poly lifestyle without giving up the whole life I've already started?
 
Hello and welcome!

I've moved your thread to the appropriate forum - you originally posted where we post the Guidelines and discuss problems/issues/how to use the forums. It's best to read the Guidelines before posting, but Poly Relationships Corner is where you seek relationship-specific advice.

Anyway, have you done a search? Your question has been asked and answered many, many times, and there are all kinds of ideas and advice on how to bring up poly with a partner to be found in numerous discussion threads here. Even if a thread is old, there are good things to be found and you can resurrect old threads with new questions if you like. Start by using the Advanced Search function and look for keywords like "discuss," "broach," "introduce," that sort of thing. Also visit our Golden Nuggets forum or do a Tag Search. You could check out the threads linked in this post:

http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?p=83289&postcount=7
 
Hi horsenameddesire,

One thing to consider is that everything does not depend on one single conversation (with your husband). It is more likely you will need to have many conversations over a long period of time. The hope is that he'll get used to the idea of poly; it will become more familiar to him.

Good words to say to someone new to poly are the words in Franklin Veaux's Poly FAQ. Have a look at that page and then invite your husband to read it. But this wouldn't be your first conversation about poly, you need to start by just telling him that poly is something you want, and you hope he'll think about it.

Whenever you do talk to your husband about it, try to do so in a peaceful and relaxed setting where you can both sit and talk without interruption. I kind of think short conversations are better at first. They can get gradually longer if your husband seems to be handling them okay.

There's a couple of books you should read and maybe you and your husband can read them together:

  • "Opening Up: a guide to creating and sustaining open relationships," by Tristan Taormino.
  • "More than Two: a practical guide to ethical polyamory," by Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert.
Anyway, those are the ideas I can think of for now.
Regards,
Kevin T.
 
You have to figure out WHAT to say.

I'm going to suggest HOW to say it.

Don't drop a bomb from the sky. Ask for an appointment to have a serious talk. Don't just bring it up driving to work and BOOM! You both are messed up the rest of the day because there wasn't enough time on the short drive to complete the conversation and cannot focus at work now. Save it for a weekend.

Don't do it before bed. Do it in a safe quiet space in the day. Don't talk when either of you is

  • hungry
  • anxious
  • angry
  • lonely
  • tired

Come to the table rested, calm, prepared to talk. An hour is plenty. You can always make more appointments to keep on talking. It doesn't have to all happen in on marathon (and exhausting!) session.

If either of you experiences emotional flooding, take a break and continue talking later.


Don't leap into this topic first in the conversation -- that you love your Crush person.

Start slower and focussed. Ask him what he thinks about open relationships in general. Would he ever be up for something like that? That's enough topic for one day. Don't focus on what you fear.

I'm scared that if I tell him how deeply I feel for my new love that he'll ask me cut him out of my life which I'm not willing to do.

Focus on what you hope to have happen instead. This:

I love him so much and he is an open person who I think might be okay with this if he truly reflected on it.

Help create that kind of calm, environment so he CAN truly reflect. Don't make it sound like you have someone waiting in the wings already so it provokes anxiety in him.

An "ambush" kind of start up and too many topics at once whooshing out is overwhelming and a turn off. People can get defensive and shut down like that.

If you learn he's not up for it at this time?

  • You can continue to enjoy your crush from afar and not pursue at this time. Perhaps follow up another time to see if he's willing to read about poly and see if it could be something he wants to practice with you. It's ok to take it over many conversations, not just one.

If you learn he's not up for it ever? Like a hard limit that will never change no matter how much time passes? Respect that.
  • You can continue to enjoy your crush from afar and not pursue
  • You can let go of the crush.
  • Or if you DO want to pursue, you can have a follow up conversation about you and husband breaking up.

Slow all this down. There's no fire. It might feel urgent and quivery in your stomach, but there's no actual fire.

This is your husband, presumably the closest person to you, and someone you regularly share your vulnerable things with and he makes safe space for that to happen in. Right? He may or may not be up for it, but telling him what's on your mind should be something you are already used to doing.

