What is going on here? (Relationship clarity)
August 15, 2013 10:20 PM   Subscribe

Some advice needed on a newly poly marriage...issues regarding imbalance of resources/effort, feelings of rejection, control issues, etc Please PM me if you think that will be more helpful.

oook. Here are a chronology of events about my husband and I (late 20s) followed by my questions, please help!

1. Boy becomes sexually uninterested in longtime (5 years) girlfriend (NOT based on her appearance). Boy and girl also have an imbalance of power in the relationship. Girl has like 3 degrees, boy has his GED. Girl makes a decent living, pays for everything, boy hasn't had a job in 2 years (student).

2. Girl begs boy to make her happy by increasing his frequency of sex with her. Boy does so out of obligation. Boy begins to feel resentful and coerced.

3. Boy and girl get married even though boy was no longer attracted to girl. Boy decides to come to terms about the sexual problems.

4. Boy goes to therapy, confirms he is no longer attracted to girl but that she make a good partner. Boy and girl begin poly relationship.

5. Boy is having great luck, girl is experiencing rejections typical to her previous relationships with the new relationships*. Girl also feels rejected cause boy doesn't want to touch her at all in a sexual way**. Girl feels like a leper.

6. Girl begins to feel an even greater imbalance of effort/power in the relationship. Boy gets financial stability, emotional connectedness, a bunch of great sex, support throughout schooling. Girl gets to work 60 hours a week, and gets emotional connectedness.

*Girl has great "shock value". Men tend to be extremely enthusiastic (for example, the most recent said that he considered not moving an hour away since he had met her), and then extremely apathetic/withdrawn very quickly.
**Boy and girl are still very emotionally connected and frequently touch in non-sexual ways.

1. What the hell is going on here? (any interpretations are useful)
2. Are any of these relationships salvageable?
3. What should I be TRYING to figure out?
posted by queenba to Human Relations (41 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
1. Boy is getting everything he wants, girl is (not) getting the shaft.
2. Anything could be salvagable, I'd wager against it.
3. The number of a good divorce lawyer.
posted by pseudonick at 10:25 PM on August 15, 2013 [47 favorites]

Eep, this sounds like the worst start to a poly (use that term loosely for what you have described) relationship. I know because I also started a poly type relationship for all the wrong reasons and it ended in disaster.

I would say if you want to salvage the relationship then you need to forget all third parties and get back to basics. If that's not doable then the marriage is over.

It sounds very much like an imbalance of power and that's never going to be good for a relationship.
posted by Youremyworld at 10:33 PM on August 15, 2013 [5 favorites]

3. What should I be TRYING to figure out?

What you want. Not who you want, but what kind of life and relationship you want.

Once you've done that, you can start trying to figure out if anyone currently in your life can give you the type of relationship you want.
posted by jaguar at 10:37 PM on August 15, 2013 [7 favorites]

And that process of "figuring out if anyone currently in your life can give you the relationship you want" isn't thinking in your own head, "What do I forgo or ignore about my own needs in order to keep this person in my life" but instead telling your partner(s), "This is what I need. Can you give it to me?" and walking away if the answer (in either speech or action) is "No."
posted by jaguar at 10:39 PM on August 15, 2013 [18 favorites]

Poly relationships often start in this way, where people hope for a magic bullet that will address the problem of attraction. Poly relationships that start this way almost always end badly, in my experience, because it's a band-aid on a bigger issue. If you're not getting what you need from a relationship, adding other people's needs just makes things more confusing and spreads out resources even more.

If you're making this your primary relationship, it needs to be your primary relationship, not the hook you both try to hang other relationships on. It sounds like adding other people is being a major stressor, and I would suggest you take a break from that until you guys are solid. It sucks to be attracted to someone, maintained as a "good partner" only, and (extrapolating) feeling like maybe you're partially being kept around because you're the provider in the relationship. I recommend couples' therapy if you guys are serious about staying together. I also recommend that you get therapy and think long and hard about why you're settling for so little in this relationship. My heart goes out to you.
posted by c'mon sea legs at 10:42 PM on August 15, 2013 [10 favorites]

Oh, and in case it wasn't clear, I am SUPER pro-poly. It can just really fuck things up if it's entered into for the wrong reasons, just like all relationship types.
posted by c'mon sea legs at 10:43 PM on August 15, 2013

This doesn't sound like a poly relationship. This sounds like girl is getting walked all over by a guy that is using her for money.
posted by empath at 10:58 PM on August 15, 2013 [84 favorites]

1. Just to clarify terms, because I am not in the poly community: it sounds like the specific thing you are describing is what I understand the be an "open" relationship, not poly. As in, you agree to date/sleep with people besides each other, but you are not both dating/sleeping with the same person/people together, yes?

