Polyamory.com Forum  

Go Back   Polyamory.com Forum > Polyamory > Poly Relationships Corner

Notices

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 06-24-2013, 01:21 PM
MyHeartOverflows MyHeartOverflows is offline
New Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 4
Default Seeking advice... Secrecy in relationships

Hi, everyone. This is my first post here, and I'm very eager to get some feedback on my situation. I feel like I have no one to talk about this with, and I respect the honesty and forthrightness with which the members here address other people's questions. I would appreciate some of that honesty now.

So here's my situation. I am a bisexual female in my late 30's, and I have been with my husband for close to 14 years as a monogamous couple. Then a few months ago, I suddenly found myself back in contact with an ex-girlfriend "J" whom I dated very soon before meeting my husband.

When J and I were together, she was married but in a polyamorous marriage. Her husband and I got along very well; we met and were friendly with one another, but he was in the military and was deployed overseas for most of our relationship. He and I e-mailed one another daily, though, and he was happy that I was "taking care of" J while he was away. I loved J deeply. I felt like she and I were best friends as well as lovers. But then when she began seeing another guy (with whom I did not get along so well, and of whom her husband did not approve) who was also married and had a family, I quickly became overwhelmed by the relationship with its web of myriad connections and walked away. Not because I didn't love her, but because it was too complicated and there were just too many people involved for me at the time.

Fast forward to today. When J and I started talking again, it was like no time had passed. Now we are 14 years older, wiser, with life experience on our side. When we first started talking again, early on she told me that she still loved me, and it became clear that I still loved her. She is married as well, but knowing that she had been in a poly marriage before, I didn't see that as a potential problem I believed that we were moving toward a reunion, based on the types of conversations we were having.

[I should also mention that she lives a few hours away from me and our conversations have been primarily texting and e-mailing, though we have also gotten together in person.]

Because of the direction in which things were moving, I talked to my husband (who has always known about J) about the situation, and to my surprise he gave his blessing for me to pursue a relationship with her if that is what I felt moved to do. He has been incredibly supportive, has loved seeing how happy I've been with J back in my life, and has made a true effort to get to know her. My relationship with my husband has actually gotten closer as a result. My love for him has grown because he's willing to let me have this other relationship just because he knows it's important to me. It makes me feel like my marriage to him is unbreakable, like I can tell him anything, like I can share ALL of myself and who I am with him without fear of judgment or rejection.

Anyway, back to J... at a certain point, after weeks of flirting and innuendo, somehow I ended up professing my love for her in such a way that she realized I was serious. She then revealed that she wasn't sure that her husband would be comfortable "sharing" her. But that she feels the same way about me and will talk to him about us when the time is right. I was surprised because I had assumed she was still poly, based on all the indications she had given me, but at this point, I was already in too deep emotionally to pretend that I didn't have feelings for her again. But she was VERY clear that she would like to get back together with me in every way, when the time was right to talk to her husband. This was a few months ago!

The problem is that the time apparently is not right! He knows we are friends, but my understanding is that she hasn't even told him that we were ever romantically involved. She wants us to be really good friends for a while again before she will talk to him about the possibility of being with me again, which I can respect, but the problem is that emotionally I feel like we are already together. We say "I love you" to each other, and we are in contact from morning until night, all day, every day. There is a lot of flirtation. She feels like my girlfriend. But she's not.

So I am completely and utterly head over heels in love with her, and she knows this very well. She tells me she feels the same way but then always stops short, and I know it's because she hasn't come clean about me to her husband yet. Which, I have to say, I am not comfortable with. I don't want to be some kind of secret, and I don't want her husband to feel like he's been betrayed. She has implied that they have some sort of "don't ask, don't tell" type of relationship, and that he wouldn't care about not being informed... I don't know. I don't understand it, mainly because I have been so open and forthright with my own husband.

She has said she wants me to meet him first (she has come to visit me, but I have yet to come to her), and because of scheduling issues it appears that September will be the earliest I can visit. But I'm worried that when he finds out about our history, he will feel like *I* have betrayed him and lied to him, which has never been what I wanted. But it's not my place to be honest with him! It's hers! I feel like I'm stuck.

So... Please be brutally honest here. What should I do? I don't feel like I can/should make demands of her regarding her relationship with her husband, because truly that is not my business. But the fact that she hasn't been honest with him and is holding back with me because of that fact is sending my heart through a meat grinder. Not just because I'm frustrated, but because I frequently feel the sting of rejection in spite of the fact that she tells me she loves me all the time, and assures me that she feels the same way about me even though she can't go there right now. It's simultaneously reassuring and frustrating. After a while it wears me out, emotionally. But I can't turn off my feelings for her. They are there, like it or not.

