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Just Found Out :
Polyamory and Cheating

Topic is Sleeping.
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 PsiO (original poster new member #83224) posted at 11:59 AM on Wednesday, April 19th, 2023

Edie

She said if I wanted because the problem isn't going to go away, and I also can't control what she does. She had a talk with her dad (who's also one of my closest friends) and he advised her to take a step back and ask me for what I need, so she asked. I did have a long conversation last night about how the trust is broken, and to work with me I'm going to need to verify nearly everything she tells me. She understands and agrees. She's shown remorse, not just regret, and from our conversation we think it's for the best that we separate. I don't mean that like we negotiated or talked each other into it - we both arrived at this conclusion, though I initiated by saying it first. Your original plan was yesterday's plan before we talked - I needed to know her priorities. She made a post on Reddit that I read through and it was very accurate to what we were going through, and the responses echoed your sentiment - that she broke a very important set boundary, should have done more soul-searching a year ago to avoid this mess, and needed to make up for it, but still needed to decide what her priorities are. For the 180, we're still living together for now, but she's going to move out. For now, we're planning on staying in touch (we're each keeping half our pets, so we'll want to know about how they're doing post-move), but that might change if I feel like I can't handle that. Thank you for cheering me on :)

[This message edited by PsiO at 12:01 PM, Wednesday, April 19th]

posts: 22   ·   registered: Apr. 18th, 2023   ·   location: Midwestern U.S.
id 8787500
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Buffer ( member #71664) posted at 12:30 PM on Wednesday, April 19th, 2023

So she actively broke the boundaries for her own attention and validation priorities.

This is a true reflection of her inner self.

Now you have to inner check yourself to see how you became attracted to a person with those traits.

Best of luck to you on your rode to self forfilment.

One day at a time.

[This message edited by Buffer at 1:07 AM, Friday, April 21st]

Buffer

posts: 1318   ·   registered: Sep. 24th, 2019   ·   location: Australia
id 8787505
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straightup ( member #78778) posted at 1:29 PM on Wednesday, April 19th, 2023

I think I read her post.
She sounds very immature, not like a women in her 30’s.
When she caught feelings for the other guy she jumped to physical without much hesitation. It just felt right to her.
She has a lot of entitlement which she passes off as being ‘such a mess’.
I am sure there are many reasons to love her but you are wise to separate.
Find someone who really wants to share a future with you.

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: 356   ·   registered: May. 11th, 2021   ·   location: Australia
id 8787513
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 PsiO (original poster new member #83224) posted at 5:38 PM on Wednesday, April 19th, 2023

Buffer


I don't think that wrong decisions reflect your true inner self. That said, I don't think the opposite, either. Who we are changes over time, and we mess up and grow from it. The question I need to ask myself is if I'm willing to risk my happiness by staying together with someone who needs to grow and may hurt me again. All of life is risk, but some risks I'm just not willing to take.

straightup


I get where you're coming from. I have friends who've told me the same. I re-read your letter and I think I'd need to write something of the same if we ever do R. We've been texting and she wants to try to R. I'm mostly against it but I'm giving us a week to breathe and gather ourselves. I'm going to ask my friends to be extra hard on me to make sure I'm not shooting myself in the foot over my decisions. And I'm also keeping up with responses here because you've all been very helpful. I still feel it's wise to separate, so I'm keeping that in mind as I monitor my flux of emotions over the next week.

posts: 22   ·   registered: Apr. 18th, 2023   ·   location: Midwestern U.S.
id 8787557
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NotJustAnotherGuy ( new member #82949) posted at 5:53 PM on Wednesday, April 19th, 2023

I still feel it's wise to separate, so I'm keeping that in mind as I monitor my flux of emotions over the next week.


