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Traveler40

It’s about more than sex...

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Traveler40

I’m curious about those working on newly discovered asexuality in their homes who are tangentially exploring the idea of polyamory, yet not pulling any triggers at this point. I can think of two on this subforum who fit this description, and rather than PM, I’m posing the questions here.
 

Specifically, I wonder:

 

1. If your spouse acknowledges their asexuality, shows empathy and is actively working in concert towards a sustainable compromise, why add polyamory to the mix? 

 

2. If you’re majority happy, and your spouse is open, honest and trying, why not take that as far as humanly possible keeping the circuit closed?

 

3. Are you prepared to accept that the ways these experiences may change you could forever alter how you see or feel about your marriage?


On a personal note, I initially searched for sex with love, but found love with sex. I honestly never knew that at the end of the day, it’s NOT solely about connected sex; It’s about finding true intimacy and being able to nurture that together, however you get there.
 

 

 

 

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Mountain House

1. indeed.

2. "not pulling any triggers"

3. We aren't sure.

 

Pretty simple survey... :)

 

This could be an afternoon conversation.  My wife read your question and agrees with the above.

 

You skipped some considerations that precede your questions so lets quickly hit some things.

 

When a marriage becomes aware of the asexual/sexual conundrum we've concluded that there are four options to consider for establishing martial harmony:

 

1. celibacy

2. sexual compromise

3. open marriage

4. divorce

 

We consider them in parallel.  Celibacy is a no-go.  I just couldn't do it.  My wife admitted that if we never had sex again she probably wouldn't miss it.  In our experimentation she sort of tested this (ugh) and seems pretty confident in this assessment.

 

Neither of us want to break up but we both agree that divorce is the only option that is an absolute safety valve.  Pull that one and everything else goes away.  It has to stay an option just by default.  We do include it in our conversations.

 

Compromise, as you mention, is in progress.  Until you've found the edge of this it's pretty hard to remove anything else from the option pool.

 

  The "open marriage" options is in general the option to consider seeking sex outside the marriage and this doesn't necessarily mean sexual non-monogamy.  Consider a marriage where the asexual person is sex-averse.

 

For me:

I am very principled.  It's even in the general description of my personality type.  I could not cheat.  If I seek sex outside my marriage it will necessarily be ethical.

My wife and I do have sex.  If I seek sex outside our marriage then I will be non-monogamous.

Ethical non-monogamy [ENM] is then the avenue open to me.  This has many forms such as random casual encounters, swinging, FWB, polyamory...  I can't imagine not getting feels.  I am totally flirty and can crush easy.  If I am to be honest about how this option would most probably play out it would be naive to pursue this option and believe that feels wouldn't happen. 

 

That leads me to polyamory and context for number 1.

 

6 hours ago, Traveler40 said:

1. If your spouse acknowledges their asexuality, shows empathy and is actively working in concert towards a sustainable compromise, why add polyamory to the mix?

The reasons to add polyamory here are the same reasons to add polyamory no matter your situation; to fulfill sexual or emotional desires, <long list actually, so etc.>.  The new knowledge about the asexual/sexual dynamic throws us into some pretty deep self-reflection, maybe the martial sexuality can be strong but yet not be personal fulfilling for one or both partners.  And there's genie/bottle...

 

6 hours ago, Traveler40 said:

2. If you’re majority happy, and your spouse is open, honest and trying, why not take that as far as humanly possible keeping the circuit closed?

Is majority happy fulfilling?  Note your signature line.  But yeah, see where the efforts leads, not pulling triggers.  Do keep in mind that polyamory may happen anyway.

 

6 hours ago, Traveler40 said:

3. Are you prepared to accept that the ways these experiences may change you could forever alter how you see or feel about your marriage?

Our marriage has changed.  Assumptions have died.  Knowledge/communication has grown.  Specifically speaking of concerns of adding polyamory to the mix, the marriage has changed just in bringing it up.  We do talk about this quite a bit.  It is a scary transition to contemplate.  Without getting too personal, there are scenarios that have us both proceeding with caution.

 

<hehe> Did you expect a long drawn out response?

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KiraS

Going on about 30 years now:

 

I'm the exact opposite of @Mountain House . Would I like sex? Sure. Do I need sex? No. Do I want sex enough to thread the needle through the layers of biphobia, transphobia, and trauma triggers I experience when dating? Absolutely not.

 

So celibacy is easy for me while open relationships are hard. It was a huge relief figuring out that I really didn't need to put myself out there if I didn't want to. So it works for us.

 

People need to find what works for them. There is no cookie cutter solution to a marriage.

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Traveler40
8 hours ago, Mountain House said:

Did you expect a long drawn out response?

No, but I appreciate your effort. It thoroughly answers the questions you had created in my mind. Thank you! I was concerned about a seemingly forgone conclusion that may be unnecessarily complicating. It’s not a natural progression is all I was thinking.

