Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“I’m Engaged But I’m Not Ready to Be Monogamous”

I am 25 and getting married in three months to a perfectly amazing and wonderful man. He’s sweet, smart, thoughtful, and handsome, and we make an amazing team. We share goals and values. The only thing that doesn’t remotely match up is our sex drive (mine is abnormally high, and his is very, very, very low). Since I met him a little over three years ago, I haven’t been able to imagine my future without him. I can’t communicate enough how much I am in love with this man, and how excited I am to be marrying him.

When we first got together, we had an open relationship. He wasn’t particularly interested in dating or sleeping around, but I had just gotten out of long relationship and I really just wanted to see what was out there. I quickly fell in love with him, but I wanted to feel single, and I was honest about that. I had a history of cheating, and wondering what else was out there and I was determined to find out. Around eight or nine months in, I decided I was ready to fully commit to him, and I told him that I was ready to be monogamous.

Well, here I am three months out from a wedding to this wonderful man, and I’m wondering if that’s actually true. I meant it completely when I said it, but I’m not certain I’ll actually be able to keep it up. I don’t want another boyfriend and I don’t want to be truly polyamorous; I just want the freedom to pursue and satisfy my sexual curiosity when I meet someone I’m attracted to. I want my soon-to-be husband to have all my heart and soul, and access to my body whenever he wants it. I don’t know if this desire is out of line or selfish, but it’s the conclusion I’ve come to. I guess my question is, how do I ask for this? Is this something I should pursue at all, or should I just let this go and be satisfied that I get to marry the love of my life? Is there any way for me to suggest this without breaking my darling man’s heart? Is there any good time for this talk, or is pretty much any time equally bad?

I’ve had one person say that this conversation needs to happen before the wedding, sooner rather than later. Another has said that me wanting to sleep with other people is the last thing my fiance needs to be thinking about when we say our vows and that I should wait until after. I would very much appreciate any advice you could provide. — Sexually Curious Bride


You sleeping with other people may be the last thing your fiance wants to hear just before your wedding, but it’s the first thing he needs to hear. I’m sure on some level you know that, but you’re afraid that if you come clean, you’ll risk him deciding he doesn’t want to marry someone who isn’t sure she can be monogamous. And make no bones about it: that is a very real risk. But it would be dishonest of you to keep your feelings a secret and marry him knowing what you know about yourself. Your fiance may decide he’s OK marrying you despite your desire to sleep with other people, but he deserves to make that decision will a full disclosure from you before you walk down the aisle.

I do not suggest sweeping this under the rug and trying to be satisfied with “marrying the love of your life,” as you say. You have a history of cheating, and given that your husband-to-be doesn’t fulfill your sexual needs and you’re already questioning whether you can remain faithful to him, it’s only a matter of time before you cheat again. Why go into a marriage with the deck stacked so high against you like that? It isn’t fair to you and it most certainly isn’t fair to your fiance. And if breaking his heart is what concerns you, just imagine how broken it will be when he learns of his wife’s infidelity. At least a broken engagement is much easier to get over than a cheating wife and broken marriage.

As for when to bring this up to him, there’s no time like the present. Simply sit him down and tell him that before you commit your lives to each other, there’s something you need to tell him that may affect his decision to marry you. Explain to him how much you love him and how you want nothing more to grow old with him, except maybe to grow old with him and to bone everybody to your heart’s content on the side. Tell him that while you meant it when you said you could be monogamous, on second thought, you aren’t so sure you do. Ask him if there’s any way he would consider an open marriage where he has sole dibs on your heart and soul and first dibs on your body, but everyone else can have a piece, too. If he’s open to that, great. And if not, then you may lose the love of your life, but you’ll gain sexual freedom forever and ever.

*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com and be sure to follow me on Twitter and ‘like’ me on Facebook.

163 comments… add one
  • JK

    JK July 3, 2012, 9:07 am

    WWS.
    Seriously, mismatched sex drives are a major source of problems in LTRs. And, like Wendy said, it´s not fair to either of you to enter marriage with the way you´re feeling.

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  • avatar

    Amanda July 3, 2012, 9:12 am

    WWS! LW, you need to have this conversation with your fiance today, if possible. You need to be honest with him about your sexual needs. He may be agreeable to opening your relationship, but you won’t know until you talk to him.

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    • FireStar

      FireStar July 3, 2012, 9:55 am

      I Agree – she needs to have the conversation TODAY…. and be prepared to postpone (or cancel) the wedding if need be.

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    • avatar

      Tracey July 3, 2012, 11:04 am

      And if you can’t bring yourself to say it to him, well, perhaps that’s a sign of something deeper going on within you…especially since you’ve had the “let’s have an open relationship” discussion before. At the very least, show him this post and let him know that you’re the LW.

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom July 3, 2012, 9:28 am

    He deserves to know immediatley. It may break his heart but he deserves to make the decision to get married with full knowledge of you and your wants and needs. He deserves the chance to walk away if this won’t work for him. If you love him you won’t pull this on him after getting married. If you love him you need to respect him enough to be honest even though he may never marry you. If you marry him under false pretenses you know that you’ll probably be divorced within a few years and he not only won’t be the love of your life, he will likely despise you.

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  • avatar

    jlyfsh July 3, 2012, 9:29 am

    Like Wendy said he might not want to hear it before the wedding but you owe him that conversation before you get married. If you wait until after you’re going to run the risk of either getting a divorce or staying in a marriage that makes both of you miserable.

