Open Marriage, How?

I posted my story recently, I assume you can find it by following my name if you want to read it (I'm new here), and I got a lot of good feedback.

Anyway, I'm considering suggesting an open marriage to my wife. She really shouldn't be shocked based on the state of our sexlife, but then again she doesn't seem to mind the state of our sexlife, so she may be really offended. I don't know. What I do know is I can't keep this up... Living like this. I love her, but I need human touch, damnit. I can got three months or more between encounters. If she refuses I'll accept it. Or at least I think I will.

I have already contacted a few ladies on plenty of fish, and I'm heavy with guilt. I never considered myself to be someone tohave an affair, but its like I'm not in control anymore. I stop and think about what I'm doing and hate myself, but as soon as I get a notification from POF I can't keep myself from responding. I feel like two people.

If she gave me her blessing, I think these feelings would go away. But how do I approach this? Anyone had any luck? Any tips?

malrotic malrotic
31-35, M
13 Responses Nov 5, 2012

I can't give advice on this, my sister and I aren't technically married, but I can tell you that unless your wife is agreeable, an open marriage might end your marriage

I have been in an open marriage through our entire marriage. I was never jealous of my wife going out with any man she desired. In fact when she asked I would find men for her.
I worked in a large company I had no trouble finding coworkers to go visit my wife whenever she call me telling me she needed attention. Plus he had several of our own kind.

I was married to a beautiful sex machine for over 50 years we never had a problem she had all the men she wanted I had everything I wanted. A beautiful wife excellent money manager superior housekeeper. I would bet there are many men in a normal married they can say that.
Good luck to all.

I am in exactly the same situation as you Malrotic. My main concerns is being ready with the big split IF the open relationship conversation does not go well. Our relationship has been SM for the last 2 years.

Whatever happened to 'for better or for worse- in sickness and in health'? I heard this saying years ago and I think it definitely applies here- "Neither adultery, nor financial greed are the number one cause of divorce...SELFISHNESS is the number one cause of divorce." Do you honestly think your wife is unaware of your struggle and needs?? Do you honestly believe she doesn't feel guilt at her plight...and yours? At least have the decency to be honest with would want the same, wouldn't you? Don't you think she deserves that? My own experience with being the cheater, as well as having the same done to me, is that *IF* your marriage can survive the damage will still never be the same as you had always hoped it would be. Love, honor and cherish her with the truth....and stop thinking with your hormones.

Yeah, stop being human you beast!

Consequently, by sharing your feelings you may find that she is more open to the idea of an open marriage than you thought. Knowing how you feel can more readily sway a woman's beliefs. But for the love of marriage....don't stab her in the back by being unfaithful.

A cut and pithy saying is not the truth. The truth is that it is normal and human to think with your hormones. We could not exist or have relationships without them. What else is true is that it is abnormal not to think with your hormones.

Another word for abnormal is perversion. For better or for worse does not include for perversion.

Yes, his wife feels guilt. But not enough to prevent her SELFISH rejection of his most basic human needs.

Human? I've been on the 'human' side of this fence...and the beast side. Human's have self control with a pinch of empathy...beasts are, well......have neither.


I am amazed and saddened to see how easily infidelity is justified in the world today. Thanks for the reminder of what I don't want to be. People get on sites like this to find permission and justification for ilconceived ideas and behaviors and it is certain found here. I'm NOT saying don't have an open marriage....I'm saying be HONEST. Amazing how so many spit in the face of loyalty and rationalize behavior they would never tolerate in other circumstances that affect *them* so directly.

I'm amazed and saddened to see how easily the spiritual infidelity is ignored in favor blaming the physical disjuncture. In the spiritual sense there is no such thing as an open marriage. A marriage where the spirits are torn apart is irreparably broken whether or not physical infidelity takes place. The legal system and its decisions based on the physical results (ensuring children are cared for) of marriage has no bearing on this.

Refusers happily destroy spiritual marriage with a death of a thousand cuts while secure in the knowledge that their spouse will carry all LEGAL blame should they "stray". That is being honest.

I'm amazed at how many rationalize the actions of the torturer and prosecute the injuries caused by flailing of a dying prisoner.

I'm sorry, but I HAVE told her if this doesn't change its going to try me to cheat. Has she changed, no.

Sorry if I'm offended, but I can't help feeling she's the one being unfaithful by not TRYING to meet my needs.

I'm not ready to fully act on my feelings, but I agree. The more I think about it, the more I realize it is her violation of the marriage vows that is driving me to this point.

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I have been in an open relationship for over a year now, after playing at it several ways for two years. Here are some things I have learned.

