Considering Meredith

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.

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11 thoughts on “Considering Meredith

  1. I am going to write this openly and honestly. I have been having an affair for the past 5 months. I am going to leave my marriage. My mind was made up a long time before my affair started. One day will come when I will be single and he will still be married. I do care for this man. However, I need to go on with my life. I would never persuade him or have any intentions on making him leave his wife. She will always come first and will always be first in his life. I am not sure how long my affair will go on…. I do know, in my heart, that we will eventually have to let each other go.
    Even though you still have feelings for Meredith, I don’t think you should act upon those feelings. You haven’t cheated on your wife for a while now. Clearly, you want to stay in your marriage. Your marriage has also progressed since you told your wife about the “other woman”. I would stay away from Meredith. She is married. Maybe they are trying to make things work in their marriage. If you want an open marriage, you should just get a divorce.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing. I know you have similar hard situations to uncover. I understand how you feel.

      I don’t think the desire for a slightly open marriage is immediate grounds for divorce. There are so many aspects to a marriage. As for Meredith I honestly don’t know anything about her situation anymore. It may be that she does have an open marriage now which does not include me. It could be they’ve moved on and never went to hear about me again. I get it. I’m not interested in rushing over and tearing open old wounds for her.

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  2. In my experience, most women who marry for love want to be the “love of your life”, “the One”. They want to feel that they are special to their husband, not an interchangable part. Not part of a harem.
    What happens when the ‘Understudy’ begins to draw more of his attention and affection? The wife, dealing with kids, home, work, will never be able to match the excitement of the less burdened, more carefree ‘playmate’. It’s human nature to gravitate toward what gives greater pleasure with less stress and strife.
    The 1st String (wife) is going to lose time, attention, and affection to the 2nd String. And ultimately the original relationship – marriage, wife, kids – will become two people cohabiting, love for the children the only thing in common. Home will become the place where he gets his laundry done, gets home cooked meals if he’s not out on a date with #2, where he can get a good night’s sleep, or spend quality time with his kids.

    But – honestly – if you were in an open relationship with Claire and Meredith, and you were going to a company Christmas Party or to meet some friends and their significant others at sports bar for a few beers and to shoot some pool – which lady would you take as your partner? Claire or Meredith?
    Can you honestly say that you could spend time with and have sex with Meredith 2 or 3 times a week and still be a loving and attentive husband to Claire?
    Nope. Not possible. Guarantee it. And that is so unfair to Claire.

    As the quote says: “If it’s between me and someone else and you have to think about it, pick the other person.”

    No woman wants to be a an option for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I completely understand your concerns. But I do want you to know that the idea of marriage we have today is not the only workable solution. And many of these risks can be managed. Like anything in a marriage. Claire cannot be everything for me. I still need other people in my life and they provide values that Claire does not. Yet I still find time to spend with her even though I hang out with my guys friends to watch football and play boardgames, etc.

      In this case the understudy is also married with kids. Keeps the relationship in check. We won’t have to buy into the all or nothing scenario that your argument is premised on. We can have playmates of various kinds and still function outside of those relationships. Will I think about her a lot? Yes. I already do. I have my whole life. I have a vivid fantasy life and it has been active for a long time with our without Meredith. I also love Claire and would work to take care of my primary relationship. Because it is work. Fulfilling work. It is not a foregone conclusion that the primary will “become two people cohabitating”. Not at all. There is so much out there to dispute that and I have a pile of books to read with even more detail. Home will be home. But it will also be where I am with my wife and we can have the relationship we want together without the stress of the kinky side of me.

      If I we’re going to a work event I would take Claire. It’s not even a question. Meredith would be something on the side. A friendship to anyone else seeing us. And there is no way I would have sex with Meredith 2-3 times a week! That’s crazy! She lives two hours away. We have busy lives with kids. I was thinking maybe once a month. Which means I absolutely could be loving and attentive with Claire. In fact if she gave me this gift I would work to be husband of the year.

      I do appreciate your opinions and I felt this way previously. I would encourage you to read some books about this. There is also a good New York times article about open marriages which was honest. And long. As well as the Esther Perel books. She only covers this lightly but she attacks many of the societal myths we have all bought into.

