• Thu, Jul 18 2013

Anonymous Mom: I’m Attempting A Polyamorous Marriage

multi-colored paper dollsAnonymous Mom is a weekly column of motherhood confessions, indiscretions, and parental shortcomings selected by Mommyish editors. Under this unanimous byline, readers can share their own stories, secrets, and moments of weakness with complete anonymity.

I’ve had an inkling for years that I’m not monogamous. Despite having had a few long-term monogamous relationships, I always felt a sense of disappointment that I wasn’t “allowed” to get close to anyone but my significant other. I got married a few years ago, and somehow I thought marriage would put out this flame inside of me and allow me to follow the life script I’d accepted since childhood — marriage to one man, house, babies.

Last year when I read Jenny Block’s book on open marriage, I had my first conversation with my husband about the idea. It didn’t go well. We were on a road trip, riding at night while my son (just a few months old then) slept soundly in the back. We fought — my husband thought I wasn’t attracted to him anymore, and he didn’t see how my idea of having sexual relationships with other people could possibly make things better for us. Over time, we had similar discussions, but they were more rational, less emotional. Finally we came to the extremely difficult decision to give it a try.

The decision was triggered in part by a burgeoning friendship with Cal. I’d known Cal for quite awhile, and despite worlds of flirtation and sexual tension between us over the years, we didn’t admit our mutual attraction until recently. A huge caveat: Cal is uncomfortable around children, and my nearly  2-year-old son is a very big part of my life.

My husband gave us the “go ahead” to pursue our relationship, but it’s at a great cost to the balance in my life. I can only spend time with Cal in public or at his house (a rule my husband suggested, because he’s not really ready to integrate Cal into our family life). I work throughout the week and my husband works weekends, meaning it was difficult already to find time for date nights with him. So now that Cal is in the picture my husband occasionally feels neglected.

There are many things we’ve done right so far: getting tested for STIs, communicating and learning to trust, and attempting to get to the heart of any negative emotions anyone is having.

I’m not worried for a second about my son growing up with a polyamorous mom. I don’t fear it’s going to confuse him or estrange him from his peers. All he has to know is that I love both Daddy and Cal for unique reasons. I’m not going to share with my child details of my sex life any more than I would have if I’d remained monogamous. I don’t know a thing about my monogamous parents’ sex life, except that they love each other deeply. That’s all my son needs to know about me and my relationships.

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  • Truth919

    I hope you die, whore.

    • meteor_echo

      I hope you get banned, troll.

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  • Rachel Heston-Davis

    I’m not necessarily endorsing the author’s situation as an advisable or healthy one, but I am kind of curious about the reaction in these comments as they pertain to the husband’s role. Many people are assuming that the husband in this situation is miserable and that he is clearly not supportive. I didn’t come away from the article feeling that way. I came away feeling ambiguous about where the husband currently stands with the issue. In fact, the author made it sound like the husband had come a long way from his initial resistance, to the point where he is now open enough to learn about it and give it a try. Considering that we are raised in a society that mostly supports monogamy, don’t MOST people in the U.S. who support poly relationships have to learn about them over time, rather than starting from the baseline of seeing them as okay? Isn’t that pretty common when we’re raised from children to see monogamy as the best option?
    I guess I’m just not seeing how his initial resistance proves that he is still against it, especially since he seems to have been active in helping her build time for all involved parties into their lives. Maybe the fact that he’s not “ready” to integrate Cal into the family gives us a clue…but that still doesn’t necessarily mean the husband is miserable. Or maybe it does…my point is I don’t think we can know for sure.

    • Seola

      It is because of the way she speaks about him that these feelings about the husband come out. If he was “totally fine”, he wouldn’t feel neglected. She admits to neglecting both him and the kid so she can be with a kid-hater. She opines over the little time she has for HERSELF to go out with this Cal. While who is watching the kid? The father, who is also working. This isn’t poly anything. The husband is cuckolded and it’s clear from his reactions (if her writing is truthful and I suspect it is) he isn’t happy about this. If this progressed as she claims – he gave in, he doesn’t like it but he didn’t want to deal with it anymore. You notice she makes no mention of her staying home with the child while Daddy runs around with a 20yo stripper.

