My transition to poly has been rough


Me and my husband has recently decided to “open” our marriage. So far, I have been pursuing women. I would like to pursue men also, but my husband is not down for that. First of all, I get very few replies on dating sites, I assume most women in my area aren’t comfortable dating married women.

Week before last, I finally met a woman off a dating site. We had a drink and she invited me to party she was having last weekend. She had a husband and a girlfriend. Her girlfriend was quite nice, but her husband was a little standoffish. There was other women present who were in poly relationships. Except for the girlfriend, I was ignored by most people present, including the girl I met off the dating site. She was physically flirtatious with every other woman there, but me.

Right off the bat, in her messsage she told me she was only interested in being friends with me. I took that as a grain of salt, however, as men have told me that previously and they were lying. Maybe it’s different with women. So, I am a little confused that she bothered contacting me in the first place.

I’m inexperienced in dealing with poly’s and women. I was pretty quiet the whole time at the party. I wanted to flirt with some of the women there, including the woman who invited me, but I didn’t want to step on anyone’s toes. I don’t have extensive knowledge on unwritten rules in this kind of situation. I did, however, have a great time.

A few days ago, I sent her a message on the dating site that I enjoyed myself and that I would like to keep in contact with her. I asked for her phone number and the link to her facebook. I have yet to hear back from her. She has signed in though, so I assume she saw my message.

So, apparently not only I have failed to become an object of the desire with this woman and her friends, but I also flunked the friendzone??? What would make her not even pursue a friendship with me? I’m sure it was nothing that I said, because again I was quiet at the party. The only person I carried a long conversation with was her girlfriend. And the conversation with her was not about anything intense. We only discussed things such as where we went to college, lived previously, hobbies, and work. We discussed nothing controversial.

Could her and her friends be turned off by people who are quiet? Could they have picked up on that I was inexperienced in interacting with people in poly relationships? Was I just ugly to them? I mean, being quiet and inexperienced has actually helped me in certain previous experiences, not harmed me.

I think asking for her phone number and facebook link comes across as a little pushy or something. Maybe, I mean it’s hard to say exactly of course, but it could be that.

It could be anything really. But that’s the thing that struck me in your story.

But friendships are never really easy to form and then you add sex, it just makes it even more complicated.

Themis00, I’m glad you posted. As I’ve said on this board before, my then-girlfriend and I were in a poly relationship with a second woman for six months. So much of what you wrote could have been written by my primary (I hate that term and many find it offensive, but it cuts out a lot of confusion). She was really desperate to find love with another woman while maintaining a relationship with me, and it didn’t happen. And like you, it was her first experience with a same-sex relationship, so she was nervous going in and so many of her fears were realized. What’s worst of all in her case was that the bisexual woman she’d set her heart on ended up falling for me instead, which left both of us unhappy and awkward. I say that to warn you about an obvious possibility of you getting together with someone who might also be attracted to guys, because your husband is a guy.

They say poly is like the grad school of relationships. It’s 90% tedious arguing and at the end you’re emotionally broken. No really, it is really emotionally exhausting. Imagine how you might argue with your husband, how you have to make sacrifices for him, how you have to somewhat build your life around him. Now imagine doing that for someone else at the same time, only this person is jealous of the time you spend with your husband and you have to make up for that. My girlfriend and I went into our poly relationship totally blind. Bad move. If you’re serious about poly I encourage you to read books, forums, whatever you can. There’s a book called The Ethical Slut (ignore the name, it’s ironic) which I hear is good.

But if I were you before I would go any further I’d sit down and have a heart to heart with yourself. What do you really want out of this experience? If it’s sex, I’d leave love out of the equation and just go on swingers or casual encounter sites. In fact if you haven’t had same sex experiences I might encourage that first, so you take one factor out of the equation. Do you want a relationship not involving your husband? Then keep in mind he will become jealous even if he says he won’t be (I didn’t think I would be and I really was when “the girls” were together) and be prepared. And be open about it or that could ruin your marriage. Is your husband going to be a part of it? Then prepare yourself for that jealousy, and think about what might happen if your mutual partner prefers one of you to the other. That last ended our relationship.

