Savage Love Letter of the Day: Is My Husband Too Hot for Us to Open Our Relationship?

Comments

1

Oh man. This woman is doomed.

2

The only issue I see is that OPENER is worried she doesn't measure up to the women hubby could be getting with. She needs to build her self esteem up, and once she feels like a valid partner for her husband, the prospect of having a fully open marriage probably won't feel nearly as threatening to her.

3

Lots more talking required here. Get on the same page. Be allies. Work on trust.

4

I think you’re going way too easy on the woman’s husband. “That’s the end of it”? Blaming her for “putting it into his head”? That’s not how that works. I get that she shouldn’t expect him not to see other people too just because they happen to be opposite gender, but as soon as she made the misunderstanding clear, he doubled down and she had to completely fall to pieces before he relented. That’s not what a loving, communicative partner does, and it makes me highly dubious of his ability to ever muster the honesty necessary for an open relationship to work.

5

@4 Agree completely. He's a controlling ass and they should just get divorced.

6

This one doesn't look like it's headed towards success and happiness. She's a wreck and he's an asshole.

7

I remember having the conversation with my husband, that the LW described her husband having with her: I told him I was giving him permission to find a mistress or date other women. It was because I had finally admitted to myself that I wasn’t attracted to him sexually (which I also told him – and which devastated him), and because I was having an affair. I wasn’t yet ready to tell my husband about my lover, but I wanted the freedom to be with my lover with slightly less guilt, and I think I was subconsciously rationalizing that an agreement to open our marriage would somehow exonerate my cheating. I think somehow my husband understood what I really wanted from the situation, and responded, “wait – does this mean YOU want to be able to date other people?!?” When I said yes (devastation #2), that was the beginning of the end of our marriage. Overall the marriage wasn’t sustainable when our sexual attraction for each other was so out of whack (and had been for all 20 years). But still.

All this to say, I suspect the husband may have been suggesting opening the marriage with ulterior motives in play. The fact he was so adamant about it and treated it as a final decision, not a discussion – plus the fact he wanted a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, which would be super self-serving if he were having an affair – are two red flags, IMO.

8

@ 7 I was sort of thinking the same thing so it's interesting to hear from someone that's been there. If he's been faithful up until now his excitement to run with the suggestion and not look back doesn't bode well.

8

Gross. I showed this one to my husband, asked him what he thought of this LW, then we proceeded to go back and forth about who disliked her more.

Sure, LW, your husband tried to trap you into an agreement you should have full license to back out of, but YOU are the one proposing something unfair and demeaning to your potential partners. You think that you sleeping with women is fine because you're "exploring," but god forbid your husband also desire to recapture his youth or some such excuse to sleep with other people. You only sexually think of other women, but you're unwilling to consider them as equal to your husband sleeping with someone else. I'm other words, other women are a curiosity for you, you think the rules are suspended just because you also have a vagina. Wrong. You're a hypocrite, LW.

9

@8.2

Yeah, she's an asshole too. Hey LW, good luck you two! Should be smooth sailing ahead.

10

Yeah, he has definitely already slept with someone else and she subconsciously knows it.

They'll either be divorced soon or, hopefully, they'll forgive each other their mutual ridiculousness and move on to something healthier and more honest with each other.

11

This is a bit of a mess, and they both sound pretty annoying. I think she's slightly more annoying if I had to choose (which I don't).

I'm married to a bicurious husband and we've been monogamous for 24 years. I'm not interested in sex with other people but I've offered a couple of times for him to explore sex outside our marriage, which he's declined. I think it helps that he is increasingly sexually submissive so enjoys being in a kind of sex slave role, which I don't think he sees as consistent with him getting sex outside our marriage. We do talk about my fucking other people during sex sometimes which he finds exciting, but he has stopped once and said "just to be clear, this is just a fantasy, right? Because I'm pretty sure I don't want to share you with anyone else".

The husband here seems to have made several tactical errors. I think he could have achieved a fully open marriage if he had been a bit more patient and worked through her concerns. Although she doesn't sound that reasonable to me, and very very insecure.

12

@7, @8.1, @10: Yeah, the husband was fooling around with someone. May still be.

And while he may be doing that for "shallow" reasons like his wife having let herself go ("now I am just fat") and choosing to wear her hair to appeal to lesbians and not to him, I get a big whiff of other reasons his straying isn't unexpected, and perhaps not unjustified.

LWs always go on and on about how good the sex is or how much they're holding up their end of the GGG bargain, unless they aren't. She doesn't, so she isn't. And her lack of self-confidence is extremely un-sexy (and her double-standards irritating as hell).

The hallmark of a closeted spouse* is confusion. Confusion that is hell to be around. Being a straight husband married to a closet-case lesbian is frustrating and demeaning, especially while the closet-case isn't honest enough to acknowledge it.

