I think that men are genetically designed to seek out multiple women (while women are designed to seek a single male).
This creates a lot of problems, because I think that most men don't WANT to act on this impulse necessarily, so most are engaged in a constant battle between their minds (that want to be monogamous) and their genetic programming (that drive them to seek multiple partners).
I think this problem is a pretty normal one. You've been given some great advice, so now you just have to figure out what your priorities are, and which desires are worth acting on and which are better ignored.
[QUOTE=LordPistacchio;974433]Interesting. I shouldn't have any problem imagining the damage. A bit more background:
There was always a strong emotional bond between us but we started to really develop into good friends after her husband cheated on her and left. My wife and I spent a lot of time helping her because she was suddenly a single mom. Of course she used some of her new-found freedom to sleep with every man she could; carefully avoiding me through it all. But then husband came back. They're trying, but it's tenuous between them and their children are noticeably and permanently shaken up.[/QUOTE]
IMO... your new found "love" (which I believe is something other than strictly romantic love... see BELOW) is a response to her attempt at re-kindling her relationship with her, in your own words, "douchebag" husband. You don't like him. You feel protective and it is driving your feelings a to a more urgent level than your previous level of comfortable platonic love/friendship.
Eh, the more I learn, the more I feel like Americans have this weird idea about love. Our ancestors understood that what we call "love" is multi-faceted. They even had lots of different words to describe it/them and depending on the situation the type of love and its expression could differ.
Look up Platonic love. Not what we call "platonic" love, but what Plato called platonic love. The Four Loves by CS Lewis also talks about the different kinds of love. I'm sure there's lots more good books on this subject, but I can't think of them right now.
Deal is, you have a personal relationship with more than one person in your life. Congratulations! I'm guessing if the OW was a guy you wouldn't be in this pickle, you would be happily reveling in a "bromance" and openly driving your wife crazy with it. As it is, yeah, maybe you should think about being open with your wife. I hear you saying "I'm really good friends with this friend of ours, and I really care about her happiness, but I'm confused because she's a she and not a he, but I don't feel like having sex with her." Depends on how good your relationship with your wife is. I can totally handle my husband catching up with women he knew growing up, but then I know that he didn't have a romantic relationship with them. But like even in a bromance, you need to be certain of where your priorities are. If your wife is your #1 priority then you have to make sure she knows that.[/QUOTE]
The other thing is... when modern western notions of what is and isn't an acceptable relationship get mixed up with "love"... then people start automatically attaching sex to it. And things get stupid and awkward... and perfectly good friendships get completely screwed (pardon the pun).
[QUOTE=Sandra in BC;974468]By confiding in the OW, you HAVE acted on this.[/QUOTE]
This. Think about where your energy is going right now. Not into your marriage, that's for sure. By focusing on the OW and the drama of your feelings, you are already removing yourself from your wife (you already mentioned that you're surprised she hasn't noticed your mood).
Dude, you're creating a self-fulfilling prophecy here. If you love your wife, then get into counselling and start focusing on what you DO have, not on what isn't yours in the first place.
[QUOTE=BestBetter;974511]women are designed to seek a single male[/QUOTE]hahahahahahahahahaha
[QUOTE=BestBetter;974511]I think that men are genetically designed to seek out multiple women (while women are designed to seek a single male). [/QUOTE]
I think that that is a meme that serves to minimise female sexuality.
It may or may not be true. I don't think it is.
Word. It's simultaneously insulting to women that they have lesser sexdrives and/or that having a slower sex-drive is necessarily a good thing.
It's also insulting to men that we'd be stupid enough to believe it.
[QUOTE=Sandra in BC;974468]By confiding in the OW, you HAVE acted on this. You've chosen to take this to a certain point. Regardless of the action you choose from here on in, your wife is going to be pissed -- and feel betrayed by both you and her friend -- for being the last to know. Or maybe she already knows, and has chosen to ignore it because if she confronts you she'll have to face the truth. Maybe she thinks if she confronts you she'll be forced to make you choose, and you won't choose her. AND she loses her best friend. Nice.
