Mono husband and poly wife. Feel like I belong on The Jerry Springer show.
My apologies, this is a bit long and there will be some whining involved.
About 8 years ago my wife felt that she was polyamorous, and that she wanted to explore these feelings with another man that she had fallen for, as long as I gave her the green-light. I'll admit that this made me uncomfortable since I've been monogamous in all my prior relationships. But at the same time, I felt that stifling her would be unhealthy for both of us in the long run, and I loved her and wanted her to be happy. So I read up on a number of books and articles, visited a counselor that had experience with polyamory, and spent some time with a poly couple that provided me with advice. We took things slowly, and my wife was very supportive.
Things were initially difficult for me during the first 2 years for a number of reasons, but I am basically apathetic to her actions in the present day. On the other hand, had we known that she was polyamorous from the start, I probably would've suggested that we remain on a platonic level and nothing more. But we have a lot of history and a daughter. Hindsight...
Here's where things get complicated. I've always been on good terms with my wife's closest friend. Initially, we were just good friends. But for the past 3 or so years, we've become a bit too close. This is one of those things that just happens to sneak up on you. I didn't wake up one morning and think "I'm going to further complicate my marriage by falling in love with my wife's bff".
So, roughly 7 months ago it became clear to both me and my wife's friend that we had developed strong feelings for each other. I decided to talk to my wife about this. I think that my intentions were to start a poly relationship with both of them, but I didn't have much of a plan. I had my wife's apparent approval, and her friend and I went on a couple of dates.
About 4 months ago my wife requested that I cancel any future dates with her friend. Her reason being that she feels like me having a relationship with her friend is akin to me having a relationship with one of her sisters, and she isn't a fan of the psuedo-incestuous subtext involved. I can see why; they've known each other since they were kids. Always lived near each other. They're pretty much sisters in all areas except for blood. So I told the friend that for the sake of maintaining my marriage, we should distance ourselves from each other.
Now I'm back to being the mono husband. And I'm really not happy with this situation.
I don't feel any negativity towards my wife personally. She's a good mother, and has an amiable demeanor. I don't believe that she is being purposefully malicious towards me or anything like that. I'm just questioning whether or not I even want to be married to her. I feel guilty because I don't want to hurt my wife or daughter with a divorce, and I still love my wife a lot. But ending my relationship with my wife's friend is eating me up. I also feel like this relationship is lopsided; I've put the needs of others above my own for so long and I just genuinely wish that I could be selfish in this one area. I feel like I've been taken advantage of in some ways, but my wife does treat me well and I know that this isn't entirely true.
My wife and I are currently in marriage counselling talking about where we will go from here. On one hand, I'm happy that she is putting in the effort, which is more than a lot of other spouses would get. On the other hand, this bid to "save the marriage" feels so artificial to me, and I'm starting to think that a purely monogamous relationship with my wife's friend would leave me more fulfilled in the long-term.
As you can see, I am in a difficult position. Is it all over? Any advice?