Am I just setting myself up to be hurt? I don't want to lose her again. My life has been so much happier, richer, and more wonderful with her in it. I just wish she would be honest about me so that one way or another, I can have some definition in our relationship. Do I have the right to ask for that? Or... what else can/should I do? I really don't want anyone to be hurt by what is happening here.

I'm sorry this has been so long. I value your opinions deeply. Thank you to anyone who made it this far and who cares to respond.

Last edited by MyHeartOverflows; 06-24-2013 at 01:24 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 06-24-2013, 01:47 PM
Magdlyn's Avatar
Magdlyn Magdlyn is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Metro West Massachusetts
Posts: 3,569
Default

Personally, I do not believe one is practicing polyamory if one's SO is basically cheating on their primary.

You can alter your behavior and stop with the constant texting and flirting until she tells her h everything about you, and you have met him, spoken openly with him, and know he knows that you're more than a friend to his wife.

I think her behavior is sketchy, and in your shoes, I'd feel less than love and respect if someone was lying to their primary about me. I'd cut off the frequency and intensity of contact even though it's fun... because being a dirty little secret would make me feel sick.

In fact, I have an ex who wanted something similar with me... cybersex, because his current SO doesn't fulfill his sexual needs and he knows how good our sex was... He was also telling me he wanted to leave her, but it's now been 10 mos since he got back in touch with me and he's still with her.

I didn't want to be some kind of steam valve while he continues with someone else! So, I told him early on, no more sexting, no more wanting to cam with me, no more sending me pix of his nethers, etc.

I am not in love with him though, so this decision was relatively painless.
__________________
Love withers under constraint; its very essence is liberty. It is compatible neither with envy, jealousy or fear. It is there most pure, perfect and unlimited when its votaries live in confidence, equality and unreserve. -- Shelley

me: Mags, 59, living with:
miss pixi, 37

Last edited by Magdlyn; 06-24-2013 at 01:49 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 06-24-2013, 01:51 PM
opalescent opalescent is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: US
Posts: 1,285
Default

If the time isn't right for her to tell her husband, it's not the right time to date her. You love her, have feelings for each other, but you have already 'waited' 14 years. You and she can wait a little longer. I suggest telling her you love her, you will still be in her life, but you will not date her until she has talked things over with her husband explicitly.

I fear she is never going to find 'the right time' to tell her husband but it would be nice to be wrong.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 06-24-2013, 02:03 PM
Marcus's Avatar
Marcus Marcus is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Haltom City, TX
Posts: 1,288
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by MyHeartOverflows View Post
Because of the direction in which things were moving, I talked to my husband (who has always known about J) about the situation, and to my surprise he gave his blessing for me to pursue a relationship with her if that is what I felt moved to do.
First off, good for you. You may not realize it from where you are standing but this rarely happens. The person with romantic interest usually waits until something has happened (sex or whatever the "too far" marker is for that couple) and lives with guilt about it... then they tell their partner and their partner freaks out... then there is large scale drama on all ends with no one getting what they want.

But you chose to talk with your partner once you were pretty sure there was a reason to. He sounds like he's being cool headed about it and isn't going to try and get in your way.

You should recognize that, this is not the norm.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MyHeartOverflows View Post
I don't understand it, mainly because I have been so open and forthright with my own husband.
Yah, people don't do that. You are an odd ball for having this kind of healthy interplay with your partner. While I get that you are impatient and disappointed that she doesn't seem to be in as healthy a relationship as you are... that's really your problem. Unfortunately this is one of those "the chain is only as strong as its weakest link" kind of scenarios.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MyHeartOverflows View Post
But it's not my place to be honest with him! It's hers! I feel like I'm stuck.
Has she told you that she wants you to keep it secret from him? If this is a concern for you it will be in your best interest to let her know that you don't want to be put in this situation. If you allow yourself to be ushered into a situation where you need to lie for other people that will have been your doing.

I am against the idea of being "honest" for other people. It's not my business to make sure the world tells the truth at all times. However, if I see that I am heading down a road of needing to choose between lying or "outing" someone I'm going to hit the breaks as best I can before I'm on the hot seat needing to make that call.

Friends don't put friends in that kind of situation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MyHeartOverflows View Post
Am I just setting myself up to be hurt?
Maybe. There are still some unknowns out there, right? If I understand correctly you don't know if they have an EXPLICIT don't-ask-don't-tell relationship (there is a difference between DADT and being a liar). You don't know for sure if he is aware of your past with her. You don't know what her plans are for rectifying this situation.

You need to stop guessing. If you don't know the exact answer to a question then get that answer. If you are not satisfied with the answers you get then you need to take responsibility for how you respond.

