Polyamory to save a marriage

My husband and I married July 2018 and had twin boys September 2018. Before that we were dating for 3 years. I recently learned that he has cheated on me while we dated and also behaved in ways that were not appropriate for a boyfriend.
I also learned that he cheated on me recently with a different woman and has done so on 3 separate occasions. All of which he never admitted it to me but I learned from his close friend. After confronting him about these incidents he confirmed that it was true. He proceeded to then say that he has reflected on his personality and feels that he would rather have an open relationship or we would have to go our separate ways.
I felt like I could try being monogamish (to save our marriage) we even talked about rules and he said that this is just sexual and non-emotional. However, I feel so betrayed by the lies and lack of respect for our relationship. How can I move forward? Should I give this a try?

Short answer? No.

Long answer? Sometimes cheating can be a precursory to polyamory. We don’t live in a society that encourages people who feel more naturally non-monogamous to ask for this so some people do end up cheating for that reason.

However, the thing that concerns me about this is that he never admitted to cheating on you — you had to find that out yourself. If he had come clean with you and been honest about it, I would try to give it a chance. The fact that he’s now basically forcing you to have an open marriage doesn’t bode well.

Having a polyamorous or even an open relationship isn’t just about people being able to have sex with whomever they want without consequence. It isn’t the same as a monogamous relationship except cheating is allowed. It’s a different type of commitment which requires a lot of honest communication. I would argue that monogamy should equally include a lot of honest communication as well, but I think cultural scripts discourage people from communicating honestly in monogamy. It also requires a lot of care and consideration, especially since within non-monogamy you are going against the script society has given you and that does tend to cause more anxiety.

This is someone who cheats on you while you’re pregnant with his children and is now placing his need to have sex with whomever he wants over not only his partner but his children. That is incredibly selfish. I’m not saying he should force himself into a marriage that he’s unhappy with, but I feel like if the stake of children, who have no control over what either of you do, doesn’t convince him to at least be honest with you… I’m really not sure what else would.

It doesn’t matter if he claims to only want to have sexual relationships with other people — his betrayal to you was emotional and he knew that. That’s why he didn’t tell you about it. Because he knew he violated your trust and hurt you in a very serious way. And now he’s basically demanding you give him permission to cheat.

Don’t. Find someone who is willing to respect you and your partnership. Giving him permission to cheat is not going to change or heal the emotional impact of what he has done to you. And the fact that he doesn’t seem to care about that isn’t a good sign. I wish I had better news and advice to give to you but unfortunately, I think that putting up with any further behaviour from him now will only end up meaning more pain for you.

I hope this helps and good luck!

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