The truth about my open marriage — and no, I don’t want to sleep with your spouse. Or do I?
Everyone has a secret. Things we don’t want people to know because we are embarrassed, too proud, or too private. We keep secrets because some things are too intimate and special for anyone else to know. But sometimes we keep secrets because we may feel like we will be harshly judged and don’t want to invite the criticism that may follow. Often, we just simply don’t know who we can trust with sensitive information because it might illicit unwanted gossip.
For example, you would never know I have an “open” marriage. I’m not the lady in the four inch heels at school pick-up that wears skin-tight jeans or has DD implants. I don’t have wild parties where people stagger home with someone else’s spouse because they picked their car keys from a bowl on the coffee table. I’m just another mum who drives a sensible car, does the shopping, goes jogging to stay fit — and occasionally has sex with men who are not my husband.
If I ever told you about this part of my life — which I probably wouldn’t unless you were an extremely close friend — your first reaction might be “What? How? But…what about your kids?”
Surely, you already have an image in your mind about what an open marriage is.
It’s often mistaken for polygamy, where a man lives together with multiple women like the show Sister Wives or Big Love. Or you might think that it’s a convenient excuse for a husband to have sex with other women without losing the security of having a wife or the social complexities of having a mistress.
What most people who have never experienced an open marriage might not understand is that every open marriage is different. And it’s probably not what you think, unless you know someone personally who has one. (And you probably do, you just don’t know it yet!).
Not everyone in an open marriage is some kind of sex-addicted freak-show. Between household duties, raising children and having a meaningful relationship with my husband, I do not have a lot of time to dedicate to having sex with other people, even if I wanted to.
I do not have sex with every man I meet. I do not want to steal your husband. I do not even want to have sex with your husband. I do not have sex at the supermarket or soccer practice or bring strange men into our home.
My open marriage did not start out as such. It was very much closed with a big, iron door and the thought of that ever changing never once crossed my mind in the first 13 years of our marriage. My husband, on the other hand, had been making threesome jokes for at least 10 of those 13 years and often wondered out loud about all the sex he missed out on in his youth.
He grew up in a very conservative family where sex before marriage was considered a sin. I had a similar upbringing but had secretly given in to my desires and had been with someone before I met my husband. I felt incredibly guilty about it because that’s not what “good” girls do.