Savage Love

Making a Move



Well played, Dan-o. Love to you.
Unawkward? Yeesh. The word is comfortable. Read a book. How do you know you won't like it if you've never even tried it?
Excellent advice, Dan. Thanks again, and kudos! I keep learning something sexually new every week.
OPEN. Yes, jealousy is a bitch. Sleeping with 4 people , though, hardly seems like fucking the whole neighbourhood. Sounds like your wife is having some fun. Just like you did, for the yr you were with your coworker.
Were you worried about gossip then? Are you worried about gossip now?
Guess you may just have to suck it up. What's good for the goose..
Is OPEN lonely? Reading between the lines, it sounds like he's having trouble meeting people in their new city. So while the wife is off having fun and banging new people, he's sitting at home alone. I think that's a different dynamic than when one person in an open couple is not getting any play but still living a fulfilling life.

I'm not sure what effect OPEN's possible social isolation would have on their agreement, but it's an additional factor worth considering (if it exists).
It seems to me that OPEN and his wife really did have different ideas about an open relationship: OPEN never wanted an open relationship at all - his wife did all along. People who really want open relationships do not respond to "let's open the relationship" with "why don't we try other solutions?" (especially considering that now that she is giving him as much sex as he wants he's no longer interested in outside sex.) OPEN only accepted the open relationship because his wife shot down his preferred alternatives, while pushing him to take an option that would put him in a position where he couldn't reasonably deny her what she wanted.

She was "willing" to try an open relationship? Hah!
OPEN - You may want to renegotiate a boundary of only deepening one or two preexisting relationships into romance a year, or something along these lines, to preserve social monogamy. Where preexisting relationships means spouse's relatives, coworkers, friends, neighbors.. And/or start meeting strangers to have discreet relationships.

Or, I think a good offer might be to have your wife pick one current lover, shut the rest down, and limit both sides to discreet relationships. At least it's not hypocritical.

You don't have to make this about promiscuity if the problem is social monogamy.

If the problem is promiscuity, then fine, talk to each other nicely about it and figure out what Ms OPEN needs and if you two can still work. Work much better I mean, since you're thinking vengefully about extreme shut downs, something must change.

@7 The whole thing started when his flirtatious texts were found.
@ Old Crow: those were my exact thoughts when I read OPEN's letter.
OPENs wife found flirtatious texts to co worker.. Wife , overweight, wasn't feeling very sexy(?), a discussion ensued where they "opened" the marriage.
Low and behold OPEN got with the co worker, the one he had been caught sending flirtatious texts to, for a yr long relationship. A relationship that only ended , when OPEN and his wife moved towns..
Wife had no extramarital sex during that yr. Now, having lost some weight,
She's going out to play.

He was pursuing some on the side (well, ONE on the side) during a period where she was exhibiting comparatively little interest in him, nor in exploring ways to generate interest in him. Now she seems to have a good deal more of her libido back, and he is happy to be interested entirely in her, but she seems to have quite a bit of interest elsewhere -- which is to say, once again comparatively not so interested in him.

So he got slapped with both hands in terms of feeling not very desired by her.

Reopening negotiations is ALWAYS an option.
I'll spare Ms Erica the trouble and tell the second LW to embrace his Inner Cuckold - on which matter I'll take her word that all opposite-sexer men have one.

At least the first LW has the grace to realize he shouldn't just swan in and expect instant adulation, but the guest reply depresses me. "Queer-friendly" is better than the contrary but it really isn't "just as good as queer proper" (an inference, but I think a justified inference). It would be nice to see some queer events that can be described as "straight-friendly" endorsed from time to time, but I won't hold my breath waiting.
@11; how do you know that? She may be hot for all of them.. Him included . Of course they can renegotiate - hey, it's their relationship. But to my reckoning, she's got a yr less 5 weeks of play left. Of course, if he wants to close it all down, because now he's jealous.. Doesn't seem quite fair to me.
@12, you don't play fair. I'm not a puppet that you get to put words in my mouth.
I think OPEN should wait a while and try to deal with his jealousy without asking her to change. It's uncomfortable, but not actually dangerous or unhealthy to feel jealous from time to time. He is entitled, however, to start using condoms with her if he feels she isn't showing good judgment in her partner selection.

And he could join some social clubs or classes, to get him out of the house and meeting people in this new city.
@13: I was describing a likely reaction on his part, based on her behaviors. He can't actually directly experience whether she is hot for him, he can only observe her behaviors. And there are a number of behaviors.

1) Her comparative lack of interest the previous year;
2) The additional rejection of not even being interested in trying to spice things up with him;
3) Opening up the relationship being her idea (i.e. looking for a solution outside the marriage rather than put energy into spicing it up);
4) This sudden interest in LOTS of new extramarital partners;
5) While not including him in the events that had room for him.

He would not be irrational to conclude that her level of enthusiasm for the others and for exotic activities, while continuing to not include him in the new fun, does not speak of high desire for him.

Be that as it may, if you want to quantify it, then she has a year less 5 weeks of play with one other partner. Not four of them.

I'm also now inclined to say she owes him an enthusiastic threesome. If she is not willing to go there with him -- or if she tries to send him off to get one that doesn't involve her, same way as hers didn't involve him -- that would confirm any such suspicions.
@ LW1 - you can be monogamous with a partner for 10 years (or in my case, 14 years) and yet find yourself doing new things between the sheets with someone new in short order, if the desire is there. Simply paying attention to what your new partner likes and how s/he likes it is a big help in that department.

Awkwardness is part of the territory, and can be appealing, I think.

