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Ethical Non-Monogamy Was a Bust

Dear Chump Lady,

I was in a relationship for 15 years, married for the last five. I’m not wired to be jealous over sex — I like it when pretty people do things to each other. Sensing he wanted to wander, though, I’d negotiated three rules: he could do whatever as long as it was safe, I knew about it in advance, and I had the option to veto. He broke every rule. I stumbled into a pile of Craigslist-enabled sexual affairs and other, more troubling habits.

I was told that it’d been going on for about six months, but learned it began even before the supposed virgin and I got together. The more I searched for certain screen names, the more profiles I found. All very polished. He explained that sexual shame made him do it.

But I read books about ethical non-monogamy and conflict resolution. I snorted Thich Nhat Hanh. Had calm conversations and then tried yelling and threatening. Got him into therapy. Declared amnesties — you’ll never have a better opportunity to be truly seen and accepted, blah, blah, blah.

I tossed people in his direction, thinking it would sate him, but it just made him hungrier. The day after a hookup, he’d need a social event. And those weekends, he’d stay out until 6AM drinking and going to strip clubs. It never satisfied him — it’s as if giving him permission insulted him, but most guys tell me they’d kill for that kind of freedom within an otherwise-stable, long-term relationship with a decent spouse.

I know I have to go, but I’m still addicted. I don’t understand. Generally I’m disciplined, but this one guy is the key to my life and if I can’t have him I’m not even sure it’s worth living, and the cosmic order depends on redeeming this relationship. I don’t understand why I’m weak for someone who can’t even bring himself to admit that he enjoys sex with strangers.

So, why am I so chumpy? I can see everything so clearly, but on long, lonely nights I just want him back and am willing to sacrifice everything. What does that last step into freedom look like? What is missing here? Once you know the awful truth, that you’re not feeding someone’s stomach but tossing everything you value into a bonfire, what keeps you from living it out?

Sincerely,

barebearbearsbarebears

Dear Barebear…

You can live without him. Trust me. Although you don’t feel this way now, your world will not crumble without a deceitful, Craigslist-stranger-fucking asshole in it. You’ve got 15 years of sunk costs and it’s scary to face the unknown. But the unknown is a lot better than whatever’s in the Petri dish after his STD swab.

(Speaking of which, get yourself tested, pronto.)

Cheating is NOT a monogamy problem. So all the trendy books on ethical non-monogamy aren’t going to help you — you’re dealing with a cheater. A cheater is someone who breaks the terms of consensual agreements. One such agreement is monogamy, another such an agreement is an open relationship with boundaries. All it takes to be a cheater is to break the rules unilaterally without regard to your partner. Rules the cheater voluntarily (and deceptively) entered into. This is a character problem, not monogamy problem.

You did NOT consent to having your health risked. You were generous and open with him, then forgiving, and all this got you was more endangerment, more disrespect, and less kibble value in his eyes. Abort mission.

Got him into therapy. Declared amnesties — you’ll never have a better opportunity to be truly seen and accepted, blah, blah, blah.

Barebear, you need the acceptance work here, not him. He’s A-OKAY being a Craigslist-stranger-fucking asshole. Truly SEE who he is (a Craigslist-stranger-fucking asshole) and ACCEPT it. That’s what his actions are telling you. His mouth spouts a whole bunch of stupidity — virgin, toxic shame, WTFever — to keep himself in cake. (Your kibbles have some value. But one doesn’t restrain oneself for appliances.) Quit giving this fuckwit your power.

So, why am I so chumpy? I can see everything so clearly, but on long, lonely nights I just want him back and am willing to sacrifice everything.

You’ve already sacrificed everything — 15 years of your time, your dignity, your shared finances, your health — AND IT DOES NOT SATE HIM. Why would you give him one more minute?

When someone devalues you, it’s very human (but stupid) to look to that person for MORE validation. Hey, if I can win over this unappeasable person, I will be a kibble SUPERSTAR! We center our focus on fuckwits, instead of asking ourselves the obvious question — WHY?

Why are you chumpy? Well, because you bond. You’re normal. But if you stay chumpy, you probably have some issues to explore because that pleasing the un-pleasable power person dynamic feels comfortable. Any narcs and chumpy orbiting satellites in your family? Book a therapy appointment.

The important thing, Barebear, is to get OUT OF THERE and protect yourself IMMEDIATELY. You can do the emotional work later. Right now, free yourself and go no contact. The longer you stay no contact, the more the “I can’t live without him” spell will break.

You’ll later regret wasting another minute after the first D-Day. You have value. You matter. But the longer you stay, the more you debase yourself. Your love and commitment are precious gifts. He shat on your gifts, which is why he can’t have pretty things. So take your pretty self elsewhere.

((Hugs))

This one ran before.

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  • Did BareBear cut and run? Find Tuesday? I truly hope so!

    General advice – if something hurts you – stop doing it/move away from the source of pain. You can explore WHY you continued to lean into it later. First – stop getting actively hurt. Let some healing begin.

    • “Ethical non monogamy” sounds like bullshit to me, frankly. Is it even a thing?? Why even partner up at all- is it for financial reasons or something??

      • No, some people are like that. I know two people. They like safety (especially emotional) of a long-term relationship (primary partner) and possibility to sleep around, with knowledge and approval of their partner. This knowledge and approval is about ‘çontrol’ but not in a bad sense. (as long as you know what’s going on, everything is fine, ; under control; . One guy told me that he doesn’t expect fidelity because a partnership isn’t only (or primarily) about sex, but also about companionship, intellectual compatibility etc.

        • Yup. Some are sorta aromantic, and they’re married to their best friend that they’ve built a life with, but after many years of monogamous marriage they’ve realized that they also enjoy the occasional trip to a swingers resort for a bit of strange.

          Others are, frankly imo, drama-lovers whose ideal situation is a nice stable primary relationship, and the occasional fling with someone fun but unsuitable, which they then loooove to bitch about with their partner:

          Him: “Can you beLIEVE she’s texting me all these means things, just because I _________?”

          Her: “No! Well, at least she’s texting you. _____ has left me! Says that _______ – what kind of bullshit excuse is that??”

          Him: “That is such bullshit!”

          and… yeah. Weird, and not my thing, but they’re very happy with it. It seems to work best when there’s no children in the house and everyone has lots of free time

          • P.S. But it requires work, time, endless discussion, and is generally considered just as difficult as all the work, time, and communication that you’d put into successful monogamy.

            the thing is – like OP mentioned, cheaters will still cheat. If a guy or gal would cheat in a monogamous relationship, you can say “here’s 10,000 attractive people you can fuck and 10 you can’t,” and they’ll pursue the 10. It’s about entitlement and not wanting to put in the aforementioned relationship work.

          • I’ve known some couples into open marriage (the old term for ethical non-monogamy) and they all ended disastrously. Sooner or later, one half of the couple goes beserk. I think the human heart is just not designed for it. Nonetheless, if both parties agree to it and are legal adults, they are free to give it a try.

      • They actually have forums where they tell each other how to convince the spouse to go along with it. It’s generally one really disordered person who is instructed by a community of disordered people on how to abuse their spouse into it.

