Fair warning. This will be long. But it helps me to write it and for you to know most of the story.
First some backstory. My wife and I met in the mid-90’s when we were both in high school. We did not live in the same state, but we had an intense connection. Even though she was dating someone at the time, we began a long-distance relationship. This continued for many years and we each dated other people while we communicated over the phone/internet. Finally we got together during college, even though it was still long distance, we were seeing each other at least once a month, and she lived with me through the summers.
Before college, I proposed, and we set a date immediately after our graduations. We married, and moved across the country to start our married lives. We were mostly happy, with a few small problems, but one thing was bigger than the rest: our sex life was not great. That is mostly my fault. I had reasons, including a lower libido from a bad diet and no exercise. I also watched too much porn, which I lied about. My wife wanted sex all the time, and that should have been great, but for some reason it wasn’t working. She thought I found her unattractive, which damaged her self esteem. She was wrong about that, but the damage was done.
As a result our relationship suffered. I wasn’t as supportive of her as I should have been, and she was lonely. Neither of us are particularly good at making new friends, and we had moved to a place neither of us had really ever been. Suffice it to say that we fell into a rut of being more roommates than husband and wife.
Skip to the end of last year. She had been reaching out to old friends on facebook to ease her loneliness. In the process, she found an ex-boyfriend she dated briefly when she was very young, we’re talking 6th grade. She began talking to him on facebook constantly, sending him photos (innocent ones at first). All the while she insisted that they were just friends. Based on her past of starting new relationships before ending current ones, I should have seen the writing on the wall and attempted to end it right away. But I could see that she was less lonely, and so I let it continue. At some point I got too uncomfortable with it and asked her to end it, and it led to one of the first conversations that truly showed how much trouble our marriage was in.
She was unable to stop talking to him, but insisted it was just that they were really good friends and she was lonely. There wasn’t much I could do at that point but to try to improve as a husband so that she didn’t need him to fill a void in her life.
The next blow occurred several months later when she attended a wedding in the same city that her ex lived in. I had just started a new job, and had no vacation time to go with her. I had my suspicions when she returned that she had spent more time with the ex than she let on, and eventually my suspicions were founded when she told me she was going back “to get some space and find herself.” I confronted her, and eventually she admitted she was considering leaving me, and she was going back to her ex to see if he was who she truly wanted. We fought, but it was clear that I had to let her go to him, otherwise she would probably have just left me then and there. She spent three weeks with him. I won’t go into details, but she decided to come back to me with the intention of giving us another chance. This was good news, but there was a looming deadline. This fall, she would make a final decision. Our sex had improved greatly, but there has been so much damage to our relationship and trust that it has been hard to try and rebuild. The other obstacle was that she still talked to him daily, which made it more difficult to invest fully in each other.
This past week we had another discussion about our relationship. I told her that she had to stop talking to him if she was serious about saving our marriage. She said she couldn’t. She had tried, but it hurt too much. She was also afraid of losing him, in case we couldn’t salvage our marriage. It was then that she brought up the subject of polyandry. She had mentioned it before, but both he and I had laughed it off as insane. We discussed it, and she begged me to try it, just for a week. We both share common interests, and under different circumstances, we could be good friends. She said that even if I agreed to it, he would not likely go for it, and if he didn’t, she would know that I was more committed than he was, and she would end things with him. I thought about it, and came to the conclusion that it was the only thing to do. I held a large amount of the blame of pushing her away and into his arms, but I was not about to throw away over 12 years of my life without trying everything. I agreed to let him come to our house to stay for a week to see if it is an option worth even exploring. She was visibly excited at the prospect.
She set to the task of convincing him to come here to try it. At first he was as reluctant as I was, if not more so. Nothing she said to him made any difference, he wasn’t interested in sharing her. I sympathized. He has a chance at a normal life, a normal relationship, and she is asking him to pick up and move here to share our lives in an arrangement that society considers anything but normal. She was devastated, but not surprised at the result. She was obviously having difficulty taking no for an answer. She called him with me standing next to her, to ask him one last time. He wasn’t giving in. Finally, I asked if I could talk to him. She handed me the phone. We spoke for the first time, and it went very, very differently than I expected. We got along. From the beginning. I told him that if he truly wanted to be with my wife, this was the only way to make it work. I told her that it is possible that neither one of us could ever be enough for her by ourselves, but perhaps we could together.I told him that we were already essentially sharing her, but this way she would actually be happy about it. I told him that I believed we could be friends, and that he had nothing to lose by trying, other than maybe his dignity (which I was already giving up by having that conversation). I explained why I had agreed to it. That I loved my wife, I loved my life with her, and I was willing to do anything for her except let her go. That I could not live with myself if I just walked away from her without trying everything I could. That in a lot of ways, it makes sense to me (but in a lot of ways, it doesn’t at all). He finally agreed.
This was two days ago. Since then, my wife has been happier than I have seen her in years, and our sex life has been great. She is being open and honest with me, and for the first time I have hope that we can rebuild our relationship. But I am still scared out of my mind. What if it works? What if it doesn’t?
Now for my questions: Am I an idiot? Am I a foolish, naive, desperate idiot? Or am I just doing whatever I can to save my marriage and continue being with the love of my life? Could this work? Is it possible for both of us to have an equal relationship with her? There are endless logistical and emotional questions to work through if we decide to pursue this after our week-long trial period, but I wanted to get some advice from impartial (and anonymous) sources.
R - My wife of 5 years had an affair and wants to have him move in with us as a second husband. I have agreed to test out this option to bring her happiness and save our relationship.