Thanks for that explanation
The more we know about a situation, the more specific the advice can get.
Originally Posted by Ssebo
I did it all and wish I would have found a way to tell A and share earlier, but @tonberry and SNeacail... honestly seeking your advice here (even though it's a bit late in the day for that) HOW? I was afraid of hurting her, I did not find the "right way" to tell her ... we tried, may be A wants to elaborate on that a bit more. I did not try to protect myself, but constantly tried to make it somehow "comfortable" for both, A and D. I found out it doesn't work, but we are all wiser with hindsight.
It's hard, of course. When I came out to my husband I was terrified. It certainly helped that there wasn't "another man" at the time, so it was more about hypotheses then.
I think we have that vision of "The Cheater" who is an evil person who hurts someone willingly, or two (his wife and the mistress), so of course you don't recognise yourself in that.
But the fact is, a cheater is a human being who made mistakes which, depending on the situation, can be understandable. In your case, you loved two women, and couldn't conciliate that with what you've always been taught. The options that are obvious would be leaving your wife (but why? You love her!), not pursuing D (but you love her too!) or cheating on her (not ideal, certainly uncomfortable, but the option that made most sense).
Thinking of the polyamory option isn't something most people are trained to. Even if they're willing to be open about it, one or both partners could be totally closed to it, and then what do you do?
What if you told your wife and she left you? That would be terrible.
I can understand what went through your mind, something similar happened to me. However, I can tell you that as far as I know, people are more accepting of something if they hear about it beforehand than if they learn it happened behind their back.
The "cheating" isn't about hurting people. It's not about saying "I love you" and not meaning it. It's about hiding things and lying about things, and I do believe it can be to protect other people, as well as out of fear, and not because you want it to be that way, hidden, forever.
It WAS an affair because your wife didn't agree to it beforehand. Now that she knows, it's not, unless you break one of her boundaries willingly. It's good that you recognise you have hurt her, and I know you were in a hard situation, but from her point of view, you made all the decisions without her, you left her out of it, and that's the part that hurts more, I think. In a relationship, it's good for everyone to get together and discuss the fact and how to act on them, and she didn't have all the facts.
It's over and done with, no need to beat yourself over it, now you can go to the next phase, of working hard on your relationship. Considering the circumstances, I think you have a fair chance at it. You all seem willing to try hard and work together, so that's a very good thing.