In short, don't bomb him, make an appointment. Both come rested to the appointment and not distracted by HAALT things. Keep the topic focussed. Take your time.

Galagirl
 
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Well, the first time I used the "P" word with Adam, I said to him something along the lines of, "in a while, I'd like to talk with you about polyamory".

And then let it lie for a couple of months.

I learnt a long time ago, plant the seed. As Galagirl said, don't drop a bomb.

I'd say, plant a seed first. Then make the scheduled time. Or do what I did and just get drunk one night and let some of it spill out. But not the first time. And in the meantime, hang out here and learn vicariously.
 
I certainly have to echo what all of the very knowledgeable posters above have said. Go slow, plant a seed first, make sure your partner (and you!) are comfortable and enjoying your conversation.

You may be surprised that your partner has picked up on some things you said earlier which you didn't even realize. Don't be defensive about those words, but do be ready to explain what you meant. And it's probably going to be either a lot easier or a lot harder than you expect...probably not in the middle. I would rather be prepared for "more difficult" and be pleasantly surprised that it was easier than hoping for it to be easy. There will be hard conversations down the road--that you probably already know in your heart.

Apparently I learned last night that an hour or so of foot rubs and calf massages also help set the mood.
 
Be open and honest

My wife met a man she fell in love with very quickly. We have been married almost 15 years and it came out of nowhere. She has always been a very strict one man woman and it surprised her how she felt about him. I to fell for him quickly but in a brother type of way. The three of us feel as if we've known each other forever...but initially there was no way I could explore a 3 way relationship. I rejected it. My wife ended up having an affair with him and I only found out about it a couple of weeks ago. It's the most hurtful thing I have ever experienced. I love both of them deeply and it hurt so bad. My point is this... after they first realized they had feelings for each other...my wife and I talked at great lengths about it. Somewhere along the way our communication stopped and she didn't tell me how much deeper the feelings were getting. Both of us were continuing our friendship with him (which turned into much more than that with her). It almost ruined our marriage. Her love never stopped for me...but the feelings of resentment almost consumed us. We have reconciled and I can't explain it...with everything in the open I am feeling much more at ease with the idea. Very scared..but much more at ease. My heart says yes but my mind no. The whole reason I am writing this is to give you some perspective from the guy who isn't interested in the poly relationship and is very content with a mono one. BE OPEN AND HONEST!!! Truth can hurt. I promise you though it's so much better than keeping things bottled in and festering. Resentment can be cancer to a loving relationship. Blessed be.
 
But I can't help feel like I've missed the boat on polyamory -there's this whole society of people all loving one another that I find myself craving to be a part of.
You are not dead there is still plenty of time

In recent months we've met someone who I've fallen deeply in love with and who loves me and my husband. We've connected so intensely in the short time we've known each other. He's a wonderful, open person who would be okay with being in a shared relationship.
Not the best place to start but it happens.

I know that I can't expect my husband to just all of a sudden be okay with polyamory but I want to try to have this discussion with him.
Even if he is it will still take time
I love him so much and he is an open person who I think might be okay with this if he truly reflected on it. But I'm scared that if I tell him how deeply I feel for my new love that he'll ask me cut him out of my life which I'm not willing to do.
Its possible, but asking someone not to be poly is like asking someone not to be gay... you can only ask them not to act on it. Which is a tall order to ask. Likewise you have already said you will not capitulate to that ultimatum

How do I talk about my husband about this?
Openly and honestly in an environment that sponsors compassion, understanding and reflection
Am I completely delusional to think that I can have a poly lifestyle without giving up the whole life I've already started?

No/Yes but it is difficult and you will loose things along the way, most of those things are hetronormitive-monogamous crap that society has ingrained in us.

That said he might not and you might just need to accept that you found a deal breaker. Odds are that you have similar mind sets and can see ethical non monogamy for what it is. You have a long road ahead good luck and don't be afraid to ask questions and have him come by and have an open minded chat.
 
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