They both feel trapped by their three grade-school kids, and possibly by finances, family expectation, religious baggage, etc. She should have come out long ago and had a honest discussion with him. He should have insisted on opening the marriage BEFORE fooling around instead of trying some lawyerly jiu-jitsu argument. But closet cases by definition deceive themselves and others, and most affairs happen before permission was sought. So this well-worn ground. She needs to ovary-up and come out. And probably start dating lesbians. He needs to confess his affair, decide how he wants to live the rest of his life (straight GFs on the side, separate, divorce, etc) and if he wants some support, contact the Straight Spouse Network.

*Dan has to throw her the softball of you're "highly likely you're bisexual, and you could even be a lesbian", but really, she's a lesbian.

13

@4: yeah, she has issues, but he's an asshole.

14

Okay, this husband sounds like a piece of work with the whole "it's a done deal" business, as others have discussed, but aside from that...

I'm definitely bicurious, almost certainly bisexual, never explored that because I grew up in a religious household and then I met my husband. So, not entirely the same as the LW, but a lot of similarities, and interestingly enough my husband has said that he'd be okay with me exploring my desire to be with a woman. (Pending more conversation, not something he'd be cool with me doing on the way home from work one night.)

I flat out said that doesn't seem fair, because I wouldn't be okay with him sleeping with anyone else, so why should I? He said that he got to go out and explore his fantasies before we were married, so he doesn't need to. Oddly enough, he's the one less concerned about unfairness.

I haven't taken him up on this offer for several reasons. It's a genie you can't put back in the bottle and I'm not sure I dare let it out. LW initially seemed to think she could have a partially open marriage without any consequences, and that's not going to happen.

15

It is the wife who opened the Pandora's box of an open relationship. "A few years back I found articles about couples who have been married a long time, are happy with their lives, but to spice things up they swing. I don't know if this was a subconscious thing, but I started telling my husband about it. I am also reading and researching ways to keep a marriage happy and I stumbled across these articles." You don't stumble across something when you are actively researching the topic.

Also, OPENER, odds are good that you'll get laid a helluva lot more than your husband will after you open up your marriage It doesn't matter if he's a buff chocolate Adonis; good looking straight guys in open marriages complain to me and others in the advice racket constantly about much easier it is for their wives to find other partners than it is for them.

While this is a generally true statement because men usually have to do the heavy lifting, it does not appear true in this case. Women are already hitting on husband in her presence.

And finally, OPENER, you don't have to lose weight before you can put yourself out there—there are plenty of men and women who'll find you attractive in the shape you're in now.
What about the flip side, would she find those people attractive.

I used to be voluptuous and curvy, but now I am just fat. I am just so terrified because my husband has always been a fit dark chocolate man. He gets hit on and I have been with him when it happens.

Sad though it is, looks matter. There is a high probability that the husband would be more attractive to attractive women than she would be and the men that would find her attractive will be less attractive than her husband is.

16

Agree also with 4.

Also I agree that the LW acted like a jerk (I can fuck others but you can't is BULLSHIT) but it does seem she's capable of self-reflection, changing her opinion with new learning, recognizing she was being unfair, etc. Relationships aren't so simple when you are in them, and if she hadn't written the second part of the letter (in which she realizes how unfair she was) I'd be against her. But as she does seem just honestly distressed and confused but willing to learn and grow, I think she's a normal person trying to be honest and do the right thing for everyone. I see no reason to pile on to that.

Couple things here...

I was thinking this was cool until the husband was all "no it's done, no discussing again" as if there's some no take-backs rule around discussions of major decisions in marriage? That made me realize they made this arrangement without really discussing it clearly, and that makes me suspicious of the husband's insistence of DADT. That means they don't have to discuss it again in the future. All of this are red flags as this woman is obviously someone who needs to discuss things.

Second, the woman is obviously wrong in saying she should get to fuck others but the husband should not. The "but I'm bi and your straight" stuff doesn't make an excuse for that. Too bad. Either you both get to fuck others or you don't, and I think the wife is coming to terms with that. Learning curve for her, good on her for being open minded and reading/asking about it. Etc. But here's the trick- the husband is cool with each of them fucking other women. How does he feel about his wife fucking other men? Even though the LW has no desire to do such a thing right now. And here's why I think this is important. The husband knows he likes to fuck women. He's going to get to go out and fuck more of them. Fantastic for him. But the wife- there's no telling if this is a real thing or something she's built up in her mind over the years. She's never done it before. As far as we can tell, she's never even been close to doing it, never even had a crush on a real live woman. Maybe she'll go out and it will rock her socks. Maybe she'll go out and it won't. Meanwhile, husband's fucking away with others. Also I think it would tell a lot more about the relationship if the husband is as cool with his wife having the DADT thing as he is with himself having it- is he really cool with her fucking other people or is it just that he doesn't think that his wife could ever possibly end up in a relationship with a woman so he doesn't feel threatened by her exploration of her bicuriosity? Either they both get to fuck whoever or they don't, and you can always renegotiate rules to change with circumstances.

