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-   -   Small Town impossibility? (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=28525)

Jayehare 09-12-2012 10:00 PM

Small Town impossibility?
I've never used a help forum like this before, so here goes. I have been with my husband (R) for 13 years, married for 8 years. We have two young children and live in a small remote community. Our relationship is good; we have good communication and the sex is still phenomenal. I love him very, very much, and can imagine growing old with him. Unfortunately, I seem to have completely fallen for with a close friend of both of us. I feel this in no way impacts my feelings for my husband, but we live in a small town and I'm not sure that everyone is going to be that open...

From the moment I met L (the friend), 6 years ago, I was somewhat drawn to him. For years, however, I just chalked that up to him being someone I just connected with. However, eight months ago, things began to shift. I found myself fantasizing about him constantly, to the point that I felt guilt when I spoke to his partner. I tried everything I could to change my thinking, but whenever I had nothing else to think of, I would find myself thinking of him. At times I tried to convince myself that just thinking about him wasn't that bad, and that it was 'safe' - I also did some research and felt that my feelings were normal, but it was still frightening. Things began to get intense between L and I. The energy began to grow, and it was clear that it wasn't one sided. It got to such a point, that I knew I had to express it. One weekend his partner was away, and I had an opportunity to go over there with another friend. Once the other friend left, L and I kept on talking (and drinking, to be honest), and the conversation went to relationships and fidelity. His partner had been unfaithful a number of times, and so I asked if she would be okay if he were to cross that line. He said he didn't know... there was that loaded pause, and I simply asked if we should talk about the elephant in the room. I looked at him, he leaned in, and kissed me.

That was a month and a half ago. Since that night, we've had two other encounters. We've had many conversations about how complicated this all is, and that it couldn't work in a small community. We've tried to stop, and failed. I couldn't handle the dishonesty, and so I started to make steps to see how open my husband could be. He was surprisingly open, and the conversations that we've had have been great and energizing. He even knows that I have feelings for L - buuuut, does not know what has already transpired. I tried to convince L to allow me to talk to his partner, but he flat out refused, stating that he thought their relationship was too fragile for this sort of arrangement, and that his partner was too insecure. Ironically, she has been with other men with his blessing, but it won't allow him the same latitude. He also says that he couldn't handle her developing strong feelings for someone else, but has developed strong feelings for me. I think he's a bit of a coward, but I know I can't force the situation.

My husband and I have been getting along great. The intimacy is amazing - and (this is the weird part) I feel almost exactly the same when my husband holds me, kisses me, touches me as I do when I am with L. I am totally attracted to my husband ... and to L. I love them both.

But - here's my question - how do I honour my love for L and move forward with integrity if he isn't willing to push the boundaries? I think he's wrong about his partner (I know her really well), but that's not my place. I think it's his insecurities getting in the way of recognizing what we have. But I can't force the issue, can I? And even if we could move forward, is it possible in a small town (less than 250 people ...)?

nycindie 09-12-2012 10:59 PM


Originally Posted by Jayehare (Post 154367)
. . . I can't force the issue, can I?


Let it go. Unless L's partner consents, what you'd be doing is requiring him to lie and cheat. I wouldn't do that to anyone I loved, nor to the partner of a loved one. Conduct yourself with dignity and good ethics. You can simply enjoy the deliciousness of your feelings for him without allowing yourself to act on them. If he wants to approach his partner about opening his relationship with her, that's his business and not yours.

Jayehare 09-12-2012 11:06 PM

thanks nycindie,

I don't want to lie or cheat, which is why I want to explore how to bring this above board. But I agree with you - it isn't my place to interfere.

But how do I enjoy the deliciousness of my feelings without feeling tortured when I can't act on them? Because I try and do just that, but then I feel sad - like we're breaking up and I'm just torturing myself with memories ...

nycindie 09-13-2012 12:20 AM


Originally Posted by Jayehare (Post 154374)
But how do I enjoy the deliciousness of my feelings without feeling tortured when I can't act on them?

Well, geez, you have to be a grown-up, quite frankly. He's not a shiny toy being taken away and you're not a two-year-old. He and his partner are real people in a committed relationship and cheating will hurt them. We have to grow up and face the facts when we can't have what we want. The torture comes from your unwillingness to accept reality, and nothing else.

You can't always get what you want.

The trick to enjoying the feelings without acting on them is to stay present and not to let yourself feel attached to a person or those feelings. You have to be in the now to do that. Attachment is about wishing and expectation. If you can really just appreciate every moment you are with him, in the here and nowness of being there, and let go of thinking you should have him if you want him, all the unrealistic wistfulness and the daydreams of him being yours, you can enjoy being with him in the present. Basically, you have to fully be there in every present moment as if there is no tomorrow, act like it is your last moment on earth. And by letting go of the fantasies, you can see him for who he is and be his friend - a real friend who wouldn't tempt him to cheat and lie!

