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Meghan 01-24-2013 09:40 AM

In love with 2 men and confused
Hi everyone. Just a little about me, I'm 46 and have been married to the same man for the past 20 years - plus lived with him for 3 yrs before getting married. I love him dearly and don't want to lose him, but I don't know if I can stay with him either. When we got married we agreed that if either of us did anything outside of our marriage we just had to tell the other one about it. This has allowed him to kiss his ex-girlfriend and a coworker he was attracted to, get a BJ from a stranger, and go to strip clubs(for work).
Also, over the course of the years, he began belittling me and chipping away at my self-confidence bit by bit. I finally caught on to what was happening and made demands that he stop - and he has been making a real effort to change because he doesn't want to get divorced.
Now to introduce Sweetie. I met him at a conference that we both went to in August 2011. He walked into a room I was in waiting for a meeting to start and I felt an electric charge, I turned around saw him and knew he was the cause (I felt the same thing the first time I saw Hubby too). We spent the rest of the conference kind of dancing around each other. I found out later that I was driving him crazy because he couldn't figure me out. Of course the reason he couldn't figure me out was because every time we started getting close I would pull back because I wasn't self-confident enough to get involved with anyone.
Fast forward to August 2012, it's a yearly conference, met up with him again - except this time the hotel assigned us to adjacent rooms. By this time I had gotten fed up with Hubbys behavior and was standing up for myself. Sweetie and I ended up going to meals together, going for drinks after the end of the day, hanging out with each other during breaks and during down time. We did alot of talking, plus hugging and holding hands. The last night there we cuddled and made out (with no removal of clothes-my rule) like a couple of horny teenagers till he told me we'd best stop as we were pushing the limits of his self control. Also, Sweetie knew I was married and about the agreement Hubby and I had before we did anything. Sweetie is single and not presently dating anyone, though I encourage him to do so should he find someone he wants to.
Anyways, I got home and told Hubby what happened ASAP the first night I was back, per agreement. He didn't seem too upset, and I didn't worry about it. Did wonder where Sweetie lived, seemed happy when I told him in the Midwest, we live in SoCal. Then he realized we were texting or talking every other day or so. Hubby did not like that. Attempted to inform me that I wasn't allowed to do that, he lost that fight. In fact now Sweetie and I text and/or talk everyday. Usually it is just talking about our day or telling the other something about ourselves that we know the other one doesn't know. Sometimes it's flirting, sometimes I'll send him a ETB text (evil teasing bitch). A couple of times it's been phone sex. And sometimes it is me asking him for a male point of view in trying to understand Hubby.
The big problem to present itself came about in November. Hubby had made plans for one of his daughters to come visit at our house for a long weekend. There a lot of issues with this particular daughter and they have a lot to do with the problems Hubby and I have. He did ask me beforehand and I had agreed, reluctantly. I thought I could handle it, but as the date kept getting closer I started getting antsy, and short tempered, and having flashbacks. So Hubby suggested I go visit my brother while his daughter was at our house. One note, I have figured out-and Hubby knows-that Sweetie lives about a 50 minute drive (according to goggle maps) from my brother. Thus it is a given that I am going to see Sweetie while I am out there. Then Hubby decides unilaterally that our agreement that we have had for our entire marriage is null and void, and that if I sleep with Sweetie he will file for divorce. The same agreement that he has taken advantage of multiple times. He does allow that we can be as physically involved as we were at the conference. Not that it does me any good, I have to tell Sweetie about Hubby's ultimatum and Sweetie is determined not to cause any problems so there was very little that went on physically between us. Of course on the flip side we had much more intimate conversations than we had had on the phone prior to my visit. It wasn't till after that visit that we began conversing daily, and our conversations since then have been a lot deeper.
So basically where I'm at is that I love them both very much. I'm trying to work things out with Hubby, but I don't want to lose the love I have with Sweetie. Hubby loves me, but doesn't think - at this point that he can share me with another man. Sweetie loves me and only wants me to be happy. He does not want to feel like he is the cause of Hubby and I splitting if that is what ends up happening. Any comments?

ThatGirlInGray 01-25-2013 04:41 AM

My only comment is that hopefully Sweetie can realize that he isn't the cause of yours and Hubby's issues- they existed LONG before you met Sweetie. Nor is he the cause of your Hubby suddenly (and unilaterally) deciding that what has been the agreement for a couple decades is no longer acceptable.

I know a relationship without the physical aspect can be difficult, but it can be managed if you both want to do that. The fact that you are long distance may help- you will have far fewer temptations.