Open marriages favor women more than men. I am not a swinger (I prefer a fwb situation, rather than a frank and quick casual encounter), so this involves a) finding a partner and b) wooing that partner, and doing so, with the knowledge out there that I am already in a relationship. This is like swimming with an anchor around my leg. It would be easier, in fact, to have an affair (it is considered more "normal"). I have been approached by a woman who was looking for a safe, affair, in fact. And, while tempting, I had to say "No thank you."

If you open your marriage, you will likely need to open it on both sides, eventually, even if it doesn't start that way. Don't confuse your wife's reticence for aesexuality. And, she is going to have more candidates, and better candidates, than you will, faster. Make sure you talk about this. She may jump in because she doesn't want to feel frigid, because she feels pushed around and wants to push back, because she's genuinely interested in some strange. As I discovered, in my marriage - this wasn't necessarily a bad thing at all. While it has been a crude method, it has actually HELPED restore intimacy between us -- but I have a feeling that this is largely due to some personal reasons with my wife that might not be widely applicable.

If your proposal is a surprise, she might also just think she has gotten carte blanche to do what she wants without telling you - so make sure this is covered. I cannot underestate this, because it gets into affair territory, and this can be a sticky wicket for people who don't really know much about an open relationship. It's probably NOT going to be ok to embark on an affair in "retaliation" for a partner proposing an open relationship -- this ends up in Cold War sadism, same as you have now.

Lastly, I think you need to have a good strategy in place for this conversation, complete with exit plan. You don't really pitch an open relationship vs status quo. Why wouldn't your partner simply choose status quo? It works in her favor with little consequence. Instead, this is a negotiation between open marriage vs something more costly in consequence, and not that different in lived practical reality. Open marriage vs separation is a reasonable one.

In our case, given the city where we live and expenses, and the age of our kids, our post marriage relationship would be very close. Meaning, we would be feasibly in a situation to meet our spouse's lovers and be amicable with them, in addition to tolerating them and supporting them in a parental role. We talked a bit about vacations, dinners etc. So the net result was that in a practical day to day sense, we would be facing some of the same fears, whether in an open relationship or in a co-parent relationship. This evened out the scales considerably, about what we thought we were capable of.

But I married an artitistic, free spirited Bohemian with a Calvinistic work ethic - a good amount of Dutch pragmatism to approaching problems when it comes down to the crunch. So, we chose to go offroading together.

You, and most people? I think this is more of a gambit. I think the conversation and consequence itself that falls out from this kind of activity is more inclined to be thing that forces change in your marriage. Doing something like this, whether saying Yes or choosing something else, forces you BOTH to consider your positions. It puts a consequence in your partner's court that falls short of blowing up the thing you are trying to save, providing you are willing to give yourself permission to make them pay it.

Great and thought out response. Much for me to consider. Thanks.

Apocrypha, i thought your response was excellent. And the only thing that i can add, is that by reading your response, at least it provides a lot of information that makes the individual think about, concerning the different real situations that present themselves. You should consider posting your response as a stand alone post.


Its not who you are to begin with so why become something your not!

In the context of all your stories, you are clutching at straws here.

The Ghadi strategy didn't work for you, the last time out you rejected a FWB scenario and reckoned pro's were the answer, now, only days later, you reckon open marriage is the go.

Given that open marriage is the hardest option of the lot, requiring a particularly high level of negotiating skills, honesty and pragmatism (and an exit strategy for if it all goes pear shaped) you need to ask yourself if this is within your capabilities to attempt. Answer yourself honestly.

For information, search "mvcmvc" who knows more about this subject than anyone else on this board.

Tread your own path.

I see your point. Truthfully, I think I'm actually in the phase of trying on options. I plan to keep reading here and hopefully I can sort this out. As I said below, this situation has got me to a point where I'm not thinking straight.

You are starving to death so was my husband your wife needs to know this and understand the state you are in. She is making you very vunerable to women and any attention you might get from another woman. I wish my husband had communicated more with me about our situation. He thinks he did but he didn't he's not good at communicating and he knows this. He had an affair and was the type that no one, not even himself, thought he would ever do that in a million years. He's a good man who deserved better. I have written a couple of stories if you are interested in reading. Remorseful refusing wife and I've been through it, you don't want to do it. You can go to RRRW and see those stories. Please read especially the I've been through it before you decide to have an affair. Thanks for your time and I hope that you can work things out with your wife. God Bless you

Ill go check those out. I'm sorry things didn't work out for you and your H, but I have to wonder if it would take the same thing (my marriage failing) before my W will wake up...

I hope it does take devastation before she gets it. We are still together, but still struggling too. It's so hard with our past, the resentment and anger he has and the affair screwing us both up really bad. God willing we will work it out, but only by God grace will we. He's on my side though he wants us to stay together as a family I know that for sure. Now I just need my husband to realize that. :-).