 

Yesterday afternoon was spent at my lover’s home, and I realized that while the sex was connecting, I appreciated everything else as much if not more. The lunch he made was lovely, and his attention to detail included everything I like in the way I like it. Our comfortable and fluid conversation, his TLC and the holding are deeply nourishing. I love that I can’t leave without us already being on the phone so we remain connected as I drive home.

 

 It all comes together to create this blanket of intimacy and deep fulfillment, and the sex is a piece of that. However, it’s not the most important part. I’ve never experienced anything remotely close to what has been found with this man. We are coming up on four years and it only gets better. Yet, I’m married with two young children....

 

It’s complicated and sticky. We argue, we love, and we make it all work. It’s highly confusing at times trying to hit the balance, and some failure is a given. I love all of it, but it is not easy! Sometimes I wish it wasn’t so....

 

I’m realizing our kids are growing quickly, so I try never to say no when they want to spend time together. I feel the moments and think if only my husband wasn’t aro. Then again, I wouldn’t have my lover. My world will never be complete without him, and our lives will only expand from here on out. 
 

I wish you clarity and comfort in whatever way works. “Make it great” is my motto, and that comes in many shapes. My only thought was tied to “if my husband wasn’t aro, perhaps we could have bridged that gap....” who knows. Sometimes I’m all feeling and a bit less logical. Thanks again for taking the time.

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Traveler40

Oh, and back to your set-up reference: Celibacy was my cross and the straw that broke me. So, when I see folks that have a bit more with their spouse, I wonder if a simpler fix may be possible or are we hardwired to always want more? 
 

I have that more and am now “topped off”. I can’t even imagine @Sinking_In juggling the various relationships. There are so many ways to solve an issue I suppose. It’s interesting to watch others take a stab at it and hopefully succeed.

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Mountain House
8 hours ago, Traveler40 said:

No, but ...

:)  Top three lines?

 

7 hours ago, Traveler40 said:

... when I see folks that have a bit more with their spouse, I wonder if a simpler fix may be possible or are we hardwired to always want more?

I actually guessed this.  I really did.  So you got an essay.

 

It isn't "always want more".  I am hardwired to be sexual, my wife is not.  She does like sex and on occasion wants sex, which kept me from breaking, but sex is always a surprise to me.  Do I want more?  Yes, but it is the that which is already my authentic self. 

 

8 hours ago, Traveler40 said:

I have that more and am now “topped off”.

Then you sort of understand.  So, let's do a thought experiment:  what if your lover decided that everything is to stay the same except sex is now only twice a month, PIV only, very limited foreplay and it has rules and a timeline, and once you have an orgasm it is over; and this is his authentic self.

Do you still love him?  I'll guess yes. He makes a great lunch.  :)

Is the authentic you fulfilled?  Do you want more?  Does this feel "topped off?"

(Oh, the term is poly-saturated. 😉)

 

8 hours ago, Traveler40 said:

I can’t even imagine @Sinking_In juggling the various relationships.

Oh gosh yes.  I've had that "Oh, no, impending crash!" feeling and that "oh my gosh, how totally awesome!" feeling and I know that some of what we read is through that "Singing in the Rain" NRE thing.  But I absolutely get where he's coming from.  Your path to your polyamorous relationships is totally atypical.  You went nuclear and somehow there are no bodies.

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Traveler40
2 hours ago, Mountain House said:

if your lover decided that everything is to stay the same except sex is now only twice a month, PIV only, very limited foreplay and it has rules and a timeline, and once you have an orgasm it is over; and this is his authentic self.

Do you still love him? 

Yes.  My lover took sex off the table completely for a long time at one point when he broke it off. He subsequently and slowly opened the door to rekindle things, but refused sex full stop for longer than you know. In fact, I was once again celibate and felt wholly screwed at the same time. I recall being flabbergasted to find myself in two sexless relationships, but it was then that I discovered the sustainability of touch.

 

Sure, I knew the underlying desire between us was there and the detente would end in time, but that situation went on forever. He dug his heels in and held me off for longer than most could make it. That period created a ton of self doubt and inner angst that then took even more time to work through together.

 

It may seem easy and fluid from afar (and it is these days), but it’s been a constant work in progress across years. I suppose things boil down to perspective: My experience has been vastly different than what you describe above. TWICE A MONTH? 🎉. So yeah, there’s that. I do see how it may feel mechanical and certainly lacking, but oh-to-be-touched regularly sounds lovely in comparison to a zero touch existence.
 

Desire, intimacy, empathy, expressed love and partnership in meeting needs is all critical. I suppose I went nuclear? It doesn’t feel that way to me though. This has all been a careful and thoughtful wind up across years. Knowing yourself, taking clear action in all ways and with all parties and selecting the right people to the mix clearly has a lot to do with it. 
 

