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Monday, October 21, 2013

SLLOTD: Open It, Already

Posted by on Mon, Oct 21, 2013 at 4:38 PM

Originally published March 6, 2008.

Open marriages—do they ever work?

After 16 years and one kid, my husband and I are considering an open marriage. Over a year ago, I met another man who I was attracted to and wanted to fuck. I had met men like this throughout our marriage, but never did anything because I was married and respectful of the monogamous relationship we had. I would just bring that "crush" energy home and take it out on my husband. Our sex life has always been okay, nothing mind blowing, but steady.

Well, we hit the inevitable rut that couples sometimes get into and I was bored and frustrated and wanted more than my husband was giving me. I asked, but he just wasn't interested in exploring anything more than the vanilla sex we were already having. I gently tried toys, porn, going out to bars and checking out others for three-ways. He wasn't interested. So I made peace with the fact that I was stuck with a vanilla guy and just focused on the other parts that worked—good partner, good man, steady guy. A little boring, but better than a drama freak.

Then about a year ago, I met someone who turned from a friendship into a strong attraction. Instead of having an affair, I told my husband that I wanted to be able to pursue sex with this person since I wasn't getting what I wanted at home. Husband got pissed and said no way (no surprise), but that if I did do anything, he didn't want to know about it. Don't ask, don't tell. I didn't do anything out of respect for him, but it made me resentful. So I decided to ask for a divorce before entering into an affair, and about five months ago my husband and I separated. I have been seeing the other man during this time and the sex has been amazing—he's doing the things that I begged my husband to do with me. My husband has been miserable without me and has agreed to an open marriage so we can still be together, be a family, and I can be free to have an outside relationship. My husband is also free to have an outside relationship. He now accepts that I've been with another man (whom he has met) and that I am capable of loving him as a husband while having a sexual relationship on the side.

This has been a long letter, I realize, but all I want to know is if this is a recipe for disaster. Am I fooling myself about the reality of opening a marriage up to include outside lovers? Does it only sound good in theory?

Trying To Find Happiness

My response after the jump...

Open marriages work, TTFH, but only sometimes—just like, um, what are those other things that only work sometimes called again? Oh, right: closed marriages. Will your open marriage work? I couldn't tell you. But your closed marriage definitely wasn't working. You were no longer willing to settle for the sex life you shared with your husband and were headed for divorce. Then your husband concluded that being together and being a family was more important to him than being sexually exclusive. And so you're back together—for now.

Will it work out in the long run? Only if you keep those lines of communication open, treat each other with love and respect, and make sure that, emotionally if not sexually, you are each other's top priority. And if your open marriage doesn't work out, what's the worst that can happen? You wind up getting a divorce—which you were about to do anyway. So I wouldn't say that openness is a threat to your marriage. I'd say it's your marriage's last chance.


Comments (73) RSS

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Posted by The Truth will set you free. Coward. on October 21, 2013 at 4:52 PM · Report this
I want to commend the LW for doing the right thing. I wonder what happened in the intervening years -- did her husband seethe with resentment or settle into acceptance? I also wonder how many relationships get opened up like this vs mutual agreement, and does that impact the chances of divorce?
Posted by wxPDX on October 21, 2013 at 4:54 PM · Report this
julie russell 3
My husband and I have done what we call Open Phases. Took us a while to figure out what work work for us. We went in to marriage, agreeing it would be open, but when I actually took advantage of this(3 years into marriage 7 years into relationship), he was not prepared for the jealousy/ anger that followed. (I may have been kind of a juvenile a-hole, rubbing it in his face, which...d'uh...isn't healthy)
Now we have new rules. If one of us is on vacation without the other, cool. If one is home while other is away on vacation, cool.
NO rubbing other's face in it. No inviting fwbs in to the relationship, etc.
Since my first and only foray in to Openness, I have not been compelled to take advantage again. If he has, he has followed the rules and left me unaware.
Every couple is different and NOT every couple can handle an open relationship....even if they think they can.
Posted by julie russell http:// on October 21, 2013 at 5:02 PM · Report this
the more emotionally close a relationship the greater the desire (and need) for exclusiveness.

on the other hand, when the emotional bond is not that strong cheating seems like no big deal.

so know that when you want to 'open it up' your relationship is on the shitpile.

Monogamy is a higher form of human existence, evidently not everyone is capable of it.
Posted by Go For The Bronze! on October 21, 2013 at 5:07 PM · Report this
julie russell 5
SO not true @4.
Posted by julie russell http:// on October 21, 2013 at 5:15 PM · Report this
oh, and when one is In Love they do not want to cheat- even the idea is repulsive to them.

Danny brays on about homosexuals being able to "marry the people they LUV! *sigh...*" but whatever attraction he feels for his "husband" is not "Love" because you don't want to cheat on those you Love.
Posted by oh dear, is Danny humping the chair leg again? on October 21, 2013 at 5:16 PM · Report this
lolorhone 7
Boy, Danny's Troll is on one lately, huh? Perhaps he's from Jersey?
Posted by lolorhone on October 21, 2013 at 5:17 PM · Report this

hi Julie.

have you never been so in love that you literally could not imagine cheating?
Posted by thetroll on October 21, 2013 at 5:25 PM · Report this
Doctor Memory 9
@7: the best part is watching the little grey "unregistered comment" boxes pile up, and realizing that he's working himself into a lather over a repost from 2008.
Posted by Doctor Memory on October 21, 2013 at 5:31 PM · Report this

nothing sadder than a troll's troll
Posted by aim higher, son on October 21, 2013 at 5:32 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 11
@ 3, you're an asshole? Surprise, surprise. Vain, too.
Posted by Matt from Denver on October 21, 2013 at 5:33 PM · Report this
if that is the best part you aren't doing it right

you are a despicable creep.
Posted by slimy even..... on October 21, 2013 at 5:37 PM · Report this
I think Dan is wrong about this one. I can understand people doing the open marriage thing, but this is more of an ultimatum than an accord. She did the right thing early on in asking, and he husband was not interested. I'm not going to repeat the rest of the letter here, but it looks like they never tried any counseling before she went nuclear. Now, the dude is probably going to be miserable and hanging in limbo. He was miserable that he lost her for a bit, and that's normal, but now, he's been put into a position in which he cannot grieve the loss and move on. That sounds like a shitty thing to do to someone.
Posted by nanoboy on October 21, 2013 at 6:12 PM · Report this
julie russell 14
Ummm...okay. Why vain?
Posted by julie russell http:// on October 21, 2013 at 6:13 PM · Report this
@4 The highest form of human existence is virginity. Celibacy outside of marriage comes next, followed by celibacy within marriage, followed by sex within marriage. St. Paul said so.
Posted by Clayton on October 21, 2013 at 6:20 PM · Report this
seandr 16
I'm curious, if you took this same relationship and reversed genders, would open marriage be a viable solution? More specifically, would your average hubby stand a chance of getting enough good sex outside the marriage to make it worth staying married?

