Polyamory Problems


First off you have to know what Polyamory is: morethantwo.com can help if you don’t.
My husband does not understand polyamory, or what it means to me. Not many do understand.
I am a polyamorist, though at this time i am not living the lifestyle, i still identify with it as part of who i am, my nature.
To me polygamist type love vs monogamist love is much like homosexuality. It can be nature, or nurture, that makes us one way or the other, and it is difficult for the monogamist to understand the polyamorist, as it is for the straight man to understand the gay one.
So i married a monogamist, only to discover my poly nature a few months into our marriage. At first hubby seemed very understanding and supportive, but as time went on and my poly relationships got more serious, i saw more resentment surfacing. He had lied to me, he still doesn’t really understand who i am.
I had acted in the belief he understood, the fact that he didn’t make some of my actions wounds to him. So i have re-committed to him, as a monogamist, but now i feel some resent for him not loving me for me and lying to me instead of giving me a real chance to be myself and take things as slow as he needs to.
Every time i bring up my feelings he has sent me back to the arms of another, telling me to be myself and he loves and won’t leave me. Until the next fight when his lies come out. I just want him to understand.
I don’t care about living the lifestyle. I only want him to love me completely, not have him hate me for who he thinks i am, but understand who i really am and love me.
Switching between lifestyles only switches which one of us feels loved. In monogamy like this i feel cheated and not loved. And of course he feels the same way in polyamory. His feelings are understandable, i just wish he could understand how i love, and how much i love him.
So m question is, does anyone have any advice for how to save my marriage? How can i not feel so unloved with his lack of understanding me? Or does anyone have advice for how to get him to understand?
Thanks :)

