I'm sorry to hear of this challenge your having with your wife.
Your wife does have the right to do what she pleases as an individual - but she has a RESPONSIBILITY to understand the impact she's having on others and recognize and respect her partner. Your wife seems to be not showing you much respect in this. She's not working with you in this case, she's given you an ultimatum disguised as polyamory. That is no fun. Hurtful.
You have to determine what's important to you and figure out an appropriate response. If you want to explore the possibility of transitioning your relationship to a poly one, you must insist that you start from an equal footing in terms of finding a set of boundaries that you are both comfortable with. The only way to wrest this back into one of equal footing is to get real clear about your feelings, interests, priorities, and boundaries. Boundaries are harder to negotiate around; the rest can be difficult but can be managed if you have enough self-insight and someone who's ready to explore theirs and yours together.
If I were in your position, I'd ask her if she's willing to be patient while I worked through my feelings and if she'd be willing to keep the conversation going - not presuming a specific outcome?
I'd ask her if she's willing to slow down her relationship to put our relationship on an even keel and equal footing so that we're operating from a solid base?
I'd ask her why she feels like her relationship doesn't complicate your marriage while you having an additional relationship is a step too a far? I'd ask her to really explore her feelings about that and find ways to get her to imagine you being in her position with a deep emotional connection and requesting for a physical one as well? Right now, she seems to lack empathy for your needs and feelings. Find ways for her to connect with your fears, questions, and emotions.
I'd tell her that this exploration WILL in fact change the relationship. It might increase your intimacy and spur personal and relational growth. It also might result in the relationship ending AND spark personal growth. I'd make sure she knows that you MAY NOT be willing to be polyamorous - even though you love her enough to explore your feelings about it (prior to her hooking up with her guy). By dealing with your feelings about this, not running away from them, getting behind the fear (etc.) you will grow as an individual - but you still might discover that pure monogamy is the only way for you to go and having a wife who isn't may not be tolerable. You should feel like this is an ok - even if painful - outcome.
If you compromise who you are to save your marriage, your marriage is half dead already. You can't cut off your hand to save your thumb.
Good luck. You have some hard conversations ahead of you. Don't shy away from them. Don't shy away from how you feel. Instead, use them to spur greater understanding of yourself and your needs. Your wife needs to do the same. You both need to find a place where you can respect each other's feelings and needs.
(Note that respecting may mean the marriage has to end. I don't mean respect in the sense that you have to agree. That's not always possible.)
Male, Straight, Poly
“Instead of getting better and better at avoiding, learn to accept the present moment as if you had invited it. And work with it instead of against it. And making it your ally rather than your enemy.”
Last edited by MindfulAgony; 08-30-2010 at 06:49 AM.