And good for you, considering going for guys.
@16, nagging someone to show desire doesn't usually work. Instead he could explain his concern and what would help alleviate it (her initiating twice a week? Her being more GGG about porn & toys? her arranging a threesome?)

Make it clear, then drop it. See what she does. Maybe once she gets affirmed that she's sexy (by outside partners) she'll come back to the marriage with renewed energy. Or maybe that ship has sailed and she isn't attracted to him. Give it some time, and he'll figure out which it is.
@EricaP: I think OPEN should wait a while and try to deal with his jealousy without asking her to change.

While jealousy is the result of feelings of insecurity, in some cases those feelings are well founded. I think this is one of those cases for the reasons @avast2006 mentions.

It's one thing to seek an open marriage because your partner can't match your libido. It's another to seek it because you have no libido for your partner.
@16 What about the wife getting back in shape and having better and hotter sex with the LW? It doesn't sound like she's completely written him off and is still into him.

And the LW was hardly a monogamy saint. He had a year long emotional and physical relationship with a co-worker.

I'm wondering if maybe the problem was she didn't fit in well in their old place and now that she's found a place she does fit she's willing to be more adventurous.

Either way they need to talk and set some boundaries so they can both be happy in the relationship.
During the yr that jealous guy was having his affair, his wife lost weight, she didn't
Have sex with anyone else, their sex got better and was more frequent ..
Then they moved. His affair ended, and over a two month period( not 5 weeks ), she has , gone fucking the neighbourhood. How is 4 people fucking the neighbourhood? Jealous guy says nothing about their sex finishing.
He doesn't, now, want anything on the side. To me, his one yr relationship with one person , would be much more threatening , then a bit of playing around- which is what the wife is doing.
He is feeling insanely jealous. Why? Because she is fucking outside the marriage? Or because she is fucking multiple people ?
Was his wife jealous when he had his yr long affair? If so, did she tell him and if so did he adjust his behaviour as a result?
Maybe she's just getting her own back a bit, who really knows. Except her. She may just want to explore being outside the marriage, sexually, as he did.
Jealous guys qu is- should he close down the open marriage or ask her not to disclose her outside sexual activities.
Jealousy is an insidious emotion. Hard one to deal with. But hey, he's had his yr of extramarital fun.. It seems only fair, to me, that he gives her the same amount of time. And ask her to not disclose her activities. Then talk about closing down the open marriage ?
How to deal with his jealousy ? No idea.

I think that wanting lots of partners vs. wanting to be monogamous can be something as defined as sexual orientation. So maybe she's just someone who wants to have lots of partners. He could be one of her preferred partners (I think he is) and she could still want to have more partners, and more variety, than just him. If she didn't see him as sexually attractive I don't think she'd be having sex with him any more.

They've framed their open marriage deal as a deal where what both parties get out of it is the ability to have sex outside the marriage. And framed that way, it's clearly a bad deal for OPEN: he does not particularly want to have sex outside the marriage, and he really does not want her to have sex outside the marriage, while she very much wants to have sex outside the marriage (50 pounds do not just lose themselves!) and doesn't particularly seem to care whether or not he does.

But that's not really what the deal is. Yes, what she gets out of it is the sex outside the marriage that she really wants. But the main thing that he wants that he gets out of the deal is a happy wife who wants to have a lot of enthusiastic sex with him: not his option to have extramarital sex, which IMO should be seen as a secondary benefit. It should be obvious to him by now that a monogamous relationship with her where she is enthusiastic about having lots of sex is not one of his options. Even if she agreed to close the relationship again - and I wouldn't bet two cents on her being willing to do that - she'd just lose interest in sex again.

So I think that he needs to decide whether or not the things he likes about being in a relationship with this particular woman are worth what is to him a downside. That a cost to him of being in this relationship is that it's going to be open whether he wants it to be or not.

If he decides it's not worth it for him, then no blame on either of them. I see this as a sexual (in)compatibility issue.
@LavaGirl: She's not getting her own back. People who are jealous about their partners having sex with other people don't react to discovering their partners flirting with others by suggesting, repeatedly, that their partner have sex with the other person. She was capable of refusing to use porn or toys - surely she was capable of refusing to open the relationship, too, if she didn't want to do that.

I don't think that "he did it for a year, so she should get to do it for a year too" is a constructive way of looking at it. They both deserve to be in a relationship (or group of relationships) that makes each of them happy. Maybe this isn't that (those) relationship(s).
Old Crow; Fair Enough. So, an open relationship only continues when no jealousy occurs? I can only assume, jealousy often comes up in open marriages, is this true?
(I have no experience of this situation)... How do people in open marriages
Deal with jealousy?
I guess I just reacted to the " fucking the whole neighbourhood" line, seems such a put down. Implying that OPENS yr long affair was ok, but his wife's expression of her sexuality is just not quite ok.
Obviously these two need to talk.

Ms Erica - Sorry for guessing wrong; it wasn't a dig. I frequently, especially when depressed by the answer, have to perk up by guessing what others are likely to write, and have no objection to anyone's having a go at my response before me.
@25 -- Great! Now everyone will get to work reading a bunch of inter-war middlebrow British novels in order to ventriloquize vennominon! Can't wait!

(relurking now)
This is why any discussion of open relationships needs to come with an all-caps disclaimer that if it's a het relationship, you're introducing a massive power imbalance into the relationship.

LW: Renegotiate your relationship to one where you actually get what you want. You're allowed to have wants. You don't have to just do what your wife tells you while she does what she wants, if you're not into that.
@24: I think the point was that open relationships should only continue when both people are getting what they want out of it.

