When opening a marriage to save it actually works
It's a standard poly snark: "Marriage in trouble? Add more people!" But there's no piece of conventional poly wisdom that some people somewhere aren't successfully breaking.
Opening a marriage to save it can actually work fairly often when the issue is sexual incompatibility — if the rest of the relationship is good. But here's a different case, published in the online mothers' magazine Scary Mommy.
How An Open Marriage Improved Our Relationship When Therapy Couldn’t
A white duvet for two this time. (Santypan/Getty)
By "Leah Asher"
Every marriage counselor and relationship “expert” claims that the key to solving any relationship problem is communication. I’m now convinced that while this is true, the ways they tell couples to go about it are designed to land a couple right back in therapy when it all inevitably goes wrong.
My husband and I had done marriage counseling and I had read every relationship article out there. We did the “I feel” statements and the mirroring of what the other person is saying. The result was a lot of letter writing, “I feel” statements, and repeating back what we said while the other person said “that’s not what I said/feel/think” and then it would go around in circles.
...Therapy is bloody expensive and that’s without the cost of the babysitter.... We almost gave up, but then something happened that saved our marriage, our sex life, and also gave us the push we needed to really communicate.
About a month ago, I caught my husband on Tinder. ... We were [already] in separate bedrooms and to borrow an expression from a very popular ’90s sitcom, “we were on a break.” I would be lying if I said it hadn’t occurred to me to get my own account, but I had held off.... Well, we ended up working things out in a rather unexpected and unconventional way.
In that time our relationship has been transformed.... The sex alone has become Fifty Shades of Fantastic (my inner goddess is doing salsa moves as we speak), but everything else has started to change too.
It kind of had to; you don’t just say “hey, let’s have a threesome… or foursome” without sitting down and figuring stuff out. We figured out a lot about our sexual fantasies, but we also figured out why the relationship had started to fall apart — and then we fixed those things that had been broken for too long.
We learned we really can’t read each other’s minds.
The longer a relationship lasts, the more you tend to assume you know what your partner is thinking. I certainly thought I had figured him out, [but] he was right when he said I really “didn’t get it.” Likewise, he would assume I knew exactly what he wanted or exactly what he was thinking. ...
In the context of our sex life, I also realized that what I thought I knew about this man I’ve spent a decade of my life with wasn’t the whole story. ...
In an open relationship, or something similar to it, you have to be on the same page. My husband and I aren’t stupid or naïve; we knew that if we were going to do this... we had to sit down and figure out what we were comfortable with, what we might need to think about, and what was an absolute hard pass. ...
We learned how to be honest.
...If I was mad at him for something I would freeze him out. If we said something to a friend or family member that the other of us had taken the wrong way, we would just sulk. ... It wasn’t that we were intentionally trying to hurt each other or embarrass each other, but people all have things they’re insecure about. ...
...My husband and I found ourselves in a situation a week after our new arrangement that tested our ability to be upfront and honest about our wishes and intentions. ... A younger guy across the bar was checking me out, and for the first time I actually noticed the attention. I smiled, I looked back at him, I winked, and I put my arm around my husband and gave him a deep kiss. I wanted to make it clear that I knew I was hot and could have any man in the bar, and I was with him, but my husband took it a different way than I had intended.
Instead of sulking or freezing me out and telling me “you should just know why I’m upset” as he did in the past on less complicated issues, he turned to me and said....
Read on. The article is undated but recent. About a month ago she told the first part about catching her husband on Tinder: Why My Husband And I Have An Open Relationship.
Labels: open marriage