I meant I hope it doesn't take devastation. Sorry! I need to go to sleep. Lol

So you two have fixed your sex life? I mean, I'm sure its not perfect, nothing is, but its regular? Like once a month or more?

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I think the new focus should be (now I know of the medical condition) getting her health back on track.
Otherwise the poor lady will have the same struggle in a new romance and things between you will remain the same.

We've been to so many doctors and endocrinologists... I hate even going to the pharmacy now. It's like nothing helps. Something like 1% of females develop this, and of those about 5% are under 25 at the time of presentation, like my wife....I forget the exact numbers. I have learned about HET, and we haven't tried that yet, but our doc has never brought it up. Have to do more reading on it.

I asked, my wife said "If it comes to that we should go our separate ways."
...That took about six months from when I asked.
...She is not a sexual person, she is happy not having sex, therefore I should be as well, in her mind.

Hey Malrotic,

I understand your pain & I feel strongly against affairs. I guess I'm two people as well.

I think if the love dies between two people they should break up and be honest about it. It's more complicated with live-in partners and marriage though.
I went into a long term relationship and lived with someone for years.

The main point is when there is love, I feel no need to look at anyone else. But when there were times when we broke up and the love is not returned, but they didn't move out, my heart was torn.
I was still in love with them (you can't get over someone until you completely move out or separate.)
but they didn't love me, there was stress and the sex was much less.

For honeymoon couples sex is once or more a day... but then having weeks in between..that is too much. But it is a sign you are not emotionally connected. Now you say months...that would kill me, emotionally.

From talking to many people in long term-relationships here are the reasons:

-for men money issues can make them feel disempowered or losing their job might cause impotence
The woman is still attractive, but he feels bad about himself, so he can't get aroused.

-stress will kill off sex for a man just like a woman.

-for women she might feel bad about her body. If she doesn't feel sexy, it doesn't matter if he thinks so, she still feels bad and needs nuturing.

-women may also not feel emotionally connected. If the man isn't sweet to her outside of the bedroom, she will not be interested in sex. Sex is emotional for her.

-stress will kill sex for you both. Get tedious things out of the way, because sex is mental and what you are thinking about, as well as visual and emotional.

-clean the house, pay the bills, make the bedroom inviting and nice smelling. Show her love outside of the bedroom, holding hands and hugs are important, doing thoughtful things.

Then when she takes her clothes off she's not stressing about 101 things, all her mind is on you, how sweet you've been and helpful. There should be alot of build up emotionally and physically, so she will be ready.
Like giving her a massage with the intention of her pleasure, but not assuming it will lead to sex.

Also strange advice but it works: If you are artistic or creative in some way, DO THAT, go think up a story or get painting, play your guitar or whatever thing you love doing.

I've noticed when I'm not even thinking about sex, but feeling passionate and creative about something I enjoy, then my partner will almost jump on me, because the energy I'm giving off is all about passion and I'm not being needy.

But to be honest, from my experience, unless she is medically ill, there is an emotional cause as people that passionately love each other will have sex often.

You need to emotionally connect withg your wife again and the sex will follow.

Well there is a medical issue. Her has premature ovarian failure, and basically has no sex drive. I accepted this for a long time, five years+, but now I feel its one sided. I'm meetingher needs but she's not meeting mine. Iknow and understand her condition, but I haven't changed. intimacy is something I can't live without. It's like air or food, and I'm staving. to death. This has been discussed with her many times, at length, and she always promises to "try harder" but I never see the results. Usually she'll have sex with me the next day, and then reject me for the next few months until we have the talk again. I've done everything I can to be passionate and make her feel loved and safe, and we are emotionally very intimate... Just not physically.

I tried telling my wife she was sexy. To me? she was. To her, she wasn't, and me displaying my attraction to her just annoyed her.

Ah, this changes the scene a lot. I can see you are a very kind hearted and patient person.
You seem very dedicated and responsible, that is such a long time. I really feel for you.

I hope my response didn't sound shallow, I have no details, so I didn't know this, about her condition.

This might sound silly, but did she have emotional problems before getting sick?

@Esjey25 I don't know if you're being sarcsatic or not.

I know my advice may seem shallow, but without knowing all the details, sometimes those little things help as women are very sensitive to smell, emotions and atmosphere.

But you would have read the part where I indicated an understanding of how painful this is...

Also, I'm a female and been on the recieving end of this from a healthy male... so the advice is different.

I've known guys in this situation, that didn't consider the obvious romance or emotional connection, so I had to start there.

No. Life was bliss before. Five years of bliss. One year dating and four married. Sex like 3-5 times a week. She was adventurous, loved trying toys, positions, New locations, rope, ****, etc. Then it tapered of, then nothing, then to the worst trip to the doc in my life.

