Wanted: Advice about an affair that may not wait
Two weeks ago, my wife of 10 years (GF of an addition 15 or so years) admitted to having an unconsummated attraction to a married female colleague. Although this initially threw me, I love and trust my wife enough to not stand in her way and to believe, as she has convinced me, that there's room in her heart for two.
My wife and I have talked at length over the last several days and covered a great deal of emotional ground. It's been a real rollercoaster for me in particular. She and I have also been in research mode, which has helped inform our disenchantment with monogamy.
However, our judgment may be clouded.
The fact is, the other woman's marriage is on the rocks and she's torn about telling her husband about the budding affair. While her unhappiness with him predates my wife's arrival on the scene, that other marriage is the subject of much discussion between her and my wife. I'm frankly uncomfortable being a party to those talks. My gut says it isn't any of my business, yet the possible secrecy (keeping the other husband in the dark about our wives' relationship) flies in the face of the openness and truth telling the three of us have at least said we want to foster between us.
The other woman recently informed her husband that he has neglected her to such a degree that she's on the brink of calling it quits. This has gotten his attention (he's spent much of the past several months out of state) and in response he's finally said things that lead her to believe he wants to rescue their relationship.
Whether that happens or it ends, she apparently wants to pursue an intimate relationship with my wife, just as my wife wants to be with her. My wife's GF said at one point she won't tell her husband about the affair-to-be but at other times has said it would be better if he knew sooner rather than later.
In the mean time, she and my wife are planning to spend their first night together - at a hotel tomorrow (Wednesday) night. (They have reportedly kissed but have not gone further than that as of yet.) They planned this night before her husband agreed to fly home next Tuesday to try to reconcile with her. His flight has not, however, convinced the women to push back their date.
I don't have a problem with their desire to be together. But I'm unnerved by the other husband not knowing what's happening, let alone not having the opportunity to give his consent (not that anyone thinks he would, he's not being given a chance). As I was recently told by a member of this forum, "You can't build a poly life on a bad marriage. That's Poly 101."
I'd really hate to be him. A part of me is rooting for him to salvage their marriage. But the odds are stacked against him, and maybe rightfully so, but he doesn't know that yet.
I'm not in a position to serve as his advocate, however. And I'm afraid that any attempt by me to argue against the wisdom of following through with tomorrow's date night would be viewed as me selfishly attempting to derail their plans to have sex, which I can't pretend doesn't scare me to some degree.
So what would the more poly-experienced folks on this board do? What are the likely consequences that would come of our wives a) proceeding as planned tomorrow night, b) putting it off until after the other woman and her husband can at least talk through their own problems, c) letting him know or not know about the developing affair, or d) postponing development of a deeper relationship between thee two women entirely until the other marriage is resolved or dissolved?
I think I know the answers. But I/we could use some more objective input.
They have made you an accessory before the fact because you know he is being kept in the dark before they plot their cheating hook up. It is now your business. You have been roped in.
They are also upsetting you by not getting his consent because this makes your wife a knowing participating cheater. Are you happy knowing this about your wife's character? Are you happy knowing this about your potential metamour that you are supposed to entrust your wife's well being to?
They promise you open truthiness? Ok. Here is first opportunity to practice open truthiness in their new developing romance. They choose what? Do lies of omission to him and choose to do accessory before the fact to you. Yuck! (Now you also wonder what they are already keeping / will be keeping from you with lies of omission, huh?)
Are you happy to be used this way? Nope. Why else would you post? Soooo not ethical. This is not loving behavior toward the husbands. Keeping him in the dark and causing you mental and emotional pain. :(
Or tell him and go ahead without his consent? This would still be a cheating affair. Just in front of his face instead of behind his back. Callous! :eek: Be kinder to end it with him first! And you are still being upset for all the reasons in A) above. Still not treating husbands with loving behavior.
Consequences of her not letting him know?
In those shoes? I'd hope my DH had some self respect. That he felt he was worth waiting for and dating nicely and appropriately. Tell the potential person something like
"I care for you too. But my wife and I have ethical agreements to meet before taking on new partners. So go home and sort your thing out with your husband. Patch it up to Open Well, or Break Up Well first. So things are clean. THEN look me up. Don't be involving me and my wife in drama if you claim to love me so. That is not loving behavior toward ME. That is also not respectful behavior to my wife, your potential metamour. Disrespect to my wife is disrespect to me. Love me and respect me enough to date me nicely and appropriately."
If it were me and DH in this? If my DH was planning on doing that with his potential GF? Planning a hotel hookup despite my not giving full consent (because the other spouse is being kept in the dark?)
I would remind him this is NOT ethical and there will be consequences on our relationship tier for going on with the plan. I cannot be with a cheater. I have a limit. We have agreements about all parties giving consent.