I also thought the husband is probably fucking someone else already but we don't know for sure. It's equally as likely that he just gave into this with the DADT requirement because he was hoping it would shut the conversation down (the LW is obviously an external processor and he might be tired of hearing about it) and also he figured, what the heck, maybe I'll get laid too. And then when she came back with the "not you, only me" bullshit, the husband was like "shut up about this already, the conversation is over, we can both fuck women, can this conversation end please". We honestly don't know which it is, but I agree there's a problem.

17

Sportlandia@2 Self esteem is important, but it is not the be all and end all when there is a disparity of attractiveness . He's fit, she's fat (her words) assuming that what she says is, in fact, true and not just the self image problem that afflicts so many women and girls.

18

Also, while the LW's husband is probably not into it, the LW should sit and think about how she'd feel if the husband suddenly took her up on the offer to fuck other men. My guess is that if this were a real possibility, she'd have to grapple with another batch of insecurities and jealousies. The reason she can say that now is that he's not interested. So my point is that if they want to sit with their jealousies and really think about whether or not they are actually opening up their relationship (and dealing with jealousy is a massive part of that if it's going to work) they need better communication and to actually consider how it feels to be in the others' situation.

19

Rashomon. We only have her (subjective) side of the story, which may or may not be what is objectively true.

20

Ticklish @7: "I suspect the husband may have been suggesting opening the marriage with ulterior motives in play." Ding ding ding. If he's not already having an affair, he has someone in mind.

There's an obvious solution here: they could seek a unicorn. She gets to explore her attraction to women; he's not left out; he's not fucking randoms who may or may not be hotter than OPENER, thereby stoking her jealousy. Is OPENER attracted to long-haired, green-eyed women too? Depending on how this goes, they could think about opening their marriage further, but this seems a good first -- and possibly only -- step, depending on what they learn from the experience. As in, with her curiosity satisfied, can OPENER return to a monogamous marriage, or is this something she needs, in which case she does have to extend some reciprocity to her husband? Whether that reciprocity is "we play together only," or veto power, or some other way to ensure he's not off getting all the pussy while she gets none.

21

I'm going to edit one sentence from the advice: "odds are good that you'll get laid a helluva lot more than your husband will after you open up your marriage (if you open up your marriage)—BUT ONLY if you're also planning to sleep with men." Doesn't sound like OPENER wants to sleep with men, so this is small consolation.

22

BDF @21 Ha! I came here to post more or less the same. It's not "women have an easier time getting laid", it's "people who are looking for men have an easier time getting laid".

23

RE @22: Yup. And men who are looking for women have more women to pick from than women. So it's no wonder OPENER and bi women in her situation are reluctant to grant their men access to women. THAT's not "equal" either. Unless both parties are bi, I don't think "equality" is possible in an opposite-sex, open-relationship scenario. I think this is a situation where "unfairness" must be accepted as a lesser pursuit than "happiness," for both parties.

24

I'm not going to blame the husband for how he reacted. If my spouse was like "hey, so I want to open the relationship," and after a lot of stress and worry (and there's definitely a lot of that gonna happen when you get that request) I said "fine," and they came back with "woaaah, hey, I didn't mean you! I meant, I should get to fuck around and you should stay faithful," I'd be hella pissed. I'd definitely put them through a bit of "see how you like it" grief.

Also, LW's view towards queer women is really gross. This is like, the distaff version of the creepy guy that thinks all (hot) queer women exist to put on a show for him with his girlfriend. The married "bicurious" woman who thinks other queer women exist as nothing more than an novelty sex toy for her to try out, but they don't really "count" as people.

Also @20 BDF - No! No, do not inflict this mess on some poor bisexual chick. Selfish, doesn't-know-what-she's-doing-in-bed lady with jealousy issues and a tendency to start crying at the thought of her husband (who's a bit of a selfish jerk himself) fucking another woman? That's bad enough separately, but the two of them together? No one deserves to be exposed to that dysfunction.

25

Traffic @24: I meant after following Dan's good advice of taking a step back for now, I should have clarified that. And yes, "find a unicorn" is easier said than done even for couples who are secure in their relationship. I think this is one of those situations where "hire a pro" could be the best option.

Full disclosure, I'm biased because I was once in OPENER's situation, though my marriage to a monogamous het guy did not last my 20s. But I don't think a consuming desire to resolve one's curiosity about one's sexual orientation is "gross." Not if OPENER is honest with the women she's trying to sleep with. I saw many ads that could have been OPENER's on the late great Craigslist. There are many other married bi women who could be OPENER's lovers, if this couple manage to get their issues around this resolved.

26

I've reread this letter, just to see if I could take anything away from this, maybe get some sort of positive spin on it, or give her the benefit of the doubt. No, I just found more reasons not to like it. I first must qualify this by recognizing that LW spent far more time in the closet than I did, is starting the process of going out with someone of the same sex far later than I did, and knew she was into girls at a much harder time to be into that sort of thing than when I started fantasizing about people and learning those people happened to be guys. So I must cut her some slack knowing that she's had a harder go of things. She's also self-aware, which means that good decisions are always a possibility, even if they're never a guarantee even with all the self-awareness in the world.