        For me it was my health problems. I couldn’t fully meet his needs because of my health issues so if I really loved him then I would want him to have his needs met. Unfortunately my issues impaired my cognitive functions too and I already had lots of guilt so it worked. I’m healthy now and I look back, we were having sex a minimum of 3 times a week. It was a joke that I was failing as a wife.

        The only time I think it can be healthy is if both people come into the relationship wanting this kind of relationship and from what I’ve seen those people usually do marry for legal reasons, if they marry at all. Otherwise, there was always someone coerced into it. My ex pushed books on me about it. I remember getting really angry about some of them because they’re insulting to a person who is monogamous or satisfied with monogamy.

        As soon as I filed for divorce, he sent one of the new girlfriends (a very young one I wouldn’t have been ok with since she’s our child’s age) a book about how to be polyamorous. So she isn’t “naturally” poly, he’s training her. It makes me sick.

        • I got a creepy vibe from the male half of what may be a hetero poly couple during lockdown. They live several houses down. And their yard has become a mess over the last few years. Symbolic ?
          He’s conventionally handsome and is employed as a nurse. He works out with kettle bells, walking up and down the block. We chatted a bit about home improvements, the pandemic, etc. He told me his wife has rheumatoid arthritis and during our convo two different women drove by to wave at him. He also shared that his wife is staying elsewhere due to her health issues. He stares while he talks, which I find disconcerting. I’ve never talked to the wife. Weird.
          The kids (they’re in their twenties) that live behind me are poly. They left books on the subject on the front bench when they moved in.

          • Yep, he’s letting you know he’s available. My ex would talk about my health problems to strangers to the point where I’d get upset and ask him to stop. It was letting them know that I couldn’t be a real wife and poor him, he was so kind to care for me and keep me, but he still had needs. These guys constantly put out feelers, everything they say is careful so there’s plausible deniability, but they often creep women out. But the woman has no proof of anything so there’s nothing to talk to the wife about, and even if she did, he can deny everything and say he was just being friendly.

            Trust your creepy vibe. My best friend got a creepy vibe from my husband several years ago through facebook messages. It bothered her enough that she talked to her sister about it. Her sister said just stop talking to him immediately. This was after she had known him as my husband for over 10 years and trusted him. When everything imploded she showed me the messages and apologized for not saying anything. But what could she have said? There was nothing in the messages that couldn’t be explained by “being friendly” yet it gave her a weird, gross feeling.

            But knowing what we now know and reading them, it’s creepy as hell. He was putting out feelers to see if she’d respond. They do it constantly. And she was divorced from a narcissist when he contacted her which is probably why she picked up on it. And the sister also escaped an abusive marriage so she saw the messages and went nope, something’s wrong here. But there’s nothing concrete to talk about. Now that I’ve had this experience, I notice things I didn’t in the past. I think we all have a spider sense that becomes more developed after going through this.

            • My mother was approached by a creepy couple after my father abused her and dumped us.
              We knew the couple from our Episcopal church in New Jersey.The female frenemy was a member as well as the church’s secretary. Her loser husband spent a lot of time in Alaska. Open marriage ? I think the wife sent him over to our house one evening to “comfort” Mom. He made a pass at her. And asked my mother for a loan. My mother’s inheritance saved her from divorce poverty. I learned all of this years later.
              As a young teen, I felt uncomfortable around this man. One of the few friends my mother had after the divorce warned her to get away from this pair. Grifters. My mother once saw the woman go back to the restaurant table to steal the tip under the guise of “I left something behind.”
              I suspect he sexually abused their daughter. She dropped out of high school to live in Manhattan where she “talked a lot and wore short skirts” (her words). She lied about having a college degree. And her father lived with her in Illinois before dying even though he and his fellow grifter were still married. The mother was quite proud of her daughter’s ability to manipulate men i.e. board a train without a ticket and get some man to pay for her and buy a drink or two from the bar car.
              The son looks like he had major trauma growing up, weighing over 300 lbs.
              I write this to warn any divorcing parents of predatory people who will sniff around your children, in addition to you. A chink in your armour.

              • As I told my child when she was young, you get a yucky feeling in your stomach. Nauseous

        • My ex did all that too. After being caught cheating after 7 years of marriage, he tried to convince me he was poly and I needed to read the “Ethical Slut.” I told him I had already read it (lie, but I knew the gist), and that it’s too bad he had failed so miserably on the ethical part, because he might have had a chance.

          He is still trying to find a woman he can bring home to mama (cause he lives in her basement), smart, successful, does all the work, and good with his kids, but he’s having a hard time reconciling that with his obsessive need for BDSM and stranger sex. He either finds someone vanilla like me and tries to talk her into poly and kink; dates a psycho freak that he tries to tame; falls in love with a professionally-respectable, stepmom-material kinkster that wants monogamy and marriage; or goes out with a poly lover that refuses to be spit on or watch other people peg him. Sometimes all at the same time. Drama ensues.

          It would be hard for me to be jealous of anyone he ended up with, knowing the shit sandwiches they would have to eat. And even if he did find that Unicorn combination, I am content knowing he’d fuck that up too. Sometimes I even feel a little bit sorry for him.

      • My parents were in the fine art scene in NY but they and their close friends didn’t “swing.” I didn’t hear a lot of condemnations of open arrangements, just the occasional offhand joke or shrugging “meh.” To them, it had nothing to do with art and the choice seemed to be its own punishment, mostly ending badly.

        I witnessed disastous endings in the marriages of the parents of three chilhood friends. One via old fashioned cheating, and then two open marriages where, as the wives neared forty, they noticed their increasingly paunchy husbands weren’t so much groovy poly enlightenment-seekers but porn-addled aging pervs chasing high school girls. There were also a suspicious amount of drugs involved in the open arrangements. Didn’t look too blissful.

        When I worked in LA, there were a lot of swingers around, but they reminded me of Chris Fleming’s hilarious song. https://youtu.be/DTsdKycVZZ4

        Again, I just didn’t get the attraction to it.

        Are there some who funtionally pull it off? Depends in how you define functional. Simone de Beauvoir managed Jean Paul Sartres’ womanizing by pimping young girls to
        him after sleeping with them herself and then triangulating with Sartre to neg these women and girls viciously in their infamous letters to each other. Is cannibalism groovy? My guess is that, quite often, one partner plays “cool girl” to reconcile the other’s compulsions, then ends up neck deep in a mountain of shit.

        • When I lived in Paris, I worked on a project with one of the artsy fartsy intellectuals,the editor of a bilingual magazine. She later wrote her memoir, detailing her sexual exploits as a libertine in the ‘60s and ‘70s, including her aggressive behavior towards other women. Head spinning reading 🤮

          When the #metoo/#balancetonporc movement burst, she declared “I wish I had been raped so I could show how to get over it” or something along those lines.

          Her husband, the former cuckold, is now gettin’ busy messing around with much younger women from former French colonies. Her second book was entitled “Jealousy”.

          The American staff thought she was batshit 😜.

        • Oh my gosh, I love Chris Fleming’s Gail character and I had never seen this before! This is brilliant. This is how I felt going to parties with poly people and having to be like no, I do not “play.” while they try to weird creepy flirt with me and my ex was being all creepy in his vest and hat. LOL OMG, he’s so dead on!

