Secondary break ups
Hi everyone. I have been a somewhat long time reader of these forums, but this is my first post. I apologize if it's in the wrong section, but this seemed about as good as any. Sorry this is long, but a little back story is needed, plus it's nice to vent.
So a few years ago, I was involved with a woman who had serious issues being faithful. And because of this, she told me about 6 months into our relationship that she had to be polyamorous, and that I needed to accept that she was going to be with other men, or she would break up with me. Well, it turns out that she was just unable to be faithful and wanted to use polyamory as an excuse to cheat and not feel bad, but that's not important. What is important is that during this time, I did my research. I learned what polyamory is, what it means, the practices, the relationships, etc... I went to some kink/poly friendly councilors, I read book after book after book, I went to local Poly meetups. I was dedicated. And along the way, I found out that this was the lifestyle I wanted to live. Over time, and with a lot of study and introspection, I got it.
Anyways, I had a friend of mine that I had known for about 4 years or so. She is an amazing woman. I have honestly had feelings for her for about that long, however she lived a far distance away, and I was in a job that only afforded me the chance to visit her town once a year or so. Eventually, she became married. I still had a crush on her, but I respected it and never did anything about it. I just pretty much never even considered her a romantic option, and that was that.
Fast forward to about 5 months ago. I got a job on the other side of the country from where I used to live, as well as the side of the country she lives in. However, we started talking quite a bit, and really enjoyed each others company. She knew I was single, but she was happily married to me. Then she dropped the news on me that she and her husband had opened up their relationship, and she wanted to know if I was interested in starting one with her. I of course was shocked and amazed, but I happily told her I would love to do so. And, so it started.
After a couple months of the whole long distance thing, I made plans to go visit her. And the longer we talked and chatted online, the more of this incredible bond we formed. It was very, very intense. Add in the fact that we lived on opposite sides of the country, it made it that much more impressive. I eventually told her that I was in love with her, which I was.
However, I knew that she was also married, and deeply in love with her husband, and that wasn't going to change. And to be honest, I didn't want it to. I was happy for her. I finally was able to live and understand the meaning of the term compersion. It was impressive. I mean, we didn't talk about the intimate details of their relationship, but I was happy when he made her happy, and when she was sad about things like not getting to see her husband for a while, I was sad as well. I understood and respected my place in their life, and I was content. When things got closer to her and I finally seeing each other, and he had some reservations, I happily accepted them and did what needed to be done to make sure he was alright. I wanted this to work, and I knew all parties had to be happy for that to happen. There had to be a solid foundation. I didn't resent anything.
So finally, the time came for us to see each other for the first time as a couple, and I was so nervous, and so was she. However, the moment we met up with each other, that all went away. Things were so natural that it was mind boggling. It was like we had been together for years. I was stunned, and so was she. That first night was the first time she told me she loved me. It was magical.
However, I also knew that she had a husband, and I wasn't that worried about it. I mean, I made sure she did things like checked in with him, and we had some boundaries that we made sure to follow. Again, I wanted to build a solid relationship with her, and with him as well.
Eventually, like all good things, it had to end, and I had to go home. I'm not going to lie, it was hard, and I had tears in my eyes as I did. But I made my way home, and eventually I was just eager and excited to the next time I would get to visit her, as was she. It was a wonderful vacation, and I was on Cloud Nine.
Then two days later, she informed me that her husband needed to talk to me. She wouldn't say what, only that she was sorry, and then she had to go to an appointment, so I didn't get a chance to discuss it any further. I was nervous, but she had done things like used pet names and things like that, so I dismissed any negative thoughts and went about my day.
Eventually, she and her husband returned, and he pinged me over IM. To make an already long story a tad shorter, he told me that he was no longer comfortable with an open marriage, and that they were closing it and she and I could no longer see each other. He told me it had nothing to do with me, that I had been wonderful and completely supportive and respectful, but he just couldn't deal with it. To make matters worse, he was having her send back a necklace I got her for her birthday, because it was too hard for him to deal with. Again, being the kind of man I am, I told him I was sorry to hear that, that if I could have done more to make him more comfortable with things and didn't that I was sorry, and accepted their decision.
After this, she messaged me to see if I was O.K. and that she was sorry. She then told me that she felt sorry for doing this while I was already upset, but that while she still cared about me deeply and hoped we could still be friends, she needed some time and space while she got her feelings and head sorted out, which again I went the selfless route and told her that I understood and was fine with it, even though I wasn't.
Anyways, the point of this all was to find out how people in that are secondaries, especially if they are not seeing anyone else, handle dealing with the pain of a break up, especially with someone that they care about so deeply? I am trying to be good about it, but I find myself getting angry and almost resentful at times, because while she may or may not be hurting over this, she has her husband to fall back on and be with, while I don't have anyone, ever her as a friend. I always remind myself that I knew my role in all this when it first started, and that this was the risk of such a relationship, but it's still tough. And because I haven't told almost anyone about my views on relationships and whatnot, it's hard to even talk to anyone about it.
So, a quick TL;DR recap:
How do people that are the secondary deal with the breakup of a partner, especially if they were the only one you're seeing?
Thanks everyone, and sorry for the super long post.