My sense is that most women aren't interested in married men, and if they are, an illicit affair holds more appeal than than wife-approved NSA sex. And hooking up with women takes a lot of time, which a married guy isn't going to have in abundance.

Obviously, there are men with enough looks/charm/money to get a steady supply of trim under any circumstances, but if that's not you, I have to wonder whether opening the marriage is likely to produce a satisfying result.
Posted by seandr on October 21, 2013 at 6:21 PM · Report this
The really sad thing is that @6 is a very mainstream opinion. If you go on reddit, for example, and read the relationship advice people have to offer, you'll find the vast majority of people think non-monogamy dooms relationships and desire to be monogamous is a reliable indicator of "how in love you are". What nonsense. Sigh. Sometimes I think we've actually *regressed* from the 60s and 70s.
Posted by dchari on October 21, 2013 at 6:21 PM · Report this
@15: I KNEW I'd been going downhill ever since the age of 15. Now I know why. xoxo

@16: Your sense that "most women aren't interested in married men" strikes me as misguided. Lots and lots of women are MORE attracted to married men than to single men. I can think of lots of reasons: married men tend to be more successful and established, or married men have a built-in voucher ("hey ladies, someone thought I was worth marrying!"), there's a thrill in being appealing enough to entice a man who's already "taken" and presumably satisfied, etc. There have been mistresses for time immemorial - the trope is much more common than that of the "male mistress", which is part of the reason we don't have a word for "male mistress". (The other parts include sexist ideas about "male urges" and innate female chastity, but that's another story.)
Posted by dchari on October 21, 2013 at 6:28 PM · Report this
@13 But she's not trapping him in misery. She was honest about her needs and when he said 'no' she left. He has the choice to either accept the new relationship or end things. She's not really forcing him into anything.
Posted by msanonymous on October 21, 2013 at 6:28 PM · Report this
@19: She gave him a choice, but it was an ultimatum. He's miserable without her, she says. I don't think that she put him into the position to make a rational choice, and it seems obvious to me that there were other things that they could have done to save the marriage or to walk him into accepting an open marriage before it became divorce vs. her new arrangement. Also, there did not seem to be much in the way of negotiating here. I suppose that one could compare her actions to the Tea Party's recent silliness.
Posted by nanoboy on October 21, 2013 at 6:36 PM · Report this
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seandr 22
@dchari: Lots and lots of women are MORE attracted to married men than to single men.

I don't doubt that one bit. What's less clear to me is how readily that attraction can be converted to frequent sex that doesn't hold the possibility of something more.

There have been mistresses for time immemorial

Yes, mistresses who cater to men above their social class who can afford to buy them food and fancy clothes and put them up in a flat in London. I'm thinking more of the average husband who isn't in a position to become someone's sugar daddy.
Posted by seandr on October 21, 2013 at 7:02 PM · Report this
I'd love to hear back about this couple and find out how they're doing now. I think that people in open relationships are playing with fire, but if they don't crash and burn then guess who's right and who's wrong?

Even without that information, the lesson here seems to be, "Spouses who want one-on-one relationships, perhaps at least an attempt to accommodate your partner's non-vanilla desires is worth a go."
Posted by DRF on October 21, 2013 at 7:08 PM · Report this
@18: Except that most of the women who are more attracted to married men are the kind who are highly interested in breaking them off from the original relationship. Also, mistresses are largely a phenomenon that stemmed from women's lack of power- they had to latch onto a guy in order to really get anything for themselves.
Posted by alguna_rubia on October 21, 2013 at 7:13 PM · Report this
@20: He's a big boy. It's been five months (well, at the time of the letter writing, five years ago). He can make his own decisions.
Posted by clashfan on October 21, 2013 at 7:48 PM · Report this
Huh. My impression of open marriage is that when it's done retroactively to make cheating into not cheating, it tends not to work well. This sounds similar: it's done retroactively to make it not be a divorce, but it really doesn't sound like he's happy. More resigned and desperate, which does not seem the recipe for long-term happiness.

My husband is also free to have an outside relationship.
This always drives me crazy from people who want to open a closed relationship when their partner has expressed zero desire for an outside relationship of their own. There's no balance to that. (The guy who wanted to have sex with other women while also allowing his girlfriend to have sex with other women, something in which she had no interest, takes the cake for this one.)
Posted by IPJ on October 21, 2013 at 7:51 PM · Report this
seandr 27
@alguna_rubia: highly interested in breaking them off from the original relationship

The idea that a married guy could more easily get laid if he was cheating vs in an open relationship was first introduced to me in a discussion here on SLOG about a man in an open relationship who would lie to women and tell them the relationship was monogamous. This never would have occurred to me otherwise.
Posted by seandr on October 21, 2013 at 8:07 PM · Report this
LEE. 28
@4, etc

jeeeeeez. you go on and on about liberals being Pollyanna-ish...I'll bet you kiss prostitutes on the mouth too.
Posted by LEE. on October 21, 2013 at 8:28 PM · Report this
I would dearly like to know how letting her have an open marriage is an ultimatum in this case. She made every possible suggestion to have a better sex life and he refused to go along. But SHE is selfish for deciding that she deserves to be happy too? Since when? Her husband is a fool, an inflexible, immature fool. Open marriage isn't for everyone one, but it IS an answer to relationships that are very good in every way except one. And BTW: open relationships are NOT cheating. She told him what she is doing, and introduced the guy and always comes back to him (and I assume has vanilla sex with him too.) Sure, a perfect relationship has sexual compatibility too, but how many of us have "Perfect" relationships? As Dan has said so very well: when you tell your spouse you are sleeping around and they agree to it, it is an open marriage. If you don't tell your spouse, you are a lying cheating shit.
Posted by BG on October 21, 2013 at 9:26 PM · Report this
@seandr, realistically, a husband who wants to see other women will benefit from having marital funds allocated for his fun. Certainly, when the wife is the one initiating the open marriage she should be understanding in that regard.

