Glad it helped!
Glad "Weather Channel" helps you too.
So you cheated and you both tried to move past it? No judgement here on that other than I'm glad you tried to move past it. Have you both fully healed?
We all have our dark places we are not esp proud of. But our partners love us warts and all you know. We are all human. Very few of us are crazed serial killers or something that are totally beyond redemption! Sheesh!
And not to bring out old sores to rub salt in but let's look at this from the "Ok, that THING happened then. How could it have been better handled?" place.
From my stranger eyes? (and I mean all this kindly) Let's jump in there. Ready? Go!
It was at the end of the same pattern I saw myself falling into last year: fatigue, emotional distance, seeking fulfillment elsewhere.
I, in particular, have difficulty telling her "I want X," because it feels selfish.
So you were not close to wife, and instead of speaking up about it, you strayed? Do you see where you own part of that growing emotional distance? DID you speak up about it at the time? Was it not heard? Received? Said loud enough or in a way she could take on board? Why is speaking your feelings selfish?
Learn to speak UP and just SPIT IT OUT to your wife when your needs/wants are missing attention from her. See if she needs things from you.
Be a better Weather Reporter / Weatherman that studies the weather. You can do it!
First, I want to say that your "Weather Channel" metaphor is fantastic. things are rarely dramatic around here (we're pretty chill people, especially her), but this is a good framework for creating healthy habits.)
It doesn't have to be "dramatic" like ol' formerly shouty, stompy hotheaded me. "Cold" is a kind of weather too. If she's got a cool personality and you were craving warmth, be the weather reporter and report it!
If you didn't
speak up about this need at the time of the affair? Were thinking she'd just "mind reader" it because you are not good about articulating your emotional need/wants? Then you went looking for the warm elsewhere because she failed to provide it?
You weren't holding up your end of the communication stick. Went off to Tahiti to find warmth without her and left her in the dark. *shrug* Can't blame her for not being thrilled.
Listen to you...
My wife is pretty sharp, so she'll probably connect the dots of "Hey, turns out So-So is polyamorous, and we were talking about XYZ; what do you think of that?"
assume? Stop expecting her to mind reader you. Just spit it OUT. In time, with practice, you will get more comfortable just announcing the weather from your telescope. Change your language to "I" words -- I am feeling ____. I could use some _____. Please help me by _____.
"My wife is sharp she'll prob" -- that's like
"wife, you should mind reader me"
"wife, you ought to just know what I need when"
"I won't announce my need I'll just expect her to guess and nail it anyway"
And if she doesn't hit the mark because she didn't know she was supposed to mind reader it, you can't be pegging your disappointment at her. Was it an emotional gap back then? Or was it a perceived
one because she's cool in personality and you wish she'd be warmer at you?
You actually have a responsibility to the partnership to speak up and YOU are the one that needs to meet that side of the stick. Not her.
She also has a responsibility to the partnership to actually CHECK IN with you too. Doesn't have to wait for the hand-delivered, custom made, gold-edged invitation from you. She can initiate a weather report and check in. Isn't she one of the partners here? It's a two way street.
I'd def work on getting this communication thing with your wife up a few notches.
Maybe I haven't forgiven myself. I've rationalized the hell out of that episode; I thought about it and tried to learn from it, but I don't know if I've actually let it go.
Hon, if you aren't improving the communication thing, you haven't grown past the square you were standing at when you had the affair. So how can you forgive you and learn to trust YOURSELF to handle potential weather shake ups?
Time DOES heal things like that. It was a bad storm, punched a hole in the roof, ruined the floor. So... you gonna get around to roof repair or what?
On the affair? I had one once. I felt terrible but had to own up. My husband and I were dating then, not married. While we were not exclusive -- I crossed a line and had sex with a person I was seeing without consulting and checking in first tho. My bad. Totally. I felt awful because I crossed a boundary line. He told me he was not thrilled with the news, felt that was a reasonable reaction, but thanked me for telling him honestly. He did not love THIS but he told me he still loved ME, things happen, and we'd deal with it and we try to do better moving forward.
I was stunned with his grace and humbled really. I sure as heck didn't want to screw up AGAIN! Weather reports became my mission. Updates on my feelings, what's going on in my inner world, keeping him in the loop. Behave like I'm part of a partnership,
not like a footloose singleton.
I think more than anything, learning to own your feelings, talk about your feelings and your needs/wants with your wife?
THAT will help you lay the affair thing to rest. The actual affair person is long gone.
But the "emotional distance gap" thing will always feel like a threat to you. Whether it is a real cap or perceived gap if you don't do something about about stocking your emotional coping toolbox with some more tools.
Right now? You have 5 relationships going on there within 2 people.
- You to yourself as one part of a couple. (vs you to yourself as a single answering to nobody but you, responsible to nobody but you.)
- You to her
- Her to herself as one part of a couple
- her to you
- the partnership functioning as a partnership unit. Not the pieces, but the WHOLE.
Poly's fine, but get your foundation 5 on solid ground first if you crave greater intimacy and trust in THIS rship.
Well before venturing into polymath. That's not additive. That's geometric.
Yet, obviously, I don't trust her to enough to just talk to her about these feelings.
What's she done that untrustworthy? From your short posts above -- nothing. Except perhaps be a bit cool in personality? That's not a trust thing.
Or it's that you don't like how talking about emotional things makes you feel vulnerable? Shaky? Turmoil inside? Internal thunderstorm? (That's natural weather. You reporting?)
Are you expecting her to mind reader THAT discomfort and pave the way smooth for you and annoyed she isn't magically doing it? (That is you not holding your side of the stick and spitting it out is it? Or doing your own personal growth filling your emotional toolbox up.)
Report your Weather, dude! Wife cannot mind read. But after you report maybe she knows where the umbrella is that you both can share while riding this internal weather of yours out as a team? Help hone your communication skills to something sharper. Maybe she wants better skills at something.
SPEAK UP. FIND OUT.
I'm afraid she'll leave, or just pull away. So, when I think about talking about being attracted other women, there's that specter of my erstwhile infidelity lurking in the background. That's probably the biggest source of my anxiety.
Well... that's your fear. What are you doing about it to reduce it?
Have you been cheating all this time? No? Great.
Then... are you both over it? Forgiven at least, if not forgotten? Not divorced, so I'm gonna go with yeah. Great!
Changed the behavior that caused the emotional distance gap? Ah. Communication skills again.
I know this emotion stuff is not fun for you. But how are you going to get better if you do not get out there and practice it? Cuz if you never open up to take the risk to gift your heart vulnerabilities? Then she's never been given the chance to show kindness when gifted your vulnerabilities. How can your grow the trust in her handling your heart gently if she's never been given it to handle?
And if you have done it and she bungled it? That's still
how you grow trust. You keep handing it over. If she were truly PUTRID PERSON you would not still be together after all this, right?
SOMEONE has to jump first again. And since you are the one posting here craving bigger emotional intimacies with wife... It's on you, no?
Stop going in circles. KISS!
Jump! Lay out the emotions for discussion. Print the whole thread even to give her to read. Practice that "talking about hard emotion things" stuff. It gets easier with practice.
Hang in there. You will be ok. You obviously love her and want something deeper with her. Why wouldn't she be flattered?