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    • JK

      JK July 3, 2012, 9:31 am

      So true. LW, please never ask the person that told you to wait until after the wedding for advice again.

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      • avatar

        Matthew July 3, 2012, 9:33 am

        WJKS

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      • JK

        JK July 3, 2012, 9:35 am

        🙂

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      • avatar

        jlyfsh July 3, 2012, 9:38 am

        yes i definitely agree with you too! awful advice!

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  • avatar

    ktfran July 3, 2012, 9:30 am

    I’m also in the tell him before the wedding camp. Not the week of the wedding. Like. NOW.

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  • avatar

    Matthew July 3, 2012, 9:30 am

    First, you should smack the person who told you not to bring this up until after the wedding. Couples needs to be on the same page BEFORE they get married.

    Then, WWS.

    Beyond that, I’m really curious whether your biggest concern is mismatched sex drives or the desire for an open relationship. Wanting the “freedom to pursue and satisfy” your sexual curiosity when you meet someone you are attracted to sounds like a desire for an open relationship. Maybe that stems from your mismatched sex drives, but it sounds more like you’d want an open relationship even if your sex drives were more closely matched up.

    Regardless of which it is, you need to tell all to this man. It is completely unfair of you to keep this information away from the man who you plan to marry.

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    • Budj

      Budj July 3, 2012, 9:34 am

      I agree with everything you said. Which is it? Open relationship or high sex drive? And maybe it’s because mine is high in a relationship but I just can’t imagine any dude that would be like “no…not tonight, honey” from his s/o that wanted it bad…haha…just does not compute, but apparently happens.

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      • JK

        JK July 3, 2012, 9:36 am

        Yeah… I´d usually heard the other way around, as well.

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      • Cara

        Cara July 3, 2012, 9:49 am

        It happens! I´ve been on both sides, my first boyfriend had a weirdly high sex-drive ( think 3-7 times a day!!! LDR though) and my ex had a really low one (about 2-3 times a week, in a LDR where we would only see each other for 3 weeks, then again in 4 months for 3 weeks etc.)

        It´s werid when it´s reversed because women aren´t “supposed” to want more sex than men, and to be honest it did gnaw a little on me that he didn´t “want me”. Got over it though.

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      • JK

        JK July 3, 2012, 9:58 am

        hahahaha “really low” 2-3 times a week? 🙂

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      • Cara

        Cara July 3, 2012, 10:05 am

        well, that would be fine in a LTR, but in a LDR? I was ready to jump him at any given minute of my 3 week stays!!!

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      • JK

        JK July 3, 2012, 10:08 am

        True, sorry. I was letting my life experiences speak for me.

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      • avatar

        Matthew July 3, 2012, 10:07 am

        3-7 times a day…? What the…
        How do you even get work done?

        Also, I don’t think 2-3 times a week counts as really low.

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      • Budj

        Budj July 3, 2012, 10:14 am

        lol – well once in the morning and once at night (14 times a week) would be my preferred schedule…

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      • avatar

        ktfran July 3, 2012, 12:00 pm

        Agreed!

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      • avatar

        Trixy Minx July 3, 2012, 10:43 pm

        Same here.

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      • Cara

        Cara July 3, 2012, 10:16 am

        Both were LDR´s, so when we saw each other at least one of us didn´t have much to do.

        And my first boyfriends sex drive was one reason it didn´t work out, it just became too much, because he would whine about doing it again after 4 times. NO!

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      • avatar

        Lydia July 3, 2012, 9:45 am

        It definitely happens. My fiance is a high school teacher and a diabetic, a combination that often leaves him exhausted and not in the mood.

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      • avatar

        zombeyonce July 3, 2012, 11:48 am

        It totally happens. My ex turned me down so many times that I finally stopped asking. It was super depressing to only have sex once every 6 weeks or so, especially with a high sex drive like mine.

        I’m now married to an amazing man and we have a very happy open relationship. It’s pretty fantastic.

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    • avatar

      tbrucemom July 3, 2012, 10:00 am

      I thought the same thing. It sounds like she wants her cake and eat it too. I don’t see anywhere in her letter where they had a conversation about their mismatched sex drives, just about being open to sleep with others. Is it really the difference in sex drives or the excitement of being with someone different? I’m assuming that her fiance is around the same age as her and at 25 a man’s sex drive should be pretty high. Is he on medication? Are there other possible medical, religious, etc. reasons why it’s not? Bottom line she needs to talk to him NOW and address the sex drive issue, not about being open. I can’t imagine someone agreeing to that and personally don’t see why someone gets married and wants to sleep with other people. Don’t marriage vows say “forsaking all others”?

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      • avatar

        redessa July 3, 2012, 10:27 am

        I was wondering about the vows too. Maybe they’ll write their own and she’ll conveniently leave out anything about being faithful.

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      • avatar

        honeybeenicki July 3, 2012, 10:36 am

        While its not for me, I know a few people who have open and polyamorous relationships and marriages. If it works for them, it works for them and I don’t judge. Saying that, I think she should definitely talk to him about both the mismatched sex drive and the possibility of wanting an open marriage. Honestly, from the way I read this, it seems like she would want an open relationship even if they had the same sex drive.

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      • KKZ

        KKZ July 3, 2012, 12:00 pm

        I know it runs contrary to a lot of the things we’ve been told about men but a low sex drive, even at 25, does not always mean there’s something wrong with him. And the same goes for women – if you have a low sex drive, that does not mean something’s wrong with you.