Poly circles & swinger circles are good places to look for women who already have a life-partner and are looking for an understanding, non-jealous boyfriend.

IPJ@26, someone with zero interest in straying will sometimes discover that flirting and having other people show interest after all these kinda fun, after all. It's worth a shot; you'll certainly feel better if opening the marriage adds to your own happiness as well as meeting your spouse's stated needs. (Generic 'you', not you personally.)
Posted by EricaP on October 21, 2013 at 10:25 PM · Report this
Dirtclustit 31
She never lied, and she had the courage to be honest with her husband, it takes courage to do that, most spineless people find cheating much more convenient.

If you can't at least be honest with your spouse and admit that even for a brief fleeting moment, you fantasized about sex with another person, that is not a level of honesty that I would call "intimate"

The most intimate relationships are ones wherein those involved share their life completely. If you've ever had a friend that you could tell anything, you'd understand a little bit more what Love is.

Men are idiots, and most are too stupid to be understanding enough to be in a loving open relationship as they believe white lies are more intimate than loving truth (the truth that is never used as a weapon)

Most men have no problem understanding how they can feel lust for another person and still love their spouse


very few are compassionate and understanding enough to be able to see that the same is true for their spouse. They have no problem understanding their emotions, but they cannot "love another as they love their self"

which doesn't mean you want to marry yourself, the "Love" He spoke of has a much deeper meaning, which is to understand your spouse as your understand yourself.

Too few people realize the power that humans have, that we all have, that our children have but just don't know any different, and the world is slowly transitioning into it. It's not that we can read each others minds, but we can intuit others emotional truth.

So unless you begin practicing honesty, you will end up one of the little boys who could not deal with the truth, and not being able to handle the truth will destroy you. It takes a lot of understanding one another to be able to handle the truth from your loved ones

Most people -- esp men -- practice their life the emotionally easy, convenient way, which is to practice lying to yourself instead of honesty.

If you can be honest about your emotions -- like she was -- and remember she had the courage to be honest, and the strength to show her husband respect and not lie nor cheat.

That is very, very, rare. That type of courage and honesty will hopefully be recognized by the husband, because she offers him a greater level of intimacy than most people are even capable of, and she already proved that capability.

If he can trust her, and begin practicing honesty, their marriage will be of an intimacy level greater than any readers of this thread could even dream of

well the men anyway, seeing as males are a bunch of ignorant fuckwits
Posted by Dirtclustit on October 21, 2013 at 10:57 PM · Report this
@20 she already made her wants clear and he ignored them. And I can't help but think that someone so willing to ignore his spouse's unhappiness is probably going to be unwilling to listen to a counselor. It's not her job to twist herself into knots to please him, nor to read his mind and protect him from bad decisions. He always has the option of ending things, which as Dan pointed out is where things ended up before.
Posted by msanonymous on October 21, 2013 at 10:57 PM · Report this
YOU IGNORANT SLUT --you fail to mention any possible consequences to the kid. (whose age and gender you do not mention). Kids can see distance between parents, and blame it on themselves.
Of course, we all deserve to be happy, but if you fuck up your kid looking to get dicked better, you are probably going to hell.
Posted by BOBKELLERMAN@AOL.COM on October 22, 2013 at 1:03 AM · Report this
mikethehammer 34

I took your advice and had a session with your, and found his services to be utterly useless. His spells were shit! "Dr. Magbu" (and what exactly is that PhD in again? My guess = horsewhackiness!) provided no elixir or magical formula that would cure my seemingly insatiable desire. I can only assume that your claims of having recently become a "fulfilled woman" are utterly bogus and I urge you to contact me for some truly alternative treatment.
Posted by mikethehammer on October 22, 2013 at 2:14 AM · Report this
An NPR story that's stayed with me for years: They interviewed a bunch of 55 year olds about what they'd been like at 35. The same as now, just less wrinkly? And in every case, people had changed significantly, things that were once unimportant now essential and vice versa.

When you marry, whether that's at 22 or 42 or 62, you aren't promising to be unchanging, physically and emotionally and in every other way, forevermore. You're promising that this is the person with whom you want to face those changes. And sometimes one party does change, sincerely, in ways that put them at odds: whether or not you want children is the obvious one that leaves no way to reconcile your newly contradictory goals for the future.

If you marry with certain expectations for your sex life (e.g. monogamous, vanilla, couple of times a week) it's hurtful if one party decides they don't want sex any more. It's also hurtful if one party decides they now need lovers on the side, cuckoldry fantasies, or weekends being bottle-fed in a diaper when those were nowhere on the horizon when you said your vows. It's an extreme change, and if your partner can't just roll with it that doesn't mean your partner is a bad person. They were upfront going in that monogamy was important (or implicitly that various things might be strong turn offs for them in that they never once were requested or discussed) and that doesn't just flip to a new setting.
Posted by IPJ on October 22, 2013 at 5:17 AM · Report this

sadly, no.

they charge extra for that.....
Posted by your momma could have told you on October 22, 2013 at 5:23 AM · Report this
@31 Dirt,

"Men are idiots..." Absolutely.

That being said, just because I have felt lust for others while I've been with the woman that became my wife doesn't mean I would want to act upon it. I recall seeing that for some people outside sex w/o emotional commitment by their partner wouldn't be a deal breaker, and that for them a purely emotional affair would be. Sharing intimacy and honesty is a tricky business, as stated by @35: no one is the same person at 50 that they were at 25. Essentially, expecting longevity for stable relationships is unrealistic, and that is the hand dealt us idiots.