Do you have an endgame for the separation as in timeline and expectations coming out of it? My personal view on separation is that it's simply a dress rehearsal for divorce - for the BS to get used to being away and detach and for the WS to simply explore their wayward ways without hinderance. Also, did she agree to stay 'faithful' - whatever that means now - during the separation?
Just keep in mind that if you do decide to R, it's going to be much more difficult if/when you find out that she's been meeting her mate(s) during the separation if that was against your agreement. And if she is free to do so, then it will make it that much harder for her to detach if ever from them. Good luck!

posts: 14   ·   registered: Feb. 26th, 2023
id 8787560
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 PsiO (original poster new member #83224) posted at 6:35 PM on Wednesday, April 19th, 2023

NotJustAnotherGuy


That's my fault - I've been using separation and divorce interchangeably. You're right that they're two different things. I'm having a good friend of mine hold me accountable, because I feel like divorce is necessary. What happens after that is a question for later. Maybe we'll date and see what that looks like. Maybe I'll meet someone else who's a better match. Maybe I'll be too hurt by her and insist that I don't want to try again. I don't want to put my needs second, but I also don't want to go through an unnecessary process with unnecessary costs just to undo it later. I think waiting a week is good not just for her, but for me as well. She'll be meeting with a therapist tomorrow, and I have an appointment for free legal counsel. I also want to schedule an appointment with a therapist. I'm going to look into that today.

posts: 22   ·   registered: Apr. 18th, 2023   ·   location: Midwestern U.S.
id 8787565
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Abalone123 ( member #82896) posted at 7:25 PM on Wednesday, April 19th, 2023

Wanting to be monogamous vs not is a very basic fundamental ideological difference. There is no middle ground here. Any compromise means one of you will be unhappy ( and in the end both of you will be unhappy).

There are no kids and separation/ divorce will be a temporary heartbreak/inconvenience. Better than a lifetime of two unhappy souls. You have one life and live it with a partner whose idea of a marriage matches with yours for the most part.

Unless you badly want to be a part of her growing up, discovering herself, at the risk of losing yourself.

posts: 284   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2023
id 8787566
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nekonamida ( member #42956) posted at 8:28 PM on Wednesday, April 19th, 2023

We've been texting and she wants to try to R. I'm mostly against it but I'm giving us a week to breathe and gather ourselves.

Does this mean that she is ready to be monogamous? Does she have an answer as to why she believes she can learn to live monogamously and still be happy? Or is she tabling that for a later discussion as if it's up for debate? If it's the latter, then it's clear that she doesn't care about your needs and feelings. She believes they are negotiable and come second to hers.

posts: 5232   ·   registered: Mar. 31st, 2014   ·   location: United States
id 8787571
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straightup ( member #78778) posted at 8:49 PM on Wednesday, April 19th, 2023

Abalone

I agree it is a fundamental ideological difference.

I genuinely don’t know how deep the difference runs in terms of biological and psychological difference. I think there might be a spectrum there, where for some, monogamy is easy, the most natural thing in the world, and for others it is experienced as a worthwhile exercise in love. virtue, sacrifice and personal narrative building. I think I have a fair idea where I lie on that spectrum and the several most important determinants of it for me, a mix of formative positive and adverse life experiences. I own that when I read about polyamory at my age of nearly 50 it leaves me cold, provides little sense of titillation, and a reaction of ‘why the hell would you’. I often think of sex with others, try not to let those thoughts run, have not cheated in my 25 year relationship, and am glad I haven’t. Very glad when I look back on it, like you are grateful to your younger self who had the patience to finish Uni rather than drop out.

OP’s wife is convinced she has discovered that polyamory is her true calling and in her current mindset, feels accepting monogamy would stifle her. I would not be surprised if she sees that differently in 10 years (we all have regrets), but whether it is insight, or deliberately twisting herself up in a misguided narrative for years, I think it would be hard to deal with her in a marriage. Personally I think she might be wise to practice defining herself and deriving most of her life satisfaction for a while from things with little to do with romantic love or sex. Even as a single by choice women who leaves herself available to date several people, she has to grapple with that if she is to find balance.

Not much fun for OP either way though.

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: 356   ·   registered: May. 11th, 2021   ·   location: Australia
id 8787574
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RocketRaccoon ( member #54620) posted at 7:56 AM on Thursday, April 20th, 2023

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.


As with everything, balance is key.

Yes, be empathic and understanding, but there are/will be times in your life that you have to be inflexible with boundaries.