What I'm more concerned about is how she'll treat her potential partners. After all this time and effort, not to mention all these fantasies and lesbian porn, she still cannot describe herself as more than 'bicurious,' and thinks of this as 'exploration' like she's going to the moon instead of just being open to sleeping with someone with matching genitals. This has 'flake' written all over it.

LW, if you're reading this (and you might be), I'm not writing this to assume you're somehow any less a decent lover or partner, but make sure that you understand going into this venture that you're not dating again the way a single person dates. If in the future there is a chance for you to sleep with a woman, wonderful, but she absolutely must know the deal, and it must be something she knows from minute one. The rules are not suddenly suspended because your potential partner is female.

27

@24 you hit the nail on the head in your second paragraph.

28

@25 I get the feeling that it has more to do with her tone, for example, "My husband loves long hair but I got tired of it and cut my hair so short it's almost like a butch lesbian look. Lol," or "we can check out girls together and make fun of each other for our preferences in women." She doesn't think it's the same deal for her to be with women as for him to be with women, like she's just exploring/fooling around with these women, but if he's with another woman, suddenly there's a huge risk that he could become emotionally intimate/attached. She seems to have no fear at all that she could become emotionally intimate or attached with another woman.

29

Oh Dan, even jet-lagged you're lovely. What kind and wise advice.

30

"good looking straight guys in open marriages complain to me and others in the advice racket constantly about much easier it is for their wives to find other partners than it is for them."

Is it possible this is because good looking straight guys more frequently feel entitled to success and complain faster and louder when they don't get it than the women do?

I'm sure someone out there has studied the actual rates. I'd love to see some data on it.

31

@30 @Gamebird I think it is generally easier for people seeking casual sex to find interested male partners. Then add to this the issue that some women who will have casual sex with married men will not have interest in ethically open men, and some women who are interested in ethically open men will not have sex with married men. And we don't know if her husband would want his secondary partners to be monogamous (some non-monogamous men do want this), nor do we know whether he would be okay with LW having male partners. The fact that he is (by her report) more conventionally attractive is just one of many factors in which partner would get more action.

32

@30: "Is it possible this is because good looking straight guys more frequently feel entitled"

Comments like this make me wish there could be a sort of exchange program where straight women could somehow walk in the shoes of straight men for a year, and vice versa. There'd be so much more peace, love, and understanding in the world.

33

@31

FWIW, that fits my experience. When I was poly I routinely saw all the signs of a starvation economy for guys. I saw more guys looking for women than women looking for guys, more women who were full up on partners, situations where there was some type of severe mismatch in favor of the women, and so forth.

Frankly, one of the reasons I'm not poly now is that I don't want to have all the responsibilities of being a boyfriend and all of the downsides of being single.

34

The communication between these two is a mess. LW says: "A few years back I found articles about couples who have been married a long time, are happy with their lives, but to spice things up they swing." Okay, I don't see how that translates to her exploring bisexuality and him having no outside partners unless he magically becomes bicurious. Makes sense husband mistakenly thought she meant bilaterally opening the marriage, but even then, many people who would feel okay with swinging would not be okay with DADT or even a more transparent open situation where outside partners are seen separately. At the very least, some people might need to be eased into it by swinging together.

Then we have this dude making unilateral final decisions on his own timetable without working through details. That doesn't bode well for open relationship success.

LW's husband has two recently divorced friends and tells LW that talking to them is what swayed him, not her articles about swinging. He points out these divorced dude's wives are resentful about what turned out to be failed relationships interfering with them getting more action or a different partner or whatever in their primes. He says this is what swayed him, the plight of those ladies and not wanting his wife to feel the same. Possible? Sure. Also possible he is projecting his own desires or fears or resentments or is living vicariously through the newly divorced friends or maybe even is interested in one of their ex-wives, who knows. But given his "final answer" stance, I'm skeptical his only motivation was empathy for her.

LW also could benefit from working on herself to feel more attractive. This comparing herself to her partner seems toxic and another bad sign for the success of the relationship, whether open or not.

35

Both LW & husband are a hot mess who don’t communicate or play fair. Counseling first to learn how to have a strong relationship with each other before seeking outside complications.

35

@33 @GhostDog That's interesting. I would've though poly would favor guys over some open relationships (those that don't allow for emotional attachment with secondary partners, which I recognize does not describe all open relationships). I know when I hear women complain about not finding satisfying casual sex partners, it's often with the theme of wanting at least some level of attachment, such as a FWB over a pure fuck buddy. I would've thought that would work in favor of poly guys and against guys who are ethically open but with emotional restrictions on secondary partners, but perhaps in both cases there are still just many more men interested in casual arrangements than women. But anyway, sounds like poly is not for you if the emotional attachment aspect felt burdensome rather than making the relationships feel more fulfilling.

36

@35 I think it's partially sheer numbers but also partially what's available.

My assumption here is that even though love is infinite, time isn't and people can only have so many partners.

In the poly community(as I have seen it, at least) there tend to be mostly straight guys, straight women, and bi women.