Category: Tags: asked March 4, 2014

16 Answers

@rain, yeah i understand. it seems as though you definitely have a lose lose situation here and if you could only find a way out you would. I know leaving him would be your very last resort, but so would compromising who you are to be somebody you're not. I truly wish I could tell you that there is a way out of this, but there is none that I could see because a person's view of love is built so deep in his or her core. To change either his or your mindset on love is near impossible and will cause a load of hurt for the both of you to try to change. However, If you feel like you need this man, who is now your husband, you have to let go of who you are, and that will leave you broken for some time, but eventually i promise you will be able to come to terms with that if you try. If you do not truly need this man, who is now your husband, it is not worth it to be so broken and you will need to break it off in order to be yourself, which will also hurt. but again, you will be able to come to terms with it if you try. What I would do in your position however, because marriage is important to me, would be to forget myself for the sake of my spouse and hope that my spouse would be there to help me heal through the brokenness. If it doesn't work no matter how hard I try, then I would go for plan B and break it off because I would have no other choice. There really is no compromise that you have any control over. You must basically choose one: your husband, or your identity. But keep in mind that whatever decision you make will cause hurt, but you WILL be able to get past the hurt in time. So there is hope in that. Stay hopeful above all else. As much as the near future will be full of hurt, the distant future has healing, and you must keep your mind focused on that future because it will come. All good things come to an end, but all bad things do as well. Stay hopeful, and try your very best in what you do. continue trying your hardest to understand your husband, even through all the pain. You will get there no matter what decision you make. And remember to keep communicating with him, with the problem you two have. Try to resolve the situation together.
imdown: I feel it is unfair to my husband that i did't see my own nature until after we were married, but i knew then as i know now that i want to spend my life with him, i am madly in love with him. But to say i shouldn't have gotten in the relationship is not fair. I've gone over it dozens of times in my head, i don't see how i could have discovered this nature being single. It took the understanding partner to let me see it. My problem is that his understanding was a lie. That said i can't argue, it doesn't seem possible for a monogamist and polyamorist to make a relationship work.. I just don't want that to be the only answer. :/ Quiet Island: Its not the first time someone suggested i try to include him, but unfortunately this forces me to agree with imdown, my husband and i just have two different views on the nature of love. I have always been afraid to actually test this and push him to pursue someone else because if he is a monogamous and my theory is right that this can't just be changed by nurture, he would just leave me for other girl. Which i know is precisely his fear with me, but he can't see that i don't have to chose, i can love two completely and fully at one time.Ultimately i know i have to accept that he can never fully understand me and devote myself to him alone, or choose to pursue who i am and leave him. I just wish someone had a magical answer, cuz i feel like either way i'm throwing away so much love and potential, for nothing. :(
To be honest, I do not believe that your husband lied to you. It seems that he truly was open to the idea until it happened; it was then that he realised the fullness of your identity and grew both anger and jealousy, and that is perfectly acceptable. Your husband has every right to feel jealous and upset, especially since he cannot completely understand the polyamorous lifestyle due to the fact that he is not polyamorous.With that being said, I believe you should talk to him even more about your identity and come to an understanding. This also means that you may want to not go out searching for potential partners at this time. It seems that he may feel unloved as well, maybe even unwanted as if he is not enough for you. Personally, I am dating a monogamous person and she explained to me her insecurities and how she believed she would never be enough. I believe that you need to talk to him and see his point of view as well.To put it simply, talking needs to happen. Both of you need to share whatever is on your mind and share exactly how all of this makes you feel. I wish you the best of luck, and I am sure everything will be better soon.
I do not intend to be harsh, but have you truly searched the person in the mirror for your answers?
Do you understand Him?
Have you been truthful with Him?
Are you interested in keeping your marriage promise to Him?
It is obvious that he is hurting, too. Yet, I see little evidence of "us" in any of your writings. It is largely me, me, me that comes across. In any marriage, a focus on "me" usually ends up poorly if it sacrifices "us". Take a long look in the mirror. Do you really want there to be an "us" with him? You say, yes. But I'm not reading it.
Take a week, reflect on this in your own heart, and then see if you need to ask the same questions again in this forum. I wish the best for both of you.
In my opinion, you're marriage is never going to truly work. Monogamy and Polyamory lifestyles don't mix. You would be much happier finding someone who shares your view on relationships. In his eyes, even though he says he understands, you are cheating on him. Even though you don't see it as cheating because you don't share his monogamy view. Just as he can't see it the way you do because he doesn't share you polyamory view. I think you would find it much less confusing, less stressful and you would be much happier if you ended the marriage and had relationships with men (women) who share your view. I know you say you are not practicing polyamory now, but honestly that's almost like a woman saying she's not practicing being bi-sexual because at the moment she is in a relationship with a man.Please do not take offense. I am in no way judging you. I am just trying to explain a different perspective on the situation. In the end you need to to what makes you happy.
oh my god why are all your comments thumbs downed? that's kind of annoying. And rain that's great, at least you know which is more important to you. that makes this easier (not really). but it's a start! your husband is so important to you that you are willing to let go of a part of yourself for him and that's very nice, but it's very hard. you need to let your husband in on this and get as much help as you can from everyone possible if you are going to go through with this. good luck to you, i hope the very best for you. And remember. if after a year or so you are still struggling with polyamory it's very natural, but if you are in a worse mental state or in more stress because of that, then it is never too late to go back and revisit all of this with your husband.
I have actually been on the other side of this. I am monogamous, and my husband is polyamorous. This, of course, freaked me out! It's hard, for me, to not feel like I am #1, or have all of his love and affection. Admittedly, I yelled, I cried, and I got upset. I didn't want to hear anything he had to say, and I wasn't very accepting of it. "Why did he marry me, if he wants more than one person?" I wondered. I tortured myself thinking I wasn't good enough, and that I was the reason that he wanted more than one person.This is not, of course, how you think. I'm sure your though process, like my husband's, is "I love this person so much. " and then " I love this other person so much!" The levels of love may not be different, or they may be, but it's not a mental competition for you.The only sound way I was able to deal with this was to say " If you are interested in another partner, it has to be of the same sex. " (This doesn't have to be the same in your case, but I personally can't deal with my husband being with another woman. ) My husband is bisexual, so this was cool with him. Likewise, he extended the offer that if I wanted to have a female partner, I was welcome to do so. (Even though I have no interest in a female partner. ) I also have a 100% " I don't want to hear about it." rule and a "I come first." rule. So, It's not a complete loss I don't think! We're still learning how to communicate to each other. We just try to keep the other one happy because we love each other. If your hubby is feeling threatened by you hooking up with other men, maybe you should try women? IDK if your interests are gender exclusive or not, but it's merely a suggestion. Good luck!! <3
Miss Rain, your needs are your needs. It is who you are, and though it is unfortunate that you found out the way that you did, that is the way things are and there is no changing that.

The only solution to your problem is to steel yourself and make the big risk. Tell your husband that your problem isn't just going to go away by not talking about it, and you have to sit down and discuss it. Don't make it a possible thing, or something to do further down the road; make it a priority to discuss this, because it is a real and very present concern that requires serious and present attention.

This is where your options get uncomfortable: on the one hand, if he says that he is not going to talk about it, then you basically have your answer. You have to divorce and go your separate ways. On the other hand, if he agrees to talk about it, then you have to tell him bluntly that you are polyamorous, and that is who you are. Either he decides to be okay with that and you two come to some kind of compromise (the desired outcome), or he tells you that he acknowledges who you are, but he just can't live with it, and that also leads to you getting a divorce (the bad outcome).