From the quote above, it seems to ne that you are a people pleaser. You want to be the understanding Nice Guy who is all understanding and accepting of everyone's foibles. That, in and of itself, is not a bad thing, but it really is a double edged blade. Too nice, and you get taken advantage of (as in your current situation).

Perhaps it would be good to talk to a therapist on how to build better personal boundaries, where they are not always flexible. You don't have to worry/think about your WWs boundaries, just focus on your own.

You cannot cure stupid

posts: 1150   ·   registered: Aug. 12th, 2016   ·   location: South East Asia
id 8787624
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 PsiO (original poster new member #83224) posted at 12:20 PM on Thursday, April 20th, 2023

Abalone123


There's a big spectrum for ethical non-monogamy. There's simple flirting with people outside the marriage all the way up to relationship anarchy. It just depends on what works for you and the people you want to be/become romantically entangled with. I do agree that I don't know if I want to be a part of the growing she needs to do. It opens myself up to risking more pain, and my long-term goals may be incompatible than hers.

nekonamida


We haven't talked about the specifics of what she'd be able to change, mostly because I haven't asked due to not seriously entertaining the idea. In my mind she wouldn't have made literally the only breach of trust we've experienced in the past 9 years if she could just change this about her. I also haven't talked about it because I wanted her to talk with her therapist (today) and see what comes out of that. It's important to know what her goals are rather than try to work through a shifting flood of emotions and self-defense mechanisms.

straightup


I feel like I'm with you in your mindset. For me, adding romantic relationships, whether or not they include sex, adds additional challenges, obligations, risks, and messes. I'd rather have friends - they don't make certain brain chemicals go off, which makes my life a lot easier. I also agree it'd be good for her to discover who she wants to be. I just don't know how involved I want to be with that.

RocketRaccoon


I tried looking up therapists yesterday, but UnitedHealthcare is so awful that nobody with the criteria I need matches. I'll just have to pay out of pocket, which I've accepted today, so I'm going to make a few phone calls. You're right that I probably need this. It'd be good to go on a thought train to get everything out, and have a professional help me through it. Thank you, and everyone else here who's been kind enough to give me your advice.

posts: 22   ·   registered: Apr. 18th, 2023   ·   location: Midwestern U.S.
id 8787635
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Abalone123 ( member #82896) posted at 3:55 PM on Thursday, April 20th, 2023

There's a big spectrum for ethical non-monogamy. There's simple flirting with people outside the marriage all the way up to relationship anarchy.

Yes ideally yes, but we all know that the lines get blurred very easily as was the case with your wife. Your situation is so common in the open marriage world, it has such terrible outcomes like yours . Guess what we are human beings, it is not easy to compartmentalize emotional and physical connections. It’s like leaving the kid in a candy store everyday and telling him he can only smell the candy but not eat it. At some point the kid is going to open the wrapper and take a bite and if greedy enough gobble up the whole candy with no evidence left. You are naive if you think the set boundaries work in an open relationship, they mostly do not.

I am surprised that people that open up their marriages do not do enough research and go ahead with stars in their eyes. Anyone indulging in this should be prepared for an outcome like yours and also the potential of the marriage ending.

posts: 284   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2023
id 8787667
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bob7777 ( member #79867) posted at 10:32 PM on Thursday, April 20th, 2023

So sorry that you are here OP. You're story is becoming very common, again sorry for that. Your partner suddenly revealing that they want to be in an open/poly relationship has nothing to do with "soul-searching", in most cases, as in yours, they just want a way to justify to cheat on their spouses, either they are already cheating on their partner or they have someone in mind, as in your case. That your "ex" cheated on you and lied about it was predictable, you consented to a form of "poly" but you constricted it to just "date" without any physical element. That's quite a contradiction in itself, being poly means being with other people and most people understand "dating" as a prelude to getting physical. So this had to fail.

posts: 106   ·   registered: Feb. 1st, 2022
id 8787750
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 PsiO (original poster new member #83224) posted at 12:23 AM on Friday, April 21st, 2023

Abalone123


I feel like people can take control of their desires if they're mature enough. I certainly can, as well as many people here and on /r/polyamory from some of what I've read through. It's certainly not anyone's fault this happened but hers.

bob7777


I really don't believe that. She had other opportunities to cheat on me and I wholeheartedly believe she did not. And I probably needed to work things better that even though she feels polyamorous, our situation would just be considered ethical non-monogamy. This works for some people and not others. It obviously didn't work out here, but that doesn't mean the whole thing is bunk.

