Poly and soulmates?
Wow! This is all so new to me! A few days ago I didn't even know the word polyamory existed!
Anyway, I've got a bit of a story and I would really appreciate people's thoughts/advice and even sharing their experience as a way of helping me sort through all of this. I hope this is right place to post. I really appreciate the opportunity to share...
I have been married to my wife for 19 years. We are soulmates and have been mono for all this time. We were each other's first boyfriend/girlfriend and the first person we each kissed. We have three beautiful daughters. I love her to bits! We have had an amazing relationship - and still do!
Five years ago we met another woman ("J") who had a very difficult upbringing and we opened up our lives to her as a way of helping her to heal. In this process I started to draw close to her emotionally. I strongly felt this was right and appropriate and was more than just helping her heal, but was somehow helping me discover more of who I am. However my wife sensed that for the first time I was opening myself up to another female in a way that I had never allowed in the past due to an upbringing that assumed monogamy was the only appropriate relational status.
My wife started to feel enormous pain about this and kept telling me that she felt like our marriage was a threesome. I really empathised with her but didn't know what to do. She expected me to do something about it but I knew that to finish things with "J" would be a complete abandonment of her - especially with the trust issues that she was overcoming. Our family had become amazingly special and meaningful to her. So I kept empathisizing with my wife and hearing her pain, and all the while she was trying desperately to be "OK" with everything but was not. She wanted to know what was unique about our marriage and she kept feeling like things were a threesome - which in her mind was a very negative thing.
In the end, she finally exploded and made the decision to cut things off with "J" - on Christmas day unfortunately. This devestated me. I was very close to "J" (actually we both were) and knew the damage that this would inflict on her. I felt like we had abandoned her. I don't abandon people! I'm not that kind of person! But I knew that in order to keep our marriage together, this is what we had to do.
I was quite depressed for a long time. Then 3 years later, my wife invited "J" back into our lives. We spoke at length about this. I didn't want her to do this for my sake to alievate my sadness about the situation, but I think this was part of her decision. The other part of it is that she and "J" are also close.
"J" and I naturally click. So it was inevitable that we started to draw close again. Naturally since my wife and I had never fully resolved the real issues about the relationship feeling like a threesome for my wife, all the old emotions started to flare up again. So "J" and I have decided not to contact each other for the time being until things are resolved about this between my wife and I. My wife still connects with "J". I feel trapped - like I can't really act on my heart's desire. I really do love both very deeply. But I also don't want to separate from my wife. I couldn't imagine doing life without her!
I have been going through all sorts of emotions and thoughts. I can totally understand why my wife feels threatened by "J". We have come from a religious upbringing where monogamy is just assumed. Anything else is wrong. My wife feels like her jealousy is evidence of the inappropriateness of the relationship. So for my wife, even the thought of me opening myself up to someone else is inappropriate. I have always thought the same... until meeting "J". I have a deep conviction in the "rightness" of this relationship. This obviously has caused me to deeply question my upbringing and the assumption that emotional and physical monogamy is the only appropriate lifestyle for a married person.
In questioning all this I have stumbled across polyamory. When I started to read stuff about it and read people's experiences, everything inside me resonated with what I was hearing. It was as though a fire started burning within me and I felt like screaming out - this is me!
What next though? What about my wife? We are currently getting couple counselling, but I am afraid to bring up the whole issue of poly. My wife just sees a threesome as such a negative thing. To challenge these fundamental assumptions in her life could be too devestating for her. But then where does that leave me now that I have started having this fire lit within me? I would love to embrace "J" into my life and even to give myself permission to open myself up to others that I sense a possible deep connection with, but I can't do that while my wife is struggling so much. Once you start down the rabbit hole, you can't turn back! I'm excited and petrified at the same time. I can't believe this is happening to me!
I'd really appreciate hearing experiences from people who relate... Thanks for listening!