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Old 12-05-2012, 12:55 AM
amk amk is offline
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 26
Question Wife wants Open Marriage

Let me start by saying that I am here to educate myself and hopefully gain an understanding of what my wife is interested in and why she is.

I am a 33 year old male and have been married to my high school sweetheart for 12 years. Early this year (2012), she approached me and told me that she had feelings for a male coworker and that she needed to tell me about it. I was completely devestated. My entire world seemed to be crashing down.

Then, 4 months later, she told me that she wasn't happy, she didn't know why and wasn't sure she wanted to be married anymore. By this point, I was completely destroyed. My heart was broken and I didn't know what to do. She assured me that she would try to figure her feelings out before making any decisions.

The relationship was tenuous at best and I had to get myself into counseling. I was near suicidal. I have always been completely and utterly head-over-heels for my wife.

Now, last weekend, we were talking and she told me that she thinks she's figured out what she wants. She went on to explain that life is short and she wants to experience things with other men that aren't me. She told me she loves me more than anyone else, but that she didn't see love and sex as being the same thing. I did my best to be open-minded and listen without passing judgment. She told me that she is attracted to other men and she wants to have sex with them. She encouraged me to do the same, if I wanted. I asked if she would interested in being with other couples and she told me that she doesn't want me to be there at all.

Once again, I "tried" to be open-minded, but I was hurt. I feel a deep sadness that I am a failure in someway. The compulsive thoughts of "what's wrong with me" and "where did I go wrong" began and haven't stopped.

I started trying to imagine how I might react to her being with other men. When I imagined another man doing intimate things to my wife, I literally threw up. I'm completely disgusted by the idea of my wife with another man and I don't think I can move past it.

My fear is that my wife will be happy if I don't find a way to become "OK" with her desires and she will eventually just leave me despite her telling me that she won't. I am having a hard time understanding her desires because, personally, I have no desire to be with other women. I am a man, so I find other women attractive, but I don't want to sleep with them or wonder if I'm missing out.

I guess my question for those of you who are more experienced is: what can I do to help myself become less disgusted with the idea of my wife being with other men? How can I become a better partner for my wife?
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Old 12-05-2012, 02:20 AM
PorcupineTree PorcupineTree is offline
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 5
Default You are not alone

I'm in a somewhat similar situation. I was blindsided by my fiancée wanting to explore outside relationships (something she feels hardwired to do). I had very similar reaction as well, but my advice (about a week since the topic was raised) is continue what you are doing now.

Seek information. Read the stories people are telling here, and elsewhere. But most importantly, ask her what it is she wants. Try to keep in mind that it is about the pursuit of happiness. But not just hers, yours as well. Talk to her and figure out what can be a compromise that might keep you both in your comfort zone? And clearly let her know you need time to understand.

Talk, and slowly whittle away the fear. Ask her to help you understand.

I've found that during our talks about this, we've grown closer than we have in months. We are trying to figure this out safely, respectfully, and most importantly, together.

See it as a chance to bring a new level of transparency and honesty between you.

Clear your thoughts (I found that writing a letter over the length of a day focused my concerns and feelings immensely). And be sure to express them. Help her see your perspective. She has probably had months to think about these feelings, you have not. :-\

Progress and compromise, one step at a time.
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Old 12-05-2012, 06:00 AM
amk amk is offline
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 26

PorcupineTree, I appreciate the post.

My wife and I have a pretty open line of communication. We've made it 12 years and it wasn't because everything was always a bed of roses.

The process I decided to follow is:

1. Chronicling all my feelings (negative and postive).
2. Finding non-judgmental support from someone outside the situation.
3. Working through my feelings, with my wife, so I can get a more objective view.
4. Making a decision about whether I can handle an Open Marriage.
5. Then, maintaining my marriage regardless of the decision I make.

The only problem is, I'm not sure how to accomplish all that, yet. Maybe someone can shed some "experience" on how to do that.
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Old 12-05-2012, 06:22 AM
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LovingRadiance LovingRadiance is offline
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 5,510

Sounds like a fairly typical reaction for the circumstances.
I suggest reading through some of the personal blogs.
There's a LOT regarding how to deal with jealousy/fear/insecurity in my personal blog.
Also-search those words here and you will fins many posts and threads.

Morethantwo.com has GREAT info.
Also the seven levels of intimacy ( not about poly) is VERY helpful in managing relationship communication.
Loving More by Deborah Anapol (aboit poly) is excellent for a newbie who isnt poly oriented.
"Love As Thou Wilt"
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Old 12-05-2012, 09:30 AM
amk amk is offline
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 26

After some crippling fears got written down on paper, I started to feel better about things. I plan to lay everything I'm feeling out to my wife and create a dialogue. That said, I know there are certainly pitfalls involved here, since my wife and I are in different places.

I would welcome advice on how to talk about my fears with her without making her feel bad. I am trying to be non-judgmental and open-minded, but I'm having a hard time.

I want to be the best partner I can, but I'm feeling jealous and hurt. I don't want that to get in the way of good communication about what each of us wants and expects. Help?
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Old 12-05-2012, 03:01 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 6,134

I don't know if anything there will resonate with you -- esp the "pitfalls" one.


Here are more:


You could learn about open models.

If polyamory is NOT how you are wired inside, it is NOT a failing or you being "less than" somehow or "not enough" some how. You have the right to have your own desires and your own preferences in how your romantic relationship come in. There is NOTHING wrong with monoamory.