If I were you I would ask Hubby whether he plans on getting back on a place where your previous agreement holds. If he says "no", then you will need to decide if you're willing to stay with him. If he says "yes" then some sort of time frame needs to be established, with "milestones" that can be accomplished to show that he really is working on his issues and not just stringing you along.

I wish you luck!

AphroditeGoneAwry 01-25-2013 05:02 AM

Your story sounds amazingly like mine.

Why do you still love hubby so much? That is where we differ. By the time mine gave me the ultimatum, it was just too much to bear and it broke my eros for him.

I am very happy now. I converse with others who dig me for me, and allow me to be who I am.

MrFarFromRight 01-25-2013 10:52 AM

Hi! I want to comment on this, but have to start preparing lunch. I post this snippet in order to take this thread into my "Subscribed Threads" list, and will get back to you later.:)

kdt26417 01-25-2013 07:44 PM

Hi Meghan,
Welcome to our forum.

I pretty much agree with ThatGirlInGray: Timetables and milestones have to be set. If that doesn't happen, then you really have to decide if this is something you can live with for the rest of your life.

Basically your husband is not acting reasonable. But, emotions are not always reasonable. So, I guess he feels what he feels. Perhaps there's some way to probe deeper and find out why he's acting this way. There may be more going on here than meets the eye.

I hope things work out well for you.
Kevin T.

MrFarFromRight 01-26-2013 12:40 AM

Hi again, Meghan!

It´s now past midnight and the rest of the household has gone to bed. Let me start by sharing with you a bit of advice that another member gave me when I was new here: When you come to the end of a paragraph, hit your "enter" key TWICE. That will create a space between your paragraphs and make it MUCH easier on the eyes, easier to read, and therefore easier to understand. [And remember that - unlike other cheapo-brand forums POLYAMORY:COM - with added AMAZOMATIC - allows you to edit your posts for up to 12 hours after you´ve sent them off, in case you notice a mistake or ambiguity on re-reading. HOWEVER... If another member makes a comment based on a misunderstanding of your post, it´s preferable to clear up any misunderstandings/ambiguities in a reply to their post, rather than editing your own, earlier one. The latter tactic would only lead to LATER readers of the thread becoming confused.]

OK, now to the point of your original post. As is my custom, I´m going to run past you a few crazy ideas/reactions that ran through my head when I read your post, and you can decide whether there´s anything in them worth considering. I´m not sure myself whether they´re on the ball or not...

a) I hate that

over the course of the years, he began belittling me and chipping away at my self-confidence bit by bit.
My father used to do that to my mother and had me and [I GUESS] my siblings seeing her as pitiful. As an adolescent and adult I began to stand up for her, had one or 2 showdowns with my father... and was delighted when she started to stand up for herself. His - and your husband´s - behaviour was ugly and despicable... a sign of an emotional cripple and a psychological weakling.

b) It is a boringly common tactic of many men (boring because it´s SO common) to sing the praises of "free love" and "open relationships"... as long as they´re ONLY free and open for HIM, not for HER. Everything´s just peachy-dandy until SHE wants a piece of the pie, too. Then it´s: "We have to re-evaluate our priorities" and "OUR relationship is more important: we need to protect it and not undermine it".
[Once I asked my mother for permission to take a - for me - important step. She told me that she couldn´t give her permission before consulting with my father: that they´d made an agreement when they married that all important decisions would be discussed and agreed upon by both of them. It later became blindingly obvious that that meant that she had to consult with him, but that he felt perfectly free - and justified - in making important decisions (that directly affected her) on his own.]

c) Having said that, and trying to be fair, I seem to understand that his extra-marital activities meant kissing 2 women, a blow job from another, and attending some/many strip-tease shows. I´m guessing that you´d want to take it further (physically) with Sweetie. Or are you going to be satisfied with a BJ and some cunnilingus? Does this have some bearing on your husband´s reluctance to allow you free rein? That he was "free" but only WANTED to wade in the surf, while you look like you´re interested in swimming the Channel?

d) Return that serve: Are you certain that it WAS only kisses, a BJ and some strip shows (for his JOB!!!)? Personally, I wouldn´t put too much faith in the integrity of a man who repeatedly tried to give his wife an inferiority complex.

e) There´s this thing called New Relationship Energy [NRE - do a tag search and read up on this]. Although you and Sweetie haven´t gone very far physically, his newness, his difference-to-Hubby might be making you blind to his faults and/or his true intentions. Not my opinion, just a point for consideration FWIW [for what it´s worth].

f) Personally speaking, and harking back to point c), I think that swimming the Channel is more admirable than wading in the surf. I might get some flak from other members on this, but I mean that - for me - kissing 2 women, getting a blow job from a total stranger, and getting paid for ogling strippers seems a sad and pathetic way of "flaunting the rules of monogamous propriety" [IF there was no deep emotional involvement in those kisses or BJ] compared to a [scary?] romantic/emotional dive into the deeper waves of a REAL relationship.

g) SOMETIMES "I love him so much" means "I need him: I´m not strong enough to stand on my own feet".

