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Old 09-11-2018, 09:22 AM   #1
QuixiHubris
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Default Threatened by wife's polyamory

I am a woman married to another woman (there's some wibbly-wobbly gender stuff involved, but that's a different kettle of fish!). My wife, K, recently admitted that she made out with a younger co-worker of hers. I told her I appreciated her honesty, and that while I was hurt, I understood the circumstances that led to the kiss.

Then, a couple days after that, K confessed that she and the co-worker shared romantic feelings toward each other, and that devastated me for several reasons. First, I was upset that she'd lied about the crush when I directly asked her about it during her kiss confession. Second, I have a lot of anxiety and self-esteem issues, so my brain immediately took this as confirmation that K wants to leave me and that I'm not enough for her. Third, I was angry with K because in the time between confession 1 and confession 2, she'd been trying to talk to me about polyamory, apparently hoping to get me on board with it while I was still in the dark about the crush thing.

I feel betrayed and exposed, and I'm afraid of expressing to K the depths of my pain because I don't want to make her feel bad, and I don't want to seem like I'm manipulating her or dismissing her needs.

The thing is, I want to be open about polyamory, but more and more, I recognize that I'm monogamous, and am perfectly satisfied with loving one person. Meanwhile, it's becoming clearer that K is polyamorous, and capable of loving multiple people, which is difficult for me to understand. I hate thinking about her going on dates with other women while I'm, what, sitting alone in our house, eating cheetos in the dark and wondering if my wife is going to have sex with the cuter, younger college student she picked up at work?

I don't want to come off as insecure, and I want to trust K when she assures me that we're life partners, and that her love for me is independent of her love for anyone else, but I simply can't comprehend it.

I desperately want to discuss this with my friends, or even my mother, but I don't want to taint their opinions of K. I have a feeling they'll be enraged on my behalf, which isn't what I want (as validating as that would be). So, I'm here, wondering if anyone has faced a similar situation. Thank you in advance, and I apologize for the novel!
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Old 09-11-2018, 11:19 AM   #2
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Default Re: Threatened by wife's polyamory

Hi Quixi. I am sorry you are going through this with your wife. I think you need to have a serious look at being with your wife for all of eternity. It sounds like she wants her cake and to eat it too. I would not be ok with her cheating. You are too good for that and deserve better!!!
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Old 09-11-2018, 01:00 PM   #3
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Default Re: Threatened by wife's polyamory

OK I can share a similar experience (although I am a guy-ish - see myself as 'questioning' with bi inclinations) - not sure if this is validating or not but it's just what happened for me.

My first serious long term relationship developed into polyamory after a couple of years. My (female) partner, who up till then had been straight, expressed to me that she was attracted to my best friend (female - bi). Like you there was a big part of me that felt threatened because I am extremely insecure in relationships, but I also wanted to do what I saw as 'the right thing' as we both believed that people can be fluid in their sexuality and had certain feminist inspired political beliefs about relationships, and I recognised as a male that there were aspects of her sexuality I simply could not (or even should not) meet. Paradoxically, and in all honesty, I think to an extent this was also fuelled by my insecurity, I could see that if I did not compromise my own trust issues I could lose her due to my own inflexibility and her need to explore those aspects of her sexuality, and I also just felt it was unfair for me to impose my needs on her. So we agreed to open up our relationship. In principle it was meant to be two way, I could also have polyamorous relationships, but in practice I never pursued that for myself, I am simply too shy to initiate relationships and struggle sexually even with one person due to CPTSD issues.

I do realise that people might assume here that as a guy it was easier for me to accept another woman into our relationship - the classic guy fantasy of 'hey threesomes' but it really wasn't about that. The fact is I was not attracted to my friend, I loved her as a person but not sexually, and same for her. So what tended to happen was either my partner would sleep some nights at my friends, or if she did sleep over at ours I would keep a discrete distance and give them the space they needed. On those nights they did usually invite me to join them in bed after some time to themselves, but just to cuddle and sleep (which was nice) and I never wanted (would have been horrified by doing so) to allow my penis to come between them so to speak. It worked very well for a few years till we split up (as a result of my insecurities eventually getting the better of us).