Now, some women are going to be removed from the dateable pool by the "one penis policy". And whenever bi women find a woman to date they are removing two potential blocks of female bandwidth(theirs and the person they are with).

The end result, in my experience, is that women looking for men have an easier time than men(or women) looking for women. Please note that bi women looking for other women have a slightly easier time than men, but it still seems more

And re; the emotional attachment. I'm fine with emotional attachment(even the messy and awful bits) as long as there is some form of balance either between the awful bits and wonderful bits or at least the awful bits are balanced with other good things.

My poly experience was all of the "I need your support, money, and bandwidth" part of emotional attachment and none of the quiet hand holding, cuddling, etc.,etc.(the really good parts of emotional attachment that I adore) that allow me to feel like I'm not being taken advantage of, especially near the end.

That said, I would agree with you that poly is not for me. The sheer amount of work and drama involved is more than I'm interested in and it would take some sort of miracle for that to change.

37

LW and her husband here seem like actual people I actually know. They're not very good at communicating, they're not very good at really thinking about what they want and what the consequences would be if they got it, they're not particularly thoughtful or fair minded or open to new ideas. And they wouldn't know how to express those ideas even if they halfway allow themselves to entertain them.

If both of them can make the shift to thinking things through, honestly assessing their emotions, and communicating these thoughts and emotions effectively, they'll figure this out. Those are fairly uncommon skills, though, so I don't hold out much hope.

Oh, and Dan? Sorry, you can't blame it on the jet lag. You always go long. It's OK, we love you anyway.

38

Let's see. You "only get turned on by lesbian porn and...mostly fantasize about being with women". Are you bisexual? Yes! (If not lesbian.) Are you bi-curious? Go ahead and keep thinking that if that's easier for you, at least until you act on it.

Open for you and not for him? Please get over it; talking to a good sex-positive therapist would help.

"why didn't he just ask me about it?" Oh, for fuck's sake, an open relationship (a selfishly one-sided one) was your idea!

"Maybe being monogamous is dooming our relationship long term." That and your insecurities.

39

Ms(?) Spiral - Why do you consider LW a lady?

Mizz Liz - Would you find a One-Gender-Only Pass acceptable if the pass-granter personally didn't intend to venture outside the partnership?

40

Lionface @26: I'll tackle your "bicurious" critique of OPENER. Like her, I found myself in a monogamous marriage before I'd had a chance to explore sex with both genders. And like her, because I hadn't had the opportunity to experience sex with a woman, part of me felt that I just couldn't be sure. Even though I'd experienced attraction to both boys and girls since puberty. There were always people wanting to know whether one was a "confirmed bisexual." Until I had the experience, I didn't feel as though I could claim to be "bisexual," so "bicurious" was the label that seemed most honest.
I agree with the rest of your advice: OPENER should put herself out there as a coupled woman who wants a casual same-sex side fling. Just like anyone in a committed relationship should do.

Lionface @28: You're right that she doesn't fear that she might get attached and does fear that her husband might. That, I chalk up to self-awareness -- she knows that she would never leave her husband -- and insecurity -- she isn't sure the same goes for him, because who ever can be? If you're claiming there's something wrong with her for only wanting casual sex, not a relationship, outside her marriage, are you claiming that everyone who wants casual sex is immoral? Should Tinder and Grindr be shut down? As long as she doesn't give women the impression that she's available for a Relationship, there is nothing wrong with wanting what she wants.
It's true that she might, in fact, get attached. But speaking again from experience, when even getting one's face into another woman's pussy is an impossible dream, it seems ludicrous to ponder what might happen if you catch feelings. OPENER, please be aware that this is indeed something you should consider.

41

@40 I have nothing against her wanting casual sex. I do have something against her having casual sex with people she doesn't even fully respect as more than novelties, i.e. special sexual objects that seemingly suspend the rules which apply to everything else and which seem to exist for her pleasure alone, when it suits her alone. Such is the nature of people desired in the closet.

I was gay and I knew it before I got with my first guy. If you fantasize about people who are the same sex, it you watch same-sex porn, if your intentions are to be with someone of the same sex sexually, you're into the same sex. I appreciate that you wanted to signify that you were inexperienced so that it wouldn't be dishonest, but it ultimately sends the message "if it's with someone if the same sex, it's not meaningful, the rules are different, and I don't take it seriously." By extension, how would you take your partners seriously?

I'm fine with having a third. Hell, my husband and I occasionally dominate guys together! But the only people we ever dominate are people we genuinely like and respect enough as people to vet them, i.e. they're people we know we could have as friends because they always end up being our friends before thirds. It's just fucky to be with someone sexually that you think of as 'less than.'

42

One thing I'm trying to understand here (and Dan seems to endorse this).

LW says she's bi. And because she's bi, she gets to fuck around with other people outside of the marriage.

Husband isn't bi. And because he's straight, he has to remain monogamous.

WTF? Is being bi somehow a "Get Out of Reciprocity Free" card?

