Originally Posted by mumbles
The other thing is, knowing what I know, there almost 'has' to be some correlation between her and my relationship with S. But I can't tell if it's her trying to keep my attention on her, or if she's intrigued by the idea that I might be "in demand." It's hard to say.
Well, I can give you the point of view of a wife
When my husband had an interest and confided in me, I felt much closer to him emotionally. I felt trusted, and like I was sharing something important in his life. It made me feel good about myself.
At the same time, when courting J (the woman in question), I took an active role in it. In a way, it's like I wanted to seduce her, as well, since if she was going to have a relationship with him, she had to take the whole package. That is, she wouldn't have a romantic or sexual relationship with me, but I'll be there, too. She had to be okay with that, so I guess I was desperate for her to like me.
So I ended up in some kind of a "courting mode", as well.
It's possible your wife is going through some of the same emotions.
Now, going back to your issue. It seems to me there are two things:
1) you both wish you had more partners.
If all there is to it is sex, a swinging club might be the perfect answer: no complications due to emotions, you don't know the people, etc. But careful, maybe you're on the wrong path. Maybe that wouldn't work for you. Maybe you need not just the sex, but emotions to go with it, or a commitment, or whatnot. It's worth thinking about it.
Some people are fine about the sex (for their partner) but find out they have a hard time with the emotions (of their partner for someone else). Some other people think they just want the sex but it doesn't leave them satisfied. They need something else.
2) You are attracted to your friend
It seems that you've realised there is more to it than physical attraction. Strong friendship? Romantic attraction? Either way, be absolutely honest about it with your wife (she has okayed the sex, but maybe she wouldn't be on board for more. It's hard to tell, so do a lot of talking) and then consider telling your friend.
However, it's like always with dating or confessing: she might not feel the same way. If like you said she saw you as "safe" because you're married, it might be a shock for her. She's had bad experiences, you say, so she needs to be reassured that you're not like all the other guys who disrespected her.
If you do talk to her about how you feel, make sure you let her now how you value her as a person and a friend. How you would be fine with no sex at all. Make sure she feels like an important person, valued as a woman, and not a piece of meat. This way, even if she doesn't feel the same way, I think that shouldn't endanger your friendship as much.
This feelings of being attracted (either physically or emotionally) to other people can be very confusing because we're taught they're wrong. As a result it's sometimes hard to know exactly what you feel. Sometimes it's harder to confess to physical attraction, because we're still told it's normal to be physically attracted to other people (as long as you don't do anything about it!). Confessing to others, but also to yourself, that you also have feelings for other people is much harder because there is a much stronger social stigma.
On the other hand, you are on a polyamorous forum here
We're all about the feelings (well, we put them first at least). So I don't want to think we might have pushed you to say you also have feelings for her if you actually don't. The bottom line is, you need to figure out what it is exactly you want. It's the first and most important step, but often it's the hardest.