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Newest Member: Hopeful318

Just Found Out :
After 9 years of R, I just got the 'oh I think I'm polyamorous afterall!' talk. At marriage counselling. Out of nowhere.

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Sharkman ( member #56818) posted at 12:01 AM on Sunday, April 24th, 2022

This was very, very tough to read and I commend you for having the fortitude to be vulnerable looking for advice.

If you look through my posting history I do like to recommend to folks that they get angry and stay angry. It's a great state of mind for many freshly-betrayed as it fight's the betrayed's biggest enemy - complacency out of fear. In your case, however, it's unclear if there is an actual betrayal. It might be best to lose the anger for a few days to let your brain come down off of the anger chemicals and start putting some quantitative judgement around what your next move should be.

I'll be blunt - dropping a bomb like this then running off probably isn't a recipe for a long-term relationship particularly given her past. If she wants to fight for the marriage that's a good place for her to start fighting and finding from compromises. If this is how she acts when she lives with you I think we all know that it will not be better when she is not living with you. That's just a human fact.

posts: 1780   ·   registered: Jan. 11th, 2017
id 8731520
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nekonamida ( member #42956) posted at 12:49 AM on Sunday, April 24th, 2022

I believe that a betrayal has happened here. You may not have verbalized every detail of how you felt but I'm betting your face showed how not okay you were with an open marriage. Your responses to the MC in front of her said that you were not okay with it. The avoidance may have further tipped her off. Her reaction to you telling her to open the app makes it clear that she knew she was caught doing something that you would not approve of. Setting up drinks with a stranger under the pretense of polyamory/swinging is a DATE. A date she planned without you and wanted you to just be okay with after the fact. She knew you didn't want this but in her own selfish delusion, she also believed that she and the MC could talk you into accepting this. That's messed up.

What selfishness she had running the show when she cheated back in 2013 is still there. If she was genuinely confused with the swinging, she would NOT have used this time setting up dates and chatting with potential boyfriends online. She would have held off and talked to you more about it before proceeding. She would be upfront about talking to others before she did it and what she was looking for from them. She would sure as hell get your permission before going out for drinks with someone she met on the app. But she did none of that. And she expected you to push through your pain and discomfort so that she can have some fun. Her excuses are straight from the cheater's handbook. Not emotionally fulfilled, unmet needs, things would be fine if only you were okay with it, she didn't know how upset you would be about it, this could improve the marriage from her end, etc. It's still all about her. Her solutions involve you doing all the heavy lifting instead of her coming together with you to find that connection.

I'm part of a subculture where polyamory is common and she does not sound polyamorous to me. Not feeling emotionally connected to your spouse is when couples tend to turn away from outside partners to figure things out at home. How the hell did she think getting her emotional needs met by someone else was going to help your marriage? Does she think a connection with you is hiding around one of these polyamorous men? It makes no sense because her goal isn't to fix the marriage with you. It's to have a replacement fun relationship without having to go through the mess of a divorce. Did the thought even cross her mind that you could go out and get a girlfriend too? And where would that leave the two of you when she's off with him and you're with someone else? Why even stay married at that point?

Is it possible that she wants out of the marriage and is taking the coward's way out by trying to find a new exciting poly boyfriend? It just doesn't make sense to me that she would put all of this effort and risk into getting you onboard with sharing her instead of putting that energy back into the marriage unless she is emotionally done with the marriage.

posts: 5165   ·   registered: Mar. 31st, 2014   ·   location: United States
id 8731526
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ChamomileTea ( Guide #53574) posted at 12:51 AM on Sunday, April 24th, 2022

She's been private messaging with up to 6 people. All guys (married - apparently 'looking for another couple to potentially meet up with him and his wife'...yeah ok), all bar one who was a female. There's nothing in the conversations that is provocative, and there are no dick pics etc. It's all mostly 'how did you all get into this lifestyle?' type of convos, but still. She has sent them heads shots of her face. And one guy has asked for her phone number. And one suggested catching up for a drink.

