Hi everyone - I'm new here, just joined the forum. I wanted to ask for some input, advice, and neutral 3rd-party perspectives about my situation, if anyone is interested in responding.
to make a VERY long story short:
I've basically practiced serial monogamy for most of my adult life; though I've always had multiple attractions, I usually kept them safely segmented. I'm currently coming to terms with being poly, though it's something that has caused a lot of pain and heartache both within myself and in the lives of my loved ones as well.
I'm happily married to "T", who was practicing poly when she was younger (she didn't know it was called that at the time, and she got accused of being promiscuous), then was a nun for 10 years, then was in a serious but ill-fated relationship, then she re-met me and we got together and married very quickly. We have one child together.
I used to be married to "J", 10 years ago - she isn't poly, though after we divorced she said she probably could've been. She and I were friends first, and have managed to salvage our friendship and are cooperatively co-parenting the two children we have together (one lives with me and one with her and her husband).
I met and fell deeply in love with "M" while I was married to "J"; we live(d) far apart, and corresponded and chatted online a lot. "J" is very detached and aloof in personality, and it was a big point of departure in our marriage; I've always craved closeness and intimacy, which is something that came completely naturally to "M" and I. "M" stayed with "J" and I for a couple weeks, it was extremely awkward, and nothing physical happened between "M" and I. "J" kicked her out in the stress of it all, and I saw her again in person one other time, but again it was awkward due to outside circumstances and nothing happened.
After "J" and I divorced, I wanted to be with "M", but she was in a relationship and was also really busy with her life, so we sort of grew apart for awhile. After a couple short rebound relationships that didn't work out, I ended up meeting "E", who was extremely intense, to the point of being overbearing. My relationship with her solidified my separation from "J", who moved on to marry someone else and took the kids with her. I was really depressed because of that, and at the same time as trying to make the relationship work with "E" I was also trying to get to where I needed to be so I could be a part of my kids' lives again. "E" and I got along good, when we weren't fighting; when we were, it was truly awful, mutually abusive. I decided to end the relationship when I saw that each fight was getting worse than the last one. She was upset and hurt that I didn't keep trying to make it work.
"M" and I kept in touch this whole time, and she was hurt, but understanding, that I had the relationship with "E". She told me "please, wait for me next time." And I didn't, and even though I have no regrets and love my wife and my family and life now, I still feel bad that I wasn't more patient and didn't wait for "M".
After I left "E" and moved back to my hometown to no home (mattress in a friend's garage) and no job due to a crappy economy, I was trying my ass off to get back on my feet so I could be there for my kids, but wasn't having any luck. I was still in contact with "M", our feelings were still the same, but she still wasn't really available for a relationship, and I felt upset that whenever I was available she wasn't and vice versa. About this time I reconnected with "T", and we quickly got together and were soon married.
I told "T" about "M" very early in our relationship - at first she was jealous, and I think she still is to a degree, but she is accepting of her, and of my long-standing feelings for her. "T" at first joked about how I should "go visit M and just get it out of your system and come back", and of course there's no way I would do that, nor would "M" be ok with that. Recently "T" has been talking and hinting about how poly makes a lot of sense, how she thinks that we should be poly like some of our friends are, etc. She keeps encouraging me - half-joking but half-serious, that's kind of her style of dealing with uncomfortable issues - to "go out and get a girlfriend" because she's admittedly not very libidinous and she knows that I'm not exactly satisfied with that side of things. But I have no interest in any random girlfriend, or in pursuing anyone else whatsoever. My ONLY other love allegience is with "M", and I tell "T" that, and she understands.
"M", however, is now busy with taking care of one of her parents, and her moving here would be out of the question at this point, at least I think it probably would be. Also, "M" is someone who - given a poly situation - I would also want to be primary. I love her and care for her deeply, and would not ever want her to be or feel like she was second, because that's not how I feel about her. In addition, "T" is extremely protective of her space and life, and has told me that if I were to ever have a girlfriend, she wouldn't want to have to see her or deal with her in everyday life at all, and she wouldn't want my relationship with the other person to interfere with my relationship and family.
Aside from that, "T" and I have weathered some tough times and have come out extremely close and very much in love; we are happy with our life together all things considered.
As a side note, this summer when I take the bus back east to get my daughter from her summer at her mom's, I'm going down to the Gulf Coast for about a week to see and hopefully help volunteer cleaning the oil spill down there. I will be going right by where "M" lives. My wife knows that I'm going to NOLA obviously, but hasn't mentioned anything about seeing "M", nor have I mentioned the idea to her. I haven't told "M" about going down there yet, though I will. I haven't yet decided whether to ask her if I can come visit her. I *really* want to, but... I don't know. I'm even kind of afraid to ask "T" about it, because I get the feeling that talking in the abstract about me seeing "M" and actually doing it would be two different things for her.
Sorry about the wordiness, I actually condensed it way down! So.... any thoughts or insights?