      • That’s akin to saying you only need one friend. Some people are able and want to love more than one person. They do enjoy the investment of a romantic relationship, and can have more than one, without lies.

        People who are poly are not the same as swingers. There’s a lot of breadth to non monogamy but if it is meant to be ethical it means partners- however many- agree to the terms. As soon as the terms aren’t being respected, it’s cheating….

  • Since this is an oldie, I’ll address Chump Nation at large, and/or any lurkers who may be googling to see if ENM has legs.

    This ploy was pretty much how my ex approached things.

    She knew that I (like Barebear) was not prone to jealousy over such things and therefore knew the topic could be raised. We too established mutually agreed-upon ‘rules’ that would supposedly ensure that things didn’t get out of hand and jeopardize everything we’d built over 20 years. And she broke every fucking one of them.

    Inherent in ‘ethical non-monogomy’ is the concept and practice of *ethics* — moral principles that govern a person’s behavior or the conducting of an activity. Without genuine character, integrity, honesty, transparency, empathy, etc. the whole idea is dead in the water.

    By his actions, Bearbear’s fuckwit has proven that he (like my ex) is totally lacking, or at least severely deficient, in all of these.

    Ram this home: This is a character problem, not a monogamy problem.

    • The older I get, the more I see just how disordered these characters are. Cheaters get PLEASURE from the deceit. It’s like the best day ever is cheating on both the spouse and the regular side piece with yet another person. And from my time spent in the divorce recovery trenches I know that’s not an unusual scenario.

      • Sadly they are beyond broken as individuals and they clearly do get off on the lying and deception of it. I’m sure some are sick enough that they get off on potentially giving their faithful partner an STD or worse. Sick sick people.

        • You just described my XH…. Sicko who gets off on the deceit and trying to control me like a puppet.

          Good riddance!

      • Yep.

        In fact I would say it would be more unusual to not be the case with a cheater.

        These men give up their careers for this shit. Lets face it sex is sex, there is obviously something else in an illicit situation that gives it that extra kick.

        I am only speaking of men right now, I know women do the same thing, but I think to a lesser degree.

      • My ex was never more alive than when he was pulling a scam. He thrived on it.

        Later I learned that included our marriage.

        • Mine too. He looked for every opportunity to get something for nothing (he told the story over and over how he palmed his wedding ring at the jewelry store! He said the clerk was so clueless). Or his scheme to steal gas from the utility company, as his grifter Dad taught him.
          And of course cheating. He was lazy, so it was usually with a neighbor or a co worker.
          All this stuff made him act very happy and smug. Such a weirdo.
          He was also always helping people, and being SO cordial, I just didn’t realize it was all part of a calculation. It threw a lot of people off, including me!

          • “He was also always helping people, and being SO cordial, I just didn’t realize it was all part of a calculation.”

            People like your ex are predators, crooks. Being helpful and cordial are just a guise to suss out the potential victim’s strengths, weaknesses, etc.

      • I would add that some (like my ex) also get pleasure from the threat of discovery. The idea he would be discovered added to the thrill of the moment.

        • Mine too.

          I know that because he was like that with me. He liked doing it in places where there was a risk.

          I went along with a lot of it, the water, in the bedroom while his mom slept in another area of the room. (this was in a vacation cabin, not set up for privacy).

          I was always nervous, but he was my husband and I did want to please him. I had no previous experience, so I thought this was normal for men.

    • I get the whole idea and concept about “hotwifing and swinging” but it’s 1000% a major character flaw that if a husband or wife is practically allowed to sleep with others and STILL decides to cheat, that really says it all about them. It’s like being left in a chocolate store and you’re allowed all the chocolate you want but you still steal some products.

      I personally could not let another man touch my woman in a relationship but different strokes for different folks and whatever work’s between consenting adults. We all have our kinks.

  • I am pretty sure my ex was engaged in by his own view ENM. What that meant was he did whatever he wanted to, and I stayed faithful. Oh he didn’t tell me, until years later; but I am betting he actually believed he was entitled, and it was none of my business.

    His wandering dick cost him the most important thing in the world to him; his coveted Captain’s bars and office job, but hey he had fun while it lasted. And the whore (his direct report) nabbed her meal ticket after doing the dance for several other married men unsuccessfully.

    And when it all came crashing down, it wasn’t his fault; it was the fault of the mayor for stabbing him in the back. He never did get the concept that he simply held no more value to the mayor. You would think he would have fully understood that. But no.

  • By definition, cheating isn’t something that you allow or agree to. His thrill was being sneaky, doing something behind your back that was outside of what you would allow. Cheaters aren’t interested in non-monogamy, because they live for the deception.

    In my case, that’s what hurt me the most. Knowing he got his rocks off by sneaking around behind my back, that he got a thrill from deceiving me. Just thinking about that is what can take me away from meh and makes me angry. All his platitudes of love were empty in the face of his actions.

    I would love an update since this column is a repeat.

    • Right. The psycho-babble around cheating inevitably discusses ways to ethically explore non-monogamy as if that’s what cheaters are really after. It’s not about a new body to explore. It’s the kibbles. My FW told me that sex wasn’t the main motivator for him. He honestly thought he was in love with his coworker. With some time he has had some realization that there was a novelty there that made things easier between them. That, and the fact they had spouses at home doing all the heavy lifting. Funny how the appeal of their relationship lost its luster once I was no longer in the picture. As someone else has said here, the chump is the special sauce that makes the affair taste so good.

  • This is exactly my point from yesterday. Cheating explained by cheaters is complete nonsense to be disregarded. They are after the high of cheating. If someone is in an open relationship and is free to hook up with other people

    YET STILL CHEATS?!!

    JFC.

    Forget about “unhappy” or whatever bullshit excuse comes out of the mouth of a cheater. Their objective is to DUPE. All highs stop working at some point and new substances must be found.

    His drinking would be the red flag for me.

    DUPE = Deceiving and Using People is Exciting.

    • The most telling line that ever came out of my ex Fuckwits mouth was;
      “You can’t put my dick in your purse”

      • I am betting that he expected your lady part to be exclusive to him though.

        I am sure that was in my fws mind while he was fucking with abandon. Once the last whore (his direct report) clamped on to his balls, he had to make a move.

        Years later it is kind of funny. She honestly was not much to look at, kind of frumpy; she was not a good employee, she by all accounts was not very bright; but she outsmarted Mr. Free-range Dick.

          • Yep.

            And since he had no more value to the Mayor who valued his strong marriage and his standing in the community. Well the house of cards fell all around him. But, hey he got to spend the rest of his life with the town whore, so I am sure he had some good times.

    • Exactly. That was my life. I let him have the open relationship. He wanted polyamory. I even was friends with the girlfriends and hosted them.

      He still wanted to cheat on me. He broke every rule. It was all about duping me and humiliating me. The sex was just a bonus. It wasn’t the main objective.

      I have very low opinions of the non monogamist, polyamorist community now. Most of them are lousy people. I know that because of how many of them helped him trick me and how many are totally cool with it. There are some good people in that lifestyle but most of them are victims because the vast majority are really crappy people who get off on cheating and hurting others.