Update: I've met with a lawyer and feel like I have all the legal options and information I need to make a good decision. I've also scheduled with an IC, as has my WW. I told her that we should talk with our ICs before deciding if we want to try couple's therapy, and she agreed. This will let us have a good outlet to get things out in the open with a professional who can help us in deciding what we really want/need so we can determine our future paths.

posts: 22   ·   registered: Apr. 18th, 2023   ·   location: Midwestern U.S.
id 8787764
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This0is0Fine ( member #72277) posted at 1:14 AM on Friday, April 21st, 2023

There was something you wrote that stuck out to me, I haven't read her post about the cheating event.

"She didn't stop his advances". Nah, it's 2023 and she's poly. She gave enthusiastic positive consent my friend.


I really don't believe that. She had other opportunities to cheat on me and I wholeheartedly believe she did not.

I've had hundreds of opportunities to murder and taken none of them. Cheating is one of those things where "mostly not doing it" isn't quite good enough.

Love is not a measure of capacity for pain you are willing to endure for your partner.

posts: 2644   ·   registered: Dec. 11th, 2019
id 8787778
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 PsiO (original poster new member #83224) posted at 11:46 AM on Friday, April 21st, 2023

This0is0Fine

I understand where you're coming from, and I agree with you on both regards. She owns this 100%. None of it is on the OM. And this cheating isn't "just one mistake" - it's a harm that has shattered my sense of trust and caused immense damage. Thank you for looking out for me.

[This message edited by PsiO at 11:55 AM, Friday, April 21st]

posts: 22   ·   registered: Apr. 18th, 2023   ·   location: Midwestern U.S.
id 8787799
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Gutpunch ( member #63088) posted at 2:33 PM on Friday, April 21st, 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.

You have been thrown a life vest. Take it.

Run as fast as you can out of this relationship.

You are worth way more than what she is giving.

posts: 159   ·   registered: Mar. 19th, 2018   ·   location: AL
id 8787844
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Ozzy1788 ( member #83108) posted at 4:43 PM on Friday, April 21st, 2023

As you'll see if you dabble into my thread (you probably won't get through all of it) we have similarities. As previously said, where we differ is I have kids which makes things a lot more difficult.

Hope things work out for you but without the kids it means short term pain for yourself, no one else.

posts: 171   ·   registered: Mar. 23rd, 2023   ·   location: UK
id 8787927
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ChamomileTea ( Moderator #53574) posted at 5:14 PM on Friday, April 21st, 2023

I've also scheduled with an IC, as has my WW. I told her that we should talk with our ICs before deciding if we want to try couple's therapy, and she agreed. This will let us have a good outlet to get things out in the open with a professional who can help us in deciding what we really want/need so we can determine our future paths.

Are you confused about what you want for your life and what kind of relationship you want for yourself, or are you looking for ways to live with something that's less?

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

posts: 7058   ·   registered: Jun. 8th, 2016   ·   location: U.S.
id 8787934
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RubixCubed ( member #51615) posted at 7:31 PM on Friday, April 21st, 2023

Are you confused about what you want for your life and what kind of relationship you want for yourself, or are you looking for ways to live with something that's less?

It would appear from the endless stream of excuses he has made for her that it would be the latter.
Unfortunately for him, THAT won't even work. The relationship is doomed by her hand even if he does suck it up and eat the shit sandwich. She is just getting rolling, and with no loyalty or honesty on her part, he's screwed.

"But I'm trying, Ringo. I'm trying real hard to be the shepherd."

posts: 653   ·   registered: Feb. 2nd, 2016
id 8787961
Topic is Sleeping.
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