So can you blame the gf for looking at her useless lump of a man, and saying to herself that she deserves better?
Of course she deserves better! I totally agree. I think in general we're at the same conclusion even if I express myself differently than you. Your focus to me appears to be on the metamour wife. My focus was there initially but has since shifted to the behavior of other husband.
At the beginning, the metamour wife's behavior was questionable to me. She's since straightened up to fly right in polyship with good ethics. Good on her!
I come from the perspective that if she's been ringing his courtesy clue phone all along about her needs not being met and she's at her LIMIT? And it's at the place of "counseling or we are done?" Good for her -- she was tempted to cheat because her needs were unmet, but pulled back from that to sort it out and move ahead with honesty and INTENTION. Again -- good on her!
So 3 players in this polyship are now flying with some ethics in place even though they had a wobbly beginning. Good on them as a trio!
Now I'm looking at the dark horse 4th player -- the other husband.
He's been presented with information and a final limit. Now he has to make a move and choose his next behavior. I do not think he ought to make a rash decision about it. That would be a REACT behavior. Pushing away the yucky feelings (and her with it!) because he does not want to feel yucky. But my impression so far is that's been his pattern all along. Do not want to deal -- stiff arm it away. Poor conduct on him. Boo.
The thing that may help him is doing something different
than his usual pattern of behavior: go to marriage counseling! That would be him choosing ACT WITH INTENTION. It's not guaranteed to save the marriage, but I don't see how being rash about his emotional management is gonna help him.
We cannot help how we feel -- yummy feelings or yucky feelings. We can only help how we choose to behave in response to those feelings. We can choose to "react" or choose "act with intention." Could even have a "react" initially to startling news and then get it together to "act with intention" next -- in the end that is still
choosing "act with intention." But just
a REACT here? That's no good.
If he goes with a rash REACT --all "Waaah! no! I don't want to deal!" and shuts down and pushes the whole thing away and her with it as the "source" of the yucky? That attitude will cost him his marriage. And rightly so because he's been ignoring tending to it all this time. She cannot be expected to be happy with chronic lack of responsiveness to her wants and needs. That's not any kind of relating back and forth in a marriage.
The "source" of the problem is not "we have problems because SHE is making me feel yucky!" as much as "we have problems because of my unwillingness to engage appropriately and problem solve with my partner."
It's sad. But hardly uncommon -- a non-responsive partner not wanting to OWN their poor behavior. Sigh.
OP -- I do not know if your metamour reads over your shoulder to your posts here but I hope that she gives herself the pat on the back for trying to be honest and forthright here. She's trying to fly right even if he's not willing to give her the right to responsiveness.