Fortunately, real world attraction isn't based solely on sex, or food preferences, or religious preferences, or eye color. Taking advantage of fun and interesting aspects of one's life can patch over the weaker other parts, and emotional overhauls (while difficult) can be game changers as well. By taking part in discussions here I've learned that in relationships "Right and Wrong" isn't the name of the game, it's what works and what isn't (or hasn't/doesn't). In my perfectly monogamous LTR I have to stress the importance of having/being an interesting and challenging partner (Thank God we both enjoy fart jokes, 'cause our veggie laden diet would be a serious problem otherwise). Despite being an idiot, lack of boredom (in a good way) seems like it carried the day for us.

Posted by Married in MA on October 22, 2013 at 6:19 AM · Report this
@29: Open relationships are NOT cheating.

They are not. But there is a difference between open relationships arrived at by the method described in @3 (talked about before marriage, details worked out by trial and error and communication over time) and those arrived at out of desperation and pain. I don't sympathize much with people who enter into an open relationship, eyes open, at the dating phase and then complain that monogamy should be the expectation after all; I also don't sympathize much with people who nailed down a committed partner via monogamy and then decide that extra people is a thing they need.

Posted by IPJ on October 22, 2013 at 6:24 AM · Report this
@37 continued...

In addition to the partners themselves, outside agents like family and kids are also crucial elements. I want to emphasize this because my eldest child has profoundly changed me in the process of establishing what he wants/needs for his future, as opposed to what I thought should be the case. Realigning and realizing my priorities as a parent cascaded into everything else; becoming a better listener, not surprisingly, has enhanced all my relationships. Especially with myself.

I seriously doubt I could deal well with being forced to open our marriage. Fortunately, I don't have to.

Posted by Married in MA on October 22, 2013 at 6:36 AM · Report this
Eudaemonic 40
This letter's depressing. She's better than many people in her situation, but it really would've been kindest to let him go be miserable for a while, and then find someone compatible, rather than to decide to torture him for the rest of his life.

Why couldn't she just let him go find a life he actually likes, with a woman who actually cares about him, and she can go marry a guy with a cuckoldry fetish? There seem to be plenty of those. It doesn't sound like this is a relationship of equals, and it doesn't sound like he's happy with that.
Posted by Eudaemonic on October 22, 2013 at 6:54 AM · Report this
LEE. 41

I'm well aware...just figured a Horatio Algar-type success story like yourself would have the money to kick around on the finer things sometimes.

Speaking of moms, sorry I haven't called yours in a while. Scraping together that extra five cents for the paper bag every time has been rough in this economy.
Posted by LEE. on October 22, 2013 at 8:31 AM · Report this
Mr Married - Please speak only for your own kind.

Ms Clust - I agree that this LW acted honourably. You remind me of Axel Nillson in A Fairly Honourable Defeat, maintaining a standard sufficiently high that Julius King only pretends to take on the task of breaking his relationship. I'm not sure, though, that your attempt at universality entirely succeeds.

Mr Monic - Well, was it before when he had things all his way? The main difference seems to be that she was able to work with it for a while and then became miserable, while he started out miserable and with great good luck might become able to work with it.

Ms I - I'm not sure whether your example is worse than the bisexual woman determined to have outside women who played the One-X-Only card and gave her straight husband/fiance/boyfriend permission to have outside men. Of the two initiators, his seems the more egregious offence, but her having a semi-logical rationale seems to give her a better chance of getting away with it.
Posted by vennominon on October 22, 2013 at 8:42 AM · Report this

no problem

she has your diaper ready for when you come back....
Posted by don't forget your rattle on October 22, 2013 at 9:35 AM · Report this

"Open" relationships ARE cheating if the couple is married.

Marriage has rules and expectations Society imposes that the participants are not at liberty to ignore.

Or at least, in the Late Great US of A it did.

Which is why Defenders of The Family opposed letting filthy little maggots like Danny in the club.

They warned us Danny and his ilk would want to deform marriage. Legitimize adultery. etc.

The Troll thought they were over reacting. No One would be THAT depraved.

The Troll was wrong....
Posted by Lipstick on the Pig on October 22, 2013 at 9:45 AM · Report this
Sorry for the long rant but the doctor is late...idle hands and all.

I understand what she is saying. Furthermore, I AGREE with her as well as Dan.
But if I am to be completely honest, utterly wide open, then a part of me says wait a minute....
I've been married for 21 years to my high school sweetheart. We have a great love story and have had a better marriage and partnership than anything I had ever seen growing up. We work at home together, we prefer each other's company. We've had 2 kids, 1 with severe medical issues, I was on medication fr a number of years that doused my libido; we've had long stretches where the sex was alright and not particularly abundant. Whenever I talked to my DH about his feelings regarding our sex life, he always seemed shocked that I would even consider he may be unhappy.
"But if our sex is great just less often because of "whatever", how can I complain?" He was surprised to hear my concern that maybe a man may want to have more or crazier sex - who knows what secrets someone might have? Maybe he was into furries? It's easy to say you know someone 100% but that's not possible. He was adamant that if I was worried about less sex because I was taking medication to fix me then it was he who had the issues.
Sex with the person you love with all your heart is the best sex of all. It's homemade porn! How can I want to have sex with someone else simply because he won't do puppy play or spank me or give nightly massages? Do I really want to be a black Lab more than I want to be with the man I am devoted to? His view is that he COULDN'T have a mind blowing fuck with someone else because we weren't having sex often enough to please him. That means that our marriage needs work, not stand-ins. And if we cannot make our sex life work for us then we don't have much of a marriage.
Her husband should want to make her happy and TRY some if her interests. He isn't. That means that his loving commitment is limited. She finds another man so appealing because he is doing those things she wants - that means that she has found a replacement for a critical role in a marriage. They aren't having sex because one physically cannot, they are choosing to not make their marital sex fulfilling to both of them. The union doesn't mean enough to them and should therefore be axed.
Just my opinion but I'm an old (ok, 40) married woman. What do I know?
Posted by Kestrel RG on October 22, 2013 at 10:16 AM · Report this
@40 I don't know about that. I don't approve of adultery—and that's what this is whether she has permission or not—but I wouldn't go so far as to say that she's torturing her husband by acceding to his request that they get back together. He's a grownup and if he'd rather be with her in an open or semi-open marriage than not with her, that's his business. They could absolutely use marriage counseling, though, preferably from both a traditional counselor and one of those sex-positive counselors that Mr. Savage keeps recommending.

