I haven’t seen Meredith in over two years. I cannot stop thinking about her. I loved this woman. I still do. I think I always will.
My Grandpa died in 2012. He was a great man, and I lived with him for awhile. I still think about him, and will always love him even though he is not here. I feel Meredith will be in my heart in the same way.
Reading through one of Esther Perel’s books an idea struck me. It had to do with our society accepted rules for monogamy in marriage. We all agree that the spouse which was cheated on did not agree with an open marriage. They generally accepted society’s definition of a monogamous relationship. The betrayal undercut that notion in powerful ways.
But the cheater also accepted this monogomy view. The difference is that it makes the cheater feel trapped with only two options: continue the affair or leave their spouse. I believed this. Meredith believed this. We talked about sharing a life together. It was the only solution that didn’t end with us apart long term. That belief is why many affairs, including my own, become so deeply emotional. We all bought into the all or nothing mentality of being with our affair partner. No middle ground.
What if there is another path? What if it’s not black and white? I do love my wife. I don’t want to leave her. I also love Meredith, but I don’t want to throw away my marriage and start a new one with her. I was forced to consider that as an option, but it’s not the only option. What if I could have my wife and my family, and enjoy some time with Meredith? Throw out the all or nothing approach. Starting a new life with her would’ve been too much. I don’t need that with her. It was just the only option if I wanted to be with her. Frankly I would be happy to have her as a friend and sometimes hookup partner if we could make that work. It would alleviate this all or nothing scenario so that I could stop thinking about ending my marriage.
The more I’ve thought about this the more I’ve been invested in my wife. I can now see her value as separate from the value I received from Meredith. Which means I can appreciate Claire more. I don’t need to think of an OR scenario. I can also accepted an AND scenario. It makes me very happy to consider, and I know Meredith would be satisfied with it as well. There was so much pressure to find fault with all of our marriage so that we could be together, and much if it wasn’t that important. Claire and I have worked on things and improved.
On the other hand I’m describing a form of open marriage which requires our spouses to also be on board. A long shot for sure. Frankly I think Meredith’s husband wouldn’t be a hard sell except he hates me. Perhaps we can get past that. Claire though has never expressed any interest. There is an enormous trust factor to consider. I have to say though, if we could do this openly it would invest me even more fully in my family. It would take away that pressure and risk. We would be open and honest about what is going on. Burying the lies of the past. The lies were the worst part. Above board. Honest.
I have several books I’ll be reading soon about open marriages. Honestly having Meredith in my life again is an enormous long shot, but I would still be happy having someone more like her in my life.