        If we think of the sex drive the way we think of other physical drives/needs – say, hunger – it makes more sense. Some people can eat relatively little and be satisfied; others need a feast.

        I only say this because efforts to find some sort of cause or malady that’s affecting a low sex drive can have a very detrimental effect on the person whose sex drive is being questioned. To feel there’s something “wrong” with you and that you need to be “fixed” is not good for one’s self-esteem.

        A sudden dip or dropoff in sex drive can point to something “wrong” but if it’s almost always been low, then it’s more likely their natural state.

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  • Kate B.

    Kate B July 3, 2012, 9:32 am

    Talk to him now. If you don’t, you will be entering into a marriage based on a lie. He must have the choice. Put yourself in his shoes. How would you feel if you married someone thinking you knew who they were and it turned out they lied to you when they promised to be faithful? If he does choose to leave, he will do so with his dignity intact, and you will have been honest. You owe him that.

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  • avatar

    londonlin6 July 3, 2012, 9:35 am

    I’ll marry him instead!

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  • avatar

    Leah July 3, 2012, 9:40 am

    I always seem to name-drop Dan Savage when these sorts of questions come up on DW. He’s helped a lot of people through this issue, where one partner wants an open relationship but the other isn’t interested. And his advice is to make it worth it to your partner. One way to do that is to (excuse my language) fuck him silly after you’ve been with another partner. According to Dan, one of the best things about sleeping with other people is that it gets you completely horny and you can bring that hornyness and excitement back to the relationship.

    Another thing to keep in mind when you bring this up to your fiance is that even though you’re telling him this now, you don’t have to open your relationship right away. Couples spend literally YEARS negotiating their way into open relationships. One thing you can do is allow him to have more power in the beginning. Instead of going out and having sex with whatever interesting person you happen to come across, tell him you’ll only sleep with another person if HE okays it. Depending on what he’s comfortable with, this could mean him meeting and okaying the specific person or just giving you a window of time where you have permission, like you have a specific weekend to go out and sleep with exactly one person who isn’t him. That way, he still feels in control which should not only make him more comfortable with the situation, but may eventually become a turn-on for him as well. The basis for a cuckold fetish, which is a pretty primal thing for men, is that after the undermining experience of their partner being with someone else the man reclaims her as his own. So, when you come home from these experiences, be more enthusiastic in bed than you ever have before!

    The bottom line is, these relationships are possible but take a lot of time, and a lot, lot, lot of open communication to make them work. You may not want to be truly poly, but you might want to reach out to those communities on how they negotiate the jealousies that come with those sorts of relationships. It is doable, but you both have to be on board. Good luck!

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    • avatar

      Anna July 3, 2012, 10:59 am

      While I’ve watched plenty of TV shows about relationships like this and read about them, I still don’t understand. How could it possibly be a turn-on to know that your husband or wife just fucked someone else?

      It sounds to me like the LW’s fiance wouldn’t be up for an open relationship anyway. It seems like he agreed to the “open relationship” at first even though he wasn’t interested in banging other women…probably just to keep the girl he loves. I bet he was so relieved when she agreed to marry him and become monogamous. If she goes back now, I suspect he will dump her and find a girl who’s capable of monogamy.

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      • avatar

        Christy July 3, 2012, 11:08 am

        It’s related to staking your claim.

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      • avatar

        BettyBoop July 3, 2012, 6:42 pm

        There are plenty of open relationships where only one partner gets involved with other people. Particularly if he naturally doesn’t have a high sex drive.

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    • avatar

      cporoski July 3, 2012, 11:59 am

      I know people do this but I do not know how this works in the real world. It isn’t just the sleeping with other people. It is that I would be worried that I couldn’t take my husband to community events. Like if we went to a friend’s pool party, would he be looking around? Or at kids’ soccer games. I feel like everyone would find out and you would be a social outcast becuase they would think you were either “pathetic for staying” or creepy. Maybe it is just my living in suburbia but still. I don’t see how this could work long term. What if someone you know ran into you on a date, or one of your kid’s friends or something.

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  • avatar

    GatorGirl July 3, 2012, 10:01 am

    If this is truly about mismatched sex drives I think you need to have a frank discussion with your fiance about your lack of satisfaction sexually and BOTH of you need to work together to meet in the middle. My fiance and I have very different drives, but we talk about it often and both of us give a little (and some times a lot) so that we are both happy.

    If you just want “freedom to pursue and satisfy my sexual curiosity” when even and with whom ever you are sexually attracted to- I don’t think you are ready for marraige.

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    • avatar

      Anna July 3, 2012, 11:02 am

      That was my thought too. I don’t know if it’s just because I come from a very conservative area and background, but marriage to me = ready to be monogamous.

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      • avatar

        ele4phant July 3, 2012, 11:32 am

        Eh, to me personally marriage does mean monogamy. But there are many, many healthy, happy, mature marriages out there that are open, so I don’t think its my place to make my personal standard the standard for everyone.

        It sounds like this girl has never been happy being monogamous, so I don’t think for her this is a case of cold feet or feeling like she still wants to sow some oats. This is probably just how she is.

        Its entirely possible that they could have a happy, mutually fulfilling, open marriage. But the only way she’s going to know if that’s possible is to ask him if and how he would like that to work. Not wait until they’re already married and then spring it on him. That’ll just put them on the fast track for annulment.

