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.

Please.

~ by omgrey on June 8, 2011.

14 Responses to “When Your SO Says No to Polyamory”

  1. Very interesting. First time I heard of polyamory was on MTV’s show, True Life. You really gave it a thought-out write-up. It’s not for me (I’m a jealous person and barely have time for one guy) but still learned a lot from the read.

    • On MTV! Interesting. This post is many in a series. You can find more under Free Articles, Short Stories, & Podcasts. I’m starting to podcast the series from the beginning.

      It certainly isn’t for everyone. I’m a rather jealous person, too, but we have to learn to manage our jealousy (and I’m still learning at 41) and not burden our SOs with our issues. Time is certainly another issue, no doubt. Relationships take time and energy.

      So pleased you enjoyed the read. Thank you for commenting.

  2. Excellent blog Olivia, no surprise coming from me, eh? What often perplexes me in significant relationships (at least in America, particularly the south) are the myths that only ONE person in your lifetime fills every need, every desire, every dream perfectly most all the time — I call it the Hollywood Fairy-Tale; many disguise it as your “Soul Mate”. How impossible is it for an imperfect human being to fill the role of “perfect provider” for the SO’s entire life? Oh my God, that person would have no life of their own! Perhaps what needs to take place is scrutinizing, intense introspection of fears, like you’ve mentioned…abandonment? Purely from a statistical standpoint, on a planet of 6.9 billion men, women, and as I’ve blogged: intersexed people, it’s a BIT naive to believe that there is only ONE person capable of meeting all your needs! Umm, I’ll go out on a limb here on those odds….isn’t that a little ego-centric rather than geocentric? Things that make you go “Hmmmm.” :-/

    Love your perspective Grey!

    • Agreed, Professor. One person can not be everything to another every day for the rest of their lives. It’s rather absurd. And I’m a dreamer by trade, actually, but even I acknowledge that concept is pure fantasy. I do believe in soul mates, but I don’t believe there is just one. I’m not terribly sure what came before or what will come after, but I am quite certain that energy doesn’t die, just changes forms. If our consciousness is wrapped up in that energy somehow, and who knows really, such a mystery, then it is possible a part of us comes back in another form. When I talk of soul mates, it can be lovers, but it can also be friends and family members. I’ve lived long enough to notice that some people just touch me deeper than others. Who knows why, another mystery. I feel more connected with some after a few minutes than I do with others after years. I think that something inside me recognizes something inside of them. Perhaps…or maybe it’s just brain chemicals. Who knows. I do love existential conversations, though. Always have.

      I think you’ve touched on the essence here: it’s about introspection. It’s about being honest with yourself first, knowing who you are, and then sharing that person and than honest with those you love.

      • And you’ve touched on something I enjoy discussing: Connectivity on the Quantum Field level that takes place between all living organisms; on the sub/sub-atomic or nuclear level. This is why over the last 20-30 years technology like electromagnetic detectors go whacky when paranormal activity is present. The same thing goes on between the living, especially with those who are highly sensitive to those waveforms, i.e. psychics. 🙂

      • Yes! I think that the connection between the physical and the spiritual will be found in Quantum Physics. Have you see “What the Bleep Do We Know?” They touch on this. My husband and I have put that in our YA “Rowan of the Wood” series as a way back to magic, through science.

      • Both “What Tha Bleeps Do We Know?” are excellent videos on bridging the paranormal, psychic, and Quantum Mechanics. Recently, the series “Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman” is another great source of ‘dumbing-down’ if you will, the natural ancient connection between all things in the Universe and ourselves, i.e. outer space to inner space…and back! Now, Superposition and Entanglement really stretches my brain-power, particularly over a lifetime of….”experimentation” and spirits! 😉

      • Is there a second one? I didn’t know. I hadn’t heard of the other. Looking for it on Netflix now.

      • Yes, the sequel was “What the Bleep Do We Know — Down the Rabbit Hole”. Can shoot ya the weblink if you’d like?

  3. I’m so glad to have discovered your blog and podcast! Love your writing about poly issues and look forward to reading more about your story.

  4. […] Original Blog Post GA_googleAddAttr("AdOpt", "1"); GA_googleAddAttr("Origin", "other"); GA_googleAddAttr("theme_bg", "161410"); GA_googleAddAttr("theme_text", "999999"); GA_googleAddAttr("theme_link", "d8d7d3"); GA_googleAddAttr("theme_border", "35302A"); GA_googleAddAttr("theme_url", "BD934F"); GA_googleAddAttr("LangId", "1"); GA_googleAddAttr("Autotag", "books"); GA_googleAddAttr("Autotag", "entertainment"); GA_googleAddAttr("Autotag", "television"); GA_googleAddAttr("Tag", "podcasts"); GA_googleAddAttr("Tag", "author"); GA_googleAddAttr("Tag", "broken-heart"); GA_googleAddAttr("Tag", "healing"); GA_googleAddAttr("Tag", "honesty"); GA_googleAddAttr("Tag", "infidelity"); GA_googleAddAttr("Tag", "intimacy"); GA_googleAddAttr("Tag", "love"); GA_googleAddAttr("Tag", "misogyny"); GA_googleAddAttr("Tag", "non-monogamy"); GA_googleAddAttr("Tag", "o-m-grey"); GA_googleAddAttr("Tag", "olivia-grey"); GA_googleAddAttr("Tag", "open"); GA_googleAddAttr("Tag", "open-marriage"); GA_googleAddAttr("Tag", "passion"); GA_googleAddAttr("Tag", "podcast"); GA_googleAddAttr("Tag", "polyamory"); GA_googleAddAttr("Tag", "postaweek2011"); GA_googleAddAttr("Tag", "relationships"); GA_googleAddAttr("Tag", "romance"); GA_googleAddAttr("Tag", "sex"); GA_googleAddAttr("Tag", "steampunk"); GA_googleFillSlot("wpcom_sharethrough"); Share this:Like this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

  5. I LOVE YOUR BLOG SWEETIE!!

Please Share Your Thoughts...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: