Dear Wendy: “I’ve Fallen In Love With Another Man”
I am a 28-year-old married woman, who has been with my husband for 10 years (married for two). Last year my husband confessed that he had a “hot wife” fantasy and wanted me to experiment with sexual relationships outside of our marriage. At first I was appalled because I had only had been with one partner besides him, but after months of talking about it, I became open-minded to the idea. So, this past January, I met a single man I was extremely attracted to. Needless to say, I told him that I was in an open-marriage and within a matter of weeks we were involved in a hot and heavy sexual relationship. I have been with my lover now for three months and have a huge problem: I’ve fallen in love with him. I know he is not in love with me (he is dating other women) and it hasn’t changed the fact that I love my husband. But I can’t stop thinking about or lusting for my lover, and lately have even felt a bit jealous about his other relationships. I told my husband and he believes our relationship is strong enough to handle this. I’m afraid to tell my lover for fear that he’ll end the affair, which would devastate me. I’m so confused about how to proceed; can I be in love with two men and somehow make this work? — Twice In Love
Admittedly, I don’t know much about open marriages or polyamorous relationships in general, but I do know that in order for them to work the primary relationship (your marriage with your husband, in this case) has to be the central focus. When that focus begins to shift, you’re basically screwed. And it seems to me, if you’ve fallen in love with the other man and you “can’t stop thinking or lusting” after him, your focus has certainly shifted. If it were me, I’d end the relationship with the lover and start couples therapy with my husband to decide if opening your marriage is, in fact, best for the two of you and how you can create some boundaries to ensure your primary relationship with each other remains the central focus. There are some great resources for couples in open marriages at OpeningUp.net, where you can find helpful book recommendations and online groups. Hopefully someone can help you find an open-minded therapist in your area who will guide you through opening your marriage in a healthy way if you decide you want to continue down this path.
I’ve been dating a new guy for three months. Everything is wonderful with one exception. He dated a girl for two to three years, and broke up with her over two years ago. However, they have remained close friends, and prior to us dating he admitted to me that they had discussed getting back together pretty seriously and were “sort of” dating. I say “sort of” because she lives in another state and they never see each other. I was understanding of this at first, but as we have continued to date, they still talk to each other once or twice a week and it bothers me. He claims she is emotionally dependent on him because of some tough things going on in her life (starting graduate school, her parents divorce, etc). He also claims that he has told her about me, and that he is working on extracting himself from her daily life but also wants to remain friends with her. I feel like I can trust him, but I have been burned in the past by a somewhat similar situation. I am wondering if I should have gotten involved with him given his messy, and still present, past. Is it fair for me to ask him to cut off contact with her, or am I am being jealous for no reason? — The New One
What part of “I’m close friends with my ex and we’re seriously discussing getting back together” didn’t raise a red flag for you from the get-go? I guess that’s what I’m having the biggest issue understanding here. Your boyfriend didn’t lie to you; he didn’t lead you on. He was completely honest and upfront from the get-go and now three months in you’re upset that he’s still doing exactly what you said you were “understanding of at first.” Of course you have a reason to be jealous. Your boyfriend is obviously still hung up on his ex — he told you that from the beginning. And whether he’s trying to “extract himself from her daily life” or not, he isn’t emotionally available to you in the way you need and want him to be and most likely won’t be for quite awhile. I’m sorry to say that the only way he’ll move on from this relationship with his ex is if he loses someone like you because of it. And even then he may just feel relieved he doesn’t have to pretend he’s trying to end things with her anymore. Get out now before you become more invested.