Learning your spouse is having an affair is awful. Learning your spouse is having an affair with a person of the same gender – horrific!
Every story has a cast of characters, motivations, conflict, rising action, climax, and resolution. Excellent literature, however, takes these elements and breathes life into them – because life is the inspiration for excellent literature.
Life creates characters through action not words, has unexpected motivations, creative resolutions and adds complications while building to multiple climaxes. Our current sexuality story has plenty of complications, including The Other
woMAN. And an affair whispers were made for.
The “skinny” on the other man
It’s important to the story to know my husband, Rainbow, is becoming more involved with and creating connections in the world of kink. A world I have no interest in. I happily support him in his travels there but have no desire to visit myself. He shares with me the various individuals he has met and created connections with on his travels.
In many ways, I feel I know the individuals in his kink community. It’s a little like watching a television sitcom. I know the cast of characters, enjoy the plot lines, and have formed personal opinions on everything. They know I am watching but really don’t know who I am. The Other woMan (OM) is one of those characters.
I’ve heard plenty of stories about OM and others. OM lives in a large city on the coast, is in the same career field as Rainbow, has more than one kink, struggles with some health issues, oh, and is homosexual. OM has helped and encouraged Rainbow in accepting and understanding his kink side.
OM is a nice guy.
Rainbow even added extra days to a business trip in OM’s city to physically visit. This visit was a couple months into the beginning of his own sexuality struggles.
OM showed Rainbow the town. Pictures of the neat park they walked in, additional kink community friends’ stories that joined the party, and “OMGs the double deluxe sandwich from the whole-in-the-wall joint….to die for” were the messages I received from Rainbow during his visit.
At the end of the visit, OM scheduled to come visit Rainbow and I. He was going to be in the area visiting another friend a few months later. Thus OM would just add a couple days to his trip to stop by.
Words, words, words
At first, Rainbow sharing his changing sexuality with me did not feel like it had any physical impact on my life. There was no concrete evidence for me to hang my analytical hat on. He wasn’t asking for a divorce, only sharing his feelings, mostly via written word.
I still bought groceries and hustled the kids to activities. He went to work and emptied the trash. We swapped “I love you”s in the morning and goodnight kisses at bedtime. I wrapped myself in a cloak of “that’s nice, dear” and was comfortably warm.
A couple weeks before I was told, Rainbow shared a message received from OM. OM was developing more than just friendship type feelings for my husband. OM was sharing because he felt Rainbow may be reciprocating some of those same feelings.
We were at a rare lunch date together when the message arrived. Rainbow immediately shared it with me. (He later told me it never occurred to him to not share it.) The message didn’t faze me at all. It was just words. How cute, another man has a crush on you!
Remember, I was not aware of Rainbow’s feelings about his sexuality. I knew he wasn’t sleeping well, but not because he was struggling with his sexuality. He had already acknowledged to himself that he was having reciprocal feelings for OM. He just didn’t know how to handle those feelings. Later I learned he responded to OM that OM had not misread the situation at all.
I had not yet donned my “that’s nice, dear” cloak. I didn’t know it was hanging in the closet (pun intended).
After Rainbow shared his revelations about his bi-sexuality and I pulled my cloak out, there was additional discussion around OM. His role in our story was that of a catalyst. OM expressing his more romantic inclinations toward Rainbow was a push. In a way I think it validated Rainbow’s own homosexual feelings, allowing him to fully recognize and share those feelings with me.
Rainbow was having romantic feelings for another person. Okay, not a big deal. That person lives miles away and is involved in another relationship.
Words, words, words. I need to start a load of laundry and, “What do you want for supper?”
Unbeknownst to me, Rainbow was seriously exploring polyamory. For those that don’t know, polyamory is generally defined as the philosophy or state of being in love or romantically involved with more than one person at the same time. To be fair, there is no one universally accepted definition of polyamory. But many common definitions include a sexual aspect to the relationships involved.
Polyamory terms and ideas were mentioned to me shortly before (I thought in relation to his kink) and after the big bi-sexual reveal. Rainbow launched himself into understanding polyamory relationships and sharing with me what he learned. He even purchased and read a book on it prior to sharing his bi-sexuality news.
I have a confession. Until I started writing this post, I had not even looked up the definition of polyamory. I recognize now that I didn’t look it up, because I didn’t want to know. The idea threatens a very core part of what I was raised to believe. I looked it up to explain to you, the reader. Upon researching the definition, I am shocked to find that I ever thought it related solely to Rainbow’s kink.
Polyamory is his answer to reconcile his new-found sexuality feelings with his current life. OM was in poly relationships and it worked for him. It was a way for Rainbow to have his cake and eat it too. One side of the cake being bi-sexual and the other half his current traditional heterosexual life.
I recall very little of these discussions. My brain was still trying to unravel and comprehend his change in sexuality and its impact on me. What the heck does polyamory have to do with us? So you are bi-sexual? I’m one half of that equation. What’s the big deal?