Did you two discuss how you would find potential swinger couples? Did she understand that she was to wait for you to sit down and do this research with her? Because it sounds to me like she just started the research, but I don't see any intent to proceed without you. Am I missing something here? It stands to reason that if she was looking for a boyfriend, she wouldn't have been looking for swinger couples and talking messaging about it.

BW: 2004(online EAs), 2014 (multiple PAs)Married 38 years; in R with fWH for 7

No one can make you into a liar but you.

posts: 6176   ·   registered: Jun. 8th, 2016   ·   location: U.S.
id 8731528
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Cooley2here ( member #62939) posted at 12:54 AM on Sunday, April 24th, 2022

Please pay attention to your health. That panic attack was your body telling you some nasty stuff is whirling around you. Fight or flight. Every time that happens your body is flooded with Adrenalin. Other strong hormones are raging too. It takes hours for them to leave the body. Too many of them and you have set up a wicked soup of poison.
How in the world do you send your wife off with a hug and a kiss and hope she behaves. You know she is not. Look around on here and other sites and there is plenty of info that cheating in the military is rampant. What is your health going to be like in two years?

Take care of yourself.

When things go wrong, don’t go with them. Elvis

posts: 3607   ·   registered: Mar. 5th, 2018   ·   location: US
id 8731529
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ChamomileTea ( Guide #53574) posted at 3:04 AM on Sunday, April 24th, 2022

...there is a gaping chasm between two (err..mostly? haha) mature adults engaging in a shared and consensual experience vice one partner looking for shadowy encounters and/or EAs on their own with out the other's knowledge.

This thread has just been bugging me, and I think I finally figured out what it is that's got me continuing to think about it. You've described a situation in which you're already experiencing enough anxiety in your life to mimic heart attack symptoms. You and your wife appear to have some distance between you already and you're worried that the distance is growing, but instead of leaning IN... you two are leaning OUT. This, up there in the quote box, is NOT "leaning in".

You've said that you're really fine with sharing your wife under the right circumstances, but that just doesn't track with your anxiety history. Not only have you experienced a betrayal, which would make anybody nervous about losing their mate, but you're dealing with this big flare-up of nerves right now, and I can't help but think that the idea of swinging is only theoretical to you. What if you went through with it?.. and what if you picked out a couple where the guy wasn't particularly a sexual threat to you but turns out to be like a SEX GOD? What happens when you catch your wife, glassy-eyed and smiling to herself a week later, and you ask "what's on your mind?" and she says "nothing" and "oh, by the way, have you thought about when we might get together with the Johnsons again?"?

See, I'm an anxiety person too, and that's how my mind works. I have run through a dozen scenarios of everything that can possibly go wrong long before I'm ever confronted with something new. If you were to get into that situation and find yourself so distracted by your wife making noises you've only heard cats make, chances are, you're not going to get much out of that experience but a mountain of turmoil to take back to your shrink. All your wife appears to have done so far is interview some prospects and you already feel betrayed by that. It's not a crime if you find that swinging was good as a thought experiment but not really for you. It doesn't make you "vanilla" or "a prude" if you decide to stay within your comfort zone. It's not like problems can be solved with other people's genitals anyway, right? If you find sex has gotten stale with your mate, or even conversation.. is the answer to get someone else to fill in, or is it to make mutual efforts to reinvigorate the relationship?

Don't get me wrong... I'm not judging so much as I am challenging you to make sure you're REALLY thinking this thing through. My advice, of course, would be to scrap the whole idea of swinging, move the whole family to the next duty station, try a copy of What Makes Love Last: How to Build Trust and Avoid Betrayal by John Gottman. You might also look for a Gottman-trained therapist. If you two are leaning out, emotional intimacy can't follow. Lean IN instead. Lean toward each other rather than away from when times are tough.