If he moves forward despite my voicing concerns and limits?
I cannot control other people. I can control me and how I behave. I can respect my own limits.
Let's have some ethics and some kind of a code, dude. Play like Jedi. Not like the Muppet Show!
Her doing this put you and your family into the mess of another relationship.
How can this guy have any chance at an honest repair if his wife is distrcated with another lover ...thats crazy....and cruel... why bother just to make a fool out of him.
I 'd invite your wife and her new partner to read the responses to this thread so it's not your suggestion.
Just because they want to doesn't mean they should. Not every attraction or crush needs to be acted upon. Why can't they wait? What's the hurry? I know their desire for each other is probably the reason, but sheesh, use a vibrator and fantasize, for goodness sakes. What are they, children who don't know how to control themselves?
Your wife wants to be with a potential cheater. That means, if she does hook up with this woman, your wife is participating in the deception and is actively putting this woman in the position of lying, hiding, and not being ethical. Why does she thinks that it is okay? This woman feeling neglected by her husband is no excuse and does not justify doing that to him. There may be more behind the scenes that your wife is not privy to. I say, they both need to slow the fuck down and get a grip on reality!
You are trusting this other woman with your wife's heart and body, and yet she's not trustworthy enough to put a hold on a prospective affair while attempting to work on her relationship with her life partner. Your wife is getting into a vulnerable situation with someone who.s proving that she values pleasure over honesty. Of course you're concerned. I would explain this, and ask them to hold off. Another way to think about it -- infidelity sometimes makes people go crazy, crimes of passion and all that. Do you really want to risk a jealous, grief-maddened, betrayed husband putting a bullet in your wife if he catches them at it? Why can't they just wait???
This isn't cool and you are within your rights in not wanting to be a party to it.
Your wife and potential girlfriend are flying towards a cliff at a million miles per hour. When they hit bottom - and they will sooner or later - the fallout will impact you, your wife, the girlfriend, the GF's husband and any children involved as well as lots of other folks (family, friends, work associates, etc.).
Beg them to wait. They are cheating. Yes, when one is so in love and so hot for each other it is so painful to wait. Do it anyway. They can start their relationship with integrity and trust with each other and with you and with the husband if he is still in the picture. How long once the love and sex stupidity wears off (and it will) will it occur to your wife or her girlfriend, 'Can I really trust this person? After all they had an affair with me?' How long will this go before you wonder 'Can I trust my wife? After all she is having an affair with this person?'
The girlfriend needs to sort out things with her husband first. Yes, that may take time. And maybe he is a dick and she should just dump his ass and leap headfirst into your wife's arms. Or she may want to see if they can salvage the relationship - and still jump into your wife's arms with the husband's knowledge.
I personally do not think it is your place to tell the husband. However, if asked, I would not lie. Tell your wife and her girlfriend that. You will also not assist them. You support your wife's love for this woman but not her cheating. And tell your wife how disappointed you are in her. Where is her good sense, good judgment? That may get your point across like nothing else.
I would point your wife to reading about NRE and the destructive manifestations it can have. Also, I would suggest she read about chemical love-the reality of what she's going through is-it's not "LOVE". It's her body being flooded with a bunch of feel-good chemicals, like CRACK.
Not to say that love couldn't develop at some point between her and this woman, but love isn't filled with the need to rush-it's confident and contented.
I agree with Galagirl's post above-100%, so I won't repeat it. But, I will tell you WHY I agree.
I am polyamorous.
I married under a monogamous agreement.
My husband was... neglectful and emotionally abandoned me in the first several years of our marriage.
(there were reasons-those are not pertinent here-but you can read about them if you wish in my blog)
I had an EMOTIONAL (not sexual) affair with my best friend (of 10 years at that time).
Later (couple YEARS), thinking the marriage was over and "why bother waiting it out" I consummated the emotional affair with a full physical and sexual affair.
The resulting disaster nearly destroyed ME.
It nearly destroyed my husband.
It nearly destroyed my lover (best friend).
It nearly destroyed my children.
The consequences were NOT WORTH the gratification EVEN THOUGH the situation I was in was certainly one that most people would have understood me filing for divorce.
The clean-up, the trust lost between EACH of those people and myself (including my KIDS), the years of re-earning that trust-EVEN WITH MY LOVER (best friend)... it just isn't worth it.
However, waiting long enough to be honest and upfront, to uphold the truth of your principles and be forthright with everyone who is directly impacted by your actions-
DOES NOT IN ANY WAY REDUCE THE ENJOYMENT of making mad passionate love with a new lover.
The consequences of waiting are positive. Because you keep your self-respect, honor and the wait will make the consummation that much sweeter.