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  • Disgusted

    I would drop you in a second, find a way to raise our child successfully and leave you to the mess that you are making for your life. When you are old and regret that your child has no respect for you, I’ll at least be there to be the one parent they can count on.

  • mainesmartarse

    Anonymous should rethink this situation. Her husband definitely isn’t on the same page. He’s hurting. I suspect he doesn’t make a fuss because he loves her and his son and is afraid of losing both. She’s bullying her way about this – not fair, not kind. As someone else noted, she’s cheating on his, albeit with his reluctant acquiescence. This will not end well.

  • JJJ

    If you were a single mom, which you are choosing to act like, and you met “Cal” out in the real world and this guy was uncomfortable around your child…or uncomfortable with the thought that you have a child…this is not the guy for you! What a situation to put your child in….it would definitely cause resentment in all parties involved down the line.
    So you “choose” to have this affair with a guy who doesn’t want to be around your child (a huge part of your life), that in itself already says that his love in not in any way unconditional, if it exists at all…..having an affair with a married woman does not necessarily equate to love anyway. What happens when Cal finds someone else (to commit to) and you are out….are you going to cry on your hubby’s shoulder??? Are you going to resent your child because you will blame him for this guy leaving?
    If a “relationship” or sexual affair is something you are determined to embark on with this guy Cal, please let your husband go so that he can find someone who will love him wholly and completely….and you may want to consider giving him custody with limited visitation on your part, so that this child can have some semblance of a normal life.

    All you are doing is satisfying your sexual desire…..if you love this guy Cal, really love him….leave your husband and kid and go be with him….if not, then find a way to love your husband again and forget about Cal.
    If you are confused, please seek professional counseling. You either love your husband and child…or you don’t. Leave him, or commit. Not much to confuse you, but very rarely are human emotions so black and white…thus professional counseling can be very beneficial!

  • Fred95

    “Finally we came to the extremely difficult decision to give it a try.”

    Or, maybe he just gave up fighting about it.

  • bigmackie

    hubby need to kick hoe to da curb

  • Noxomus Nox

    the break down of the family unit. I’m sure your children will grow up with no intimacy issues. i feel very bad for your husband and child.

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  • Tall cool one

    If think your husband likes some other man sticking his d–k in you while he is married to you, honey you really are dumb and need to be kicked to the curb..

  • otis

    You’ve had too much Oprah and rationalize so easily. Self-indulgent. I feel sorry for your husband and former family after the melt down.

  • Right

    I agree with what most of the other posters have said here. This woman is pursuing her own selfish desires at the cost of causing her husband what is most likely excruciating emotional pain. A man doesn’t “grudgingly accept” his wife having a sexual and emotional relationship with another man. He is most likely doing his best to conceal his enormous grief and resentment.

    The author is willingly blind to the danger she’s selfishly putting her son in. I grew up in Northern CA in the 1970s – a time of sexual “openness”, hot tub parties, swinging, and — lots and lots of divorces. When I was a kid, a friend of my father’s – whose children I knew pretty well – decided to bring his mistress into the family home, and his wife grudgingly accepted it (probably because she felt she had no choice). But it devastated her, and the emotional damage it wrought on her was apparent to the children, who were very confused by the whole situation. The end result was they never forgave their father for what he did to their mom.

    I personally haven’t seen many “polyamorous” marriages last, even when both spouses embrace the idea. Something eventually goes wrong, someone gets jealous, an extramarital relationship gets too involved, or one or both spouses breaks the “ground rules”, causing a rift.

    Marriage is – by definition – a vow to forsake all others. Those who want to remain polyamorous are probably better off just not getting married in the first place.

