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?