Open Marriage?

You can all read my previous story "Sad, Lonely and Desperately...", but I've reached a point where I'm tired of the anger and crying mid-day due to the sadness. I've been reading a lot here and online about separation, options etc....I'm not sure I can handle dealing with all the stress and upheaval of what that would involve. I also don't think I could handle it all emotionally and still function for work, the kids etc...

If you read my previous story, you know that my man is all for doing more dates etc to improve the marriage but pretty much said he didnt expect the rest to change. It's not important to him. Well, its still important to me and after years of no intimacy, i physically ache for it. My heart aches every moment for that loving touch, desire...etc... It made me wonder out of everyone here, has anyone on this board have ever posed the option of an open marriage to their rejecting spouse? If so, how did they respond.

I feel like I'm at the position of either it's he give me an open marriage or we separate.... I realize some will say if I'd do that why not just leave...but maybe I just need a test or baby-steps. I don't feel strong enough to do more...

Any advice or shared experiences on this would be helpful....
LonelyST LonelyST 36-40, F 8 Responses Aug 16, 2012

Your Response


You must tell him to take care of your needs or we will find someone who will , but their are thing in life we do for are mates husband wife's lover

I feel exactly the way you do. I have been confused, torn apart for 8 years now. I can't accept my situation but, can't figure my way out either.

mcvmvc wrote everything I would have said about open marriage. For some people it works but this will take a huge amount of energy to pull off and still maintain your marriage. My first thought is what happens if you fall in love with your lover? Remember that you are starved for the human touch. Vulnerable. In pain.

Some people are very territorial even if they refuse us sex and intimacy. There is so much to consider. It does not matter how long we live with another person because none of us can look inside someone's head. There is the possibility that you could be putting yourself in physical and financial danger.

Think all of this through before you approach your husband and be prepared for the worst case scenario. He may be relieved and agree but you do not know this yet. Any indication that he has a problem with open marriage will give you two choices. Stay with him as life now is or leave him and find relationships as a free woman. Peace,D

I'm trying it now. I basically presented it as a done deal and my wife was free to deal with it how she wanted to. I tried not to be an *** but I doubt that I succeeded very well with that part of it. But after eleven years of rejection I kind of felt that it was my turn.

So far it works but I sure would like to see my girlfriend more than I do. Work has kept us apart when we planned to be together lately. Oh well, soon...

We met to see if we would like each other enough to have sex but found so much more together. It was rough trying to sort out my feelings at first and took a while to figure out that my self confidence had taken quite a beating during the previous eleven years of rejection.

I occasionally have insecure moments when I doubt that anyone would truly be interested in me but that happens less often and for much shorter periods now. Hey, it's only been six months since we met.

That's the problem with constant rejection - it beats us down and gives us such low self esteem it is difficult to see ourselves in a different light even when someone new sees everything in us.

I have an open marriage. Kind of. However mine has an expiry date. We will eventually get separated just not anytime soon. We are living together (but separate rooms) for the kids. I am openly dating my boyfriend although I keep that separate from family time with my stbex. Our situation is a little different because the BF and husband were best friends. Although I feel like my husband just gave up when he found out about the affair he didn't try to fight for me when he clearly knew the BF was fighting for me. I needed space from both to figure out what I wanted. That is the most important thing - space. We also are fortunate that we live in Canada and not in the states as in Canada it doesn't matter who did what when it comes to divinding assets (always 50:50 no matter if someone cheated). And custody tries to decide who can best take care of the kids and shouldnt matter if mommy has a boyfriend (as long as she doesnt endanger the kids or doesn't fulfill her role) Again that is for Canada not necessarily the states so the advice to check with a lawyer is sound advice. My husband actually had to leave for a bit one day before he came up with this plan on his own. He still loves me and I love him like a brother but we both see that it's done and we are both moving on. Just not with each other. It was exhausting at times trying to juggle everyone's needs and a lot of the time I was the one who suffered putting everyone else first. So it is hard work. But if you can get him on board and work out a "schedule" to take care of everyone then it is possible. The other thing to ask yourself is - do you want just strickly an affair? What happens of you fall in love with someone else? How are you going to keep it to be just sex if that is what you want? How will your partner feel about it and what if he falls in love with you and wants you to leave? What is your ultimate goal - just sex or something more. One of the other hardest things is the first few times you come home and he knows what you've been up (or you smell like sex!) to there might be a lot of guilt you feel even though "you're allowed". Seeing him might be hard at that time. I still feel quite conscious of that when I'm getting all pretty for a date and he's around the house. Although it gets easier and less awkward with time. So lots to think about. Good luck. Either way you are at a point where you have decided you no longer should live feeling rejected and whatever your next step is it will be a lot of work but definitely worth it in the end.