As for just getting a new LTR partner who likes cuckolding, easier said than done. As TTFH says, sex is only one of the things that make a relationship work. Her new partner wouldn't just have to be cool with her having relationships on the side; he'd have to be compatible in many other ways too.
Posted by DRF on October 22, 2013 at 11:16 AM · Report this
To all of the doubters I can speak from some experience here. I'm a male in an open marriage and it's great. It's not cheating. Cheating implies breaking the rules but we are adults and we get to set our own rules for our relationship. The troll can go fuck himself because he has no right to impose his rules on our relationship. We're better with our own.

We have found that I have a much higher sex drive than she does but even at that she also enjoys occasional variety. We did not open our relationship out of a weakness of the relationship, but out of an understanding that, as we like to point out, no one person can be all things for someone else. I have friends that I go to haunted houses with because my wife hates those. I don't expect her to do things she hates just because I enjoy them.

We talk about this regularly to make sure we're both on the same page as far as what our rules are. We talk about whether we're having feelings of jealousy or if anything happened that we don't feel entirely comfortable with and we make sure to adjust to make next time work better. I don't, as one person noted earlier, "get a steady supply of trim". I get occasional fun outside the relationship. It's not a constant thing but that's enough for me to get my fill.

We happen to be extremely lucky right now that we've found another couple in a similar boat, but with the genders reversed (she has a higher sex drive than him...and me...and my wife combined) so we have a fairly steady hookup to fulfill those needs. This is great because it eliminates needing to find someone new each time and reduces the risk of STI's. There are plenty of open relationships out there so my opinion is that people in OR's should hook up with others in OR's when possible.

So, in short (too late) OR's can work but I certainly agree with Dan that open communication is critical in open relationships... and closed relationships. And everyone should make their own rules within their relationship rather than feeling bound to follow other people's rules for what their relationship should be.
Posted by Root on October 22, 2013 at 12:35 PM · Report this
lolorhone 48
@33: Your ex did a real number on you, huh? Distance between parents can just as easily be caused by frustration and resentment on the part of one as an actual separation. Personally, I'd take the option where both people in the marriage have a shot at contentment (even if it means they're apart), seeing as how children pick up on happiness just as surely as they do discord.
Posted by lolorhone on October 22, 2013 at 12:49 PM · Report this
@47: We did not open our relationship out of a weakness of the relationship... We talk about this regularly to make sure we're both on the same page as far as what our rules are. We talk about whether we're having feelings of jealousy or if anything happened that we don't feel entirely comfortable with and we make sure to adjust to make next time work better.

See, this doesn't sound like TTFH's situation at all.

Posted by IPJ on October 22, 2013 at 1:20 PM · Report this
Eudaemonic 50
@ 46: See how 47's arrangement bears absolutely no resemblance to the LW's? It's easy to mistake the LW's husband's deal for 47s, but that would be a mistake.

If you hurt someone so badly that they'll do anything just to make you hurt them a little less, that doesn't make it okay to keep hurting them forever--even though the situation you've put them in makes them beg for it (since it's the quickest way out of the pain you're currently inflicting).

When you're the person with all the power, you need to behave responsibly. Coerced permission isn't permission.
Posted by Eudaemonic on October 22, 2013 at 1:38 PM · Report this

she's not all that into you.
Posted by and what you have isn't that special, either.... on October 22, 2013 at 1:40 PM · Report this
@13: No, I really disagree with you there. Whether or not this marriage worked or not was basically immaterial at this particular point in history, since the marriage most certainly *was* doomed if it *wasn't* opened up.

It's like if you were on a ship at sea, and a fire had broken out. If your only option is to dump large amounts of seawater on the fire, that might sink the ship. But it might also *save* it. Doing nothing on the other hand, is a sure recipe for total disaster.
Posted by gromm on October 22, 2013 at 1:41 PM · Report this
Dirtclustit 53
Dear Fuckwits 33, 43, and esp 44, and somewhat 46, although 33 and 46 don't actually qualify as fuckwits, possibly dumbwits, but anyway, to the dumbwits first off 33, yes let's think of the children, but as you do that, let's remember that children have no problem understanding love, and the problems you talk about all revolve around abuse. Any relationship that is abusive is likely to damage any children who witness it, esp if they adopt it into their beliefs as "normal behavior" exhibited between two people who supposedly "love" each other. So small gestures like a warm embrace (a hug) or a peck on the cheek or lips, the "look" in their parents eyes/loving posture as they watch their loved one(s) from across a room -- those are all healthy things for children to observe -- what is not healthy to observe is parents striking their loved ones, screaming words that are intended to hurt each other rather than solve a problem. For instance, calling your spouse a whore is intended to cause pain, and not intended to solve an issue with intimacy in their relationship.

Furthermore, it isn't healthy for parents to be discussing sex with their children until they are ready, ie sex as a topic should be held off from discussing until the children are of an appropriate age. So just as it would not be healthy to demonstrate the act of sex for your children and force them to watch you engage in sex, it is also unhealthy for parents to bring up their sex-life as a topic -- it doesn't matter if you are a single parent who is dating, or even if both parents got married before that had sex and have only had sex with each other, until the day comes when the children are of appropriate age and you would openly discuss the sex you have with their father, their is no difference between having one partner or two.

