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Newest Member: Jash

Just Found Out :
Polyamory and Cheating


 PsiO (original poster new member #83224) posted at 7:49 PM on Tuesday, April 18th, 2023


That's why I can still empathize with her, despite her wrongdoings. It isn't fair to either of us to feel forced into a lifestyle we aren't ready to be comfortable in. We tried to work together to find a shifting place that we could test out, built on the assumption that we would both check in and be honest with our feelings, and stick to the boundaries we set. I'm not completely opposed to polyamory, but I needed much more time and space to get comfortable with a potential situation. She respected that until she couldn't, and rather than talk with me about it, permanently damaged our relationship.

posts: 22   ·   registered: Apr. 18th, 2023   ·   location: Midwestern U.S.
id 8787399

LostOpportunities20 ( member #74401) posted at 9:04 PM on Tuesday, April 18th, 2023

I don't understand polyamory. So take what I say with a grain of salt.

It sounds to me you were forced into it because you love your wife, and are now behaving as if you have "grown as a person" because you were forced to change your view that your wife shouldn't be seeing other men.

From my perspective, your wife is using you. You are like a puppet playing the pick me dance. And she is holding the strings.

Regarding polyamory, do YOU really get what it is? Or were you playing along for your wife's sake?

Just asking questions for you to dig deeper into your own thinking.

I'm not going to bog down the thread, hopefully I've said something that is useful. Good luck! There are good people here who will have your back!

BH (late 40s) WW (late 40s) EA 2008, EA/probably PA 2009

Confessed the first, I caught her the second.

Not sure what to call it, but I guess we're in R.

posts: 218   ·   registered: May. 7th, 2020
id 8787407

3Hundo ( new member #78650) posted at 9:25 PM on Tuesday, April 18th, 2023

She wants the independence while still valuing what I give to the relationship. She wants to get drunk and know I will tend to her hangover. She wants to be a rolling stone that keeps the moss. Basically she wants to pursue risk while mitigating it with my love and support. I don't feel that it's very fair to me. If I also wanted to pursue risk, we'd be in the same boat. But with our relationship, I just feel like I've been a cheerleader for a team that deflates the ball! She definitely needs to continue her IC (which stopped half a year ago).

This sounds like a living hell. You get to stay home, take care of pets, pay the bills, tend to her when she needs it, etc., while she goes out and does whatever the heck she wants with whoever she wants "cuZ SHeS PolY" while convincing herself you're fine with it.

No thanks.

posts: 18   ·   registered: Apr. 14th, 2021   ·   location: TX
id 8787409

straightup ( member #78778) posted at 9:40 PM on Tuesday, April 18th, 2023

It sounds like you don’t want to be with a dishonest person who wants to have sex with other guys.

Few would.

If that is the person she wants to be confirm you don’t want her.

I think you’re right to give her a bit of time to see if her confusion clears in a way that seems promising to you, but to be sceptical.

My situation was different to yours. My wife is Bi but we have been together for 25 years. It felt awkwardly patriarchal to say it, but I actually did have to write her a message, prior to reconciling, along the following lines.

‘This is an exclusive, monogomous, heterosexual relationship, with an expectation by me that it is for life. If you are not committed to that then you are fooling me. I would no act the same way or invest in the relationship the same way if you don’t want this relationship. I would not pay off mortgages and save for a mutual retirement. I want that relationship with you, because you are you, and our history, and are the mother of my children. That is very much my preference. But if you won’t commit to that then I won’t keep doing what I am doing. I’ll stop. I will do my best by the kids’.

I started doing a bit of a 180, but not much, rejoined the gym, went on long walks with the dog, just saying I’m going for a walk, I’ll be back by 12, that kind of thing. It wasn’t a proper 180 but the exercise was good, and I think it brought home to her that she had choices to make, and that if she ran from the relationship, it would be an ‘or’ proposition rather than an ‘and’ proposition, because I could hold the door open a crack, for a while, but I would not chase or engage in drama for its own sake.

If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.
Mother Teresa

posts: 283   ·   registered: May. 11th, 2021   ·   location: Australia
id 8787413

WontBeFooledAgai ( member #72671) posted at 10:17 PM on Tuesday, April 18th, 2023

I am so sorry to have to say this @PsiO to you but YOUR WIFE IS WALKING ALL OVER YOU. She is basically asking you for the green light to have an affair--which she has already had and is probably still in. And you caved and said OK!