There are no bodies - God, I hope it stays that way. I do carry concern about those outside of the bubble condemning us and am grateful that none of us has aspirations to run for office... haha

 

In the end though, all I care about is our kids. 

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Traveler40

🤔 I guess your question should have been: Do you still stay?

 

Again, yes. (As demonstrated)

 

To what end? That is what I obviously struggle with. I’m one that sticks and tries to figure it out. Like everything in life, it’s a double edged sword.

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Mountain House
56 minutes ago, Traveler40 said:

Sure, I knew the underlying desire between us was there and the detente would end in time, but that situation went on forever.

If you aren't aware of asexuality and you are under the influence of the conventionally attributed reason for libido incompatibility then you are stuck. here. for. ever.

 

59 minutes ago, Traveler40 said:

That period created a ton...

Throw in having sex occasionally.  Based on 🤷‍♂️ - you can't even fathom.  (She likes me, she likes me not...)  And then you know that it's supposed to get better because you have talked to experts and read a bazillion books.  <sigh>

 

1 hour ago, Traveler40 said:

TWICE A MONTH?

Hehe.  I made that up.  I didn't want to say that he went full stop so I thought maybe you could better imagine this, but, uhhh...

 

1 hour ago, Traveler40 said:

a zero touch existence.

Yeah, I don't know how you did it.  Although for me it may have been a bit easier, half way there isn't there.  Touch can be evil too.  Learning about asexuality has fixed that for me though.  You are kissing me, and touching me, and cuddling with me, and then playing   a   game   on   your   phone        and         reading         a         book...  [What did I do?]

 

1 hour ago, Traveler40 said:

I suppose I went nuclear? ... Knowing yourself, taking clear action in all ways and with all parties and selecting the right people...

Spend some time on polyamory forums/podcasts/books/whatever.  Yeah, that last sentence is how you did it for sure but you pioneered it.  Add the word consent and you wrote the book.

 

1 hour ago, Traveler40 said:

I do carry concern about those outside of the bubble condemning us

One of the sticking point in the discussion with my wife.  I don't want to hide anything from anyone.  I don't care what other people think.  To me it is more ethical if I have a girlfriend and do it in the open, you know, if she wants that too.  My wife is squishy on that and worries what other people will think of her.

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Sinking_In

I believe there are people who are just naturally poly, for a myriad of reasons, and perhaps the statistics showing about half of all married people cheat might point to the idea more people should be. But I also believe that a majority of people can be content in a fulfilling monogamous relationship. They key word being fulfilling, which doesn't necessarily mean sexually fulfilling, so long as it's sexually adequate.

 

I think you're all pretty familiar with my story (as I tell it), so I can simply say that I was once content with the limited amount of sex in my mixed marriage, when there was (what I know now to be) genuine effort put into sexual compromise (her having more, me having less), and keeping this a closed circuit was manageable without much thought. I believe I would have gone on as such without pursuing an open relationship, had it been maintained. As time went on, and we became more true to our sexual/ asexual selves, then the open marriage became necessary, for all of the aforementioned reasons. Now that I am pursuing polyamory, I don't believe I'd ever go back to monogamy, and that's because I'm discovering more about being true to my sexual self. I'm finding more happiness, now, and I believe that is nurturing happiness in all of my relationships.

 

Now, I don't feel I'm doing a lot of "juggling", really. I feel that's more associated with people who are cheating, but I get the point. In a year I've spoken to dozens of women, went on dates with 6, and was intimate with just 4. I am currently involving myself with two women other than my wife, and I am open with them and they are aware of each other. I believe that for me "kitchen table" polyamory would be ideal, but I am limited in my DADT ENM relationship with my wife, which is also the same arrangement my limerence lover has with her husband: she tried to be more open with him, which she quickly learned was too overwhelming. My own wife had the foresight to know herself well enough that DADT was what she would prefer, though for her she more or less felt she just didn't need any details. We'll see if that stays the same given time. I'm open to being more open about it. For people starting out, I'd suggest being ethical about it, but spare a lot of details in the beginning, until you can better gauge how everyone is handling the new changes to the relationship dynamics.

 

I got a kick out of the idea of "going nuclear" @Mountain House , and the thought of the multitudes of ways that could go horribly wrong with fallout, but that could be said of ANY relationship. People are people, and feels can be caught and crushed at any time with anyone. Coincidentally, my limerence lover has admitted she may lean toward mono-poly as she discovers her feelings with me, but she does not expect it from me (such things could evolve, organically). She is also very rational and highly capable of critical thinking, and that calm I am so very attracted to.

 

On 10/15/2020 at 7:07 AM, Traveler40 said:

I initially searched for sex with love, but found love with sex. I honestly never knew that at the end of the day, it’s NOT solely about connected sex; It’s about finding true intimacy and being able to nurture that together, however you get there.

