Ok, so everyone started out as soft swinging. Nobody intended to fall in love. You definitely are monogamous for marriage and at best some soft swinging. If that is the case? Divorce. Stop beating around the bush.
Now that John and Sarah have fallen in love, here's the tally at last count as I see it:
- Wants Sarah to be his wife.
- Wants Sarah to be his sub.
- Wants to continue with his other subs?
- Wants john to be his friend only?
- Wants you to be his friend only?
- want to be married to John.
- You are open to soft swing only? No poly.
- You want to be friends with Sarah?
- You want to be friends with Mike?
- Wants to be married to you.
- He wants to be poly with Sarah.
- Wants to be Mike's friend
- wants to be married to Mike.
- wants to not be Mike's sub.
- wants to be friends with you.
- wants to be in polyship with John.
So that's why I feel so hopeless. Every path we can take leads to pain.
Then this is a case if "which sucks the least?" Because there is no win-win or even win-lose choice to be made. It is "this choice stinks" and "this choice stinks." Which one stinks the least then?
I think you guys could talk in quad and ask point blank
"Who is up for a polyship between John and Sarah with Lydia1 and Mike as the metamours? Who is NOT willing to be in polyship configuration? Show hands."
Then whoever is not willing, leave the baby polyship/marriages. Plain and simple. Going about avoiding asking the most basic question makes no sense.
WHO IS WILLING? WHO IS NOT?
For those who are willing to stay? Now you can start to refine it.
Either John and Sarah break up and their hearts break and they resent me, or they stay together and both their marriages continue to suffer to varying degrees and they resent me for imposing limitations.
You are micromanaging a bit there and you are also enabling them to spend time together. Talk about sending mixed messages. Stop mixed messaging.
Control your OWN behavior. Stop focusing on what you do not want -- people resenting you and I don't know what all. Focus on what you DO want here.
If you want to only soft swing and be otherwise monogamous in your marriage -- that is what you want. You have the right to want what you want. Do no compromise yourself to accept things you do NOT WANT. You will feel yucky. So own your OWN behavior, and be clear stating your own wants, needs, and limits.
In either case, Mike may never be okay again. He has lied to Sarah repeatedly and ruined any trust she had in him, and he doesn't trust her either, and seemed to think he could only keep her faithful by manipulation.
Let Mike and Sarah deal with their marriage problems. That's not your arena.
My marriage with John will suffer in either case as well.
Breathe. And decide to focus on what you want, and let it come out in the wash and see which end it up.
Start setting actual boundaries here instead of micromanaging little details. Is this your offer to them? That is in conflict with you stating you want monogamous marriage with only a little soft swing at most.
So which is it? If you are indeed willing to try to go toward polyworld -- you all need more education.
The best I can think to offer them is - that it's okay that they are in love, and they can't control how they feel, but that with the breeches in trust our marriage has suffered we're not as stable as we had been. So I can't now see a future where John and Sarah can have a full sexual relationship. They can sext, talk all they want, and even make dates as long as they hide from the public eye so that we're never out of the closet. But that's as much as I can give. And I imagine it could be hard to live with those kinds of limitations, and that they would lead to resentment of me.
If so, clean it up. Stop projecting your emotions on it or predicting their emotions. Let everyone hold their own emotional baggage.
You could rewrite it like this... if this is actually what you feel:
I don't know what Sarah and Mike marriage will be.
I expect Sarah and Mike to sort that out on their own time.
I would like to remain friends with Sarah.
I would like to remain friends with Mike.
I expect you two (John and Sarah) to give Sarah and Mike space.
I am not making out with anyone but my own husband at this point until the storm passes.
I am willing to try a polyship where John is the shared sweetie to Sarah and I am a metamout. My offer and terms for the next 3 mos are:
HARD LIMIT (no negotiation):
SOFT LIMIT (could change in time):
- I would like to NOT be out of the poly closet to start. You must be discreet. We need a plan if someone is accidentally outed.
- For now I'd like a limit of sext, talk all you want, and even make dates as long as they hide from the public eye.
- No sex for at least (3 mos?) so we get past this hullabaloo before adding more to the mix. Keep it at outercourse, no intercourse. Condoms, gloves, whatever at all times. Even with me. Everyone get labs run.
- In 3 mos we can do a temperature check and see where everyone is at now in their various healings/processes and what can be reasonable/rational to take on board in the following 3 mos.
Could something like that work for you? If so, offer it. See if something like that would work for John and Sarah... and I guess Mike if he's still in the polyship or not?
But don't even bother to offer it if you do not mean it and you are not TRULY willing to go there.
If deep down what you want is monogamous marriage with a little soft swing -- that is what you want. There is nothing wrong with that. But articulate your clear want. Don't go after things you do not want just out of fear. It's not reaching for your own happiness if you do things like that. It prolongs the suckage.