You say you have no intention of acting on this, but what if your wife acted? What if your betrayal made her withdraw? What if she kicked your ass out? What if she forced you to choose? Would you go running to the OW? Would living with a hurt, distrustful, bitter wife be bearable? Would you find the OW more attractive? Are you keeping the OW within arms reach as a backup?[/QUOTE]
Ultimately, I confided in the OW because she is the one person other than my wife I feel close enough to talk to. It may have been poor judgement and I should have kept it to myself. Honestly I thought saying it out loud to her would result in enough ridicule for me to WANT to avoid her. I didn't expect it to be reciprocated.
[QUOTE=zoltankemeny;974498]Edited to suggest therapy too
I don't know if you've said whether you have spoken to the OW or not, but maybe you should tell her that you have some inconvenient feelings for her and that you want to stop them, so you're going to take action and not see her for a while. Leave contact with her and her kids to your wife for a little while. It doesn't mean you'll abandon her forever, because it sounds like she's a good friend. But if you want these inconvenient feelings to die, there are ways to deal with them, at least ways that have worked for me and others. I also like other people's suggestions to see a therapist so you can speak with someone who isn't judging you (you're judging yourself here pretty strongly) and can see the situation with different eyes.[/QUOTE]
[QUOTE=badgergirl;974508]I third, fourth the suggestion of therapy. I sympathise and empathise, having gone through something very similar myself (after ten years of faithful marriage) and watched my best friend's marriage implode for the exact same reason (she acted on her desire).
Polyamorous relationships are possible, but I suspect that they have to be negotiated from the beginning rather than after decades of monogamy. I would suggest that you look at your marriage with fresh eyes (therapy will help) and identify the gaps that this new love has found to grow in.
Good luck and I understand how much pain accompanies these feelings of love. It certainly isn't easy.[/QUOTE]
The good new is that I already have a counselor I can see. Therapy at least has the potential to help me navigate this without losing or hurting anyone.
[QUOTE=Jac;974523]This. Think about where your energy is going right now. Not into your marriage, that's for sure. By focusing on the OW and the drama of your feelings, you are already removing yourself from your wife (you already mentioned that you're surprised she hasn't noticed your mood).
Dude, you're creating a self-fulfilling prophecy here. If you love your wife, then get into counselling and start focusing on what you DO have, not on what isn't yours in the first place.[/QUOTE]
Again, thank you for encouraging therapy. I would like to point out that I actually put a great deal of energy into my marriage and my wife. The thought and energy that I put into my wife and children are the things that drew OW to me. I'm not sure she's really witnessed that from a man toward a woman before.
[QUOTE=cori93437;974513]IMO... your new found "love" (which I believe is something other than strictly romantic love... see BELOW) is a response to her attempt at re-kindling her relationship with her, in your own words, "douchebag" husband. You don't like him. You feel protective and it is driving your feelings a to a more urgent level than your previous level of comfortable platonic love/friendship.[/QUOTE]
We got to this point long before douchebag came crawling back. And for the record, he's a [I]clueless[/I] douchebag.
Well since you told OW you are now in a REAL pickle because now you, loving husband, and she, best friend forever, are CONSPIRING TOGETHER against your probably-not-totally-oblivious wife. This is bad news bears, indeed. You won't be able to maintain this tight rope walk forever.
My question to you is this... since this woman IS your wife's best friend... and yes this may be wildly out there but! Is there any chance your wife and other woman would consider... you know... polyamory? I mean is this something that you all would be open minded enough to try? For some people, this is a very maintainable life style. I tried it myself, and I personally didn't care for it because I am high maintenance as heck and require way too much direct attention. For some people though, it really can work, and can be a secure, deep, loving relationship for all involved.
This does not mean they MUST have sex, but, let's be real, that they would enjoy each other in that way, with or without you as well, would be ideal (in my delightful open mind, anyway :P). But even if their love remained non sexual, or was only sexually acted upon by making a LordPostacchio sandwhich, there could be something there. This of course all revolves around the relationship these women have, their open mindedness, their sexuality, etc.