need advice on whether truth is best in this situation
It's a little complex but I'll try to be as succinct as possible.
I am a single poly woman, and I started dating two men within a couple weeks of each other just about 2 months ago.
I met Rob first and we hit it off. He was recently separated and because he anticipates a lengthy and difficult divorce process, he was specifically looking for just a friend and lover, trying not to involve anyone in his mess. Since I was also coming out of a disaster of a relationship, it sounded like the perfect fit - keep things on the light side, commiserate about challenges with the situations we were leaving, and both get our sexual needs met as we did.
We had talked, met and then been intimate on 2 occasions and a few days after the last he told me that he had agreed to more counseling with his ex for the sake of his child - she presented him with the deal that if he did 6 weeks of counseling and it still didn't work out, she wouldn't fight him on full custody. I told him at that time that I could remain his friend but couldn't be intimate with him while he was “back” with his wife, even if it was a charade. He understood.
Around that time I met Tom. Tom is poly, married, and I met his wife before our first date. We hit it off like gangbusters - nearly instant attraction - and have spent every weekend together since meeting just over a month ago. His wife fully supports our relationship. Tom and Rob know about each other and that I am developing feelings for each of them.
In the time we were being just friends, Rob and I got much closer than I think we would have if we'd continued just down the whole friends with benefits road. We talked intimately about our situations (my ex has been stalking me during this time, too) and became each other’s support systems.
So, here's the rub. A couple of weeks ago Rob and I had a heart to heart and he expresses that he is absolutely sure his marriage is not going to work for myriad reasons and he is in the process of gathering what is needed to end the marriage and obtain full custody of his child. I think long and hard and decide I am ok with being intimate with him given the circumstances - we had a night coming up where we would have the opportunity - as I trust him and that he is telling the truth. We've been in each other’s lives for so little time, I am sure that he is not leaving his marriage FOR me, and even though we are developing feelings for each other, we are both committed to relationships with more than just each other.
Now, when I first met Tom, I told him about the current situation with Rob (no sex at that time) and he is fine. Well right about the same time that I decide I'm ok with being sexual with Rob and then we are sexual, Tom seems a little insecure that I'm seeing Rob and spills that he has deep issues with cheating (due to past experiences) and is not comfortable with me being intimate with Rob until he is actually separated. Tom's reaction is so strong that I repeat that I'm not intimate with Rob, even though I just have been.
It was a spur of the moment decision to not tell Tom the complete truth, and now I'm really confused what to do. At the time, I was thinking that both of these relationships were so new that I'm just feeling my way with each of them. I didn’t really know where each of them were leading exactly – we were just starting to talk about ‘feelings’ and ‘relationships’ rather than just dating, so I reserved my right to privacy on my decision that I was comfortable, morally, with being intimate with Rob at the time that I was. I mean, I don’t really compare notes about sex between partners anyway, and really only talk about intimacy with others in the context of safer sex.
Now, though, as I find myself becoming emotional about both of these men, I wonder if I owe Tom the truth and even if I owe it to Rob that Tom know the truth. I’ve read the theory that some truths are best kept to yourself, and I’m having a difficult time deciding if this is one of them. Would I merely be salving my conscience in coming clean to Tom? Is it useful for him to know about this if I don’t believe this is commentary on my character overall? And, on that note, is that my decision to make – do I owe it to him to let him decide that matter for himself? I blurted to Rob one night that I hadn’t been able to tell Tom we were intimate again, and Rob thinks I should come clean, so if I ultimately determine that I think that truth shouldn’t be told, do I risk damaging the relationship with Rob?
By the way, Rob is now separated, and although I won’t see him much for the coming weeks as he contends with the fallout, we are confident we will see each other again and have a relationship in the future. And with further discussion, I am confident that Tom is fine with my having an intimate relationship with Rob just that it would upset him to know an instance occurred during that period of time before he became separated again.
I’m interested in opinions on how I should proceed. I’ve already contended with my conscience on the initial decisions that led to this quandary, and understand my motivations and I am secure that I won’t repeat any mistakes I made in the future. My main concern is that if I decide that withholding the truth is the right thing to do under these circumstances that I’m not actually doing so as a measure of self-protection but rather because it is the best thing to do.