Heartbreak

My Husband Cheated On Me — Now She’s My Best Friend

Photo: Josep Suria / Shutterstock
two women looking at phone screen

When you’re in an open or polyamorous relationship, you can always hope everyone will get along, even if they’re not sleeping together. That’s difficult to make happen when one partner isn’t honest with everyone involved. Communication, trust, and honesty are the backbones of any relationship, but none more than in a relationship that's not monogamous. 

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My second husband and I were in an open relationship from the very beginning. He was already dating a couple of other women when we met. I knew about all the women in his life, and as far as I knew, they all knew about me.

We became friendly to one another fairly quickly and I asked to meet the other ladies he was involved with. I wanted to be sure everyone was on the same page.

Two of the ladies he dated every so often were both nurses at the local hospital and worked together. I met them both without much issue; we seemed to get along pretty well.

A few months into our relationship, my husband started dating a new woman, Lilith, who lived a couple of hours away. While I didn’t expect to attend their dates by any means, I still wanted to meet her at some point.

My first red flag should have been how secretive he was about their relationship. I knew her first name, but not her last, and I had only seen one photo of her.

But whenever she would call, he would walk outside. He never did that with the two nurses and it was telling. We had a common desktop computer we both used for music and movie downloads and this became my portal to his secret relationship with Lilith.

Lilith kept an online diary site and my husband accidentally left the window open once on our shared computer. At first, I had no idea what I was reading. I thought he was randomly checking out people’s blogs since he knew I wrote on this same site. As I read further, I realized what I was reading and what she was writing about.

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She had absolutely no idea the man she was dating was poised to get married in the next couple of months, or that he was dating multiple women at once.

So it was clear she also had no clue that he was about to be a father either, as one of the nurses was pregnant with his son. He had not told her anything, and it was easy to keep it all secret when they lived hours apart and she had no contact with any of us.

I was livid. One of the biggest rules we had about our polyamorous relationship was about being honest and upfront if we became involved with outside our relationship. It wasn’t fair to Lilith to continue in a relationship where she had no idea she wasn’t the only one seeing him.

Ethical non-monogamy isn’t a pass to cheat and it definitely doesn’t give you the right to lead someone on in the belief they are engaging with one person, monogamously.

After confronting my husband, it became clear he had no intention of telling Lilith everything. He based their relationship on a lie and for him, it was working out just fine.

Nothing I read in this woman’s writing told me she would be okay with this betrayal and I couldn’t keep quiet knowing how hurt she would be once she found out the truth. And I knew that unless push came to shove, he would never tell her willingly.

I gave it a lot of thought. After all, I didn’t really know this woman. But I had been in her position way too many times, and although I knew there was the potential for her to think I was some jealous ex or just flat out not believe me, I couldn’t keep quiet.

So, I did the best thing I could think of at the time. I openly followed her page and interacted with her entries. I was already a member of the site and had well over a year of entries already posted. I didn’t change the way I wrote or what I wrote about; the only difference became that she started following me and began reading my posts.

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Though I didn’t use my husband's and my real names in my writing for privacy concerns, enough of what I wrote started sounding familiar to her. She knew we lived in the same state and I made sure things I knew my husband talked about with her made their way into my writing. She’s a smart lady and it didn’t take long for her to begin to put things together.

About a month, she sent me a private note asking if my husband’s name was B. I responded yes, it was. She asked if I knew who she was, and I told her the truth.

I apologized for my ruse and asked if she would like to talk further, off-platform. I sent her my messenger ID on Yahoo and let her know I was available to talk whenever she wanted to have a conversation and that I would be completely honest with her, even if it hurt.

When I woke up the next morning, I had multiple messages from Lilith on messenger, asking for clarification on a number of things. We chatted for most of the day and eventually went to video chat to make it easier. She was in shock, to say the least.

He played his game so well; she truly had no clue there was anyone else in the picture, much less a baby on the way.

My husband had a lot to answer for and I didn’t blame her one bit for being angry. I expected her to be angry with me, and I wouldn’t have blamed her one bit, but she never was. From the first conversation we had, we connected, and that connection has lasted almost 16 years.

Lilith cared deeply for my husband and tried to make things work after finding out the truth. The three of us spent time together, platonically, as well.

In the end, she decided she wasn’t willing to be in a non-monogamous relationship and ended things with him. But Lilith and I remained in contact throughout it all and she’s one of my best friends today.

I jokingly say I got her in the divorce, but she was finished with him long before that happened. Although I don’t condone cheating by any means, I can say at least for me and for Lilith, something wonderful came out of a very screwed-up situation.

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Demeter Delune is an educator who writes on sexuality, relationships, and love.

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This article was originally published at Medium. Reprinted with permission from the author.