^I believe this to be true :) 

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ryn2

That’s actually one of the telling points that separates “naturally poly” from “working towards the  best solution I can craft given what’s available to me”:  if it were somehow possible to feel wholly fulfilled and “topped off” with just one partner (whether that be your original, primary partner or someone else), would you prefer that to finding fulfillment via multiple contemporary relationships?

 

The naturally poly folks tend to say no, they like it best this way (or, more often, “that’s impossible; one person will never provide all the things I need”).

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anisotrophic

I’ve commented elsewhere that I think I was trying to feel “loved” with the sex (which I always initiated & was “given”), and I think that was painfully very true — asked how he’s been expressing “love”, he said, “I think the sex?” Ouch.

 

So yeah it’s not just the sex. I’m still sleeping in another room and tbh I’ll keep doing that unless/until I feel loved. And maybe the pubescent allure of mere “sexual availability” has faded.
 

I’m not sure what “naturally poly” is? We were open at the start but just *didn’t bother* more than a tiny bit (others that approached us) — so, functionally monogamous. Years later, I found it very confusing to love another person (without ever having anything romantic or sexual 😂) but it’s mellowed out now after a couple years, I’d say increasingly similar to how I feel about my spouse. Sometimes it feels like more emotional stability? Wait, are these partners, or best friends? Oh, I don’t know. I haven’t felt jealous when those situations arose (instead I worry about the other partner, if they’re happy), but it’s all so idiosyncratic.

 

The idea of purposefully finding another person to fall in love with sounds *exhausting*. But things might still happen? And that’s ok? This isn’t either in @ryn2‘s dichotomy?

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ryn2
6 minutes ago, anisotrophic said:

This isn’t either in @ryn2‘s dichotomy?

I wasn’t trying to say there weren’t endless variations; just distinguishing between people who would be poly regardless of their partners’ compatibility from those who have been “forced” into open relationships by things in (or missing from) what would ideally be their only relationships.

 

Maybe I’m not wording it well.  There is a key, common difference between some the folks in open or poly relationships here and my poly friends.  A kind of... “it’s worked out okay, and I’m so thankful I found [person], but I wish it didn’t have to be this way.”

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anisotrophic
35 minutes ago, ryn2 said:

I wasn’t trying to say there weren’t endless variations; just distinguishing between people who would be poly regardless of their partners’ compatibility from those who have been “forced” into open relationships by things in (or missing from) what would ideally be their only relationships.

 

Maybe I’m not wording it well.  There is a key, common difference between some the folks in open or poly relationships here and my poly friends.  A kind of... “it’s worked out okay, and I’m so thankful I found [person], but I wish it didn’t have to be this way.”

So like… I guess… I'm a third type: comfortable with non-monogamy but functionally monogamous? That also exists; it's the counterpoint to nominal monogamy that has serial affairs. That is: giving each other the option, but neither is inclined to get off one's duff and pursue that option. I recall Dan Savage reflecting on the phenomenon, long ago (maybe more common in queer spaces, where non-monogamy is more routine). Because jeez, dating and stuff is... extra work, it's effort.

So I was really blindsided when I did fall for someone, but it was OK from the perspective of being "allowed" (but not OK due to situational issues that have been resolved by time and change). My spouse said it was mostly annoying/frustrating because I had another emotional force on me that wasn't him, so I guess he's OK too? I think we're both comfortable with non-monogamy, but it wasn't a pursuit, and so... remaining functionally monogamous. *And* I am profoundly thankful I found [person] that is now also an important part of my life – there is no "only" to this friend.

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Traveler40
17 hours ago, Mountain House said:

One of the sticking point in the discussion with my wife.  I don't want to hide anything from anyone.  I don't care what other people think.

That would be lovely, but I understand your wife. There are no protections. Unless you are in a situation where blowback isn’t an issue, then it’s a natural and healthy concern. 

 

16 hours ago, Sinking_In said:

In a year I've spoken to dozens of women, went on dates with 6, and was intimate with just 4. I am currently involving myself with two women other than my wife,

🤣 So yes, there is laughing in my head as I’ve slept with just about the same number you have in last year across my entire life. I’ve been a serial monogamist and relatively sheltered I suppose. Mainly it’s a mix of comfort level and waiting for the right fit perhaps. In any case. I don’t judge you in the least and somewhat wish I could be so free. It’s more thinking from my perspective in how “juggling” was worded, so apologies for that.  I enjoy reading about your escapades towards resolution, and I do see them as such. We are all tackling it in our own way, and I wish you success.

 

7 hours ago, ryn2 said:

A kind of... “it’s worked out okay, and I’m so thankful I found [person], but I wish it didn’t have to be this way.”

