My marriage is over (failed polyamory) (self.polyamory)
118 ups - 20 downs = 98 votes
Let me give you a little background:
I'm 45, male, a little over weight but in good shape, diabetic but it's well controlled. I'm fairly good looking.
My wife is 44, thin, generally healthy but has some chronic health issues. She looks much younger than her age.
We are wealthy but not fabulously so. We live an upper middle class lifestyle. There are no yachts or anything, but we could continue this lifestyle for the rest of our lives without ever working another day.
About 9 months ago, my wife changed jobs by moving to a different company. About 2 years ago, I left a highly paid executive position to become a university professor. Both of us love our new jobs.
About 6 months ago, my wife suggested opening our marriage and embracing polyamory. My wife and I were both virgins when we met and were monogamous. She said she wanted to sow some of the wild oats she never sowed in her youth. I am philosophically aligned with polyamory, so I was not overly reluctant.
The first weekend of openness, my wife contacted a recently divorced colleague from her former job. They went out to dinner. She called me after dinner and said she was going to his house and wouldn't be back that night. She ended up not coming home for two full days. A few weeks later, she went on a date with a much younger former colleague. Ever since, she calls the younger colleague FWB and the divorced colleague her "lover". She sleeps with one or the other of them at least once a week.
In contrast, I have not had a single date with the exception of one glass of tea at Panera with a woman from OKCupid. We don't know any other polyamorous couples, and my searches in forums have not received any replies. We live in a city with a million people, so they must be out there, but I can't find them. I am naturally introverted but not shy. I meet people in non-romantic situations easily. Neither my wife no I has ever spent time in bars, and neither of use has ever picked up a stranger. I am not a loser or a douche (I don't think).
I slightly feared abandonment. I think everyone must. I feared being replaced. Every fear came true. I developed erectile disfunction a few weeks after the relationship opened. It might have been the very first night, because my wife declined sex from me for at least 6 weeks after opening. No medicine has helped. Both my urologist and psychologist think I have repressed anger and feel emasculated. If I have anger, it must be very repressed because I don't conciously feel it.
My wife is still friendly with me. We talk a lot, but she is tired of hearing me "complain". She hasn't exactly said it but intimates that her new sex life is much more satisfying than her old. She sleeps in our bed most nights. She allows me to massage, caress, and masturbate her. She occasionally condescends to give my limp penis a few pats. I have not had an orgasm in her presence in at least 4 months, and the ED makes masturbation almost impossible for me. I am extremely sexually frustrated - that may contribute to my lack of dating success. I've been told women can sense it.
As I said. We talk a lot. I mentioned that I feel like her friend without benefits. She said my complaining is unattractive and not helping the situation. I went from confidently straddling the world of corporate power to feeling like a wimpy nerd. OK, I have always been a nerd.
I see no path other than divorce, and I doubt I will be happy after divorce. We have 3 teenage children. Dividing assets will be a mess. I feel like I will never be loved again. I feel like I have no value to women and am a terrible lover. I even asked if I was a terrible lover, and she wouldn't say no. There was an occasion when we took a bath together, I massaged her for an hour after. She said she was horny. She got dressed and drove to her FWB leaving me naked on the bed with my jaw hanging open.
We don't fight. We don't yell. I do have some jealousy, but it is not the primary emotion. The jealousy I have is not even about the sex exactly. It's about affection and time allocation. When my wife is at home, we are always busy with kids, chores, de-stressing from the day, etc. Her entire sexual appetite is fulfilled by her lover and FWB. I am jealous, but much more importantly, I am abandoned. She says all my feelings of inadequacy are my own, that only I can work on them, and they are unattractive.
The moral of the story: If you are a man who does not routinely turn down sexual advances from women, you are making a HUGE mistake to attempt polyamory. Even a 20+ year loving and affectionate marriage can not survive when both partners are theoretically poly but only one actually is. I feel like she threw away our marriage.
I can't believe my experience is all that uncommon.
201 comments submitted at 17:32:41 on Mar 23, 2014 by poly_failure