BW: 2004(online EAs), 2014 (multiple PAs)Married 38 years; in R with fWH for 7

No one can make you into a liar but you.

posts: 6176   ·   registered: Jun. 8th, 2016   ·   location: U.S.
id 8731551
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DictumVeritas ( member #74087) posted at 11:25 AM on Sunday, April 24th, 2022

Once a horse has been injured beyond the ability to recover it's euphemistically called a lame horse and shot. There is no marriage here, just a lame horse. I think it best be put out of it's misery in public with full disclosure of what made it lame enough to be put down.

[This message edited by DictumVeritas at 2:32 PM, Sunday, April 24th]

Your life is but a flicker to the cosmos and only the brightest flickers are recorded by history for good or bad. Most of us just want to live our lives without being interfered with.

posts: 281   ·   registered: Mar. 22nd, 2020   ·   location: South-Africa
id 8731581
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 Hurthalo (original poster member #41782) posted at 1:51 PM on Sunday, April 24th, 2022

If you two are leaning out, emotional intimacy can't follow. Lean IN instead. Lean toward each other rather than away from when times are tough.

Thank you ChamomileTea, this is great advice...and thanks for the good chuckle too. My worry is that no matter how much leaning in we ultimately do, she ends up leaning out regardless. I told her the other night that she will be up for a lonely life if she finds no one ever can meet her emotional needs.

As for my progress, I had a screaming rant at her, but then I started the anti-depressant course yesterday as per medical advice, and ultimately the stuff has worked like low range ecstacy due to the slow serotonin release - I couldn't feel anger, I felt so detached. At one point I actually felt carefree. I also note that's what I should not be at the moment.

I read the message log from the app, it is all innocuous, but the fact she didn't tell me about it is the real kicker...and it is a boundary trampled at best, and evidence of a propensity to have an EA++ if it went further.

I'm just so tired, and I don't want to lose my family. I'm hoping MC will help get to the bottom of this. Until then, I'm a leaf in a storm.

One thing I do know; trust is gone. Again.

[This message edited by Hurthalo at 1:52 PM, Sunday, April 24th]

posts: 186   ·   registered: Dec. 26th, 2013   ·   location: Australia
id 8731598
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morningglory ( member #80236) posted at 2:02 PM on Sunday, April 24th, 2022

You won't lose your family if you divorce your wife. She's about to deploy and leave the kids with you. If you file for divorce, those kids will still be with you. Your wife has already checked out of the marriage, so grasp as you might, there's no way for you to keep her in as a fully devoted family member. She's about to be physically as well as mentally gone very soon, as she deploys.

posts: 454   ·   registered: Apr. 15th, 2022
id 8731602
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 Hurthalo (original poster member #41782) posted at 2:28 PM on Sunday, April 24th, 2022

Morningglory, if we get divorced, that posting likely wouldn't happen. They'd keep her here in the same city on account of custody etc.

posts: 186   ·   registered: Dec. 26th, 2013   ·   location: Australia
id 8731608
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 Hurthalo (original poster member #41782) posted at 2:42 PM on Sunday, April 24th, 2022

How the hell did she think getting her emotional needs met by someone else was going to help your marriage? Does she think a connection with you is hiding around one of these polyamorous men? It makes no sense because her goal isn't to fix the marriage with you. It's to have a replacement fun relationship without having to go through the mess of a divorce.

Nekonamida, excellent question, and I asked the same. She'll likely be dating OTHER married men who are poly if she persues that life. She'll never be their #1, so why bother?

And what does she tell our three daughters when they're older? 'Oh your Dad is a great guy, I had no reason to break up with him except for the fact I just wanted to date other guys randomly. Oh well, sorry to put that on all of you, but at least I had fun!'

F#@k me.

[This message edited by Hurthalo at 2:46 PM, Sunday, April 24th]

posts: 186   ·   registered: Dec. 26th, 2013   ·   location: Australia
id 8731613
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 Hurthalo (original poster member #41782) posted at 2:49 PM on Sunday, April 24th, 2022

In your case, however, it's unclear if there is an actual betrayal. It might be best to lose the anger for a few days to let your brain come down off of the anger chemicals and start putting some quantitative judgement around what your next move should be.

