Hi all, I have a question about open relationships. I am not in a poly relationship but I would like to learn more. My husband has cheated on me, and I told him that what has hurt most about that was that he was dishonest with me. He has told me that he wants to explore non-monogamy with me as a couple and I agreed, but everything I bring it up he gets upset and thinks I am not serious and he gets into a passive aggressive mood where he says that he just has to mourn/come to terms with the fact that he will not be able to do some things sexually that he has always wanted to do.
He has cheated on me with men and he is bisexual (we both are) but he says that really he wants a sexual encounter with another women. He thinks he would prefer swinging to a poly relationship because he says that for him he mostly wants to explore sexually while being in a primary relationship with me (we also have 2 kids).
I have a few issues with that because a) I do not think I could do swinging because I can't separate emotions from sex. Sex has never felt good to me when I couldn't bring my emotions into it.
and b) I am not sure about a poly relationship because I honestly feel like our primary relationship has enough drama, the idea of having more communication, more relationship work, more investment with someone else would just bring me stress rather than joy.
I am pretty content being monogamous but he is not. I have come up with a few suggestions for a compromise. I suggested that for example, when we travel I am fine if we have flings with other people (either as a couple or separately). I have had flings when I was single and traveled and I feel that for me, flings during travel allow me to be emotionally invested but have a clearer idea of boundaries because I know that we will be separated geographically. That might not make sense but that is how I feel right now.
I thought that was a good starting point for a compromise but DH just gets passive aggressive and seems to really just not want to compromise. It is almost like he prefers cheating/doing things behind my back. I know that his relationship with me and our family is very important to me. And I know he is not interested in a poly relationship because he has turned down 2 different long-term potential with 2 people (one a man, one a woman) and not on my behalf but because he is not interested in having an emotionally vested relationship with anyone but me.
However, drama aside and all, if we actually did start exploring with other people, I would probably be more poly prone because I do get attached to people I sleep with and I probably would want a relationship. I don't want that now, but I know swinging wouldn't really do it for me, casual sex doesn't hold any sort of excitement for me, it actually stresses me out.
So my question is, can we actually work things out, considering we seem to have different long-term needs (with me wanting either monogamy or poly, and he seems to just want a long-term relationship with me but with casual sex on the side), and considering he has also been seeing a few men on the side (one night stands) behind my back, even though he knows that the dishonesty has really hurt me, it seems like he almost likes the excitement of doing it behind my back because I always told him I am more upset by the fact that he does it behind my back than that he wants to be with other people now and then. And he told me that he has a great desire to have a casual sexual experience (or one night stand) with a woman.
Can we make this work or are we too different and should we just accept that we will need to part ways sooner or later? We get along great as friends, as parents, and as partners. We have a lot of hobbies in common and have common life goals too such as where we want to be in 10 years, where we want to live (we both want to homestead in a few years), etc.....
But is this the one difference that cancels out all the things we have in common? I don't want him harboring resentments towards me his whole life but I am also upset that he is so unwilling to compromise/negotiate and that he is going behind my back and cheating.
Any advice would be much appreciated. Thanks!