Words, words, words. Did you see that the kids’ martial arts schedule changed?
Life carried on as normal, at least physically. I was in a lot of emotional turmoil about how Rainbow’s bi-sexual feelings impacted me and our life.
Then came the physical manifestation of all my fears. It was welcomed in the front door and even had a freshly renovated bedroom to sleep in. I know because I painted it myself as a part of some home renovations started a couple of months prior. I found the headboard, side tables, and sheet set too.
It was “a few months later” and maybe three weeks after I was told of Rainbow’s changing sexuality. OM came for the visit previously scheduled. Rainbow took time off work to spend time with OM.
Rainbow was a ‘nervous Nellie’ about the whole visit. He twittered about trying to determine what local events or attractions to take OM to. He really wanted to OM have a good time. He got his hair cut and double checked that the freshly re-done guest space had water and dietary appropriate snacks. This is the same man who I have seen address flooded basements with a shrug and calmly stated, “Let’s get stuff moved and call around for emergency services.” He is now a kid in a candy store skipping around trying to decide what to eat first.
In many ways, it amused me to see him acting so out-of-character. I gently teased him about it on a couple of occasions. It was how I was coping with seeing him go all-out for another person. A person I desperately wanted to be and was when we first started dating. He flung the poly term “new relationship energy” out as an explanation for his behavior.
At one point during the visit, I even asked if he had held OM’s hand while on an outing. It was a comment I intended as a show of support to him in his sexuality changes. However, I now realize it was also a comment for me to gauge the seriousness of his sexual revelations and the impact on our marriage.
Rainbow’s actions and meeting OM in person, ripped me out of my “that’s nice” cloak and flung me into the desert of rejection. I still occasionally wander in this barren landscape, seeking a tiny sip of water.
The Affair “Blessing”
While OM visited, he and Rainbow discussed having a chat with the three of us to discuss relationship status. The discussion was OM’s idea based on the polyamory topic. Rainbow and OM wanted to ask me if it was okay that they developed a poly relationship. Basically, would I be okay with an emotional affair?
The relationship they were asking about was a more non-romantic relationship around their shared kink. Depending on how that went and my feelings, they would address maybe a romantic relationship later.
Not only was my illusion of the perfect life being smashed with a wrecking ball, I was now being asked to operate the crane. I do not have enough heavy machinery knowledge to even hold the keys of such a machine. Like that machine, I was being asked to bless something I didn’t have a clue about.
There are certain images in life that imprint on your brain. My mother falling in a restaurant and splitting her head open and the helplessness I felt when it occurred will forever be with me.
OM sitting on my couch with my husband snuggling next to him telling me, “love expands”, is a full-brain, beautifully detailed ink tattoo. Even though it may distort some over time, it will be with me to the end. It was set with ink of devastation and rejection. Fear of not being enough for another person. It pulls out my own insecurities of worth and hangs them on the backyard clothesline for all to gawk at and judge.
The After Party
How I managed to get through OM’s visit without self-destructing, I do not know. Internal human self-defense instincts get all the glory for this amazing feat.
I recall that last night lying awake, alone in bed, while I knew Rainbow and OM snuggled on the couch. When Rainbow came to bed, he smelled like OM. I could not lay next to him. I could not even choke out the words to explain why. I left the room. This too was a blessing as I’m not sure what would have happened had I stayed. I recall sitting in the car feeling like an impostor in my own home.
Ultimately, I did return to the bed that night, but only because I saw no other option.
I did not sleep much the last night of OM’s visit. I cried many tears during the last day. I funneled all my thoughts and emotions into jagged sentences and bullet points in a notebook. I still use this notebook to get out the negative speak that fills my mind on sleepless nights.
Rainbow dropped OM off at the airport in the early morning that last day.
He went to work and the kids to school.
I stewed alone at home.
That night after the kids were in bed, we discussed the visit and the angst Rainbow sensed it caused me.
It was a brutal conversation. I shared that the entire visit and especially the “blessing” of the poly relationship (what I now see as an affair) made me question our entire marriage and life. I expressed my feelings of hurt and rejection. He handed me tissues and gave me hugs. He told me he never meant for me to feel that I wasn’t enough or that our marriage was in question.
A few days later with calmer emotions, I told Rainbow I would consider our relationship solid until he informed me otherwise. Now I am the one shoving things in the closet (pun intended).
While there are many factors that led to Rainbow’s sexual revelations, the appearance of the other man (OM), was a significant turning point. Sure, the bedroom experimentation between us cracked open the shell for my husband, but it was OM that peeled back some of the shell. Not only did it peel the shell for Rainbow, it revealed my more of my character too.
For me, the appearance of OM tore a hole in the trust my husband and I had regarding our marriage. This is more devastating for me than the change in my husband’s sexuality.
Sunshine note: This post was written pre-divorce decision. I have included it to document the shifting emotions and perspective in less than a 6-month time span.