I do and have said this, but I also want to give nod to “I’d have it no other way”. I played a round of golf with my lover this afternoon and then we went out to dinner. We plan to both dive and play more golf this weekend. We love spending time together alone or as a family and can’t get enough. Our connection is so complete it’s hard to explain. As he said tonight, “we are inextricably intertwined”. Sure, the ache can sometimes feel as described (I wouldn’t have chosen this structure out of nature or affinity), but it is our generally content reality. 

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uhtred
On 10/15/2020 at 7:07 AM, Traveler40 said:

I’m curious about those working on newly discovered asexuality in their homes who are tangentially exploring the idea of polyamory, yet not pulling any triggers at this point. I can think of two on this subforum who fit this description, and rather than PM, I’m posing the questions here.
 

Specifically, I wonder:

 

1. If your spouse acknowledges their asexuality, shows empathy and is actively working in concert towards a sustainable compromise, why add polyamory to the mix? 

 

2. If you’re majority happy, and your spouse is open, honest and trying, why not take that as far as humanly possible keeping the circuit closed?

 

3. Are you prepared to accept that the ways these experiences may change you could forever alter how you see or feel about your marriage?


On a personal note, I initially searched for sex with love, but found love with sex. I honestly never knew that at the end of the day, it’s NOT solely about connected sex; It’s about finding true intimacy and being able to nurture that together, however you get there.
 

 

 

 

1) Someone can be actively working on things, but its clear there there is never going to a sex life between you that will make both of you happy

2) If you and your spouse are both mostly happy, You are doing great, no need to change.   In many cases though one, or sometimes both are deeply unhappy in this situation.

3) Going outside the marriage can be viewed as a last attempt before ending the marriage.

 

 

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TurnedTurtle
On 10/15/2020 at 4:09 PM, Mountain House said:

You skipped some considerations that precede your questions so lets quickly hit some things.

 

When a marriage becomes aware of the asexual/sexual conundrum we've concluded that there are four options to consider for establishing martial harmony:

 

1. celibacy

2. sexual compromise

3. open marriage

4. divorce

Yeah, I think I need to start here, too. I'm 58 years old and have been with my W now for ~33 years (married 27). I had had no prior sexual relationships beyond some heavy petting (I was a socially awkward boy who really struggled with figuring out how to relate to girls).  Most of our relationship has been sex-starved or sexless, so sexually-frustrated celibacy is essentially my default condition -- I've never really known anything substantially different... 

 

As part of our reconciliation from W's emotional affair (limerence/crush) a couple years ago , I asked that we try to bring sex back into our marriage. Neither of us knew about asexuality yet; she assumed she was just Low Drive (and that I was High Drive). So over the next 8 to 10 months, we were having sex once every 2 or 3 weeks (or so...), but it was clear that it was a real struggle for her, and was not really satisfying for me -- not so much the frequency but rather the quality of the experience. It was at this point that I learned that asexuality was actually a thing, and landed here. Anyway, I think of that period as our attempt at working out a sexual compromise ... but we are back to the celibate state for now.

 

The possibility of opening up the marriage in order to get my "needs" met came up just before the covid lockdowns, but that conversation then stalled as we've since been pre-occupied with other things (which seem to keep rolling in like waves...).  Certainly over the years there have been a couple of times where I found myself strongly attracted to other women and contemplated the idea of trying to have an affair -- but could never pull the trigger, due in equal parts to my overwhelming fear of rejection, and that I really do love my wife (and son) and didn't want to hurt them.

 

"It's about more than sex"  -- indeed! Apparently there are people out there who have casual sex, hook-ups, one-night-stands, and other no-strings-attached sex, but I just don't  know how it's done (I mean literally, how does one pick up a casual sex partner?). For me, I have always assumed some sort of emotional relationship would be a necessary prerequisite to a sexual one (perhaps not a full-blown committed love relationship, I think I can see how a friends-with-benefits relationship might work ... maybe ...).  And for me, while I can understand polyamory on a theoretical level, I think that I personally tend more towards monogamy myself (and thus the basis of questions I have asked of some of you here about how you nurture your relationship with your spouse while engaged in an outside sexual relationship....).

 

So I am now working on trying to sort out wants from needs -- I would like to experience the feeling of being sexually desired by a woman, and would like to engage in mutually-desired, mutually-enjoyed sex with a woman that is fun and fulfilling. What I think I really need, though, is to feel loved by the person I love, without doubts, and to know that person I love feels loved by me, again without doubts. While good mutual sex may be a highly efficient way to meet these needs, is it the only way?

 

Oh yeah, #4 -- divorce was very much on the table shortly after discovering my W's infidelity, but is now in the far recesses as only an option of last resort....

 

This is a rather round-about way of addressing the OP's survey questions, sorry....

 

1. If your spouse acknowledges their asexuality, shows empathy and is actively working in concert towards a sustainable compromise, why add polyamory to the mix? 

