Train Wreck

Hi Dr. Darcy

I wrote to you a few months ago; I'm Friends Without Benefits…

[Dr. Darcy recap:  Writer is a woman who is married to a man.  She is in love with her girlfriend who is also married to a man.  Both husbands endorse the women’s relationship. At the time of the first question, Writer wanted to end the relationship with the woman and keep the friendship. I link to that post here].

Since I last wrote to you, she and I almost slept together at the end of an evening together. Shortly after that everything changed… The times we hang out seem to be planned to avoid, well, anything that might end up in us being physically close. And she spends a whole lot of time telling me how perfect she and her [husband] are together and how in love they are, how attracted she is to him, etc.

One night a mutual friend invited us out ... and we kissed and danced all night. Just when I thought I couldn't be more confused, she then started kissing one of our other friends, a lesbian, but kept coming back to me to kiss/dance some more. (This actually is not out of character for her…) I had a very strong jealous reaction (that I kept hidden) that really shocked me. Both our husbands were there as well, and shook their heads as though we were being silly girls.

I'm just so very confused. I'm trying to do the right thing, and just when I'm ready to move on from *that* part of it she reels me right back in. But then I remember our very rich and real friendship. I can't discount that. At this point in my life I can't imagine living without it…

And then there's my husband. Even with a complete cessation of anything physical with my friend, he's gone from "oh isn't that cute" to insecure and jealous, and I can't say as I blame him, even though nothing was done without his express permission. I don't think he bargained on the emotional connection ... neither did I. When we talk about it now he gets flippant and a little sarcastic ... the other day it came to a head when he asked when I was going to tell our tween-age daughter about my same-sex attraction to my friend. I replied that's really our business, not our child's ... (He didn't actually intend to tell our child, it was just a well-directed dig coming from a place of hurt that I never intended to cause.)

And my (unplanned) response to his attitude? A complete lack of interest in him sexually, which despite my wonderful acting skills has not escaped his notice. I can't muster up even the slightest interest, even though I want to for his sake. How do I stop my life from continuing to spin out of control?

P.S. Feel free to say "I told you so" because your last response to me was pretty much dead-on accurate.

ANSWER

I told you so.  Now you’re in a marriage to a man who you’re not attracted to, you’re in love with a woman who is unavailable as evidenced by her marriage to a man and her roving tongue, and you’re exactly where I left you in October of last year. But for the fact that my readers are likely entertained by your failure to follow my advice, this would be a complete waste of my time.

Here’s the question:  How bad do you need this mess to get before you make changes?  Your husband is giving you important information:  He will continue to raise the stakes, albeit passively, until you end the relationship with the woman.  He doesn’t have the balls to tell you this directly, so he tosses veiled threats about involving your daughter.  This guy is so disempowered in his marriage that he references tossing the kid under the bus to get your attention.  And you know how disempowered he is which is why you’re not taking his threat seriously. But I’m telling you that at some point, when he feels he has absolutely nothing to lose, he will toss that kid under the bus and your child will pay the price for your inability to be an adult and make a fucking decision.  You do not know better than I do.  Your best thinking got you into this mess.

In October I told you to choose between your husband and your girlfriend.  Now my advice is different:  You need to take a ‘break’ from both of them.  Move out for 30 days.  Speak to neither of them.  Get into counseling.  Follow only the advice of your therapist.  When you no longer have the convenient distraction of the two of them, it is possible that you’ll begin to see things clearly.  But you can’t do that when you’re in the thick of things.  Don’t do this for you.  Do it for your child, who didn’t have the benefit of choosing to be part of your existential crisis.

Writer’s Stats: Female, Bi.