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        GatorGirl July 3, 2012, 11:42 am

        I agree. Marraige to ME means monogamy, but that doesn’t mean it does for everyone. Based on what the LW has said about her fiance, he is not okay with an open relationship and they only way their relationship will survive is if he steps up his game in the bedroom. And I really don’t think that is enough.

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  • avatar

    amy July 3, 2012, 10:04 am

    To each his own, but it doesn’t sound like your fiance’ would be willing to have an open relationship which is why you are afraid to tell him before the wedding.

    Tell him now. Don’t wait until the wedding, or until you cheat.

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    • bagge72

      bagge72 July 3, 2012, 12:04 pm

      I agree, it sounds like before they weren’t really in an open relationship, but just weren’t really committed to each other yet, more like a FWB, then she decided she wants to be in a committed relationship, and she can’t have that same conversation now, because the rules are kind of different, because she knows that he never wanted an open relationship. She said herself that she wanted to be single at the beginning.
      LW you really do need to tell him, because it does sound like your fiance doesn’t want to be in an open relationship, and you need to give him the chance to get out of this now before it’s too late.

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom July 3, 2012, 10:09 am

    I’m wondering what his very, very, very low sex drive is? Once a week, once a month, once a year? Maybe he’s gay and if you have an open relationship he’ll have one too. Would you mind if both of you were seeing men on the side?

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    • Cara

      Cara July 3, 2012, 10:23 am

      maybe he´s wants to have sex with aliens, would you be okay with him seeing extraterrestrials on the side?

      😀

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      • avatar

        honeybeenicki July 3, 2012, 10:37 am

        That just put one helluva mental image in my head. Thanks for that.

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  • avatar

    Lindsay July 3, 2012, 10:17 am

    Man, if my husband told me after our wedding that he didn’t want to be monogamous, we’d be heading for an annulment. Surely you realize that an open marriage is something that he could easily refuse to do and that could easily make him not want to be married to you anymore. Therefore, he needs all the facts before he jumps into this. Otherwise, it makes you seem very shady.

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  • avatar

    sarolabelle July 3, 2012, 10:17 am

    I don’t know LW. I question your love for this man. Here I am also a few months away from a wedding and my fiance and I have never had sex with each other or with anyone. We don’t know what each other’s sex drive will be but when we get to that point I know we’ll compromise. Never, ever ever would either of us even think about wanting to stray from our marriage. To us sex belongs in a marriage and no where else. It’s not “just sex”. It’s love. It’s the one thing in this world that will we will experience with each other and with no one else. And what an awesome thing to experience and share with the man of my dreams forever! No matter if we do it 10 times a week or 1 it will be special and between us. And we’ll talk about it and discuss our desires. If one of us has a fantasy we’ll tell the other and see what we can do.

    I think you have two choices.

    1. Marry him and remain monogamous and share your body with your husband only.
    2. Break up and share your body with everyone that wants it.

    Truthfully I think the answer is in what your moral values are. I don’t think I can answer what you should do. Only you can.

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    • avatar

      jlyfsh July 3, 2012, 10:23 am

      I think though that she shouldn’t feel bad about her desires. What sex in a marriage means to her vs what it means to you or me or whoever isn’t the question here. It’s what they both want and desire. It’s not just about moral values. She shouldn’t be ashamed of what she wants, but she should be truthful. It also doesn’t meant she loves her fiance any less than you love yours.

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    • avatar

      kerrycontrary July 3, 2012, 10:27 am

      I’m sorry, but sex is not that easy that you will just “compromise”. If you haven’t had it then you don’t know all that it entails, no matter how much you talk about it beforehand. I respect your decision to wait until marriage and I think that doing so can make sex a lot LESS complicated, but you won’t know your desires until you have it and your partner may or may not wish to embrace them.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl July 3, 2012, 10:56 am

        I disagree. Having a healthy sex life with your partner is a lot about compromise. You have to meet in the middle on frequency, time of day, foreplay, even the “kind” of sex once you’re in the process. Yes, we don’t know our sexual desires until we’re having a sexual relationship but I fully beleive you can make a commitment in a relationship to explore any desires that come up. And that you can work with your partner to make sure you are both fully satisfied- even if you don’t love every kink they are into and they don’t love everything you’re in to.

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        kerrycontrary July 3, 2012, 11:06 am

        I’m more thinking extreme circumstances. Like maybe he discovers that he loves cross dressing. Or she likes watching gay porn. Or going to BDSM clubs. Anything! If there’s one thing you can’t change about people it’s what turns them on and what turns them off. So yes, all sexual relationships require compromise but I don’t think just talking about sex and how you will approach it is the same as having sex.

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      • katie

        Katie July 3, 2012, 11:25 am

        exactly- its about who you are fundamentally as a person. if you are a person who wants and values monogamy, you will work on your sex drives and schedules to make it work for the two of you… if, fundamentally, you need multiple partners, and you are with someone who fundamentally needs monogamy, its not going to work.

        you can only compromise on things that aren’t deal breakers. thats the difference. monogamy is a dealbreaker, i would say, for a lot of people, in the sense that people either want it completely or do not.. so would be bringing in another person into the marriage.. so would be an open relationship… ect. those are the fundamental things you cant compromise on. after you have matched those, you can start compromising.