[This message edited by WontBeFooledAgai at 10:28 PM, Tuesday, April 18th]

posts: 674   ·   registered: Jan. 26th, 2020
id 8787417

 PsiO (original poster new member #83224) posted at 10:22 PM on Tuesday, April 18th, 2023


I for sure get what polyamory is. It's a legitimate and valid way of having relationships, and works for many people. That said, I feel that it wouldn't work for my existing relationship, and trying to wedge it in only caused issues and heartache. I say I grew as a person because I critically analyzed the way I viewed jealousy and overcame some insecurities I had. I feel much more in control of my emotions and can more objectively judge why I feel the way I feel. It was an awful way to grow those skills, but it is what it is. I really appreciate you and the other people here, because your questions and comments have helped my understanding of what I'm going through, and I feel more confident in the decisions I'm thinking of making.


She's finally making more income than I am, so it's not like she does nothing. Honestly she works very hard at her job, and we had both worked hard on our communication. She's obviously thrown that away because she wanted to live a fantasy that doesn't match up with reality, and now it's settling in.


I'm with you that she needs to decide to be the person I want to be married to, because otherwise I won't find happiness with her. And even then, it'll be a challenge. My wife is pan, so I get where you're coming from. I've almost always been the one to chase, so it feels odd to wait, but that's exactly what I need to do. She needs to show she can put in the effort to win me back. I never thought I'd say this, but I've learned from my friends that I'm a great catch, and their support really helps me reaffirm that she needs to do the work of casting the net if she wants to keep me. Thank you for sharing your personal message!

posts: 22   ·   registered: Apr. 18th, 2023   ·   location: Midwestern U.S.
id 8787418

 PsiO (original poster new member #83224) posted at 10:29 PM on Tuesday, April 18th, 2023


I do appreciate your concern, but I know that's not the case. For the past year, she's been very candid with her wants and motivations, and I've been through it with her at every step. Polyamory isn't a green light for having an affair - it's a complicated agreement that comes with a lot of issues that need to be worked through ahead of time, and even though we had put in the work to do just that, she broke her end of the agreement. That isn't anyone's or anything's fault but hers.

The person she cheated on me with was someone she'd just met and lives hundreds of miles away. I'm debating whether or not I should reach out to him, but I don't think it really matters. I can't control what she does or who she talks with. The only thing I can do is choose the direction I want my future to go. It might be to work things out with her, or separate with no contact, or separate but stay in touch. I really don't know right now. I'm going to have another talk with her today and see what, if anything, she's done to show me she's still worth my time.

posts: 22   ·   registered: Apr. 18th, 2023   ·   location: Midwestern U.S.
id 8787420

Lurkingsoul12 ( member #82382) posted at 10:57 PM on Tuesday, April 18th, 2023

There is nothing wrong in poly relations. Poly relations do work if certain criteria are met. In your case, you both were doing fine until she cheated. You worked on your insecurities, worked on your communication with her. Counseling... therapy.. etc etc. Both of you were really working good to make this poly relation work. But, the problem here was she didn't trust you enough. You were moving in her desired direction but slow. She wanted more freedom and less rules but you didn't allow that yet. She couldn't wait. I learned from someone who is into this lifestyle that the ultimate goal of poly lifestyle is to have zero rules and 100% freedom. This is to be achieved through 100% communication.. 100% transparency.. 100% honesty. 0% lying and deceit. 0% insecurities. This cannot be achieved in a day or few years. It may take decades to reach that stage but it is possible. It also depends on the pace of people involved. It's not easy path but with enough trust on each other, consistent efforts and patience it can be achieved. Your wife failed in these aspects. I feel you are a better candidate for poly lifestyle than your wife.

posts: 452   ·   registered: Nov. 12th, 2022
id 8787426

annanew ( member #43693) posted at 11:33 PM on Tuesday, April 18th, 2023

Yeah. I'm betting she's full of sh*t. If you were the one running around, I'd be willing to bet she'd have a pretty big problem with it, especially if she weren't in control... like if you started developing feelings for another woman. Maybe I'm wrong and she is truly poly but I'm thinking it's a crock.

File for divorce and see what happens. At least you are getting out early.

Single mom to a sweet girl.

posts: 2496   ·   registered: Jun. 11th, 2014   ·   location: California
id 8787432

Dude67 ( member #75700) posted at 11:56 PM on Tuesday, April 18th, 2023

If you reconcile, remain married, and the agreement is that she will not pursue relationships snd sex with others, I emphatically think it’s a non starter. There’s a 100 percent chance she’ll cheat.