The choice of you neglecting yourself needs to come off the table. Don't even consider it. You don't hear gays saying "Well, I don't like the opposite gender, but it is expected of me, so I'll just have to stop being gay."

You could neglect yourself, but that would end up with you fundamentally unhappy and it would foster feelings of resentment. That's definitely a bad thing you want to avoid.

Love does not always conquer all. That's a Valentine's card, not reality. If your husband loves you, he'll come to a means of compromise, because it is the only way for your relationship to work. You can't be asked to not be polyamorous, it's not an option.

I know it is hard, and I know that you don't have much in the way of promising options, but you have to do what is right for you.

From a fellow polyamorist; Good luck.
Sounds like your main man is okay with the open relationship as long as he's your one special guy and as long as it's not just like you're staying in one job while you do internships with other companies in your spare time. If he's staying home with a dinner for one while you're out having candlelit romance with someone else, how do you expect him to feel? Left out, abandoned maybe? Perhaps you could set him up with one of your friends and see if they can find romance and fall in love, so he's more a part of it.
Okay, if you are a polyamorist you should not have gotten committed to a monogamous relationship in the first place. In most places in america, marriage is a monogamous thing and you have to understand that. You also have to understand that no matter how much your husband loves you, he will get jealous if you act on polyamory, simply because he is monogamous. I am sorry but there is absolutely no way you can come to a compromise with this because you two have two completely separate views on the nature of love. as much as he would try to understand you, he will feel jealous and unhappy if you are with someone else. you can try, but in the end one of you or the other will be unhappy. in conclusion, he is not for you. you need a person who is also polyamorous in order for the both of you to be happy.
i am not living the lifestyle now. i feel it will always be part of who i am, but that doesn't mean i have to act on it. like the christians told me when i was teen, it was okay to be bi as long as i didn't act on my feelings (lol). I know the importance of communication, i have tried to talk to him and get him to talk all along the way. But the problem is he did lie. he has told me so and at times i could tell. not to say ive done everything perfectly. but anytime i try to get him to talk he looks for a way out, whether its saying he doesnt love me or want me anymore, or its telling me he does love me and understands as he's pushing me off on one of my (ex) partners. i cannot figure out how to get him to communicate, about this or any other big issue directly related to me or us. i try to explain and he lies, saying he gets it, cuz he isn't getting it and just wants me to shut up (i can only assume). his real feelings are still hidden to me. he switches like jeckyll and hyde and idek which one is the lie anymore. i just know that the only way to keep him right now is to not bring up polyamory to him at all.. but the longer i go just holding all this in the more i resent him and wonder if his love for me is true, if its anywhere near what mine is for him. like imdown said, there's just no compromise. one of us has to make the big sacrifice to make the other happy. :( i have a pretty good understanding of his insecurities i think. having always been a rather jealous and insecure romantic partner. i know he feels like im trying to replace him, that his isnt god enough, and i dont fully love him if im busy loving someone else. but thats just not how i work. i cant compare my lovers, i wouldnt chose one over the other if it was entirely up to me, and i'm here, fighting for him still, willing to suppress part of my identity for him, so obviously i love him. yet it seems all my love and ll my effort isn't enough to save us.
i definitely get what you're saying. i keep contemplating this decision, changing my mind. cuz on the one hand we have everything we've all been talking about here, all the points about polyamory and monogamy. and on the other hand i have my history with this guy, now i've lost a lot of people, and its hard to build history yes, but idc, i'm used to that, the thing is the history with us is always beating the odds, proving everyone wrong, making our relationship work despite the impossible, despite all the hangups that tried to separate us, we stayed together. so i've maintained that if anyone can make this monogamy polyamory thing work, its us. and then there's all the little sayings about love. they tell me true love conquers everything and if someone truly loves another they'll give anything for them, and nothing will ever stop their love. so if i truly love him would i not stay? but by the same token would he not love me for me, not threaten to leave? more than that i have my feelings for my first love... even after all this time i still love him and would jump at the chance to have his friendship even. and i love my husband ten times more than i loved the first. how could i let him go? to long for him the rest of my life? would that not hurt more than suppressing some unknown love from developing? the answer seems so clear sometimes, but in love, i fear nothing is clear.. they do say it makes you dumb and blind.
Bills Brother: i don't understand him only because he lies and changes his story. he loves me when i am his, as he would put it. he buys me gifts, cooks for me, helps with household chores, and brings home the bacon. lol he is the sweetest husband. and our love life is great then too. then he gets mad about something, usually its me saying he should do something differently, like not take a certain tone with me when i ask something.. or for example.. i ask him to do something for me and when hes my loving sweet hubby, he just does it, well then he is grumpy and still just does it, but as he does he's calling me names etc... so i tell him, its a question, he can say no. this turns into a huge fight and even now not pursuing anyone else or talking about it or anything..he might bring up stuff about that..that he cant trust me etc. the thing is i have been completely honest with him from day one. when i cheated years ago, when we were dating, i was the one who told him. i couldn't keep it from him, or lie about it. in fact my discovery of my poly nature came from trying to understand why i had cheated, to give him an answer, how could i cheat? the answer to him is worse than the question though i guess. makes sense. at first it was, "i was away, she wanted physical attention" not great but better than, "she doesnt just love me, she loves this guy too." i DO understand his not understanding my lifestyle. i just don't understand the way he acts about it. like he has no desire to understand or figure out a way to make our marriage happy, find some compromise or anything. One thing i am damn sure of is that i love him and i want to spend my life with him, but i want to do what is best. i have considered in all this what will really make him happy too... and maybe a fresh start with a monogamous woman would be what's best for him. i just don't want to make my decision based on any one doctrine or opinion. So thanks to all for the input, i do appreciate it. just helping my gears turn to find my answer, cuz ultimately i have to make some choice hm?
looks like someone has a beef with me. smh. that's nice. imdown: you got me. xD i might as well keep trying and try to get past the hurt of losing part of myself, cuz losing him means losing everything.. i feel like i'd die of a broken heart on the spot.
I am glad you and your husband have so much love for each other. However, it concerns me that you view his inability to be in a poly-amorous relationship as a lie. I feel like you explained it best yourself, when you said you needed to be in a relationship to realize you were poly-amorous. It sounds like he tried his best to understand but ultimately has different ideas of what he wants from this relationship.I don't believe either of you are to be blamed for this predicament, but if you truly want to stay together it will be an ongoing struggle. Ultimately one of you will have to make a huge fundamental sacrifice for the other. Which could easily lead to bitterness. I might have a limited vantage point, but I have trouble seeing how a compromise might be met here.
I didn't mean that i don't believe he is monogamous and doesn't want any poly type relationship, though it was hard to believe any man wouldn't be interested in having two women, even strictly sexually, i had to accept who he is and not let people tell me, "he's lying, no guy lets his girl do her own thing unless he gets some on the side too." The lie was that he understood my polyamorist feelings. I know he did it because he loves me and wanted me to be happy, but it just grew resentment because truthfully he sees it more as "an excuse to cheat," or sleep around, that i'm just a selfish slut. I would have taken things a lot slower and handled things a lot differently if he has been honest with me from the start.

