(continued from previous post) J. said that sitting down the four of us was a great idea and we arranged a lunch at a local restaurant this past weekend. He said, each couple should bring along their written relationship rules and we would discuss them and see if everyone was on the same page. I had never seen any from him and C., and I knew that he had been working on some since I had talked to him about veto power and how it was unethical to have no limits put on such even regarding established relationships, as ours was. He had seen the ones I have with my husband, and had expressed concern that the way we had worded them made it seem like we were not open to having committed relationships with others.
We made some revisions to our rules and showed up to the lunch with written copies. J. and I talked about commitment. I clarified that I was indeed open to committed relationships and always had been, but I didn't know what any kind of formal commitment would look like since I was not open to living with other partners, or holding additional partners as primary along with my husband. I said that if our relationship could be patched up and continued to deepen, that I would be open to exchanging rings privately if he wished that. I also said that the fact that I was still in his life, still trying to work things out despite a lot of difficulties, should show him how committed I was to our relationship.
C. was very quiet for a while while J. and I talked, then she took the floor. She began making accusations towards me about various things, 90 percent of which I had already specifically apologized to her for. My husband tried to calm her down. J. just sat there. I tried to keep my cool and I did for a while, but I am not good at doing that when someone else is berating me. When C. literally started shouting at me in the middle of the restaurant, I lost my temper too and responded loudly and angrily for a couple of minutes. I tried to get up and leave, but my husband literally would not let me out of the booth we were sitting in. (He regrets that now, but at the time he believed that if I stayed, we could somehow fix things in the end.) I gave in, stayed, and tried to take deep breaths. We ended up spending over three hours there, with C. continuing to berate me on and off.
The only other thing that we accomplished, outside of J. airing a few of his concerns (that I might not support his relationship with his platonic friend should it ever turn sexual, that I might not support his decision to have more children with another partner, since neither me or C. are capable of that but he does want more children), was me finally seeing C. and J's written relationship rules and discovering that they still said nothing about limiting veto power over established relationships. I expressed amazement that they had not tried to deal with this issue, after everything that had happened with me, and C. expressed loud outrage that I was trying to tell them how to run their relationship. At that point, I just shut up.
My husband and I went home, extremely shaken. I felt that perhaps I should end things with finality, that it was hopeless to try to persist in a relationship with a man whose wife clearly loathed me and wanted me gone. But then I decided that if anyone was going to end things, I did not want it to be me. Instead, I wrote a brief email to J. telling him that I felt that three of us had gone to lunch with good intentions and it made me so sad that C. was not able to let go of her anger and resentment and bad feelings towards me. I asked to see him, to just do something fun together and not talk about our issues for one evening. My husband wrote a much more forceful email to both C. and J. that expressed his discomfort with how she had attacked and berated me and derailed the peace process under the guise of "having her feelings heard". He said he had not agreed to be a part of anything like that, and he would not be sitting down with her again.
J. got in touch with me the next day and wanted to make plans to see each other, and we did. That same evening, I received an odd series of emails from C. In them, she insisted that I had written the email my husband had sent, the one that expressed displeasure with her behavior, and sent it from his private email account, and signed his name to it. She even taunted me that maybe it was time to veto me once and for all. Husband has been writing to her from that account for months and never gave her any indication that it was a shared email account, which it is not. I just threw up my hands at her paranoia, and my husband wrote to tell her that his email account was private and he had sent that message, not me. I can only assume that she could not get her mind around the idea that he thought badly of her, so she jumped to the conclusion that I must have hacked his account.
The next day, I got an email from J. telling me he was sick of the "roller coaster" and he no longer wanted the relationship with me. Nothing at all had passed between us since we made plans for a date together.
I was sad for perhaps six hours, then it felt like a huge weight had been lifted. No more drama, no more of an unbalanced, paranoid woman berating me and me being forced to bite my tongue because I wanted to keep a long-term relationship with her husband. No more of my husband feeling bad because he couldn't help the situation despite his great empathy and diplomatic skills (which are so much better than mine).
I also realized that J. must have known what C. intended to do at that lunch. He is a very deliberate person who plans everything down to the last detail, and he would never have gone into that situation without having some idea how it would have gone. I believe that he felt I needed to be punished in some way for C's upset, and that is why he just sat there and let her attack me.
I have learned from this situation that I need to get better at spotting crazy people (meaning C., perhaps even J. to some extent), and that I need to know precise details of how a couple does veto power, if they do, before I get into a relationship with one of them.
I may still have to put up with J. and C. socially to some degree. I think it could be uncomfortable for them socially at events that contain a lot of my close friends, because my close friends know what has been going on and have been supporting me unconditionally and have expressed horror at both C's and J's behavior. I can't say how my friends will treat them. But I will be OK with being polite and distant to both. This may, in the end, be the easiest breakup I have ever had.
I just wanted to finish the story here since I started it here. For anyone who was brave enough to read the whole thing, thanks for your interest.