Let's eliminate the genders here. Spouse #1 wants to fuck around outside of the marriage because reasons. Spouse #1 also does not want spouse #2 to fuck around outside the marriage because more reasons. On what planet does this seem fair?

It seems like LW has constructed a giant rationalization edifice to justify why she gets to have her cake and eat it too.

43

Lionface @41: Believe me, I took my bicuriosity very, very seriously.

Corydon @42: That's the point, you CAN'T eliminate the genders here. Why is "no reciprocity" acceptable in this situation? Because the woman can give her husband what he wants -- pussy -- while he physically cannot give her what she wants -- also pussy. Now, the question is does the bisexual in this equation want a hall pass to go answer the question "am I bisexual?" once and for all, or does she want an ongoing one-sidedly open relationship? If it's the former, then it makes sense for the straight person in the equation to decide to be unselfish and let their (very conflicted, take my word) spouse go answer this burning question. If it's the latter, then yes, the bisexual is being greedy and unfair.

44

It was nice to see Dan stick to a good principle of reciprocity in his response...I never understood why people somehow think its fair to deny their partner the opportunity to be with other people just because they are bi and you are not (buh-buh-buh-but it would only be fair if my partner was bi too, they wail).

To me it's the height of hypocrisy. I've had this conversation with my wife and she gets it....if she wants to sleep with women, that's fine by me....but then so do I. So far, that understanding has kept things (mostly) closed.

45

oh BDF @43 didn't see your comment.... i actually agree 100% with that comment, if it's a matter of sorting identity. In my scenario from #44, my wife knows she likes pussy, has enjoyed it before, and likely will again, so there's nothing to sort!

46

It's tricky. The bi wife asks for permission to sleep with women. She has no desire to sleep with other men, only women, and sees that as being "different" so her husband should let her. The husband then says, ok, but only if I get to sleep with women. The wife then says, well, I didn't want to sleep with men, but if you're sleeping with women then I get to sleep with men. The wife then gets a bunch of men, and nobody gets any women. And nobody's happy (except the bunch of men).

So the solutions are either to be 100% open from the get-go; for bisexuals to only date each other; for bicurious people to never fall in love before they've had a chance to confirm their sexuality; or for straight-bi couples to only bring in thirds. Note that most of these solutions are highly to completely unworkable...

46

@17 sure, but IMO physical attractiveness (in our culture) is a pathway to self-esteem. Self-esteem is the idea that "I am worthwhile, I am desired because of that worth". IE, "my hot husband desires me because I too am hot". But it's not the only pathway to self-esteem. Imagine a unattractive but rich man - do you imagine he feels inferior to his trophy wives in a similar way? Probably not, because he thinks "I am worthwhile [because of my money], my hot trophy wife desires me for that money [even more than i desire her for her looks, which is why i am the powerful person in this relationship]".

In our culture, we have a hard time accepting that attractiveness or money are esteem-building (you can go to places like Russia where it's well accepted). Here, in America, we see things like being funny, smart, entertaining, witty, caring, relaxing (ie, personality traits - things "individuals can control" - its related to our ideals of equality and freedom) as valid reasons to have self-esteem.

But anyhow, however LW gets there, it's what she needs. YOu can be fat and ugly and have the self-esteem to fuck Ryan Gosling or Michael B Jordan or a Jenner-Kardashian - but it has to come from somewhere.

47

@43 She's been into women for as long as I've been alive. Saying she's "curious" like there's a possibility she's straight is like saying I wasn't gay before I lost my virginity. This is a goofy semantic game to dance around the obvious, that she's not straight. That produces some ridiculous implications, such as "maybe all this was just one big fetish and other women are just a kink I've had for a quarter century."

On top of that, she tried to weaponize her semantic game by using it to say that she somehow needs to explore to really know, and her husband is somehow selfish for not letting her do this thing because... I don't know, because she really wants it bad, I guess. How many pussies does she have to willingly eat before she decides she'd like to eat pussy?

48

One more vote for she's being confused, but he's being an asshole. At least by her description, she made some dumb moves but rethought them, so he made some dick responses and escalated the fuck out of them.

Can I suggest a personal (not couples) bi-aware therapist? I know I may be at my therapist suggestion quota around here but she's had a life story where it could help a lot if she's open to it, and she sounds like she's willing to talk and think about herself.

49

@47 we know she's more than "curious" but she doesn't. That's exasperating and it doesn't make her past moves less screwed up, but it does suggest she could get her shit together in the future.

50

@39 Venn

Would you find a One-Gender-Only Pass acceptable if the pass-granter personally didn't intend to venture outside the partnership?

I'm not sure what you are asking. You are asking about a hypothetical scenario in which Partner A has no interest in having sex with anyone except Partner B, but Partner B gets to have sex with only one other gender?

I mean if this works for people, great. I find any arrangement acceptable if it works for the people arranging it. But this scenario would only work for the people arranging it if Partner A did not want to have sex with anyone else in the first place AND Partner B only wanted to have sex with one gender. That's not the case here so I'm not sure what you're asking.

