@Ozzy1788 (great name by the way, from a fellow Aussie!)
Brother, I just read through this thread after seeing BluerthanBlue's call out to me in a previous comment. I have basically just lived this entire situation 8 months ago, except for the fact that my wife's desire to 'be polyamorous and see other people' was dropped in my lap without notice at a 'marriage health check' MC session just following the series of COVID lockdowns. Turns out my wife of 10 years had been sleeping with a polyamorous married workmate for 1.5 years without my knowledge, and I was being expected to 'get onboard with it'. Hot tip: I did not get onboard HMAS Infidelity as it set sail for fail while on fire. I divorced her (finalises in July as per the 1 year wait by law), and am sharing custody of our 3 girls under 10 on a 50:50 basis. If you want to read the full story, it's under the 'After 9 years of R, I just got the 'oh I think I'm poly afterall!' thread on the front page of this very forum. You'll find your situation isn't unique. I hope you take some solace from that. To summarise my sitation, I separated from her, and have since found a few weeks ago that not only did her AP break up with her, but before we separated she was sleeping with ANOTHER married workmate who she is still with. She's been the constant variable in the destruction of at least 3 marriages in the space of 18 months. This is the woman I thought I knew; the woman whom I have shared everything with for over a decade. I evidently don't know her. At this point she's just a demon wearing my ex-wife's skin for all I know.
I am going to admit, I shed a tear at your story; so much of it is familiar. I can tell that you are a good guy, and that you love your wife and kids dearly. But you need to hear me, and hear me loud and clear:
1. Your wife does not respect you. She might love you, but she doesn't respect you. She likely has huge gaps in her psyche that her or your love for you won't fill.
2. Accordingly, your wife ticks all the boxes of a grandiose narcissist, a closet narc at worst. 'I NEED(ED) THIS', 'THIS LOVE IS DIFFERENT', 'MY SITUATION IS UNIQUE' are all standard responses from narcissists. An affair is a way to get narcissistic supply (or simply, attention). It's a disorder. Who knows why she's like that? Bad parents, abandonment issues, the need for validation from other men? Either way, you will never compete with it.
3. Point 1 & 2 is reinforced by the fact that she has NO empathy for you.
Please watch a video by a Dr Ramani on YouTube titled 'Narcissism and Infidelity: Why do narcissists cheat and how do they get away with it?', it may open your eyes.
First off, the OBS needs to know about this. I'm not going to labour the point, but having three people know what is going on, and not having the other know is cruelty. Ignorance is not bliss in this case, and if you truly want this affair to stop, this is absolutely the best way to do it. You don't have to be the one to tell her directly, you can do this anonymously. Either way, it has to happen.
Secondly, your wife has been having an affair for years. It didn't start when she told you she wanted to 'try it out'; 99.9% chance that the polyamorous/I need this affair line was crafted to retrospectively validate her feelings and seek permission to be a philanderer under a sheer veil of credibility. This isn't a unique situation, in fact back when my ex-WW and I were together, we hosted one of her friends for a drink one night who spent an hour in tears on our lounge because her husband had an affair and came home and told her that 'he thought he was polyamorous' and that 'he thought he had too much love just to share with one person.' In retrospect, the fact that my ex-wife sat there with a barely concealed mask of disgust while I told our sobbing friend that I thought her husband's lame poly excuse was b/s (I didn't know she was having an affair at that point), was telling.
Back home today. Very up and down week. Had a monumental argument (worst one yet) a couple of days after I last wrote where I said I have read the best thing I should do to end this thing is to tell the OBS. This went down terribly as you can imagine. She's actually right that having given my agreement to the situation that's a pretty awful thing to do to another family but I'm sure there won't be much agreement here.
Re-read this again mate. She has NO respect for your feelings about her affair. You told her you didn't want it to continue. SHe's ignored you and has kept sleeping with a married man. When in pure desperation, you've mentioned that this all needs to come out in the spirit of openess, she's attacked you. Polyamory/open marriage is about repsect and communication. This debacle has none of it. There are two married people having a selfish affair, one partner is trying to pick up the pieces of the betrayal, the other is purposefully being kept in the dark about it and unempowered as a result. This needs to end.
During my wife's first affair in 2013 (the one I thought wrongly that we had put in the work to R from), the biggest impact in ending her infidelity was both the OBS and I knowing. OBS actually told me. They threw each other so far under the buses to save their own marriages when, in my exWW's case, she realised I wasn't mucking around. Affairs die in the sunlight.
I get the feeling the biggest thing holding you back is the kids. Trust me brother, I NEVER wanted to be a part-time Dad, and it is one of the biggest things I remain angry about. BUT, life with my kids every other week without ending up in hospital due to the anxiety of living in infidelity (you can read all about that fun in my story - amusingly I had no idea my wife was cheating on me when I got admittted to ER with a panic attack that I thought was a heart attack - but it's funny how the body evidently keeps score) or wondering who my wife is sleeping with beats staying in infidelity with someone who treats you as a person of convenience and a backstop rather than a husband. I have gotten massive in the gym, I do my own hobbies, I cook the food I like...and my kids are happy. We are going to the pool in literally 10 minutes after I get off the computer, we went to the movies yesterday and had a ball!
My 10 year old actually said to me the other day, 'I'm glad you are happy Dad. No one wants to be the crazy cat-person living in an empty house.' TEN YEARS OLD! Hahahaha! In short though, kids are far more adaptable than we give them credit for.
In regards to you and what an alternate future might look like, I want you to know that there are an absolute treasure-trove of women out there who will treat you the way you deserve to be treated. Being expected to be a bystander to your wife's fantasises of f%$#ing a married man is not normal. Now this might sound conceited, but I want you to understand what your future might entail. When I broke up with my wife, I dipped my foot into Tinder/Bumble/online dating. At exactly ZERO point did any woman scoff at me having three kids. In fact I was told on a few dates, 'I think a man who looks after his kids is very attractive.' I was routinely messaged by people 7-10 years junior to me.
My single female friends of the same age? Sadly, that's an entirely different kettle of fish. They get messaged by guys in their 50s looking for easy sex. It's not fair, but there it is. That's what your wife might have to look forward to. I am now dating a stunning woman 8 years my junior who genuinely loves getting to know my girls (and we are taking it VERY slowly in that regard.) I just got back from a week in Fiji with her. While I don't care anymore, I heard through the grapevine that my ex didn't take me moving on very well, went on a month of leave at very short notice, and actually went off the grid for a week accordingly. By all accounts, she's not doing well mentally. And neither should she be.
Those last few paragraphs aren't to sound defeatist in regards to your marriage, they are there to show you that your life without the person you think your wife is, isn't the end of the world. Your wife is acting EXACTLY like mine did; professing to want to fix the M while already checked out and living her best sexual life with fellow philanderers you wouldn't urinate on if they were on fire. You don't deserve this. You have done nothing to deserve this disgraceful treatment.
Feel free to PM mate, or ask me any questions.
[This message edited by Hurthalo at 2:44 PM, Sunday, April 16th]