Often, if you're getting what you want, you're willing to tolerate some jealousy in exchange. LW isn't getting anything in exchange.
So how much commission did Polly Superstar earn for writing most of this week's column?
Now that LW 2 has lost his side relationship due to the move and his wife has other lovers, he wants to talk about shutting things down. And I suspect when he finds another flirtation that he wishes turns into a sexual relationship, he will want to talk about opening things up again.
Of course people have the right to renegotiate terms, but be fair. When it was him getting all the action, he was hunky-dory with it. This might be an opportunity to just sit with his feelings, and see if he can get past those feelings to enjoy seeing his wife feeling sexy and enjoying sex again. If not, maybe an open relationship is not for him, a thing that he should keep in mind the next time an attractive co-worker smiles his way.
@31: The open relationship wasn't his idea. His wife pushed for it, and now his wife is the only one enjoying it. There's no need to "teach him a lesson."
@31 - Yeah, but...he wrote the letter, hoping not to sound like an asshole. Nobody wants to think of themselves as an asshole. Didn't it seem like he protested a bit too much about it? HE was having an (at the time) out-of-bounds flirtation, but he TOTALLY didn't want to open the relationship, that was all her idea? I could hear it going something like this, when she confronts him about the flirtatious texts:
Him: "If you were more adventurous (toys, etc), more willing, less fat, I wouldn't have to look elsewhere!"
Her:"Fine, screw your playmate! See if I care! I'll find lovers of my own!"
Him (thinking his fat wife will never find anyone): "Good, I will!"
Then he proceeds to do so...and now he's crying foul when she does, too.
It could have happened exactly as he says, but it doesn't really ring true.
@31 - I might have missed something, but where did "teach him a lesson" come from?
Of course LW2 is jealous. He thought he would be the only one having sex outside the marriage. Once it turned around, and his wife was the desirable one...he's not such a big fan. Gasp.

LW2, how you deal with that jealousy depends a lot on what you really want. The fact that you had a physical AND emotional relationship outside your marriage makes me think you might not really want to be in it anymore. That's Question #1 to answer.

If you do want to stay, then Questions #2 - ??? you make your wife feel sexy? Really...ask her. What can you do to make her feel sexier? And vice versa - does she make you feel sexy? What are you both looking for in others? What are you looking for from each other.

You said that you talked it to death, but maybe you weren't talking about the right things.
@33: "If not, maybe an open relationship is not for him, a thing that he should keep in mind the next time an attractive co-worker smiles his way."

You're pretty obviously saying this is his proper comeuppance for flirting with a coworker. He got rejected, he got rejected some more, then he got rejected less, now he's getting rejected again. And you think he needs to be punished? Wow.
Sounds to me like what OPEN wanted was a more frequent monogamous relationship with his wife, and settled for getting his needs met outside when she rejected that idea and indicated that his libido was a burden she couldn't meet. It doesn't sound to me like he had sex with the coworker until after she pushed to open the marriage (I don't read that much into "flirtatious texts").

Then after 10 years of sexually rejecting him, her libido spikes and she has threesomes with others and not with him? Of course he's feeling jealous.

She needs to dial it back, and they should probably renegotiate the openness to a monogamish arrangement where the only outside partners are in group situations with both of them present, at least for a while. Either that, or they need to figure out why she had little libido for him specifically.
Ms Erica - Come to notice it, it appears that I deleted the "(if so supplied)" that was originally in the post after taking your word for it. That was an Oops.

M? Manx - Soothsaying doesn't have to extend to ventriloquism. But I shall maintain that the benefit to anyone in the increased familiarity with at least Miss Austen, Mr Wilde and Mrs Woolf that might be required to predict me well would be no less than on a par with the encyclopedic knowledge on all subjects falling under the letter A that accrued to the dupe of the Sherlock Holmes case *The Red-Headed League* when he was paid four pounds a week to copy out the Encyclopedia Brittanica.
@36, you're confusing the two letters. The first couple has been married and monogamous for 10 years. There's no indication in the second letter how long she hadn't been feeling as sexual as she had before, nor how long they'd been married, nor if they were monogamous for their entire relationship (pre- and post-wedding).
@36 Being a unicorn = easy to find threesomes. Dragging along hubby = really difficult to find threesomes. The husband is finding it difficult to shut down his wife's adventures after his year long affair. He should talk to her about his jealousy, but it does seem odd that a man so jealous (and he must have known he had that tendency) would agree to an open relationship to begin with. She didn't "push for it". She offered it and he took it, he was the only one acting on it for a year, despite her (even at her 50 extra pounds) having a hell of a lot more opportunity. He needs to tell her he's jealous, she needs to ramp it back until he can deal with his emotions (if he can), but there is almost certainly no way to reverse this situation back to monogamy again, especially since she's played around so much less than he has. He's the one who took the first step.
@36 Also, 4 partners in two months is in no way a crazy amount. Hubby maybe never had those kind of opportunities and it is shocking him to know his wife has options? He'd prefer her to have a long term partner she has feelings for? I'm not sure what he's hoping to get done, other than for her to salve his wounds, which she should if she wants to stay married to him, but he's got to be prepared for her to either fuck around or have someone she's emotionally attached to who isn't him. Which for most people would be even more jealousy inducing.
To LW#1 -- I had some misgivings that I would be a one-trick pony after being only with my wife for 14 years, and that my skillset wouldn't transfer to other women. That anxiety completed melted in short order; you have little to fear. You've probably really perfected a few things in your particular retinue - rely on those at first and you'll excel! Also know that the Brand New Shiny aspect is awesome and works both ways, and it will also bridge the gaps where 'awkward' resides. You're also now 10yrs older - you've got a lot more perspective, experience, and self-control -- and probably much more to talk about than when you were younger: you're now a much more interesting person to date. Congratulations!
Feel free to ignore whatsernames advice about sex clubs, kink parties, etc. if you want; there are plenty of sex-positive open/poly people out there who happen to find that stuff squicky, wierd, de-humanizing. 'Open' isn't synonymous with 'random' or 'anonymous' or even 'kinky'.
Have fun!
Another thought: perhaps OPEN is not polyamorous but rather "situationally polyamorous." He'd prefer to have his sexual/emotional needs met by his wife, but if that's off the table he's willing to go someplace else. Kinda like how situationally homosexual dudes (read: in prison, at boarding schools) prefer to have sex with women but are willing to fuck dudes if the former is not available.

