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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Out of control. . .


Hi there I am hoping in a way this will be cathartic, as I have yet to tell anyone about the last few months. First you need some history then  I promise I'll get to the point, maybe someone else has experienced the same?

 My husband and I have been together since we were teenagers for 25 years now and neither of us had any relationships before each other, (yes I know I now feel like the weird one). In a way it was nice knowing that about each other. ( I feel that had we known polyamory was an option back then, we would have embraced it).We have 3 children, now teenagers, one with special needs who have taken up all of our  emotional energy on every level. Our motto was divide and conquer as neither of us has ever had any family support so we just got on with, our family life and our busy professional careers. We have indeed conquered from the perspective of the outside world. I thought this was life and had settled into the everyday comfort of routine and day to day activity. A few months back, however I discovered by accident that my husband had developed feelings for a work colleague after a work trip interstate and that her husband had already said he was polyamorous despite not acting on it and she was aware of it but had never acted on it either until now. I was more upset that he hadn't shared this with me and had kept this emotional relationship hidden for almost a year for fear of hurting me. He said he feels polyamorous and that he wants to explore this lifestyle in more detail We have talked about this and to his surprise I agreed to let him explore this with this partner which he is currently doing.

The real question is, this lifestyle is so lovely and open and honest that I'd really love to be a part of it and to develop true compersion. I am genuinely happy when I see my partner so happy and fulfilled, but I also hurt deeply and feel very let down that I had no control over it happening and I am not sure if I can manage the pain it causes me every time I know he's with his other partner. I am not sure where those feelings come from, as logically this is completely the right thing to do as he is a genuinely deeply loving man and hates that he's hurting me so much. But he feels he really needs this relationship as well, and it makes sense on every level, but the emotional part of my brain wont cooperate. I assume it will get less over time, or if I ever have another partner, which he'd love me to do as well and experience what he has, but I rarely have the opportunity to meet others outside my female dominated work ( I am hetrosexual)so this is unlikely given my busy work and family life. so I guess I'd like to know, if others have been through this, what can I do to become more comfortable with this, I have done a lot of research and this has helped some, but I'd love some real suggestions as well. I still have very long life to live and want it to be great.

F&T

2 comments:

  1. F&T,
    Thanks for writing and sharing your story with us!

    First off, please know you aren’t alone. I’ve talked to numerous people, couples and individuals, who have *found* polyamory as you have; by accident, by luck, and by stumbling across someone with whom they realize a connection deeper than friendship. You have some challenges ahead of you to be sure but, there should be a large dose of joy mixed in as well.

    You mention 25 years together as a couple, congratulations! In this day and age that is something to be quite proud of. It also hints that you have been living a monogamous lifestyle for those 25 years. That mindset, and social programming, may be difficult to overcome. As you venture into polyamory you may feel that you are doing something naughty, and want to hide your new lifestyle from friends and family. Keeping your private life private is your choice and don’t let anyone tell you differently. There will be those who preach *coming out* as a form of honesty, tying it to the common poly tenents of Openness, Honesty, and Communication. Ignore them for now and do what is right for you. What you do want to rid yourself of is the guilt. Monogamy may be an accepted and common design for many but that doesn’t mean you should feel guilty for living differently. Know that if you are living your life, and designing your relationships, in a manner ethical to you that is all that matters.

    Finding compersion, as you mentioned, may also be difficult right away. You may have fears of being replaced, feel that you are the one sacrificing time, fear loss of intimacy, or even feel your partner is sharing something special with someone else instead of you. I feel communication and introspection help a lot with these things.
    (continued below due to site limits)

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  2. (continued)
    -As time goes by, and your partner builds their new relationship, fear of being replaced should diminish. You will see that your partner still comes home to you, still spends time with you and wants to be with you. Part of being poly, in my opinion, is trusting that your partners are being ethical in their behavior and want to share love with many rather than using it as an excuse to practice serial monogamy.

    -You ARE sacrificing some of your time with your partner. After 25 years together you have probably grown used to them being there most all the time. And it is difficult to imagine them wanting to spend time away from you. Remind yourself that this change to your routine feels wrong simply because you are used to the routine. Ask yourself if you would feel so strongly if your partner was pursuing a new hobby that you didn’t enjoy. Would you deny them that new pleasure?
    To battle those feelings try and find something you enjoy doing without your partner. Keeping busy helps keep your mind from focusing on their absence. But if you do find yourself focusing on it, try to think of the time you are giving them with another as a gift that you want them to enjoy.

    -Understand your partner isn’t sharing something special with someone else they could share with you, they are sharing something different. Each person is different, as is each relationship. Their relationship with someone else won’t be the same as with you, just as yours will be different with others as you develop those relationships. When they share time and intimacy with you think about how it is special for you and may not be special to someone else in the same way.

    -Control. You mentioned feeling like you have no control and in some ways, you don’t. You can’t control how your partner feels about someone else, nor can you control what they do. What you can control are your own emotions, what you will or will not involve yourself with, and how you act toward others. Know that trying to control your partners other relationships will probably only lead to disaster. Instead focus on the relationship you have with your partner.

    There is a lot more I could add here but I’d like to give others a chance to give their advice and this post is already getting long so I’ll close with a final thought. . .

    The things you mention aren’t yours to resolve alone. Being in a poly relationship isn’t one-sided. Your partner needs to realize that *being poly* doesn’t simply mean engaging with new partners. It also means practicing excellent communication with all your partners, ensuring each of their needs are met, and knowing your limitations. (Particularly around number of partners). You mention meeting others and free time as a possible concern. Your partner should be stepping up to help support you; helping you find free time to meet others and engage in your own relationships. If your needs aren’t being met, and your partner isn’t stepping up to the task of supporting you, speak up and make sure your needs are being heard.

    Congratulations on exploring a different relationship style. Remember to create what makes sense for you. There is no *right way*, just your way. Make it what you need and it will be beautiful and fulfilling.

    Love well,
    PP

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