Should I still be friends with her?
So, before I explain the question, I need to provide the obligatory backstory. My wife (S) and I had been talking about opening for a couple of years, but progress was frustratingly slow. In the meantime I met and fell in love with someone at work (M) and it turned into an affair. We both discovered that we were poly and became quite supportive of each other trying to improve our relationships with our monogamous partners. It was one of the happiest times of my life and I discovered the joy loving more than one (albeit dishonestly). But, of course, it couldn't last. Her husband discovered our emails and he forced her to cut off communication. I tried to maintain distance out of respect, but eventually we began speaking again at work, trying to be supportive and help each other as we had before. My depression did not go unnoticed by my wife, especially when contrasted with prior months. I restarted the dialogue of opening up and she gave me an ultimatum, forget about it or divorce. I love my wife and it was painful, but 1) I don't like ultimatums and 2) I had glimpsed the happiness that was possible outside of monogamy... so I muttered "divorce".
After many tears and many hours of talking, I knew I had to be completely honest. I confessed the affair, but more importantly I told her everything I had been feeling but not saying for so many years... feeling disconnected, restricted, frustrated. Obviously there were many more tears and many more hours of talking, but honesty is an incredible thing... we connected on a whole new level and are closer now than ever. She finally took the time to seriously educate herself about polyamory and concluded that a poly/mono relationship could work (though she's open to the idea of being poly as well). We're taking it one step at a time, but we've already connected with a local poly community and our relationship is as strong as ever.
But back to M, and the question... we continue to talk (online chat, since we work in separate office buildings) and occasionally meet for coffee at work as well, even though her husband has forbidden communication. She's been in therapy with her husband now for a couple of months and has gone from totally checked out to sticking it out for the kids. I want to remain friends with her at work, and she does likewise, but I'm struggling with the ethics. I've talked about it with my wife and she's fine with it (I know, she's awesome), but I feel like I'm enabling M to cheat, even though the cheating in this case is just friendly conversation. What should I do? Am I being too much of an idealist? Is it worth wrecking the friendship for the risk of mucking up an already troubled marriage?
38 M, Straight, Minneapolis. “Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.” -Robert A. Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land