  • just a Dad4 life

    why not get a divorce ? then your husband has no legal ties to you. Cal has none. Ask your husband if he would like parental control and recieve alimony. Then he get to love his children and paided for it too. It works well with mothers and daddy should be or find happiness. That way you can, without legal strings to his wallet “find your true self” He does not lose your sometimes affection and he can rest assure that HE RAISES his child in the manner best suited for the world we live in . You get to bed both and have a guiltless pleasure. Cal foots your bill when you are with him and your husband can save money while dropping you from his insurance both car and home and medical. AND he might even have some pleasure from you time to time. He will be Free and so will you.

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  • beentheredonethat

    I am a 52 yr old man who has been through this and it does not work!
    we have been divorced now for 11 yrs….

  • Markharr

    Finally we came to the extremely difficult decision to give it a try.

    It wasn’t a difficult decision for you, you had already made up your mind, and forced it upon your husband.

  • Robert Thompson

    …consensual, sexual and responsible non-monogamy…that’s not what I read in this article. I read about starry eyed attraction to someone who could not fit into your family life, and a husband who is desparately trying to overcome his hurt to make his marriage work. Sounds more like cuckolding to me.

  • conqueror bill

    “Last year when I read Jenny Block’s book on open marriage, I had my first conversation with my husband about the idea. It didn’t go well. We were on a road trip, riding at night while my son (just a few months old then) slept soundly in the back. We fought — my husband thought I wasn’t attracted to him anymore, and he didn’t see how my idea of having sexual relationships with other people could possibly make things better for us. Over time, we had similar discussions, but they were more rational, less emotional. FINALLY WE CAME TO THE EXTREMELY DIFFICULT DECISION TO GIVE IT A TRY.”

    Well, no; no, you did not do any such thing. What you did was place your husband in a trap of your choosing, sprung at your leisure, designed for your own selfish ends. Then, you bullied him into capitulation.

    That’s what it would be if it were he who had done such a thing to you. I wonder how this story turns out. Do you turn him into your cuckold? Will CBT and humiliation find their way onto your table? Will he turn a gun upon himself? Hang himself or run the car in the garage? When? Will he go it alone? Or, will he just soldier along until even he can’t find the ghost anymore?

    “The decision was triggered in part by a burgeoning friendship with Cal.”

    MY decision, dear; you don’t get away with being passive-aggressive with ME, honey. I’m not your cuckold.

    “My husband gave us the ‘go ahead’ to pursue our relationship, BUT IT’S AT GREAT COST TO THE BALANCE IN MY LIFE.”

    Meanwhile, Hubby’s world must feel as if he’s spiraling earthward at terminal velocity, but it’s sure swell to know that YOU are somehow managing to get by somehow. Soldier on, brave girl!

    “I can only spend time with Cal in public or at his house (a rule my husband suggested, because he’s not really ready to integrate Cal into our family life). I work throughout the week and my husband works weekends, meaning it was difficult already to find time for date nights with him. SO NOW THAT CAL IS IN THE PICTURE MY HUSBAND OCCASIONALLY FEELS NEGLECTED.”

    (Occasionally feels) = (Always feels + Occasionally vomits up his gorge)

    “There are many things WE’VE done right so far: getting tested for STIs, communicating and learning to trust, and attempting to get to the heart of any negative emotions ANYONE is having.”

    That would be the ROYAL “we”. “Anyone” would be your little Cucky.

    “And because my husband has his moments of doubt, I’m spending extra time talking to him about our concerns and fears.”

    No, you’re smoldering and banking the fire, lest Cucky burst into flames and consume your applecart, plus one or more other, more important people. Or, God forbid, grow a pair.

    “It’s clear that this is going to be a drawn-out learning process for everyone. I’ll get overwhelmed, feelings will get hurt, everyone’s needs will go unmet from time to time. At the center of it all is my son, who absolutely depends on the adults in his life for care and support.”