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        GatorGirl July 3, 2012, 11:37 am

        You’re both talking the extreme here, I’m talking the day to day and I beleive thats what sarolabelle was talking about as well. This LW definitely falls under the extreme category. And I will take the chance and say that if someone is abstaining until marriage, they have a lot of self control and are not going to value having multiple partners (and aren’t going to be interested in a lot of the extreme sexual habits that have been tossed out). I think sarolabelle and the LW are on opposite ends of the spectrum.

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      • katie

        Katie July 3, 2012, 11:43 am

        its not about extremes- its just about who you are… so you and your fiance are both monogamous and have agreed that is the relationship you want. even if everything about your fiance was perfect, but he wanted an open relationship, or he wanted to add a third or whatever, you wouldnt be able to deal with that, would you? i couldnt in that situation, because i am fundamentally a monogomous person as well, and i could not change something so intimate and so serious about myself… its like saying that you could just “compromise” about being gay- thats not the way it works. you are gay or your not. you are into open relationships or your not. you know?

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        GatorGirl July 3, 2012, 12:22 pm

        I still think we are talking about different things. You’re talking major dealbreakers for most people, I’m talking navigating the day to day in regards to sarolabelle’s statement about her and her fiance. I’m talking about on a Tuesday when you don’t really feel like it but your partner does, you do it because it’s good for your relationship and you love the other person or you do a position you don’t love because he does. You’re talking about sexual things that are much larger and would be deal breakers for a lot of people; open relationships, threeways, changing the gender of your partner. I’m on your page about those bigger things. I was just defending sarolabelle about the day to day and the importance of great sexual communication.

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      • katie

        katie July 3, 2012, 12:52 pm

        Ah ok yes I get what your saying. And I do agree with that, I think the issue I have is that is that is too simplified of a solution for this LW… Because like I said, you can compromise with your partner once you have found someone who you can fundamentally exist sexually with. I don’t think this LW is even to that point yet.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl July 3, 2012, 1:00 pm

        Agree. LW and fiance are definitely not on the same page. They aren’t even in like the same book.

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    • avatar

      EB July 3, 2012, 10:28 am

      I find your reply unnecessarily rude and reeking of condescension. Kudos on your life choices; I hope they make you happy but I missed the part where that gave you license to judge anyone who might choose differently

      “Break up and share your body with everyone that wants it”

      umm…SERIOUSLY?? What part of a single person having sex outside of marriage (which she would be if they broke up) equals having sex with EVERYONE who wants it?!? Congratulations you have just insulted the majority of adult Americans by implying they have zero standards when it comes to sex.

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      • littlebit

        littlebit July 3, 2012, 10:42 am

        THANK YOU for reading my mind and typing that response! That’s what I was thinking!

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        sarolabelle July 3, 2012, 11:22 am

        you do not know me and you can’t possibly know my tone when it’s just text on a screen.

        The LW was the one who said ” I just want the freedom to pursue and satisfy my sexual curiosity when I meet someone I’m attracted to” I was just saying, she has a choice to do that if she wants by breaking up with him.

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        Lilybell July 3, 2012, 11:35 am

        I don’t need to be able to read tone when you write “depending on your moral values” – you can’t really backtrack on that one. Your post reeks of judgment. I think it’s ridiculous to wait until marriage, but I would never presume to judge someone else for their decisions, regardless of how silly I personally think they are.

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        *HmC* July 3, 2012, 3:21 pm

        How is thinking that someone’s choices are ridiculous and silly not judgmental?

        I actually think that the term judgmental gets a bad rap, anyway. I think it’s hatred and hostility we really need to worry about.

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        EB July 3, 2012, 12:12 pm

        I can’t imagine any underlying tone that would make your initial response anymore palatable…unless it was sarcasm.

        “‘I just want the freedom to pursue and satisfy my sexual curiosity when I meet someone I’m attracted to’ I was just saying, she has a choice to do that if she wants by breaking up with him”

        Yeah. No. You said:

        “Break up and share your body with everyone that wants it”

        If you don’t understand the difference between the two and why the second one was rude and insulting, then I am kind of at loss… just because a person chooses to have sex with more than one person or have sex outside of marriage/relationship does not mean they want to “share their body with everyone who wants it”.

        Also, I find it rich that you chastise me for not knowing you well enough to interpret your “tone” based on “text on a page” but you feel comfortable enough using “text on a page” to question a stranger’s love for her fiance simply because she shares different values than you.

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        Violet July 3, 2012, 4:01 pm

        Ugh, I hate the way that statement about sharing it with everyone who wants it just completely takes away this woman’s agency, like she’s in some kind of forced prostitution. It’s so creepy and unnecessary. There are other ways to state your opinion that you prefer monogamy and can’t see other options for yourself.

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        martha July 3, 2012, 12:23 pm

        why are you guys attacking sarolabelle? she can express her opinion. i don’t think she was rude or condescending.

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        ele4phant July 3, 2012, 5:41 pm

        There’s nothing wrong with wanting to wait for marriage to have sex. In fact, its commendable. There’s nothing wrong with expressing that, or even encouraging others to do so as well. There’s nothing wrong with wanting a monogamous relationship either (I do).

        However, she did imply that those who do not wait or that don’t want complete exclusivity should just go out and schlup anyone who’ll take them. That is kind of rude and condescending.

        I think some perhaps got a little more peeved than necessary, but sarolabelle’s first comment was kind of judgy. There’s nothing wrong with having the opinion she has, but there is something wrong how she phrased it.