2. I have to agree that opening up a relationship due to a lack of attraction sounds like a recipe for disaster. And getting married after acknowledging a lack of attraction... sounds like a recipe for disaster. Emotional connectedness is great, and arguably the core of everything. But if the sex with each other is not equally enjoyable and important between two people, at least most of the time, then you are going to end up with feelings of resentment and rejection. So here you are.

3. You know we're going to tell you to go to couples' counseling already, right? I think that's the way forward. But really, it sounds like Boy and Girl met in their early 20s and dating was great for awhile, but instead of breaking up when they grew apart, they got married. No amount of counseling will guarantee that Boy will find Girl attractive, and opening up the marriage has only served to confuse things further. Likewise, no amount of counseling will get Girl the relationship she deserves and wants, and frankly, the financial disparity seems like a problem at this point. It's one thing to support a partner in a partnership; it's another whole animal to be funding a lifestyle you're not getting anything out of that you can't get from a strong support system.

Are they both still invested in making it work? Counseling. Otherwise, it's time to let it go. Continuing down this path is just going to lead to more hurt and anger on both sides.
posted by juliplease at 11:04 PM on August 15, 2013 [4 favorites]

I feel bad for Girl, but Boy is clearly using Girl emotionally, logistically, financially etc. Boy is not a partner in any meaningful sense whatsoever (poly is neither here nor here).

I am very much whatever floats your boat, but this doesn't sound like a poly relationship at all. This sounds like someone who is so afraid they cant' do better, they can't see that nothing would be better than this.

I have no idea why you two got married when the relationship clearly had cracks in it even at the time, but just because you made one mistake there is no need to double and triple down. You made one mistake by getting married, don't compound by putting up with this douchebag and hurting yourself for years after.
posted by smoke at 11:11 PM on August 15, 2013 [14 favorites]

Wait, I just looked at your posting history...you were asking in mid-march 2013 about bringing the wedding forward? And it's now...5 months later, and all this has happened already??

1. What the hell is going on here? (any interpretations are useful)
2. Are any of these relationships salvageable?
3. What should I be TRYING to figure out?

1. You shouldn't have got married, and you are now in a mess.
2. I doubt it.
3. How to extricate yourself from the marriage with the least amount of hurt on both sides.

I am sorry, but that is my honest opinion. This is not a poly relationship, this is an open marriage that is only working for one spouse (him). Get out.
posted by Salamander at 11:13 PM on August 15, 2013 [24 favorites]

You can have any relationship you want, and I don't mean only poly, but whatever terms both of you are ok with.

But if your partner isn't attracted to you, and this matters to you, then why continue this relationship as your primary one?

So I guess if I were you I'd ask "did I get married because this is an awesome relationship, or because I hoped it would become one?"

If the latter, and you're unhappy, then it seems unlikely that it is going to turn into an awesome one. If the former, then maybe there is something you and your spouse can figure out.

tl;dr your third question is the one to start with. You should figure out how to be happy. That may not involve you staying in this relationship.
posted by zippy at 12:07 AM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

This isn't a "poly" relationship. This is two people who shouldn't be together where the girl wants to stay together and the boy doesn't so she lets the boy have another relationship outside of hers and then the girl is wondering why her relationship sucks.

Get a divorce. This guy isn't into you and doesn't seem to have much to offer you anyway. I mean, I don't know what "emotional connectedness" you think you feel, but maybe I'd be a dick and let someone think they feel "emotionally connected" to me if they paid for all my shit and let me fuck whoever I wanted.

I hate to say it, but girl is being used and girl needs to treat herself well enough to say she deserves more. Find someone new who will respect you and not use you.

In case I wasn't clear on my thoughts: Dump him.
posted by AppleTurnover at 12:21 AM on August 16, 2013 [15 favorites]

Whilst I understand the inertia that even the worst relationship can hold, nothing should be making you "feel like a leper". This guy is not for you - and bear in mind that even the other people you are seeing are dating you qua you-suffering-in-a-toxic-relationship rather than you qua just you. You're not giving yourself any kind of chances right now. Get out and be good to yourself.
posted by ominous_paws at 1:10 AM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'm sorry you're going through this. But to be frank, I knew all the way back at #1 that this wouldn't work. Your story should just have had two steps:

1. Boy becomes sexually uninterested in longtime (5 years) girlfriend.

2. Girl and boy have long talk about whether this lack of interest is something temporary or permanent, and if it's permanent, they break up.