      My now boyfriend is mind blown by it all. My ex husband had the wife who did everything and the family life and could go do almost whatever he wanted outside the home, all he had to do was be honest. But he acts like he had the hardest life and I’m the most jealous, insane, unreasonable woman who ever existed because I asked for honesty. He’s asked me, “Does he have any idea what marriage is for most people?! Does he understand he was living what is a fantasy dream for so many married men?!”

      No, because it doesn’t matter how permissive I was or how open or how non judgmental. He wanted to scam me. That was the entire point. And he scams all the other women too. That’s what gets him off. He’s just a bad person.

      And I’m no longer poly or non monogamous or anything like that. I don’t have a desire or need to be but even if I did I wouldn’t be because it draws so many evil, character disordered people to that lifestyle. I’m dubious any good poly couples exist because the odds of two decent people in that community finding each other is really, really low.

      • I got sucked into the poly bullshit too. I was never into it but tried to satisfy his voracious sexual appetite with threesomes, swinging and giving him his poly dream. Trouble was I didn’t know he’d already started cheating way before the poly and other stuff was a thing. He used the poly and other stuff to abuse me as it wasn’t working for him with just the cheating.

        • Yep, mine was cheating before the poly too. I know that now. I think he just wanted to add my humiliation to the mix to make it spicier for him. Makes me sick now. I’m so sorry you went through it too.

      • Mine was a gray divorce, so I have some “miles.” Everyone I know who went poly or non-monogamous didn’t make it long term or is VERY unhappy. This is rare in my circles, but for some reason being separated and now divorced means that I “get” to hear all the secrets from those who are deeply unhappy in their marriages. I’ve been a little shocked. I remain very pro-marriage and usually tell them that they need to work it out with their partners and not blab to me, but honestly I don’t see why folks put up with that at this point in my life.

        I put up with too much myself, but I only shared that with a mental health professional who read the hurt and asked if I wanted to talk about that area. My ex was perpetually unhappy in the bedroom and had decided that exploring his sexuality at my expense was the answer. He decided I was sorely inadequate that way. When he left, he took his blue pills with him. What message did that send?

        Divorce was a mercy.

        • >>but I only shared that with a mental health professional who read the hurt and asked if I wanted to talk about that area.

          At least you have a good therapist (or so it sounds), no small blessing. One of my biggest regrets was trusting a therapist rather than a sympathetic friend when I was hurting bad after my big discard. Sometimes a therapist will confirm your worst fears about being defective. :P. I got better, but made some big decisions based on shoddy info.

  • Ethical non-monogamy? Is that like ethical bank robberies?

    Maybe I’m not evolved enough, but this sounds like complete BS to me.

    If some people don’t want to be monogamous, then they shouldn’t get married.

    • Totally agree with you Spinach. I wouldn’t get married if I wasn’t going to commit 100% to that person. Have you noticed that those kind of relationships (ENM) usually don’t work out? Or one person is pushing it so that can sleep around on someone but still have a wife/husband appliance?

      • Eh, in my observation it fails at about the same rate as monogamy. The main killer of non-monogamy is children. Once the couple have a child, they’re like “ok, we barely have time for dates and sex with each other, let alone other people, so this is on hold for a decade.”

        Also they tend to keep it quiet, so that nice couple you know *might* be poly, they’re just not bringing it up with you.

    • I agree.

      I have no moral judging against folks doing whatever they want, but I just don’t see the point of marriage without a real commitment and loyalty.

      Sex with someone causes feelings, at some point it becomes a tangled mess. Someone is going to get hurt bad. It might even be the unsuspecting spouse of one of the side pieces. Yes I know that is breaking the rules, but it will happen.

    • I think so too. If somebody doesn’t fancy monogamy, yet marries anyway without such an agreement beforehand, that’s obviously a deceptive person. Even with a pre-existing agreement, I would think it’s exceedingly rare for both partners to have a 100% equal interest in having sex with other people, so the relationship is going to be lopsided in the less monogamous person’s favor. The more monogamous person is eating a shit sandwich in order to keep the relationship, but the chances that this will succeed aren’t good. How can anyone possibly guarantee not to develop feelings for outside partners, causing the original pair bond to break up, or at least fracture? It’s a stupid risk to take, IMO, and if fucking multiple people is important enough to them to take that risk, they must not value the pair bond very highly and must elevate crotch satisfaction and ego strokes above the security of that bond. Also, and more importantly, there is no such thing as safe non-monogamous sex unless you stick to just hand jobs. Condoms don’t do much to prevent herpes or HPV and aren’t even all that effective against HIV either. So you would have to value crotch satisfaction and ego strokes over your own and your partner’s safety. That’s fucked up. I wouldn’t want to be involved with a non-monogamist, whether ethical or not. I don’t trust anyone who places that much importance on shallow, fleeting pleasures.

    • Exactly what I said above. “Ethical non monogamy” is complete bullshit. If you are screwing strange, you aren’t committed to your relationship, which says it all.

    • On Reddit, I was reading a thread about ethical non-monogamy. A poster insisted that he and his partner/wife “knew hundreds of people” in the swinging lifestyle who were quite content.

      Hogwash.

      None of us really knows even our five closest friends well enough to pronounce them “quite content.” Just because this dude went to clubs and parties and watched dozens of people fucking simultaneously, passing each other around like a joint or a bottle of alcohol, is no testament to any of those participants’ emotional, mental, physical, or spiritual health/contentedness.

      And I know this is an unpopular opinion, but the whole idea of “I like pretty people doing things to each other” smacks of a fantasy born out of too much pornography.

      • Yes! I noticed that too, and thought, WTF?

        If that’s what someone’s into, fine, not my cup of tea, but why have any ‘rules’ in the first place?

        • The rules are supposed to keep in an ethical and consensual relationship. As in a woman may consent to going to a swing club with her husband, that doesn’t mean she consents to him having sex with her mother or sisters.

          Another common rule is do not help anyone cheat on their spouse, because that’s morally wrong. Or a rule to use protection to reduce the rate of disease transmission.

          As much as people think everyone in these relationships is just a free for all sex addict who doesn’t care about disease or family relationships or friendships, there’s usually at least on person who cares very much about those things and that person is usually being abused. Any decent human is going to insist on rules, even while being coerced into this.

        • I’ve known a few couples into hotwifing and swinging and every single relationship completely imploded and ended with the one party cheating. The one woman I spoke to said that’s how her marriage of over 25 years ended. Her husband was obsessed with wanting her to sleep with others in front of him and he basically near forced her into it. So his friend started sleeping with her every Wednesday and she fell in love with the guy and ended in divorce. As soon as her marriage broke down the AP split and she lost everything and was publicly humiliated. She swears blind that he wanted her to do this to try and end the marriage without him looking like the bad guy for leaving. I’ve no idea what the truth is to it. I think for many it’s probably a form of extreme control and abuse dressed up as a lifestyle choice.

          How a man finds enjoyment from watching his wife, mother of his kids being passed around like a cheap piece of meat is beyond me.

          • It sounds as if her husband and “friend” set her up. If not, the rub would be that while the friend was happy to engage in this twisted dynamic, there was no way he was going to have a serious relationship with a woman that slept with other men in front of her husband. Sorry but husbands that request or demand that their wife engage in swinging already have one foot out the door. When her husband first approached her with the swinging idea she should have called a lawyer.

