Letting him be with woman he cheated with


New member
Last spring before we were poly my husband slept with a woman he met online. It broke my heart and shattered me. I was a complete wreck and was very suicidal, mostly bc there was not communication beforehand and he lied about it afterward for a week or so. I became obsessed with finding out who she was. I wanted to have sex w her too so I could be part of what he had with her. I never did find her and husband stopped talking to her.

Well, now we are poly and had decided to date other people pretty casually but I fell in love w someone hard and fast and I admit I have a connection w him I have never had w anyone else. It is much more than NRE--it's like we have known each other forever and we have so much more in common than my husband and I do.

Husband is intuitive and he can see how hard I have fallen. He is sad but working through his issues himself without getting mad at me. He knows it isnt my fault I fell in love (never rly part of the plan).

I have been feeling so guilty for being happy with BF while my husband has not had any luck dating people that I decided he could contact girl he slept with last spring. This was solely bc of my guilt; if I'd have thought more about my own feelings i wouldnt have said anything.

Now they are seeing each other and I am miserable about it. I dont trust her (she knew I was upset in the spring but she still got back w him?) I also dont trust my husband completely w her bc he was not safe last time they were together. He swears he will be now (they havent had sex yet) but I am unsure.

I dont know what to do. I had a nightmare about them last night and i woke up crying and miserable. It doesnt seem fair to him if I tell him not to be with her but it doesnt seem fair that I have to think of all the pain from last spring now too.

Opinions on what to do?
If he is really all that

Then he will be extremely respectful of your marriage. In situations like yours the relationship between your husband and your boyfriend is extremely important. Please remember if he is really all that, your boyfriend will understand why he also needs to be concerned about how your husband is dealing with it.

Frankly, without that concern, and in the very least, a whole lot of respect, it is drastically more likely that these relationships will come with a lot of completely unnecessary emotional pain.

It's is great that you get along so well, but remembering to love responsibly may make your life much easier for all involved. I you are not practiced with honestly knowing the origins of all of your emotions, I would be worried able unconsciously setting yourself up for problems.

But if you all are genuinely concerned about each others emotional health, it could also go smoother than one would think possible.


Well-known member
What a mess. Sigh. I am sorry you are suffering. :(

You made a choice -- invited him to contact her again to date. (While knowing she's the affair person.) I think it is fair that now you have to deal with the consequences of your choice. (Feeling yucky about affair person you do not want him to actually be dating. You issued a false invitation.)

We are free to choose. We are NOT free from the consequences of our choices.
It doesnt seem fair to him if I tell him not to be with her but it doesnt seem fair that I have to think of all the pain from last spring now too.
How about focusing on what is HONEST rather than what is "fair?"

Are you being honest with YOURSELF when you know you feel guilty, and do not articulate this Husband? But instead you offer husband a "false invitation" you really are not ok with him accepting to assuage your guilt? That's not looking out for your own best long term interests or long term health. That's you looking for a quick fix in the short term on the yucky guilt feelings. Aren't you shortchanging yourself there?

Are you being honest with YOURSELF to know you are feeling horrible, and want hubby to stop seeing her and don't ask him to? Are you getting ready to shortchange yourself again?

Are you being honest with your HUSBAND when you give him false options? Or when you do not give him full information on how you are feeling? Aren't you shortchanging him on having a deeper, more honest relationship with you when you keep things hidden?

How does your behavior help to build up trust in the marriage? How does this shortchange the marriage?

Opinions on what to do?

You could choose to be in charge of your own emotional management. When dealing with yucky feelings, you could choose constructive behavior to solve it rather then destructive behavior.

Constructive behavior = build up trust = sharing your Emotional Vulnerable with husband and create emotional intimacy with him.
Destructive behavior = break down trust = do not explain to husband your true feelings, give husband false options.

You could evaluate making your choices based on BOTH short term and long term best healths.

  • You always have to look out for YOU and your best healths.
  • You are also married to your husband and have a partnership. You have signed up to help look out for your partner's short term/long term best healths because your behavior could affect him.

Have you noticed in this story that you try to park your feelings somewhere else instead of owning them and dealing with them?

  • You felt guilty for your happiness with BF. You try to park the guilt over with hubby for him to "solve" for you by him having a GF too.
  • You felt misery once hubby started dating her -- the cheating partner. You expected her to mindreader your potential misery and just not date him when he contacted her. Now you are resentful she didn't "solve it" for you in advance.

You have a new opportunity here. You feel yucky over all this. You could choose to own it, take personal responsibility for it. Take a deep breathe, be brave, and just spit it OUT!

Perhaps something like

"Husband, I have to come clean. I made a big mistake. I was less than honest about offering you this option to date her. I don't really want you to date her. It makes me feel yucky to have you date the cheating affair person.

I was not thinking about my long term health and happiness. I was only thinking about my short term need to feel guilt free that I have a BF and you don't have a GF.

Worse, I was not thinking about YOUR short term or long term health and happiness. I was not thinking about our marriage's short term or long term health either.