A poly relationship usually involves attraction to ALL your partners. You do not have a poly relationship, what you have is a legal dependent who's sleeping with other people. Letting him sleep with other people will not fix your relationship, because you no longer HAVE a relationship.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:35 AM on August 16, 2013 [19 favorites]

1. Boy has lots of cake and is gorging. Nom nom nom. Cake!
2. Girl has "cake" which is made of no-fat carob mousse sandwiched between rice crackers. Bleah.
3. Girl needs to decide what she needs and wants FOR HERSELF. Divorce it from specific people, take it back to the basics. For example, girl wants to be in a relationship where she is loved and desired and cherished. If all these three are not present, she does not want to be in the relationship. Girl should also decide whether she actually wants to be monogamous and is just trying the non-monogamy thing to save a relationship which is doomed.

After 13 years of being in a poly relationship which involved my main partner having lots of other partners, including one with whom he lived with half the time, and me having a few flings here and there, I finally got in another serious relationship. It was a sucky one, but that's neither here nor there. Through trying to be in two relationships, I realised I was not poly and did not want to be poly. There was a lot of other stuff going on, I am being reductionist. Anyway, the "poly" relationship ended, the new one straggled on for a bit and then ended. Taking the time to work out what I wanted and required from a relationship - as opposed to what I was willing to put up with in order to stay with someone - was illuminating and liberating and I heartily recommend it.

(I am not necessarily saying you are not poly; maybe you are. But what you have at the moment? Not a good relationship. Also, I think, not poly but that's actually a side issue.)
posted by Athanassiel at 1:39 AM on August 16, 2013 [4 favorites]

you're really being taken advantage of by your husband. he probably feels emasculated by the power differential in your relationship and that is why he'd want to be with another woman. it gives him a sense of power he is lacking with you. i don't know much about poly relationships but this doesn't sound like one even to me. it sounds mostly like him cheating with permission if there is such a thing and you making flailing efforts to match his moves. you are doing all the giving and your husband is taking, taking and taking some more. i doubt you are really even into the whole poly/open relationship thing but more lack the courage to stand up for yourself regarding what you want in the relationship.

probably the best thing you can do is dump any other parties to your marriage and get some marital counseling to see if this can be salvaged although i'll be honest it doesn't look good. if your husband won't go to counseling with you then i think you'd be smart to see a counselor alone. you might want to ask yourself why you choose to be in a relationship where you clearly get incredibly little out of it despite giving so much. maybe you think by giving more and more he'll love you more but it's actually works the opposite. that just gives him more opportunity to take advantage of you.

relationships tend to work best when there is a lot more equality and give & take. also, you have to respect yourself and not let any guy take advantage of you. i'd suggest you start reading up on codependency and feminism. i think both would help immensely. my guess is you may have compromised your values in order to save your relationship. if so, stop doing that immediately. it's really important to be true to yourself and to treat yourself with the respect you deserve. no one can do that for you and sadly plenty of people will take advantage given the opportunity.
posted by wildflower at 2:17 AM on August 16, 2013 [2 favorites]

Are you seriously planning to have a child with this guy? Do you want to do all the child-care as well as work 60 hours a week and be the primary financial provider? Do you want your child to grow up in a family where this kind of dynamic is considered normal?

Do you want to really lock yourself in to a life with this person?

Nthing the number of a good divorce lawyer. I also highly recommend counseling. (I apologize if I sound harsh or if I'm not answering the exact question. I was in a similar relationship at your age; I am SO thankful I did not lock myself into it by having children with the guy.)

(edited because I screwed up the link.)
posted by marguerite at 3:33 AM on August 16, 2013 [11 favorites]

I'm sorry. There is nothing which is going to make this into the relationship that you want. This relationship, where relationship means a loving, sexual, fulfilling meeting of equals, is over. Given how much you clearly love him it is probably going to be a sad and painful process for you to disengage from this. That is the bad news.

The good news is that somewhere out there is someone right for you. They are walking around, laughing and eating and feeding their cat, right now. In a year or two, or five, when you are all healed, you will meet them and you will remember what it is like to be loved and desired and cared for by someone who appreciates all the aspects of you, not just what you can do for them.

I don't think you or your husband are bad people but he has been weak and selfish to take you down this route after the attraction faded. At the same time you may want to consider why you haven't been advocating for yourself and your need to be desired as strongly as you should have. You deserve this. It is time to cut the cord and start looking for a real partner in life.