51

I interpret 2 aspects of this situation differently than most commenters seem to.

I also prefer lesbian porn and often fantasize about women. I do not consider myself to be bisexual because in reality I do not think I would like to eat pussy. Much like I also fantasize about extreme aspects of submission that I also do not actually want to participate in. So its possible that LW really doesn't know how she would feel about same-sex encounters. It sounds like she is curious about what that sex would be like, but has not really thought about long-term relationships with women, which does not make her disrespectful of any actual women (at least not yet).
The story of who said what and when between husband and wife is not clear. However, I think based on what was said, commenters who say "WTF? It was her idea to open the marriage but only for her..." are mis-categorizing. According to the letter, LW would bring up articles she read about swinging to her husband. It doesn't sound like they ever had a discussion about any changes to their own marriage. She also told him about her curiosity in regard to sex with women. One day, seemingly out of the blue to her, HE says "I don't want you to feel resentful like my divorced friends' wives. So you can have sex with women, but I don't want to know anything." Next day, she thinks through what that means and realizes she doesn't actually want an open marriage. And wonders why he made this decision without even talking to her about details, specifics, or frankly, even generalizations. My guess is they never once discussed how they felt about applying any of those articles or tv shows to their own marriage.

52

Scum&Villainy @51 "Much like I also fantasize about extreme aspects of submission that I also do not actually want to participate in" -- Exactly. People's fantasies and porn watching tendencies do not reliably correlate with the intimate relationships they want to build with other real people.

GhostDog @33 As someone who has been running in polyamorous circles for a few years now, I don't see a huge advantage for women, beyond the fact that anyone who wants casual sex has an easier time finding men who are up for it.

I'll say that it does take time for people to figure out their strengths on the dating scene if they've been off the market for many years.

But when a straight couple agrees they each get to build long-term intimate relationships with other people, the differences in outcome boil down more to who is more social, more physically attractive, more self-confident, and has more time to put into meeting new people. That's not always the woman.

53

Lionface @47: There are some big differences between being gay, and coming out as gay, and being bi. As a gay person, there was no way you were going to fall in love with a person of the opposite gender and live a happy life for X number of years... whilst harboring the gnawing suspicion that there was more to your sexuality, which your life choices had precluded you from discovering.

Saying that OPENER can't be "curious" because she's been "curious" for two and a half decades is ridiculous. Say you're "curious" about skydiving and for 25 years you never get the opportunity to go skydiving. Can you still claim to be "curious" about skydiving? Of course you can. Like Mtn Beaver says @49, it may be obvious TO US that all signs point to bisexual, but when that's something you've repressed for decades in order to try to live a happy straight life, it's not a foregone conclusion for the closeted bi who's anguishing over their identity.

My guess is that the number of pussies she needs to eat before she realises she likes to eat pussy is one. But until she eats that one, she has this nagging doubt in her head that says "what if you try it and you DON'T like it? Won't you feel stupid, having come out as bisexual?"

I'm not saying OPENER went about this in the most reasonable way, but it's a difficult dilemma, and your contempt for the "bicurious" is offensive.

54

@49 I have full confidence that so long as she remains self-aware, she'll figure it out.

@53 False equivalence. Skydiving is a specific act, bisexuality is an orientation, primarily involving a desire for certain acts. Again, it's like saying I wasn't gay until I had sex with another man. However, this is ultimately beside the point. You're confusing my position on this particular issue with my position on bicuriosity generally. Of course people question their sexuality, and of course that's more than okay. Where would I be if I had never grappled with this? If we never could do that, nobody would ever come out of any closet.

This particular case, though, doesn't involve questioning, it involves flat denial. If she eats one pussy and hates it, maybe she hates eating that one pussy. That honestly doesn't say anything about her desire to eat some Platonic ideal of pussy, just that specific case. If she doesn't really know what she wants, that's one thing, and that's totally acceptable, but she does know what she wants, she's said exactly what she wants. She doesn't 'suspect' that there is more to her sexuality, she actively engages in that 'more,' now near-exclusively.

As for offense, I don't know that I'd be pulling out that term in the same post where you preclude the notion of gay/lesbian people being married (to people they love but do not sexually desire) and closeted.

55

Jealousy is a bitch and this man really got excited, hey? Then she pulled the plug.
I'm with Sportlandia, because the LW talked of it. She feels fat. So if that is the first thing she goes to when her jealousy rises, do something about that. Go to the gym or start swimming and shake her self image up a bit.

56

LW, you are young still and have three small children. Time is on your side to proceed a little slowly. And tell your husband his friends' wives made the call to marry, they can't go crying lost youth now.

57

Mizz Liz - You seemed scornful of One-Gender-Only passes in general; I was just wondering if you disliked those across the board (as you seemed to think them unacceptably restrictive on the pass receiver) or could live with them if the pass granter were accepting similar restriction.

I've actually known OGO passes to work more often than not for MM couples, and in various sorts of arrangements.