Also it's important to remember that their is a difference between having more than one spouse, or a second intimate relationship, as it does not equal promiscuity and indiscriminate acts of sex -- which is what leads to spread of sexually communicated disease. As it is often the case that sex without the presence of an emotional bond can cause a lowered sense of self esteem as that is a common occurrence


yes there are a lot of sick, hate-filled, hateful evil mother fuckers such as 44 who are either too stupid to see they are using their belief in God to do evil acts against other people for doing nothing more than accepting the gift of life that God has afforded them

so blind are these bigoted maggots, that they do not see that when there is no abuse between the parents, ALL of the damage done to children is perpetrated by them, it is caused by the affliction of evil acts that are seen as acceptable behavior by society -- the same as nobody batting an eye when a person of homosexual orientation was brutally beaten is the past due to the diseased belief of "he got what he deserved" . Although ignorant men may be stupid enough to believe that is the truth I guarantee you that no child would ever be guilty of should a false belief about life, and it does take quite some time to cut off and thin out such horrible fruit from the Garden of Life, but it is necessary as some people are so much in the grip of denial they remain too fucking stupid to understand that Love is not wrong, that love does not harm and when it does it is not LOVE, and the harm is done by hate.

Love is confusing and hard to understand, and that can be mistaken for pain or harm but it is not. Pain and harm is character trait of hate.

One of the greatest gifts that comes with this offer of life, is that We get choose the people who will make up our Eternal Family. And that is choice that is Yours, and not anybody elses

And quit reading here is you need to, because I do realize the people I am about to describe rather harshly, may not in fact be as I describe them, but none the less, there are behaving in such a way and there confusion about Love and God's Gifts are not a valid excuse to do so

For those right-winged, evil bigoted self-righteous pieces of shit, the marriage they speak of is nothing more than a symbolic event that man gave meaning to, as it is not the MARRIAGE that is spoken of in scriptures. Jesus could not have been any more clear that the marriage he spoken of was the Spiritual Marriage of two souls when they combine to form one living flesh, a new life created wherein the parents are no longer separated but become as one -- that marriage is physically and spiritually, literally the child who results from a specific act, that is what marriage is

your right-winged, good ol boy privileges and benefits granted by county govt. and is federally recognized is nothing but man's doing, and it is in vain seeing how it has become just another way for bigoted people to marginalize same sex parents, and allow Our Govt. to sponsor hate-filled, harmful, bigoted law that has allow the churches -- which in scriptures are referred to as "abominable" -- to creep into our Govt. even though God had good reason to separate church and state when he delivered the Constitution through the hands of extremely obedient men, who had authored that phraimwork, which was very much written to be most effective for today and not 250 years ago. Until Human beings can recognize where they go wrong, where they have adopted false beliefs due to their own confusion about what Isreal and what is not -- which is typically only a Truth that their children will recognize, men will always remain blind to it

I won't address the animal behind the comment 44 other than to say that fuckwit ain't human, but to the others to please be mindful that in this life, things are not always what they seem, but you will be granted knowledge of the truth if you respect Truth by having the courage to practice honesty, and if you do, I bear my testimony that it is my experience when you ask, you do receive exactly as the scriptures say, but you must ask genuinely, as I can also tell you that nobody answered my knocks until I was ready to step through the doorway.

It is not wrong to question the lies and false beliefs of men. And I am not saying everyone needs to open their marriage, I am saying that the intimate relationships -- like religious beliefs -- are sacred, and we each have the liberty to hold our own beliefs on those subjects, and we do NOT have the right to infringe another Homo sapian's God-Given Rights, so to afflict another person with such hardships and prejudice just because their choice is different from ours, is a fairly serious sin.

That precious and sacred freedom, to worship as we deem acceptable in our own eyes, is the very reason most of our ancestors fled from their homeland to move here, it was due to unlawful persecution.

And unfortunately, the victims of such despicable acts should know better than to afflict others with the same type of prejudice, so when they do they are held to an even higher level of accountability, as the tables had already been turned for you to experience what it is like to be treated like that and so there are no more lessons that are effective so that you may learn
Posted by Dirtclustit on October 22, 2013 at 2:12 PM · Report this
The LW is not excited about staying married to her "good partner, good man, steady guy. A little boring." I think in this case opening the marriage is a band-aid. I think they should try to actually figure out whether they still love each other, or if it would be better to just plan out how to be good, respectful co-parents as they separate and eventually divorce.
Posted by EricaP on October 22, 2013 at 2:15 PM · Report this


the nurse will be around with your meds any minute now.....
Posted by might want to take two on October 22, 2013 at 2:28 PM · Report this
Dirtclustit 56
@40 Eudaemonic,

do you realize that what you are essentially saying, is that she should not trust her husband is smart enough to choose for himself?

I do not agree that choices should be made for another person, that by far the kindest thing one can do , the most loving way for adults to behave -- for adults who are mature -- is to supply them with the truth and let them decide.

What you are suggesting is the type of behavior that works for your children, like shielding them from the truth when a pet dies, however it is not conducive to healthy, honest, adult relationships.

For her to just assume her husband is not mature enough to make the choice for himself, is wrong.

the right thing to do is what she did, assuming she does love him,

I understand that some people will see, leaving him and not giving him the choice to be with her in an open marriage, as the only responsible thing to do, however that is not living honestly.

Honesty can be used as a weapon just as easily as it can be used with love. Telling the truth and allowing him to decide for himself is the loving thing to do

the only thing we can do as individual people is offer our life and love to those we are willing to share it with, but it is not within our rights to decide for them whether or not they find accept of reject the Love that is offered.

If the husband is reading, please know that my harsh words are not intended to for you, I don't envy you as I know how hard it can be when a spouse wants to open up, however I can say that it is far more painful and confusing and is a crazy making hell when they do so without the courage or respect shown in honesty

So much of the damage done in this day and age is not the acts or mistakes themselves, it's the lying and inability for people to be truthful that does the damage.

All we can really ask from our loved ones is that they be honest, so that each of US can make informed educated decisions about our own life, anything else is what is wrong, unfair, and not loving.
Posted by Dirtclustit on October 22, 2013 at 2:40 PM · Report this
Dirtclustit 57
Grammarian anarchist number 55

go fuck yourself
Posted by Dirtclustit on October 22, 2013 at 2:42 PM · Report this
@53 & @56 Dirt,

"Love is confusing and hard to understand, and that can be mistaken for pain or harm but it is not. Pain and harm is character trait of hate. ".

