my partner of double digit years has casually talked about wanting to open our relationship over the last 3-4 years. it was never something presented in a serious way, so i never seriously considered it. said partner has now stepped outside of our relationship (read cheated), and openly confessed while also saying they’d really like to continue seeing the new person and not lose me or the relationship we’ve built.
i’m crushed, hurt, angry, confused, and very sad, but not really shocked because of the casual mentions in the past. i’m also very early in the processing of all of this, so i’m sure my emotions will continue to change.
i recognize that our communication sucks. i recognize that therapy could and maybe should be a next step to just deal with where we are now. i do love him, and also see how some of my unmet needs could be fulfilled in an open scenario.
how hard are open relationships to maintain?
in my case - can one even be started with what has already occurred?
- status update on my rollercoaster week: i’m back in the town that we live in, and we are co-habituating in my house (separate rooms). house we recently purchased is in my name.
we are having open/ honest conversations - shit got really real over the weekend. i even showed him all of your great responses - he had nothing to say other than to balk at the responses that didn’t support his idea of how this should all play out (the he wins-he wins scenario). that was snarky - but i’m still pretty raw from all of this.
we’ve jointly agreed to go to therapy to talk through everything with a witness, and to set up a separation. then he goes on his walk-about and finds himself, and i figure out wtf i want. this is the first time in my life that i will be single, at a very successful point in a high paying career, and can do whatever “I” want, live wherever i want and choose to be with or not be with whomever i want.
so as of right now, we separate and reevaluate in six months or so. or we separate and call it quits - and maybe i explore being open on my own, or not.
- Keep your chin up OP. Now is the time for you to take care of yourself. It sounds like you had taken care of a lot of his needs and neglected your own.
This time may be sad for you, but I think you’ll come out of it healthier, happier, and stronger than how you came in. Having fewer responsibilities to others and more time/energy for yourself will help you heal.
The fact that he balked at anything that didn’t support his own view will likely mean you will split up. If he won’t hear from others, he may not listen to a therapist either. If that happens, I’d be grateful that you didn’t waste more of your precious years with him.
Good luck and stay strong.5d2
- All the best OP. Makes me very sad to hear this story. If you can, remember this isn't your fault at all. Almost all people that act out sexually can trace it back to their childhood with trauma or misaligned attachments. Neither of you are inherently bad, and this didn't happen because you're not worth loving. Praying for you two.
- I saw your expanded update. Whatever it is worth, I am proud of you for standing up for yourself. No matter what happens things work out right as long as you stay at the wheel. With you at the wheels, you will manouvre out of rough roads back on to the freeways. Go out , breathe free, after a period of absorbing the hurt let go and be free and open to possibilities
Also there is no need for revenge, just live to be the best version of yourself5d2
- I think open relationships are ridiculous. I do not know one person that has had one successfully for more than 2 years. Beyond that, I’m sure that the guy cheating is much much more indicative of some core issues or needs he could work through than something as simple as sexual pleasure. You aren’t not putting out enough. You aren’t not good enough. You guys just need to talk about what are the core feelings under all of this and need to learn to communicate if you want to move forward together. It also takes two. If they’re not willing, I would leave.
Source: I was unfaithful to my wife and made all of the excuses one could think of. It was a chicken shit thing to do that stemmed from problems I’ve had since childhood. My wife’s grace and mercy in the face of it has been incredible to behold. I’m truly indebted to the professionals in my life and my wife for being a much better man today.
- New / EngTTNTI’m positive to open relationships but they are very hard to maintain. My partners always end up feeling jealous and then they try hard to make me jealous which becomes toxic very quickly (I don’t get jealous).
The harder part is when you find someone that you start prioritizing above your main partner (this will eventually happen).
Now, the most important part here is communication and trust. Your man has already crushed your trust for him. This is not the correct way to enter an open relationship.
I’m really sorry to hear that this happened to you, rebuilding trust is extremely hard and if your man doesn’t do everything to rebuild it with you, it will fall over and over again.
- This is what you get for considering marriage an outdated concept.
Only soln is I see is consider a new partner and while the excitement still exists in that relation, get married.