All three of us ended up hurt after our poly relationship because we didn’t vocalize what we wanted out of it from the beginning and because when we didn’t get what we wanted we didn’t speak up and ended up staying in a hurtful relationship because we kept thinking it might get better. Don’t make that same mistake.

I’m happy to talk more on Private Message here if there are things you wouldn’t want to discuss out in the open. I’m going yo warn you that poly is very difficult…intermittently rewarding, but a lot of work.

Since you’re looking for advice, moved to our advice forum, IMHO (from MPSIMS).

being poly and bi are outside of the social norm. some people can do both effortlessly but most people it takes thought and effort. both can be significantly easier for females.

communication with significant others is necessary. develop rules, expectations and continued negotiation/conflict resolution procedures. everybody needs to custom fit whatever suits the individuals involved.

expect that people you meet might be finding their way or have rules and constrains just as you might have.

people are people. maybe you met experienced people who sensed you were inexperienced and didn’t want to get into that. maybe they were all party animals and a quiet person wasn’t attractive to them.

The Ethical Slut is a very good book to help with relationships. it is about poly and nonmonogamy but many of the principles would also apply to monogamous people and bowling league/bridge club.

I’m not poly and don’t know much about the poly community and its social norms, but what reason do you have for wanting to be friends with this woman or expecting her to want to be friends with you? Do you have anything in common other than both being poly? It doesn’t sound like the two of you “clicked” as friends the two times you met in person. You don’t need to have done anything wrong here. This woman can’t be friends with everyone.

That said, if you’re certain you must have offended her somehow then this part jumped out at me:

So this woman invites you to a party to meet other poly people, but at the party you’re annoyed that she doesn’t flirt with you (even though she told you up front that she wasn’t interested) and barely interact with anyone except her girlfriend. Again, I’m not poly, and maybe they have a totally open relationship, but this doesn’t seem cool to me.

Yeah, I don’t think you were offensive, OP, but you might have been a bit… er… how can I say this… boring?

Also, not to say anything in particular about polyamorous parties, but in any cultural unit, it can be kinda weird when a outsider person just shows up, sits, and stares. Makes ya feel she’s Jane Goodall, and you’re the chimps.

I’m not poly but I know quite a few people who are. I’m not going to say that it causes divorce since 50% of marriages end in divorce anyway.
But most of the poly people I know ended up divorced.
One heterosexual couple started a three way relationship with a woman. It was obvious to everyone that the other woman was only interested in the wife.
Years down the road they divorced and the two women are together now.
Another poly couple that I thought would make it ended it after she found out he was cheating on her with a much younger woman. They had an agreement that they would tell each other about other lovers and he lied. They are now divorced.

If you still want to do this for the sex I would think that dating sites aren’t right for you. There are swingers sites or sex partner sites where you can specify what you want. I think that if a woman says she wants to just be friends, believe her.

Also, I wouldn’t read too much into her not contacting you. A new woman in a group of poly people or swingers can be a threat to the balance of friendships and relationships. If there is too much jealousy it just makes everyone feel uneasy. I think you talking to the girl friend might have made everyone think that the gf liked you.
These situations are so full of nuance. I don’t know why anyone would want to, it’s so complicated!

We appeared to have a lot in common, on paper. That’s why she said she contacted me in the first place. I looked at her profile, and it did appear that we did have a lot in common. It’s not often that I find women who I share a lot of common interests with. I was open to pursuing something sexual, but if she only wanted to be friends that was cool too. She seemed like a cool woman to hang out with, regardless.

Same with her girlfriend, and their friends. They were all cute, and I wouldn’t have minded hooking up with any of them. And, if they weren’t interested in hooking up with me, fine. They were still cool enough that I wanted to pursue friendships.

I’m confused why a poly woman would invite me to a party full of poly people, and then they give me the cold shoulder when I arrived. I tried talking to most people at the party, but the conversations fizzled out quickly. The girlfriend was the only one who seemed interested in getting to know me better. It’s not like I singled her out and only talked to her, while I was there. I talked to her the most, because she was the only one who reciprocated. Well, there’s was another girl who was friendly, but she was straight and she left the party early.

