Originally Posted by whimsey
History: I've been married to my DH 17 years, together for 22...met in first year college, we have one son (age 11). February of 2009 I caught my husband cheating (yes, I snooped) - that relationship had been going since the previous summer but wasn't physically sexual until that December. It was difficult to say the least, but we were working through things, slowly but with positivity when I discovered in May 2009 that he'd had another affair before that one, and after that it came out that there had been quite a history of sexual encounters over the previous 2 years as well...There's a lot more to all of this, but those are the big points.
Its been a long road, and a challenging one, but we had been doing okay, I was healing from the betrayal of my trust and he had said I had all the time I needed. The trust was coming back and so was the intimacy, which had been difficult for me. Then at the end of this August, he gave me a letter, stating he loved me and needed me but had needs beyond what he could get in our marriage and that it was basically opening up or going our separate ways. I was floored and, frankly, incredibly hurt. We'd discussed polyamory before - when I first discovered he was cheating, since his lover at the time was poly and he wanted to explore the idea with me at that point. We talked a LOT about it then, but it never went anywhere and he seemed to be happily mono and dedicated to making the marriage work and it just stopped being a topic of discussion. Anyways, he gave me the letter, there was a lot of discussion and he backed down on the ultimatum but told me how important this was to him.
That's how I discovered these boards - I read everything I could find, I journaled and blogged and questioned whether I could do this for him, for us. I found strength in the blogs and posts but several of the mono's here, and kept bringing more questions back to DH. I wasn't ready for anything but shared what I'd been reading and asked him to do the same...I expressed concerns and fears and he had plenty of answers, but hadn't done any reading, and over the course of Sept I began to have suspicions that he'd found someone else...he was wanting to negotiate guideline and move forward, when I was saying that I was gaining understanding but needed time, and needed him to look at some of the materials I was looking at, etc. He had ready answers for all my questions – answers I now know were rooted in experience.
Sure enough, he'd started corresponding with someone during the summer, a woman who lives in a city across the country, a city in which he's going to be spending 9 days in November...they spend hours each day communicating intimately, and had made plans for those 9 days, and possibly a meeting before then. He fessed up after I showed him my private blog (2 weeks ago) because he'd accused me of not respecting his needs for more than one partner and his ability to balance and love and care for multiple lovers, and said that I was just going through the motions of exploring poly. I guess my blog convinced him otherwise - I had done a LOT of reading and much, much more soul searching and processing, all of which I had shared with him in conversations, but he didn't buy it until he saw the pages of entries.
So now I know about her and that brings us to today. She is flying in to a nearby city (about 2 ½ hrs away) this weekend and he is going to meet her there on Friday and stay over until Saturday in a different hotel. I have asked that they not spend the night together, and she says penetrative sex is off the table. That's about as much as I have been able to get in the way of guidelines. Trust is obviously a huge issue for me, and this is not what I want....I requested slow, slow, slow, and no physical intimacy at all….he says they need to know if there is chemistry between them and that they want to be able to make out/fool around/share a bed. And that seems to be the end of it. It feels like there is little to no respect for my feelings and that I am getting lip service to having a say.
I feel like I am being dragged kicking and screaming into this...I wanted them to take things slow, but they are already very involved. I could insist they break it off, but I know that would hurt both of them and the repercussions would damage our already fragile marriage. I asked for them to slow down and that doesn't seem to be happening. We were able to negotiate some boundaries in terms of when communication between them would end for the night, so our nights are just ours, but that is it for the day to day. I feel I have been understanding and given them much more than most people in my position would. He tells me he has strong feelings for her and that she makes him really happy. He also says he's with me for the long haul and loves me and needs me as well.
I do love him and want to figure this out, make our marriage work, but I have already walked a path very similar to this and trusted and thought things were better, and got blindsided again. I am afraid that this last betrayal might be more than I can take, combined with the speed at which things are progressing. I had done so much processing and know that I was already leaning towards saying yes to his request, so I don't want to be unfair and dig in my heels out of petulance. At the same time, I am being consumed with hurt and fear and jealousy and grief. We are talking about it for hours at a time, to the detriment of our relationship in some ways, because that is all we talk about.
Sorry for the length...I hope I was clear enough in all my babbling. I find I'm living in a pretty intense adrenaline state most of the time, as I am facing so many things at once - not just the marriage opening, but the fact that it already had without my consent, on top of the cheating from last year which I was just recovering from, on top of feeling manipulated into exploring polyamory when they had already planned to get together in November if not sooner, and pretend that they had just met at that point...There are so many layers that I'm dealing with that I'm completely overwhelmed...