This road is a dead end. Better times await you if you take that first hard step down a new path. Good luck!
posted by Dorothia at 3:41 AM on August 16, 2013 [3 favorites]

1. What the hell is going on here?

Boy should be glad you are not my sister; he would stand a real chance of being fed to animals.

2. Are any of these relationships salvageable?

There's probably a better chance of successful long-term financial planning via buying lottery tickets.

3. What should I be TRYING to figure out?

Logistical, legal and other facets of legal separation and divorce -- and what led you to make the choices you made.

posted by ambient2 at 3:49 AM on August 16, 2013 [12 favorites]

From looking at your previous question, where you said:

However, my fiance and I decided to get married sooner anyway...tomorrow!

I'd say boy and girl are having the sort of problems that would be expected by impulsively getting married when one of the partners isn't attracted to the other.

How did that come about? Did figure you could get boy to be more attracted to you by getting married, and he figured you'd keep paying for everything if the two of you got married?

Honey, someone who already isn't attracted to you isn't going to become attracted to you just because they married you.

3. What should I be TRYING to figure out?

Why the hell you decided this was a good idea.

Your question is written in a very passive voice, as if some other person is this "girl" who decided to get married -- you chose to do this, there is not some mystery "girl" who did this to you and left you wondering how the hell it happened, YOU got married.

BTW, please please please don't try to fix your marriage by having a baby, that never works out well.
posted by yohko at 3:56 AM on August 16, 2013 [8 favorites]

So, to summarise, your husband isn't in the least sexually attracted to you, but he's out cheerfully and enthusiastically banging other woman whilst you're sitting at the breakfast table crying into your Cornflakes and wondering where the Hell it all went wrong? I have your answer...it's a farce. You're being used and manipulated. Get out. Now.
posted by Nibiru at 3:58 AM on August 16, 2013 [7 favorites]

Men tend to be extremely enthusiastic, and then extremely apathetic/withdrawn very quickly.

People don't like feeling that they are being used to prop up a failing marriage. You are desperate, and they can tell.

Don't judge what dating would be like as an unmarried person by this.
posted by yohko at 4:09 AM on August 16, 2013 [6 favorites]

1. What the hell is going on here? (any interpretations are useful)
2. Are any of these relationships salvageable?
3. What should I be TRYING to figure out?

1. It appears that you and your husband have decided to have a marriage where you both have sex and form relationships with other people (and I assume that these new partners know that you're married). You wrote your husband is having "great luck," which I assume means that he has found other partners with whom to connect sexually or emotionally. You have not found anyone, yes? Well, it appears that what's happening, basically, is that this type of relationship is working at least right now very well for your husband.

It is not currently working for you.

2. Maybe; it's worth a shot. You two need couple counseling, that's all. There's a bit of a twisted clusterf*ck of issues and you'd like some clarity and you're not happy and if you want to stay married, then you need to talk to someone together to unravel this whole thing.

3. You should be getting the name of a marriage counselor and making an appointment. And then work from that.

Listen, all in all, your list and details are telling a pretty sad (but not completely atypical) story. I think you need to talk to someone and just get this all sorted out. You seem to be very giving and in some small ways, happy with your husband, and it's entirely possible that you two can truly work together on improving your marriage. It's also possible that he wants to bang a lot of women and have you be his mommy. Time and therapy will tell.
posted by kinetic at 4:15 AM on August 16, 2013

A relationship is a two way street. This guy is building perpendicular fucking highways with your tax dollars.
posted by oceanjesse at 4:25 AM on August 16, 2013 [21 favorites]

1. What the hell is going on here? (any interpretations are useful)
He's not attracted to you any more, and he's not working to address that. That's just become a fact in his life; he's pursuing other sexual relationships instead.

2. Are any of these relationships salvageable?
Not unless he changes his stance, and that doesn't seem likely. Nor is it something you can make him do.

