Hi. I'm firehaus' wife. You all are very nice for responding to him as he has started posting here with his thoughts and feelings.
I know I don't have to clarify for all of you, as you have said, but I do think it would help you give him more accurate responses.
He's right, I have had very few relationships, and I've slept with only 3 people, including him.
After my relationship that ended in 1997 where I was deeply hurt, I did indeed shut down many aspects of myself out of a feeling of self-preservation and protection. I also placed a lot of limits on him, when we started having a long term relationship, for the same reason. I know that that is not good. I tried to build my own safety net and safe place, and he, to his credit, put up with it. I feel badly for doing that. When all of this came to a head a month ago, the first thing I did was apologize for that, and remove all the blocks I had placed around ourselves. They were mostly around me, but a few were around him, and now are gone, something I feel terrific about.I am excited to see where he goes, how he grows and what he creates now, with the freedom I shouldn't have limited.
What I feel happened, is that I built my own prison, locking myself away from others. This started even before I was married. Over time, I started suffering from my own rules and "safety" jail I built for myself. By 2006, it was a problem. I had met one of the "two men" he has mentioned, and felt ripped apart inside by not being allowed to connect with him as deeply as I wanted.
This got worse and worse over time, and I became more and more inhibited and detached within my marriage. I had no anger or resentment towards Firehaus, I didn't even get what was going on, exactly. I just... felt incomplete, and that I was missing out on meaningful connections with people because that's what was expected of me, by society, by the fact I was married, and because to do anything else would be "wrong."
Combine that with the physical issues (cervical dysplasia) that appeared after I was pregnant, and just wasn't in the mood at all. I felt terrible about it, but I was just in a dark, lonely place, one I had mostly built for myself. I still felt very connected to Firehaus, we have always had, I feel, strong communication and connection, but it was failing with the different spheres we were moving in, almost like roommates in the same house, with a huge love for our son, but.... drifting.
When I finally figured it out, it was like a round peg going in a round hole. In the past 3 years I have met someone else that has become a close friend. And the same thing happened that happened with my first friend. I eventually ran against my own walls of what I felt was proper, expected of me, and the right thing to do to NOT be like my past boyfriend who brought me so much pain, fear and physical harm. I felt more and more polarized. I had been going out alone with friends for years at night, and didn't feel like coming home, because home was the prison I built for myself. I never did anything that would be cheating, I honored my husband and marriage, but I was being ripped part inside in sadness at not being able to connect with others, emotionally, physically. Feeling like I couldn't share with the few that have made their way into my life how much they mean to me, and that seemed like a very sad thing that I would really regret when I'm old in a rocking chair, looking backwards.
What do I want? The freedom to connect. Yes, right now, there is someone that I care very much for as a friend, and if it can go deeper, I would like that. Of the two friends Firehaus has mentioned, one I don't seek anything further with right now. He isn't living nearby, and the relationship has shifted during the past 8 years since we live on other sides of the planet. I am happy with where that friendship rests.
I really feel that love is infinite. Love begets more love. I am thankful and so amazed by Firehaus' willingness to let me be who I am, who I shut away before he even met me. I feel badly that I had been so hurt that I cut myself off from who I really am, when he met me. I feel he is very brave and loving to let me step out of the person he thought he married. I want this to work for both of us. One of you is correct, I feel. As I become happier, we will become happier. I really feel that. I want to be on this ride with him, not without him.
This is not wanderlust, or midlife crisis. It's something I have always been, but shut down after a horrible ending to a relationship where I let everything hang out, bare and unshielded. I knew something was wrong, honestly, before I even said "I do," but I did what I thought I was supposed to do, what society thought I should, what would keep me safe from ever being hurt again. Stupid. I hurt myself far more than that old boyfriend did, I let him change me, and I let his choices affect mine in ways that have been detrimental to me, and our family. The feeling of telling Firehaus was one of instant relief. I felt less tension than I had had in years. I know this isn't a band aid. It felt like coming home to who I used to be, and who I buried for the sake of those around me. Foolish.
We are working hard, communicating, checking in. I am trying very hard to make sure he understands that I want to be with him, I want our family together, I want to be intimate with him, and connect the way we used to, and in ways we never have before. We have lots to do between ourselves, but we are working on it. It's not easy sometimes but I love the conversations for how much closer they bring us together. I know that if we had continued as we were, before I finally put the pieces together from the damage I had done, we'd not have made it. Firehaus recognized that there was no going back, because back wasn't right, either. Only forwards could we work together and bring our connection to a better place. I think we are doing that.
It's my job to make sure he understands how much I love him, and want him, and have no desire to leave him, or the family we have created. I hope I can help him understand that my feelings for others do not lessen or dilute how I feel about him. It's just more love in the world, in my world. I want more love with him, and with the few others I feel may cross my path in the coming years. I know, never say never, but I really feel no need to go beyond one more person, and I am not casual with my deep connections. My track record is limited, and I expect it to stay that way, in general.
Love. It's one of the greatest things I think we have as humans. What I simply asked for is the ability to love as it finds me in my one life on this planet, which is what I told him initially I had lost, the freedom to do that. Had my friend not been here, the feeling would have been the same, the need would be the same. It isn't about this particular person, in the big picture. As I told him 2 nights ago, knowing I have that freedom, that ability, is what is important. I really, honestly feel that giving it out makes it return in even greater abundance...for me, for my friend, and for my amazing husband, who I am more in awe of every day as we process this and try to make it work. I hope he finds his life enriched as well, maybe not the same way mine is, but with the freedoms he now has that were missing, the way things were for over a decade. I'm happy for HIM, too.
I have asked my friend to get tested for STIs. If he can't play by the rules, then it's moot, for this particular individual, who will then remain a very dear friend. My vision is that I am free to love him, as a friend, or more, if that is how it unfolds, while loving Firehaus all the more for who he is, and for having the courage and love to let me be who I am.
This is the best I can do without writing a novel. I probably sound like a total newb, which, in many ways, I am. Heck, it is novel anyway. I hope it helps.