I was not considerate. I am sorry, and I apologize I was less than honest in offering this option. I did a bad. For this I am truly sorry and regretful.

I have a request. Please consider stopping dating her now, before it gets deeper. Please consider working on our marriage issues - trust, honesty in communication, articulation of emotions -- with me. I want to get better at it and be a better partner to you."

Then see what kind of consequence that choice brings you -- coming clean to spouse.

It may or may not be the outcome your hope for, but you will at least be moving toward behaving in right relationship with yourself and toward being in right relationship with him.

Again, I am sorry you are suffering. :(

I hope you can take appropriate steps to "unsuffer" and begin to move this forward. Being "stuck" doesn't feel fun. :(

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New member
I think that you are going through the general new-to-poly jealousy and focusing those icky feelings that are being brought up on his cheating. Did you actually forgive him for cheating? It doesn't sound like it. It sounds like that hurt is still there. And yet you decided to go into poly anyway - which would be dredging up a lot of similar feelings whether he was with this woman or someone else.

I think that you need to work on yourself to deal with your feelings, rather than view the problem as an external one. I don't know if I can explain how to work through jealousy well but there is a wealth of resources out there on that. The Ethical Slut is one, Franklin Veaux's site is another. Here are some more. Polyamory conferences always have workshops on this as well - there's a list of conferences throughout the US here. You may also want to find a local polyamory group to talk to other people about your experiences.

I don't want to totally exclude the possibility that the problem is this woman. If she knew that your husband was cheating, then she might not really understand polyamory. We don't know if she is concerned about your feelings or not. It is important that she has that concern and that she shows respect to you (likewise it is important that your boyfriend do the same for your husband). But simply accepting an invitation that *you extended* is not disrespect. If you are too emotional to understand that then you may not be in a position to judge whether she is being respectful of you or not.

I strongly recommend that do two things: start working on yourself. And try to develop a friendly relationship with this woman. It's a lot easier to villainize your metamour when you don't even know her. Listening to the podcast Poly Weekly will give you perspective on what it's like from your metamour's perspective, especially episode 330. Dating someone who is in an established marriage is not the easiest thing when you have the best of intentions.

If the podcast format works well for you, I also highly recommend these episodes of Poly Weekly: 311, 302, 293, 298, 277, 276, and 274.

Poly is hard work! When things are difficult, remind yourself that it's worth it - you get to have this awesome new experience with your boyfriend, and you don't have to sacrifice your relationship with your husband for that. That is the reason for all the hard work.


New member
I would advise you to stop seeing other people, get in counseling and get a strong marriage. Until then, I would think that being poly will do nothing but harm to your relationship with your husband. You clearly do not trust him. Or her. And you shouldnt trust them, you have no reason to. They cared so little for your health. I hope you've been tested for diseases and if he is sleeping with her, then YOU now need to make sure he always wears a condom with YOU.

I think it would be mental torture to give the green light for them to see each other. She is a snake in the grass. She couldnt care less about your marriage.

The fact that your husband would even CONSIDER sleeping with her is messed up. Why would he want to hurt you like that????? How insensitive. And selfish. I feel sad for you.


New member
Well, you could look at this situation and call it a massive emotional cluster%$#@ (which would be an accurate assessment). Or, you could choose to think about it a a really intense learning experience. Like ripping off a giant emotional bandaid. You're dealing with trust issues, jealousy issues, safe sex issues, boundary issues, and all while trying to really shake out how poly is going to work in your family (or even if it will).

The big thing I see here is trust issues all around. Hubby broke trust when he cheated last spring, and honestly I'm not sure everyone waited long enough before jumping into poly to build up the kind of trust that let's an established couple open easily (if it is ever 'easy'). Wounds like that take a long time to heal, and it sounds like you are still not healed from it. Plus, besides the infidelity, he exposed you to potential harm by not using protection - another trust blow. Now, if you redact your invitation for him to date GF, you will lose his trust as well. He won't be able to trust you to honor your word, or to actually be honest to him and yourself about what you're really feeling. As I'm sure you know better than most, trust is really hard to get back once you lose it.

Since you say he is handling his sadness over your intensity with BF well, and he is trying to grow emotionally without putting too much burden on you for his jealous feelings, I suggest you do likewise for now. If you ask him to call it off with GF because your jealousy is too intense, it would be more than fair for him to ask you to do the same with your BF. Based on the information here, that sounds like a lose-lose-lose-lose for everybody. Personally, if I felt about someone they way you describe your feelings for BF, I would gladly battle some yucky feelings to keep that relationship in tact. But that's just me. Another viable alternative would be to call off the poly and focus on rebuilding your primary relationship until it is on more solid footing. It wouldn't be my first choice, but its not a bad one either. Only you can determine what is best for your relationships.

Trust is rebuilt slowly, but it needs opportunity. Make sure hubby knows how you are feeling, and that this is an opportunity to rebuild some of the trust he lost. If he can't be 100% faithful to your new arrangement (that is, whatever boundaries you set, but safe sex and total honesty at an absolute minimum), then he is not ready for this arrangement. But, he does need some chance to prove himself, IMO.