It's Not Lust; It IS a True Connection
Only those who haven't felt it will believe that, because No, No, NO -- this connection John is referring to is NOT lust...it is something entirely separate and different.
I understand the connection...Great Love#2 (check my bio for details) and I had the same thing...it was unexplainable. We had an uncanny ability to "sense" each other...we always managed to know when the other one was hurting, even if we were miles away from each other or hadn't talked in months. There was more than one occasion when one of us would be going through some rough times and the other would call because we felt the pain of the other person.
Sound crazy? Perhaps, but it was very real, it happened more than once and we were never wrong. That connection IS real don't let anyone else convince you that it's not.
The Connection Is Not Enough
BUT! The connection is not enough, even though it might give you a feeling for each other that never truly goes away. GL#2 is now married to someone else, and I have a wonderful boyfriend...we still keep in touch, via email only...We learned our lesson and we also learned the boundaries of what was acceptable. We learned the hard way and we hurt a lot of people in the process, including ourselves.
Been there, done that...
For me, GL #2 was exactly to me what you have described Marla is to you...we had a friendship that went beyond the boundaries of friendship (and yes, you are beyond that already)..and it was only a matter of time before that friendship became closer and closer...until people got hurt. GL#2 and I had broken up, separated and while we were both involved with other people, started becoming friends again. Our friendship took a priority in our lives that overrode everything and everyone else...including his girlfriend of the time. She didn't want him to talk to or see me...he told her she didn't have a choice, that I was his friend and that was the end of it.
Hind sight is 20/20 for a reason...
It wasn't fair in retrospect. We couldn't keep a cap on our feelings for each other. I had also been dating someone...but I had the courage to end my relationship with that person once I realized that my feelings were elsewhere. I respected the person I'd been seeing and felt he deserved a chance to find someone to truly love him...not someone who was pining after another.
Learn from my mistakes...
When you place an abnormal amount of importance on a friendship, where it takes a priority over the feelings of your wife and perhaps even your marriage, you are not being honest with yourself. Looking back, what I did was wrong..my expectations were wrong. He was with someone else, and I had no right to expect to be more important to him than she was. But I was..and everyone got hurt. We had our relationship, they had theirs and somewhere it all got so mixed up and that nothing ended up right. Everything had been ruined.
And I know for a fact that I would never allow that to happen to me in reverse now...I would never allow a female friend to be more important to my boyfriend than I am...because I know what that means, and I know what is symbolizes. Perhaps you can learn from my mistakes.
You need to re-evaluate your marriage
Your wife may be comfortable to you, but she deserves better than a husband who is in love with someone else. You had doubts to begin with, but allowed yourself to see past them and continue with the marriage. You married this woman. She was what you needed at the time that you started dating her.
I will not in any way, shape or form tell you to end your marriage...before you consider a step like that, you really need to think things through for yourself. But you are walking a really thin line right now. What you are doing IS wrong...it's wrong for all involved, it's wrong for your marriage and you ARE going to hurt people...your wife, Marla and yourself. Trust this from someone who knows...someone who's been where you are...it will only lead to hurt.
Relationships Are Based On Trust
Relationships of any kind need to be based on trust...how much trust will your marriage sustain if you are thinking of another woman? How must trust will a relationship with Marla sustain if your relationship is based on cheating on your wife? You may not be physically cheating (YET), but you ARE cheating.
Face Your Marriage
You need to balance your marriage on the merits of it alone...take Marla out of the picture for a while. You have to face your marriage first. Every time you talk to Marla, every time you see her, you are hurting your wife...damaging your relationship and her trust in you. She FEELS what you aren't telling her...count on that. Give your wife the respect she deserves and work out your marriage first...whether you stay or leave will be up to the two of you. NOT you and Marla.