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Thread: How do I ask for an open marriage?

  1. #1
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    How do I ask for an open marriage?

    My husband and I have been happily married almost 3 years, but dated for several years before we married.I have made it clear to him ever since we first met that I believe that it's entirely possible to have sex without having emotions for someone. He was raised in a religious family so it took him a while to understand that viewpoint, but he has never been mad about me feeling that way. He has been with a small number of women and dated all of them. I've been with about twice as many people as him, but I've only been with 7 people, male and female.

    He feels a little bad sometimes that he didn't get more experience before we got serious. I sometimes feel like, even though I love him very much, I wish I had more time to have fun, casual sex before settling down. We were in our late teens when we started dating. It's been nearly 8 years since I had sex with anyone else, and I think around 9 years for him! He's had women interested in him, I've had men interested in me. So far we haven't had any extramarital sex. But I'd like to. I don't have a specific guy in mind, but I'd love the freedom to have some fun if a hottie crossed my path. And I am completely ok with him having sex with other women, as long as there isn't some double standard where I can't have sex with other people. So how do I ask for it?

    I did bring up the idea of an open relationship about 4 years ago. He wasn't totally against it, but was hesitant. Since then, the topic has come up on occasion. He brought it up a couple months ago, and I brought it up about a week ago, but I haven't explicitly asked for it since that first time 4 years ago. He knows I am fine with him having sex with other women, and he and I check out attractive people together all the time, usually we look at women together but he doesn't mind if I check out other guys when I'm with him.

    The other piece of this is that, although we love each other and are very attracted to each other, our tastes would suggest otherwise. We are the same age but he generally prefers older women (40+) and I am very attracted to younger men (18-25ish). Neither of us has ever slept with the sort of older woman/younger man that we fantasize about.

    He has two reasons that cause him to hesitate: he doesn't know how he'd even proposition another woman, since he's never had casual sex and also he thinks they will say no because he's married and won't believe that I really am ok with it. And he says it is weird to think about other dudes being inside me.

    What do I do? I've been so tempted by guys before and haven't had anything happen, but it doesn't mean it hasn't been close a couple times. I don't want to leave my husband, or go behind his back and have an affair. If I'm having sex with other guys, I'd rather he knew about it and he also got to have fun with other women. I'd love it if we could share stories and maybe even share lovers sometime. We've danced around this for so long, how do I make it happen?

  2. #2
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    I have made it clear to him ever since we first met that I believe that it's entirely possible to have sex without having emotions for someone. He was raised in a religious family so it took him a while to understand that viewpoint

    Not wanting an open relationship is not negative, as you seem to imply. Devotion is sexy. And connecting sex with emotions is good. I think that you would be doing him and your marriage a disservice by encouraging him or pushing him towards cheating -- he would not feel good about it and likely the marriage would crumble if he did it -- just like a husband who keeps hounding a wife about a threesome -- when it happens the marriage falls apart. He seems to be telling you that he is going along with it on a fantasy level to keep you happy but deep down he does not want this. But since he loves you and wants to keep you, he is humoring it.

    If you really want to sleep with others, i suggest divorcing or at least formally separating from your husband. your marriage equates sex with love and emotion and devotion and to you its just an act.
    There is no scenario where you sleep around and he happily sleeps around, too. He is not wired like that. if you choose to break your vows, do not force him to be party to it

  3. #3
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    I agree divorce is best if you want to be free and swinging.

  4. #4
    Gold Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    I don’t necessarily think divorce is the only path here. It’s something you guys have talked about, so, hey, have a real talk about it—one that takes it from the theoretical into the actual. Just be clear: I’d like to try this, and wonder if there’s a way that works for both of us. Then listen, figure out the rules, and so on.

    I have some friends, long married, experimenting with being open right now. It’s a pandora’s box, be warned. There’s a lot of room for getting closer, but a lot of room for friction, disconnect. Everyone navigates it differently. Generally speaking, I think what’s hard is that women have an easier time meeting people than men, especially when it comes to casual.

    From what you written, it does sound like this is going to be more “your” thing than his. It’s important not to ignore that, if that’s the case. So, for instance, let’s say you’re loving your 22-yr-old fling and he’s, well, not loving any of this. Are you okay “closing” things, to honor your marriage, or are you annoyed that your husband isn’t honoring your not quite “mutual” new pact?

    Just saying, things to think about.

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    Originally Posted by bluecastle
    I don’t necessarily think divorce is the only path here. It’s something you guys have talked about, so, hey, have a real talk about it—one that takes it from the theoretical into the actual. Just be clear: I’d like to try this, and wonder if there’s a way that works for both of us. Then listen, figure out the rules, and so on.

    I have some friends, long married, experimenting with being open right now. It’s a pandora’s box, be warned. There’s a lot of room for getting closer, but a lot of room for friction, disconnect. Everyone navigates it differently. Generally speaking, I think what’s hard is that women have an easier time meeting people than men, especially when it comes to casual.

    From what you written, it does sound like this is going to be more “your” thing than his. It’s important not to ignore that, if that’s the case. So, for instance, let’s say you’re loving your 22-yr-old fling and he’s, well, not loving any of this. Are you okay “closing” things, to honor your marriage, or are you annoyed that your husband isn’t honoring your not quite “mutual” new pact?