If you elect to remain married by choice, you would need to wholeheartedly accept her new lifestyle. However, in listening to you, I think this will eventually become a deal breaker, and you will eventually leave the M.

If you pursue the same lifestyle because you feel that’s the only way to make this a balanced snd just relationship, unless you get to a point where you are all in, I think this path too will fail.

I think you’re in a no win situation. I think you have two options. Try on being poly yourself, snd see how it works for you. The only other option I see is an amicable divorce. You can still maintain a relationship post D if desired. The important thing is that you’ve legally left the relationship, and have taken control of the situation.

Unless you regain a sense of control, one way or another, I think you will find yourself in distress.

posts: 785   ·   registered: Oct. 21st, 2020
id 8787436

ChamomileTea ( Moderator #53574) posted at 11:57 PM on Tuesday, April 18th, 2023

I've almost always been the one to chase, so it feels odd to wait, but that's exactly what I need to do. She needs to show she can put in the effort to win me back.

I'll be honest with you.. I wouldn't give her the chance. From what you've posted, she's been pretty clear about what she wants and instead of accepting that at face value, you're still trying to negotiate. What that sounds like to me is the bargaining stage of grief. sad

It's really easy to get sidetracked by all the sparkly side topics like polyamory and pansexuality. I know they seem germane, but really, they're a distraction from the fact that the two of you want different things. What do you think a relationship with her looks like fifteen years from now? Whether you give in to her demands or she gives in to yours, you will never NOT know that she's unfulfilled by your partnership because she has told you in no uncertain terms that she can't be satisfied.

What you've described leaves me wondering if you've really experienced a relationship in which you were truly loved and valued by someone, or has it always been you doing the loving and valuing? If that's the case, you don't really know what you're giving up to stay in this thing. No matter what path we choose, there's a path untaken. You could be giving up the chance for a life with Miss Right, while Miss Wrong continues to lead you a merry chase.

It's really hard to be tough with someone you love. But sometimes the one you need to love enough to be tough... is YOU. This girl keeps telling you that she's not the one, and who knows?.. maybe she'll chicken out and then do or say whatever she needs to in order to keep you. But if you're playing the role of your own best friend here, maybe that's not the best thing for you. Maybe that's no longer good enough.

BW: 2004(online EAs), 2014 (multiple PAs)
Married 40 years; in R with fWH for 8

posts: 6915   ·   registered: Jun. 8th, 2016   ·   location: U.S.
id 8787437

WontBeFooledAgai ( member #72671) posted at 12:06 AM on Wednesday, April 19th, 2023

I am sorry PsiO, but you've "agreed" to your WW's conditions aka SHE calls the shots, because you are afraid of losing her. And so you've made the unbelievable concession to allow your WW to date other men, this after her affair in the first place. (you have also Rugswept your WW's affair as well which is just as serious an issue.) The problem with this is that it makes you look weak. And so she does not respect you. And when she leaves you after all the bending you did trying to appease her, you will be furious--at both her AND yourself.

[This message edited by WontBeFooledAgai at 12:07 AM, Wednesday, April 19th]

posts: 674   ·   registered: Jan. 26th, 2020
id 8787439

Abalone123 ( member #82896) posted at 12:18 AM on Wednesday, April 19th, 2023

She’s a cakeeater, plain and simple as that. Please see the light and give her maximum independence.

posts: 186   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2023
id 8787443

longsadstory1952 ( member #29048) posted at 12:21 AM on Wednesday, April 19th, 2023

You can find someone who can defend any kind of bad sexual behavior, no matter what it is, as normal and healthy. Anything goes to some people. Doesn’t make it right. So she is pan? You know that cuz why? She told you? So that’s ok then?

What I see is she has you believing anything so she can "date" others. If you are not ok with this, and she isn’t going to bend, then no IC will cure this. What makes you think this is the first time she cheated? Her gold plated honesty? Note she had no issue lying to her sex buddy.

You are spending way too much time rationalizing her behavior and not enough time protecting your emotional well being. If you don’t want her "dating" others then it needs to stop now. End of story. Otherwise she needs to go.

This woman is well on her way to destroying you. I swear reading your posts is like she is brainwashing you. Surely, you couldn’t really believe that the end game of her manipulating you was she could hug someone. You have the real end game before your eyes.

If she really wants to be free to "date" then by all means show her the door. But like several others, I think she has you buffaloed so she can go out and get laid while you sit at home with your dick in your hand. The pan thing is just a ruse.