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      Leah July 3, 2012, 10:29 am

      The idea that love = monogamy, and vice versa, is one of the reasons why a lot of couples have to deal with adultery. It’s awesome that you’re no longer interested in men now that you’re with you’re fiance, but a lot of that has to do with your personal experience. As you said, he’s the only man you’ve been with so you don’t know what else is out there.

      I’m on the very monogamous end of the scale. I’ve only ever wanted to be with one person at a time, and this meant going years without sex because I wasn’t in a relationship. Not everyone is that way. A lot of people (and yes, women) enjoy sex for it’s own sake. And when they fall in love with one person, that doesn’t always go away. When I first met my BF (soon to be fiance) I was freaked out when I realized I still had an attraction to a mutual friend. I didn’t want to be capable of those feelings now that I had met the love of my life, but I was and I needed to accept that. People who don’t accept that they may be attracted to people outside their marriage, people who assume they would never cheat because they’re “good people”, don’t figure out how to deal with their attractions. These are the people that get drunk and just slip up, because they never thought they were capable of it.

      You can want to sleep with someone that you don’t love. You can love someone and still want to sleep with other people. And if you’re very thoughtful, you can love someone AND STILL SLEEP WITH OTHER PEOPLE. The norm may be monogamy, but it’s not the only “moral” option.

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      • Cara

        Cara July 3, 2012, 10:37 am

        perfect response.

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        sarolabelle July 3, 2012, 11:32 am

        I don’t understand how people can not be monogamous. I don’t understand it at all….to me it cheapens the act and doesn’t make it as special. It becomes about satisfying your own desires instead of satisfying your partners.

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      • katie

        Katie July 3, 2012, 11:36 am

        just an FYI, when you say to someone that they are “cheapening” something, thats pretty condescending and not going to be well received, just like your above comment…

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        sarolabelle July 3, 2012, 11:41 am

        how else can I say it then? How else do I get my option out there that I don’t think it is as special outside of a monogamous relationship?

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      • JK

        JK July 3, 2012, 11:48 am

        You don´t. You can say, as others have, “I wouldn´t have a non monogamous relationship” Or something along those lines. Without the disparaging adjectives.

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        ktfran July 3, 2012, 11:49 am

        First of all, you didn’t have to bring the word morals into it. Just because you think the only right thing to do is be in a monogamous relationship doesn’t mean other people do. You can still be moral and want to have an open relationship.

        You also told her to either suck it up and be in a monogomous relationship, or go out and have sex with as many dudes as she wants. There is a middle ground, if she and her fiance are both ok with it. Just because it’s something you wouldn’t choose, doesn’t mean she is immoral.

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        MissDre July 3, 2012, 11:49 am

        It’s the way you said it. You said, this is my opinion, and based on my opinion you only have two choices, which are to stay completely monogamous or to break up and sleep around. But that is not the case. As many others have mentioned, she has the option of discussing this with her husband and potentially coming to compromise (whether that’s a poly-amorous marriage, compromising on sex activities together, whatever). The point is, there are more options here than just those based on your opinion. There is nothing wrong with sharing your beliefs, or saying that you don’t understand where someone else is coming from, but there IS something wrong with telling someone that their only options are based on what YOU think.

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      • katie

        Katie July 3, 2012, 11:50 am

        you can say something like, in my life i think that being monogomous is special and it makes sex more important and more emotional for me. then you might add in, i dont judge others who have sex outside of monogamy, just for me its such a special experience that i dont want to share it with just anyone.

        saying that not being monogamous cheapens the experience of sex says to anyone else who does have sex with multiple people that they are cheap, you know? you can definitely share what you believe and how you live your life without giving off that air that anyone who doesnt sucks at it.

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        sarolabelle July 3, 2012, 11:59 am

        oh okay – thanks….I thought I said what you said…guess I don’t know the best way to communicate.

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      • avatar

        MissDre July 3, 2012, 11:39 am

        You SHOULD satisfy your own desires (as well as your partner’s of course, but making sure that YOU are satisfied is equally important)

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      • bagge72

        bagge72 July 3, 2012, 1:28 pm

        I think you are putting way to much into what sex is going to be, and there is a very good chance you will be dissappointed at first until you figure out what works between the two of you. I would suggest to start double clicking the mouse if you don’t already, and start finding out what works for you so you can help him help you, because it can destroy him mentally.

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        cporoski July 3, 2012, 12:22 pm

        But the “norm” is what makes this so hard. There is no way you will be accepted in the majority of society this way. You will be paranoid and always looking over your shoulder. Because if she wants to hook up with people when they come along, it is going to be in thier community. There is no way he will say yes.

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      • JK

        JK July 3, 2012, 12:28 pm

        Noone ever really know what goes on behind closed doors.
        As far as I know, I don´t know any monogamish couples. Or cross dressers. Or hardcore BDSM players.
        But I know there are SO MANY people into those things out there, that chances are someone I know is.
        But just as I don´t go around with a sign saying “I´m a pretty vanilla, straight, monogamous woman”, they don´t go around holding up a sign announcing what they do in their lives.
        I do think it´s sad that anyone that goes against “the norm” often feels like that they have to hide it from the world.

        And there are A LOT of ways a person can satisfy their desires to go outside their marriage for sex, not necessarily within their community.

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        jlyfsh July 3, 2012, 12:36 pm

        I agree with you. There’s no reason to write under your name on your name tag what your sexual preferences are. People aren’t going to find out unless you tell them. And why would you feel the need to be paranoid and constantly look over your shoulder? I think if anything you would be shocked at what really goes behind closed doors. Even with people you ‘think’ you know.