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      1. There is no way that a once a month tryst would suffice. You would spend the other 29 days a month longing away for Meredith, thinking and obsessing over the “next time” you two would get together. An open marriage really only works for a very, very small minority of people. And the common denominator for them is that they both have kinks desiring sex with others (obviously Claire does not share that desire with you) and they have a track record of having the most insanely honest, open communication within their marriage. You share none of these traits with your wife. Even if we entertain this grandiose idea of yours, it would blow up in your face rather quickly (like most couples who try this do….and eventually end up divorced).

        It undermines the ethos of what marriage is. Two coming together as one.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I disagree. I have a 0 times a year tryst schedule now and would gladly accept once a month. With work and family it would be hard to schedule more. Also knowing that it was scheduled would relieve that anxiety of not knowing if it will ever happen again.

        It’s possible I would obsess about it at first but knowing that it was there would help me reframe. I’m a different person post affair. I want to set this up to be successful.

        Frankly we have very shitty data about alternate marriage situations. It’s a very small number who even admit to trying. And that desire is not often a common denominator. Amazingly it ends up very one sided in many cases because equality in a relationship does not mean synchronized desires. Supporting your spouses desires and interests may not be what you also need.

        Communication – absolutely. We have opened a whole new level of dialogue. We will continue to improve there. We are already moving our marriage more toward the open contract and negotiation model that happens in open relationships.

        I disagree with your last statement. Marriage has meant many different things over time and place.

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      3. I have read and discussed the topics “alternatives to monogamy’ and ‘humans are not meant to be monogamous’ and I admit that for some people it may be a viable alternative.
        I tend to disagree. Modern socio-economic factors, as well as complications from inheritance concerns, legal and financial repercussions should a relationship end, impact on children in school/community re:acceptance of alternative lifestyle in same.
        The lifestyle itself seems to work out for some. Men in majority. Younger women are more open to trying it. Childless. Not to say that is only ones.

        Forgive me if I think 2 hours away is a non-issue. I live on an island in an area with limited roads on the mainland. Walmart, my dentist, doctor – all 2 hours.
        A long day trip – there and back in 24 hrs- is 5 hrs.

        I understand why you want to open your marriage. Would you be ok with it if Claire also chose to have a relationship with another man?
        If you open the relationship, can you have more than 1 sexual relationship at a time outside the marriage? (Say, Meredith wants a 3-way with a friend regularly).
        If Meredith’s husband also has a secondary sexual relationship, you have to consider the extent to which you are exposing yourself and your partners to physical risk of disease.
        Just playing devil’s advocate. If Claire accepts the situation and rules/boundaries, as does your other partner’s spouse, you’re all consenting adults.

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      4. There are lots of different kinds of relationships. Most have very little impact on children or legal repercussions. I’m not going for a polygamous setup here.

        I would be fine if Claire wanted to see someone. We would discuss and work that out. But it is not a foregone conclusion that one means both will be open. We do not have symmetric needs.

        All of the other things you mention are things we would get to negotiate. I look forward to doing that.

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  3. @twocheatinghearts I completely agree. Open marriages require couples to be completely honest with each other and have excellent communication. Any secrets, lies or ‘omissions’ will destroy the marriage. Open marriages are very sensitive things, easy to create instability within them.
    Personally (as 17-20 yr old), I think people used open relationships as sex and companionship (and often a roommate) until they met the person they knew was ‘it’. Then they got married and they were still part of our group offriends but somehow also their own private world.
    I never felt the open relationships, no matter how serious they claimed to be – engaged, a child – had the expectations of ‘forever’. Never understood how one could find intimacy and vulnerability with multiple people without developing emotional attachment, making comparisons.
    One night stands with strangers you will never see again worked for some people, but in 2 occasions it showed people what they were missing out on sexually and the couples divorced (one split on their Caribbean honeymoon).
    I know there are some people that open relationships and polyamory works. It is actually a very small percentage. If it is something both partners want, it can work great. If one spouse only agrees to make the other happy, it won’t work.
    Sometimes it backfires – husband talked wife into opening marriage, then found himself on dates once a week while has wife had dates almost every night.

    PM tends to obsess. From reading his blog my prediction would be that if his second woman enthusiastically accepts his experimental/kinky side, he won’t be able to get her out of his mind, and…

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