This has been a period of information absorption, reading (this forum, Opening Up, the Ethical Slut, and I am ordering Sex at Dawn), and incredible growth. On Friday my husband let me go out for coffee with someone I said in advance that I might be interested in romantically, and it was not easy for him. We talked about it on several occasions (was he ready? was I?) and then talked about it solidly and with full concentration for an hour and a half beforehand. He was feeling threatened and disappointed in me, rejected and deficient. I reassured him that those were cognitive messages that maybe he could reshape by speaking the truth back to each message.
1. Threatened: that even if this person was incredibly attractive (I had met him once in person before but couldn't remember if he was attractive) and shit rainbows and unicorns, any feelings I developed for him, if we did go down that route, would still not be a threat to our marriage, because I now know not to make any decisions during NRE. And let's just say that the love lasted through NRE - it still would not threaten my preference to stay married to someone with whom I get along famously, with whom I have an incredible child, with whom I regularly have mind-blowing sex, and most importantly, with whom I have built a life and pursued my dreams side-by-side for a decade and a half now.
2. Disappointed in me: he asked me why I am seeking any new romantic relationships now. The honest answer is that I get off on NRE and seek it out the same way a person who gets high seeks out pot (I am trying to make NRE happen, it is far more important than sex to me), but also that beyond just the rush of getting off on NRE together, I learn from connecting with people, getting to know them, exchanging ideas, and, once reality shows itself through the haze and time goes by, I actually enjoy working through interpersonal things with people, even though it can be painful... it helps me learn who we are better, learn how not alone we are and yet how unique... and lastly, the answer to "why now" is that I see enormous potential for growth in sharing honestly one of these trips with him, not hiding it, having him see that part of me... and asked him to consider not being disappointed, to maybe even cultivate compersion for me as I was trying to do right now for him too. On Thursday we had gone out and with his newfound freedom he had struck up a lengthy conversation with a really pretty talented girl and I didn't interrupt. I cultivated compersion, and that was a new thing to do in real time for me. I realized that jealousy is a lot like anger - you can have it and not beat yourself up for having it, acknowledge its purpose, but perhaps take a deep breath and choose your behavioral reaction (to a point) if you make it your goal to cultivate such control. I have to cultivate control all the time with anger at work. My work involves frequent intense and personal rejection and if I don't express my feelings about that appropriately I could change how people see me and jeopardize eventually getting promoted, that is a reality. Learning how to express visceral emotions like anger, fear, disappointment, or jealousy - and to whom - is a very useful skill.
3. Rejected: that there is no way that this action, going out for coffee with a romantic prospect, is a rejection of him or our relationship. It is an hour and a half that we will not be spending together, but in no way could it ever change my wish to stay together and keep cultivating our marriage.
4. Deficient: OMG it is so the opposite. I am so thankful to have the love of my life be someone so compassionate and open-minded. The fact that he is willing to deal with his jealousy in a cognitive-behavioral model and take this leap of trust and faith in me within our new honest paradigm, it is the opposite of a deficit - it is a new additional amazing quality that makes me love him even more.
He decided to give me the okay. Well I knew right away when I saw this guy at the coffee place that I was not attracted to him, and we did some good professional networking (the pretense for the coffee), and then went separate ways. I called my husband immediately afterward to brief him.
I am amazed that I found my husband. This could-have-been-date on the up-and-up deepened our connection. I finally feel that honesty and truth have made our relationship real. I love him even more than if he shit out rainbows and unicorns plus burlap sacks of gold.
Anyway, our story is lengthy and sordid, I started writing it up but realized I can't just have it out in public. Thank you all for sharing so much, I'm just sorry I can't fully reciprocate by laying our full story out here - I got seriously royally screwed by an internet forum in the past.
Anyone going to the conf in Atlanta in March who wants to share about themselves and learn more about us, please send me a PM.
Amory to all, and to all a good night.
I leave you with an awesome quote from Better Off Ted (just discovered it on netflix) - I'm still keeping Fantastic Mr. Fox as my signature but behold:
"Linda: I can't believe the company is treating you like this. Doesn't it make you wanna scream or put your fist through a wall... or rub your junk on the C.E.O.'s chair?
Ted: Yes... Yes... and I only use my junk for good, not for evil. With great junk comes great responsibility."
Last edited by sohuman; 01-31-2011 at 04:35 AM.