I know your heart overflow-eth, but sooner or later you're going to need to turn off the faucet of your feelings and flip on the switch to your brain. Make decisions based on what you know to be true, not what you "feel".
__________________
Independent (Anarchist) Non-Monogamy

Me: male, 40, straight, single
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 06-24-2013, 02:25 PM
BoringGuy BoringGuy is offline
Banned
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Nowhere
Posts: 1,647
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by opalescent View Post
If the time isn't right for her to tell her husband, it's not the right time to date her. You love her, have feelings for each other, but you have already 'waited' 14 years. You and she can wait a little longer. I suggest telling her you love her, you will still be in her life, but you will not date her until she has talked things over with her husband explicitly.

I fear she is never going to find 'the right time' to tell her husband but it would be nice to be wrong.


This is more or less what I'd planned to say. I apologize for not being more brutal, since you asked for it. I can't seem to get my brutality focused on the right people...
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 06-24-2013, 02:31 PM
BoringGuy BoringGuy is offline
Banned
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Nowhere
Posts: 1,647
Default

Quote:
I know your heart overflow-eth, but sooner or later you're going to need to turn off the faucet of your feelings and flip on the switch to your brain. Make decisions based on what you know to be true, not what you "feel".
Yeah! Think with your brain, not your (lady) boner!

See? It just takes me a minute or two to get warmed up.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 06-24-2013, 02:32 PM
Magdlyn's Avatar
Magdlyn Magdlyn is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Metro West Massachusetts
Posts: 3,569
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by opalescent View Post
If the time isn't right for her to tell her husband, it's not the right time to date her....you will not date her until she has talked things over with her husband explicitly.
I'd agree, and as I said, never mind dating, I think OP shouldn't even be texting constantly and intimately.
__________________
Love withers under constraint; its very essence is liberty. It is compatible neither with envy, jealousy or fear. It is there most pure, perfect and unlimited when its votaries live in confidence, equality and unreserve. -- Shelley

me: Mags, 59, living with:
miss pixi, 37
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 06-24-2013, 02:39 PM
MyHeartOverflows MyHeartOverflows is offline
New Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 4
Default

Thank you for the responses thus far. Already I have some valuable food for thought.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
Has she told you that she wants you to keep it secret from him? If this is a concern for you it will be in your best interest to let her know that you don't want to be put in this situation. If you allow yourself to be ushered into a situation where you need to lie for other people that will have been your doing.

I am against the idea of being "honest" for other people. It's not my business to make sure the world tells the truth at all times. However, if I see that I am heading down a road of needing to choose between lying or "outing" someone I'm going to hit the breaks as best I can before I'm on the hot seat needing to make that call.

Friends don't put friends in that kind of situation.
This is an angle I hadn't thought too much about, but one which I absolutely should! I almost feel like actually meeting her husband is some kind of interview or audition to get his approval. Only he doesn't know it yet. And truth be told, there is NO POSSIBLE WAY I will lie to him. About anything. Not saying I will go in and spill my guts, but trust me, there is no way you can be around the two of us without seeing the connection between J & me. Maybe she's counting on that to open up those conversations with him? I don't know. But that seems very passive to me, and I am simply not a passive person. I prefer to face situations head-on, though I recognize that not everyone is this way. Regardless, I will answer any and all questions from him honestly, and I need to make sure she knows that. I would rather not be put in that situation in the first place.

In the meantime, the comment you made, Marcus, about putting a lid on my overflowing heart and flipping the switch to my brain made me laugh out loud. Partially because it is SO EFFING TRUE. I am a very passionate, creative type of person, and I do tend to let my emotions rule.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 06-24-2013, 02:41 PM
MyHeartOverflows MyHeartOverflows is offline
New Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 4
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by BoringGuy View Post
Yeah! Think with your brain, not your (lady) boner!

See? It just takes me a minute or two to get warmed up.
I appreciate the effort!!!
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 06-24-2013, 02:46 PM
MyHeartOverflows MyHeartOverflows is offline
New Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 4
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Magdlyn View Post
I'd agree, and as I said, never mind dating, I think OP shouldn't even be texting constantly and intimately.
Sigh.

You are probably right. It will be challenging to dial it back; I don't want to walk away. She is such a dear friend, and it really has been wonderful to be back in touch with her again. It's not like we're constantly sexting horny stuff to each other. It's being in touch throughout the day, feeling like we're together practically all the time. It's nice. But still intimate, just because we're part of each other's lives constantly now.

But there are a lot of "I love yous." It's hard not to say it when it's true. I suppose I should revisit that brain vs. feelings thing, huh? Dammit.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 06:14 PM.