I met my husband three and a half years ago. We’ve been married for a year and a half. The first two years were absolute bliss. I was dating two other people when we met, and he was very supportive of me being poly, though he expressed that he wasn’t interested in adding partners for himself. I’ve been burned before, so this time I feel I did it right. From the start I was BRUTALLY honest. I wanted to be absolutely certain that he was, in fact, ok with me being poly. That he would tell me when he had concerns, and ask questions when he had them. I told him trivial things, like who texted me throughout the day, just so he would know how things were likely to go. I knew I was his first exposure to polyamory, so I didn’t want to make any assumptions at all.
Okay, so you’re off to a good start. Honesty, straightforwardness in communication. All of this is good.
Time went by and my secondary relationships went away. I made absolutely certain that he knew I did not end the relationships for him, but because they were no longer positive for me. I reiterated that I would still be pursuing a poly lifestyle and that it was just a toss of the dice that it was just he and I at the moment.
I’m going to pay you the compliment of presuming that when you say you are making something absolutely certain, that you used unambiguous language. i.e. “I am still polyamorous. Right now you are my only partner, but that could change.”
Or something equally as blunt.
After he proposed, I made sure to bring up the topic again, stating that I would still be polyamorous, that my commitment to him did not rule out the possibility of me finding other secondary relationships. He seemed to understand. He seemed quite honest. He seemed very supportive. So we married.
About 3 months in, I met someone that I absolutely adored. I enjoyed the emotional fuzzies, but did not act on it, as I felt focusing on my new marriage would be the best for the situation.
The object of my affections was not informed of my feelings. Another 3 months or so went by before I decided, no, this is not a passing infatuation, so I brought it up to my dear husband, but did not mention names (partly because of his newness to poly, partly because, inside, I’m chicken). Turns out, this was a good thing, because my husband exploded. He couldn’t believe that I could even think such a thing. Hadn’t I made my decision when I married him?
I was blindsided, shocked even. I had been absolutely clear, to the point that I thought bringing it up again would result in, “Oh, come on, you’ve told me a million times already…”
Hmm… If what you say is so, and you accepted his proposal still reiterating that you intended to be non-exclusive after the marriage, I’m gonna have to say that this fella was indulging in some wishful thinking.
We tried to talk about boundaries. What does he need, what do I need, but mostly he just got hurt and upset every time I brought it up. I continue to bring it up again about once a month, just to try and make progress.
As far as due diligence, and bringing it up, it sounds like you’ve been doing what you needed to do.
A year later, I still have feelings for the object of my affections (OOA), this person reveals feelings for me, and we discuss what that means. OOA doesn’t want to break up a marriage, or do anything at all until Husband is absolutely clear on what he wants.
Let me be clear, polyamory is one of my personal requirements for a relationship. I will NOT date you if I cannot also date other men and women. Other boundaries are flexible, this is not. I would not have married Husband had I known he would react like this, but you know what they say about hindsight…
So, the long-awaited question, how long do I wait for him to be ok with something we discussed three and a half years ago? Or should I cut and run? He still expresses a desire to work on things, and I have seen a few (very small) changes. Normally, this would mean that both of us are willing to work on the relationship and it’s still a go. But how do I know I won’t wake up, thirty years from now, still claiming to be poly, but having been monogamous my whole life because he’s just “not quite ready yet”? (exaggeration, I know, I’m freaking out a little…) Please help! Any advice would help at this point, I’m going insane.
I don’t know that you need any advice. You’ve said that non-exclusivity is a non-negotiable for you. I don’t know how much more clear you can be.
I sympathize with your dilemma. I had something similar happen when I married. Before marriage, my finance was all, “Of course I want kids.” After marriage? No. He didn’t want kids, not ever.
I thought having kids was a non-negotiable. It turned out that when I examined it, I wanted to be married to my husband more than I wanted children, and yeah, I did make a hard cold decision about it. I did luck out, as he changed his mind, but I cannot urge you strongly enough to think really carefully about this, as you can’t count on him changing his mind. He may never, and if you’re not okay with never, it’s time to fish or cut bait my dear. It sounds to me like you’re not really okay with it. The real question is, “Are you okay with being with your husband as is he is right now?” There’s no reward for being Patient Griselda here, and neither of you are going to benefit from being the Brave Little Toaster and live the lives you want to.
I am so sorry to say that, as I wish I could give you some sort of happy poly ending story.