So, I am JustMe's husband that she talks about above. First, I'd like to thank you all for your clearly caring and well-thought out responses to her message. This has been, and continues to be, extremely challenging for both of us. We both are needing support through this, and I fear she has not gotten as much as she really needs and deserves. Perhaps here we can both find some more.
I also wanted to share some perspectives on our situation that I hope might give a more complete picture to anyone wishing to chime in. I hope to speak solely for myself, and focus on where we are now as a couple. There is a whole boatload of baggage and issues, shared amongst all parties involved, that contributed to JustMe's affair. While those issues are relevant and deserve attention, they're not really why we're here. This may or may not be the place, but I don't think it's the time.
Historically, I have considered myself a completely monogamous person. Polyamory was not something I understood, nor did I want to understand it. For the last 12 years I was perfectly happy with my wife being my one love and saw no reason to pursue anything different. My best and oldest friend has for the last 5 years been the de-facto "mono" in a mono/poly relationship, and frankly, seeing his experiences with it really made me fear it. From the outside looking in, it often looks like a bad situation, despite his assertions it is not. It may be typical, it may not be, but for better or worse, that relationship has been the "face of poly" for me, and it has not been an example I have any interest in following.
And as JustMe mentions, the work we did on salvaging our relationship brought her openness to poly to light. It became something I started to give serious thought to. I've always considered myself to be a fair, open-minded, and thoughtful person, and I did not want to discount the possibility of polyamory out of hand simply because I was afraid of it. Casting about for ways to save us, and to make me feel safe with her again, made opening our relationship and eliminating the reason she had to lie to me intellectually appealing. Soon, the "one thing leading to another" with my friend (Her from now on) happened, and I found myself in the middle of another situation I never imagined possible, and all my theoretical thinking on poly suddenly became practically relevant.
That was several months ago. In the intervening time, my opinions on the subject have swung wildly, sometimes from one moment to the next. There have been countless times I have convinced myself I don't really love Her "that way", and the next time I see Her I marvel at my skills of self-delusion. I absolutely hate how she was elevated from "just a friend" to a lover, but having her as a lover has enriched my life in so many ways. And yet, I am so very very afraid. Often times when I am with Her I wish JustMe was with her old lover (Him from now on) so that she wouldn't be alone. And when I'm alone at work, or with JustMe, I am plagued by thoughts of them together. I am so very, very angry, and I don't know what to do with it. I exist in a near constant state of elevated cortisol /adrenaline "fight or flight"; near constant fear / rage / heartbreak. It has been getting better, but I still have this static in my head. Like a TV in a bar that is turned up just loud enough that you can't quite tune it out, I have these fears, mistrust, and invasive images. And then, on the high of my love for Her, keeping JustMe and Him apart seems like the most foolish thing in the world. In those moments, my idealism makes me wish for all the people I care for to have as much love in their lives as they can get, regardless of the source / focus of that love.
The visual I use when thinking about this is that of a continuum, with completely open polyamory on one end and strict monogomy on the other. I was quite solidly on the strict monogomy end of the spectrum, but the events of the last year have kicked me into the air and now I'm floating above the spectrum, trying to figure out where I will come down. My old values seem wrong, but I can't yet embrace what seem to be my new values. My "emotional immune system" keeps rejecting them just solidly as my rational mind rejects the monogamy that I used to consider a given for me.
And I do see the wrongness in the imbalance that currently exists in my relationship with JustMe right now, and I am tormented by it. I am trying to learn how to restore that balance, but "closed" is offensive to my mind, and "open" hurts my heart. Especially since "open" implies including Him, my very very dear friend who helped nearly destroy my marriage, and through that nearly destroyed me.
Anyway, there's a lot more to say, but I can feel myself going off the rails, so I will stop for now. Thanks for reading, and I eagerly await any thoughts and/or wisdom you might be willing to share.
Last edited by theque; 05-18-2009 at 09:27 PM.