Doing things the Wrong Way.
I love my wife, her name is (D). She is 17 years my senior, she has been my best friend for for years. We have been through some incredible challenges together and we have a bond I can't even begin to describe. In spite of this I began having an affair with a friend called (N) who is closer to my age.
My wife D had gained a lot weight and seemed to have lost interest in her appearance, while she was still cute to me, she had also lost a great deal of her libido. I was not exactly feeling attractive either, I would try to initiate sex only to be pushed away, I began to feel insulted and unwanted sexually.
Truthfully, I was having a hard time making love with her, mainly because of her excess weight, almost every position caused a problem. From me getting crushed to her running out of steam. Things were not going good.
I did not talk about it. I knew she was aware of it, it had been mentioned by her a few times. I just tried to be reassuring and do the best I could to ensure she was satisfied even though I was beginning to not look forward to lovemaking as a pleasurable experience anymore.
I felt alone, unsatisfied, unfulfilled and was beginning to desire things that she did not want. I wanted to go out at night still and get a little rowdy, have fun, try some different things sexually. She was not particularly interested, though she did try some stuff, but it took so much urging on my part it felt like I was forcing her and it was not fun for me.
I told her how I felt, we said we would work on it, but the effort on her part seemed minimum.
At the time my friend N was in a relationship, but was feeling unfulfilled. She wanted something different, or perhaps just to be treated like a beautiful, attractive woman again. We were friends, we had a lot in common. We shared similar views on so many things and just enjoyed chatting and shooting the shit. It started with small things, like her asking what I thought about her hair or a particular outfit. I'd pay a compliment and she would eat it up. Perhaps even pay me a compliment back, like saying "that means a lot, especially coming from a guy like you".
We became very close, and I knew I was developing feelings for her. I did not want to loose my wife and I decided to introduce her to the world of poly, through forums and videos. I though if I can get her to agree to be poly before I do anything I can make this work. She decided it was not something that interested her. She was hurt to a degree, but said she could understand it, and had no moral objections. Just was not for her and that if I was going to do it, then what was the point of being married.
N and I continued to get close, eventually a smile became a touch, a touch became a hug, a hug became a kiss and we had entered into an affair. We both felt bad, we felt strained, trying to manage our lives and still get time to see each other. It was an addiction, one we tried to break. We stopped seeing each other for a few weeks. We communicated and decided we could still be friends. But on our first friend outing, we ended up ripping each others clothes off. We did not want to loose our partners and discussed a poly lifestyle, and both though it was something we could do.
We carried on for almost a year, talking our partners into a poly life unsuccessfully, breaking up for a day or two but not being able to stay apart. In a new development, N split with her partner and said she wants me to be with her. I want to be with her too. I am in love with her, I am sure of that. Am I still in love with my wife? So much has changed, I love and care for her, but am I still "in love"? Well not the way I used to be. But I don't want to let her go, or see her hurt. (Which she will be if/when she finds out about the affair.)
I feel poly, because on a certain level I love them both. However it's just a fantasy land. I would love to have us all as best friends, with them both understanding that I will love them both and dedicate my life to them. In reality, I know that D would be devastated and end up divorcing me. N has now changed her mind on being poly, since her partner is no longer around, she wants me to be with her and her alone.
So here I am, stuck. I love two women. I looks like I can only be with one.
Right now I have an option, I can end my affair and stay with my wife, hope she never finds out and I will live the rest of my life repressing my polly urges. Trying to never cheat again, but feeling unfulfilled and perhaps a little resentful. I know I will hurt N, and I'll probably spend the rest of my days thinking about what could have been.
Or, I can leave my wife, choose N, even without being poly, I could envision a great life for us. But, I would never forgive myself for the hurt I caused D. I'd miss her constantly, worry about her, wish I could see her.
So, sorry for the huge wall of text, but it would seem, I am screwed. I love them both, I want them both but I can't have them both. If anyone wants to give me some input or advice on what you think I should do I would appreciate it.
(PS. Please, I don't need judgmental posts condemning the affair, I know it was wrong, I feel horrible about it, I take full responsibility for my actions. However, what's done is done and what I really need now is advice on how to move forward. Thank You.)
It seems a lot of your emotional disconnect from your wife has to do with her putting on weight and losing her libido. As someone who used to be obese, lost it all, and has kept it off for years, I doubt I could have done it without my husband's love and (more importantly) unwavering support. I mean...the dude cooked low-cal meals for me. Sure, he ate most of them, but still...fewer leftovers sitting around!
And my libido went through the roof once I was okay with being nekkid.
Is it possible that your wife just needs that kind of backing? If so, bailing on her might hurt worse than it would for someone who hasn't gained that much weight.