We started out with me only looking at women, i am bi, but i lean more towards men, i connect better with them. i have gone back and forth a lot on wanting to have a female partner or a male one, so i've given up. since before the last convo where hubby said "me or them," i haven't been looking for a guy or girl, just waiting to see if love finds me. Now, given his attitude, i am even more focused on building friendships, just secretly hoping that my feelings that i am meant to be with him and polyamorous are right and fate brings me the friend who becomes that love at the right time... if that makes sense. He also wanted me to have him as primary, and given that relationships take time to grow he would be/has been, but as the relationship with the "other" grows it would be more equal to me. I really hate choosing favorites, and to me one partner cannot be compared to the other because everyone is unique. The two partners bring very different things to the table, to me that is the point of polyamory, not expecting one person to be my perfect mate, but a combination of partners to make one happy unit (like bandits :P).

The choice of suppressing who i am seems very natural to me, having grown up in "christian" home, i was told my feelings for girls were wrong, even my depression was wrong -i should control how i feel and not allow such negativity. smh. it's sad, but i am used to forcing myself into everyone's mold for me. Even now my mother is pleased with my choice to steer away from polyamory and try to save my marriage.. though she tries not to show her feelings about my choices and supports me no matter what.. i can tell she's just waiting for me to say i am wrong and be happy with my husband. it is a lot easier to go with the flow. still it is very confusing for me, because with my husband supporting me i felt ready to take on the world to stand for my way of life.. but against him i give it up in an instant. :/
My main issue in all of this is wanting my husband to give me a real chance, and be willing to talk about it and understand it since he has lied or simply shut down any time i've tried to help him understand in the past. I had thought it was the whirlwind nature of my relationships and how i express myself physically that bothered him, but i've come to realize that the idea of me loving someone else hurts him more than that of me sleeping with someone else. I just don't know how to even approach him with the subject anymore.