Sorry if this seems harsh. But consider this. If the sexes were reversed, and a guy was convincing his wife to play with the cats while he goes out to get laid, this board would go nuclear. Because what she is doing to you is just plain flat undiluted wrong.

posts: 1173   ·   registered: Jul. 14th, 2010
id 8787444

Western ( member #46653) posted at 12:24 AM on Wednesday, April 19th, 2023

My reply is not pro marriage. My reply is about the truth.

Your wife was probably cheating on you already or had a contact ready to go. She put you in this position so she could already retroactively justifying her cheating or just set you up. In marriage, you are not in the mental state to cheat so my opinion is that she set this up to be a one way open marriage but it will change once you find someone who is better than her. Then she will want to close it once she knows you found a quality woman who you might leave her for. This is a trend and it's disgusting.

Now you seem to accept this type of relationship per your comments so I can't help you ant further. However, remember only 5% of relationships are polyamory and 90 % of them fail.

I wish you good luck but I am not the dude who pulls my wife in bed after she has been with another dude an hour ago.

You have to figure out what you want and deal with it. I hope you get your desired outcome.

But based on your beliefs, I will quit this thread. Good luck

posts: 3608   ·   registered: Feb. 4th, 2015   ·   location: U.S.
id 8787446

 PsiO (original poster new member #83224) posted at 1:22 AM on Wednesday, April 19th, 2023


Thank you, you don't know how much that means to me. I'm glad that you understand where I'm coming from, and note what went wrong along the way. Much love to you <3


She encouraged me to seek relationships of my own, even a year ago. I don't know if that's because she would be genuinely happy for me, or just to make it easier on her to accept the changes she wanted to make, knowing it'd be simpler and quicker if I made those changes as well. My guess is the latter, though. I do believe she is poly, and it's a shame she couldn't realize it sooner or have better self-control in trying to work through it. Instead, she chose to destroy the life we'd built.


I don't really know what she'd do. I believe people are capable of change. I know I've changed over the years, and rarely it's been a big shift for the better. I don't know if I should be the one taking that risk for her, though. That might need to be her own journey apart from me. I agree with you that I feel like those are my two best options, and I agree with many here that the latter seems most likely.


I don't think that I'm bargaining. At least I don't feel that way. I'm not trying to hold onto the M blindly, because I do see D as a legitimate path forward. WS and I have a good working relationship where we're used to talking about options. I still plan on doing so, but just with a much more critical eye than in the past. I agree with you that the M can't hold unless one of us has a more dramatic shift in our preferred relationship style. I thought I knew what it was like to be loved, but I think you're right in that I don't believe I've been truly loved in my previous relationships. In this one I was, but when it was truly put to the test, it didn't hold. I also worry about what you say - who knows if she might change her mind half-heartedly just to keep me. I do have friends who give me tough love, and I thank them each time we talk because sometimes I need it. Thank you for your advice.


I agreed to her conditions just as she agreed to mine. It's all about diplomacy when it comes to new things. Of course that goes out the window when one side breaches their word, so of course I no longer agree to her conditions. I'm sorry if I mistyped before, but I did not agree to her dating other people after learning of her affair - the affair was less than a week ago! I agree that would be a huge misstep, but that isn't the case here.


Seriously considering it.


I know she's pan because I've seen the people she's attracted to and dated in the past. There isn't anything wrong with being pan, or poly. The problem is cheating. I do believe this is the first time, and that might be naive to you, but it also doesn't really matter at this stage to me - cheating once is as bad as cheating a dozen times. It's incredibly damaging regardless of the tally. I know what her end game was, and I was working to see if I would be okay with it. I told her many times it would be a slow process, and I might not ever get to where she'd be happy. But we both wanted to try because we didn't want to give up on each other. I don't feel shame in that. The fact that she had sex came out of left field, as for an entire year physical interactions were something that hadn't really been her concern. I know better now, but I don't fault myself for believing her back then. People can change, and it's a shame she concealed this development from me until she had ruined everything.


I don't think she had cheated on me before. She had talked with her therapist about being poly before there was ever a date with anyone. She's a smart woman and would have just cheated and hid it if that was her goal. No need to put me on high alert with telling me she's poly. I do honestly believe she would be fine if I had dated around. I know it's hard to believe because of the horror stories we come across, but let me be a counter-voice. I think it's most likely that she stepped into this world after having these feelings repressed most of her life, and after finally meeting someone she felt comfortable with and discussing it in therapy, opened it up. It was scary for her to even talk to me about it a year ago. She took a risk because she trusted me, not because she wanted to bang other people. She fucked up back then by trying to push me too far too soon, but backed off once our therapist validated my feelings.

