timely threadWe are very new to poly, and, I'm afraid, not succeeding very well, so maybe you guys can offer some support/advice. Our situation is that we'd discussed the idea of going poly for many years, but it always seemed to be a mute point because neither of us had any interests/opportunities outside our marriage. We always simply resolved that we'd be open-minded should an opportunity present itself. That all changed this summer when I met a particular man who was completely open to the idea and understanding, and, after several discussions and making sure we were all on the same page (ie. DH and I were the "primary" relationship and we all had to agree to be honest and communicate our feelings, etc.), he and I started dating.
We were involved for about a month and a half before he moved to NYC (which he had already planned to do before we even met, and I knew of these plans). And I've since visited him once in NYC.
In the meantime, DH went out on one date and said it felt totally weird to him, and he's really unsure that he is, in fact, poly. I'm the only woman he's ever been intimate with; we started dating when we were 18 and he has only had very limited experiences with romance prior to that. He feels as though he would like to experience more but he's not sure he will feel free to do so while he's still married.
In addition, we feel like we've been through a lot of changes this year, including my going back to school and us opening up our marriage, and it's seemed to have put a new light on our marriage and exposed some of the faulty foundations upon which we've built our relationship. The fact that we didn't even know who we were as individuals when we first started seeing each other as teenagers seems to have put us in a situation of a codependency wherein we lose our identity in each other. It's always been a problem for us and it's manifested itself in different ways over the years, (ie. we've been through trial separation, counseling, renewing our vows), and we just wonder if we can reconcile this fundamental problem.
Furthermore, I have to admit that I'm having trouble "switching gears" in the context of polyamory. I feel strange when I, for instance, kiss one man for the first time after I had been with the other man. And I feel sort of selfish and guilty because the situation as it stands now is unbalanced. As in, why should I have my cake and eat it too? What do the men in my life have to gain from this? I was also unprepared for how hard I would fall for my oso, and I really felt that nre to a dizzying degree and found myself feeling really in love. When I mentioned this to my oso, he said he was not in love with me, because he is still very hung up on his ex that he dated for 4 years and broke up with this past december, but that he does care a lot about me and enjoys our time together. I feel like, in a way, it was foolish of me to reveal the strength of my feelings to him, but at the time, I really thought I would never see him again (this was the day he moved to NYC), and I wanted him to know the truth, for some reason... But now that I've visited him, I've been trying to play it cool and we've seemed to have smoothed over the awkwardness, and I've been able to accept that relationship for what it is.
However, being at a place in my life where I'm finally realizing my own individuality through finally pursuing my scholastic aspirations and romantic interests, I wonder if marriage is the right thing for me now. I think I want more independence. So, each for our own reasons, DH and I are talking about whether or not marriage is necessary for us to continue or if we'd be better off still having a relationship, but dissolving the formality of marriage. We are concerned with the impact all this might have on the kids, but we don't want to live a lie or stay together just for the kids.
I think we're really just confused and having trouble sorting out all these feelings. Does anyone have any insights?