            • I was about 20 when this happened and it was my friends parents that I’m talking about. The husband lost his kids who were all grown up and living in their own homes. They were in their mid 40’s and all of a sudden he becomes obsessed with wanting to share her. As you say, he was most likely already half way out the door.

          • “How a man finds enjoyment from watching his wife, mother of his kids being passed around like a cheap piece of meat is beyond me.”

            This kind of man has a lot of hostility and sees women as objects, and their bodies as products to be consumed by men. He enjoys seeing them treated as such, degraded and used.

            • Yep, that’s what I’ve learned about my ex. He has serious issues with women and seems to just hate them and wants to beat and degrade them.

              I bought into the polyamory but I wasn’t doing the stuff he was. I didn’t want to date. I wasn’t going to sleep with men for him. He pushed and pushed me to get a boyfriend for years. I couldn’t figure out the issue. Like I’m letting you do what you say you need to do, why would I have to do this stuff? I don’t want to.

              He never got to degrade me the way he really wanted. It must have made him so angry. There were times he would tell people we were polyamorous and I would be approached and I’d be like no, I don’t do that. I’m not available. I was non judgmental at the time but not available. I was not going to be hot wifed or passed around. The BS that was sold to me was that it was about being true to oneself and that was not me. And that must have made him so angry. It’s probably why he wanted to kill me.

      • I’m thinking along those lines as well. It reflects a shallow, permformative concept of sexuality. Who cares if it’s unpopular. Truth often is. I don’t like to be critical of another chump, but that kind of attitude upsets me because it’s the same way cheaters see sex.

    • I feel about polyamory the same way I do about interpretations of the Koran that say polygamy (and strictly speaking, it’s polygyny) is ok, but you may have more than one wife ONLY if you treat them all the same. And as many in these societies have pointed out: it’s human nature to have favorites.

      Far more likely in my mind is that one person is benefitting at the expense of another, and that that “another” has for whatever reason talked him/herself into being ok with their partner fucking around.

    • Totally agree with you Spinach. I don’t get it either.

      I mean, really, why bother? 🤔🙄

      I do take CL’s point though, the *character* thing; if someone gives another person a semi carte blanche, but with the proviso not to do such and such a thing, and they go ahead and do it anyway, that’ s massive entitlement, selfishness, and contempt for the other person.

      Also of course, as others have mentioned, the thrill of deceit, duper’s delight, getting one over on someone trusting and unsuspecting. Ugh.

      • “…the thrill of deceit, duper’s delight, getting one over on someone trusting and unsuspecting.”

        As Chumpnomore6 points out, this has been said before, and yet I’m still horrified by the concept. For the life of me, I can’t fathom getting any kind of thrill from deceiving a trusting person. I don’t get it.

        • “For the life of me, I can’t fathom getting any kind of thrill from deceiving a trusting person. I don’t get it.”

          Me neither. Probably because we aren’t scummy shitbag sociopaths.

          Isn’t that one of the traits of sociopaths, no empathy, the thrill of deceit?

          Before DDay, when I was still trusting and dumb, ex fuckwit texted me he was staying with the rat faced whore because his van had broken down, and “she kindly offered me her sofa”.

          When he came back the next day, he told me rat faced whore had said to him *she* would be suspicious if it was her. He looked at me and said, (with a smirk on his face) “I told her, chumpnomore6 trusts me”.

          Vomit.🤮🤢🤮. I still get enraged when I think about that. Fucking bastard.

          • Chumpnomore6,

            Enraged you should be! We may get to meh, but there are some things that will trigger us until our dying days. I don’t even know you, but I can see (and feel) his smirk. What a bastard!

          • Oh C6, that infuriates me too.

            I don’t remember if I told this.

            About two months before Dday, my eex and I were at a community fall festival (volunteering) Even our preacher was there. We were all standing around talking, including my best friend and her husband.

            Anyway, this mid thirties (ish) woman came up jumped up on fw back and did the hands over eyes thing. (He was in uniform because he had come to the park straight from work) I just stood there in embarrassment, as did our preacher. I actually think the fw was a bit embarrassed too. After a few seconds he kind of shook her loose and she pranced on her way. My friend made a snarky comment as she was wont to do, and the preacher made his exit.

            My ex had to go to the park office and my friend and I followed him. Friend made another comment, can’t remember exactly what it was; but it alluded to the incident. My ex just laughed it off and said and I quote “Susie wouldn’t believe I was fooling around unless I told her myself” Which up to that moment was absolutely true, but I knew in that moment something was way off. It wasn’t just the comment, but the look in his eyes.

            It is indeed vomit inducing.

            Also in hindsight I realized he said “fooling around” versus madly in love and wanting to marry the whore.

            I have since wondered if the preacher talked to him the next day, and fw likely told him nothing was going on, she is just an idiot. Because after we split, the preacher didn’t divulge any convo with fw, other than to say: “(Sam) lied to me and I am pretty angry about it”.

            Our preacher was the PD chaplain, so talking to my ex about the unseemly situation would have been within his range.

            The frog back whore was not his whore, but she was the best friend of his whore, so of course she knew everything that was going on.

            She was the same whore that he sat at our PD Christmas party table with his personal whore. She also got all syrupy at the Christmas party and said “Oh you and Sam are such a cute couple, the whole town would be shocked if you two got D’d. Who the hell would say something like that. I looked at fw, and I leaned over and said why did she say that? He whispered in my ear, she is an idiot.

            The good news is that she and the whore are the type of folks he spent the rest of his life with. I guess he truly did find his own level.

        • I don’t get the thrill either, though I think it is real. I know it was real in my fw’s case.

          I had mentioned before that we had a pretty busy sex life, and it only really started to slow down about midway through the discard year. So much so that I noticed it.

          I think for at least six years before that he had been cheating regularly and was loving it.

          Where I don’t understand the thrill is; how hard it is to deceive a trusting spouse. I would think that it would be more exciting to dupe a suspicious spouse and definitely be harder to pull off. Just don’t get the thrill of duping a trusting spouse.

          • “Where I don’t understand the thrill is; how hard it is to deceive a trusting spouse. I would think that it would be more exciting to dupe a suspicious spouse and definitely be harder to pull off. Just don’t get the thrill of duping a trusting spouse”

            I think it comes down to innate cruelty, and a pleasure in feeling contemptuous superiority towards someone who is ‘foolish’ enough to trust them.

            Trying to dupe someone who was already suspicious would probably be too much hard work, and a suspicious person would be much less likely to fall for the outrageous bullshit we all fell for. I look back now and cringe at the gaslighting crap I fell for. Cheating sociopaths like an uneven playing field.

            • True enough, cheaters do like an uneven playing field.

              It is like the whore sneaking around with the cheater. If they declared themselves up front, they likely couldn’t win the “prize”.

              As CL says the deck is stacked and they don’t present themselves until they have it won, or at least think they do.

            • Innate cruelty. Exactly so. There is a strong streak of emotional sadism in cheaters. Judging by the stories here, most of them are emotionally abusive in other ways as well.

              • I agree with the crueltiiy streak.