Not suggesting any of this applies to you, you have your own values and boundaries, what felt 'right' to me may not to you, but you asked if anyone had been through similar and I guess this is fairly close.
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Old 09-11-2018, 01:07 PM   #4
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Default Re: Threatened by wife's polyamory

I haven't been in a similar situation, but I think it would be hard to be monogamous with a polyamorous partner. Sounds like you may need to re-evaluate the relationship.
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Old 09-11-2018, 03:48 PM   #5
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Default Re: Threatened by wife's polyamory

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carmina View Post
Not suggesting any of this applies to you, you have your own values and boundaries, what felt 'right' to me may not to you, but you asked if anyone had been through similar and I guess this is fairly close.
Thank you so much for this answer. It does sound like you've experienced something pretty similar to this, which is reassuring. I relate to a lot of your story, and hope I can be open while still managing my own boundaries and needs.
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Old 09-13-2018, 05:28 AM   #6
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Default Re: Threatened by wife's polyamory

I would seriously think about your relationship with your wife. As metalchick says, she seems to want her cake and eat it, and if you are unable to deal with her feelings for this other woman, which is understandable, you might be as well to move on. You clearly want different things for the relationship, and she might just keep hurting you and keep flirting with other women or worse. It's not worth the heartache.


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Old 09-14-2018, 12:40 PM   #7
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I would be honest with your wife about how you feel and how much her cheating hurt. Even if she is polyamorous, she didn't discuss things with you beforehand, and she lied to you about her attraction to her co-worker. Even polyam people can cheat. Her being polyam doesn't make it okay to go behind your back.

Healthy relationships, of all types, involve open communication and honesty, between all partners. Your wife didn't honor that, or her commitment to you. Of course you're feeling hurt and threatened.

If she wanted to get her needs met in a healthy way, she would have talked to you beforehand. You have a right to be upset, and IMO, she should feel guilty about what she did. If anyone was manipulative in this situation, it's her.
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Old 09-19-2018, 09:10 AM   #8
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Default Re: Threatened by wife's polyamory

I haven't experienced anything similar but my advice is to be completely honest about how you feel with K. I doubt she would feel good being with other people if it made you upset
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Old 09-21-2018, 11:14 AM   #9
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Default Re: Threatened by wife's polyamory

An update: K has definitely felt guilty about the whole thing, and has apologized for causing me pain. I met with both K and co-worker to talk things out. Co-worker is in college, and not out to her parents, with whom she still lives. With the understanding that everything would need to be kept on the DL, I nervously gave them my blessing to see each other romantically, but requested I be kept in the loop. Everyone agreed that if this turned out to be too painful for me, then they could shut it down.

They spent the night with each other earlier this week, and while nothing happened, it was still agony to spend the night alone in our house. Our work schedules are pretty opposing as well, so it really came out to almost two days of us not seeing each other.

Yesterday, however, the co-worker called K to say she wasn't emotionally ready for a romantic relationship with her. She explained that she's recently out of a 4 year relationship, and realized she hasn't really unpacked that. So for now, she wants to be, well, a college kid: sleeping with people casually, but not forming real romantic relationships.

K is pretty heartbroken, and I've been consoling her, but it's difficult. We're both sort of angry that this girl introduced a big and painful topic into our lives, potentially jeopardizing our marriage, and then dropped it. K said some pretty hurtful things without meaning to, along the lines of, "She gets to go out and sleep around and have no pressure, but I have to come home to my wife." She immediately realized how crappy that was and apologized profusely, but I'm still simmering over it.