I'll be blunt - dropping a bomb like this then running off probably isn't a recipe for a long-term relationship particularly given her past. If she wants to fight for the marriage that's a good place for her to start fighting and finding from compromise

Thanks Sharkman, excellent words. You are right, the betrayal isn't crystal clear here - but it still smells funny. And it has lead to a complete breakdown in trust ahead of what was already going to take an enormous amount of trust to endure.

posts: 186   ·   registered: Dec. 26th, 2013   ·   location: Australia
id 8731616
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sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 6:27 PM on Sunday, April 24th, 2022

If you look through my posting history I do like to recommend to folks that they get angry and stay angry. It's a great state of mind for many freshly-betrayed as it fight's the betrayed's biggest enemy - complacency out of fear.

This is a common approach, and many people give this advice. OTOH, a lot of other people think that men in the US, at least, are taught to cover fear with anger. I did that for many decades, and I wasn't as happy or as effective as I could have been.

Anger

The best description of anger I’ve ever seen is 'the feeling that comes with wanting something to be different in your life'.

When you can't change the source of the anger, the best thing to do is to feel the anger and let it go - and then deal with the fear and grief that come along with the anger.

When you can make the changes necessary to remove the source of your discomfort, anger is a stimulus to that change, but focusing too much on the anger can keep one from realizing what we can change.

So my reco is to feel anger when you’re angry, but let it go when it’s done. Feelings are generally short-lived, so anger that comes and goes is often true anger. (It will come and go for most of us repeatedly, because a LOT of anger comes with being betrayed.) If you keep ruminating on anger, or if the anger hangs on, it may be that it’s hiding a different feeling.

Fear

I agree absolutely that it's important to keep fear from driving decision-making after, well ... now that I think about it, it's just plain important not to let fear drive decision-making. However, I don't know one can keep fear from driving decisions unless one feels the fear, acknowledges it, and takes it fully into account.

Some of the fears that hit Bses are:

The fear of emasculation/defeminization
The fear of being sexually inadequate
The fear of losing one's family
The fear of being ostracized
The fear of becoming an object of derision
The fear of the unknown that comes with changes
The fear that one is broken forever, unable to recover
The fear of staying an an M with no power
The fear of being alone
Etc., etc., etc.

If you cover fear with anger, as so many of us learn to do, there's nothing you can do about these fears. If you accept your fear, you can keep reminding yourself of your strengths and resources, and that gets fear under control.

For example, you can keep reminding yourself that your parts still work, that you found one partner so you can find another, that you're in great pain but you know how to heal, that you've always adjusted to change in the past so you can do it again, that your BS failed and you didn’t, etc., etc., etc.

Grief and Shame

It's important to take grief and shame into account, too. Many of us learn to cover one or both of these with with anger, but one can't deal with these feelings unless one names and feels them and starts to let them go.

Grief pretty much has to be felt to be released. Releasing shame usually needs some self-talk.

*****

My reading (throughout my life, not just on SI) is that the people who do best are those who take initiative to analyze their situation and figure out the best outcome they can get. That starts with processing feelings, figuring out what one wants, what one willing to do to get what they want, the likelihood of success given the effort, their strengths weakness opportunities and threats, etc.

That works for BSes' recovering from infidelity. The WS plays a crucial part in the stay/go/temporize decision, but the SIers who process their feelings and work to get the most of what they want who seem to be happiest.

Bigger gets to the nitty-gritty for people who want R with his advice to tell one's WS, 'You can date and party all you want, but not as my spouse. Your choice.' In my own case, I wanted R with every fiber of my being. Luckily for me ( and for my W), my W did, too, and we were both willing to do the necessary work. But I also think she would have been out of my life if she had chosen not to do the work.

Bses – all human beings - need to go through pain to recover and live a good life. M is part of life. Sometimes one has to work very hard to rebuild an M or sacrifice the M to live one's good life. But I can’t imagine living in a bad M, and I would counsel everyone who’s doing to so to either change the M until it’s at least good enough – or split.

