Hey MT, you're still living with that same ultimatum now?
Has she ever even agreed to counseling?
I am sorry to come into this thread late, but I just read it through today. I don't have any new advice to offer, but lots of compassion.
I was married for over 30 years. One thing that is very much a fact of life in long term relationships is, the partners grow and change. I was of course, also married young, and I was also a closet poly with no words for it... I just felt unfaithful and "sick" on some days, and self righteous on other days, knowing my propensity for crushes was a natural part of me, and therefore *right,* no matter what society tried to tell me.
I also tried to hide and suppress it for many many years. I think when one gets to be a certain age, one accepts oneself (if one is brave enough) and says, enough is enough, this is who I am, take it or leave it. Things I promised when I was 22 and got married no longer felt relevant or healthy. When I made the vow to be faithful, I did it with my fingers crossed... I never cheated, but I couldn't stop my feelings, and finally they became too strong to be able to hide.
My ex and I didn't break up over the poly issue, but we did break up partly because I just had to be me. I spent 10 more years than I should have, struggling to stay together, partly for our 3 kids (who were young teens), partly out of loyalty and inertia. We did a year of couples counseling, I did 3 years of individual counseling, and we talked hundred and hundreds of hours on our own, mostly going in circles. When we finally split, my oldest kid told me I should've done it 10 years earlier. My h and I had an amicable divorce and are decent co-parents now. I gradually fell out of love with him the last 10 years and our split came as a welcome relief from feeling judged and even gaslighted by his passive aggressive behaviors and suspicion.
3 months after we separated, I met my current gf, miss pixi; we've now been together almost 3 years. I've also had the freedom to engage in various other relationships, some casual and fun, others a bit more serious and bonding. It's a whole new world.
It really sucks to not feel accepted for who you authentically are by the person who is supposed to love you most. Your wife is in love with a facade, not the real you. How does she define "for better or for worse?" She is supposed to love you as you mature and learn more about your real self, and feel a need to express that! Not ask you to remain the same guy you were trying to present as at 25 or 30.