When Your SO Says No to Polyamory
If your needs aren’t getting met by your significant other (SO)/spouse, you might try to explore other options. Hopefully infidelity isn’t one of those options because that can lead to so much pain for all concerned at worst, and at best, you will be leading a double life, always fearful of being discovered. However, it is the norm in most Western societies. If you’ve already crossed that line, we’ll discuss your options in a future post.
As I’ve mentioned in former posts & now in podcasts, Polyamory can be a healthier alternative to infidelity. But the road to an open relationship can be a long, bumpy one if your primary relationship is not already based on honesty and trust and mutual respect.
The first mention of opening your marriage, especially if the subject is broached too soon, may be met with anger, jealousy, and intense fear of abandonment or feelings of worthlessness. Or both. Your spouse/SO will likely feel threatened and might even forbid you from ever mentioning it again.
Don’t let this dissuade you if you truly feel it will help get your needs met & ultimately improve your primary relationship, if for no other reason than bringing you closer together. As insecure beings, especially in matters of the heart, we need a lot of reassurance. To get the reassurance you need, you must give the reassurance your SO needs.
Most couples, it seems, don’t talk. I just watched a movie called “Panic” with my husband, and it made me very sad. The main couple didn’t talk. They didn’t communicate. Instead of the husband going to his wife & expressing his dissatisfaction and midlife crisis (a cliche for sure, but for a good reason. Most people experience this, and it can be devastating. As trite as it sounds, it’s anything but to the person experiencing it.), he hid further within himself and began seeking a solution to his faltering sense of self in a young woman. His wife knew, because women often just know, even if they don’t say anything. Upon confirmation, her first reaction was shock, then she begged him to fuck her, and then she got angry and threw him out.
Emotions run high, especially when one’s reality is threatened or compromised, as shown in that scene. She thought everything was okay, but deep down she knew something was wrong for quite some time. She didn’t reach out, and neither did he. Whatever wasn’t right between them grew and festered, driving them further apart. Which, in turn, makes it all that much harder to open up. Which drives them further apart. Vicious circle.
You need to break that circle and talk to your spouse.
If you’ve done all these things to heal your relationship, bridged that gap and became closer to your spouse, and they’re still not willing to talk about opening your marriage, you need to ask them how they’re feeling. What they’re thinking. What they are afraid of. All in a loving, non-accusatory way. Tell them that you both could start slowly, perhaps by going out and experimenting with flirtation. No touching or kissing yet, just flirting. See how that feels. Then talk about how that felt with your SO.
If they won’t even agree to flirting together, then you have a decision to make. Ultimately, you and your spouse’s needs and willingness to compromise may be too different. A sacrifice will need to be made. It will either be sacrificing your needs or sacrificing your relationship. If you sacrifice your needs, that might end up sacrificing your relationship anyway. Because if you sacrifice yourself, you will end up resenting your spouse. You might end up in an affair, and that can destroy all concerned.
But, don’t get discouraged yet. That’s only after months and months of talking and getting closer and sharing fears and such. It’s after taking baby steps for maybe years. It’s after you’ve both gotten to know each other better, and if you’re truly doing the work and opening up and taking care of one another, it will likely not come down to that. Don’t give up after the first no either. You don’t want to nag them about it, of course, but find some common ground that you’re both comfortable with first and go from there. You might find that you don’t want to open up either after experimenting with the reality of it.
Remember, if you think your primary relationship is a lot of work, just think how much work and energy and secondary relationship will be…
But you must be true to yourself and honest with yourself before you can be honest with your SO.
Many people who have affairs feel that no affair would be worth losing their spouse, but loneliness mixed with opportunity can quickly become dangerous, especially on a business trip. Libidinal needs sometimes trumps reason in the moment. Often, actually. It’s biology, as I’ve said before. Hormone surges, especially testosterone, are like being on a drug. It clouds your judgement and your reality. How wonderful to have an agreement with your spouse/SO to deal with that eventuality, as it surfaces in nearly every marriage at one time or another.
Have something in place to deal with that.
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~ by omgrey on June 8, 2011.
Posted in Romance & Relationships
Tags: author, healing, honesty, infidelity, love, non-monogamy, o.m. grey, olivia grey, open, open marriage, podcast, polyamory, postaweek2011, relationship advice, relationships, romance, sex, shattered, steampunk