I'm making this thread after a tumultuous night, where I felt my whole body shaking and I had to leave the room after talking with my husband about his other partner.
Now this is not how I expected to feel. Honestly up until this point I thought I was at peace, so I'm confused.
I've been reading Freetime's "I'm in over my head" thread, I'm almost done, but now I think things that had been bubbling under the surface are what is coming up as a result of seriously working to examine my jealousy and initial rage.
Some background for your better understanding:
Four months after my mother passed I joined a forum and that is where I first met my husband. This was in 2008. He and I connected immediately, and after a few private messages back and forth he practically had me begging for his number (lol). I still remember how earth-shattering that first phone conversation was; he blew me away with his candor, his wit, his confidence, and though I was hesitant to even consider that such a person could exist I knew that I needed to know more and learn more about him to make everything more tangible. Note: At the time, I lived in Canada and he lived in the U.S.
We spent the next month talking at least three times a day on the phone, texting madly, hungry for more and more and more. One night I didn't hear from him so I got worried. Eventually he was able to make two very short calls to let me know he was dealing with a situation that sounded like it would turn violent, and that he would call me when he could. So I spent the next three or so hours pacing, hoping for the best, trying to think as positively as I could.
He called me the same night, when I had fallen asleep waiting to hear from him. That was the first time I heard him stressed and upset, and all I wanted to do was be there. After listening to details I felt horrified and confident enough to offer him a place of refuge with me for a while, whenever he was ready. He didn't believe me at first and I was shocked at myself for the suggestion but it just made absolute sense. I wanted him. He wanted me. Sure, the way the offer came to be was less than ideal but it needed to happen and I needed him to feel safe and be safe.
Fast forward to when we met face to face and immediately fell into the physical aspect of NRE; I shared my grief with him, he empathized and agreed that due to the commonalities between he and my mother they would have gotten along superbly. It was pain and joy and confirmation and exuberance and sadness all rolled into one. The intensity was unlike anything I had ever experienced before.
After being together for about 1.5 years and me moving down here he initiated the conversation of sexual exploration outside of our relationship, something we discussed before, but with additional aspects this time around. He would seek a woman, preferably someone who was open to being my lover as well, and I agreed. The first outing didn't work because I thought she was attractive and the feeling wasn't mutual, which eventually led to things tapering off with her and my husband. I'll note here that they worked together, and had been texting and talking on the phone for the duration, so flesh never met flesh. He showed me pictures she sent him as well as giving me information about her, such as being a mother to 3 kids, and how she liked nice things. Doomed from the start but a lesson learned nonetheless.
It had an effect on how I felt about myself, having had our son 6 months before, but I didn't feel any pressure to go running 10 miles a day to make up for a lack of attraction; I just chalked it up to "It is what it is". I was still confident and still sure that though this first interaction didn't pan out like we hoped she wasn't the last woman on Earth and the search would continue.
Fast forward to now. My husband has sought out around 10 or 12 women online who he never made physical contact with, but exchanged pictures (including explicit ones) while getting to know them. I've seen maybe one or two. He has also received at least one explicit video that I know of because he showed me. That is an issue I raised last night, that I didn't even realize was an issue before. Since he has already done this with his other partner I have no idea where we go from here, because it has already happened.
About six weeks ago he began talking to his now-girlfriend, a woman also in her mid-20s who lives in another state. It was only days ago that he referred to her as his girlfriend and I was confused because he assumed that all we talked about in theory would fall into place once put into practice (me acknowledging her as his girlfriend without him having to say so after the decision was made). There had been no emotional turbulence on my end until I saw them on social networking sites saying things like "Love you", which put me in a tailspin I wasn't prepared for or expecting. I felt blindsided. I could not have predicted that response, what with all the logic I've been using to better understand his perspective.
It pretty much alienated me, and made me feel a spectator like everyone else who could see what they were saying to each other instead of his wife, the person on the inside of everything. I told him so. He explained that they did it with the intention of unsettling people, which it has, but I'm one of those people, and I asked that they stop. They agreed.
There are so many things going on inside emotionally for me, none of which I blame on him or her. I keep stressing that it is my process, this feeling similar to fight-or-flight (I think that's the term), and that he has been doing his own legwork accepting his poly nature YEARS before we even met, so I really really need his patience and understanding. He says that he's surprised that I'm "having a breakdown" because he has never seen me like this before.
I wanted to cry last night but the tears wouldn't come. I left the room feeling overwhelmed. I cried ten minutes ago after reading two different stories on other sites about women being thankful for their husbands. It wasn't for long, and I'm also just getting over a cold so there was a lot of drip, lol. I feel a little better. I know there is more crying ahead and when I was about to during the talk with my husband he said he felt bad and asked if I wanted him to just stop.
I don't. I'm honestly glad he has finally found another woman he has connected with, in different ways than he does with me, and glad that he told me he is happy right now, which is good. But I have work to do, and I doubt he gets that it is going to affect EVERYONE involved, no matter how settled and content HE is.
I think I need more than just his reassurance. That's partly why I came here. Please, any advice you could give I would really appreciate it. I'm not trying to drive myself crazy dealing with this all on my own, inside of my self.