Wife dating others

Polyamorous Relationships: How It Works

A type of ethical non-monogamy, polyamory involves having romantic relationships with multiple people.

Polyamorous relationships are becoming increasingly common. And yet, many people falsely believe that polyamory never works, or that polyamorous relationships are “doomed” from the start.

In truth, it’s a relationship style that works for many people. As with all relationships, communication and respect is key to making it work.

Polyamory works for some people, while others prefer monogamy. Neither is necessarily superior to the other.

Polyamorous relationships — like monogamous relationships — can be healthy and fulfilling, depending on the circumstances and behaviors of the people in them.

Polyamory is a form of ethical non-monogamy that involves committed relationships between two or more people — typically romantic relationships.

Essentially, being in a polyamorous relationship means that you and your partner have the option of dating other people.

Polyamory is not the same as polygamy. Polygamy involves being married to more than one person at a time. Polyamory doesn’t necessarily involve marriage.

Polyamorous relationships also are not necessarily sexual in nature, although they can be.

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Generally, polyamorous relationships involve having the option to date two or more people at the same time.

Polyamory can look different to different people. There are many “structures” and boundaries you can employ. Each polyamorous person can set their own boundaries based on what they’re comfortable with.

Some of the most common polyamory structures are:

  • Polyfidelity. This is where the partners in a group agree not to have sexual or romantic relationships with people who are not in the group.
  • Triad. This involves three people who are all dating one another, also called a throuple.
  • Quad. Similar to a triad, a quad is a relationship involving four people who are all dating one another.
  • Vee (or “V”). This is where one person is dating two different people, but those two people are not dating one another.

Many polyamorous people don’t have a structured set-up. They simply have multiple romantic relationships, going with the flow as they meet new people.

Polyamorous relationships can be hierarchical or non-hierarchical.

In polyamory, a “hierarchy” means one relationship is prioritized above others. For instance, you might be married and consider that your “primary relationship,” while your other relationships are seen as secondary.

There’s a lot of controversial discourse over whether hierarchical relationships are fair or not. One 2021 research study found that people in non-hierarchical polyamorous relationships are about as satisfied as those in hierarchical polyamorous relationships.

Polyamorous structures often change over time as people’s feelings, relationships, and personal circumstances change. This is why communication is something often emphasized in polyamorous groups.

Talking about your needs, boundaries, and feelings is one step toward maintaining healthy and happy relationships.

As with all relationships, polyamorous relationships have boundaries. If you overstep those boundaries, your partner might consider it cheating, or breaking your relationship agreement.

What does infidelity look like in polyamorous relationships? That depends on the nature of the relationship.

For example, let’s say you and your partner agree not to go on dates with other people without telling one another beforehand. However, your partner starts dating someone without your knowledge. That could be considered a violation of your relationship agreement and a form of infidelity.

As another example, let’s say you’re in a polycule (that is, a group of polyamorous people) and you practice polyfidelity (which means you agree not to have romantic or sexual relationships with people outside the group). But then you start sleeping with someone outside the group. That could be considered an act of infidelity by others in your polycule.

As with all relationships, honesty and communication is key. Overstepping or disregarding boundaries can do some serious damage to your relationship.

Polyamorous relationships can be healthy. Contrary to popular belief, they aren’t all “doomed” — and it’s very possible to have polyamorous relationships that are fulfilling and happy.

As with monogamous relationships, polyamorous relationships can be healthy or unhealthy — happy or unhappy — depending on the behaviors and actions of the people who engage in them.

Many people in polyamorous relationships are satisfied and happy. In fact, a 2018 study looked at people in monogamous relationships and people in non-monogamous relationships. The study found no difference in relationship satisfaction between the two groups.

It does not matter if you’re entering a polyamorous or monogamous relationship, the important thing is to consider your mental health when making a commitment to someone.

Many people find polyamorous relationships to be more enjoyable and easier to manage than monogamous relationships.

