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-   -   I have a husband and a mistress (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=30405)

LoveBunny 10-17-2012 09:23 PM

I have a husband and a mistress
I’m a 40yr old bisexual female, married to Hubby 7 yrs, and we lived together 7 before that. No kids. Before Hubby, I had many open relationships, whereas Hubby was a serial monogamist. At first, Hubby was open to exploration. We had threesomes with my ex-boyfriend, and there was a girl in my office that I fooled around with and Hubby was okay with that. In fact, his openness to my sexuality was part of why I married him. After we married and left the big city for a tropical island, we settled into many years of monogamy. I built lots of friendships outside of my marriage. Hubby is a workaholic, and he almost never comes out with me or socializes with my friends. I enjoyed flirtation with both sexes, maybe a drunken make-out session with a female friend, a dance with a strange boy, nothing more. And for a while, it was enough.

Two months ago, a female acquaintance of mine became something much more. The first time we talked one on one, I knew it was on, she just knocked my socks off. Before anything happened between us, I approached Hubby in the interest of honesty and integrity. At first, Hubby gave me a green light, thinking it would just be a drunken make-out or two, and maybe he’d get to watch. Cut to a couple of dates later, once he realized I actually had feelings for Missy, and she for me (and he would likely NOT be involved, as she felt no sexual interest in him) he tried to shut it down, but I just…couldn’t. I was miserable at the idea of not exploring the relationship with Missy, and resentful. After all, Hubby knew I was bi when he married me, and I was also quite open about the fact that monogamy was NOT, by nature, my default setting. Anyway, after lots of arguing, talking, and me reassuring him that I have no intention of leaving him or taking anything away from him physically or emotionally, Hubby relented, but with the stipulation that my “thing” with Missy is to be strictly DADT, at least for now. I am not allowed to even say her name, she is not to interfere with his life in any way, and she isn’t allowed in our home.

I hate treating her this way, though she is infinitely understanding, patient, and undemanding. Missy is openly poly, has two male lovers, a local who I get along great with and a LDR I’ve not met. She would like to sit and talk with Hubby and reassure him she isn’t interested in stealing me away from him, but he refuses to meet with her. Hubby has promised me he will “find a way to be okay with this.” But I fear that the way he’s choosing, the DADT rule, is unsustainable. Then again, I don’t dare push him. He is a stubborn man, and I have no desire to take a chainsaw to my marriage if I can avoid it—I love my husband, he is a good man and he IS my family. But I cannot walk away from my beautiful connection with this woman without serious heartbreak.

For now, I’m striking a tenuous balance between behaving at home exactly as I did before Missy, but making space for her in my social life, slowly letting my closest friends know what she is to me. I feel like if I’m patient enough and loving enough, I can make my husband, my mistress, and myself happy. I’m looking for advice on how to maintain my balance, how to keep my husband from freaking out when, inevitably, “worlds collide,” and how best to treat my lover with the dignity she deserves.

Derbylicious 10-18-2012 12:34 AM

Can you ask your hubby for a date that he can give you when you can revisit the idea of your girlfriend with him? If he really is working towards being ok with it he should be able to give you a timeline that you can work towards. I don't see anything wrong with DADT for the time being while he works through his issues around it but I don't think an indefinite DADT will work for all of you.

LoveBunny 10-18-2012 01:35 PM

Thank you, Derbylicious that is an excellent suggestion. I just need to figure out how to bring it up, as bringing her up at all violates his DADT rules. Sigh.

Derbylicious 10-18-2012 01:55 PM

Bring it up as "can we set a date where we can talk about where we are with our relationship structure?" hopefully he'll get it without you having to spell it out to him. Your other option is to say "I know what I am about to say will violate our DADT agreement but I need to set a date with you when we can look at where you are at working through what's going on with you in respect to my having a girlfriend."

opalescent 10-18-2012 02:57 PM

A girlfriend, not a mistress

I feel for you. You are in a difficult situation. I have a few thoughts.

First, you don't have a mistress. You have a girlfriend. A mistress is someone you cheat with on your spouse. They are a secret, something hidden from everyone. Your husband seems like he wants you to treat Missy like a mistress because it is easier on him. Don't go this route. Yes, you cannot be as open as you would like with him right now but don't, even on the intertubes, call her your mistress. She is not. She is your girlfriend.

Second, you write that you are attempting to behave at home exactly as you did before getting involved with Missy. This is impossible. You are not the same person and so will not act the same. I assume this is your first serious relationship with a woman? Something major has happened and you have changed. You cannot put that genie back in the bottle no matter how hard you try. You can agree not to bring her up or talk about her for a while but behaving like she doesn't exist is impossible. He should not expect that and you should not agree to it. That is an unreasonable expectation on both your part's.

Third, it seems like your husband was fine with your interactions with others as long as they were meaningless, and/or he could watch or participate. You didn't have any meaningful connections (by meaningful I mean more emotional or romantic involvement) during your marriage up to this point. So he apparently didn't believe you were really bisexual, as in capable of having a romantic, emotionally invested relationship with a woman. I realize you told him this but your behavior gave another impression. This is not to find fault with you! You were happy with being monogamous for a time or having sex-only outside interactions. You did nothing wrong but I can understand how your husband may have felt blindsided when you felt a deep connection to Missy. (It is a sexist but not uncommon attitude held by some men that women having sex is hot but two women having an actual relationship is threatening.)

That said, does he understand that he is going to have to do some deep, intense personal work? He cannot shunt this off on you indefinitely. He cannot refuse to work on the underlying issues of why he is threatened and expect the marriage to survive in any real sense. Does he understand that the marriage is at stake? You clearly do not want to leave him but this situation is hugely stressing your marriage (and your relationship with Missy).

Now it is new - just 2 months ago. That is not very long. He does need time and attention to start dealing with a new and different reality than what his marriage has always been. A DADT can give him space to start learning, examining himself, and coping with new realities. But it should not be an excuse to hide from the truth, to not deal, to expect things to be as they were. That reality does not exist anymore. Derby's suggestion of a time frame is a fine one. And you and he will have to talk at great length over and over about this new reality. That doesn't have to happen right now but it needs to happen at some point.

I wish you the best.

LoveBunny 10-18-2012 03:15 PM

Thank you, Opalescent, for such a well thought and sensitive reply--I very much appreciate it, and just knowing others are rooting for me is infinitely helpful.

I've had a couple of long-term girlfriends before I ever met hubby, and he knows that. I was madly in love with one particular woman when I was in my early 20's and I was the third in a relationship with her and her boyfriend (now husband.) Why Hubby thought those feelings for women magically went away for me is a mystery.

I used the term "Mistress" as opposed to "Girlfriend" because at one point I called her primary male lover her "boyfriend" and she chewed my head off :) I've been meaning to ask her what she wants me to call her. I see your point how the word "Mistress" connotes a cheating, lying spouse--exactly who I'm trying hard not to be.

My fear is Hubby has a history of not dealing with things. He is not one for self-examination, fears change, and tends to numb his emotions with work, t.v., alcohol, whatever. I'm trying to give him space and time to think, but yeah, I'm concerned he's not doing the work he needs to do. And you're right that's there's no turning back. We need to become a different couple than the one we've been until now.

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