YOU decide what your core values are.

But if after reading and learning and reality testing your core values you come to find that "Yup. I'm wired for monoamory. And my preferences is a CLOSED monogamous romantic relationship" inside you? Stick with your core values then!

I guess my question for those of you who are more experienced is: what can I do to help myself become less disgusted with the idea of my wife being with other men?
If it is not for you, it is not for you.

How can I become a better partner for my wife?
Listen to her side. Tell your side honestly.
  • Thank her for coming to you honestly with her crush things, and her Shared Vulnerable. That was probably scary to do.
  • Ask her for time to digest things -- would she be willing to do that?
  • Ask her for time with a counselor if needed -- would she be willing to do that?
  • Ask her for what her suggestions are if after thinking you come to find you cannot be a willing participant with open marriage. Is she thinking it is best for BOTH of your LONG TERM health to split up and be friends then? Even if it means SHORT TERM suckage of navigating a split?

You can read more of my thoughts in my blog thread on mono-poly. It's mostly the first few pages.

Bottom line -- Entering into something that you are not really WILLING to do for your own self, and you do it from a fear of "losing her" -- that's not going TOWARD your happiness. That's running away from things. Face the fears, and do the best choice thing for BOTH your long term health.

All relationships come with a clock attached. Even "til death do us part" is an ending. So... choose what is ending here. Even if you decide to Open, the Closed Marriage portion is ending. The relationship is evolving to a new shape. That's nothing new. Once you were BF & GF. That ended. It changed to a marriage.

So remember to BREATHE deep. Assess what you have here, where your willingness lies, her willingness lies, and come up with the best plan for BOTH you LONG TERM HEALTH. As you both face this next checkpoint in the relationship and decide where it will evolve to next.

Even if that means navigating an amicable split.
  • So she has space to find her romantic happiness.
  • So you have space to find your romantic happiness.
  • While preserving the space for you both to maintain the existing friendship.

The feelings may be hard to feel.

But you guys are in charge of how you choose to behave in response to those feelings.



Last edited by GalaGirl; 12-06-2012 at 02:41 AM.
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Old 12-06-2012, 06:10 AM
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nycindie nycindie is offline
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: The Big Apple
Posts: 10,083

So many people come here and ask, "How can I say such-and-such to my partner?" -- not realizing that they already figured it out. The such-and-such is usually perfectly valid to express directly to someone:
Originally Posted by amk View Post
I want to be the best partner I can, but I'm feeling jealous and hurt. I don't want that to get in the way of good communication about what each of us wants and expects. Help?
"Honey, I want to be the best partner I can be, but I'm feeling jealous and hurt. I don't want that to get in the way of good communication about what each of us wants and expects. Will you help me?"
Nothing wrong with saying just that!

I would advise that you also ask her to be patient and give you the space you need to absorb all this and work through it.
The world opens up... when you do.

"Oh, oh, can't you see? Love is the drug for me." ~Bryan Ferry
"Love and the self are one . . ." ~Leo Buscaglia

Click here for a Solo Poly view on hierarchical relationships
Click here to find out why the Polyamorous Misanthrope is feeling disgusted.
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Old 12-07-2012, 08:07 AM
Love2Bake Love2Bake is offline
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Posts: 22

You sound so broken. Its sad. I want you to please remember one thing. It really does not matter how good of a friend/lover/spouse you are, this isn't about you. Your wife will desire additional partners because that's just how her brain works. I know it feels impossible but at least try not to take this personally.

What seems devistating at first often ends up being the best thing that ever happened to you. Maybe you'llne look back on this one day as being a turning point in your life. One you're evermore grateful for. Best wishes, OP!! : D
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Old 12-07-2012, 02:00 PM
Daysleeper Daysleeper is offline
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Bay Area
Posts: 21

You've received some great advice here already regarding opening your marriage and managing your feelings. My concern is a little different. It sounds as though you and your wife have had a difficult year.

It's possible your wife's desire to be with other men has caused the problems in your marriage, but it is also possible that it has not. Are you so focused on this information that you are overlooking other issues? Think back to when you and your wife were at your roughest patch in the last year. Did your wife talk about being unhappy with finances, inlaws, family status, loneliness or something else? Were her concerns addressed and resolved? Were your concerns addressed and resolved? Or are these other issues just in the background now?

Since your wife is willing to wait awhile, I might put some energy into resolving preexisting issues rather than focusing completely on this one. Even if you both decide that non monogamy sounds wonderful and perfect for you as individuals and as a couple, there will be rough spots in the beginning. Working through other issues as a couple will strengthen your relationship, give you a greater sense of security and restore trust, making the transition easier.

If you think other issues are causing significant dissatisfaction in your relationship, I'd tell your wife you don't want to lose focus on those things, that you want to try to work on these things while you learn about and consider opening your marriage. If you think opening the marriage is the only serious conflict between you, please disregard this message.
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Old 12-07-2012, 06:02 PM
dingedheart dingedheart is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 1,501

Hi and welcome,

Is your wife a member here yet ? If not I'd suggest that first.

If she cares about this working out with the marriage intacted there is plenty of this she needs to learn as well. This isn't going to be you doing all the learning and changing.....or sucking it up.

Plenty of threads and advice for her to read.

You might want to start thinking in term of deal breakers and work backwards.

Good luck D
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fears, insecuries, open marriage, polyamorous, wife sleep with other men

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