However, polyamory can pose some challenges, too. For example:

  • Time constraints. Having multiple relationships can be difficult because each relationship requires time. A “time squeeze” can be quite stressful.
  • Energy constraints. Similarly, each relationship requires energy — emotional, mental, and physical. This can be a challenge, especially if you have difficulties with energy in general.
  • Jealousy. Some polyamorous people don’t experience jealousy, while others do. Being jealous isn’t inherently bad, but you’ll want to learn to express and manage it in a healthy way.

Lastly, discrimination can impact your mental health. Many polyamorous people experience difficulty with the stigma attached to non-monogamy.

Facing a lack of acceptance from your friends, family, and community can be stressful. Research has indicated that many non-monogamous people internalize negative messages about non-monogamy, which can affect their relationships and sense of identity.

Ultimately, it’s up to you to determine whether polyamory is right for you.

Polyamory is not necessarily superior to monogamy — it works for some people and it doesn’t work for others. As we’re all unique individuals with unique needs, there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to relationships.

Before you get into a polyamorous relationship, it’s a good idea to take time educating yourself on polyamory and non-monogamy.

While most people are generally familiar with monogamous relationships, it’s quite difficult to find a blueprint for polyamory.

This means that many of the challenges that are unique to polyamory — such as navigating time management or dealing with jealousy when meeting the partner of your partner — can be even more difficult to deal with. Many may feel alone or at a loss when it comes to dealing with these challenges.

There’s a lot of terminology involved in polyamory, too. Words like “metamour” or “compersion” help people describe relationships and experiences that are unique to non-monogamy. This terminology might seem unnecessary, but it’s extremely useful for communicating with your partners.

So, before you get into polyamory, it’s important to do a little research.

Consider starting with books, listening to podcasts, and viewing forums related to non-monogamy. Learning the terms and discussing polyamory is another great way to prepare yourself.

If you’re interested in learning more about polyamory, there are plenty of resources out there. Websites like PolyInfo.org and Loving More contain a lot of information for those who are new to the concept of polyamory.

Some popular books about polyamory include:

  • “Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships” by Tristan Taormino
  • “The Ethical Slut: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships & Other Adventures” by Janet W. Hardy and Dossie Easton
  • “Building Open Relationships: Your Hands-On Guide to Swinging, Polyamory, and Beyond!” by Liz Powell
  • “The Polyamory Breakup Book: Causes, Prevention, and Survival” by Kathy Labriola
  • “Polysecure: Attachment, Trauma, and Consensual Nonmonogomy” by Jessica Fern

You might also enjoy listening to podcasts about polyamory, such as Making Polyamory Work and Polyamory Weekly.

Lastly, whether you’re currently in a polyamorous relationship or not, you might benefit from connecting with polyamorous communities (online or offline). Making friends with like-minded people is a great way to learn more about polyamory and find support.

My wife is seeing someone and it hurts more than I expected

We are amicably separated. I thought I had a handle on it. I can't believe the power of my feelings!

Dear Cary,

I'm not expecting advice to fix anything, but sometimes I think things out a little better when I write to someone.

My wife and I separated about eight months ago. It was as amicable as these things can be (in other words, it was still awful, and it hurt like hell), and we'd left open the possibility of getting back together at some point in the future. We talk frequently, and we have dinner or go out for drinks once or twice a week. We both have some serious issues to work out with ourselves, and it just wasn't working together. We needed some time apart to work things out.

To that end, we've both been dating other people. We don't talk about it directly, but from random clues, I've discovered that she has been getting slightly more serious with another man -- she has even become deceptive with me about it. This is a drastic change in how we interact, and I'm shocked by it. The idea of her seriously dating another man hurts, and I don't know why.

Why? I'm seeing someone at the moment, and while we're not at all serious, I'm happy with how things are going. Why the double standard? It doesn't make any sense to me. I still love her, but I don't know what's going to happen with us, nor am I sure I even know what I want. I do want her to be happy, so why can't I let go and let her be with someone who comforts her instead of reminding her of the bad times we've had together instead of the good ones?

-- d

Dear d,

As I often do I began writing in the cafe but I thought differently on the walk back home. I wrote in the cafe about how men feel and expect to feel and how our expectations for ourselves have changed in response to changes in the status and expectations of women, but on the walk back home the awareness broke on me like a shattering wave: Your marriage is ending. That is what you face.

