Looking for some advice
I'm in the market for some advice, and I think you're the only people in thew world qualified to give it. My situation is not normal, so I would appreciate considered responses only please... no out-of-the-box comments, if that's possible. This is a novel, it's drama-filled but I Want to put the entire thing out there so people (you) can comment so maybe I can figure things out. Thank you for reading!
Firstly, I have fairly low self esteem but I hide it well enough. I'm a 6'2" male who (apparently) is attractive. I'm something of a 'leader' personality but I'm scared to death of that role. It keeps me humble. I met my first GF in my last year of highschool. We dated for 4 years and I broke it off because I realized that I Was following her around like a lost puppy. I was starting to have an interest in other women, but not in the poly sense.
I broke it off, moved away, started a life, bought a condo... but failed at the dating scene and anguished for companionship so I called her. We hooked back up, had a distance relationship for a year and a half before she moved back in with me. Fast forward 8 years, we were married and had 2 kids but the relationship was in severe trouble.
I sought out and had an affair, it lasted a few months and I did not fall in love. There was no chemistry with this first affair and the sex felt familiar, old and I returned to my life prepared to live and die unhappily married.
Enter the love of my life. A co-worker whom I found instantly attractive, but was distant with off the start suddenly and intentionally piqued my interest. I wasn't looking for anything, but the friendship rapidly turned into more and we started an affair. The affair lasted a year, but I felt I was doing her an injustice. I told her to start looking elsewhere. At this point, I suffered a fractured collarbone that put me out of work. I Wasn't sleeping, tensions in the home were at an all-time high...
I was about to lose the best thing that had ever happened to me. My love was starting to have long distance relationships through a dating site and I was coming to my senses too slowly. I had lost her, and in sleepless nights of introspection, I realised it.
I told my wife that I would be seeking a divorce and moved out maybe 10 days later.
The woman whom I had the affair with was in rebound with me, she went and saw (with my expressed approval) this man whom she was talking with online. When she returned, there was no chemistry between them and she was ready to start a relationship with me. I Was elated. I didn't love the idea that she had to sleep with the guy to find out, but I had no right to say anything considering I had just put her through a year of hell. (this is an important point that I will touch on later)
Ok, now I feel the need to describe how I Feel about her. I had never truly been in love before and I have nothing but admiration, respect, closeness and commitment for her. We communicate very well, but she has trust issues with me. She doesn't trust quickly and the year of hell I put her through has left its' mark. She knows she can trust me again, but she's not sure when that'll happen. I am prepared to wait until my deathbed for her trust. Anyhow, I digress. The sex is fantastic, for both of us. I mean, .... REALLY fantastic. She's very vocal about it with me We click in huge ways.
She has a child the same age as my eldest, they get along fantastically. We've merged our home life pretty well!
New job, new life, we moved in together about 10 months later. Our friends, family and co-workers all know about the affair but accept us. Last August, we took a trip and engaged to each other. She asked me and I asked her at the same place, same time. We knew from a conversation like 8 months prior that we'd both do it then and there, but we were elated. For a time.
Nearly 2 years after moving in together, we're about to get married. She's suffering bouts of depression due in no small part to my divorce being ugly, costly and not quite final yet. It's a matter of a couple weeks before it is, but it's been a long haul with ahuge emotional cost to it. She withdrew a little and she started getting close with a mutual online friend.
It only happened because my divorce has been going on for so long that it seemed like we'd never really GET to be married. She was in a depression and I fought tooth and nail to get divorced ASAP. It's been a bitter process, but my love and I STILL love each other deeply.
Enter the problem: She wants to be 'open' so she can see where this relationship with this other guy leads. I do not want to be open, but I (maybe due to lack of self esteem) want her to see if there's chemistry with this new guy. If there isn't, I have every reason to believe that we'll be married and monogamous until our final days. If I outlive her (I REALLY don't want to.) I cannot fathom even now, with many many years ahead, ever being interested in someone else. We share a lot in common but are dfferent enough to make for some great conversations. We think about things in different ways, but almost unerringly come to the same conclusions. (even if it takes me more time) She is, without a doubt, THE one. I have no interest in other women, and haven't since I started seeing her.
I've expressed my opinion. I would like her to find out if there's romantic chemistry without so much as a kiss, if possible. I could live with her having to kiss him to find out, but anything more rapidly turns my insides upside down and my arms to jelly. The thought of her sleeping with another man is... a deal breaker.
I knew that she's open to the idea of open relationships but we'd never practiced that sinve I moved out and separated fom my wife and began a relationship...a REAL and open relationship with my love. I Assumed that during the affair, the relationship was an open one.
Please understand that, to me... to have a history like ours, and a love that is so empassioned... to say that her being with another man in bed is a deal breaker is to admit that my life as I know it, would pretty much be over. Suicide enters my mind, but I'm sure it's knee-jerk reactionism. I have 2 great kids and could never do that to them.
But I know that I would completely and utterly fall apart if this comes to pass. I cannot imagine life beyond her. It's so painful to think about that I cry when I give it serious thought.
We've talked about what I'm comfortable with and she's hopeful to find out before it goes beyond that but this smacks of the weekend trip she had to take to find out about the last guy she met online. I know how I felt about that, but convinced myself that she had to find out. I defend that call. I still think it was the right one, but this time it's different.
Yes, I'm mad at her for letting it get this far. But I can forgive it. In her place, I would have severed all ties months ago, as soon as I Realized that I was starting to crush. It only happened because she's open to poly in the first place.
I want this nightmare to end. I'm not sleeping, barely eating. I have a great new job that I start in a week that I should be ecstatic about but I'm terrified that I'm going to be such an emotional wreck that I'm not going to be able to live up to my commitments.
I need her to find out, so we can either go on with our life and get married in 4 months as planned (PLEASE! Let that come to pass!) or for her, them or all three of us and hash this out in a manner that is acceptable for all of us.
If/when this does get put behind us, I have every confidence that she and I will be happily monogamous. But how do I deal with the emotions that come to the surface?
Our mutual friend whom she's crushing hard on lives in another city, so it's not something that can be resolved overnight. I'm not happy with him that HE let it come to this point, either.
I feel hurt, and somewhat betrayed.
I asked him to have a talk with me sometime soon to see how we both feel about this. All I can see is 'train-wreck' and I'm desperate to jump out of the way but ...
It's such a loaded situaiton. I'm emotionally charged. I bawled my eyes out yesterday explaining how I Feel to her. She's stronger than me, more independant. I do and always have, to a large degree, define myself by the people I surround myself with. I admit, I'm a bit 'needy' these days but she and I both enjoy the closeness, even now. Our lives are intertwined, and I'm hoping I'm over-reacting.
I hope our friend will back off when he learns of my distress. I hope that my love understands and can live with that without resenting me or wondering forever 'what if'. I know she loves me as much as I love her, but her independant nature gives her strength that I cannot find in myself.
I'm hurting and I yearn for people 'in the know' to comment, because I have nowhere else to turn. Can someone as entrenched as me come to embrace poly? Have any of you tried and succeeded or failed?
Other comments are welcome, too. I will try to monitor this closely to clarify things so ask away.