I'm so stupid....
I want to start with the fact that this is not a positive poly story but only because of stupid decisions made by me. This is more of a How-not-to-Poly than anything else.
I am 40ish and someone with very few friends but the few I have are the type that would do anything for me and I for them. My wife and children are the center of my life and most EVERYTHING I do, I do for them. I work 2 jobs so that my wife can stay home and be a mom. If we need more money, I find more hours or another job. They are my life.
I have an amazing wife who was my high school sweetheart and is my soulmate. I can't imagine my life without her. We have 2 wonderful children together. We started dating in the 80s and have been married for 15yrs now. Our neighbors and friends see us as the "perfect couple". We honestly never fight. We communicate better than any other couple I know. If something comes up that most couples fight about, we sit down and talk about it.
We are for-the-most-part on the same level of perversion with the exception of her declining libido (which isn't an excuse for my actions). We were eachother's "first" and have done just about everything you can imagine sexually. For a short period of time, we were actively having sex with another married couple. It was sex, no emotional commitment. We had groundrules that we put into place to limit the possibility from becoming emotionally involved in the physical act. No kissing, no activity without the other of us involved etc... We stopped when the other couple divorced due to completely unrelated events (financial). Since we didn't want to find strangers or freak out any of our other friends, we didn't continue the "swinging" lifestyle.
My wife and I have a common friend "M". We all grew up and went through school together. M and I were close and developed a tight bond and then we just lost eachother. For 20 years.
I would google her, look for her family in the phonebooks where I thought she might be... Then one night imagine my PURE DELIGHT when I saw her on another friends Facebook. I e-mailed her immediately and was giddy for weeks as we started to communicate again. I let my wife know that I found her and the three of us met up and had a GREAT time just hanging out and catching up. She became a regular part of our family in a matter of 6 months. She'd come over to watch movies, eat dinner, drink etc... The bond was still there and I was elated to have my 2 best friends in my life, my wife and M.
After about 4 months of having her back in my life, I discovered that I love M. I remember the first time I realized it when I saw her playing with our children and I put together my bond I feel with her and the emotions I was suddenly flooded with. WHAT THE HELL?!!!!
I can't love her! I still love my wife! If I love someone else, I have to divorce because that's what couples do! And I was raised Southern Baptist so now I'm going to hell because I have to get a divorce and I told the preacher and my God that I would not love anyone else after I got married!!! I have to stop loving her. How? I honestly believe (then and now) that M is ALSO my soulmate. I looked it up and learned about Polyamory. I believe that I am Poly in that I love two women with all my heart but I can't imagine either of them with another man. I have read on the forums that this is not uncommon.
Here is where M and I made a STUPID decision (yeah, you knew it was coming). We both discovered the other had shared emotions. We started to privately say "I love you". That is innocent enough. We started to meet for lunch and for coffee. Heck, that isn't bad. People eat and drink coffee all the time. We started to kiss (I was surprised the first time I kissed her because I was slapped with the memory of our primary rule while swinging). We started to fondle. We met at a hotel. I suddenly realized that the two of us turned this into a fully physical AFFAIR!!! THAT WAS THE LAST THING I WANTED!!!! Through all of this, my love for my wife and family never changed. If anything my courting of M re-sparked some of what was lost over time with me and my wife.
M and I never did any of this with the intention of breaking up the family or taking me away from my wife. M knows how much I love my wife and knows that the only thing that would make me kick her to the curb is if she tried to make me love my wife less or choose between the two of them.
Even though we did this horrible thing to my family, M and I still love eachother deeply and my love for my wife has not changed either. We have acknowledge to each other the wrong in what we have done and have stopped the physical portion of our affair. I don't know how to stop loving her though.
We stopped talking for about 4 weeks and that was hell for both of us. I honestly felt as though a family member died. My wife knew something was up because I was genuinely going through the stages of mourning. Since M stopped coming around, I had to lie about why and I told her that I said something that upset M and she's giving me the silent treatment and that I hope she get's over it. Thankfully, M would still call or IM my wife so she wasn't completely changing how things were overnight.
M and I were both doing this and finally we decided we had to talk, to at least be in eachother's lives to remain happy. We both know that we will never stop loving eachother though and that the physical intimacy will never happen again.
My deepest hope is that someday I'll be able to have M back into our family in a completely open poly relationship. I then think to myself "how would I respond if my wife told me that she loves another man and that she wants to add him into our family". I honestly can say that I would be angered and hurt. Then I think to the love that M and I share and realize that she wouldn't be loving me less. Then I feel like a pig but then I realize that I am not in lust with M... It really is love.
How does someone stop loving a soulmate? I am afraid that this is my deserved burden to carry for the rest of my life.
I am not looking for any sympathy or anyone to tell me that I did nothing wrong or that it's not that bad. I am an asshole for doing this to my wife and my family (who still don't and I hope will never know).
Wow. That's painful! Keep your stick on the ice, man.
Ok. Here is another peeve of mine.
First - I am sorry for your pain, truly. Please don't think that I am not.