- So I am the monogamous sort, but IMO if you need the threat of cost of divorce to keep you together, perhaps your relationship wasn’t the strongest to begin with. I get that relationships take work, and I think everyone should be cognizant if that, but I don’t think the people need a marriage certificate to have a successful long-term relationship.
- I’m monogamous, but if polygamy/polyamory is your jam, you do you.
And yes, I think it’s possible for monogamous relationships to survive infidelity, but like any break down in communication or trust, it requires work to actively repair that trust. “I messed up and am remorseful for violating your trust, and would appreciate the chance to repair that trust” is very different from “I messed up, but it’s not that big a deal, why can’t you just forgive and forget?”
- I am thinking based on how you described this that your partner is possibly interested in dating that specific woman rather than being truly open.
One thing to consider if you do decide to go down this route is you get to set boundaries and 100% should set prior infidelities off-limits due to the additional emotional baggage / monument to communication failure.
If he balks at this constraint, DTMFA.
- I am married, my wife and I are open. We would consider ourselves poly. First some of my thoughts on open relationships in general and then on your situation:
In general open relationships require more trust and more communication than closed ones IME. You will have a natural inclination to protect your partner from hurt and that will result in more hurt when you aren't open an honest about things. When we first started we were 'open' but only to sex. That was a recipe for disaster you can't decide when you do or don't pick up feelings. My wife got feelings for someone and tried to ignore them and keep them from me and we didn't communicate effectively it was bad. We since have learned how to communicate and that some things just don't work. Similarly 'veto rights' reek of controlling your partner, you don't control them you control yourself and trust that they care about you and will do right by you. A big part of what has made being poly work for us is wanting to see the other person happy. When one of us has a good other date we know how that feels are are happy for each other.
Now onto your situation, it sounds like there is a lack of trust, a lack of communication. It might be that your boyfriend will be better in an open situation, but it doesn't sound like your relationship is healthy enough for it St the moment. Opening up a relationship is HARD. My wife and I were together for 8 years, never fought always just fully trusted each other and communicated well, went to couples therapy before we got married and the only thing they wanted to work on was my ability to open up emotionally ( whole other story), and it was still pretty hard. Granted we hadn't read the books and such I mentioned and doing so helped us get on the right track. Learning how to manage jealousy, have some compersion for each other, how to balance time it's all hard at first.
Anyways tldr: if you want to try being open read the books I mentioned, and go to couples therapy to strengthen your own relationship first. Fix what you have going on and then open, don't open to try and fix it all. That's like having kids to save a marriage. Sure maybe kids are s great choice for you, but it's not going to fix things it will just add more stress at first.
- Amazon / MgmtKYuG83Open relationships, polyamory, the “ethical slut” (for women) and “pickup artist” (for men) lifestyles of engaging the opposite gender never seem to work or make anyone happy unless your only real goal is sex. I have never seen anyone successfully form and rear a family outside of a normal family-unit. If sex is all you care about the great.
He wants his cake and to eat it too.
You have no self respect if you agree.
- I do know multiple people who seem to be raising well adjusted kids living polyamorously. I think a lot of times you wouldn't know because a lot of us don't advertise it. You don't want kids to have to deal with that backlash, you don't want jobs and such compromised so a lot of it happens more on the down low.
Fwiw my wife and I both obviously have each other, one more serious other relationship and one that is more 'casual'. It's a lot of work to maintain sometimes consider if it's worth it, but 🤷. I've always viewed it kinda like friendships, you can multiple of them and maintain one 'best'. But there is a limit to how many you can really maintain.
That said we don't currently have not sure we currently planning on kids, but I know people who do and have lived like this for 10 years.
- EagleView Technologies / R&DklokovmoreUnless your guy is super hot , this will end in making him jealous af, this has been the story of a ton of relationships that went the open route.
Once both partners agree on allowing them to sleep with other folks then it's pretty much game over for the guy unless he looks like Josh Duhamel. It's infinitely easier for women to get casual sex from apps than men. Men in open relationships get super jealous when they see that their partner has slept with 10 times the number of people they have since the relationship went open.
In most cases it's a recipe for disaster, in the extremely few number of cases where there is a lot of trust , it works out.