If my husband had left me while I was still struggling, I would have believed he'd just given up on me. And that would have hurt more than cheating. Just sayin'.
It's not that I ever thought, oh your fat, I need a younger, slim model now. The weight problem hurt in so much as she was rejecting my advances based on her not feeling good about herself. I did not recognize that at the time. I saw it as her lack of interest in me.
I did try to be supportive of her weight issues. I offered to get gym memberships, go cycling, running and any other number of things.
She refused and continues to refuse them all. Insisting she must do this alone, locked in the basement away from prying eyes.
So when she kept refusing, I stopped offering, as it just made me seem like I was harping on about her weight.
I've considered how my leaving would hurt her, how it would effect her self-esteem, I don't want to be responsible for that.
I don't really feel that loosing weight will help our relationship though, sure the sex might get better. I will still love her just the same, but I don't see me saying, I no longer want to be poly.
But whenever I tell myself, you need to be responsible, you need to end what you are doing, you need to stay with her and support her. I find myself wondering, is choosing to stay, to provide her emotional support and suppressing my own wants/needs (however selfish they may be) the right thing to do?
If I break things off with N, stay with D and suppress my want to have another love... is it not doomed to failure?
I've sampled the forbidden fruit of N and I liked it. I wanted to legitimize it, so it was something that did not have to be hidden. I realize that is not an option now. But it's still something I want.
Having an affair was for sure not the way to go about it, I know that going from an affair to poly almost never works and is out of the question in my case.
Are there any there any others out there that have managed to suppress the urge to have more than one love and stay in a mono relationship for their partner?
It sounds to me like your wife is depressed. And her relationship with you has become a cycle that feeds into the depression. She doesn't feel sexy because she's fat, she doesn't want to get naked and be intimate because she doesn't feel sexy, she wants your love and approval but feels ashamed, she wants to go out and do things but doesn't have the energy and doesn't want anyone to see how big she is... and through it all the two of you continue to grow apart. I am familiar with this.
I also gained a lot of weight after I got married, and lost it, then gained it again. My husband and I didn't have sex for over two years at the end of our marriage (we're divorcing now). Fortunately for me, he did not cheat. This I know for sure. It would have killed me. My husband tried everything you did to be "supportive" (he's very experienced in weight-training and worked professionally in a fitness-related field) and it only made me feel that he was turned off by my body. But I know that I was unhappy, which made me overeat, and then feeling rejected and ugly made me unhappy, and underneath it all was a low-grade depression being overlooked.
Your wife did not gain weight without your having been complicit in some way. And your mistress did not break off with her partner and focus on you without being encouraged somehow by you. All on a subconscious level, mind you. You have a responsibility in how it all played out, and how it will play out now.
The honorable thing to do is to set aside your mistress and repair your relationship with your wife. If your mistress is meant to be in your life, she will wait. If it really is love and not just NRE (New Relationship Energy), it will survive a hiatus. It is your wife you made vows and promises to, and she is hurting. She may need the wake-up call, like I did, that comes from hearing her husband say, "I can't go on like this." Now, repairing your relationship doesn't necessarily mean staying together, but it does mean getting real, getting honest, and communicating. Because whatever contribution you made to the marriage falling apart the way it is, will be something you take into the next relationship, if you move on, so might as well get clear and learn from it. You are doing her (and you) a disservice by not coming clean about your dissatisfaction and your affair. Get into couples therapy, and work on it. Whether you find out you want to stay together or split up, stagnating in the muck and mire of unhappiness and frustration does neither of you any good.
You don't want to leave the marriage without knowing that you did everything possible to fix it. My husband was unhappy for three years and then finally felt he had to leave. I told him, that was three years we could have worked on it and come to some resolve together. I would have been much more accepting and happy - yes, happy - if we had both decided to end the marriage through mutual agreement after much talk and work on ourselves. But he had kept his feelings to himself for so long, that when he finally told me, he had no steam left to look at or try fixing anything, and "had to" move out. I was a crumpled heap on the floor for four straight months after that. Almost a year later, I am still in somewhat of a shock. Believe me, you don't want to do that to her.
I hope this helps in some way.
Absolutely agreed that the correct course of action here involves communication, and that your wife sounds very depressed, but I kinda take issue with the idea that you were somehow complicit in her weight gain and depression. To my untrained eyes, this looks like severe chemical depression, which often results in weight gain, which feeds the depression further, as does the shit state of any relationships the person has as well. I've seen it before, and it's a very, very sad and difficult thing, but it can be treated - this involves hard work and medication, if in fact it's chemical, but again, I can't evaluate that, nor would I attempt to via proxy even if I were qualified to do so. First and foremost, I think your wife needs to see someone about this, be evaluated, and treated appropriately. You should also seek counciling together, but I'd make sure this is ok with her personal mental health professional first. She's got something major going on, and she needs to get help with it for both of your sake. If you're tough enough to stick it out and do the hard work, I think the relationship will be stronger than ever, maybe poly could exist in the future. You've gotta find a way to support her through this, even if you guys find you can't be together.
