Eh… while I see the general point, unless your mate has never dated before, chances are you’re a Plan B one way or the other. My wife would have married a previous boyfriend had he stuck around. I could have married (several) previous girlfriends had I not been so painfully beta at the time. Ergo, Plan B.
Athol: Some clarification is in order and some of these thoughts snapped into a better focus after I had written the post last night. (I have to write to think, if that is any help in explanation.)
Yes we all usually have prior love interests and roads not taken. I can think of three quite significant girlfriends/relationships that I had prior to meeting Jennifer. Two of whom would have resulted in bad marriages, one of whom potentially a good one but we’d possibly had more a volatile relationship and that would wear on me. There’s fourth woman that I actually passed on after she made a move on me, and looking back I can honestly say it’s probably one of my stupidest decisions ever with a woman. She’s fabulous and we would have had a really good marriage together.
So from that perspective, Jennifer isn’t even my Plan B… she’s Plan E. I think from that perspective I’m her Plan C.
However, we’re both each others number one priority now. We both hold each other in the center of our hearts and thoughts. In gamespeak we have oneitis for each other. So we really are each others Plan A right now. The plan really is both of us staying together in love together until one of us passes away in the others arms. For both of us now, Plan B involves using MMSL as a platform to finding the survivor a new partner after an acceptable period of grief. (Four or five years for Jennifer if I die, 17 minutes for me if she dies.)
As an aside, if the wayback machine dumped me in 1988 knowing what I know now about women, I probably would have worked quite hard to end up happily married to contestant number four, never left New Zealand and by all accounts probably had an easier life. That being said, without having moved to America, I would never have been a nurse, never worked human services, never been long distance for three years, never been so helplessly thrown in the deep end and forced to sink or swim. Without Jennifer, there simply would not be an MMSL to read about. And that’s as Gandalf says, “A comforting thought.”
And more importantly, I think Jennifer loves me more than anyone else would have. Well worth the trip.
So for the guys suffering with the discovery that they are still their wife’s Plan B, the real issue is that somewhere out there is their real Plan A now, and whoever that is occupies their thoughts and emotions, leaving minimal space for feelings or attraction for their husband. Meanwhile, she’s his Plan A / priority. So in practical terms, it’s no different than her having an affair with someone, which means you fight this situation with the same tools as you use to deal with an affair.
The kicker being that if her real Plan A ever shows up and wants her, she’ll very likely dump her husband like yesterday’s newspaper and that will be the last he’ll see of her. When you make someone else your priority, and allow them to see you as their option, don’t be surprised when they treat you like crap.