I asked my wife about meeting "M" on my trip and she said "I already told you yes!" (I guess I have a hard time taking yes for an answer!...) She reiterated that she understands that I have a deep bond with "M" that long predates our own relationship, and that she respects that and has mostly worked through any jealousy about it. She said that she was hoping that I would hang out with her, because she knows how much we care about each other. That really means a tremendous amount to me - I know many women would not be so understanding, and I really value how understanding and amazing she is that way.
Originally Posted by saudade
It sounds to me like T wants you to have a mistress, not another primary. Is that what you want? It's swell if it is, but if it isn't you and T have a lot of talking to do before you can take any romantic/sexual steps toward M.
I sort of got that impression when we first started talking seriously about being poly, but I expressed my own reservations about that. I would only consider that route if "M" were to get in a serious relationship with someone. I've actually hoped for that - as much as I would like to be involved with her, I want much more for her to be happy, and given the circumstances (me already having a family, her being far away and would have to move, the fact that she'd have to be "secret" because there's no way we'd ever in a million years be able to be open with our extended families, etc.), it would be much more simple and normal for her to have a regular conventional relationship with someone. But all this is stuff that I need to talk with "M" about, and unfortunately it's not been breached yet. Where we stand is: we both have known for a long time what we both want, we both know that currently we can't have that, so we just kind of leave the whole matter to tacit understanding and talk about other things.
Has T met M? Does she want to? Do you want her to? The long distance makes it difficult, but I can't rate highly enough getting everyone in the same room-- not to have The Talk, necessarily, but at least to have dinner and swap stories. It sounds like M's situation makes her getting out to visit you both pretty difficult, but maybe you could both visit her, after you all talk and feel ready for that step.
They've never met in person, no. They communicate casually on Facebook, and they each know quite a lot about each other. I get the impression from both sides that they basically like each other. It's a long story, but we all know each other through this religious order that we all used to be a part of, along with several other close mutual friends scattered in various places around the world. None of us are what you'd call devout or even practicing anymore, though "M" probably still practices actively more than the rest. But anyway, because of that we share some common perspectives and personality qualities, not to mention the fact that all 3 of us come from similar traditional backgrounds. I think that's part of our hang-up, actually - our sense of duty and responsibility to our respective parents/etc. There is so much that "T" and I are keeping secret from her family, just in terms of unpopular beliefs, parenting practices, etc., being poly and open would be completely out of the question!
All this might be an awkward subject to get into with "M", but I still want to at least attempt it - maybe in person, if I'm able to visit. At the very least, if there is definitely no future for us relationally, I at least want her to be "off the hook" from me. She limits herself too much as it is, and I don't want to be a part of that limiting.