I kind of don't want to be her emotional support. I'm not even sure how to support her through what's basically a breakup with her not-even-a-girlfriend. I feel bad about that, but it hurts to see her still pining for someone other than me, and so I don't know how to help her, but I don't want to be cruel, either.

Our relationship is still healthy, and we've had a lot of very open, serious talks, but this is... I don't know, a lot. I'm totally drained. I'm losing productivity at work and making stupid mistakes because I'm distracted and exhausted by this.

I suppose I'm mostly venting at this point, but I appreciate everyone's responses. It's at least nice to be heard and legitimized to some extent.
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Old 09-21-2018, 11:56 AM   #10
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Default Re: Threatened by wife's polyamory

Quote:
Originally Posted by QuixiHubris View Post
An update: K has definitely felt guilty about the whole thing, and has apologized for causing me pain. I met with both K and co-worker to talk things out. Co-worker is in college, and not out to her parents, with whom she still lives. With the understanding that everything would need to be kept on the DL, I nervously gave them my blessing to see each other romantically, but requested I be kept in the loop. Everyone agreed that if this turned out to be too painful for me, then they could shut it down.

They spent the night with each other earlier this week, and while nothing happened, it was still agony to spend the night alone in our house. Our work schedules are pretty opposing as well, so it really came out to almost two days of us not seeing each other.

Yesterday, however, the co-worker called K to say she wasn't emotionally ready for a romantic relationship with her. She explained that she's recently out of a 4 year relationship, and realized she hasn't really unpacked that. So for now, she wants to be, well, a college kid: sleeping with people casually, but not forming real romantic relationships.

K is pretty heartbroken, and I've been consoling her, but it's difficult. We're both sort of angry that this girl introduced a big and painful topic into our lives, potentially jeopardizing our marriage, and then dropped it. K said some pretty hurtful things without meaning to, along the lines of, "She gets to go out and sleep around and have no pressure, but I have to come home to my wife." She immediately realized how crappy that was and apologized profusely, but I'm still simmering over it.

I kind of don't want to be her emotional support. I'm not even sure how to support her through what's basically a breakup with her not-even-a-girlfriend. I feel bad about that, but it hurts to see her still pining for someone other than me, and so I don't know how to help her, but I don't want to be cruel, either.

Our relationship is still healthy, and we've had a lot of very open, serious talks, but this is... I don't know, a lot. I'm totally drained. I'm losing productivity at work and making stupid mistakes because I'm distracted and exhausted by this.

I suppose I'm mostly venting at this point, but I appreciate everyone's responses. It's at least nice to be heard and legitimized to some extent.
Hi there,

I'm very sorry to hear about the experience you're having. I've been in a polyamorous relationship for about 7 years, and I feel it's important to speak up for you in this case: *polyamorous people can still cheat*. It seems that you've been handling this very maturely, trying to see things from your wife's perspective, and wanting her to be happy. But there are some facts here that can't be ignored:

1. Your wife pursued this relationship without your knowledge or consent
2. She is expecting you to work through these issues after the trust has already been violated. The time for those discussions was *before* she kissed this other person.
3. "Everyone agreed that if this turned out to be too painful for me, then they could shut it down" - this feels gaslight-y to me. This conversation should have been had before the relationship ever began. It should never fall to the monogamous person to "be okay", this puts you in a position of being responsible for their happiness, which is entirely unfair. You should have had an opportunity to voice your needs before being put into this situation.

I am fully supportive of polyamory when it is healthy and consensual. However, I get the impression that you have been backed into a corner on this issue without your consent. You've already stated that you are monogamous and uncomfortable with the whole situation. For her to ask for your support while she grieves this other relationship is entirely unfair. I do not think it would be cruel of you to take a step back from the situation. It's entirely up to you whether you choose to continue the relationship or not, but please do not take the burden of healing her upon yourself. It was reckless at best and cruel at worst for her to put you in this situation, and it is not your responsibility to heal her broken heart. She made the choices she made, and it's important for you to take the steps you need to be okay.
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