'After 20 years, we opened up our marriage. Here are the rules that worked for us.'

We were on our way to a Matildas game up the coast when I brought up the idea of an ENM relationship. I didn’t know the term then – Ethically Non-Monogamous – I just called it an open marriage.

"I want to talk about us potentially changing the parameters of our marriage..."

It probably sounds a little out of the blue. But I think over our twenty-plus year relationship, we’d always been heading that way. We were both flirtatious, had experienced threesomes, and kissed others on drunken nights out, but it was never seen as a betrayal. We always told each other everything without fear or judgment, a cornerstone of our relationship.

Watch: One woman shares why she needed to try an open marriage. Post continues after video.

Video via YouTube/TODAY.

In addition, I’d always known I was bisexual, but my experiences with women were few and far between. Our marriage's freedom and trust allowed me to explore this without hiding or cheating.

Despite this, my suggestion took him by surprise—this was a new level of openness. Once we’d reached Gosford and found our seats, ready to watch the Matildas take on Thailand, my husband started asking questions. How would it work? What would the rules be? That’s when I knew he was interested.


People often assume those who open their marriage are fixing something broken or replacing something missing. While that may be true for some, for many others, it’s the opposite. We have a happy marriage with a healthy sex life; this was about enhancing that relationship.

Next, we figured out how it would work. Both of us were interested in casual encounters rather than full relationships – we weren't looking to be polyamorous. We envisioned allowing things to happen organically if one of us met someone while out. However, my husband pointed out it’s generally easier for women to pick up than men.

To address this, we considered 'taking it in turns' for fairness. Eventually, we decided to use dating apps. Traditional apps like Tinder weren’t ideal as they focused on singles. We discovered Feeld, an app suited to our needs, allowing us to have individual profiles connected as a married couple.

My husband wanted to keep our ENM relationship a secret. I pointed out potential issues, like the risk of someone thinking they’d caught us cheating. While we didn't need to announce it to the world, we had to be prepared for people within our circle to know the truth. And now, here I am writing an article about it... oops.

I’m not going to pretend it’s been completely trouble-free. Almost two years later, we’ve had our ups and downs. There have been moments of extreme jealousy (mostly on my part), and we’ve both met our fair share of jerks. There was the pretentious single who assured my husband ENM spelled disaster. A guy who played too fast and loose with consent.


Then there was the group chat with two couples we’d hit it off with... until one guy started sending homemade BDSM videos without a single NSFW warning. One of the other women in the chat summed it up: "Dude, I was next to my grandma when I opened WhatsApp—not cool."

On the other hand, there’s been a surprising benefit: new friendships. I never expected to develop close friendships with other ENM couples where we chat about everyday life and go to one another’s birthday parties (and sometimes sneak off for a kiss).

Another bonus of ENM is knowing that if someone ghosts you or turns out to be a creep, the stakes aren’t high because I’m not looking for the love of my life—I already have him.

Of course, there are risks. What if one of us meets someone and gets... feelings? We’re not naïve; we know this isn’t something you can control. But we trust our relationship is solid, and at the end of the day, what is meant to be will be.

Our journey into ethical non-monogamy has been one of the most transformative experiences of our lives. Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way:

  • Consent, respect, and communication are key.
  • Check-in with one another regularly.
  • Set clear boundaries. These can evolve, but mutual agreement is crucial.
  • Be honest with yourself and each other. Transparency is essential for trust.

It’s no surprise that I wove an ENM relationship into my latest novel, Every Last Suspect. While my books are fiction, bits and pieces from my life often sneak into the plot. Unfortunately, for the main characters, Harriet and Malek, the ENM pathway didn’t go to plan, but that’s because they didn’t communicate properly and honestly – as advised above.


Ethical non-monogamy isn’t for everyone, but for us, it’s been a journey of growth and deeper connection. If approached with love, respect, and open communication, it can enhance your relationship and allow you to embrace the unexpected.

Every Last Suspect by Nicola Moriarty. Image: Supplied.

Every Last Suspect by Nicola Moriarty (published by HarperCollins) is out now.

Feature image: Instagram @nicmoriarty.

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