If so, it's possible a bilateral open relationship won't work for him, unless they're geographically separated or something. Having his wife available for fucking means he only wants to fuck her.

OTOH, I totally see where the wife is coming from. I'm guessing she wasn't feeling that attractive being 50 lbs overweight, and on top of that had to deal with the jealousy of seeing her hubby romancing a thinner and (I'm guessing) younger woman. And now that she's finally-- FINALLY-- feeling attractive and desirable again, hubby wants to shut everything down.

I don't think there is an easy solution here.

One more thought: I've heard that (in general) women are more threatened by emotional affairs and men are more threatened by sexual affairs. If they hew to the patterns, it's possible that hubby was having what he considered to be less threatening extra-marital relations, and that wife is doing the same. And in reality, they each had (are having) the type of relations the other finds most threatening. Just something to consider.
@eudamonic, you've got me wrong. People learn in their relationships - or hopefully they do - when things go wrong. Not because of anyone's vindictiveness, but because that's one way we humans learn.
Dial it back, friend. No one's attacking you here.
OPEN might just feel left out of the threesomes.
@43, are you seriously claiming that #30 isn't written with smug "Let that be a lesson to you" mockery of a person who got talked into a something they don't want and is now suffering for it?

What is the relevant lesson he should think of when a coworker smiles at him?
LW 2 - I think the wife played him like a fiddle. She was interested in this all along, and used flirty texts as a hook to get him to agree, since he seemed to have external interest and he probably felt like he was in the wrong and wasnt in a position to argue. Then she let him start an affair, walking down a path where he doesnt have the grounds to object to what she is doing now.

No way she would have reacted by suggesting and insisting on opening up the marriage if she wasnt interested in that from the beginning.
LW 2 - I think the wife played him like a fiddle. She was interested in this all along, and used flirty texts as a hook to get him to agree, since he seemed to have external interest and he probably felt like he was in the wrong and wasnt in a position to argue. Then she let him start an affair, walking down a path where he doesnt have the grounds to object to what she is doing now.

No way she would have reacted by suggesting and insisting on opening up the marriage if she wasnt interested in that from the beginning.
@46: Exactly. But for some reason, he's the one getting his just deserts. God forbid we ever feel sympathy for a man who had something shitty happen to him.
What @30 said.

Am I the only one feeling that LW2 is (together with some of the people commenting above) slut-shaming his wife with all of that talk of "she's getting to know our new city by sleeping with everyone in the neighborhood"?

He has the right to feel insecure, and he should absolutely discuss it with her at length to understand why (fear of "what would other people say" as Dan thinks? fear that she will leave him?) and they should both work to find a solution that makes them both comfortable in their relationship.

But she has done absolutely nothing wrong by sleeping with 4 people in 2 months within the context of their mutually-agreed open relationship.
seandr @19 -- but now they have "better and more frequent sex." Unfortunately, he doesn't say whether the marital sex dropped off again since she began seeking outside sex. It would help to know whether he's getting enough sex now.

Old Crow @22: "[what] he gets out of the deal is a happy wife who wants to have a lot of enthusiastic sex with him."

Yes, this sounds like a helpful way of looking at their evolving relationship.

And I also agree with Aurora Erratic @30 that there's a certain fairness angle: when I was interested in someone who had herpes, my husband said no. But then when he was interested in someone who had herpes, he changed his mind. Amazing how having some personal interest helps you see why herpes is not that big a deal. If OPEN didn't want his wife to have sex with other people on her terms, then he should not have agreed to open the marriage. He can change his mind now, but he should understand that it won't seem reasonable to his wife.

OPEN should take some time to consider whether his needs are in fact being met currently and whether he can deal with their new arrangement. If he can't, then he can't. But maybe if he finds someone else on the side in this new city, then her sexual activity won’t seem so outrageous to him.

