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Polyamory problems

It was all going so well until I started falling for the ‘other’ guy. Then my husband got mad.

Maybe he’s shown you what you’re missing in your marriage, suggests our elder. Couples counseling can help.

Dear EWC

Earlier this year we decided to try polyamory. This was per his request after I had experienced a rare instance of fearing infidelity from him. I agreed out of curiosity. It went pretty well up until two weeks ago. He dated a few people, I did, too (all girls as I am bisexual and didn’t really feel an interest in men) but nothing serious. Then I met a guy, and without warning, I was over the moon for him, more alive than I’d felt in years. The guy felt the same. We ended up kissing on our first date. My husband seemed kind of perturbed but said nothing. I even asked him multiple times if it was OK that I was seeing a male. Then on our third date, my husband blew up. After a tense week, we finally talked and my husband said he was not OK with men after all. In fact, he didn’t even want me to be friends with this guy now because he had seen how gushy I got over him and feared we would continue flirting in secret. I agreed, even though it made me very angry that he didn’t trust me. We closed the door on polyamory.

It’s been a little over a week now and there is still something terribly wrong. I miss the other guy terribly. I think about him constantly and feel so cheated that I didn’t get to explore our relationship further because of my husband’s sudden decision. I still love my husband and I don’t want to get divorced. I just don’t understand why he took this from me. I feel like I’m waking up from a many year-long sleep. My husband seems like a stranger. I don’t know what to do here. I know that when you first fall in love those feelings of floating are temporary. But if I feel all of this anger and resentment isn’t my marriage doomed anyway? I need advice… It’s worth noting that a) my husband and I are pretty poor and can’t afford lawyers, b) we own a dog together, c) we own a home together that cannot be sold for five years, d) we have tenants living in our home, and e) neither of us can really live comfortably on one income. Also, my husband has an intense, emotional personality. Us ending would destroy him, and that’s guilt I can’t bear. Also, there is a part of me that fears he will hurt himself. One more thing — he got sexual with a girl during our poly stretch. But I dealt with it. But he can’t for me? Please help.

Ms.JuliaJ replies

Thank you for writing to us about your situation.
Before I give you my thoughts, it is only fair to tell you that I have no experience with polyamory beyond what I have read about. Statistically, four to five percent of couples in the United States are in polyamory relationships, although the percentage is probably higher as couples typically don’t report that they are in open relationships. Couples often decide to try polyamory in an effort to create more spark in their relationships and they have no desire to divorce or have secret affairs. They love their partners and want to stay married to them.

However, humans being humans, these relationships are pretty difficult to manage because of jealousy and feelings of insecurity that arise when a partner feels that their wife or husband has become too attached to another person. Also, the person who suggests bringing in polyamory into the marriage is usually fine with the relationship they have formed with another person but not so fine when their husband or wife finds an attachment. And, there is always the chance that either partner will fall in love with the ‘other’ person.
This is way too complicated a subject for me to give you advice on. The fact that you and your husband love each other and want to stay together may be enough of a foundation for you to overcome your feelings about this other man. This other man may have shown you what you are missing in your marriage. You and your husband may be able to work on your marriage to give each other what you need for a happy and fulfilling life together. I don’t think you can do this without couples counseling so I encourage you to seek couples therapy. Couples therapy is very helpful in guiding you to create goals, helping you to communicate better, and assist you with building the kind of close relationship you both want. If you don’t know how to find a counselor, you can ask your family doctor or nurse practitioner for a referral.

I believe that couples can overcome adversity and hardships and that problems can truly make us closer. I wish for good things for you in your marriage. Please write back if we can be of more help.

Letter #: 447070
Category: Marriage

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