                I have often referred to my ex as a sadistic bastard. He went the extra mile to hurt me when he left.

                He had to make sure I knew he was a long time cheat, and he never loved me.

                Then he asked to come back, I let him and for about four days he shit all over me again. Then coldly walked out and said “I just can’t get the feelings back”

                There was no call for any of that. He could have walked out the door and never spoken to me again and it would have been better. It wasn’t like I was asking him or begging him to come back. I was just giving him a chance and I let him come back, which of course in hindsight was stupid.

                Quite frankly he got his, but still in real time it was very painful.

          • They aren’t usually even that skilled at the deceit they so enjoy, so they prefer to victimize innocent, trusting souls. Plus, they feel contempt for people who are not cold hearted, cynical users like them, even actual hatred in many cases. Such a person represents the innocent child they once were, who is the person they feel they must disavow in order to be invulnerable to the pain that child experienced. So they look to destroy you as if they are destroying their own vulnerability. They enjoy duping you, in part, because it gives them a false sense of security. They need to feel that they are the winner and you are the loser. They believe they can never lose as long as they continue to lie to, cheat on, and generally mistreat their victim(s). The only alternative, in their fucked up minds, is the opposite. They live in an alternate universe they created as an escape from shit that happened when they were kids. They refuse to join the real world. One could feel sorry for them if they weren’t so malignant.

  • Co-dependency Anonymous is a great organization.

    I attended free sessions with them and they were very helpful.

    I was also diagnosed with a mild form of Dependant Personality Disorder as well as Co-dependency.

    At some point we have to explore why we put up with it. What is in us that allows this. And what we need to address in ourselves.

    • I thought I was “codependent”.
      I was diagnosed with trauma bonding.
      I think it’s unfair to call someone who was abused codependent. Being “codependent” isn’t a bad thing either – you should be able to rely on your partner and they should be able to expect that you will reciprocate. It’s healthy to be able to lean on your partner.

      • “I think it’s unfair to call someone who was abused codependent. Being “codependent” isn’t a bad thing either ”

        I agree, I see that thrown around a lot. The whole idea at least in a Christian marriage, and I would say most marriages is that you become “one” in the sense that you complement each other, and you trust each other etc. It is pretty much the idea of marriage.

        Doesn’t mean you are joined at the hip, but that you function as a stable trusting team.

        • Yeah, I don’t like it either. I had several books on codependency recommended to me and I couldn’t get through them. They just don’t describe me. I can’t relate. I’m not perfect and I’m facing all my issues but I’m just not codependent just because I got scammed by a psycho.

          • Right?

            I was working, volunteering for him and his club and in poitics at his request. I was trying to keep a house running, and taking night classes to finish my degree so I could make us more money. I sure didn’t have time to police the man who I was supposed to love and trust.

            The whore shouldn’t have pushed him to marry her, within a few years he lost it all due to his gambling, which he started on her watch. I understand she gambled too, but don’t know for sure.

            Anyway had she stuck with sharing him with me, she would have had a lot more money at her disposal.

            Thank God for whoever dropped that dime.

      • I think the word “interdependent” is a better fit for a healthier relationship. You depend on one another.

        You can function alone, but as a team you have a better chance when working together.

        • Yes. There’s nothing wrong with leaning on your spouse. Humans are a social species. We were meant to depend on one another. Codependency is when someone puts the needs of others above their own at the expense of their own well-being (outside a parent-child relationship. I’d totally die for my kids). At some point the codependent person forgets what their needs or feelings even are since they’re so focused on the emotions of the other person.

          • See, that’s why I thought I was codependent. I did put his needs and feelings above my own. So I thought, ok, I have this problem. But then I read books about it and they’re all, “You’ve noticed this pattern in your relationships. You have a string of relationships where you’ve done this.”

            But I haven’t. It’s only happened with him. And it took a lot of years of subtle abuse to get me to that point. Decades of it. So it’s not an innate issue for me, it’s a result of abuse and trauma bonding. That’s why the books have been frustrating for me, they aren’t helpful to me. But I still hear, “Oh, you’re codependent” from well meaning people. I feel like the word just gets thrown around too much.

            • Totally. It’s a subtle form of blameshifting. People want to believe you did something to bring it on yourself, so they say your codependency allowed it to happen. In actual fact, it was the conditioning you were subjected to by a skilled torturer, which would break any good-hearted person.

        • When I think of codependency I think of enabling, which I certainly did. I worked, paid for everything, did all the parenting and planning, enabling him to live like a child and behave like I was his unfair mommy who disapproved of his laid back lifestyle.

          I saw it all happening like a slow motion train wreck, and I helped it happen by trying to meet his every whim and fancy – all while asking for nothing in return. I had no boundaries, I made myself as little as possible.

          I think a lot of chumps here were simply blindsided and lied to and weren’t codependent, but for some of us, having boundaries and no longer enabling will be the key to fixing our pickers.

          • I get that.

            It is hard to define though because I suppose some might call me an enabler, as I really didn’t question where he went, I scrimped and saved and he used those savings unknown to me to wind and dine the whore.

            But, it never entered my mind because I trusted him and I was working toward what I thought was a common goal. We had a boat and a camp site and some rental properties etc. It was fairly easy for him to skim money.

            I didn’t scour over our finances because again, I trusted that he was being honest.

            So enabler or trusting spouse. 🤷‍♀️

            How I found out about a lot of the money he spent on her was the day after he left I called and ordered a three year history of our credit cards. Then I closed the account.

              • As part of my therapy I was instructed to read “The Betrayal Bond” by Patrick Carnes. It was a very difficult read, but validated a lot of my experience, what I was feeling and my reactions to my experiences.

      • Most of the women in my “women only/lesbian and trans friendly” CoDA meetings were introducing themselves as “I’m So and So and I’m codependent”.
        After hearing their three minute shares week after week and piecing together their stories I realized they were either being abused or had abusive childhoods. There were some manipulative abusers in the group as well,which I spotted pretty quickly.
        I actually read the CoDA endorsed literature (Blue Book and pamphlets like “Peeling the Onion”) as well as Melody Beattie’s classic. I understand codependency as putting others people’s needs first and trying to change others. My favorite line from “Codependent No More” is “Don’t hurt yourself, don’t hurt others and don’t allow others to hurt you.”

      • I don’t think Mitz was labeling all chumps co-dependents. I could be wrong. Co-dependents do tend to stay in abusive relationships. They’ll do anything to please their partner even if it even if it hurts them personally. Pretty much live to make their partner happy. They say narcs are attracted to co-dependents, for the obvious reason. That’s not a good thing and seeking help is critical so they can have a healthy give and take relationship. I would gather most chumps are not co-dependents and they were just totally blindsided by their cheating spouse which could lead to trauma bonding and other stress related behaviors.

      • I think you mean “interdependence” rather than codependence. Two similar things but codependency is considered to be unhealthy.

      • “Codependency” is not depending on other people.

        Codependency involves enmeshment with the needs of others, to the point where the “codependent” person loses sight of healthy interaction or personal boundaries. The term came into popular use with the study of how family members and other close relations of alcoholics begin to orbit around the addict, and where the focus of life becomes controlling and “curing” another person of addiction. (And no, I don’t mean how family members rally around a cancer victim). There are people who have this tendency even when it isn’t directed toward alcoholism, e.g., parents enmeshed with their children to the point of solving every problem for them, people who take up people with messy lives and try to fix them, etc. It’s not bad to help people, but it’s unhealthy to fix things for them. often as a way to not look at your own problems.