- How was your sex life? I'm definitely not condoning what he did, but it's really hard for a man in his scenario to be living an awesome life with someone as great as you sound without also getting good/frequent sex with you. Many guys are not looking for a better woman, they want you, but if they can't have you, then they look elsewhere. Personal experience unfortunately.
- great question. this is all anonymous right *nervous laughter*
sex life is good. we have 🚀 and 🎆 every once in a while, but consistently i’d say it’s good. he says he would like it more often, but periodically rejects advances. i could definitely use more satisfaction but i’ve become complacent and i know that’s on me.
we’re human. we work hard. we play hard. we aren’t gold medal sex achievers, but we’re also not dragging at the end of the line.
i think “open” for him is adventure not quantity (i think he would agree but maybe not). adventure is something i’ve done in my past - and would possibly consider again under the right circumstances.
- It sounds like you guys are *doing* the right thing. Between his desire for adventure and your complacency I recommend you both treat yourselves to some spice that will help in both of these areas. Two things I've tried are going on a sexcation or the Gottman Card Decks app (Gottman are well know relationship therapists.) Look at the Hot Salsa deck and I'm sure you will both find something mutually exciting in there. Back to your original post, I'd say not to go open. Don't try to change him, but you fell in love in the first place and the adventure is still in there 👍
- Microsoft 642tclThe truth is the concepts of fidelity and monogamy are just that concepts.
Human beings are inherently weak and flawed; if your partner wants something new, you need to determine if you can "value" your partner afterward.
If you think you'll see them as deficient or flawed in some way, the pack your bags; if you think you will still love them, then strap up for the ride.
All this will be irrelevant in your 60s when comfort and company are all you need.
- I’m sorry to hear this happened to you OP. Part of long term committed relationships and marriages is to forsake all others. It’s a continuous choice, not a single one, and he has shown that he doesn’t want to keep choosing you. He wants to “sometimes choose you.” It’s up to you whether you can be ok with that.
The only people I know who managed to have open relationships work had stellar communication and actively fought against jealousy. A communication breakdown led to both your needs and his needs not being met.
I’d try to fix what is between the two of you before you introduce a third or fourth person to your relationship. Just as having kids never makes a bad relationship better, the same is likely true of adding more people to the mix.
- It appears we work in the same company so I will be cautious in my suggestions and or advice in an open forum regarding this matter. PM me if you wish to discuss in private.
- I would say play the game . See how you feel. This is not a therapy topic . It’s something you can discuss with close friend and take from their. You start dating and see how you feel . Usually in this game guys lose due to miss match of quality demand supply . DM if you want to discuss more.
- Indeed / SalesthenetgearI'm two years in with a good partner. She suggested opening up the relationship 5 months ago. I went with it. Her reasoning was that given the opportunities I have in my life at my age, and she does as well(however, I live in a major city doing well in tech, she lives 2 hours away, so the opportunities are different) it's just natural for us to feel attracted to others since we only spend 1-2 days a week with each other. She was more worried that I'd cheat on her anyway so she wanted to give me "freedom"
5 months later, I've had my fun and I think it's time to give it up. It did lead to a lot of jealous on her end, and I feel bad juggling several relationships.
I'd say it changed things for the worst. We started having fights about things we never worried about, and made me question my love for her. Granted I've had 3-4 serious partners in my life and she has had none. So I think she wanted some perspective on things.
Ask me again in 3 months if we are still together
- General Motors / EnglanmoilingmoreDon’t agree to the open just because you are afraid you’ll lose him if you disagree now. I’m telling ya it’s not gonna work out if that’s your fear. Only agree to it if it’s similarly fun to you and have deep trust in each other - given the fact that he cheated, I’m guessing you don’t.
Under the pressure of my ex who wanted me to go open (due to his fantasies) I went, but didn’t like it. I stopped. I’m sorry that my relationship ended up not working out (for more than just this reason alone). But I don’t regret for one bit that I insisted on my stand.
- Amazon ivNk65He cheated on you. Even if you agreed, you’d still need to set boundaries and be able to trust him. How can you trust him? You can’t just move from cheating that to an open relationship, a status you were never interested in until someone you loved used it as a way that he’d stay with you. Time to move on.