This is interesting. Would he pay you the same courtesy: that is, if you said, sure, we can be open, but I’d rather you not go with other women, would he abide by that?

I rather doubt it. And I rather doubt that this was genuinely a mutual decision (not because I don’t think couples can necessarily be open, but the dynamic of husband can fuck other ladies, wife can fuck other ladies, but wife CANNOT fuck other dudes is always 100% bullshit).

In other words, your husband is pretty comfortable with whatever domestic arrangements you have in place and which would be disrupted by a divorce. So he is feeding you a line of horseshit. I do hope you have the self-worth to see right through it and kick his ass to the curb.

And, hell, the girl was quite drunk. I’m not even sure that she noticed that I pretty much only interacted with her girlfriend.

I really don’t mind that much. I want to pursue men too, but I am much more interested in pursuing women, right now. I’m okay with him messing with women, as long as I can mess with them too.

Maybe she expected you’d be showing up with your partner instead of alone. Maybe your looks were significantly different than what she believed they would be. Maybe you were being socially awkward at the party and almost everyone went ‘yeah, well that didn’t go so well.’

You were the newbie and the proverbial un-matched third wheel at a party where everyone apparently knew everyone else. Of course that’ll be awkward. Similarly, as the hostess she probably has to spend the whole party making sure things are going well, and I doubt she’d be able to spend much time getting to know a new person.

Take everyone else’s advice about finding poly-dating-specific websites, and reading the books mentioned.

Three thoughts:

1.) Don’t expect to hit a homerun your first time out to bat.
2.) WRT your husband not being down with you and other men. I’m with Kimmy on this one. But you say it’s not a big deal right now. Fair enough, but keep in mind, in marriage, what bothers you a little bit now, will drive you freaking crazy on down the road. You may wind up resenting your husband over this. Especially if he’s been with lots of other women when you never got the chance to be with other guys.

  1. I had a GF that was supposed to be an “open” relationship. Said GF picked out the girls. (I had no say in what girls were picked out.) brought them home to our house and SHE (my GF) initiated everything. And even after all that, when she had complete and total control over the situation, jealousy STILL rose its ugly head and caused major drama with us. But, I digress, we were 20-somethings.

Eh, I don’t know about that. In circumstances where the husband is also bi, maybe you have a point. But we don’t know if the OP’s husband is bi. We don’t even know if he’s interested in pursuing other relationships at all. Without that information, I’m not willing to pass judgement on how reasonable or not limiting the OP’s extracurriculars to other women might be. Because, ya know, it’s not remotely equitable to say “Well, if I only get to fuck half the people I’m attracted to, you only get to fuck people you’re not at all attracted to.” It is, in fact, 100% bullshit. It’s not an open relationship when you only have permission to fuck people you don’t want to fuck–it’s just somebody putting a fancy name on fucking around on you.

I don’t need to resort to speculation. It doesn’t matter if the husband is bisexual or not. What we do know is that the OP would also like to be with other men, and the husband is putting the kibosh on it. If the husband wants to be open, I don’t understand why he has to limit his wife’s openness regarding suitors she affirmatively wants to be with. If it’s not his bag, he can sit it out.

So, the whole thing has the air of wanting one’s cake and eating too. Now a lot of people are often hesitant to acknowledge that their relationship has become a little one-sided, especially if they have made long-term domestic plans around the expected longevity of the relationship. But I think people generally overvalue this perceived convenience, and in the long run, are better off ending relationships that have run their course.

If the OP wants to be with other men, the husband doesn’t have to participate. Hell, he doesn’t even have to be in the same room. Unless the OP and her husband only agreed to group sessions.

people need to set up their own relationship. each is customized.

it is not unusual to have people involved to have different needs, desires or whatever that makes them a person. relationships can have asymmetries. the importance is they agree on what they are.

Fourth wheel, in this case. :wink:

True. But it is irresponsible to go from “relationships have asymmetries” — a perfectly true statement — to saying therefore one should never note that a certain dynamic seems very one-sided and that the constrained partner might want to think about whether this really is what he/she signed up for.