Until you give me some feedback on some of those points, I´m not going to give you any advice... except that you click on the poem title in the last of my 4 signatures, scroll to the bottom of that page, and read the poem. Share it with Hubby and Sweetie if you like. AND that you be honest with each other... and with yourselves!

A welcoming

Meghan 01-26-2013 09:29 PM

Thank you all for the feedback.

To GirlInGray - Sweetie does know he isn't the cause just a symptom of the issues between me & Hubby. As I said, I sometimes ask Sweetie for a male POV and I usually need to give him some sort of background information. Thus he knows examples of problems causing our issues dating from well before he & I met.

Yes we both want more of a physical relationship, but we do have strong spiritual and emotional and mental relationships. I've asked Sweetie if he wants to continue or if he wants out - he's told me that he wants to continue our relationship.

I know that Hubby and I need to sit down and set a timetable and milestones. I'm not sure if I want to stay with him if he isn't willing.

To Aphrodite - I still love Hubby because he does have good characteristics too. I know that he will be there for me if I really, really need him to be. He is also making the most effort ever to give me some of the little physical things I need. Unfortunately, it took Sweetie coming into the picture for him to do so. And we have 23 years of being together, with at least 1/3 of those years being very happy.

To kdt2617 - I think a lot of it is emotions. I never really planned to get involved with someone else. I also think that part of the problem could be because our agreement was fairly vague. He interpreted to mean onetime only encounters, and I interpreted it to include FWB/secondary relationships. Another part of the problem may be because Hubby is 60 and Sweetie will be 52 in a couple weeks. Also the fact that both Sweetie and I are Pagans, while Hubby identifies as Catholic may make hubby insecure also.

You're right, I do need to probe deeper, it's just difficult because he keeps getting defensive and that basically ends the conversation.

To MrFarFromRight - you gave me a lot to think about and respond to. This is just to let you know I didn't forget you, but I am going to have to come back later to respond as I have some things I need to go do.

Thanks again to everyone. It is nice to have a place I can come to and get help. :)

Meghan 01-28-2013 09:53 AM

To Mr. FarFromRight: you gave me a lot to think about. To address your points I'll start at the beginning and work my way through them.

over the course of the years, he began belittling me and chipping away at my self-confidence bit by bit.

This hearkens back to my comment about his younger (17 yr old) daughter and a time when he was very rarely home, actually working in another state. There were a lot of problems, disrespect, and lies by her; resulting in me not wanting to have anything to do with her, to this day she still believes she never did anything wrong. By the time he changed jobs and we were living together again, she was out of the house. I don't want her in my house, Hubby gets on a kick to try and convince me that I should just forgive her and pretend like nothing happened. I stuck to my guns and that's when he started belittling and criticizing me. Plus he got his older daughter to join in as well. After about 5 yrs or so I was so depressed I was literally unable to get out of bed or do anything. Hubby pushed and prodded until started seeing a therapist, good move for me-but I now wonder if the reason he did so was because his laundry wasn't getting done and he had to fix his own meals.
He goes to some of the later sessions with me and therapist tells him he is out of line, so he stopped the pressure about younger daughter and gets older daughter to stop as well. Now, instead, the critical behavior is about all kinds of other things. Plus he also starts oversharing, I would tell him something private, and he would find some public time to share it. I would tell him it hurt, he'd say sorry, and then he would do it again. Needless to say, it didn't take me too long To quit confiding in him.

He didn't seem to care about my needs and gradually stopped doing little things just because he knew they would make me happy. Eventually, I quit caring and quit doing little things too. This all took us up to about the middle of 2011. I had started just doing something's for myself and ignoring what he had to say about it. I made some new friends, but still had low selfesteem. That's when I met Sweetie for the first time, as I said earlier-I didn't act on it. During the course of the next year I began pushing back at Hubby and his comments.