Mr. Ven @37, yes, better that way. Though I’d still prefer you let me decide what I want to address.
What a crap response to the last letter. Totally misses the point, which is that the letter writer never really wanted an open relationship to begin with. They need a long talk and yes - likely a renegotiation.
As for LW#2, it's generally (not always) baked into the gender dynamics that the woman -- if she is inclined to do so -- is fully capable of burying her man, numbers-wise. Apparently she IS inclined to do so. Maybe he didn't see this coming - either didn't have the imagination for it or thought that her *then* over-poundage would hinder it, or that a just-one-lover scenario would be where her interest lies - in short, something approximately symmetrical to his foray. Or maybe he's chafing at all that effort he put into his one situation, and contrasting it with the apparent ease with which she lines up her own fun-on-the-side over and over. I don't think it's too much for him to ask her to tone it down a bit, and to maybe help him experience some success in 'all this' again -- perhaps by trying to line up some threesomes/foursomes, or talking-up her man and extolling his virtues to others, or whatever. Not that it's a competition, but give him a chance to catch up, to feel like he's currently getting something out of the situation as it stands right now -- instead of an apparent 'getting even' (and then some?) exercise on her part (and not necessarily what her actions represent). More than anything else, it sounds like they both need to spend MUCH more time discussing this amongst themselves. Dan doesn't have a crystal ball -- only LW#2 and his wife can make the situation right for both individuals in this team.
@45 - Well, yes. I am seriously claiming that, because I never thought anything like "let that be a lesson to him."
The relevant lesson he should learn is that, while he might like to fuck others outside of his marriage, it makes him unhappy when his wife does the same. If he can't get past that, then open marriage is not for him.
I didn't say I don't feel any sympathy for him. Just because sympathy is not mentioned is not evidence of its absence.
We are getting one side of LW2's story, a story in which he's already afraid he will look like an asshole. I'm sorry, but I can't help but think it's possible that he's telling it in a way to make himself not look like such a douchebag. Plus, he never said that they stopped having sex, just that it was less frequent than he preferred. It is impossible for any two people to have perfectly matched sex drives, and compromise is part of any relationship. And for those of you who feel the writer got such a raw deal, remember that he didn't have to say yes to an open relationship to be having any sex, but he apparently said yes because he wanted more sex, or maybe just sex with that particular woman. Agreed that they probably need to close the relationship for now, but I think they need counseling, and he may need to do some soul searching about whether he was in love with the other woman he only ended things with when they moved and what that means for his marriage. I think much is being left out of this story.
@53: The relevant lesson he should learn is that, while he might like to fuck others outside of his marriage, it makes him unhappy when his wife does the same. If he can't get past that, then open marriage is not for him.

The reason why it's obvious that this isn't true is that we know he already knew both of those things--because the open relationship wasn't his idea, and he didn't want it and still doesn't--and neither has anything to do with what he should think about when a coworker smiles at him. He's been played. Why taunt him for it?
It sounds to me that OPEN was more interested in dating his co-worker than truly having an open relationship. This is evidenced by the slut-shaming of his wife, and the jealousy of her stepping outside of the marriage as agreed.
A lot of people seem to think jealousy is as immutable and implacable as the weather. I'm poly, and I've seen my husband go from 'seething jealousy' to 'yes, she's off to fuck the other guy, I can watch that movie she doesn't want to watch!' There may be such a thing as an intrinsically jealous temperment but we have no indication that's what this guy has. He seems situationally jealous.

If they talk about this and figure out why he feels threatened, and either speak to his insecurities or make adjustments to their arrangements to answer those fears, he might just feel fine, and be happy to continue to reap the benefits of a happy wife and freedom to flirt (whether or not you think he wanted the open relationship first time 'round, he definitely wanted to flirt). No guarantee, but acting like jealousy is an intrinsic dealbreaker rather than an emotion that means the situation needs attention isn't going to get them anywhere.
"We talked it to death before deciding we should move into (open) uncharted waters."

And yet the common issue of the wife having an easier time finding partners never came up? Huh.
4 partners in two months is in no way a crazy amount.

No? I've had 1 partner in 50 years. (Not counting commercial partners i. e. sex workers.) Oh well.
For someone who didn't want an open relationship, OPEN did a good job of engaging in one for a year. If you don't want to sleep with other people then you don't sleep with other people.

I find the idea that his wife planned the whole thing laughable. We're supposed to believe that OPEN's wife gained 50 lbs on purpose, got hubby to send flirty texts to his coworker, and forced hubby to sleep with his coworker for a year so that a year later she could lose 50 lbs (cause that's super-easy...) , move to a new town, and start fucking everyone (all 4 of them) in sight?

OPEN was ok with the open relationship when he was the one getting off. Now that he isn't the one getting off he cries foul. Yeah, this is all his wife's fault.
@55: I don't think he was played. Wife was 50 pounds overweight and not fucking anyone on the side. It wasn't until after she lost the weight that she started playing with others. While I suppose it's possible she's a fucking grandmaster at long-range thinking, I don't think she wanted an open relationship that she would only make use of after dropping all that weight-- weight she had been unsuccessful at losing before.

Relationships are all about change: in this case, changed weight, feelings, and hometown. I think it's easier to navigate that change as a couple if you don't assume the other person was running a Batman gambit.
@42: One more thought: I've heard that (in general) women are more threatened by emotional affairs and men are more threatened by sexual affairs. If they hew to the patterns, it's possible that hubby was having what he considered to be less threatening extra-marital relations, and that wife is doing the same. And in reality, they each had (are having) the type of relations the other finds most threatening. Just something to consider.

This is insightful.
@59 why don't escorts count? It's a common way of addressing what @58 calls the "issue of the wife having an easier time finding partners."

Newbie Slut -

Welcome to San Francisco! You’re going to love it here!

A great resource to know about is MAGNET, on 18th Street near Castro. Its primary mision is free STI testing and treatment but don’t let that scare you - it also functions as a friendly community hangout with an art gallery and evening events. If you’re going to become more sexually active you owe it to yourself (and your wife) to get regular sexual health checkups, and this is a place where you can just drop in and ask questions, pick up pamphlets, check out the bulletin boards, and see lotsa cute guys.

Hang out in the Castro - by yourself or with your wife - get a coffee or sandwich, be an observer (the street life is very entertaining) and introduce yourself to people. It’s totally OK to be friendly without assuming sexual intent. Go to Cafe Flore, Peets on Market, the Castro Theater, check out the different bars to find out if any of them suit you.