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        cporoski July 5, 2012, 6:41 am

        but where is she going to find these people? Cross Dressers and BDSM can be behind closed doors. She is saying that she wants to sleep with people that come along.

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      • JK

        JK July 5, 2012, 6:48 am

        Internet for one, sex clubs, if she lives in a big city pretty much anywhere. Even in a small community I´m guessing the people involved would be pretty discreet.

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      • avatar

        jlyfsh July 5, 2012, 7:48 am

        yes, even in my tiny town there is a swingers club that meets at one of the hotels in the city next to us. people will find a way. most people who participate in this kind of thing don’t go to the bar in town where everybody knows everybody to pick someone up. they’re smarter than that.

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      • avatar

        AliceInDairyLand July 3, 2012, 11:33 am

        I like you Leah, both of your responses were wonderful. Lets be friends.

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    • avatar

      Bijou July 3, 2012, 10:39 am

      It’s great that you and your fiance have openly discussed what you expect from each other in your marriage. Very few people have that. However, as many of the other commenters have noted, while marriage means monogamy for most, it does not mean monogamy for everyone. It seems you tried hard to not be judgmental in your response, but it definitely comes across with a tone of superiority and knowing-better-than. People can be in open relationships and still love their main partner deeply. In fact, this kind of relationship takes at least just as much communication as the type you described you and your fiance have.

      I also feel that Wendy’s response was a bit judgmental, though I know her writing style is done to elicit a certain response. However, if I were the LW, I would feel incredibly ashamed after reading her response for even thinking about an open relationship when the only thing the LW should be ashamed for is contemplating not being open with her fiance.

      LW – if you want to change the verbal agreement (to be monogamous) of your relationship, you need to do so before your wedding when it becomes a legal contract.

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    • avatar

      honeybeenicki July 3, 2012, 10:42 am

      While I respect your decision to wait and your views on sex, I don’t think that everyone believes the same thing. Actually, I know not everyone does – because I don’t (and I’m part of everyone). I don’t think we should necessarily judge the LW for what she thinks/feels/desires. A lot of people feel that same way and kudos to her for wanting to be HONEST about it. Now, I definitely think she should talk to him before they get married because he has the right to know but I don’t think her wanting an open relationship makes her a bad person.

      And also, only in technically “recent” times in history (I’m not talking the last few years here just to be clear) has sex been about love. Sex and sexual desire is one of the purest, most carnal desires humans and other animals have ever had.

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        Christy July 3, 2012, 11:13 am

        I love your last paragraph! Sex is natural. It is literally a biological imperative.

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    • littlebit

      littlebit July 3, 2012, 10:52 am

      I feel like you’re bragging about your relationship, which is definitely NOT helpful for the LW. It seems a bit obnoxious and judgmental. Hate to say it, but your choices do not guarantee that you’ve found the “key to happiness” and you’re going to live happily ever after because you refrained from sex.
      Just bugs me to hear/read about ppl who feel they know what’s right for another person based on their own experiences; everyone is different! Doesn’t make you any better b/c you waited. I respect your choice, but please be wiser in the future when placing your beliefs on others.
      Sorry to sound harsh…

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      • avatar

        sarolabelle July 3, 2012, 11:36 am

        I’m not bragging. I’m trying to give the LW another perspective. I’m giving her my opinion on this subject. The same thing everyone else is doing in the comments.

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      • littlebit

        littlebit July 3, 2012, 12:01 pm

        It’s unfortunate that it comes out that way, though. I know you’re defending your comment b/c you did mean well. I understand that you didn’t mean any harm, as long as you understand how misleading the comment could seem for the LW. Just make a note how it can could come across wrong… That’s the sucky part of the internet.

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      • avatar

        Christy July 3, 2012, 12:41 pm

        Way harsh, Tai.

        (jk, ITA with you.)

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      • avatar

        ktfran July 3, 2012, 12:47 pm

        God I love that movie.

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      • JK

        JK July 3, 2012, 12:49 pm

        Me too. It´s so sad seeing how old Elton is now. And Alicia Silverstone.

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        ktfran July 3, 2012, 12:55 pm

        Dude, he’s still kind of hot. And Paul Rudd gets better and better.

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      • avatar

        Christy July 3, 2012, 12:57 pm

        OMG I never realized he was in that movie.

        Also moment of silence for Brittany Murphy.

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      • JK

        JK July 3, 2012, 1:00 pm

        ITA about Paul Rudd. He just gets better and better. And Elton is still kind of hot, but I didn´t even recognize him at first on Suburgatory!

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    • avatar

      Anna July 3, 2012, 11:08 am

      Sarolabelle, as much as you’re going to get eaten alive for this comment, I have to agree with you a bit. Marriage is entering into a forever partnership with someone in which you work together on EVERYTHING. Satisfying each other’s sexual desires shouldn’t be impossible to do just between two spouses. If you have to have other people to satisfy your desires, you don’t have a strong marriage.

      Ok, so he has a low sex drive. She could just tell him she needs more sex and tell him specific fantasies she has. If he values the marriage and monogamy, he will compromise too and work to please her in the bedroom so she doesn’t need anyone else. If her fantasies absolutely cannot be fulfilled without fucking multiple random dudes, she’s not ready to be anyone’s wife.