Its just that - You don't have to stop loving someone!! EVER!
I love sooo many people, it doesn't mean I am in relationships (in all the ways you can define relationships) with them all.
And love is something you give to someone... I firmly believe if you love someone you let them go. Love is not holding on, love is not suffering either...
If you need to for your family , you CAN let this woman go. You can still love her until the day you die, but you can also let her go.
Life isn't fair, love isn't fair, and we don't get either of them for long enough. Cherish what you have and sacrifice when you must.
That's my rant.
I hope is is more empowering than sad.
Sounds like you need to make a decision. Either come clean and tell your wife what's going on and ask for what you want in this or give it up and let it go.
Everybody fucks up and does stupid things from time to time. What really matters is how we handle ourselves after realizing how we've fucked up.
I could say a MILLION things.
First-you don't STOP loving someone.
Love doesn't STOP.
That said-if you want a real life version of how a group of people CAN take a fuck up like this and create a beautiful loving poly family-go read the beginning posts by Maca and I. They start in September of this year. If you click on our profiles you can find them...
It's sadly surprising how common your story is. I always say that it isn't what happened, it's what you do after that counts... you are now in a position of educating others that you see go down a similar path... talking about it helps other realize they are not alone and can make a different choice. I see that as your responsibility now. That is the only way I have found to ease the guilt of cheating and having an affair. Own what you did and turn it around to benefit others.
I totally get that you think you are in love. I would like to suggest that under that circumstance you perhaps thought so as a reaction to something you were not getting out of your relationship with your wife. Perhaps you could look towards her and figure out what that is before anything else...
I totally get that it is possible that the two of you are soulmates. That could be also, but the fact of the matter is that you have a responsibility to your wife first and your family... then to anything outside of that...
Perhaps you can figure out how to make this all work, but in my experience I have not seen a relationship work out (other than LR! who is a miracle :D)for the long haul that starts with cheating. There is quite often too much damage done in that... if you had caught it at the coffee stage, and been honest and open with your wife then, maybe, but I don't hold much hope out..
Really, if I were you I would end it with this woman you say you love and get your integrity back. Maybe then in the future something more respectful will come up that suits you all far better. In this way you can talk afresh about poly and start out on the right foot, rooted in love, respect, connection and with thought for all involved.
good luck my friend, sounds like you made a mess, you and her... don't forget to pass that on to others so they have a chance of not ending up where you are.
I agree with Redpepper that your story is not an uncommon way people discover polyamory. Many polyamory discovery stories are filled with "lessons learned."
On the positive side, I have heard of some poly stories where it did succeed despite an initial affair, but it was not easy for anyone involved. The last one I heard worked because they guy came completely clean. The wife needed about a year to deal and process it all. She set the pace, but in the end, she was able to re-trust her husband and her friend.
But I have also heard these stories turn bad. I hope it works out well for you.
I guess it really just depends on the circumstance.
Sorry I haven't followed up with any of the posts, it's been an exciting holiday time with the family.
I feel that I type like I think which is normally rambling. If this bothers you, I will improve as I get more comfortable sharing what's going on and as I understand better what I need to do and how to do it.
I still haven't discussed my issue with my wife but M and I have stopped our physical interactions but still hang out and are close friends. We still tell eachother that we love one another but that is it. We tried to not do that and it just didn't feel right.
I have tried to convince myself that M was just there for me when I was having a need that she was willing to fill and then I tried to convince myself that this is just an infatuation that I let go to far. Nothing I try changes how I feel for her. I continue to love her the same that I love my wife and my children.
I saw where some people responded (some with vigor) that you don't stop loving people (LovingRadiance, I have read up and continue to learn from your experiences THANKS). I know I will never stop loving M just like I would never stop loving my family. I just don't know how to love someone as much as I love her and not feel like part of my soul is missing when she's not there.
Part of me is relieved that my story isn't uncommon and part of me is excited to know that other people who have made my mistake have gone on to experience what I believe my heart and soul needs.
And finally there is a part that is scared to death of bringing this up with my wife and crushing her heart even though I don't love her any less... And there is the fact that I know I would be hurt (at least initially) if she came to me with the same request/statement. Maybe I'd think of M and be able to quickly get my jealousy under control.
Weather or not my wife and I open our marriage is way up in the air. The one thing that I am 100% certain of is that I love my wife, childrean and M all with the same emotions and intensity as the other. I am Poly.
Thanks for letting me ramble and thanks to the board owners who have given us a place to be with like minds.
-more to come-
OK, in plain language, you cheated on your wife and are having an affair with another woman, and are continuing to (even if there isn't a sexual component) - I think that most people would regard secret meetings and declarations of love to be cheating, whether there is sex there or not.
The big question, I guess, is whether you feel that this is sustainable - and I don't just mean the ability to keep it a secret from your wife, but also your feelings about yourself, knowing that you are doing this.
If you can and want to live with yourself continuing the cheating, then so be it.
If it's something that you can't live with, or choose not to, then I think that you really have some very hard decisions to make.
Either way seems to be very difficult, and I wish you luck.
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