Polyamory/Wife and her lover

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QUESTION: I've been married to my wife for 3 years. We were doing fine but our sex life wasn't that great. And, the worst part was that I was sterile. But, I always thought that we could overcome these problems eventually. Improve our sex life and maybe adapt a child since one can't be produced. But, one day I caught her cheating with another man. We had a heated argument afterwards. She told me that she only did it satisfy her sexual and emotional needs that was lacking in our marriage. After we both cooled down she suggested we should get a divorce. I was mad at her but I still loved her and didn't want to lose her so i told her to think on it for few days. So, after few days she suggested polyamory lifestyle to me after reading about it. I read about it too and learned there others who do it. Since she already has a lover she wants to add him into our life and wants him to move in with us. She also talked about getting pregnant from him because she wants to have her own child. So, I agreed with all this. So, I wanted to know your opinion on this matter. Are we both doing the right thing here? What actions we need to take? I want to stay with her and she wants to stay with both me and her lover.

ANSWER: Bastien:

Thanks for writing.  As with most questions about personal situations, it's impossible for me to say whether or not you're doing "the right thing," since there's no way I can have that kind of insight.  However, I hope to be able to give you some thing to think about.

I think the first question I have for you is this: How certain are you that your wife really wants to maintain your marriage? Is she just suggesting polyamory as a way to prevent a messy divorce, or is it because she's still truly in love with you?  

And then the next question would be: Are you accepting the suggestion because you don't want to lose her or because you're truly okay with the concept of polyamory?  

And let's not forget the other guy. How does he actually feel about polyamory?  He has an important say in things, too.

I'm sure I don't need to tell you that if any of you are agreeing to a poly lifestyle for the wrong reasons, it's unlikely to be a good decision, leading to resentment in the future.

Some people seem to think polyamory is a magic cure for a troubled relationship.  But it isn't.  It's a specific lifestyle choice that must be made because it's what everyone involved truly wants, not something accepted because they don't like the alternative.

So what do you think?  Are you all truly on the same page?


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: She does want to be with me. But, she also wants to be with this other guy who she believes fills the spots missing in our marriage such as steaming up her sex life and giving her the ability to have children. My goal is to keep her happy and she seems to be happy with him. Her being happy improves our relationship too.

Both I suppose. I don't want to lose her and the only way to keep her around and satisfied would be if he exists in her life too.

I have not yet discussed it with him yet but my wife has in great length and he's willing to do it. He loves her too as she said.

Im agreeing with the poly lifestyle because it keeps her happy and her being being happy keeps our relationship strong like i said earlier. She's agreeing with it because he fulfills her desires which i cant fulfill. So, I guess we are doing it for the right reasons.

I would say I am on the same page. What do you think hearing from what I said above? We all are new to this. So, I want to know how to get this all started.

Answer
What I'm looking at most is you saying that you are "agreeing with the poly lifestyle because it keeps her happy."  And that the other man is accepting of it because he loves her.  From where I stand, these are compromises.

In other words, if you could snap your fingers and have everything be back the way it was when you guys first got married, would you do it?  My guess is that you would, because this current situation is one big compromise for you.  

Your wife might be poly, but what I'd call you is "poly tolerant."  It's not something you wish to pursue for your own sake; you're doing it for her.  I can't say I think that's the best idea, personally, but I also can't say it won't work out just fine for you.

But what I want you to do is think long and hard about the situation.  Are you going to feel jealous when she spends time with him, or when they want to go away together on a vacation?  Whether or not you feel the desire to, would your wife be okay with YOU taking another lover?  I ask this because some people - usually men, in my experience - are inclined to think it's okay for themselves to be poly, but not their lover(s).

The root of it is this: all three of you need to be not only accepting of the situation, but HAPPY about it. You said, "it keeps her happy and her being happy keeps our relationship strong."  That's fine, but does her being happy literally MAKE YOU happy?  If the answer is an honest "yes," then that's a good thing.

If the other guy moves in with you, you need to be certain that the two of you get along. Not that you have to be best friends, but there can't be any undercurrent of resentment or negativity.

Anyway, give all this some serious thinking, Bastien. I certainly do want things to work out best for you guys.  I hope you make your decisions based on thorough examination of all factors.

Good luck.  

Polyamory

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Vincent M. Wales

Expertise

I will answer questions on the subject of Polyamory, including Polyfidelity and other variations.

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I "came out" as poly in 1997, though I've felt my poly side strongly for a couple decades longer than that.

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I am the founder of PAARC, the Polyamory Awareness & Acceptance Ribbon Campaign. I have also belonged to two local poly organizations.

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