Also bear in mind that if you DO leave her for N at this point, you'll probably have to deal with a shitload of guilt and probably need therapy yourself. So yeah, you're kinda screwed. You're in for some tough times, so I want to wish you good luck. It's not going to be easy, but you've gotta do what you've gotta do. It ain't over till it's over. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Folksy wisdom. Git r done. It's 5 AM, and I'm loopy. My deepest apologies for the previous 5 or 6 sentences.
I agree, it sounds like depression. It sounds like you truly love your wife and want to help. I think the first step to help your wife though is to get her to a doctor she needs to be checked out both physically (to make sure there isn't an underlying medical cause) and mentally.
As someone who suffered for a long time with not only excessive weight gain but severe depression and loss of all sexual interest I can honestly say playing the blame/guilt game isn't doing anyone any good at this point. At the same time, your wife needs to be willing to let you support her through this. It's not fair to shut you out. It's also unfair for you to "let" her continue as she is.
It took a year of extensive testing to find out what was wrong (turns out I was suffering from fibromyalgia). So don't expect this to be an easy road for either of you should you chose to take it. But after getting help I realized I wasn't alone and it was fixable. Both the diagnosis and support were huge eye openers for me. I made major lifestyle changes which helped me lose the weight, get healthy, and recharged my libido. (I've been symptom free for 6 years now)
As for the affair, it sounds like it's hurting everyone (you're feeling guilty, D probably knows something is up which is feeding the depression, and N by being the "other woman" is being put in an unfair position). I suggest calling it off for now if you plan on helping your wife. Now is not the time to try to push a poly life on either of them because they aren't open to it. Once everyone is back on the path to being healthy and secure then it's time to reevaluate what you need and, if it's a poly-life, start discussing things with them.
Also, be careful when you suggest she see a doctor. There's a delicate line between saying "I'm worried about you. I want to help. Let's get you some appointments and see what we can do to make things better," and saying, "This isn't working. You need to see a psychiatrist or something."
The first is an offer of assistance and a game plan. The second is blame and insults. Obviously, you want to aim for the first option!
It can be difficult to pay that much attention to your phrasing when you're in the middle of a very emotional discussion...but it's important, so really try hard.
I need to take this opportunity to thank everyone who responded, truly and from the bottom of my heart. I almost had a tear in my eye. I've sought advice elsewhere and had nothing but insults hurled at me for being a "scumbag".
Everyone here who replied, actually read my post and took time to actually try to understand.
Ivy, you are right, I probably was complicit, I don't cook, but I probably added to her weight gain early on, by not making healthy choices for myself. I work out and stay in shape, but my diet leaves a lot to be desired. I'm lucky as I can just ear what I feel like and workout and not gain too much weight.
I am leaning towards staying. I just have to be man enough to let N go. I never wanted N to split with her partner. I told her that from the start. She was going to introduce poly to her partner and I was good with that. I actually liked her partner and felt we could have been friends.
She insists I was not the reason for the split, but I may have been the "wake up call" she needed to take action the she was going to take anyway. I hope that is true.
Thank you all for the support. I know that no matter which action I take it will tear my heart out. It's gonna be a tough time for me.
I wonder if I could ask some feedback on something I have been feeling. It's been confusing me. I wondered if I had been cheated on, would I want to know or not. I came to a weird conclusion.
I would not want to know but if I found out and If it was by my wife, I could probably forgive her, if it was N who cheated, I don't think I could forgive her. Any amateur psychiatrists out there wanna take a shot at what that means?
Here is a blog you might want to read:
The whole of a human being is much larger than our physical bodies, of course, and on unconscious levels we sense when stuff is going on, when others judge us, etc., and then we have our own patterns of behavior that influence how we respond. But when you have a commitment of marriage to someone, it behooves you both to dig deep underneath the rote behaviors and mental processes to see what fears and beliefs are under it all and to respond organically and in the moment to what is.
For right now, wondering about N. and how you feel, and how it could've gone, and so on, is just a smokescreen, a distraction for you to avoid the pain of where your marriage has found itself - let it go. Stop that and start relating again to your wife -- help her find out what pain she is avoiding or trying to deaden with her eating and reclusiveness. Remember the person you fell in love with and married - she is still in there somewhere and she needs you. I would say couples therapy would be a good place to start.
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