Your marriage is ending. Loss is coming to you and it is a heavy, crushing loss that you will rail against and curse and defy but it will have the better of you.

It has dawned on you now and you are surprised at the power of it. You are surprised that your thoughts have so little power to change your feelings. You want her back is what you want. You want her to be happy but you want her back even more. It doesn't make sense how much it hurts.

You can't get ahead of it by trying to slow it down. The only way to get ahead of it is to leap. That is why although it may seem too early to take this step I suggest you file for divorce. Face what is happening in your life, as painful as it is. There is nothing shameful in it. You fell in love and hoped it would last and that is not a cliché. It is the bare truth if any truth can be said to be bare.

Admit the truth of it, feel the pain, and take the necessary steps.

You may wish all you want but this is how it ends: a gradual withdrawal laced with sensitive evasions. A couple breaking up tries to remain amicable, to "stay friends," hoping to avoid the crushing jealousy and rage that are known to accompany such things. But there is no shame in being who you are. It doesn't matter why you are the way you are. We do not have to justify ourselves for how we feel. We do not have to conform to an ideal in our hearts. What is in our hearts belongs to us. We may seek to know its roots -- indeed the roots of your surprising jealousy and rage may be in the history of our fathers and grandfathers and great-grandfathers. Still it is ours, what we feel. And it comes to the surface in a breakup. It comes to the surface under threat, in fear, in loss, in erotic confusion, in love.

You are not being drawn back together. You are being drawn apart -- by the promise of happier beds and happier houses. Who can blame you? Her evasions mean she has drifted out of reach. The marriage is ending.

You hoped to love this woman and stay with her. It appears that your hopes are dashed. Her actions pain you. There is no shame in that. You feel deeply. You are not less of a person for that. I suggest you take some deep breaths and take this feeling in and let it be what it is and then call a lawyer.

Do not fight it by requiring it to make sense; do not try to hold it at bay because you do not approve of it. This is your life. This is the real thing. Admit it.

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    "What should I do if my wife is constantly texting someone else?"


    Ask an expert Relationship crisis

    Married for 15 years, we have two children. I love my wife very much, but before that I often hurt her, did not listen, was rude, paid little attention to her, took offense over trifles, did not help around the house, was jealous for no reason. Yes, there have been problems with intimacy lately. As a result, my wife lost interest in me. She said she didn't love me anymore. And recently I discovered that she communicates with another man via messenger. She explained that there is nothing serious between them, but I can't help it, I make scenes of jealousy, I throw tantrums. I tried to live separately, but I'm not enough for a long time. Sometimes my wife seems to warm up to me again, but I spoil everything with scandals. I'm afraid to lose her. I will fight to the last to save my family. I try to change, I give flowers, gifts, I help her in everything. But when I see that my wife is writing to this man again, my hands drop. What should I do? nine0003

    Vasily, 34

    Vasily, we often try to save a relationship when it's too late. You realized that you behaved incorrectly only when you saw that your wife had cooled off towards you. And your main problem is not her fan. A wife has needs that she cannot satisfy in marriage.

    You write that there are thaws in your relationship — at what moments does this happen? Remember how you communicate with your wife, what helps her to get in touch with you?

    You wrote that for many years you did not notice your wife, did not listen to her, and now you are trying to give flowers, gifts and help. Material signs of attention are certainly important and pleasant. But note that what your wife lacked was spiritual communication, your interest in her as a person, in her problems and joys. Therefore, the method of “giving gifts” does not work. She wants to communicate, which is why she corresponds with another man. nine0003

    Try to control your jealousy, listen to your spouse. Tell her that you are afraid of losing her, that she is important to you

    Most likely, she was so captivated by communication with him, because for the first time in a long time she felt a sincere interest in herself, which she did not feel on your part. Do you remember how things were at the beginning of your relationship? What was your emotional connection with each other?