 

-- our compromise lands on celibacy; remains to be determined if that is really sustainable

 

2. If you’re majority happy, and your spouse is open, honest and trying, why not take that as far as humanly possible keeping the circuit closed?

 

-- we are trying, there is work still to be done within the relationship, so still closed

 

3. Are you prepared to accept that the ways these experiences may change you could forever alter how you see or feel about your marriage?

 

-- whatever happens, our marriage has already changed significantly, and will almost certainly continue to evolve, for better (hopefully) or worse...

 

 

 

 

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ryn2
6 hours ago, Traveler40 said:

Sure, the ache can sometimes feel as described (I wouldn’t have chosen this structure out of nature or affinity), but it is our generally content reality. 

If your life had worked out differently, and you could live it with just your lover (like, you met a different way and were both single, could have had children together if that’s what you wanted, etc.), would that be preferable to what you have now?  Or would you still want one or more other people to top things off?

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Traveler40

@ryn2 literally headed to the beach for an early morning dive, then breakfast and family portraits to follow. I have zero time now, but will come back to this as I’ve turned it over in my head a thousand times. Pros/cons and can’t do the what if. Sometimes it’s one direction and sometimes it’s the other - but it does boil down to our kids....I’d never had had them without my husband, and I love that he’s so fulfilled in the journey.  MY heart and desire are with my lover. 
 

ok, gotta run. Lover just arrived to pick me up. Will think and come back later tonight with actual thought perhaps. Good question 

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Serran
16 hours ago, ryn2 said:

That’s actually one of the telling points that separates “naturally poly” from “working towards the  best solution I can craft given what’s available to me”:  if it were somehow possible to feel wholly fulfilled and “topped off” with just one partner (whether that be your original, primary partner or someone else), would you prefer that to finding fulfillment via multiple contemporary relationships?

 

The naturally poly folks tend to say no, they like it best this way (or, more often, “that’s impossible; one person will never provide all the things I need”).

From personal experience and speaking to people, I find people tend to fall into 3 categories. 1) naturally poly 2) naturally mono and 3) poly flexible 

 

Naturally mono people could not find open as a solution, as they only want their one person. These ones if they do try, end up finding it impossible and open breaks up the marriage anyway as moving their feelings from their spouse to someone else removes the feelings for the spouse. Poly or open does not provide happiness. 

 

Naturally poly people may begin mono as default due to society, but tend to find others appealing and crush on them during anyway. They just wouldn't do anything while trying to be mono. Once they realize poly is an option though, they would feel stifled by monogamy and incomplete. 

 

People who are poly flexible tend to be able to be happy either way. If the monogamous relationship is fulfilling, they are good - they may still become tempted at times but overall very happy. If open or poly is needed, they can be quite happy there too. 

 

I'm naturally mono, personally. I dated someone who is naturally poly and dreamed of a four person coupling. And I know many poly flexible types who are fine with either mono or poly in the LGBT community (seems especially common in trans communities, due to fluctuating sexual orientations after HRT begins... many of the trans communities im in involve a significant portion of poly/open arrangements so the person can experience sex with the other genders after transition).  

 

I think the discussion of where you fall on this spectrum should be more important in a relationship, personally. Most people just assume mono by default. And, mono/poly is as bad as asexual/sexual as a mismatch. And people who are poly or poly flexible tend to not understand someone who is just naturally mono. 

 

Relationships are funny with all the possible mismatches. My ex was aroish/sexual (he doesn't seem capable of romantic love and is now with someone who "is satisfied with my indifference"). Another ex was poly. Another was a heavy extrovert while I'm an introvert. Due to these other incompatibilities, I never developed sexual attraction and thus we always had the sexual incompatibility. Which lead to some entertaining the idea of sex outside the relationship. The poly one, no matter how happy he was with me, always wanted more of someone else. The others only wanted someone else when unhappy. And the one that seemed to mesh monowise decided to move on. 

 

My current there is a slight incompatibility but we worked it out. And my sexual attraction has stayed strong for almost 4 years so far. And neither of us would be happy with real life non-monogamy if the sexual relationship falls out. So, we pretty much already decided if either of us is unhappy we are splitting before resentment sets in. 

 

On 10/15/2020 at 10:07 AM, Traveler40 said:

I’m curious about those working on newly discovered asexuality in their homes who are tangentially exploring the idea of polyamory, yet not pulling any triggers at this point. I can think of two on this subforum who fit this description, and rather than PM, I’m posing the questions here.
 

Specifically, I wonder:

 

1. If your spouse acknowledges their asexuality, shows empathy and is actively working in concert towards a sustainable compromise, why add polyamory to the mix? 

 

 

 

 

 

Most people I know who did it, were not satisfied with "compromise sex" because it can feel very.. gross for some. Imagine if your lover just looked miserable, hated every second of it and you could tell when he was giving you sex? Wouldn't feel very good, would it? 

