Once Upon a Time...
Well, that's how all good stories begin, isn't it?
Here's the scoop. I'm a 50-year-old man, married for ten years. I'm a cerebral, idiosyncratic guy and have always lived a bit outside of the conventions. Getting married was by far the most conventional thing I ever did, though the path to get there was pretty far from the norm. Met my wife while on a tour of Ireland, carried on a long-distance courtship for a while, finally moved from the West Coast to the Midwest and settled into the relationship.
My wife is considerably more conventional than I am...Catholic, in fact. We both had spent much of our adult lives as loners, though neither of us really wanted it that way. I have trouble finding people who can hang with the places my mind goes, which can get lonely. She's very shy. People who know us both were, by and large, charmed by the marriage.
There has always been a strong emotional and spiritual bond, but there were always issues in the marriage. My wife aims for safety; I aim for new experiences. I reined in a lot to keep the marriage working. Overall, I was content...with allowances that this relationship was not a be-all-and-end-all for me, though it was for my wife.
About a year ago, I was contacted by someone I'd known back in high school. There had been hints of a connection back then, but nothing came of it, and I'd only had occasional "what if?" thoughts about her over the years...and we're talking 30 years at this point. She was in a bad place and I pretty much helped her pull herself out of it. Suggested...strongly...to my wife that she also try and establish a relationship, but she didn't follow through.
You know where this is going.
Relationship developed...understand, all this was email and phone, we're thousands of miles apart...but it was a relationship that clearly showed a level of compatibility that had been lacking in my life.
You know the conventional ending.
I'd end the marriage, start up with this new person. Problem is, I don't know that my wife would ever be able to pick up and start over. She had gone more than 40 years without a lasting relationship before she met me. There was a strong possibility that leaving her could destroy her. NOT following through on the new relationship could destroy me.
THEN...the unconventional possibility was raised.
And that's where we're at. It's going to be several months (at least) before there is the potential for all of us to be in the same general location, but we figure we'll give an open relationship a try. My wife, needless to say, has been dragged into this. She loves me enough to try. The other woman (she actually proposed it at first) vacillates between belief and doubt. I'm completely on board...I've had a real evolution in my thinking about the nature of relationships and monogamy since this all started.
We could all use some help here. I'd really like to hear from people...particularly women...who've been in the same situation and who have made the relationship work. Both of the women in this relationship would be interested in hearing from people who have been in their shoes and are happy with where it's taken them. Anybody in a mood to mentor, we'd love to hear from you.