A matter of perspectives.
So, not long ago, my wife (justlost, here) posted her perspective on our story. She requested to me that I, in turn, post my side of the story, as it were. Here, I'll try to do that. Forgive me if I'm a little rambling while I try to do this - it tends to take me a little while to form full, coherent thoughts (and, while this is pretty new to us, a lot happened to lead me to this point).
She posted a lot of the relevant facts in her story, but I'll sum up here. As implied by the title, what is relevant to my perspective diverges a bit from hers... fair warning - this is going to be a long post.
To try and explain how I got here, I probably have to start at the beginning. My parents were reformed hippies, and while I don't remember anything particularly 'open' about their relationship, it is relevant in that I was always raised to try and figure things out for myself.
My first real memories related to my parents relationship really are pretty negative - there were some pretty nasty fights leading to a divorce, and many of those were in front of my brother and I. This was probably my first clue that their model was broken,and when I got a bit older, I learned that the divorce was a result of my father getting involved in a relationship with another woman. Classic failure of the monogamous ltr, it now seems to me.
Fast forward a few years, and I'm in high school, and my first significant relationship. Somehow, I got involved with a pair of girls - first one,then her close friend, though the first remained somewhat involved, and there were a few times where things probably could have shifted to a triad type situation, if I weren't at that point stuck on trying to make the 'one boy, one girl' model work. C'est le vie, I was young and hadn't yet figured out that such a situation could have been very fulfilling.
That relationship ended shortly after high school, and I had a stint in the service (where I learned that I didn't enjoy sex without meaningful emotional connection) , and after that a series of failed relationships post service, including one m-f-m triad situation, which collapsed because of honesty issues (she couldn't be straightforward with what was going on, and I later found out he was a diagnosed pathological liar - not exactly the basis for a honest, trusting relationship) .
I was in my mid 20s when I met JL. She and I were in similar social circles, friends talked us into getting to know one another. By that point, I had already pretty much given up on committed relationships, which, if I recall, was one of the initial hurdles to our early relationship. We worked through that, and I, fully enveloped in NRE, decided I could make a committed monogamous relationship work.
For 10 years of marriage, now, I have. A single event - a threesome with my wife and a close mutual friend, B, which ultimately didn't happen because my wife got uncomfortable with it at almost the last minute - was the closest I've come in something like 13 years to being unfaithful to her.
That almost threesome, which was about 10 years ago, was a key factor in a significant lull in that friendship. Of course, it wasn't really the only one, and I suspect that it would have picked back up after the awkwardness wore off, if we hadn't moved out of town while emotions were still pretty high.
Through a matter of strange coincidences, 10 years later, we found ourselves living in the same town as B, but 1500 miles away from where we started. When JL found out B was in the same town she renewed the friendship, and asked me if I had any intention of pushing for what once was.
This is the morally grey area, for me. I probably should have rightly said that it was far to early to tell that truly. Instead, because of a lot of stressors at work, and some tension in our personal relationship, I stated that I didn't - an honest evaluation of my immediate feeling, but lacking full consideration of what may be.
So, for a few months, this went along OK. JL spent time with B, and I mostly avoided the situation. Then, life as life happened, and JL's relationship with B deepened, it became difficult to strictly avoid increased contact with B. I was trying to maintain limits, but JL noticed something in my interactions with B, and asked me if I was starting to develop feelings for B. Given my natural inclination for truth, I spent some time considering and realized that yes, feelings were emerging. I hadn't really been considering the possibility before, so this discovery actually came as news to both of us.
Her immediate response was 'what does that mean?'
This took some to consider, and ultimated I answered her with the most complete answer I could - it means that I'd like to explore the possibility of having B become a closer part of our relationship.
JL, being the incredibly amazing wife and friend that she is, tentatively blessed the idea, provided we take time and let things happen as everyone becomes comfortable with the changes.
We are now in the learning and accepting phase. I discovered this website, and realized there was a name for what I was feeling, that I wasn't broken or wrong in my goals.
JL has spoken with B a few times regarding the possibility, and B was open to explore the concept. At the same time, JL has gone through the 'this is wrong, this can never work, maybe this is ok' cycle numerous times since then.
I've agreed to take time with this, and this is also B's preference, and ive come to accept that there is a real possibility that letting this proceed could ultimately mean the end of our relationship.
Could add a lot more, but I think this covers the basics. Further, its late, and I want to get at least a little rest before work. I'll add more as it comes up, but hope this gives a high level overview of the present situation.
Thanks for reading this, and once again I apologize for the very long post.
