Thank you for being here with me. I appreciate it <3
I promise to make time to read your situation. I'm sorry for what you're going through, and hope it ends well for you and your kids!
I'm having some chamomile tea this morning :) Yes, I'm not entirely sure what my ideal relationship arrangement looks like. I feel like a swirling mix of oil and water right now. The A had me rubber-banding to monogamy, since it is the least complicated and makes me feel the safest since that was our original arrangement, but I'm hoping to get these thoughts out with a therapist who can help me discover what's best for me in the future, as well as my current situation.
I'm helping explain our situation better, in part by explaining her motivations to a bunch of strangers who are on a forum designed for people who have been traumatically hurt in relationships. It makes absolute sense for literally everyone here to be skeptical, and I don't fault any of you for it. I take everyone's opinions and advice here with serious consideration, but keeping that in mind, my therapist, friends, and I know our past much better than I can portray here in so many words. R is a hard consideration. I also know that I'm going to be run through the stages of grief, so I'm giving myself time to settle and talk with a professional before jumping to a solution. I need time to process, and the more I can explain things, even on this forum, the more it helps me sort myself out when I re-read it.
I agree that if it brings a lot of discomfort, it isn't right. I was thrown into what's called "poly under duress." I was not enthusiastic about it and tried to change myself to better accommodate what my partner wanted. I was too giving back then due to my love for my WW and didn't see it was too much for my personal well-being. Thank you for being here with me.
I think you're right. I didn't even realize it until you said it. My problem is I'm a very flexible person and willing to put in the work to try to be a "better" one, whatever that would mean. I'm going to write it down and bring it up when I talk with my therapist on Tuesday. Your comment made me smile this morning. You have no idea how much I appreciate that.
Thank you for the good luck. My FIL, one of my closest friends, would say "good die rolls beat good tactics any day." I hope I get both in moving forward with my life.
I appreciate your opinion, because it comes with considerate and considerable thought and effort. I'll always see value in it. And thank you for the numbered opinions/questions - it makes such a long list easier to respond to:
1) Cheating means you broke the rules. ENM (or any relationship) is about setting boundaries (rules) for each other based on what you're comfortable with. You can cheat in any relationship.
2) People and the relationships they build almost always change over time. Everyone here has a different relationship than they did before an A, whether that's through R or with future people post-D. It doesn't take an A for that relationship to change, and if both parties give enthusiastic consent (!) for the change, there's nothing wrong with it. You've never heard people say "I discover new things about myself and my spouse every day"? We change and grow all the time, my friend.
3) This is true nearly all of the time, and I'd consider it true in my case as well.
4) Also true that it takes a lot of trust involved, especially if the ENM involves sex. You trust your partner to VERIFY (not just trust) these things for your own health. The recurring theme in ENM is trust and effort, and I feel like it's too much to deal with. I pay my bills with auto-pay because I don't want to deal with the effort of keeping up on them manually. Keeping to monogamy is a much simpler arrangement, and I'm a simple guy, which is why I feel it suits me better.
5) This is a common mindset for people who aren't versed in ENM. It's not about shopping around to find a better spouse, like a zero-sum scenario. It's additive - forming additional bonds to supplement the ones you already have. If you feel like you're already happy with the bonds you have (as I mostly do), you don't see the need to go out and form more, and that's totally fine.
6) This is something I struggle with, but recognize it's a more surface-level problem. If you're confident in what you want and happy with the arrangement you have, then you shouldn't care how other people see it. What matters is you're living your best life. Of course if you're not happy with the arrangement, this becomes a big problem, and I feel that 100%.
7) My count is 2. I have 4 friends (plus myself) who are married and have either dabbled with or still openly practice ENM, and it only caused issues for 1 of them (plus myself). Maybe I befriend more mature people, maybe it's a small sample size, but statistically half of all marriages end in divorce, so that needs to be kept in mind, too. Failing relationships may opt for an open marriage as an approach to try to help it - that doesn't mean the relationship would have succeeded otherwise. Statistics, like chess knights, are tricky bastards.
8) If we had kids, I'd be teaching them that it's good to consider unconventional options, it's good to work things through and develop your communication skills, and it's essential that you work on yourself so you know what makes you happy.
9) I'm not entirely sure what you mean, but maybe #7 answers it.
Thank you for all the effort you put into your reply. I hope I gave the genuine answers you were looking for <3