58

Ms Fan - You'd probably have to extend that, and not only restrict it to bi intra-dating, but SS as well.

59

It doesn't matter what I think of other people's arrangements (I have no opinion either way generally). The point is that the LW and her husband are not sure about their arrangement and haven't figured out the details nor dealt with their insecurities and jealousies, etc. In that context, I said the OGO pass (in their relationship, for the reasons I listed) is probably going to make things worse not better.

61

@60 I can confirm this really works, and all it took was five payments to a very nice gentleman in Nigeria.

62

Lionface @54: Of course it's a false equivalence; it was an example.
And no, it's not like saying you weren't gay until you had sex with another man. It's saying you're entitled to identify as "curious" until you're sure. And she's not yet sure, though she seems very close to being sure.
And few gay people are going to FALL IN LOVE with opposite-sex partners. That would make them not gay. That's why I chose the words I did.
Please stop gaysplaining bisexuality.

63

Easy solution: pay for a green-eyed, whatever preference sex worker who works with couples. You both have sex with a woman together, there is zero chance of him running off with her or otherwise getting romantically entangled, and you get to try out sex with another woman with someone who can happily show you the ropes and give you a feel if it's for you. And then later the two of you, as a couple, can decide if that is something you want to continue, abandon, or expand in the future. And far, far less chance of STDs all around!

Of course, be responsible and make sure you are going to a empowered entrepeneur sex worker and not a sex slave sex worker.

64

BDF 43: But that's bullshit because people aren't just their genitals. Yeah, sex with a woman is different than a man, but so is sex with any other person. What else counts? Different races? Really tall or short or thin or fat? Hung? Huge Tits? Small tits? Being a Stranger? Being able to sing the Modern Major General song while fucking? Being bi doesn't mean that you have to have one of each because now you can't be happy with only one person - nor does it mean that gay sex doesn't "count" and so your spouse shouldn't see it as equivalent to an opposite-sex lover.

65

What's all this with the "doesn't count" claims. No one was ever saying the casual outside sex OPENER hopes to have "wouldn't count." Sheesh.

66

If she's saying that she doesn't want her husband to be having sex with other women while she does, then she is most definitely implying that the gay sex she'd have "doesn't count" the same as the straight sex he'd have.

67

TS @66: No, that's not what she's implying. She's implying that because of extenuating circumstances -- she strongly suspects that she's bisexual, but she needs to have a same-sex experience to confirm this -- that she should be granted a dispensation from monogamy based on this one very narrow set of circumstances that don't apply to her husband.

68

@62 She's perfectly entitled to identify as curious. She can identify any way she chooses. What she's not entitled to do--at least, not without consequence--is to weaponize that identity against her partner to support an unfair setup, and it is unfair to say "I can sleep with women because I'm bicurious and unsure, but you're straight and sure so you don't get to sleep with anyone." Plenty of people have noted that the husband's behavior sounds weird, like someone who cheated and wants to retroactively cover for it, I'm well aware, but these two problems don't make up for one another. As for my example, how would gay people falling for opposite-sex partners make them not gay, but this woman falling for same-sex partners still might be straight?

@66 You're absolutely right. The direct implication is that her behavior is special because it's othered in her mind. That's the exact disrespect I referred to all the way back in my first post. LW knew enough to say "I'd rather be closed than possibly open myself to a scenario I hate," and that's her choice and a fair one, so she deserves credit for that. Her position is still that because she's bicurious, the only fair thing is to say "well we're only open to experiences that would count as gay," knowing her partner isn't bi. Unless he gave the go-ahead, that isn't fair.

69

Upon reflection, the LW isn't the one who made the offer. In fact, she didn't even ask for it. She might have assumed an unfair setup, but she can't be said to be acting in an unfair way. I apologize for talking about her as if she's actively imposing something unfair or even proposing it, she isn't.

70

@67 that's a lot of conjecture. I wonder if you're projecting your own experiences here onto LW. She clued you in before writing to Dan about what she was implying in her letter, I take it? This is why people think bisexuals are greedy and/or hypocritical. Most aren't, thankfully, though you wouldn't know it from the vocal protestations of a few.

71

@32 And vice-versa, goddamn.

72

I'm so fucking glad I'm a bi woman dating a bi man.
But whenever I started dating a straight guy, I'd tell him up front that I was can sleep with women & he can't, but we'll have lots of threesomes. & I only dated guys who had zero problem & didn't find it unfair. (They were also open to me finding a GF.)
People decide what's fair for themselves, & how much "fairness" matters. Some guys aren't jealous about girl girl sex & romance. I'm hugely jealous of a BF being with other women, but I'm cool with other men. So I always vetted straight men BEFORE settling down.
& I finally found a bisexual boy who wanted everything I wanted, so now things really are "fair". Bi women who say they're OK with a (straight) make partner having gay sex aren't just lying to make things seem fair because it's "not a possibility". I always meant it, & now that it's a possibility, I still mean it.

73

@71 the post you're referencing reads "and vice versa", right there in the text. You may not have noticed.