Great comment!

I agree w/mvc -- I liked your comment. Thank you for sharing.

Yes. My wife and I discussed this and took several runs at it and have learned much. We seem to be mostly headed on a better direction now.

Open marriages, or Don't Ask/Don't Tell (or a combination of both) arrangements are rare and difficult to pull off.

These sorts of arrangements normally will appeal to two groups of people:

1. Those who are truly polyamorous. I don't read that you are in that category.

2. Those who have nothing to lose. You might not be in that category either seeing you have minor children in the home. You need to seek legal counsel to find out exactly what you have to lose within the context of your particular jurisdiction.

With that said, these arrangements - even if mutually agreed upon and you BOTH have released each other from the bonds of sexual exclusivity - are not for the faint of heart. They demand nerves of steel, a willingness to compartmentalize your life to a degree that you might find unacceptable, money, lots of TIME and some game. In other words, they demand a skill set that not all possess. They also tend to work a bit better when there are little to no complexities in the household (no minor children, no sexual jealousies from spouse, some discretionary income of your OWN which normally means you and spouse are carrrying little to no debt, a strictly platonic marriage where you enjoy complete freedom with little to no household responsibilities and you both do as you please, etc).

An affair would add to the already complex circumstances of your life (job, kids, etc) and your energy might be better spent on either fixing the marriage or departing it.

And when the affair is over, you core problem still remains: your dysfunctional marriage. Back to square one again.

Your marriage will change once you step out - even if your husband does release from the bonds of sexual exclusivity. REMEMBER he gets the same deal - he can then sleep around too.

For better or worse, your home life will "feel" different. You might be happier, you might be sadder as affairs do have a tendancy to highlight what is dysfunctional at home.

You can approach this in more than one way. The first way is to ask PERMISSION and see what happens. However, asking permission allows him to simply say NO without further explanation and no further action on HIS part. Back to square one.

The second way is to NOTIFY HIM of your intention. In a respectful way notify him that you will no longer will live without intimacy in your life and that you are going to seek intimacy elsewhere. This is not meant to hurt him but is meant to get crucial, life affirming needs met. This then allows him one of three options:

1. To get reengaged in the marriage where you work together to get you BOTH to a better place, intimate wise.

2. For him to accept, without complaint or grudges, that you are going to go outside the marital lines.

3. Separate or divorce.

BEFORE you engage in any behavior that could jeopardize your marriage you need a contingency plan. That includes knowing how a divorce would pan out in your jurisdiction.

-----" I don't feel strong enough to do more..."

The open Don't Ask/Don't Tell arrangement will test and stress every fiber of your being and I think you will find it to be very arduous. It will NOT decrease the complexity of your life.

Read this from sister mvcmvc a minimum of 20 times sister LonelyST.

Again, go and see a lawyer in your jurisdiction to establish how a divorce would shake out for you.

You need this information to make an informed choice about what you are going to do.

As regards an "open marriage" read enna30's story "outsourcing Your Needs" and read everything mvcmvc ever wrote on here. The open marriage option (if available via a willing spouse) is far more work than you think, far harder than you think, and requires a hard nosed pragmatic attitude that not everyone has.

Tread your own path.