*****

The earlier one accepts and works with one feelings about being betrayed, the faster one will heal. If you don't do that work, it's very likely that the feelings will fester and come out in ways that hurt you. And I think there’s already enough pain in the universe to add to it by selling oneself out.

As painful as processing the feelings is, it's less painful to process them than to continue carrying them around.

*****

So, Hurthalo,

My strongest advice is to not let your fear of losing your family drive your decision. Don't let fear of screwing up your W's career drive your decision.

Frankly, I don't think your W knows what she wants. Telling her what you want and asking her to sign on may be exactly the guidance she needs to to make her decision. Infact, the low level of betrayal (this time) may be an indictor that she actually wants a real M.

My reco:

Figure out what kind of relationship you want and go for it. If you want an open M, go for it. If you want monogamy, go for it. If you want to end this relationship with your W, go for it.

I know that deciding what you want limits your freedom. In deciding to want something, you must decide to give up other desirable possibilities. But M is hard work, and it will fail unless it's what you want to the exclusion of other possibilities.

I am really sorry you're hurting. The only good part of that is: you have the power you need to heal from your pain – if you exercise it.

fBH (me) - on d-day: 66, Married 43, together 45, same sex ap
DDay - 12/22/2010
Recover'd and R'ed
You don't have to like your boundaries. You just have to set and enforce them.

posts: 27886   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2011   ·   location: Illinois
id 8731649
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ChamomileTea ( Guide #53574) posted at 6:54 PM on Sunday, April 24th, 2022

I told her the other night that she will be up for a lonely life if she finds no one ever can meet her emotional needs.


Not a big fan of the "unmet needs" fallacy. Read my profile for more by clicking the little person icon in the upper right-hand corner. If this is what you and your wife are getting in MC, I would strongly suggest a new therapist. shocked

BW: 2004(online EAs), 2014 (multiple PAs)Married 38 years; in R with fWH for 7

No one can make you into a liar but you.

posts: 6176   ·   registered: Jun. 8th, 2016   ·   location: U.S.
id 8731656
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ButAnyway ( member #79085) posted at 9:24 PM on Sunday, April 24th, 2022

Anger

The best description of anger I’ve ever seen is 'the feeling that comes with wanting something to be different in your life'.

When you can't change the source of the anger, the best thing to do is to feel the anger and let it go - and then deal with the fear and grief that come along with the anger.

Personally, I completely disagree with this line of thinking. Anger keeps BH's moving forward, while fear causes inaction or as we say analysis paralysis. This is a prime example of what led to the discussion the other day about SI primarily being overall an advocate for R over D, or ending with so many posters in false R for years.

[This message edited by ButAnyway at 10:39 PM, Sunday, April 24th]

posts: 151   ·   registered: Jul. 7th, 2021
id 8731693
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Murkywaters ( member #60252) posted at 10:15 PM on Sunday, April 24th, 2022

Hurthalo,

Maybe I missed it but is your wife backing down from the - "I need other relationships to meet my emotional needs" statement?

posts: 125   ·   registered: Aug. 21st, 2017   ·   location: US
id 8731708
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KingofNothing ( member #71775) posted at 4:42 AM on Monday, April 25th, 2022

'this isn't asking me to try a food I haven't eaten before, this is asking me to move to Mongolia; when I have absolutely no desire to do so. It's asking me to try and 'fall in love with Mongolian culture' when I know full well that I have no interest in the culture whatsoever because I like Japanese/French/Canadian culture instead.' Weird metaphor I know.

I hesitate to reply on here these days, lest I be accused of brigading someone, but I do want to weigh in and say-- this is a GREAT analogy. I totally got what you meant, the first time. There's a an old newspaper cartoon from way back in the day, with two young Chinese teens on it. One is pointing to the other and saying "I'm going to be a Maoist-Leninist when I grow up, and so do you." That's how I view your situation.. she wants something that you clearly don't want and don't value, and choosing it will clearly hurt you. Yet you are supposed to want to devour that excrement sandwich and say "tastes great, honey!"