3. What should I be TRYING to figure out?
What you want, independent of him, and how you plan about getting it.
posted by RainyJay at 6:05 AM on August 16, 2013

Who decided to get married? Who decided to open up the relationship? You don't specify either, but I'm guessing it was "girl has terribly low self-esteem and thinks she can't do better than boy even though he can't touch her, girl demands marriage, boy doesn't want to give up his free ride, boy marries girl reluctantly, boy realizes that now that he's married he can totally get away with fucking around on girl as long as he calls it 'poly' even though girl doesn't even really want to sleep with other people, she just wants her husband to want her. But he doesn't. He wants money from her, and sex from other people. So he tells her 'babe let's just open it up, everyone's doing it these days,' and she thinks she'd be a withholding prude if she expressed any problem with this arrangement."

posted by showbiz_liz at 6:58 AM on August 16, 2013 [10 favorites]

You should talk to a therapist. Not because you're a terrible person or "doing something wrong", but because you've martyred yourself into this awful situation and it's not clear why. Some things I notice in your post:

1. "Girl" and "boy" - are you still in your very early twenties? It's not that there's an expiration on calling yourself a girl and your partner a boy, but "this girl's long-term relationship and marriage to this boy, her sixty hours a week, the possibility of having children". It suggests either that you see yourself as not really adult/in charge of your life or else that you are way too young for this shit - if you're, like, twenty-two, you are likely to be too young for Marriage/Baby/Locking Down Your Life*.

2. Distancing. Are you trying to be "fair" in how you describe this? Are you trying to distance yourself from what you're actually feeling?

3. Sixty hours a week? You're exhausted. You're not thinking clearly.

4. Some problem in how you approach relationships. You have "shock value"? You emphasize that it's "not your looks" when your partner is no longer attracted to you? Do you feel some guilt/anxiety over your looks or your ability to attract partners, like you need to "prove" this relationship is bad enough to be upset? Honestly, this wouldn't be cool even if you'd started out looking like, say, Janelle Monae but then been hit with an ugly stick and sprouted purulent warts.

You sound like you believe that you can't live without love or find replacement love if you get out of this relationship.

Also, you will be a much more attractive dating prospect when you're single - honestly, it's harder to find good partners in an open relationship situation, because a lot of people are looking for more serious relationships and won't consider an open one and IME the percentage of skeevy people in the dating pool is higher. That's not to say that it can't be done; that's to say that you shouldn't judge your dating prospects as a single person by your dating prospects now.

This whole thing sounds miserable. It sounds like you're exhausted and your sense of self-worth is being eroded. I have seldom read a question that did not involve violence where I felt so strongly that you need to split up.

It is possible to have a "practical" partnership (where you don't sleep with the practical partner and you support each other emotionally and materially) with romantic relationships on the side. But both parties have to be really committed to that - it can't be something where one person feels that she's settling for what she can get.

*For some people, twenty-two is the right age for this - but those people generally have a very strong sense of "yes, this is it, go".
posted by Frowner at 7:06 AM on August 16, 2013 [8 favorites]

I agree with the gist of the thread, about what type of relationship you don't have and what you should do about that. What I'd add is that I think it'd be helpful if you had a deeper understanding of two things: the sunk cost principle, and the number of fish in the sea. These are concepts that most everybody grasps on a superficial level ("Yeah, yeah, there are other fish in the sea, I know") but far fewer people have really experienced those concepts 'click' to influence their behavior. If you could, I think you would be happier.

Lots of people have trouble extricating themselves from relationships where it's obvious to literally every other person that breakup is necessary. It's hugely, incredibly common. I'm sure you've seen it around your social circles, and probably in your family, too. There's probably nothing to say that can dull the heartbreak and sense of failure that comes with divorce, but your circumstance isn't unique and there are many, many people who have done the hard thing and subsequently felt much, much happier.

And by the way, I'm not inclined to sugarcoat your immediate dating prospects. From your narrative, it sounds to me like you're probably a very attractive woman who's had recurring trouble with dating for reasons that are probably very real and have little to do with Boy. I don't mean to suggest that's not a problem. It is, and you should address it. You can remedy it; others have. But it's a problem separate from the one described in your post. That's worth untangling.

Good luck. I'm sorry for the loneliness and rejection you've felt, and I wish you well.
posted by cribcage at 7:17 AM on August 16, 2013 [2 favorites]

This sounds like my SO's relationship with his ex. Basically subsidizing her affair under the guise of an open relationship. He says it blew, hardcore. I wasn't in his life during that time but it sounds awful for all parties.

She's his ex, so clearly it wasn't salvageable. I don't suspect your marriage is either.
posted by chainsofreedom at 7:23 AM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

and bear in mind that even the other people you are seeing are dating you qua you-suffering-in-a-toxic-relationship rather than you qua just you.

