I think reconciliation will be very hard, you're right. Having broken my trust for the first time in such a big way, I know I'll need to see our relationship differently. Reading "Your old marriage is dead" from https://www.survivinginfidelity.com/documents/library/articles/recovery/three-years-(and-a-day)-what-I-did-to-reconcile/ helped with helping me realize this.
If you're talking about https://www.survivinginfidelity.com/forums/?tid=656412&HL=41782 it's a very good, relatable read! Though rather than a book to feel more validated about polyamory, her source has mainly been TikTok. When we went to couple's therapy, I had even mentioned that she was taking in snippets of attention-grabbing info from the app but not really processing them, and relying on this pro-poly bubble to reinforce that I was the issue, being uncomfortable with polyamory. Which I told her I wasn't even against polyamory as a system - it seems great for people who do it, and I have poly friends who talked about their experiences as well - but I was against the notion that the only reason someone wouldn't be comfortable with it is due to societal values, toxic misogyny, misplaced insecurities, etc. Those are real issues that should be addressed, but it's also fine to be monogamous and expect a marriage that was formed with that understanding to not be uprooted due to sudden incompatibilities. She initiated the change, and wanted me to bend over backwards to accommodate her.
When I confronted her and she confessed, she said that she doesn't think she can give it up. She feels polyamorous (side note: to date, there has been nothing inherently biological that predisposes you to polyamory in the same way that you can be predisposed to other lifestyles), and would rather stop hurting me by separating so she can be "true to [her]self." That makes a lot of sense, which is why I figured we would go down the route of separating. Now we're reconsidering, but I still feel that's the most likely outcome, even if she says she's changed her mind. I feel like that's something that might not ever go away, so why risk my life's happiness on it. I'm also getting tested after work today for STDs (we had sex once when she got back, before the confession). She says she used a condom with him, but I want my own peace of mind.
Thank you, your words really helped validate my feelings. I'm learning as much as I can, and have already found this site's resources to be incredibly helpful. Her response has been regret and remorse, as best as I can tell. She knows she betrayed me, knows she would have to do a lot to make up for it if that's even possible, and has been deferential in letting me get my feelings out. She said she would cut ties with the HW if I wanted (I know it doesn't sound like a lot, but it seemed to mean a lot to her), and I asked her to write up a timeline of what happened, and she agreed to do it. I'm sure she feels as uncertain as I do. I know she loves me, but she prioritized herself at the cost of hurting me when I gave her plenty of avenues to not do so, and she'll have to reconcile that.
Absolutely, and I should have taken an article I read last year more seriously. You can't try to be okay with polyamory just to accommodate your partner's happiness. Like my friends also told me at the time, you both have to be on board with it. But I was trying to improve as a person and work on my insecurities, and blinded by love and the fear of hurting her, I tried to change myself over it. I don't regret the changes I eventually made, but I do regret all the unnecessary pain of both the process and, now, who it was for. I definitely don't believe she was looking for just physical fun when she got into being poly, or even now. I know it's hard to convey years of backstory into a forum post, but I do feel like she was intoxicated and made a stupid decision while trying to validate her independence and feelings of being held back. Despite that, she's still going to feel held back if we do R, so I don't have very high hopes for it. I considered polyamory myself, even years back when I was in my early 20s, but I was very happy with my monogamous relationship and recognized that polyamory comes with a LOT of extra effort from all parties involved, even if she was a hinge and I didn't interact with the other person. Plus, I just don't feel happy thinking about her sharing the special bonds and activities we do with other people. It's something I value in part because they're unique to us, and even though every relationship is different, it encroaches too much for me to be comfortable with it.
Very true, and partly why I think trying to get someone okay with a polyamorous relationship is doomed to fail unless they want to try it as well. You not only need to trust your partner completely, but now have to trust someone else you don't know, and only at your partner's word. Which ideally, would be fine, because 100% trust transfers to 100% trust, but you can be so easily deceived by people you've known only a short length of time, there's no way you should be expected to trust an amor.
That's exactly what I told her. If we ever hope to R, nonmonogamy is a non-starter. That might change in the future, but we can't hope to rebuilt trust if there's anything that MIGHT challenge that, and I can't trust her right now to stick to the boundaries we set. And the thing is I even told her a year ago that if I can't keep pushing my boundaries, and she's unhappy with monogamy, that we need to separate. She cried over it, upset that I'd suggest separating for this reason. I think she was frustrated that I "just couldn't see the light" basically. And I'll note those episodes for future listening - thanks!!
Thank you so much for all the advice. I'm happy to provide more information when I can, and really value your encouraging words and thoughtful questions!