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I fell in love with another married woman at my kids' school. My husband supported me through the whole relationship — even the breakup.

Leah Hamilton and her husband taking a selfie
The writer and her husband.Leah Hamilton
  • My husband and I have an open relationship, but I never had another serious partner.

  • That changed when I fell in love with another mother at my kids' kindergarten.

  • The relationship with her didn't work out, but my husband stuck by me the whole time.

My husband and I met at university in New Zealand. He was a quiet, sensitive guy, and he won my heart with his kindness and thoughtful demeanor. I was so nervous on our first date that I could barely speak.

We embarked on our relationship without many of the usual frameworks, because he moved away soon after we got together. I started dating him while I also dated a woman I had met at a party. I have always identified as queer, but it was the first time I had ever dated people who accepted both my sexuality and my desire for nonmonogamy.

As time went by, he and I got engaged, moved in together, got married, and had children. Our relationship remained nonmonogamous; we even made out with other people on our wedding night. The adjustments of raising small children, however, radically changed our lifestyle and put our nonmonogamous lifestyle on hold — until I fell in love with another woman.

When we had kids, we were no longer out partying or fooling around

Most of our days revolved around diaper changes and playdates. I missed my former self, and I missed the ways in which I used to express my sexuality. Motherhood was new, challenging, exhausting, and fun, but it was a completely different world than the one I was used to.

When our daughter was 2 and our son was still a baby, we took a leap of faith and moved to Berlin. There, we discovered a very open culture and a lifestyle in which having children was no barrier to having a good time.

It was hard to meet new partners, but I began to go out in the evenings with one of the other married mothers I had met at my children's kindergarten. She and I quickly became close friends; both of us were wild, adventure-seeking types, looking for fun.

Our friendship quickly blossomed into something more, and my husband supported me

One day, I noticed that my new friend from my kids' school was staring at me intently.

"You look really fit," she mumbled. "And your eyes are so beautiful."

I laughed, unsure of what to do. On another night, though, we found ourselves dancing in a club — pulled together like magnets.

As the days wore on, it became clear that it was more than just physical chemistry. I had no idea whether my husband would support me if I wanted to connect with her — not just as a hookup, but as an actual relationship. This was a new step for us.

But he was measured, calm, and accepting. "Why not?" he said when I asked him.

She asked her husband the same thing. "Why not?" he replied in turn.

From there, the relationship with my girlfriend grew quickly 

We spent time swimming in lakes, biking through the forest, and partying until 4 a.m. Our families intertwined: My husband and her husband joined us for dinner with all of our kids; we shared childcare; we supported each other in times of sadness; and we celebrated joys and successes together late into the night.

For two years, we had a heartfelt connection and new experiences. It was also unpredictable, too intense, and ultimately unbalancing. My girlfriend and I were both very emotional, and we clashed in ways that slowly tore away at us.

It was a fun relationship, but not a healthy one. The breakup was inevitable.

When my girlfriend and I broke up, I was devastated; my husband was there for me

I cried every day for weeks. My husband patiently delivered chocolate-chip cookies and red wine to me as I lay in bed. He listened to my sorrow and hugged me. He took care of our children and the household more than usual.

After several months, I was doing better. My now ex-girlfriend and I reconnected and slowly began to rebuild our friendship.

My husband was always steady, happy to move with me in whichever direction I was going. If she and I were dating and I was happy, he was on board. If I was sad, he would hug me until I felt better. If I wanted to reconnect with her, he trusted my decisions.

With my husband's support, I felt empowered to be myself and to experience life in all its fullness, including the soaring heights of new love and the plummeting depths of heartbreak. I always say that my husband is the best person I know, and after 12 years together, I still believe it.

My ex-girlfriend is now one of my best friends, and her husband is someone I care about and trust very deeply as well. Our relationship ended, but the love we built didn't.

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