I'm friends with the wife of a straight married couple, both Doms in an unprofessional capacity. After many years of marriage, my friend fell for a hot sub. She and her husband decided to open up the marriage. While she was occupying herself with her sexy new man, her husband found a sub girlfriend. Yay! Life is perfect forever. Except that, after focusing more on her boyfriend than her husband for a year, my friend got dumped by her boyfriend and now her husband is emotionally and sexually occupied with his girlfriend. She's been dating casually but seems miserable about it and, from our conversations, it seems like she's heartbroken on two fronts.

She thinks that because she introduced the idea of an open relationship, she has no right to ask her husband to close the marriage by dumping his girlfriend or relegating her to a less central, time consuming portion of his life. I agree that it's unfair but have been encouraging her to go ahead and push the door shut for a while until she's feeling better because she's so hurt. Where do you weigh in: Does fairness matter when a marriage is at stake?

Somewhere Between Curious And Concerned

My response after the jump...


For crying out loud.

What is up with all the letters from married folks in open and/or poly relationships who have screwy boundaries and communication problems?

First there was Not Ready To Stop. Then there was Potentially Traumatized Sexual Deviant. And now here's your letter, SBCAC. It's starting to look like anti-poly-and-or-open-relationship types are conducting a covert letter-writing campaign in an effort to make people in poly and/or open relationships look like lousy and/or inconsiderate partners.


Yes, SBCAC, fairness matters when a marriage is at stake. But instead of rehashing my feelings about these sorts of situations—go read the columns linked to above—I'm going to lift a quote from a commenter:

"Dan's ... idea of an open relationship is one where the primary partner gets to call everything off and force the other primary to break up with their other partners at a moment's notice."

What exactly about the word "primary" don't you understand?

If you run into a rough patch, and keeping the relationship with one or more "secondaries" is more important than the feelings of the "primary" then the "primary" has become the lesser of the two considerations. That's the definition of "secondary."

To recap: if Mrs. Dom is Mr. Dom's primary partner, SBCAC, then he needs to be made aware—he should want to be made aware—that the current state of affairs is making his primary partner miserable. Once informed, Mr. Dom should be only too happy to either take a break or—at the very least—cut back on date nights with his secondary partner until his primary partner, the Dom woman he married, isn't feeling miserable and heartbroken.