Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Kat's Big Announcement ...After the Big Surprise and the Big Idea

As you might expect, things continue to move forward with my hubby.  Three weeks ago, he made his big announcement about his own infidelity (see Kat's Big Surprise) and then I presented my idea for an open marriage (see Kat's Big Idea), which wasn't as successful as I had hoped it would be. The good news is that it got us talking, which is how I was able to make my big announcement to hubby.

First, you need a little background. Hubby has forbidden me to have any male friends for years. Of course, he could have as many female friends as he wanted (because they were just friends, you know), but the only way I could have a male friend was if he was openly gay and preferably, in a long term relationship. Even then, hubby was uncomfortable. I won't go into the details of the lengths hubby went to in his efforts to ensure that I had to male friends, but let me assure you that they were extreme.

Then I met DauntlessD on AM. If you've been following the blog for awhile, you know that DauntlessD and I started out as romantic buddies and that the relationship changed course and we ended up becoming very close friends (see Prowling Friendships).  We connect every day via IM and/or text. We get together in person once a week, usually for lunch, to catch up and talk face-to-face. There's pretty much not a secret about me that he doesn't know. I know it's perfectly safe to tell him the truth about anything, and he won't walk away. When my world was falling apart recently and I was having an emotional meltdown, he was the one I reached out to for help.

In short, my relationship with Daunt has become a primary relationship in my life, and I'm closer to him than I am to most of my family.

But it was a secret.

It was a secret because hubby had forbidden me to have any male friends.

A couple of months ago, I came up with a way for hubby and DauntlessD to meet (see DauntlessD Meets Hubby), but it was a very brief meeting, and it didn't really do much to pave the way for our friendship to be ok with hubby.

It was very frustrating - ridiculous, actually. I knew that I should be able to be open about my friends with my husband, but it was just too hard to go there with him without it being a big deal.

Then came hubby's big surprise for me, his rejection of my big idea, and our new commitment to start talking with each other more and sharing more. The day came last week when I decided it was time to tell hubby the truth about Daunt (ok, most of the truth about Daunt...I withheld the truth about how we met and how the relationship started). So, one evening when we were talking and I was sharing some particularly difficult stuff about how I was feeling and coping with things in my life, I told him.

He immediately jumped to assuming it was an affair. I clarified for him that there is no sexual relationship.  It's a friendship.

He called it an emotional affair.  I clarified for him again that it is a friendship. Yes, there is an emotional component, but all close friendships have an emotional component, or they are not close friendships.

Then I took a deep breath and told him that I wasn't going to allow him to pick and choose or approve my friends anymore. I told him that Daunt was a very close friend (and I described more of the nature of the relationship) and that I wasn't going to give up that relationship. I told him that he should thank DauntlessD for helping me through some very difficult times when he (hubby) had been incapable of helping me. Then I told him that I wouldn't be hiding the friendship anymore; if I was texting him in the evening and hubby wanted to know who it was, I'd be telling him the truth.  If hubby wanted to know who I went to lunch with on a particular day, I'd be telling the truth from now on about that, too.

Hubby asked, "I suppose you're saying there's nothing I can do about it, right?"

I replied, "Well, yes, but you can choose to get to know him.  That may make you feel more comfortable, or you can treat him as a rival, even though he is no threat to you or our marriage.  In fact, he is a strong supporter of our marriage and of us working things out.  But it's up to you."

Whew. After nearly 23 years of marriage I finally took back my right to choose my own friends. It felt good at the moment I made the announcement, and it feels good now.

The other night I was slow playing my turn in a game of Words with Friends I was playing with hubby. He asked who else I was playing with.  I said, "I'm playing with Daunt, and I have another game going with his wife.  I'll play my turn in your game next." He said, "Oh," and got quiet in that way that I recognize as sulking.  I let the silence hang there. If that's what he needs to adjust to our "new normal," then he can have all the silence he needs to reflect on things.

After about a minute, I clarified for him, "I just want to play my turn with them first because I know they'll be going to bed soon so our time is limited, but you and I have the rest of our lives to play, don't we?"  And I kissed him. He smiled and leaned over my shoulder looking at my game with Daunt, and he said, "You can play 'FIX' right there."

Yes, we are slowly fixing things, aren't we?


Liam said...

Wow, Kat. I love the raunchy hotel sex stories, but this story line has me riveted. He wouldn't let you see other men, eh?

Ryan Beaumont said...

You know you can always pull us guys in by feeding our ego. Let us give the right word, change a tire, or tell us how great we are in bed and you usually have us! :)

Ryan Beaumont said...

You have ads flashing below in some Asian language below. I can barely read English, you're messing with my mind!

Anonymous said...

Well, it certainly doesn't seem easy and there's no magic involved, but little by little things are getting better. At least for you they are and hopefully for the both of you. It's definitely better than hiding it.

Best of luck in keeping things going forward.

Anonymous said...

:) Very cool.

I know it was tough getting to this point for you but what a weight lifted, no?


Anonymous said...

Wow Kat..I am so shocked that you said hub never wanted you to have male friends. I worked for the State of Calif and was inevitable that I would have female and male friends. To this day, I have more male friends than female (0ver 100 close friends)...

He is really a trip. First he tells you who to not befriend, now he has affairs beyond belief..I am surprised you allowed him to let him get away with who is to be your friends. You are much more indpendent than that. I am very shocked by this blog today.

Northern Calif

Ethan Lambert said...

Ahh, this was the post I've been looking for. I'd been dying to know how all this was progressing. I can't say I'm shocked that he turned down your proposal, but it would have been SUCH a solution... alas.

@Linda: I'm not pompous enough to speak for Kat, but I have witnessed many adulterers online whose secret lives came from the same beginning:

Their marriages came to a point where they had to choose between fighting for their right to be happy, or keeping their families together. And when they couldn't decide, so they decided to just take it to keep the family together. And a whole secret life of adultery was born to deal with their unhappiness at home while still keeping their family unit together in one piece (provided, of course, that they don't get caught). Unfairness becomes a lot easier to deal with when you've got a whole second life evening the score. I'm not saying it's right, or healthy, or justifiable. It's just a common thread I've witnessed in sex blogs over the years.