Yeah, this has been my experience: you will have better luck if you're not settling. Primary relationship or no relationship, you'll do better (i.e., feel better, attract more compatible people, exercise better judgment) with a better basis for comparison.
posted by clavicle at 7:44 AM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

3. Iron clad birth control. The sooner you get divorced, the sooner, you can start looking for the guy who you should have kids with. This is not him.
posted by bq at 7:52 AM on August 16, 2013 [13 favorites]

1. What the hell is going on here? (any interpretations are useful)

You're a sugar mama and he's using you. I'm pretty sure that what you want is for your husband to want to have sex with you. And, he is never, ever going to want that. (Until you leave him and cut the purse strings, then he might. But even so, probably not. He will just find someone else to pay his bills.)

2. Are any of these relationships salvageable?

Only your relationship with yourself, which I'm betting is also the relationship in the worst shape here. And that is saying something, because your other relationships as you describe 'em aren't exactly thriving.

3. What should I be TRYING to figure out?

How to divorce your husband and be an advocate for yourself.
posted by like_a_friend at 8:28 AM on August 16, 2013 [7 favorites]

This isn't a poly relationship, and it doesn't sound like you're even in a relationship at all with this guy, other than feeding and clothing him.

3. What should I be TRYING to figure out?

How to divorce him, like yesterday.
posted by wrok at 9:28 AM on August 16, 2013 [2 favorites]

1. What the hell is going on here? (any interpretations are useful)
2. Are any of these relationships salvageable?
3. What should I be TRYING to figure out?

1. You are settling HARDCORE because you believe that you can never have more. This is false.
2. Why would you *want* to salvage them? I suspect it's because you believe you can never have more, not because you really really think there's something amazing there.
3. You should be working on convincing yourself that you deserve so so much more. Because you do. You deserve someone who is OVER THE MOON in love and enthusiastic about you. Not this jerk wad.

And seriously, this is not a problem that's going to get better. It's only going to get worse. Year after year, you're going to feel worse and worse about yourself. It will only be harder to get out later, because you will have convinced yourself that it's OK. Right now, you know it's not OK. You're just afraid of letting go. Don't worry! You can let go. It will be OK. You deserve a relationship that's not toxic.
posted by stoneweaver at 9:50 AM on August 16, 2013 [3 favorites]

Yeah, the quality of guys you attract when in a totally shit relationship is extremely, extremely low compared to what you can get when you're moving on, more confident, open to feeling good, and generally moving in a positive direction.

A lot is also just luck, and not anything about you. You don't even want to know many guys in (not open) relationships tried to get me to sleep with them in a row before I met my current boyfriend. It had nothing to do with me as a person, it was just shit luck. Don't sell yourself short as inevitably doomed in love and sex.
posted by the young rope-rider at 9:55 AM on August 16, 2013 [3 favorites]

You need to figure out what you want. It's clearly not what you have.

It sounds like you are stuck. You need to get un-stuck.
posted by sm1tten at 12:17 PM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

Don't throw good money after bad.
posted by yarly at 1:04 PM on August 16, 2013

**Boy and girl are still very emotionally connected and frequently touch in non-sexual ways.

I feel the same way about my coffee mug.
I would not want to be married to my coffee mug.
posted by JenThePro at 1:28 PM on August 16, 2013 [5 favorites]

Oh hey, I was you in step 1, years ago. I broke up with him after lingering a while in step 2, though. There isn't a happy ending for this situation unless it's a temporary loss of libido that can be fixed. Becoming poly is something that is great if it works for you as a life choice but not only is it NOT a solution to this problem (because you want sex with your partner, not just sex in general), it can add additional problems, as you've seen.

Whether you continue to pursue polyamory or not, you need to dump that guy, yesterday. It's hard to believe this from where you are now, but being single will make you so much happier than you are now, once you get past the initial breakup sadness, and you won't believe you wasted so much time on this guy.
posted by randomnity at 2:05 PM on August 16, 2013

i would not take your lack of success with meeting someone to be in a secondary relationship with to indicate anything about your potential success at meeting someone new for a new primary relationship after divorcing your current partner. your current relationship sounds like it is giving you a lot of emotional baggage which is making it difficult to connect with someone new.
posted by katieanne at 2:22 PM on August 16, 2013 [5 favorites]

It sounds like your husband felt emasculated by your success, and was no longer able to be sexually attracted to you because he couldn't feel like the dominant partner. Why he married you is anyone's guess, but this is not going to change. If he is able to have sexual relationships with people who are not you, it is not a biological thing about him (like depression or whatever) it is a thing specifically around how he sees you.

Protect your assets and then GTFO.
posted by corb at 11:45 PM on August 16, 2013

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