    Rather, at the center of my trap is my son, whose presence keeps my husband focused on MY needs, where his attention should be directed. My son’s presence is also important because it allows me to convince myself that I’m not a monster, however much evidence there is to the contrary.

    “ ‘Did you sing any songs?’ He nodded and did the hand movements to -Itsy Bitsy Spider’. I lit up — he understood me. We were conversing. He knew this was a big deal, too: he had an awestruck sparkle in his eye AS HE HUNG ONTO MY EVERY WORD.”

    You must feel like the Goddess you are in your own mind, dear. At long last, you’re not alone. You have both a slave to bury beside you in your tomb and a worshipper to carry on your memory in the world. Congratulations, oh! Pharaoh.

    “Here I am instead, working on MY ULTIMATE HAPPINESS in a communicative, committed relationship with my husband, an exciting new relationship with my boyfriend, and a beautiful, changing relationship with my child.”

    True enough, you are BOTH committed to YOUR happiness, YOUR comfort, the preservation and cultivation of YOUR overweening sense of self-regard. This is where you most clearly reveal YOUR true self.

    YOU are the Millennial Avatar, dear, a narcissist through and through, and a malignant one, at that. Were you benign, you’d free that bug you’ve trapped inside your Mason jar.

  • Califboy

    If I was the husband I would find a girl half your age and hotter than the 4th Of July and see how you would feel knowing I am spending my time “exploring” myself and my ‘feelings”.
    Your selfish, immature and soon to be divorced.We will see if Cal wants to pick up the tab once you get divorced and have your own bills. Part of being a grown up and parent and spouse is sacrificing. Life isn’t all about feeling good all the time or getting what you want when you want it.
    I have been married to the same women for 25 years and we have been together for 28 with two grown successful daughters, no it was not always easy and yes I wanted to see other females and they wanted me and I am sure my wife had some of those feelings of her own. Some years were more difficult than others with money or our relationship.
    But the core of me wanted to stay with her until she is old and gray, we are starting on that path now and I love her more now than ever. She stayed with me in tough times and had my back always, she gave me two beautiful girls. In spite of my short comings she loved me more. Six weeks of hot sex with a hot girl could not replace a spoonful of what she gave me. I have seen it over and over, the wife or the husband leaves for the new hot love and either weeks or months later they want back in. Never in my book, if you do this once you’ll do it twice.
    You better contact a lawyer and start looking for a job now because it is only a matter of time before the shit hits the fan.

  • Anon

    why do i get the feeling you’re obese? hmmm, anyways, you dont deserve your husband and hopefully he gets enough balls and sense to leave you. this is why our generation is so fucked up and radical…. divorce rates also being very high. you have a very small child with your husband that you claim you love, yet you yearn to have another man’s dick inside you. you are a narcissistic slut and i want the last 5 minutes of my life back.

  • Bubba

    What’s the other guys name? Boner?

  • stevek11

    Note to the real husband: Have a lawyer draw up the papers. She is killing you from the inside out.

  • Know Fool

    Ahh, besides, the way the laws are going we’ll be able to “marry” our dogs, a man or two, a women or two or three, our niece, the neighbors teenager… whatever we want because it “Feel Right.”

  • Arthur Di Lampedusa

    “Did you sing any songs?” He nodded and did the hand movements “my mommy is a whoooo-re , a dirty filthy whore….”

  • Karen

    So your son is in daycare full time while you work. His dad is gone on weekends. And you’re gone a few nights a week for dates with your husband and dates with your boyfriend. And your son is exactly how important to you?

  • Blondesareeasy Fullname

    For all of the people that lecture her: Isn’t divorce worse on a child? Who the hell thinks a kid can comprehend that mommy and daddy don’t love each other anymore and that they occasionally bring another new person to meet the kids? That’s more screwed up than having a lover. At least mom and dad are STILL THERE.

    And monogamy is NOT the norm. We’ve just forced it upon ourselves. We know that women are naturally attracted to strength, large, driven men and at the same time need a more passive man to raise their kids. Yes, you CAN have it both ways and it works.