I'm just replying to your first post on here so I'm certain there's been some colorful commentary since then, but I want you to know you are making sense. You're not in the wrong here, they are not in the "cool club" because they want to sleep around on their spouses. Good luck, OP. Make the right choices to preserve yourself and your children. Sorry your inlawas are around as a complication.

[This message edited by KingofNothing at 10:22 PM, Tuesday, April 26th]

Rex Nihilo, the King of Nothing
----------------------------------
“If you’re going through hell, keep going. Just please stop screaming, it’s not good for morale.”
— Winston Churchill

BS 3 DDays/Attempted R, it failed. In a better place

posts: 799   ·   registered: Oct. 7th, 2019   ·   location: East Coast USA
id 8731780
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Buffer ( member #71664) posted at 4:54 AM on Monday, April 25th, 2022

Brother,
Come in spinner: you have just been played big time.
Her actions sound like it was well thought out processes. WW had a taste back in 2013, liked the tingles. Then with the thought of lets just look, not taste 👅. She has gone and now is sampling the menus for her posting interstate.
Her mind set being ‘out of state he doesn’t mind’. Being a ex service member I know fully the pitfalls of postings and children. Again you were played.
Understandably different horses for different courses, consenting adults openly talking with a your mindset of let’s both openly look and discuss but not try.
She took this as full steam ahead.
You said trust is gone now. How do you wish to proceed is up to you, but think before you speak. Seek out support and gather what information you need to help make the call, legal, your IC etc. You need to know your rights as well as her responsibilities as a single service spouse.
Then when feel you have a sound basis talk it out with your I/C. Then make your mind up. The top priority here isn’t her or her wishes but your dignity and respect for yourself and what is best for your children.
She is right now emotionally cheating, window shopping and is ready to go fully physical.
Two questions here.
Do you feel she is in collusion with your friend who just stated he is poly?
Also do you feel she may have been manipulating relationship from the side lines re looking into the swinging?
Just a feeling from the discussion with the IC about the basic opening to another relationship or relationships partners.
One day at a time.

Buffer

posts: 1251   ·   registered: Sep. 24th, 2019   ·   location: Australia
id 8731783
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 Hurthalo (original poster member #41782) posted at 6:37 AM on Monday, April 25th, 2022

I'm just replying to your first post on here so I'm certain there's been some colorful commentary since then, but I want you to know you are making sense. You're not in the wrong here, they are not in the "cool club" because they want to sleep around on their spouses. Good luck, OP. Make the right choices to preserve yourself and your children. Sorry your inlawas are around as a complication.

Thanks KingofNothing! I appreciate the kind words.

posts: 186   ·   registered: Dec. 26th, 2013   ·   location: Australia
id 8731792
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 Hurthalo (original poster member #41782) posted at 6:49 AM on Monday, April 25th, 2022

Maybe I missed it but is your wife backing down from the - "I need other relationships to meet my emotional needs" statement? - MurkyWaters

She is. And now she's saying, 'the way you have handled this so far is showing me that you aren't as emotionally unavailable as I thought afterall.'

Yeah, I'm having a hard time keeping up too.

posts: 186   ·   registered: Dec. 26th, 2013   ·   location: Australia
id 8731797
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RocketRaccoon ( member #54620) posted at 8:35 AM on Monday, April 25th, 2022

And now she's saying, 'the way you have handled this so far is showing me that you aren't as emotionally unavailable as I thought afterall.'


*Conjecture, so take it with a pinch of salt*
This could be a manipulation tactic. She probably also knows that you you head towards D, then she will not be able to deploy. As long as you stay married, she can deploy, where she can still have a fun.....

You cannot cure stupid

posts: 1027   ·   registered: Aug. 12th, 2016   ·   location: South East Asia
id 8731808
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