I disagree that pain and harm is only restricted to hate. First and foremost in my life would be indifference and neglect. And it isn't difficult to come up with examples that were fostered under true love and misunderstanding/mishap either. Sad but true, incompetence is a greater force in the world than malevolence.

Posted by Married in MA on October 22, 2013 at 2:57 PM · Report this
@42 Vennominion,

I thought that I had, but then I am an idiot.

As a male, to paraphrase the old song, I've only been trained as a spudboy...

Posted by Married in MA on October 22, 2013 at 3:23 PM · Report this
Dirtclustit 60
Yes Married in MA, neglect and indifference can definitely cause what once felt like genuine love to spoil and go sour.

But the way to tell if love is really understood is what happens after that. When someone neglects my love or is indifferent to it, which happens to just about everyone and has definitely happened to me in the past, I understand love well enough to not mistake it for hatred. I don't seek to damage the neglectful or indifferent one, and certainly do not "accidently" let truth be shot as a poisonous arrow from a dangerous weapon. There is a difference between Love and Respect, and most people fail to realize that intimate love does require respect, even though respect is also a successful substitution for love that can allow for a family to function in a healthy fashion.

You can have respect without loving another, but you cannot be in an intimate loving relationship without respect being held in high regard.

In many cases, disrespectful people are not lovable to those they disrespect. So it is sort of important what the reason is behind the disrespect shown.

It's not directed at you MMA, but I cannot show respect to those who do not deserve it.

I realize I am overly harsh on conservatives, but the only thing I have less trouble than distinguishing love from hate, is respectable from the despicable, but I should point out how closely the three are correlated with the two

The fury the hell hath none like, is not that of a scorned woman, but rather a scorned woman who gets easily fooled into confusing love with hate

I know there is a very fine line, but there no matter where people are standing it is -- in fact -- on one side or the other.

And during the rare cases when one foot is in love and the other in hate, it is very important to not get the two confused

and it actually is a fairly easy thing to do

it's just not fun, convenient, nor especially immediately satisfying, but none the less, not difficult if you practice honesty
Posted by Dirtclustit on October 22, 2013 at 4:23 PM · Report this
@54: I think in this case opening the marriage is a band-aid.

Well put. I think open marriages work for some couples, but in this case it seems to be a way to prolong the misery. Every time I've heard of one working, starting from a position of strength and happiness was key. (To clarify: monogamous marriages can be strong and happy too--mine is--and their participants correct to write off nonmonogamy as not a model for them. I'm just willing to admit the presence of other working models.)

It sounds as though he wouldn't even consider toys, porn, something new and different. Saying "what we've always done is fine and I'll never even try something new with you" is not a good trait in a partner. On the other hand, it could be he gave a couple of them a shot but really didn't like them. It just strikes me as odd that she would include "let's go to bars and find cute strangers and have three ways with them!" as a little something to spice up the ol' marriage--adding third parties is a big deal, and having a spouse whose reaction is "um, we're in a monogamous marriage, no I don't want to have sex with strangers in bars" should not result in a big fit of pouting. That example of a thing to try--we could buy some furry handcuffs, we could bring home a bartender--really screams, to me, that what she wanted was sex with anyone else. And so intermediate steps to spice things up a bit would probably never be enough. (Which is not to say that he tried, but that I get the feeling his trying would have been futile.)
Posted by IPJ on October 22, 2013 at 6:26 PM · Report this
Dirtclustit 62
And those types of details are pointless because we will never know, for all we know the whole story is riddled with lies.

But there is a world of difference between a person who has the integrity, respect, and love for their spouse that is necessary to be honest with them.

I can respect a person who breaks up with another or at least informs them of the truth in their intentions before they do anything, that way each informed, educated adult can have control over their own destiny and make decisions about their life on their own.

I see nothing wrong with the persons behavior at all as described in the letter.

Posted by Dirtclustit on October 22, 2013 at 7:44 PM · Report this
Mr Married - If someone were to hit me with a homonormative stick and claim it was only the just desserts of all men, even those to whom the homonormative stick could have no just application, I should not offer to such a person your cheek to strike next, even if I were to accept the beating as my own due.

Like Marianne Dashwood's calling an income of two thousand a year a competence while Elinor calls one thousand a year wealth, your thought was not wrong, just more expansive than mine.
Posted by vennominon on October 22, 2013 at 9:03 PM · Report this
Eudaemonic 64
@ 56: do you realize that what you are essentially saying, is that she should not trust her husband is smart enough to choose for himself?

Well, since in 31 you idiotically declared that men are idiots, 56 is a very strange post. Either everything in 31 is false, or everything in 56 is. Which is it? Either we're idiots or we can be trusted to make our own decisions. It doesn't change based on whichever is more rhetorically useful to you at the moment.

Ignoring that, though, let's get to the substance of why I find your reasoning unconvincing: I know what coercion is.

If you buy a bucket of water from me in exchange for an arm, a leg, one kidney, your entire net worth and your firstborn child, it's only reasonable to say "That's your choice, people should assume you're mature enough to make your own decisions" if I didn't open the negotiations by setting you on fire.

Posted by Eudaemonic on October 23, 2013 at 6:19 AM · Report this
Dirtclustit 65
well, besides this being Amerwica, ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha, even idiots are granted -- or should be granted -- the ability to decide for themselves.

Every single male on the planet who doesn't understand testosterone, and be just a little bit, just one step ahead of it, is an idiot.

There is not one major problem in the world which cannot be proven is overwhelmingly the sex specific trait of males.

what is the percentage of violent crime committed by females?

what is the percentage of suicide bombers and terrorists acts committed by females?

what is the percentage of hate-filled bigoted acts like #44 but in real life?

do you realize that nearly every violent inmate currently incarcerated could be let free and not be a problem if they voluntarily took meds to reduce their testosterone down to nil?

Do you why ants, bees, and wasps do not allow males into their society/communities except for when they need them for the only thing the overwhelming majority are good for?

