First off, this is my first post. I've been interested in Poly for awhile and want to genuinely try it... unfortunately, I've made many (many, many) classic mistakes and now have to clean up the mess. I've read ethical slut, listen to poly weekly, etc... but translating book knowledge into real world experience can be tough.
I'm now trying to learn from all of you. Here is my timeline. you can skip the first half and just insert [trying to move from an affair to poly] and totally get where I'm at.
I know this is not a true poly experience since deception is involved. Is our little "triad" doomed?
1) It was 2011. I had been married for 12 years. Had cheated a few times and was feeling trapped in my marriage (I grew up evangelical and didn't have sex until I was married at 22. I've struggled ever since.) My therapist suggested a separation, but I was too scared to do that.
2) In November 2011, I started a new project and met Beth. She and I grew up similarly evangelical and were both in the process of deconstructing it. Beth was in a partnership with Mark.
3) Over the next 6 months, Beth and I developed an amazing rapport. We had great chemistry. I started to develop a crush. We began talking about our curiosity around polyamory.
4) In May 2012, Beth and Mark got engaged. I was a bit sad, but supportive.
5) In June 2012, Beth and I went on a 6 week road trip for the project. I came on to her. Initially she pushed back, but we kept flirting with each other. Eventually we started an affair. By the end of the trip, she admitted she loved me. I returned the sentiment.
6) When we got home, we continued the affair. We started trying to figure out a way if we could introduce poly to our respective partners.
7) In February 2013, my relationship with my wife had gotten worse. We decided to go to counseling. I told her I wanted to open the relationship. She obviously wasn't game (and was suspicious of Beth and I.) Our therapist suggested a separation. I was still too scared to take the option.
8) Beth and Mark started to talk about poly. He was receptive and they started negotiating. He still didn't know about me (although he had his suspicions.)
9) Beth and I during this time both admitted that we were amazing lovers and have never experienced a relationship like this that worked on so many levels.
10) In May 2013, I finally asked for a separation from my wife. I told her that I wanted to be poly with Beth. She was obviously hurt. Around the same time, Beth told Mark about me and said she didn't want to be married. Mark was shocked, but was willing to work through it. He was committed to the process and they called off the wedding. Mark asked if we were having an affair, Beth said it was an emotional affair, but we hadn't had sex yet (untrue.) Mark had some anger at me, but understood how our relationship developed and was willing to work through all that.
11) Beth, Mark, and I started the process of trying to become poly. Beth and I "officially" started fucking. Mark started looking for other relationships. I had a few experiences myself with other women. All was going mostly well. Except I had isolated myself from most of my community. I didn't have any support. I was struggling with being alone since Beth and Mark lived with each other. And Beth, Mark, and I hadn't sat down and had a proper negotiation. I was waiting on Beth to talk to Mark and negotiate with him. She kept telling me he's slow but that we'll get to the place where we can be anchors to each other.
12) In October 2013, Beth and Mark decided to get married. She framed it as a good thing for their families, and a better legal arrangement... but that it wouldn't change anything about our Triad. I was initially supportive because I was still married to my wife (we still haven't worked out if we're going to be financial partners or divorced or what.) I also was using it as an "I told you so" to those in my community that I can do poly. Ugh, I was being stupid.
13) In November, I started freaking out. Beth and Mark's wedding was a few weeks out. They were about to have their Bachelor/Bachlorette parties. I started realizing I was ignoring that little voice in my head that something was off. I secretly wanted to marry Beth, I was angry that Beth and Mark were getting married before we had figured out our Triad. I told Beth, in a moment of weakness, that I would have divorced my wife. Beth was pissed that I waited to tell her this. And said she couldn't hurt Mark again. She also said that we would work it out, and that she would love to have a commitment ceremony with me someday.
14) This month I celebrated my 14 year anniversary. My wife and I had a lovely meal and both decided the relationship was over.
15) Beth and Mark were married last week. I did my best to be supportive of both of them. But a few days later, I realized I was ignoring my voice, my desires, my needs. I realized I needed an anchor, someone whose parents can know me. I also realized that we all weren't on the same page. Mark doesn't know the full nature of my and Beth's relationship. They also didn't know what I really wanted. And now we're in this passive aggressive, blaming, arguing cycle.
16) I think Beth needs to disclose to Mark that we were fucking the whole time. He needs to know what we mean to each other if we can even attempt to have a good poly negotiation. Beth says she will go to her grave before Mark knows about the physical affair. Is right for me to push her to do this? Should I just get out of this mess?