Polyamorous relationships are valid, full stop. That doesn't mean it will work for you, your SO, or anyone else. It just means they work out and don't work out, just like monogamous relationships. The problem isn't polyamory - it's breaking set boundaries and betraying trust. I also was against her being physical with anyone else, and to a much greater degree. I don't understand why you think I was fine with being cheated on, or agreed that would be part of my relationship. I never said such a thing.

posts: 22   ·   registered: Apr. 18th, 2023   ·   location: Midwestern U.S.
id 8787451

RocketRaccoon ( member #54620) posted at 7:53 AM on Wednesday, April 19th, 2023


The person she cheated on me with was someone she'd just met and lives hundreds of miles away.

Does not match up to this:

she told me that her interest in polyamory is to develop a romantic bond with someone, but being physical wasn't what she was after.

How can she develop a romantic bond with someone whom she had just met? Not only that, she had indicated that she is not interested in the physical component, but jumps straight into bed with her AP on her second(?) date?

At the base level, you should be clear in your own boundaries to yourself. Will you allow yourself to bend your boundaries to suit someone who has no respect for the boundaries? Your self-worth/respect will be affected either way; one path will help bolster your self-worth respect, the other.....

You cannot cure stupid

posts: 1096   ·   registered: Aug. 12th, 2016   ·   location: South East Asia
id 8787480

Edie ( member #26133) posted at 11:43 AM on Wednesday, April 19th, 2023

She said she would cut ties with the HW if I wanted (I know it doesn't sound like a lot, but it seemed to mean a lot to her),

And there we have it ‘ if you wanted’. ( If HW is the OM). Firstly, she’s still in touch with him?!? Secondly, why is she even asking you? She broke the contract of polyamory but seems to believe it’s still in place. Why is she still even in touch with him? What on earth does she think she’s negotiating? That is so badly manipulative… seeming acquiescence but no proactivity. It’s a sham. And she doesn’t get the real core of trust needed to be earned back - for you to see through action that she has your interests at heart and not a paper thin charade.

She doesn't know if she values pursuing her polyamorous fantasy lifestyle or our marriage, and I don't know if I can forgive her for breaking my trust

My own solution to this would be to seek temporary separation whilst she finds out and to give me space to think and figure myself out. But that’s me, and would be my version of the 180 (and was, except I had kids so couldn’t let him stay elsewhere as infintium for their sakes and my own in needing childcare support) and you need to do what you need to do.

[This message edited by Edie at 11:45 AM, Wednesday, April 19th]

Maybe a long walk in the Hindu Kush would do it?
BW (me) 52
FWS 55
Together 29 years; 2 kids 15 & 12
Dday Dec 08 (confessed) R'd.

posts: 6584   ·   registered: Nov. 9th, 2009   ·   location: Europe
id 8787496

 PsiO (original poster new member #83224) posted at 11:45 AM on Wednesday, April 19th, 2023


She didn't develop a romantic bond with this person. She trauma bonded with him and then made terrible decisions by not telling me about this person, by inviting him over to where she was staying, and by not stopping his advancements when he was over. Her interest in the physical side was a newer development that I had hints of around a month ago, but regardless, none of this excuses her actions. To be honest it's beside the point to me. I talked with her again last night and found out a bit more information, which didn't really change the calculus. I'm going to separate with her. We'll just need to work out when to start it and with what mediator (we're both amicable about it), then do all the fun of the paperwork.

Boundaries are going to be a challenge for me. I'm so used to being flexible that it's hard to always see what I need to do to protect my emotional well-being. I'm going to do more reading to try and help on that front.

posts: 22   ·   registered: Apr. 18th, 2023   ·   location: Midwestern U.S.
id 8787498

Edie ( member #26133) posted at 11:49 AM on Wednesday, April 19th, 2023

Neither of us own a home or have kids, so separation would likely be quick. I just wish she was the person we both thought she was.

All good get-out clauses. Good luck. We’re all cheering you on.

Maybe a long walk in the Hindu Kush would do it?
BW (me) 52
FWS 55
Together 29 years; 2 kids 15 & 12
Dday Dec 08 (confessed) R'd.

posts: 6584   ·   registered: Nov. 9th, 2009   ·   location: Europe
id 8787499
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