When it came time for the conference in Aug 2012, I was hoping Sweetie would be there. And when he was not only there, but also in the room adjacent to mine I just went with it. That pretty much gave me the boost I needed to feel like I could survive and be happy on my own if I needed to. Hubby's newest tactic during the past year had been to say "maybe we should get a divorce" when we argued. My reply had been to ignore him. So in Sept 2012 when he said it again my answer was to say "maybe we should". Now we have a worried Hubby who wants to fix our relationship and stay together.

So I told him the things I needed him to start doing again-that he did in the first 8 yrs of our being together. And I told him the things he was doing that were hurtful, and that they had to stop. He has been making a concerted effort to make changes, and has been doing a good job of it for the past 3 months. However, I still feel like I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. I'm not sure I'll be able to trust him again-and I've told him so. So that's basically where the issues are just between me and Hubby.

learninginTN 01-28-2013 05:24 PM

Here's some of my thoughts on the matter. Keep in mind that I have my own problems, so take my thoughts as simply my own and not in any way suggestions you should act on.

It's very common for people to change their mind and backtrack on any "agreements" they had. Emotions are indeed a fickle thing, and sometimes you just don't know how you are going to react until confronted with the reality of the situation. My guess is Hubby for the first time saw you as possibly slipping away from him into another's heart, and this really bothered him (as it does most men). Whether his reactions are reasonable or not is debatable, depending on your values, but it's nonetheless the reality of the situation. He is not of the mind to share you right now, and until he is ready to do so, your actions with Sweetie are going to be viewed as an affair. His demand that you stop with the texting shows that this is his mindset. You refused, so in his mind, you are showing that you are going to continue regardless of his wishes. He's thinking "She doesn't care that this is eating me up inside". Feelings are feelings, no matter how unreasonable they may seem to others.

You say you've been happy only about 1/3 of your 23 year history. That's a long time to be unhappy. Any MC along the way? One thing I'm always leery of is people re-writing marital history. This happens ALL THE TIME when people are in the grip of NRE. Someone shiny and new comes into your life and treats you like a queen, and all of a sudden you discover you've been "unhappy" the majority of your marriage. If you're serious about staying married, I would urge you find a qualified marital counsellor. His belittling and other behaviors are not acceptable, but many couples have used MC to help work on themselves and realize the impact of their words. Sometimes having that third party can cause you to really work on those communication issues.

You say Sweetie doesn't want to be the cause of any marital problems. Well, right now he is. The bottom line is you want a romantic relationship outside your marriage and your husband doesn't want you to. Until your husband changes his mind about that, any relationship you have with Sweetie is going to cause marital strife. If Sweetie were being totally honest with himself, he would realize this and back away from your situation until your hubby gives his blessing. If that blessing never comes, well, then the ball's in your court as to what you want to do.

Again, just my thoughts.

Meghan 01-28-2013 11:56 PM

More to Mr FarFromRight: I'm going to combine my response to points B)., C)., & D). together;

First to address Hubby's extramarital activities. Yes, you are correct in what his are. The strip clubs were only during the time he was at one place of employment. For whatever reason a specific ethnic group expected it when they bought from the company. Hubby was the most senior person whose wife wouldn't throw a hissy fit. Though I'm sure he enjoyed himself. As for if there was anything besides what he told me, I don't have any reason to believe he has - nor any suspicion that he has.

Next, to address me and Sweetie. Yes, both of us want to have a more physical relationship. I don't know where you got the impression he and I have had oral sex; the most that has gone on between us is some heavy duty kissing, with no clothes off and no hands under clothes. And any form of sex, other than a few kisses, is off limits according to Hubby.

Point E). NRE: I actually lurked on this forum for about a month and a half before posting my introduction. During that time I also read thru a lot of the suggested articles. As much as I don't want to admit it, NRE is probably partly to blame for some of our problems right now. About Sweeties faults, I have seen some - they're not terrible -and I'm sure he has others. But everyone has faults, and I'm old enough not to be so naive as to think he won't have any. As for his intentions, I know he cares about me and loves me. I know, based on private conversations, that he refuses to be in a position of being the reason Hubby and I divorce, and the reason he feels so strongly about that.

Point G). : g) SOMETIMES "I love him so much" means "I need him: I´m not strong enough to stand on my own feet".

At one time not long ago, that would have been a true statement. Now though it isn't, I'm actually stuck between do I still love him enough to stay or do I need to leave because our relationship is too broken.

Feel free to make comments if you like. Thanks for all you gave me to think about.

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