        I’ve been there, done that. This is not about leaning on someone in a bad time or getting or going help when it’s needed, and it’s not at all about reciprocity. These relationships are usually asymmetrical, with one person as the designated needy one and the other as the helper.

        This word “codependency” and the term “narcissist” get bandied about without regard to what they actually mean. A person doesn’t have to be diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder to behave narcissistically or to follow the relationship patterns often ascribed to narcissism. In the case of codependency, we can see when we BEHAVE codependently without sticking ourselves with the label “codependent.” It’s helpful to know what that behavior looks like in order to change it. For many chumpy people, it’s key to turn our attention to fixing our own lives.

      • I attended CODA meetings and I was codependant.

        I don’t recall calling anyone codependant. What I said was we need to explore why we tolerated the abuse. This isn’t shaming. And it is sad that mentioning it is seen that way.

    • The emotional affair-ish ex that brought me here picked up women by talking the talk he learned at CODA. It got me, and it worked on the women he met at meetings and out of them.

      He constantly told me he was in recovery for “doing too much” for women – he did huge gestures that were unnecessary and made me feel indebted, but wouldn’t remember to call when he said he would or do the small household task he promised to do. He wouldn’t console me when I was crying because he didn’t want to “get enmeshed in” or “try to fix” my emotions – he tuned out when I expressed worry over a breast lump. After we split, he asked to meet up so he could do his 4th step of making amends. I met him and he didn’t once mention any of the concerns that led me to dump him (i.e. trust trust trust), he said, “I put you on a pedestal. I regarded you too highly. I’m sorry, Magnolia.”

      So, even any recovery group, one has to watch for the predatory 13th steppers.

  • My cheater tried on several different hats while trying to justify to himself why he cheated. “I need a muse.” “I’m polyamorous.” “It isn’t natural to be monogamous.” “It is a biological imperative to get my DNA out there” Blah, blah, blah. Anything to avoid the truth that he had unilaterally broken our vows, was a liar and cheater, and had serious character flaws. The only self-examination he wanted to do was self-justification. When the above excuses didn’t stick, then the blame-shifting started. All phrases out of the cheater playbook.

    From what little I have read about polyamory, and while it was truly just a little (but WAY too much for me), the consensus appears to be that, in general, at least one person gets the short end of the stick and ultimately leaves the relationship with at least some emotional damage as a result. No thank you.

    For what it is worth, I found this article regarding sexual secrets. If inappropriate to leave here, I hope the CL will remove.

    https://theinstituteforsexualhealth.com/blog-3/

    • That’s a great article. Thanks for sharing, ivyleague! It perfectly sums up what I came up with in response to a Switzerland friend (H) who believes in an extreme form of “what you don’t know can’t hurt you.” Because her father cheated on her mother, but her mother didn’t learn about it for many years, H believes that uncomfortable truths should just be buried. H was one of the dozen or so people to whom STBX disclosed her affair before she told me, and H advised STBX *not* to tell me, on the fucked-up logic that cheaters just cause more harm by telling the truth in order to make themselves feel better. I agree that STBX eventually told me the truth not because she cared about my feelings, but to make herself feel better. But that’s certainly not a justification for deceiving your intimate partner about anything you *know* they would want to know.

      • Another level of horror to discover after your spouse dies that the entire marriage was a sham. They were cheating all those decades and you find proof after they die. Or you receive strange condolences from people you don’t know.
        It’s borderline psychopathic behavior when this happens. Neat, compartmentalized psycho behavior.🤯

        • Sucker, I agree that it would be horrifying to learn half-truths about dead spouses, as many chumps here have sadly experienced. But it’s also true that none of us chumps is ever going to get the full truth from our cheaters, whether they’re dead or alive. I consider myself lucky that at least my STBX is willing to admit the affairs, even to DD19, though it’s still like pulling teeth to get STBX to agree to any consequences that feel uncomfortable to her. Because she’s still a fuckwit at the end of the day.

          I found it ironic that my ex-Switzerland friend H developed this theory that nobody should ever reveal any affairs to their spouses, because her mom found out about her dad not from the dad himself, but from the ex-AP’s chumped husband. The clear moral of that story, to my mind, is that Truth Will Out eventually, and none of us can completely control the terms. Better by far not to have any skeletons in the closet than to spend time/energy/resources hiding them from the people you claim to love!

    • Brilliant article. Sums it all up.

      The only caveat I have is that I don’t believe abusers really give a flying fuck, however some of them may attempt to rationalise it, to themselves if not to others, it just basically comes down to selfish entitlement and contempt for the other person.

      • I hear you. This is a hard one for me personally, because I believe that my STBX really does want to do the right thing, on some level – she’s not a totally trash person. But her disorder makes her unable to deal with real adult life and long-term commitment, among other things. She’s the ultimate Timid Forest Creature – confused more than entitled, operating on the Self-Pity Channel 90% of the time. (The other 10% is Charm.)

        I haven’t sensed a lot of active contempt from STBX, though she definitely devalued me for years. She’s the kind of cheater who desperately wants everyone to be fine with her “needs,” whatever they happen to be. She’s the one who disclosed the truth to me on D-Day #2 – but only, as I mentioned above, because she couldn’t stand the tension anymore, not because she really empathized with me. She frequently claims to care about me and my feelings, but that’s mostly lip service, and her actions show that her caring goes out the window as soon as she’s inconvenienced.

        But I’m sure that, from her disordered perspective, STBX really believes she is bending over backward to accommodate bitter, unforgiving me. The moral of the story for me has been that I can’t assume that only trash people will hurt me. I need to have healthy boundaries even with people who mean well, especially if there’s any hint of character or personality disorder.

  • So what would your relationship look like if you won him back and he stopped doing all that filthy stuff? You’d still be hurt. You couldn’t relax and trust him forever. That kink of his is powerful and dark. You can’t let go but your holding on to an alligator who bites hard. We do want to go back to the day before we knew we’d been betrayed but we can’t without destroying ourselves. And that’s just too big a price to pay for that POS.

    • This is what I think – no matter what they do or promise, in the future you will always know what they could do to you, because they’ve already done the worst. And you’ll never really know the extent, because you weren’t there. I’m sure they are WAY more women that I’m not aware of. How can you ever feel trust? Safety? Security?

  • It just seems to me that any kind of non monogamy relationship is playing with fire no matter how you set the rules. With enough sleeping around, one or the other is bound to end up becoming emotionally attached to a side piece at some point. Sex is an intimate act and can lead to emotional attachments that may overshadow the primary relationship leading to less intimacy in that relationship. On the other hand, my ex went down that path anyway without permission so I guess monogamy only works if both sides follow those rules. Still, I would say that the best way to avoid giving into temptation is to avoid it in the first place and a non monogamous relationship invites temptation.

    • This sums it up nicely IMO. Emotional intimacy can easily follow physical intimacy, and vice versa…then all the dominos fall. It’s one thing to be involved in a monogamous trio or something, but where a couple actively has varied trysts with varied people regularly, basically stranger sex…you are seriously courting trouble.

