Hi again, Meghan
It´s now past midnight and the rest of the household has gone to bed. Let me start by sharing with you a bit of advice that another member gave me when I was new here: When you come to the end of a paragraph, hit your "enter" key TWICE. That will create a space between your paragraphs and make it MUCH easier on the eyes, easier to read, and therefore easier to understand. [And remember that - unlike other cheapo-brand forums POLYAMORY:COM
- with added AMAZOMATIC
- allows you to edit your posts for up to 12 hours after you´ve sent them off, in case you notice a mistake or ambiguity on re-reading. HOWEVER... If another member makes a comment based on a misunderstanding of your post, it´s preferable to clear up any misunderstandings/ambiguities in a reply to their post, rather than editing your own, earlier one. The latter tactic would only lead to LATER readers of the thread becoming confused.]
OK, now to the point of your original post. As is my custom, I´m going to run past you a few crazy ideas/reactions that ran through my head when I read your post, and you can decide whether there´s anything in them worth considering. I´m not sure myself whether they´re on the ball or not...
a) I hate that
over the course of the years, he began belittling me and chipping away at my self-confidence bit by bit.
My father used to do that to my mother and had me and [I GUESS] my siblings seeing her as pitiful. As an adolescent and adult I began to stand up for her, had one or 2 showdowns with my father... and was delighted when she started to stand up for herself. His - and your husband´s - behaviour was ugly and despicable... a sign of an emotional cripple and a psychological weakling.
b) It is a boringly common tactic of many men (boring because it´s SO common) to sing the praises of "free love" and "open relationships"... as long as they´re ONLY free and open for HIM, not for HER. Everything´s just peachy-dandy until SHE wants a piece of the pie, too. Then it´s: "We have to re-evaluate our priorities" and "OUR relationship is more important: we need to protect it and not undermine it".
[Once I asked my mother for permission to take a - for me - important step. She told me that she couldn´t give her permission before consulting with my father: that they´d made an agreement when they married that all important decisions would be discussed and agreed upon by both of them. It later became blindingly obvious that that meant that she had to consult with him, but that he felt perfectly free - and justified - in making important decisions (that directly affected her) on his own.]
c) Having said that, and trying to be fair, I seem to understand that his extra-marital activities meant kissing 2 women, a blow job from another, and attending some/many strip-tease shows. I´m guessing that you´d want to take it further (physically) with Sweetie. Or are you going to be satisfied with a BJ and some cunnilingus? Does this have some bearing on your husband´s reluctance to allow you free rein? That he was "free" but only WANTED to wade in the surf, while you look like you´re interested in swimming the Channel?
d) Return that serve: Are you certain that it WAS only kisses, a BJ and some strip shows (for his JOB!!!)? Personally, I wouldn´t put too much faith in the integrity of a man who repeatedly tried to give his wife an inferiority complex.
e) There´s this thing called New Relationship Energy [NRE - do a tag search and read up on this]. Although you and Sweetie haven´t gone very far physically, his newness, his difference-to-Hubby might be making you blind to his faults and/or his true intentions. Not my opinion, just a point for consideration FWIW [for what it´s worth].
f) Personally speaking, and harking back to point c), I think that swimming the Channel is more admirable than wading in the surf. I might get some flak from other members on this, but I mean that - for me - kissing 2 women, getting a blow job from a total stranger, and getting paid for ogling strippers seems a sad and pathetic way of "flaunting the rules of monogamous propriety" [IF there was no deep emotional involvement in those kisses or BJ] compared to a [scary?] romantic/emotional dive into the deeper waves of a REAL relationship.
g) SOMETIMES "I love him so much" means "I need him: I´m not strong enough to stand on my own feet".
Until you give me some feedback on some of those points, I´m not going to give you any advice... except that you click on the poem title in the last of my 4 signatures, scroll to the bottom of that page, and read the poem. Share it with Hubby and Sweetie if you like. AND that you be honest with each other... and with yourselves!