I have read through this thread and wanted to add a little something. It's going to be simple and it's going to relate only to your question.
I agree with everything GalaGirl just said.
The big problem for us specifically is dealing with past hurts. On both sides. I should really get around to the post of how that first visit went as we were all three amazed at how it went. Especially with the surprises and problems we ran into!
So for us, and for those in the very beginning of all of this, the question is, how do you get over the bad treatment of the past? People say talk, we do, admit, and we both have, but feelings remain and as DH especially is a linear thinking, a how to is what he is looking for. Sadly, there really aren't really steps or guides on that kind of thing.
As humans, we learn from experience. We touch something hot when we are toddlers and we never touch it again. Sometimes, we learn things, but work to change our reaction, because we have a need to change it. For example, we get bitten by a dog. Our learned response is to feel nervous around dogs in future. Then, we fall in love with someone who has a dog. So we go to therapy, or do some research, and try to adapt our response. Eventually, we might be able to overcome the past and have that dog in our lap.
Let's talk in a linear way, then.
Using the analogy above, we know that our learned response can be worked on. You (hubby) are still hanging onto some fear and resentment, because you think history might repeat itself. But you know that you need (and want) to work on your learned response. That's why you're here. You want to comfortable stroke the dog in your lap.
You know, my GF and I fell into that trap. We actually went one step further. We would constantly move in circles, pulling each other up on past behaviour; judging each other by past behaviour; acting with a motive of "well, you treated me this way 6 months ago, so surely it's ok for me to be just as inconsiderate now, right?"
This is what helped me/us:
Who you were *then* is not who you are *now*.
I am a Poet. I thought the first Haiku I ever wrote was the best Haiku any Western woman had ever written. A few years later, I read more about Haiku and realised I'd made a lot of mistakes. I wrote a new one - and it knocked the socks off my first. Of course, now I've accepted that every time I write a Haiku, it won't be perfect. It will be the draft, until the next draft, and the next draft. It will keep getting better. Occasionally, I might write a shit one again. Because writers mess up. But I'll find my groove once more.
Relationship behaviour is like that. Your wife made some mistakes. It was her first draft. She thought she was doing the right thing at the moment; for herself.
In terms of how your poly situation came out, you have to take the positives from that situation. Your wife did the right thing in the end. She told you about it. She's human. She wanted what she wanted - that included you, or you would be divorced by now. I don't know the details, but maybe she even acted like a kid in a candy store - greedily taking what she wanted and not noticing anyone waiting in line. We do that sometimes. I've been there. My girlfriend went wild when we first became poly - she wanted what she wanted and it didn't matter what anyone else said.
You have to try to forgive human behaviour, because we are all shits sometimes and we all make mistakes.
In simple, linear formation:
- understand that she had a weakness: it's human
- understand that she felt completely torn
- understand that if she didn't want you, she wouldn't be here
- accept her apology - empathise with her guilt
- listen to what she's saying now
- let her prove herself
- every time you are scared, say so
- every time a mistake is made, talk about how you can do it better next time
- remember that everything is the draft before the next draft
Good luck to you guys. I really hope that you can find peace, security and happiness.