Younger guys in San Francisco seem to prefer hooking up via app, while us older guys still continue to use the old fashioned method of outdoor cruising. Get the SCRUFF app. You can use it to observe and chat in addition to hooking up. Remember an app is just one of many ways to meet guys, and wherever you go some guys will be friendly and honest and some will be flakes. Gravitate to the friendly and honest ones.

Get on the mailing list of Comfort and Joy - it’s a Fairie and Burning Man oriented group that throws sex/dance parties a few times a year.
Thank you @30. You said it well. My response too.
Does anyone else find it strange, the disconnect between Dan's attitude towards bath-houses and his attitude towards sex parties? Aside from the type of venue, how do they differ?
@35; no where in the letter does OPEN say he is now being rejected. His wife is off playing, doesn't mean he is being rejected.
One assumes they are still having good sex.
Oh and get yourself to a nude beach! Marshall's beach is just west of the Golden Gate bridge and easy to reach (once you find parking). North of the GG Bridge in Marin is Black Sands beach, gorgeous and remote-feeling, but it can be difficult to find the trail head your first time. Or drive south to Grey Whale Cove or San Gregorio.
@46; yeah, played such a good hand, she waited a yr to play it! Remember she was. 50lbs overweight. No small extra amount.
Talked him into an open marriage ? Yeah right . And look, just the person there to go to. How lucky was that.Didn't have to go searching too far at all! Lucky him.
@69: At the start, she wants him to stop wanting more sex, and he wants more sex. He'd prefer to have it with her. She says no, go elsewhere. So that's what they do; win/win--he gets sex, she stops being bothered--but not quite what he wanted.

Now, she wants to have sex with other people, and it's easy for her, so she does. He gets... what?
We should drop the pretense that he has to "pay" for what he got earlier. This is the usual bullshit game where you pretend that an earlier compromise was actually a total capitulation, in order to demand total capitulation in exchange for nothing.
@70, What does he get? Apparently, he gets a wife who feels sexy and enjoys sex, both with him and without him. The last update he provides on their marital sex life is: "we started having better and more frequent sex."
For someone to be rejected on a very regular basis and then have the rejector turn around and be seemingly undiscerning and accepting to everyone else would be very insulting. I'm experiencing intense jealousy FOR HIM, and I very rarely experience any form of jealousy- I'm one of those annoying "too much compersion to feel jealousy"-type poly people. His logical mind might be able to correlate her increased libido with her improved self-image and self-worth, but his emotional mind would only be able to see a giant "I find everyone but you sexually attractive" sign.

For instance, she's had *multiple* threesomes with her BFF and her BFF's husband... was he ever invited? Even if he doesn't want to participate (as a semi-sexual, I understand that), is he included at all in the sexual dynamic between those three? When she spends time with them that ISN'T having sex, is he there as well? Do they act completely non-sexually when he's around so that he is completely excluded from the sexual side of their relationship? If they are instead still flirty when he's around, do they include him in the flirty jokes and banter so that he feels that he would be welcome to participate if he wanted to? These are things they should explore to see just how big and strongly lit the "Everyone But You" sign his emotional brain sees is.

If jealousy is the fear of rejection or replacement, then it seems a perfectly reasonable response from someone who experienced long-term systemic rejection and is now specifically excluded from the acceptance granted to everyone else. He has literally experienced rejection AND replacement, so being afraid of experiencing them is hardly an irrational response.

Further, he had a single outside partner for an extended period of time while his sexual needs were being unmet with his primary partner, and is now uninterested in outside relationships that all his needs are being met. This suggests to me that he is more monogamish or poly-fidelitous than promiscuous, which would likely mean that his romantic and intimate needs are stronger than his sexual needs. Take someone who is driven by intimacy and connection and put them with someone who is bursting forth for the first time from sexual repression, and you have a recipe for emotional needs being ignored.

While I don't begrudge her exuberance and excitement for her new-found sexual desires and freedom, when we get something new and exciting it's not only easy to forget our other obligations, it's actually difficult not to! When the package with our new gadget finally arrives, we may be 30 minutes into setting it up before we remember we had a pot of soup on the stove and that that's why the smoke detector is suddenly going off.

Likewise, I think her excitement for her new sexual adventures might be distracting her from considering his emotional needs. Especially if his sexual needs are sated and he doesn't want to participate in her extra-marital activities, as she might erroneously assume that his emotional and intimacy needs must be met, too.
@72: Well put.

@71: "The wife is happy" is not actually the husband getting anything out of it. You know that husbands are still people, right? If one person is having fun and the other one isn't, that's not a benefit for the other person, because he is not that person.

In a relationship of equals, screwing over one person for the benefit of the other is not win/win.
"If one person is having fun and the other one isn't, that's not a benefit for the other person, because he is not that person."

Cause she was having so much fun when he was screwing his co-worker.

@29; it's called free advertising. Even I checked out this party website, and I live in Australia- bit of a hike if I wanted to visit one.
@74: Cause she was having so much fun when he was screwing his co-worker.

Ah, here's the "pretending that wasn't a compromise" bullshit again. They were in a situation where each person was getting (some of) what they want. Now they aren't. You keep saying otherwise, as a pretext for dismissing this guy's misery. Why?

