Open Marriage, Her Husband Falls In Love With Another Woman

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Oh gods Elsa, I’m falling apart.

My husband is involved with another woman. This relationship started 5 years ago when I wanted to open our marriage up because I had a crush on her husband. My part with her husband didn’t last long, but my husband formed a very strong bond with his wife. They’ve been on again off again for a number of years, and have ignored the initial rule that if anything ever made anyone uncomfortable, that party could call the whole thing off. They say now that the fact that I *started* it, and tacitly, that I have been unfaithful, means they can do whatever they want.

I have tried and found a place of compassion regarding the love, but recently found out that she has no respect for me or my feelings and doesn’t care what I have to say on the matter. My husband and I are going to start counseling in January, but there is a part of me that believes that she’s his one true love, and that ultimately I am nothing but someone he’s used to having been around for going on 12 years.

My intelligent, supportive friends have told me over and over again that I should leave – but it hurts so much to even contemplate. I love him more than anything, and I have changed since my past mistakes. He is still angry with things that happened 5 years ago. I feel like I’m living in a glass house and truly have no idea what to do. Can you help?

Cancer Wife
United States

Dear Wife,

I feel very sorry for you and wish I had some magic remedy but I think you’ve got this situation figured correctly except for the idea this other woman is your husband’s true love. She may be, but it is more likely they are making you (and her husband) pay – and I mean pay in spades – for your affair.

In fact, the chances are if you were to pull out and walk away, their relationship would crumple as it would have outlived its usefulness, which is to punish you for as long as you allow.

Now this does not excuse you. You are absolutely culpable for the state of your marriage however I see no reason to berate you because you have already been and continue to be punished by the universe, the powers that be or whatever you want to call it, by this little thing called, “reality”.

Reality is a Saturn concept and with Saturn in Virgo set to transit your Venus in Gemini and Moon Jupiter in Pisces you can expect to become more and more aware of reality over the next year which will be a curse… and a gift.

A gift because you state you are falling apart. Well, you will not be allowed to fall apart during a Saturn transit. You will be pressured to act as an adult and take responsibility for your emotions, your beliefs and your actions in relationships which is exactly what you are doing. And that’s it. From here you just keep doing what you are doing – doing the right thing while letting your faith support you.

You have an innate knowing that things turn out for the best, so keep that in mind. Hold that perspective as you go through this process, which does look to be grueling and protracted – but hey. Is there any other way? There is not, and one more thing:

On your friends telling you to leave, never mind them. You will leave when and if you leave on your own terms, under your own conditions and on your own timetable. This is another Saturn lesson, see? Boundaries. I get so sick of people telling other people what to do. They don’t have to live with the result, you do. So make your own decision and take your time to do this because when Saturn is around, slow and careful beats impulsive action every time.

Good luck.

7 thoughts on “Open Marriage, Her Husband Falls In Love With Another Woman”

  1. Open marriage can certainly work (I’ve known plenty of cases of very happy people where it has) and there is nothing wrong with the idea per se. I’ve had both open and closed relationships and what it’s taught me is that the open ones are much harder to pull off because they require much greater levels of honesty, sincerity, self-awareness, openess and intimacy between partners.

    It means people need to admit exactly what their feelings and boundaries are and be willing to face up to the consequences of their actions and keep speaking plainly.

    And it sounds like in your case there were and still are a lot of unspoken feelings. It’s not uncommon. I know a lot of people who that has happened to as well. It’s happened to me as well. You live and learn.

    BUT you have the right to stand up and demand that people treat you with respect and honesty. And you can say that the way things are currently for you is not working, and that your husband and the other one need to break it off until things become clearer and everyone can collectively sort their heads out. You also need to be willing not be anyone’s martyr (includng your own) and not to have the fact that you shagged her husband held over you like some kind of moral bargaining.

    Because either everyone can start acting like civil and caring adults to one another, or you can all collectively go on torturing yourselves.

    Either way good luck. I’m sorry that you’re hurting.

  2. Ow. That’s really a tough situation, and I feel for ya, Wife.

    I don’t really believe in the concept of “one true love”, so I wouldn’t torture myself over that concept. I’m sure in this situation, you find lots of things to torture yourself over.

    I think Elsa’s spot-on that the affair relationship will crumble like a stomped cookie if you were to leave the situation. Your commitment to your husband makes the whole thing “safe” for both the other woman and him by automatically limiting the scope of their relationship.

    But please do acknowledge your husband’s role in this as well as yours and the other woman’s. You identify the other woman as not caring at all about your feelings. Umm….well, what about him? It’s not like he doesn’t know how you feel, right? He just says, “Too bad. This was your idea so you have to live with it. It’s your fault I love another woman!” Ow. That’s not exactly kind and loving towards you, ok? Regardless of any mistakes you’ve made, he does not walk away from this smelling like roses. So don’t give him a free pass here.

    I’m glad your planning counseling, whatever the eventual outcome of your relationship. Don’t beat yourself up: the way things are turning out is doing enough of that already. But do continue to pursue your own happiness and needs, because I don’t think anybody else is gonna do it for you.

    Sending some good energy your way, Cancer Wife. Peace out.

  3. Wow. I dunno but to me it sounds like Cancer Wife’s husband was not as okay with the idea of an open marriage as he seemed to be. Why else would it make him so angry? I’m no expert on this kind of situation, so I can’t realy offer advice, but it sounds like he agreed to the terms of an open marriage. I just wonder why he agreed and is now changing the rules?

  4. “But do continue to pursue your own happiness and needs, because I don’t think anybody else is gonna do it for you.”

    This is great advise and perhaps more representative of the point at least one of your friends has tried to make.

    Elsa I think your advise is fantastic as always. Cancer Wife, I wish you all the best as you continue to navigate this tricky situation.

  5. Thank you for all of your kind words. We’re starting counseling today. I will keep you updated on what happens as a result.

  6. Great posts, excellent example of real life drama and IMHO great advice from Elsa to the client. Compassion comes from careful interpretation why a traumatic event has taken place, what decisions and experiences the planets will support in the near future and what the real options are there for the client to exercise free will. Clarity. Elsa accomplished all of that in this story I believe. Fantastic!

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