 

When my partner temporarily lost sexual interest in me (or I her) and we had sex that wasn't totally mutual desire... it felt really yuck. We have an agreement no sex can happen unless we both 100% are into it. Because otherwise, it just feels awful. As such, I know I could never actually have sex with an ace. No matter if they were willing to give it or not. It would feel violating. 

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ryn2
1 hour ago, Traveler40 said:

@ryn2 literally headed to the beach for an early morning dive, then breakfast and family portraits to follow. I have zero time now, but will come back to this as I’ve turned it over in my head a thousand times. Pros/cons and can’t do the what if. Sometimes it’s one direction and sometimes it’s the other - but it does boil down to our kids....I’d never had had them without my husband, and I love that he’s so fulfilled in the journey.  MY heart and desire are with my lover. 
 

ok, gotta run. Lover just arrived to pick me up. Will think and come back later tonight with actual thought perhaps. Good question 

Have fun!

 

And I’m not in any way judging/trying to set you up with the question.  It’s just a theoretical, in the sense of “if you could have had a life with your lover from the start, would that have been everything you are looking for?”

 

Totally agreed/understood that - in reality - you can’t just change one factor in a life and expect the others to remain the same.  It’s all interconnected, and a small change early on could have led you down a totally different path than the one you have ultimately traveled.

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ryn2
1 hour ago, Serran said:

From personal experience and speaking to people, I find people tend to fall into 3 categories. 1) naturally poly 2) naturally mono and 3) poly flexible 

 

Naturally mono people could not find open as a solution, as they only want their one person. These ones if they do try, end up finding it impossible and open breaks up the marriage anyway as moving their feelings from their spouse to someone else removes the feelings for the spouse. Poly or open does not provide happiness. 

 

Naturally poly people may begin mono as default due to society, but tend to find others appealing and crush on them during anyway. They just wouldn't do anything while trying to be mono. Once they realize poly is an option though, they would feel stifled by monogamy and incomplete. 

 

People who are poly flexible tend to be able to be happy either way. If the monogamous relationship is fulfilling, they are good - they may still become tempted at times but overall very happy. If open or poly is needed, they can be quite happy there too.

Yes, exactly.

 

1 hour ago, Serran said:

I think the discussion of where you fall on this spectrum should be more important in a relationship, personally. Most people just assume mono by default. And, mono/poly is as bad as asexual/sexual as a mismatch. And people who are poly or poly flexible tend to not understand someone who is just naturally mono. 

*nods*
 

People often assume these are choices when, although *behavior* is a choice, they are really much more deeply-ingrained.

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Mountain House
14 hours ago, Traveler40 said:

but I understand your wife.

I understand too.  I'm just one of those "I don't care what you think, this is me" science kind of guys.  Don't get me wrong here, I'm not saying I want to parade around nose high or something.  It's just that I don't want a partner to feel less than so if I had another partner that would feel less than if hidden then I would try and find a way to not be hidden.

 

One partner sad if we're out another sad if we're not.  It's a tough call in our culture for sure.  And it shouldn't be.

 

8 hours ago, TurnedTurtle said:

I'm 58 years old and have been with my W now for

40 years here.

 

14 hours ago, Traveler40 said:

just about the same number you have in last year ...

One.  Ever.

 

On 10/16/2020 at 11:36 AM, Sinking_In said:

I was once content with the limited amount of sex in my mixed marriage,

Couldn't have done the above without this.  Given that there was also an overlapping cycle of frustration that popped up every 3-5 months and that we were working hard at fixing things with false assumptions that gave false hope.

 

 

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ryn2
7 minutes ago, Mountain House said:

It's a tough call in our culture for sure.  And it shouldn't be.

Yeah, it’s too bad people can’t just do what they like - as long as it isn’t harmful to others - and be left in peace about it!

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anisotrophic

I recall an internal double take when I realized a casual friend I saw every week or two was introducing two different women as his wife, and his girlfriend. He was also a dad, two kids — not the bio dad either — all living together.

 

I admire that chill approach there. Not parading it around, not announcing it in any way, just living it as normal. It was a younger time and a younger crowd (I think his wife had the kids as a teen), most of whom were childless (as were we, at the time). It was a famously liberal area, though.

 

As someone transitioning in a non-queer area (high education/income, leans liberal), I can say people tend to... act nice and a bit ignorant, maybe ask questions... and seem to get comfortable as I continue to be open about it. “I’ve got a beard now!” I say to a young bro-guy neighbor (who I know is somewhat conservative in a blue collar way) as I walk with kids; “no way, can I see?” (I show it off.)

 

I had less choice to “hide” here in the long run, but I guess I’m saying my experience is if you act like it’s normal, people can be surprisingly pretty good about it — but with a caveat of a neighborhood where social pressure vaguely favors liberalism.