Look, think of it this way - you can have a delicious meal in a restaurant and wish that the wonderful taste of that bite you just took will last forever, but you know it cannot. Eventually, it will go down your throat, you will leave the restaurant, and life moves on. You can only savor it in the moment. You know you can't take the deliciousness of that bite with you, so you let yourself enjoy it right then and there. It's the same thing with a crush on someone. You don't need to act upon it to enjoy it. Let yourself feel excited and giddy, and then let it go when you've parted company. Real love is unconditional and free of pain - pain only comes from trying desperately to hold onto it.

Just be, and enjoy, BUT - and this is a biggie -- do not let yourself be deluded and seduced by the euphoric chemical reaction that is going on between you two. Just don't go there! Because you've already gone too far, and created lies for him to tell, so be very careful not to slip up some more. He simply is not free to explore this with you, no matter how tempting it is to cheat, and you need to discipline yourself and act with integrity. If you refuse to use the will power it takes to behave and act ethically, and you cannot resist indulging in flirtations, then maybe you shouldn't be around him at all.

LovingRadiance 09-13-2012 12:25 AM


(I know her really well), but that's not my place.
It's not your place to press honesty, integrity and ethical behavior?
But it is your place to enable lying and cheating?

You are having an affair. You are disrespecting and mistreating this woman.

Cheating is not polyamory.
Feel free to read my story for frame of reference regarding what personal experience I base my assertations on.

So long as you are allowing yourself to participate in unethical, deceitful behavior-you are not ready to explore polyamory. That goes for him as well.

dingedheart 09-13-2012 01:21 AM

2 other encounters. What does that mean exactly ....just more kissing or full on sex.?

You want him to be honest and up front with his wife yet you aren't with your husband. You are letting him believe this is coming from some theoretical place.....isn't that dishonest.

If roles were reversed would you want to be treated like this......being sold this as a means to an end.

I think you need to tell him the complete truth then he can make an informed decision on what's right for him. After being truthful an honest with your husband and working out the aftermath if there is any .....then you can look to your bf to do the same with his spouse.

Good luck D

AnnabelMore 09-13-2012 04:17 PM

My suggestions. Deal with things in order. Order of what's your responsibility, order of what could ruin your life if you don't manage it right, what you can theoretically control, and order of importance.

First things first. Come clean to your husband. Apologize profusely, tell him how much you love him, make no excuses, dont try to justify yourself, you were in the wrong and you won't do it again and you can't live with lying to him. This almost certainly WILL come back to bite you and it WILL be worse if it happens any other way. For example, what if L breaks down and tells his wife, and she confronts your husband. Don't let that happen. Reclaim your integrity. A crush is no excuse to cheat, and fear of consequences is no excuse to maintain a lie.

Next. Assuming your husband is ok, tell L that you can't see him anymore -- can't be alone together, can't be more than very casual friends in group social situations -- if he won't come clean to his wife. This could either save or end their marriage, but at least they won't be in this dysfunctional place anymore. You're right, you shouldn't force the issue, it needs to be his choice. But you can choose not to be a part of an unhealthy, unfair, unethical situation. What right will you have to complain, if she gets an STD from a partner you didn't know she had and it gets passed on to you and your husband from liaisons that she (and he, if you skip step one) didn't know you were having?? As for feelings, he needs to man up and confront his own hypocrisy. What sort of partnership do they even have at this point, with so many lies floating around in it?

Last. Assuming that L and his wife are ok, then you can decide how you want to tell or not tell the other 200+ people in your town.

Bottom line, you can't have your cake and eat it too, and the fallout could be so much worse, in so many ways, including perception of you in your small town, if you let self-interest continue to guide you over doing what's fair for all involved.

Good luck!!

Jayehare 09-13-2012 04:44 PM


Originally Posted by nycindie (Post 154379)
He simply is not free to explore this with you, no matter how tempting it is to cheat, and you need to discipline yourself and act with integrity.

Thank you for your direct honesty. I have been acting like a bit of a teenager, I admit. My feelings are getting in the way. I guess I've been justifying my actions by trying to simply validate that my feelings for L are real and important. I've been conveniently ignoring the cheating part - feeling like if my husband knows how I feel it's almost as good as him knowing what I've done. I see that it isn't.

I can't believe that I got myself into this mess. I wish I had acted with integrity from the beginning - spoken about my feelings instead of acting on them. I know that it's okay to love two people, but not to act the way that we've been acting.

Basically, I'm a bit of an asshole, aren't I?

But do I have the guts to come clean?

Jayehare 09-13-2012 04:45 PM


Originally Posted by LovingRadiance (Post 154381)

Cheating is not polyamory.
Feel free to read my story for frame of reference regarding what personal experience I base my assertations on.

Where can I read your story? I would be very interested.

ThatGirlInGray 09-13-2012 05:35 PM

LR's blog on this site is here. Otherwise the link in her signature goes to her wordpress blog.

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