I love her. I really do. I don't want to cheat. But I can't go on like this. A woman can't even smile at me without my mind racing. I hate to even run errands because a woman in the checkout line might bat an eye at me. In short, I'm going nuts. I feel like I've communicated this to her, and I guess I can try again. I'm just so tire of having the talk, followed by premises, followed by disappointment.

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Your actions have already opened Pandora's box. In my own situation, I thought about what you suggest, but I know my H wouldn't have gone for it, and more than that, I couldn't have done it long term.

If you W doesn't give her blessing, then what? Will that stop you? The problem with refusers is they don't really understand the depth our need because they can't relate to it - it's not their need or if it is, something blocks them from actualizing it. So it's unlikely, despite the SM, that it will improve your marital harmony. On the other hand, an affair might just give you the impetus to make a decision.

After many years of directly dealing with our SM, my H and I separated amicably 2 months ago. I worked damn hard to be in this place and put myself through years of therapy, discussions and self deprecation. We cannot imagine ourselves out of our marriages with everyone alive and even possibly thriving. But that can happen if you have patience and tell your truth. This board is filled with people who've done just that.

"I thought about what you suggest, but I know my H wouldn't have gone for it". -----
He might not have "gone for it" but if it was posed seriously as an alternative, he might damn well have to consider that your train was leaving celibacy station, and that he would not need to make and own an active choice, as opposed to just riding the default.

I feel for you. I have been married 30 years and I am so sick of believing things will ever change. Im tired of the rejection, pain of being ignored and toyed with. I have no idea what Plenty Of Fish is but seems interesting. Whats worse is I am a woman...I have to hear all my friends complain how their husbands want them all the time while I silently sit and inwardly cry at the loss of life that is what people find so natural. I hope you can relate to your spouse the hurt, pain and wanting that you experience and that she will listen and respond to you.

The times we have had sex its been amazing. I can ****** easily, Im not a lot of work at all.. I love to experiment, oral sex, up for anything...I think I just somehow got stuck with the one man in the world that dont care about can that be? Why couldnt he have chosen the 'average woman" who dont seem to care much about sex? All my friends hate sex and complain constantly about their husbands. It just compounds the lonliness and isolation. Sorry you are having to go thru the same thing but its nice to know Im not the ONLY WOMAN going through this.

That's is I can "O" easily. ;)

I can actually relate to that as we. Many of my male friends like to talk about what their wife will and won't do, and how often. Such as, "its my birthday and she's giving me anal", or "my wife's just blows me when she's not in the mood, but that's only two or three times a week"... I just die inside and when I'm looked at just claim that I don't kiss and tell.

@Esjey 25 I can relate. People assume if the woman is the one not getting any, she must be ugly, etc, but often men withdraw too. It's very hard to figure out how to win them over as simple raunchy behaviour or romance doesn't work anymore.

Talk about an ignorant sIut @Esjey 25.Oh sIuts don`t have a brain anyway.Serves you right for stereotyping loser.

Here's one woman who does understand. No, you didn't get "stuck" with the only male refuser - there are plenty of them out there including my own husband. Twenty-two years of marriage now with 17 SM. The men are better at hiding reality through use of territorial behavior (kissing and hand-holding only when others can see) then we women. When under real pressure they'll use the tried and true "reset sex" gambit. This resets both clocks - yours to "maybe this will happen again" and his to "Yes, I really am a normal heterosexual man".

"All me want sex" is the biggest lie out there. The last time I attempted oral on him he allowed it to go on for about 20 minutes (he was obviously enjoying it quite a bit) but then abruptly pushed me away because "It was going to give him a heart attack". He has NO heart problems.

Oddly enough he rejects his own mother because of the way she treated his father. Her crime? She was a refuser and as a child he had to listen to the constant arguments. Like mother, like son. Among other problems in his eyes true love equates to no sex. It's sad and sick.

Oh, and regardless of the reasons for his behavior I will never forgive him. I ask him once a week why he's happy living in perversion.

Someone had to teach him those ideas. My guess is that it is minimal probability that his parents had a normal intimate relationship. A man who disrespects his mother is to be avoided, but one who respects his mother to the point of fear is also waving a red flag.

Here's to hope that we'll find the way out of this crazy maze.

I am so glad I have found a place where someone understands and Im no longer alone in what I face. wow! so glad to know Im not alone. You nailed my husband with the hand holding and affection outwardly (no one would ever question us having a healthy sex life) and the RESET OMG...I didnt know it was typical behaviour! im just wow'd at the moment.

Yes AubrieRayne, this forum is amazing for learning that we aren't alone in our bizarre journey. It's strangely comforting and disconcerting at the same time. I wish no one had to go through this pain.

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