But hey, at least nobody's called him a rapist yet, so you're all doing better than usual. Congratulations!
@73; no one is suggesting any one drew anyone over.
It is just hypocritical of this man to now, when his wife , having lost weight, feels like finally acting in the " open marriage" , want to call it quits. So he's jealous, and?
There's something about this mans attitude that is just off, to me.
I meant screw. Rushing out the door.. 8.07 am Thursday morning here.
@66: I obviously can't speak for Dan, but I have been to a sex party (in SF, even), and it was not like what I imagine a bathhouse to be. It mostly seemed to be for fucking the person you came in with and watching/flirting with/meeting others, not for fucking new people. Also, condoms were very much available. (I don't know if that part is different.)
@EricaP: You occupy a prominent place in @ven's mind. I'd consider that a compliment.

I missed the part about her renewed interest in him, which is certainly a mitigating factor.

Still, if a woman took me on that kind of ride - no sexual interest in me due to poor body image, pushes for open marriage, libido returns when she looses weight, suddenly she's fucking everyone - I think I'd have her stop and let me off.

Who knows where it's going next, especially considering that 99% of dieters regain their old weight back plus some extra.
@76 Ah, you're operating for the "he was forced into an open relationship" bullshit again.

No one made OPEN have a physical and emotional relationship with his co-worker. If the idea was so anathema to him he could have said no, but he didn't because he wanted to fuck his coworker. I bet if he still had his co-worker to bone there wouldn't be an issue.

@77: There's something about this mans attitude that is just off, to me.

I know. It's not hypocrisy, though, because originally, he wanted to have sex with her, she didn't want to have sex with him, and she suggested having sex with someone else. So that's what they did. That's the situation they were in.

Now, he wants to have sex with her, and she wants to have sex with (what looks to him like) everyone else she knows. He doesn't want an open relationship, and he never did. He was willing to accept one as a compromise (instead of not having sex at all).

Since he's not in any way a hypocrite, what's bothering you isn't hypocrisy. It's pretty obvious what it really is, though, because you all do this every time the male half of a relationship is getting a shitty deal. There's just got to be some way for it to be all his fault, and for him to be a whiner...
@82 "He was willing to accept one as a compromise (instead of not having sex at all)."

The letter writer doesn't even say that they weren't having sex at all, just less than he wanted. God forbid someone have decide to not have sex when he or she doesn't feel attractive.

"She was not that interested in sex, as she'd gained about 50 pounds. I was still attracted to her, but I was rejected half the time."
Eudaemonic @73, usually when one puts things in quotes and cites them to a particular source, they're supposed to be things that were actually said by that source.

You're telling me @73 that there's no benefit to having a wife who enjoys frequent sex with you versus having a wife who sometimes tolerates sex with you but never enjoys it?

@73: I was the person who originally suggested that what he is actually getting out of the deal is a happy wife (in my post 22).

And actually, in general, if something makes someone I love happy without directly benefiting me, then I consider that a (indirect) benefit to me. Now, if that something that's benefiting the person I love is also directly harming me, then I have a decision to make (based on how much harm and how much benefit.) But it's not a one-sided thing.
And rejected 50% of the time? And with that much rejection, he probably only asked 1/4 of the times he wanted it.

I think the people blaming him are nuts. Nuts, and completely trapped in the gender stereotype narratives:
- it's always the man's fault
- if the woman is sad, it's the man's fault
- if the man is sad, it's probably because he's being greedy or perverted and he needs to "man up" and quit being so selfish.

Seriously, if SHE had had the long-term relationship with only one person while he had no sex drive, and then when he got his drive back, HE started having sex with multiple partners, including threesomes without her, people would Lose. Their. Minds.

Hell, forget the second part of the story, all it would take is him regularly rejecting her advances because he felt overweight for people to villainize him and consider her completely justified fulfilling her needs elsewhere.
It seems clear that an open relationship, to the LW, means "I get to fuck someone else, but you don't." Apologies for not having access to scientific literature, but among the people I know, it is usually the guy who wants to fuck someone else while denying his wife the same freedom.
@84: None of that matters, because sex comes standard. Having a partner who will have sex with you isn't something he ought to have earn through misery, because it's a normal part of a relationship.

Look. A husband's feelings are not a subset of his wife's feelings. He is a separate person, and not a less-important one. Her getting what she wants is not the same as him getting what he wants.
You keep pointing to her happiness when I ask where his is.

Good for her and bad for him is not the same as good for them. If someone takes all of your money and gives it to me, you still get to be unhappy. Even if it makes me happy, because you are not me.

If someone thought you should accept "But it makes Eudaemonic happy" as justification for hurting you for my benefit, you'd think they saw you as less important than me, wouldn't you?
@87 Almost all the poly triads I know are MFM. You knowing a bunch of guys who are jerks seems an awful pretense for prejudice.
@86: It's pretty funny that Sarah in Olympia immediately jumps in to prove you're right. Did you guys coordinate that?
@88 "None of that matters, because sex comes standard... it's a normal part of a relationship."

And suddenly all the asexual people feel a little more judged and a little less important.
@82: You've done pretty well at empathizing with the husband. Now let's try empathizing with the wife:

Over the last few years, you've slowly but surely put on 50 pounds that you can't seem to lose. You've become socially invisible as a result (this happens to overweight women, btw), and your self-esteem goes to shit. You feel gross and unattractive, and while your husband is still apparently into you-- bless his heart-- you're so put off by your own appearance that you often can't get in the mood.

Your husband is acting suspiciously, so you do something you swore you never would, and you snoop through his email. Lo and behold, you find a bunch of flirty texts to the cute coworker you met at the last Christmas party. You remember, the one with the low-cut top who seemed a little too into your husband. You feel crushed, to put it mildly, and spend a week or so figuring out what to do. Eventually you put on your big girl pants and try to see it from hubby's perspective: he's not getting enough sex, so of course he's going to roam. What can you do? You don't want a divorce, and you can't make yourself want more sex than you already do. So you give your husband your blessing and open the marriage.

