"Confession: I have a lover. And my husband approves."

The thought of sharing your partner with another person, for most of us, is unfathomable. For couple Stephanie and Samuel it’s what keeps them together.

Stephanie and Samuel (not their real names) are in a ‘monogam-ish’ relationship. The term describes a couple who choose to pursue and engage in sexual activity outside of their relationship yet stay emotionally committed emotionally to each other. They are mostly monogamous – but make exceptions for sex.

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The way Stephanie and Samuel conduct their relationship is different from the broadly-perceived ‘norm’. But it is worth taking the time to understand the reasons they chosen this path.

Stephanie, 37, and Samuel, 31, live in Queensland and have been married for more than four years. They have been in a committed relationship for just over 7 years and have a 6-month-old son together.

About two years ago, Stephanie was encouraged by her husband to go to the website Ashley Madison (an online dating service marketed to people who are already in a relationship) to find a man to have sex with outside their relationship. (Post continues after gallery.)

Initially she thought he was suggesting the option to alleviate his own guilt, but that wasn’t the reason. In fact, he was quite content with his ‘sexual conquests’ from his single years.

His motivation was simple: the thought of her having sex with another man turned him on. He also knew she had a considerable sexual appetite and wanted her to be satisfied.

“Our agreement is that he needs all the details. He has access to all messages and I have to give him a dirty little story about my meetings. I, however, do not wish to know any of the details if he sees another woman,” Stephanie says.

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“Initially in the back of my mind, I thought there was going to be a catch. I thought that at some point, he’d ask for a favour in the future. It took me a while to warm up to meeting other men.”

Stephanie has met three different men using the site and has continued to have sexual relations with one man on an ongoing basis. She calls him ‘the casual’.

“I offered my husband [the chance] to go find another woman, but he declined.” (Image via iStock)

“He used to come to my house once a week but since having my baby, it’s become a little difficult. So now, it’s just whenever we can. If my husband is home early, he will take our son out so my casual can come over. Even during my pregnancy, my casual still visited me because my husband was not comfortable with my bump.

“I offered my husband [the chance] to go find another woman, but he declined.”

When questioned about the intimacy involved and the potential to develop stronger feelings for one of these men, Stephanie admitted that at times it was difficult for her and her husband. Not now.

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“The naughty texting reminds me of the fun I used to have with my husband and it brings it back into our relationship.

“When the flings first started, my husband didn’t like this other man getting too much attention. Over time he did some reading and investigation and explained to me that (of course) some feelings will grow and he is absolutely fine with that. I will not deny there are some feelings but I love and respect my husband and he knows no one will replace him.

“I can certainly say I can divide my feelings and separate myself from love and lust”.

"We both feel it’s not really natural to be with just one person for the rest of your life."

It’s easy to assume an open relationship is full of kinkiness and three or foursomes. Stephanie and Samuel is more about them both exploring different, separate sexual experiences and remaining satisfied sexually. But that’s not to say they rule different scenarios out – it’s more they are just not interested them right now. In fact, Stephanie can’t see either of them stopping anytime soon.

“Because of all the positives it has brought to our relationship and sex life I don’t think we will stop doing what we are doing. Even after having a baby, it has kept me feeling wanted.”

Stephanie says although she had to wade through some pretty horrendous “dick pics” and sleaze balls on the site, she found herself able to eventually whittle it down to men she could meet for a drink, then, if she felt comfortable, leave and have sex with them. During these liaisons, her husband always had access to all the details and they would text in code while she was out so he was aware of her movements.

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She’s adamant the move from a monogamous to a monogam-ish relationship, has brought them closer together.

“Both of us have always been confident in our sexuality and have always been open minded, but just needed a little push from each other,” she says. “It just perfectly suits our desires. We know it’s what will keep us together. We both feel it’s not really natural to be with just one person for the rest of your life.

“It has definitely brought us closer together. I love my husband but he understands me and knows me more than I know myself.

“He knows I have a naughty side, that I enjoy sex and like the risk and challenge associated with these meetings. My husband has also had to warm up to his own ideas. He felt abnormal. Is it right to be turned on by your wife sleeping with other men?

“He appreciates that I accept him and don’t treat him like he is weird or odd.”

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This article was originally published on Debrief Daily. Read the original article here.

Would you ever consider sleeping with someone else while in a committed relationship?