Small Town impossibility?
I've never used a help forum like this before, so here goes. I have been with my husband (R) for 13 years, married for 8 years. We have two young children and live in a small remote community. Our relationship is good; we have good communication and the sex is still phenomenal. I love him very, very much, and can imagine growing old with him. Unfortunately, I seem to have completely fallen for with a close friend of both of us. I feel this in no way impacts my feelings for my husband, but we live in a small town and I'm not sure that everyone is going to be that open...
From the moment I met L (the friend), 6 years ago, I was somewhat drawn to him. For years, however, I just chalked that up to him being someone I just connected with. However, eight months ago, things began to shift. I found myself fantasizing about him constantly, to the point that I felt guilt when I spoke to his partner. I tried everything I could to change my thinking, but whenever I had nothing else to think of, I would find myself thinking of him. At times I tried to convince myself that just thinking about him wasn't that bad, and that it was 'safe' - I also did some research and felt that my feelings were normal, but it was still frightening. Things began to get intense between L and I. The energy began to grow, and it was clear that it wasn't one sided. It got to such a point, that I knew I had to express it. One weekend his partner was away, and I had an opportunity to go over there with another friend. Once the other friend left, L and I kept on talking (and drinking, to be honest), and the conversation went to relationships and fidelity. His partner had been unfaithful a number of times, and so I asked if she would be okay if he were to cross that line. He said he didn't know... there was that loaded pause, and I simply asked if we should talk about the elephant in the room. I looked at him, he leaned in, and kissed me.
That was a month and a half ago. Since that night, we've had two other encounters. We've had many conversations about how complicated this all is, and that it couldn't work in a small community. We've tried to stop, and failed. I couldn't handle the dishonesty, and so I started to make steps to see how open my husband could be. He was surprisingly open, and the conversations that we've had have been great and energizing. He even knows that I have feelings for L - buuuut, does not know what has already transpired. I tried to convince L to allow me to talk to his partner, but he flat out refused, stating that he thought their relationship was too fragile for this sort of arrangement, and that his partner was too insecure. Ironically, she has been with other men with his blessing, but it won't allow him the same latitude. He also says that he couldn't handle her developing strong feelings for someone else, but has developed strong feelings for me. I think he's a bit of a coward, but I know I can't force the situation.
My husband and I have been getting along great. The intimacy is amazing - and (this is the weird part) I feel almost exactly the same when my husband holds me, kisses me, touches me as I do when I am with L. I am totally attracted to my husband ... and to L. I love them both.
But - here's my question - how do I honour my love for L and move forward with integrity if he isn't willing to push the boundaries? I think he's wrong about his partner (I know her really well), but that's not my place. I think it's his insecurities getting in the way of recognizing what we have. But I can't force the issue, can I? And even if we could move forward, is it possible in a small town (less than 250 people ...)?