  • SpicyDragoon

    I’m all for liberal lifestyles and what have you, but I basically agree with what a lot of other people are saying. This woman is selfish and she’s trying desperately to convince herself otherwise and typing up her story here is a way to feel better.

    I’ll just dissect a few parts and add in my two cents:

    “Over time, we had similar discussions, but they were more rational, less emotional. Finally we came to the extremely difficult decision to give it a try.”

    You mean that it was difficult for your husband, not you. You basically didn’t care because everything was already pretty much set-up for you provisionally, you just needed your husband to definitely say “yes” to finalise it. It seems like you might have just ended up having an affair or divorcing if the answer hadn’t been what you were hoping for.

    “A huge caveat: Cal is uncomfortable around children, and my nearly 2-year-old son is a very big part of my life.”

    So then, how is it going to work? You’ve not only mentioned integrating Cal into your family at some point, you’re already admitting to a complicated schedule in which you have almost no time for your husband and at some point skipping out on your full-time job as a parent. This guy doesn’t care about your kid. He wants to get his rocks off and likes the idea of taking a married woman to do it.

    “My husband gave us the “go ahead” to pursue our relationship, but it’s at a great cost to the balance in my life. I can only spend time with Cal in public or at his house (a rule my husband suggested, because he’s not really ready to integrate Cal into our family life).”

    Oh dear, what a shame… That must be so difficult. My heart bleeds. This is your problem then, stop making excuses and fix it. It might be time that you get rid of Cal if you’re going to make this poly thing work. He doesn’t seem like the right candidate. And you need to be 100% with your husband if this will ever work. For the record, how would you feel if your husband got another girlfriend, one that actually didn’t mind spending time your son and valued your husband’s feelings in conjunction with or above her own. My guess is that you’d have a tantrum about it, you’d be getting your cake and eating it too, but someone else would be getting the last slice…

    You admitted that your husband feels neglected, but you’re continuing to justify your feelings. WAKE UP! This should be a red flag right here. If he continues to feel neglected he’ll start to consider alternatives like perhaps breaking up.

    “My son is at such an pivotal phase too, starting to really talk and run around and question things, that I don’t want to miss out on his growth due to all the amazing/stressful/intense stuff going on in my personal life.”

    Right, so let this other guy go so that you can work on that. Cal won’t care either way, he’ll get some poontang elsewhere he can start a family of his own whenever he choose and as long as he gets what he wants he won’t think twice about your son or your husband. These are important years. It seems like you should have worked something like this out long before you ever had children because now everything is a mess with no time to spare, and google calendar doesn’t have the power to fix relationships.

    “It’s clear that this is going to be a drawn-out learning process for everyone. I’ll get overwhelmed, feelings will get hurt, everyone’s needs will go unmet from time to time.”

    Eventually you’ll hurt your son’s feelings, even though you say you won’t. One day, you’ll forget that promise you made to your son to show up at a school recital, take him to the park or toy store because you were out playing high-school happy girl with Cal.

    “Just like any parent, I’m trying, I’m amending, I’m adapting. I’ve wondered if I would’ve been happier had I realized I wasn’t monogamous years ago, but I can’t even visualize what that path would have looked like. Here I am instead, working on MY ULTIMATE HAPPINESS in a communicative, committed relationship with my husband, an exciting new relationship with my boyfriend, and a beautiful, changing relationship with my child.”

    The last paragraph was perhaps the most infuriating and superficial part of the article. Simply because you’ve pretty much explained that it wasn’t the case, your husband is unhappy, you have no time for family because of boyfriend and work. You’re circling an abyss right now and you’re about to fall straight down into it. It’s been sometime since this article was written, so I’m curious to know if this worked out or not. Being that she’s anonymous we’ll probably never know. Your naiveté and narcissism are pretty dangerous here. There’s about to be a storm of hurt feelings and irreversible mistakes made. I feel bad for only the child and the husband.