    Just saying, things to think about.

    I predict she will sleep with other men and he won't sleep with other women -- he'll attempt to perhaps or try to gear up for it, but end up more in an emotional affair - someone to talk to - and she will freak out and hit the wall when that happens. Or he will stay completely faithful.

    I really think you also need to dig deep and explore how you feel this way (sex doesn't have emotional meaning). Perhaps its worth digging deep and becoming vulnerable/letting your husband in more in order to have a deeply connected emotional experience and make that your goal instead of seeking others. I am not saying that style can't work for dating and keep you somewhat detached - but you are married and isn't it worth the risk?

  7. #6
    Gold Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by abitbroken
    Perhaps its worth digging deep and becoming vulnerable/letting your husband in more in order to have a deeply connected emotional experience and make that your goal instead of seeking others.
    1000 percent.

    Personally, I think the open/poly stuff is often a short cut to what people are really seeking, which is deep, intense vulnerability. Easy to have the illusion of that when you’re being “radical,” but you may look back and realize it was a lot of surface skimming.

    And OP? Make no mistake: I say that with zero judgement. I’ve skimmed the surface a lot, and found plenty of, well, depth along the way. I’m not married, have basically lived the opposite life of you and yours, and am open to all sorts of interpretations of relationships.

    But I do believe that ultimately what people are seeking is a deep connection that really only comes from vulnerablity. I know my sex life has been most enhanced not by new/multiple partners, but by finding ways to get more vulnerable with someone I’m close to. It’s so scary. It’s so awesome. And I do believe there is always another layer...

    That said, I also totally support this experiment. It can go a million ways, many of them manageable.

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    Gold Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    This is worth listening to: [Register to see the link]

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    Originally Posted by abitbroken
    I predict she will sleep with other men and he won't sleep with other women -- he'll attempt to perhaps or try to gear up for it, but end up more in an emotional affair - someone to talk to - and she will freak out and hit the wall when that happens. Or he will stay completely faithful
    I agree with this.

    Additionally, you really have to have a certain kind of personality or are in a particular situation to make an open marriages work. For example, I would think personality wise you would have to be a bit disattached emotionally. You love your husband, but only so much so you have additional room in your heart for others. You're not all in on the relationship. Or your job takes you away for six months or a year at a time and you find a surrogate wife or husband while you're away. Many doctors in the Army in MASH units would pair up with nurses just to provide that missing intimacy and then when their tour was over, they might never see them again and go back to their wives.

    The big problem might be that the sex partners may not share that disattached emotion and might start falling in love. Someone in an affair, for instance, starts thinking about leaving their husband or boyfriend to marry their sex partner. And then things get messy. These relationships only work out if everyone thinks the same way and keeps their heads about what is happening.

    So things can get very complicated. And what might seem workable in a fantasy might not be workable in real life.

    But obviously you've already sort of talked about it, so you can suggest your try it. But just be careful if your emotions start to get in the way.

  10. #9
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    I think this is not going to go well, OP.

    Neither of you is necessarily wrong in your desires, but I have a feeling it will get messy. Quick. He's already not really comfortable with the idea of you and another man together; he is not likely to get more comfortable with it when it actually happens.

    Also, some questions you and he need to think about: what if you want to see the same guy more than once, or he wants to see the same woman more than once? Or one of you starts to have feelings for someone? What sort of boundaries will you two put in place? What happens if you do it once and he struggles so much with the idea that he shuts down any further extra-marital dalliances? Will you still feel happy remaining married with zero possibility of sex with anyone else, forever? What if you found another couple to swing with instead?

    You need to think very carefully about whether this is worth the risk it will pose to your marriage. It is a very delicate matter and usually not without its complications. I would also not rule out the possibility that perhaps you married before you were really ready. You said you've been dating since your late teens, and that you haven't sex with anyone else for 8 years, so I gather you and he are still quite young?

  11. #10
    Gold Member CML342's Avatar
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    I don't know everything but I will definitely try to give you the benefit of my experience.

    I was once where you are- and my marriage didn't last.

    From what you posted, it sounds like your husband is on the fence about this idea, because at one point you talk about it together in a realistic and practical sense, and at another point he admits it would feel weird for him to know another man is inside you. This is literally my experience as well, and my then-husband had been intrigued but really only went along with it because I kept pushing for it. I know now that it was a mistake.

    As you said you want to have the experience of fun, casual sex. Just be careful what you ask for, because your perspective is not the only one to consider. Any number of things could happen, both bad and good, and you will have to take responsibility for it all. He could get attached to a woman he sleeps with. She could get psycho. You might call another man's name in bed and it would hurt his feelings. I mean literally the list could go on and on.

    People do swing or have open marriages and I'm sure many of them are happy. But it would take a certain type of person to survive this lifestyle. If it's really not for you, or for him, it will damage your marriage.

    Bottom line, I was not ready to be married, even though I loved him. There has been many tears, a lot of arguing, sadness, and people turning their backs on me.

    I'm not saying you're as bad as I was, but I definitely think you should consider all the things that could happen if you move forward with this lifestyle.

    Also for what it's worth, I think everyone on here is giving you some good advice.

    Good luck

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