I'm afraid that when I posted the thread there was a 1000 character maximum limit. I tried to then post the rest as a comment, but the moderators had to approve the thread first before it was viewable. Sorry about that. Here's the rest of the story:
And I felt frustrated for my husband John, because spending time with Sarah really should not have been such a forbidden thing. We were all friends to begin with, and it wasn't like they were having an affair. Mike was just being unreasonable and selfish. So, thinking that I was helping, I arranged for Sarah, John and me to get dinner together once a week after Sarah and I went to an exercise class together. John was working evenings at the time and met us during his dinner break. Then once he rotated to working the day shift again, dinner was at our place instead of in a pizza place near John's work. Instead of spending an hour together, we'd spend six hours together. Instead of just getting to be together, Sean and Sarah wanted to be able to kiss each other and be alone. Even in that, I helped them. I'd go to the gym or take a shower for an hour to give them some them-time. My rule of thumb was that when it came to limits the answer should be yes from me unless I strongly felt it should be no.
But I have to say, it's an awkward place to be in when you're in the way. It's nobody's fault, but I found myself sitting in my own living room with my husband and my best friend, knowing that all they wanted at some point was for me to not be there. That's not to say they didn't enjoy my company. But their need to be alone together meant that I was in the way.
Then, the second break of trust happened. John and Sarah started sexting each other and didn't tell me about it until some time had passed. It happened three times before John told me about it. Thank god that's how I found out, or else we'd probably be getting divorced right now. But it was still devastating. Up until that point, nothing had happened between them that I didn't know about and say I was okay with first.
And then over time, as I told John what I was or wasn't okay with during conversations, we would end up having fights. For instance, I did not want John to start kissing Sarah hello and good-bye on the lips. That's our greeting. He could make out with her during an evening, but greetings had to be hugs and kisses on the cheeks like all our other friends - in part because I am his only partner, and in part because I don't want them to slip up and do it in front of others and for it to become common knowledge. That led to a huge fight that boiled down to John wanting me to explain why I needed there to be any kind of exclusivity. He wanted to know the sources, or origins, of my monogamous nature - so that (in my mind) he could dispute them and then call my needs invalid.
I don't think there are reasons for our nature, though I'm sure the society we grow up in and genetics or personality types have some influence. Some people are polyamorous, some people are monogamous, some are gay, straight, bi, or whatever. Your needs are what they are, and no one should be allowed to take your voice from you. I need a level of exclusivity, and if he needs to not be exclusive, then divorce is the way forward - but you can't brow beat me into giving up my needs. I know I deserve a partner who will meet my needs.
That was the third major breech of trust. Suddenly me saying what my needs and limits were wasn't good enough, and all the assurances of the past that if I felt uncomfortable with something it simply wouldn't happen seemed like mere lip service. And the worst part is, the fight didn't just happen once. It happened over and over again, with me sobbing and him still insisting. And every time it happened, it made me feel like I was less able to say yes to things, because John would then expect the answer to always be yes, and would then flip out if the answer were ever no. At this point, I'm no longer okay with the idea of John and Sarah having sex, because I feel like we already have so very little left that is only ours. Though to give them some kind of relief, I've said I'm okay with them sexting.
About a month ago, Mike finally asked Sarah to end things. So she sort of did while still staying in constant contact with John, and then after a week told Mike - sorry, I'm not okay with ending it. They're in therapy and having trouble finding a therapist that doesn't think polyamory is their number one problem. Mike now absolutely hates John and told John their friendship is over. John was incredibly devastated by that.
John and I are fighting every couple of days. It's exhausting. Finally I got him to stop questioning my need for exclusivity - or at least to stop pursuing the same fight. We went to a therapist for the first time last week, and all she said was "So how do you feel about that." So I'm not really sure how useful that was. Maybe future sessions will be more productive now that she knows the gist of our story.
And here I am, feeling very alone. I can't exactly talk to my best friend Sarah about everything, because she's got a vested interest in continuing to pursue John, and is dealing with her own crumbling marriage while trying to raise two kids. And I feel like John and Sarah are so important to each other that it would hurt both of them incredibly if I asked them to just be friends. I'm not even sure if John could stand the exposure as friends after that kind of loss, so that means I would lose my best friend, as well as break my husband's heart, if I ever asked them to end things. So I feel like that's not even an option, even though I never agreed to a polyamorous relationship. And to some degree I'm okay with them being in love and getting to spend time together - I just need there to not be so much constant fighting and breaking of trust. I need the limits I say I need to simply be respected and adhered to, or for our marriage to end - as devastating as that would be. And I really don't want the world to know that we're anything but monogamous, which means John and Sarah can't exactly go on a date in public. That adds a level of logistical complexity to things.
John, my own partner, is the one who has hurt me the most in all of this. Mike has been selfish and manipulative, but I can't be surprised when the weak and wounded lash out at others. Sarah has made some choices that I would not have made, but I can't really blame her for that. She's trying to find her way to happiness like anyone else. But John, the love of my life, has hurt me and has broken my trust in him, and that is incredibly sad to me.
And to top it all off, because we really needed more stress, John doesn't want to have a child. That is not to say he's completely said no yet (which means I can't even start the mourning process), but he thinks one should really, really want it to become a parent. And I get that - it's a huge life-long commitment. But when we first got together he told me he could see himself having a child with me. And now I'm in my mid 30's, watching the future I thought we'd have disappear before my eyes.
I'm sobbing every single day. I feel hopeless and lost. I'm astounded and saddened that the solid, fully trusting relationship we had nine months ago has been so damaged by all of this.
So... got any insight?