Crazy weekend, all told.
@anotherbo: It's not that it's a massive shift in mindset, persay, but more of a breakdown of cognitive dissonance. Busting down walls that I'd put in as a safety mechanism. To keep me safe. To keep my marriage safe.
I knew I felt a certain way. But I also knew what it would mean to admit that I felt that way. So instead, I put up walls - detachment - to hide it.
Dealing with these feelings openly and honestly forced me to deal with some demons, to steal a cliche. It actually gets all the way down to my father, and the ways he "taught" me to see and deal with women. I know it's the likeliest story in the book, but it's true.
My wife, C, as it turns out, did become quite jealous as we talked through things. It was a tough series of conversations. I had to say hurtful things a few times to be really honest.
What I realized was something I hadn't expected. It was never the sex that bothered her - she was being honest about that. Which is why she was saying to go for it - but at some point, I told her I had feelings that weren't as simple as getting laid. And then things got difficult.
I've read around that jealousy really comes from other places - and it really is true. The details are hurtful, and I don't want to go through them here, but suffice to say that S wasn't the only person that I wasn't giving enough respect. The weird thing is, it took all this to work through that, to realize that, and to realize what it is about myself that causes me to act that way.
If none of this had ever happened, I would have had a much quieter weekend. But things also would have been the same as before - I would have had feelings locked away in the closet, unaddressed - convenient, complacent, but miserable at the same time.
I had to put it out there, and risk hurting myself and others, to learn how to love better. And I have.
I'll never have the sexual relationship with S that I'd fantasized about. And it took me exploring those emotions to realize that I don't want to. She verified one thing - that she trusts me and regards me as a close friend. I promised her I wouldn't betray that trust.
I...don't know where that leaves us - NS partners, or close friends, or what. I guess at some point, you need to quit worrying about defining things and just talk about how the heck you feel. Honestly, the way you guys look at emotions, and the more I look at things, the more I realize that nothing is anywhere near as cut and dry as we're all conditioned to think it is.
Anyways. I'll be around. Thanks for everything.