If you were previously polyamorous and committed to a monogamous relationship: how did you do it? How did you deal with those feelings that monogamy just didn't felt quite right? Were you able to replace the need outside relationships fulfilled with something else?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (10 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
My spouse and I have been together for 13 years, married for 8. We dated young (20) and have been living together since then. I had a handful of relationships before we started dating, but my husband only had one.
From a teenager, I felt I was polyamorous. I wasn't exposed to the concept as a kid, and didn't quite know what I was feeling, but I knew that I felt capable and wanted to love/have serious relationships with more than once person at a time. I didn't have the vocabulary to parse this, so I cheated in my earlier, younger relationships, which (of course) caused a lot of heartache and drama. I didn't like the feeling of cheating, and, even more, I hated the deceit and how it hurt my partners. I felt absolutely ashamed.
When my spouse and I started dating, I shared my feelings and he thought we should try a polyamorous relationship. Again, however, we were young, didn't know what we were doing and absolutely didn't communicate well or set boundaries. What happened is that I had a few relationships outside of the marriage and he had none. Each relationship made him more uncomfortable, and I started hiding details until, about 6 years ago, when I again start outright cheating and he caught me.
I was devastated and felt terrible for hurting him. We broke up. In the interim, I went to therapy, educated myself about polyamory, and my spouse and I got back together. We went to couples' counseling where he revealed that he had also done his own soul searching and knew he was monogamous. This was a dealbreaker for him. I told him I would commit to him and a monogamous relationship because I loved him and couldn't imagine life without him.
For the past six years, we've been living as a monogamous couple. Our relationship, beyond this issue, isn't even close to perfect, but it's a supportive, stable, safe place where we raise our pets (no kids), can still talk through the night, and are each other's rocks. It is not a particularly passionate relationship (though it was very passionate for the first few years), but this is something we both want to work on in counseling. The lack of passion, admittedly, is on my side. I find him extremely attractive, but my sexuality from a young age, as mentioned, has been tied up in "newness" and seems to fade in older relationships - another topic I'm exploring in therapy.
However, I can't tamp down the nagging feeling that I'll want a relationship outside of the marriage. There have been a few close calls, but I've removed myself from the situations, which has felt good because I'm honoring my marriage and being loyal to my husband, but strange because it feels most natural for me to have several relationships at once.
My question, if you can believe it, isn't how do I convince my husband that we should try polyamory again (he knows he doesn't want this and won't), or how do I leave him to live a polyamorous lifestyle. I want to stay with my husband. I want to stay with our life. The life we've built is vital and important to me, and I want our marriage to work and get better and stronger.
I struggle with feelings that I'm missing out on a part of life that brings me a lot of joy and happiness, but I also know that without my marriage, I would be missing out on a different from of joy and happiness that's longer-term and more rewarding in the end. I imagine I'll always have these feelings, but I want to get to a place where my marriage outweighs what I perceive as a loss of polyamory. I want to continue to deepen and strengthen my marriage.
As stated in the earlier question: if you were previously polyamorous and committed to a monogamous relationship: how did you do it? How did you deal with those feelings that monogamy just didn't felt quite right? Were you able to replace the need outside relationships fulfilled with something else?
I understand this is a touchy subject, so I appreciate your answers. Understand that I've worked through my thoughts in therapy, both individual and family, and I've made the decision to stay with my husband and stay monogamous. This is what I want. I'd just like to know how to stay open and loving and true in a relationship style that isn't necessarily natural for me. Thanks, MeFi.