TP, I kind of danced around the issue by saying "Your conscience, and his, will guide your actions. You know people will judge you but only you two can know what is right for you." I did have that sense, too, that maybe reciting the "no cheating" line of thought might be too heavy-handed for THIS situation. I didn't want to step in shit, so I focused more on the possibility of him leaving the marriage. The OP did say that there was no emotional closeness as well as no sex between her bf and his wife, so to me that seems like a relationship that isn't "perfectly amazing" in other areas.
But I also can see, IN THIS CASE, that having a clandestine affair might indeed be the lesser evil for this man. I would rarely, more like never, take that stance. But it is true that sometimes people do what they have to, despite what we "know" is "right." And yes, many good healthy poly relationships started from cheating in the beginning.
I met a guy at a poly cocktail party here in NY who told me he was cheating on his wife with one of the other women who was there at the party with her husband. She and her husband are quite prominent in this circle. I was kind of shocked that they weren't being shunned and shown the door. He (the cheater guy) told me his wife would never go for poly. He described her as "an old Italian Catholic housewife" who wouldn't have sex with him anymore.
I don't think I could feel comfortable being with someone who's cheating, but I can feel for these men. Someone like that, who refuses sex, will probably also refuse to go to therapy to look at changing that. A marriage is over, but people choose to stay together for whatever reasons, and it's possible the wife could be saying she would never accept it when really she would, but she just would rather look the other way and not know for sure, instead of giving her blessing. This happens all the time.
I always say to people that I would never want to be the reason a man lies to his wife. And I wouldn't. But if the man has a miserable cold wall to greet him every day, and there is nothing between them either emotionally or sexually, what does he have to go home to? The biggest lie is holding onto a marriage which isn't supposed to be how it is now. And we never quite know who will come into our lives and draw us to them. The OP fell in love with this man. I don't believe in accidents. So, while I make an effort not to be in that kind of situation, "never say never."
No, cheating is not ethical non-monogamy. But are we always ethical in everything we do in life? Have I always given back the money when I was handed too much change in a store? Nope. I wouldn't encourage the OP's bf to do it, but it is something they need to wrestle with and decide for themselves.
However, the OP stated that he is wracked with guilt and in anguish over what they already have done on the sly, so it would take a lot of soul-searching to move ahead with whatever choice he makes.
Independent solo polyamorist seeking lover-friends willing to invest in friendship, companionship, and love, but without a need for partnership.
Never confuse commitment with exclusivity, love with ownership, nor sex with intimacy!
For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.
~ Carl Sagan
Last edited by nycindie; 10-13-2011 at 12:49 PM.