    Jealousy and questioning only alienate you from each other. Try to invite your wife to “get to know each other” again and gradually reach a new level that is comfortable for both. If she wants to improve relations, I think she will meet you halfway. You can invite her on a date or go out of town together and discuss what is important for each of you, what you expect from a relationship. nine0003

    Try to control your jealousy, listen to your spouse. Tell her that you are afraid of losing her, that she is important to you. Admit that you have realized your mistakes. I am sure that for your spouse your true feelings will become a revelation and, perhaps, she will want to open up in response. If you cannot overcome the crisis on your own, a family therapist will help you understand in which direction each of you would like to move on.

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    Alexei 05/23/2015 nine0003

    Hello, I have this situation. I love my wife and daughter very much, but family life, most likely, as in many families, led to the extinction of love. I seem to do everything I try to improve our lives, but with all these worries, mutual understanding and love has passed, no, not from me, but from her( I need advice on how to return love, what should I do to re-interest my beloved?

    We are married ( although I don’t like this word, the name itself) for 6 years we have had a daughter who adores me. We live quite normally, but only over the years, we missed something. She became colder, I stopped saying words of love to her several times before going to bed, but also this somehow didn’t excite her. She didn’t react in any way, but became colder and colder. Yes, I understand she lacked affection, maybe attention, I tried constantly, but it was very difficult to caress and love the cold. in myself .. From sex, I and she practically did not get pleasure, and it could not be without feelings .. In the cortex, I found out, or rather, at first I felt it, then I took it on a show off, and so it is. at first I was worried nudil, I wanted to understand why and how much in short, he didn’t do what he most likely did. She didn’t say anything, she just loved me, and as a dad I’m the best and that she needs to figure it out and give her time, well, change the standard one ... I didn’t know that I do how to change and why, what you lack, you tell me. To arrange competitions with an opponent, but in what, and here there are no options. She continued to correspond with him and, most likely, meet. In the end, I got tired of all this, I stopped forcing me to call to write, but we live together. And it hurts me a lot to be with her, I asked her not to call him in front of me, I’m not exactly sure about this, but it’s understandable by the nature of the conversation. I don't understand what to do, I agree. This is what I overcame for a long 8 days, There were no scandals of reproaches during these days, I just wanted to understand .. Now that I stopped paying attention, something began to change, I told her that now I need to deal with myself and walked away. I walked away and got stuck, what should I do next so as not to spoil it, no, I can’t say that it began to improve. I still worry and love her

    and I feel sorry for my daughter, she doesn't suspect. Now I’m just worried about my wife, I don’t know how to say I’m worried or something, a romance, an adrenaline affair is ready to run to him. And then what? again bytovuha and God forbid that everything was fine and not to make the mistakes that we made. And if it will be the same so why all this? Surely she will try not to make these mistakes and measure herself with men. And it will be more and more difficult to return with each step, what should I do. After all, we talked about what did not suit us. nine0003

    Thank you in advance, s.u. Aleksey.

    Similar question

    How do I deal with the fact that my fiancé communicates and meets with another? (1 answer)

    Hello Alexey.

    What can you do to change? Probably stop being yourself, or rather stop being what you are now. It's incredibly difficult. This is a very high price for her to return to you. Whether you agree to pay it and whether you are capable of such efforts on yourself, you know better. nine0003

    I suspect that you have to become active, strong, aggressive, able to earn good money, able to beat your face if necessary, despite the fact that for this you can earn 15 days, able to come up with a show to entertain your beloved, etc. etc.

    The second option is to remain the way you are now, wait for her passion to pass and she herself will return to a quiet but tedious harbor.

    All the best to you.

    Best regards, Kalamkas Kanapieva, psychologist in Astana. In person and on Skype. nine0003

    Similar question

    It pisses me off that my wife dated someone else before me (3 answers)


    After all, we also talked about what did not suit us.

    They talked - it's good, but what did they do? Have you come up with a plan of action? Is she ready to leave because of a new love? Or is she ready to stay in a relationship? So what is she willing to do about it? You, as I understand it, are ready one way or another to respond to her requests. That's just the responsibility for maintaining relationships should be mutual. It is worth saying what exactly you are both ready to DO. Otherwise, the situation will continue to stall at the level of "we talked, but nothing changes" .

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