The next year is, frankly, terrible. Your husband doesn't just fuck the girl; he has a full blown relationship with her: dinner, flowers, etc. All the things you used to enjoy when you were dating him. Meanwhile, you feel as fat and unattractive as ever, and make no effort to meet other guys. (Aside: it's not like she wouldn't have options.) But for some reason-- maybe it's the jealousy, maybe it's the free time-- you seriously begin exercising and watching our diet. And for some reason, those 50 pounds you could never shake before start coming off.

And you. feel. GREAT! Your energy is back, your body is back, people pay attention to you again. Your libido comes back too, and you fuck your husband more often and more enthusiastically. Then one day, a cute guy makes a pass at you, and you remember: that's right! I'm in an open relationship! I can totally go there! So you do. For the first time, the open relationship isn't something you settled on to keep your husband happy; it's something that you like, too.

And then he says he wants it closed again.

Is it possible you might be just a teensy pissed that he waited until his affair was over-- the affair you hated and kept quiet about-- before suggesting you close the relationship?
Is someone actually suggesting that all hetero men have a cuckold fetish? That is totally absurd.

I'm open to lots of things and not offended by anyone else's kinks, but a fetish for being cuckolded is up there in terms of perverse wrongness, to me, with wearing diapers and wanting to be pissed on. All three ideas are absolutely repulsive to me.
@Rûth, @Eudaemonic: You dare to accuse women of gender bias, double standards, and hypocrisy? Here on SLOG??

Release the hounds!
@88 They were having sex. Just not good sex (her perspective), and not enough of it to suit him (his perspective). He also wished they could try new things, but she wasn't into that. So they had a pretty unsatisfying marriage.

The solution to that (barring young children) is usually to get divorced. Not to sleep with another woman and claim that you're just getting the normal marital allowance of sex and so your wife isn't allowed to recharge her own sexuality until you say so. Note: that's not the LW's position; that's Eudaemonic's position.

I don't see either husband or wife as a jerk. After four years of marriage, they didn't have much sexual connection. They took separate paths toward their separate goals. For a while it seemed to bring them back together ("better and more frequent sex"). Now, they've hit a new road block.

They have to deal with each other as real people, with differing sexual needs. Maybe their needs aren't compatible. That doesn't make either of them bad people.

Though, personally, as someone who has had sex with four new people in an evening (and Mr. P. has done likewise; different evening (both were SF sex parties, so, yes, at some parties people do screw strangers @79)) -- I'm not on board with calling four people in two months "crazy."
@93, no, vennominon said I thought that -- but I dont.
@92: You're leaving out the part where you then have threesomes with your friends (without the husband) and then another outside hookup, and then another, and then another, all while he gets the thrill of sitting around at home being miserable because what he wants is you. You're also leaving out the part where he asked if there was anything he could do, and she decided to open the relationship instead of trying to salvage her libido.

And you added a part about him saying he wants it closed again. Right now, as far as we know, he's suffering in silence while she has her fun--which is apparently the only option that's acceptable to you all.

Isn't it interesting that, in order to make her look sympathetic, you needed to change the important parts of the story?

If the genders were reversed here, you people would be going apeshit on the person having all the fun.
@97: I left those parts out because they're not relevant. They agreed to open the relationship; there was no stipulation on how many sexual partners they could have outside the marriage.

Let me put it this way: suppose instead of having casual sex, the wife had a romantic affair with one of her co-workers while hubby sat at home miserable. What difference would that make? He'd still be miserable and still be wanting to take the open relationship back.

I also think it's interesting you feel the need to choose sides. Conflicts don't always have a "bad guy"-- in fact, they usually don't. I can empathize with the dude while also seeing his wife's perspective. Why can't you?
Ms Erica @71 - This seems the reverse of the usual narrative. "Happy Wife, Happy Life" doesn't apply. Her dropping weight and their improved sex life predated her outside encounters. Either "Happy Life, Frisky Wife" or "Frisky Hubby, Wife Lost Chubby" seems more accurate in this case, though I don't think this one suits a capsule summary.

(Now I'm reminded of Up the Down Staircase and the guidance counselor with her Pupil Personality Profiles and their Capsule Characterizations.)

Now that we're in the area, one wonders what's going on with the Hortons.
@95: The solution to that (barring young children) is usually to get divorced. Not to sleep with another woman and claim that you're just getting the normal marital allowance of sex and so your wife isn't allowed to recharge her own sexuality until you say so. Note: that's not the LW's position; that's Eudaemonic's position.

EricaP: First you pretend the open relationship was his idea, despite being called on it repeatedly, and now you pretend I'm the one saying that?

Wow. Think about it for a moment: If you were right, would you need to keep saying things that aren't true?

Working yourself into strange contortions to justify sexist bullshit is more work than it's worth. Trust me--that moment when you realize you don't actually need to do it? It feels amazing. It's just so much easier once you stop doing it. It feels scary, but it's worth it.

You can just stop. It won't actually cost you anything to admit that sometimes bad things happen to men and it's not always their fault.
@92 She secretly must have disliked his relationship, so he has to suck it up and isn't allowed to have any feelings about or input into the relationship anymore!?

*facepalm* That's what you got out of this? The gender-normative stereotypes are strong with this one.

@95 "Note: that's not the LW's position; that's Eudaemonic's position."

I thought Eud's position was "don't demonize the guy".