Males of the Order couldn't figure out how to not wreck society, so they were banished. I hope males of of my species figure it out before it's too late.

if you are husband from the letter writer E-damian, I am sorry, and I know it can't be easy to deal with, but from details written, the wife was honest and respectful, it has nothing to do with coercion

and it is completely a male mentality that keeps this world stuck in the position of not understanding that many of the behaviors we were taught to believe were bad, are only bad when you cannot be honest to your loved ones.

thanks to idiots on both sides of the fence, fundamental religious men and idiot atheists like Dawkins who are just as dumb and full of shit, and every single male that allows those two competing camps of thieves and liars to
influence society, and the women who don't have the strength and courage to speak up,

the letter writer did, and anyone who does deserves to be commended for it. But I can also empathize and sympathize with the husband, as I know it ain't easy

but the truth will set people free
Posted by Dirtclustit on October 23, 2013 at 11:04 AM · Report this
Dirtclustit 66
I should be clear, I am not knocking monogamous marriages or relationships.

What am I saying is the people you choose to share your life with, is the one area in life you don't need any excuses or justification to do whatever you want, it is OK to be extremely discriminant, and the mere fact that you prefer one thing to another is all the reason anyone needs

because it is up to them and only them, and the person they offer their love to still has to accept it, so there is never any coercion

You are free to choose whomever you want to offer to be a part of your chosen family, fuck all that noise from others trying to influence your decision which is yours alone, and you don't need any reason,

the only thing that matters is the acceptance from those you offer it to
Posted by Dirtclustit on October 23, 2013 at 11:12 AM · Report this
Eudaemonic 67
Thank you for explaining to me your fantasies about how awful men are. They are some pretty awful fantasies; it doesn't sound like holding those fantasies is a lot of fun. You have my sympathy, but I really don't understand why you choose to have those fantasies--what's the point? It sounds pretty miserable.

It doesn't have anything to do with anything else, though. Otherwise it would be okay to say "She decided to marry me of her own free will! So what if I have a bomb strapped to her son! She's an adult, it's up to her and only her!"

I get that you don't think coercion counts when it's applied to men, because you think men are evil. I don't get why you think telling me about your "Men Are Very Evil, Nature Says So" fantasies will persuade me of anything. Learning that you think I'm subhuman makes me less likely to value your input, not more.
Posted by Eudaemonic on October 23, 2013 at 12:03 PM · Report this
Dirtclustit 68
You are free to believe in any reality you see fit

in regards to the relevancy of this letter and this letter only, she didn't strap anything bomb-like to anybody, she didn't threaten or coerce anybody into to anything

She decided she wasn't satisfied with the way she was living her life, and communicated such with her husband. She showed more courage, respect, and allowed herself to be vulnerable by trusting her husband not to react in the typical asshole male volent fashion which would be to abuse the court system and have her deemed unfit as a mother for simply wanted a divorce

make no mistake -- He should also be commended for not being the typical idiot male -- HE IS NOT DOING ANYTHING WRONG BY NOT WANTING TO OPEN HIS MARRIAGE

He does deserve praise, as He is not one of idiot clansmen. It sounds like He will learn to how to see the world in a different light, and because it sounds like his wife is is a strong, respectful, loving woman, so I am sure he will be just fine

so long as he is wise enough not to let other punk as men, poison his mind with false beliefs as to what is wrong and what is right

Truth, Love, Freedom, and Liberty will never be a force of destruction in anyone's life so long as it's People know how to practice honesty, and never use any of those precious gifts as a weapon to harm others

I have absolutely no doubt in my mind he will be able to realize what his wife is offering him

Sometimes peoples strongest emotions are just phases, and they don't always remain overwhelming. She could wake up one day feeling never more sure of anything in her life that she wants to only have sex with her husband

But even if she always chooses to have more than one man to share her life with, that ability to honestly reveal her emotions is exactly the reason a person like her is capable of being a spouse to her husband in a relationship far more intimate than most will ever understand such levels

Hopefully they will check back in a year or two, because when they do, they might have a relationship the entire world is jealous of

what makes it all possible is due to that ability to parse anything down to right and wrong, and stand firmly on the truthful ground

Her Husband will be just fine, as I stand corrected, MOST males are hopelessly ignorant and or stupid, but not all of them

Thank God & Praise Jesus

Posted by Dirtclustit on October 23, 2013 at 2:08 PM · Report this
aureolaborealis 69
@Dirtclustit, regarding your performance art installation here today, kindly allow me to offer you this.
Posted by aureolaborealis on October 23, 2013 at 4:25 PM · Report this
Dirtclustit 70
Hey Dick!

Excuse my *cough* Rich, thank you! Thank you!

fuck you!

Sincerely, my bestest Christian Friend
Posted by Dirtclustit on October 23, 2013 at 6:08 PM · Report this
Dirtclustit 71
And sorry I didn't come right out and say it Eudaemonic, as it may have saved you a little headache reading my piss poor grammatically arranged diction


men being idiot, scumbag, intimidating yet worthless pieces of shit, has absolutely nothing to do with the letter writer doing nothing wrong what-so-ever and in fact showing more moral fiber and integrity than all the Christians and shit talking ignorant Atheists lined up in series and wired together
Posted by Dirtclustit on October 23, 2013 at 6:14 PM · Report this
Eudaemonic 72
It's okay; I didn't get a headache. When someone reveals herself to be a bigoted shit, I don't bother reading too deeply into whatever other gibberish she feels like coughing up; it's never worth it.
Posted by Eudaemonic on October 24, 2013 at 10:42 AM · Report this
Dirtclustit 73
Easy there Eudaemonic, don't pull a Franky Frenchmen move and start throwing around a term like "bigot" unless you understand the difference between wrongful and acceptable discrimination.

You might wind up calling Dan's view on sexual orientation the something as ignorant as mr veaux and call it the future form of bigotry, without ever realizing who the bigot is.

Good as a stand-up comedy routine, as an intellectual not so much, a staunch conservative who pussyfoots around the issues and writes words laced with subtlety in attempt to appear liberal while sabotaging the equal rights movement maybe....but you definitely don't want to push for one demographic's rights yet be against equal rights for everybody

but I will give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you are just a tad pissed off, and not ignorant nor trying to be funny

and even if you make me pick one I'd still choose funny regardless of how much evidence stacks up on the igno side
Posted by Dirtclustit on October 24, 2013 at 5:03 PM · Report this

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