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ryn2
1 hour ago, anisotrophic said:

with a caveat of a neighborhood where social pressure vaguely favors liberalism.

That makes a huge difference.  One of my besties is openly monogamish and has been forever, and she chose where she lives based on that being accepted.  Where I live it’s very much not.

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Traveler40
On 10/17/2020 at 5:26 AM, ryn2 said:

Or would you still want one or more other people to top things off?

Ah, I somehow missed this line earlier today in my mad dash. So yeah, I only ever see one. Except, there are legitimately two in my life, and I wholly concern myself with both. Some of the definitions as detailed by Serran above may generally hold true, but none of them fit me/us as I see it. So, there are clearly exceptions. 
 

My lover dated Miss (insert country) Runner Up a few months before we met. She was mid 20’s! I am firmly a mid-40’s Mom and not “Miss” anything. (He’s 50’s, looks 30’s) His female selection has generally run young, plentiful and not necessarily sharp...🙄.
 

We both agree that we would have been two ships sailing in the night years back. He was too focused on all that shouldn’t matter, while I may have passed him over for similar assumptions. We both agree we found each other when it was meant to be.  I can’t turn the clock back and wouldn’t. I married my husband for reasons that still exist. My heart hurts for the situation at times as I truly never want to hurt either man, but it’s working well generally. 
 

18 hours ago, Mountain House said:

One partner sad if we're out another sad if we're not. 

One thing that I think has made us successful is my lover’s character. Almost everything we do is weighed against the impact on the children first, and my husband a close second. There is ultimate respect there and we never cross boundaries.
 

That deference has worked wonders towards my husband’s feelings and ultimate acceptance.  My husband knows that if he decided to step on our brakes, my lover would be conflicted enough to perhaps alter our relationship. My lover feels very strongly about harmony, respect and keeping our boundaries clear. He does not want to break up a family and has struggled with this idea at times.
 

Succinctly, he respects my husband and acts accordingly at all times. He carries some guilt and never expected us to be more than FWB at the outset.

 

Lastly, it’s noteworthy that they are not equals and each respects the other for their strengths and different contributions that help make this work. As well, we collectively share the same goal: Our kids well being.

 

 

18 hours ago, ryn2 said:

Yeah, it’s too bad people can’t just do what they like - as long as it isn’t harmful to others - and be left in peace about it!

I couldn’t agree more. 

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Serran
9 hours ago, ryn2 said:

That makes a huge difference.  One of my besties is openly monogamish and has been forever, and she chose where she lives based on that being accepted.  Where I live it’s very much not.

Yeah... where I live not much is accepted. Not BDSM, non-monogamy, homosexuality, trans... nothing. It is monogamous Christian vanilla heteronormative or nothing. 

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anisotrophic
12 hours ago, ryn2 said:

That makes a huge difference.  One of my besties is openly monogamish and has been forever, and she chose where she lives based on that being accepted.  Where I live it’s very much not.

Well, you may overestimate the liberal lean in the neighborhood I'm in. I didn't choose the neighborhood to seek acceptance; I came out while within it.

I don't know of any other queer neighbors (let alone trans). Nor black or latino. The neighborhood historically excluded blacks and Jews; now there are Jewish folks thanks to local conservative & orthodox synagogues. The church on the corner has no rainbow flag or LGBT-inclusive statement when I looked at their website. Non-monogamy or BDSM? Hah, no, there'd be white picket fences if that were the style (instead, it's plaster). Some women have peer marriages, some focus on the children.

It is not a diverse neighborhood. It's the liberal lean you expect of well-off people that consider themselves too educated to be [etc]-ist / [etc]-phobic. Upshot is that they might consider me the diversity token they can now have a metaphorical scout badge for. (Unfortunately you won't get that for non-monogamy.)

 

But I'm also disrupting a heterosexual marriage – with children – to create a queer one & they might believe I've wronged my spouse and children in this. And if they think it's wrong for religious reasons, they at least know to keep it to themselves. I think people put a lot of weight on behaving politely and respectfully, and minding their own business.

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Traveler40
On 10/17/2020 at 4:38 AM, TurnedTurtle said:

What I think I really need, though, is to feel loved by the person I love, without doubts, and to know that person I love feels loved by me, again without doubts. While good mutual sex may be a highly efficient way to meet these needs, is it the only way?

That is the question and part of why I even asked. You were the other person I had in mind when I posed the questions I did.

 

We all need to feel loved and desired. Your situation of being stuck in celibacy is where I stayed for many years. It is a hurtful and lonely place, so I’m glad to hear you’re working your way through it. 
 

Given your wife’s infidelity, it appears the issues are beyond the physical. I do hope you find clarity “for better or worse”.  Thanks for responding. Given the celibacy (which I didn’t recall) it may be harder to hit all that you need as currently situated. 

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