I’m married to a man and I have a long distance gf. She came to visit me for the first time and it was amazing. My mono husband got along great with her. We’ve talked about him possibly being with others since I’m ace. He insists he doesn’t want to do anything with anyone else. Yesterday while I’m showering he gets on top of her and bites her ear, neck, and thigh. My gf told me because she was happy about it, she started getting interested in him. I had a huge fight with my husband I felt betrayed and cheated on because he didn’t talk to me about it first before doing anything. I need communication. I felt cheated on. Hurt and angry. He said it just happened, that it’s a grey area. He said sorry and felt bad for hurting me. I just kept asking why, and he didn’t know. How do I gain back my trust in him? I wasn’t mad at her, just him. If he had talked to me about it first I would have been ok with it. He thought maybe I would find it hot but he wasn’t gonna tell me until after she left to go back home and that upset me too. He never cries but he cried when he talked because he would never outright hurt me and cheat on me. I feel a little better after talking to him but I’m still hurt. I don’t know how to get over that. I’m not mad at her because she has so much more freedom in her poly relationship than me so she’s used to doing stuff without really having to talk to partners about it. My husband and I agreed to talk to each other when something happens. He wants to know who and what we did.
Situations like this can feel really complex, but I think this one breaks down pretty simply:
1.) You and your husband have an open relationship
2.) You and your husband have a rule in your open relationship where you “agreed to talk to each other” about their other partners/dates
3.) Your husband did something with another person without checking in with you before or after
The core issue is that your husband violated a core agreement of your relationship. You feel betrayed by that.
The steps to resolving it are:
1.) Figure out whether you and your husband were on the same page about the agreement. Did he, in good faith, genuinely think he was staying within the terms of your arrangement? Did he think just planning to tell you afterwards, on his own timeline, was totally fine? If so, the issue here is confusion and miscommunication. He did something hurtful, but not intentionally - so while he doesn’t need to apologize or be punished for acting with malice, he should own the consequences of what he did. You two then need to figure out how to clear up misunderstandings about the terms of your relationship going forward.
2.) If it turns out that he did have a sense that he was doing something that would hurt you, you two need to figure out why he did it anyway. Did he think telling you would create an emotional situation he didn’t feel up to managing? What can you two do to create a safer strategy for openness and honesty? Did he just get caught up in the moment and do something impulsive that he now regrets? What can you two do to manage your relationship in a way that makes space for the dynamic weirdness of humans without setting someone up to get hurt?
3.) Figure out what you need to heal from this. He cannot go back in time and undo what he did. So you need to sit down with your emotions and have a chat with them about what you need, in a realistic framing. Do you need a sincere apology? Do you need some time and space? Do you need a specific commitment from him to adhere to a specific, newly-clarified agreement? Figure out what you need, and ask for it.