Thank you, I don't feel attacked and I do appreciate bluntness. I have already labelled this an affair in my mind. I feel like I am living this compromise between what I'd really like and what I know my husband would prefer, and the fantasy whispering was certainly taking things beyond where I had meant for them to go. (It happened once. Kissing crept in years ago, with those innocent little cheek pecks getting bolder over time.)
I have reversed the situation in my mind, and really my husband is such a one-woman man that the thought of him with another woman is actually exciting to me -in fact, I had quite a erotic dream about it a few nights ago. If the possibility of it happening seemed more real to me, I might feel differently. He is so different from me in that regard, I really can't compare. I fantasize about all sorts of things (threesomes, exhibitionism, etc.) and his fantasies stay more in the realm of sex on the beach with me. I might go so far as to say, he's just not as sexual a person as I am, although he is always eager and willing when I initiate it. When I don't, he has contentedly done without for months at a time (such as when I was pregnant and breastfeeding and had no libido). Thinking about another woman whispering fantasies in his ears, well -I guess I'd like to think his sex drive was strong enough to want that!
Of course I owe it to him to be honest, but in fact I'm just so scared. First, that our marriage would develop awkwardness and tension. Second, that he'd be hurt. Third, that he wouldn't want me around my friend any more. (They are friends too, but only through me. My kids love the man.) And I feel 99% certain that he would not even consider polyamory. Basically, it would be a conversation with so much to lose, and what to gain? Honesty? I told him once that I often develop little crushes on men, especially when I go dancing, and that they make me feel good. He said, "Well, what can I say?" and changed the subject. He really doesn't want to hear it.
I get that polyamory is honest, so what I'm doing is cheating. Without the fun of actually having sex with another man. I justify it because every time I see my friend, I come back to my husband feeling happier, sexier, and more in love (with life, with everything), and I see him being happier because of that. Our marriage had turned into a roommate thing after babies, and conversations (not kissing) with my friend turned it around. I've told my husband a lot of this.
Thanks for the thoughts. I'll work this out somehow.