The consequences of not waiting are all negative. Because regardless of how great that night feels-it will always be tinged with the resulting loss of trust-between you and your wife, between both of the ladies deep down, between the other husband and his wife.
Yes, I too would wait - he'll be home soon, she can share that she is unhappy and why, say shes attracted to somebody else - he may not be AS threatened as its another woman, so its possible that can open the discussions more easily, and they could perhaps reconcile AND allow for a poly relationship, or at least end things without anybody feeling betrayed..
I'd caution my wife to hold off, you'll all feel better about it. Nothing is stopping them from having a date next week after things get more settled with the husband, one way or the other. It's not a healthy entrance into poly to cheat, and I'm guessing you'll feel conflicted enough about it from what you've said that it will affect you negatively as you move forward (after all, you came close to being in the other husband's position)- and that is something you need to be clear about with your wife.
Your wife's new girlfriend has an unstable situation. That instability will come into your marriage if she pursues this relationship now. The other woman needs to clean things up on her end before doing anything with your wife. That means the other woman needs to decide if she is in or out of her marriage. If in, she needs to take whatever time is necessary to see if her husband is willing to open their marriage before she does anything with this woman. Starting a relationship with this other woman the way things are (for the other woman) now is NOT the healthy seeking you spoke of in another thread.
Thank you. All of you. I/we were heard. Before going out last night, my wife read my post and most of your comments, harsh as some of them were. We needed exactly that - to be called out.
After reading what's above the day before yesterday, my wife immediately called her GF and shared my concerns with her. They agreed to still go out together, because they needed that time. (They both have high pressure jobs and lead very busy lives which will undoubtedly prove challenging as they go forward. But as my wife said, "It's a good thing we're both organizers.") They agreed that there would be no expectation of sleeping together, and they held to that.
My wife's first comment to me after reading all this was "I get the impression that you expect that xx and I will be together long term." I said I did, but nothing in her relationship background suggested otherwise. My wife said she expected me to seek consultation elsewhere, so my posting to this forum neither surprised nor upset her. (If it isn't obvious by now, she's amazing.)
To update this thread, I'll say that last night the two of them did go out for dinner and to the hotel room (a necessity, given both of our homes have children in them) to talk uninterrupted and throughly about their relationship and their relationships with us, their husbands. Aside from kissing, they did not get physical and they did not stay the night. My wife and I talked a bit when she got home and again this morning.
It sounds to me like they've gone a long way in clarifying their feelings for one another and acknowledging that they must put on hold acting fully on those feelings at least until the other husband is brought up to speed. The other husband returns from out of state on Monday night. Then time will tell whether he proves himself up to the task of saving their marriage and earning a place back in her heart. My wife said she urged her to tell him about the two of them as soon as possible. The GF said she knows she should. Furthermore, she said she can imagine him accepting and supporting it.
That's a big step forward. Now the challenge is the follow through and dealing with however he responds.
He may well react with anger and be inconsolable; unable to address his wife's needs. No more would be expected of him, if my scan yesterday of the crammed "relationships" section at the local chain bookstore is any indication. There must have been more than a dozen titles advising unhappy couples on how to shore up their listless monogamous marriages, deal with the aftermath of affairs or, for more suspicious and untrusting spouses, books on how to sniff and snuff out affairs before they happen.
The shelf included only a couple copies of "The Ethical Slut" to challenge our hard-wired assumption that everyone must couple up, commit to one another exclusively or divorce and die alone.
I spent several moments gazing at this book selection and wondering, "Am I wrong to trust my wife when she says she loves me more than she ever has in nearly 30 years, but also that she is now in love with this other person I barely know? Should I run? Would anyone blame me for running?"
It didn't take me long to conclude that I am not wrong to trust my wife. Yes, she left me once before for another woman. But we found eachother again. And since then she has, on countless occasions, demonstrated her commitment to me and our family. She is unwilling to risk losing us; the fortunate and love-filled life we've built together.
Although I have spent only a handful of hours on this discussion board, it has amazed me. Rather than adapt a laissez faire attitude about any and all nonmonogamous arrangements, you folks challenge people's motivations, and assumptions and point out their blind spots. And you unfailingly promote fairness, full disclosure, obtaining consent and sharing/receiving love with the utmost integrity.
As I've said, my relationship with the woman I married started nearly 30 years ago. In all that time, I admit I haven't worked this hard on "us." It hasn't been easy, no, but laying bare our fears, our dreams, our expectations and our boundaries as we have over the last couple weeks has been extraordinary. (So, too, has the more frequent and more adventuresome sex we've been having, not coincidentally. Enough said.)
So thank you for this forum. Thank you for calling us on our shit. It's all been instructive and, I expect, it will continue to be.
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