  • There is so much wisdom in many of today’s comments. But the part about not having the wherewithal to break it off is a sign of something you must explore. If you’re feeling like you inexplicably can’t let go after all of the hurt and admitting it is destroying you, then you should seek the help of a professional to assist you in working through that.

    What CL said is worth repeating:
    “Why are you chumpy? Well, because you bond. You’re normal. But if you stay chumpy, you probably have some issues to explore because that pleasing the un-pleasable power person dynamic feels comfortable. Any narcs and chumpy orbiting satellites in your family? Book a therapy appointment.”

    “The important thing, Barebear, is to get OUT OF THERE and protect yourself IMMEDIATELY. You can do the emotional work later. Right now, free yourself and go no contact. The longer you stay no contact, the more the “I can’t live without him” spell will break.””

    I would also suggest this as a daily mantra:”Do not seek comfort in the source of your pain.”

  • Truly is all about the thrill of the deceit. Little boy wants mommy to chase him around, finally catch him, then mommy must begin to rebuild him. Just like those of us raised in the 60’s were told ” don’t appear too smart, dumb yourself down around boys, they like to feel superior it builds their ego.” I am taking myself out of the game, it just makes no sense to live a false life. I have a sister who is Tammy Wynette and Hillary all rolled into one. Stand by your man, make up something in your own mind that will make his actions acceptable so you can stand to live with him. NO MATTER WHAT. Just overlook anything and everything and dupe do doo along. Makes life easier.

  • Girl – you lived without him b4 you met him and you can do it again. Nothing and no-one on earth is worth this kind of pain.

  • I found the topic gave me even more insight into my ex’s thinking. Even though he didn’t admit/insist on having sex with another, he clearly thought he was entitled to do so. And that’s what makes him a cheater.

  • The whole polygamy thing just doesn’t make sense to me. So maybe I’m closed minded or maybe not enlightened enough. All I can speak from is my own experiences and the people I’ve known. My ex wife, in typical narcissist fashion proposed this very thing, of course after I found out. Yes, how convenient. I had a distant friend that did this very thing though. Always talked about how going to the burning man was such an enlightening and wonderful thing to do with his wife and how it allowed them to be free!!!
    Two years later, they’re divorced and he’s destroyed and she’s with “Fabio” who she met at the burning man. Shocker right? I feel for him because I’m human. Being cheated on is like being eviscerated sexually and emotionally. Except he let this happen because he says he thought that letting her be free made them closer.Uh Huh. Please, I’m a guy. I can tell you that the only reason he allowed that is he thought he was banging something better. Not for some noble sense of self purpose or her emotional health. I can only imagine she felt something similar. It makes my brain want to explode even trying to comprehend this. Let’s ask a simple question. Why don’t they come right out and say what they are from the beginning if they’re so sure of themselves and they’re lifestyle? Sorry not sorry, one always becomes the cheater, or both.

    • Many do! I know I do. My wife and I have been open and poly since the very start of our time together, and my current girlfriend knew I was married, open, and poly before we started dating.

      I am deeply skeptical of couples who try and switch from a mono to a poly or open relationship. I find those that just start as poly/open are significantly more stable and more healthy.

  • I have an ex for whom I will probably always have a bit of a thing but a) he didn’t mistreat me and b) I don’t want him back. I mean, part of me does but most of me knows that we don’t want the same things out of life and would just break up again, possibly not on good terms the next time. So I’ll let that particular itch go unscratched.

    Sometimes you just have to suck it up and actively look for stuff to fill the gap.

  • “…this one guy is the key to my life.”

    This one idea is how we destroy our lives. No “one guy” or woman is the key to anything. This isn’t love. It’s codependency or unhealthy attachment or worship. It’s actually having a life through other people, which makes us very vulnerable to predators and other disordered people.

    This idea’s first cousin is “I have to be in a romantic relationship to be whole.”

    Leaving this guy would start with BB telling himself a better story about his own life.

  • If I’m honest, I think that if I get into another relationship, that it would be some form of ENM. Not because I want to have sex with other people, but the opposite. I currently identify as asexual, and don’t really want to have sex with anyone, but I’d still love to have a romantic relationship with someone I can trust.
    I don’t believe it would be fair for me to ask a partner to give up sex entirely because I don’t want it, and I’ve given in and had sex when I didn’t want to (for his sake) enough times that I won’t do it again for anyone.
    I don’t know if the asexuality is something that’s always been the case and it’s just taken me years to recognize it, or if it’s a reaction to my XFW (who seemed to like it more when he knew I wasn’t in the mood – maybe it was just another way to torture me), nor do I know if it might change in the future.
    So, as things stand for me at the moment, unless I find a partner who is also asexual, I think asking for sexual monogamy would be unethical. I will, nevertheless, absolutely insist on honesty and emotional fidelity – he can have sex with other people, and that’ll be fine, but I’d rather be the only one he’s in love with.

  • “I will, nevertheless, absolutely insist on honesty and emotional fidelity – he can have sex with other people, and that’ll be fine, but I’d rather be the only one he’s in love with.”

    After reading this thread, one of the points that is repeated, is that very few people can have sex *without* being emotionally involved at some point. I think people who have multiple sexual liaisons and never develop any emotional feelings for their partners, are those who probably never have actual feelings for anyone – in other words, narcissists and sociopaths/psychopaths.

    I don’t understand what you mean by *identifying* as asexual. Some people naturally have a lower than normal sex drive, but surely that can’t be described as an *identity*?

    I think you would be setting yourself up for inevitable heartbreak, in the scenario you describe. So you meet someone, develop romantic feelings, fall in love, but say, “listen, I don’t want to have sex with you, or anyone, but it’s OK for you to have sex with other people, but you mustn’t fall in love”. Not very realistic!

    It sounds to me as if your ex Fuckwit was such an arsehole in bed that any sexual feelings you might have had were flushed down the capper. Or perhaps you just do have a very low sex drive, or are “asexual” as you put it. Absolutely * nothing* wrong with that, if that is the case, but perhaps it might be wise to see a doctor/therapist to determine which it is, then you can go forward with knowledge.

    It’s totally understandable you would wish to love and be loved, most human beings do, but the overwhelming majority of relationships involve sexuality at some point, which is why I say you would be setting yourself up for emotional devastation if you invested in a relationship on the terms you describe.

    Whatever transpires, the best of luck to you, sweetheart. ((hugs)). 💕🤗💕

    • “I don’t understand what you mean by *identifying* as asthem (l. Some people naturally have a lower than normal sex drive, but surely that can’t be described as an *identity*?”

      This exhibits a fundamental misunderstanding. Literally anything can be an identity if it is made salient by wider culture. And I mean literally anything- imagine a future where humans live with other aliens, some who breath air and some who don’t. In that sort of society, an ‘air-breather’ identify could easily form.

      That might sound asinine, but our national-identies would have sounded just as asinine to the entirety of humanity just a few short centuries ago.

      To the OP, their asexuality is important enough to them and, perhaps, to wider society that they aim it as an identity. That is perfectly normal, natural, and should in no way be delegitimised.

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