One thing I can tell you ,( that I have come to find in any opening of a relationship )..is that those highs and lows are going to happen, and that they are ok. :)
As long as the spouse is talking, and being honest and open, that is the best place to be.
So if they talk when they feel good,...great.
If they cry and spill out their fears ...also great.
When people shutdown, that is when problems happen.
I am talking specifically about spouses here, ftr of anyone reading. :)
I have watched as much damage happen, during 'highs' when spouses stop talking ( They get far to consumed with the new partner, forget to keep embracing the old partner.)...as I have when people get scared and shutdown.
So on that note..I think its great, that your wife is able to communicate both her scared moments to you, as well as her 'ok' moments. :)
Yes. The one thing I'm completely clear on is that communication is paramount. Open, honest, clear communication.
That much is definitely in our favor. We aren't always great at talking, but we both keep trying, and we both keep trying to get better at it.
trying to get better at it is probably the absolute best thing we can do!
Yup. Communication can NOT be overstated in importance, and it goes hand in hand with honesty. So far, I think you're both doing it right :)
Something I just recently discovered with Mohegan he hard way - communication is not like riding a bike, in that you have to CONSTANTLY work at it and put effort into it, or you start to suck at it. Even when things are going good, even when communication is going good, you still have to put that effort into making sure that it happens.
I'm horrible at updating this..
I think I much prefer to simply talk. When I'm writing here, I tend to make these very long winded explanations, and way more detail than is probably helpful.
That said ... Communication is ongoing. Speaking of communication, I finally took another step.
One of the ... issues ... we've been facing is that Just has been explaining things to B, trying to reassure her, and generally handing the tricky parts of explaining this whole thing to her. B has been pretty much ok with that - she isn't in a hurry to ramp up a relationship, and we all want to take as much time as it takes, and make sure everybody is ok with each step.
This week, after some talking with Just, I had a brief conversation with B, and told her that I felt it wasn't really fair to Just to make her the primary focus of communication. She agreed, but as she wasn't really feeling well, I didn't try for any further discussion at that point.
Tonight, I was working on an email, trying to explain (to myself, as much as to them) what I was kind of hoping for, what I was thinking ... Kind of made an oops, and clicked send, where I meant to click save draft. Ya, not so great.
Not that what I had to say was all that extreme, but I'm not sure I was really ready to send that one out.. B is still wrapping her head around the poly thing (FWB, FB - 'open relationship' - sure, not too complicated.... Poly?? what is that).. So, at this point, I've either scared her off completely, or ushered in a new level of communication. Which remains to be seen.
Oh yes ... what I sent.
Either way, this is for the best.
If it turns out that B is not actually interested in letting the relationship develop, this will get that out in the open.
And if she is, then this sets a little framework.
One of the biggest challenges I've had in this developing situation between Just and B and I, is the ambiguity. We've been proceeding as if we were sure that this is what B wants, and .... while she has given every indication that is the case (slowly growing physical intimacy between B and I, long talks about life, the universe, and everything, all that...) .. None of this has been totally clear. I feel as though Just has been through hell, and while it serves her well in some ways, as this is likely to come up later if not now, I sometimes wonder if its really pre-mature.
B is still very much in the 'this is ok, I want it - wait, I'm not sure' phase. I"m not trying to rush things, I know they need to move at a pace that is ok with everyone - but I could use some clarity or recognition of the direction they are moving in, and kind of long term intentions.
I'm definitely not interested in pushing things to move faster than they are .... but I do think we're at a point where we all kind of need to evaluate what's happening, and whether we're all ok with it.
I'm not looking for commitment at this point, just recognition of the path towards .... wherever we're going. Guess maybe I need to find some way to clarify that.
I think you need to let them both know exactly what you just posted here, IE "I'm not trying to rush things for either of you, but I need to know what you guys are thinking, and what you want here. Even if that answer is 'I don't know' ".
Remember, there are three people involved here. You seem to be doing a pretty good job keeping their needs in mind - but don't forget that you have needs too, and this is one of them.
So.. sound advice, basically. My main concern is really a matter of getting my questions answered without coming across as needy or insecure.
I find insecurity to be neither healthy nor attractive. I don't feel insecure. In large part, I want the clarity because I know it helps Lost. For myself, is see and feel things developing. I'm ok with the pace they are moving at, and too much pushing rushes that. A delicate balance. My desire to talk about it is really a matter of a healthy desire for open and clear communication, yet part if me really feels that pushing too hard for that comes across as really needy or insecure. I don't feel that way, and I really don't want to come across that way.
Ugh. I've worked all night, and I'm sure that shows in a somewhat .. Incoherent post.
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