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      • LadyinPurpleNotRed

        LadyinPurpleNotRed July 3, 2012, 11:14 am

        The major problem I have with her comment is not that she thinks that…it’s how…holier than thou and judgmental she sounds about people who believe anything but what she stated.

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      • littlebit

        littlebit July 3, 2012, 11:22 am

        Exactly! I wouldn’t have even responded until I felt that the comment was more harmful than helpful. Just made me irritated to read that in the morning!

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        Anna July 3, 2012, 11:24 am

        I’m not going to argue with that. I’m not about slut shaming or anything like that. But I really think that what she was trying to express was that two loving spouses in a good marriage ought to be able to compromise on bedroom matters so that they are both satisfied. If it means he has to get himself in the mood more often or act out scenarios he wouldn’t normally be able to, I would think he would be willing to do that. Women do it all the time! Hell, I did it when I was in a relationship. I have a fairly high sex drive but my work hours are really weird and sometimes I was really tired when he was really horny. I would have to put effort into getting in the mood at first but after a few minutes it was well worth the effort because we were both enjoying it. And neither of us needed to screw anybody else, which is also much safer in terms of STD’s and stuff.

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      • LadyinPurpleNotRed

        LadyinPurpleNotRed July 3, 2012, 11:32 am

        I have no problem with that. The only problem I have is how judgmental and frankly kind of bitchy she said it. There are more productive ways to get her point across.

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        SweetPeaG July 3, 2012, 11:36 am

        Anna, I agree. I think Sarolabelle’s comment came off a little harsh. But, I sort of get what you both are saying.

        When you really and truly love someone you DO have to make some sacrifices. That is a very adult realization. That NO… you can not get everything you want!! I can not pretend to know what it is like to have a strong desire to be with men other than the man I love. That’s just not my personality. Sure, my head can be turned by someone attractive, but that’s what it stops for me. HOWEVER, I can understand what it is like to compromise and yes, make sacrifices. Having an adult relationship requires being an adult. And not getting whatever you want, whenever you want it.

        THE LW may need to decide what is more important 1) Marrying him or 2) Not marrying him and being with whoever she wants. If she is having this much reservation about telling him, open relationships are probably not his thing.

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        SpaceySteph July 3, 2012, 11:50 am

        Ok but if two people are in a loving relationship and one of them wants an open relationship (be it open sex, polyamory, or other), then isn’t that the same thing? Shouldn’t they work together the same way?

        Monogamy is not the only answer. Having one sex partner for the rest of your life is not the only answer.

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        SweetPeaG July 3, 2012, 12:07 pm

        Okay, good point.

        However, she told him she was ready for monogamy. And I am guessing he proposed to her with that in mind. So… I wouldn’t blame him now if he takes it back.

        Meh. I think what it comes down to is this is one of those things that it is REALLY hard to find a middle ground on. They might not be for each other.

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        SpaceySteph July 3, 2012, 1:22 pm

        Oh I’m not saying its all going to come up roses for her. Her fiance may very well want a monogamous marriage, which is completely within his right. This may be the end for the two of them.
        My only point is that it is also her right to not have a monogamous relationship, she just needs to date people who agree with that. Either way, its not very constructive to ask for help and instead hear that her sexual desires are immoral and incorrect; that she must either suck it up and be monogamous or give up all hopes of love and marriage to slut it up with every guy in a bar.

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        sarolabelle July 3, 2012, 11:38 am

        I don’t understand how giving my opinion in the comments (people do it every single day) is making me seem “holier than thou”

        Seriously if the LW was faced with eating macs and cheese her whole life and completely giving up all other food I’d say the same thing. I think she doesn’t love macs and cheese that much if she isn’t willing to give up all other food.

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      • LadyinPurpleNotRed

        LadyinPurpleNotRed July 3, 2012, 11:41 am

        it’s in the way you phrased your comment, like anyone who didn’t believe what you did is fundamentally wrong and like you are shaming her for believing something different than you do. There are respectful ways to say what you said and you just didn’t do that.

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      • JK

        JK July 3, 2012, 11:45 am

        Exactly. It´s the old “it´s not what you say, it´s how you say it”.

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        SpaceySteph July 3, 2012, 11:57 am

        Opinion: For me and my fiancé, sex is something that should take place only between us forever and ever.

        Holier than thou: If you are interested in an open marriage then you do not love your fiance because love and sex are equal and if you had morals you would understand that.

        Get it?

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        jlyfsh July 3, 2012, 11:18 am

        anna, my perspective on marriage is similar to your and sarolabelle’s. but, the point of my comment as least was that it doesn’t matter what we want out of a marriage. it only matters what she and her future husband want. if they are both ok with an open marriage, then it’s fine.

        what makes each of us happy in a relationship is very different. people shouldn’t feel bad for what makes them happy. they should feel bad however for keeping secrets like this from their SOs. that’s the quickest way to undermine a relationship. especially if you are going to go with an open marriage. if you can’t trust the person to be honest with you about what they want and are comfortable with, things are going to fall apart quick.

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        SpaceySteph July 3, 2012, 12:23 pm

        Thank you. I actually totally agree that for me, marriage requires monogamy and if my fiancé told me he was into an open marriage a few months before our wedding, that would be it for us.
        BUT this letter is not about me or my marriage, it’s about the LW and her fiance and they can do whatever is right for them.

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        GatorGirl July 3, 2012, 11:19 am

        Exactly my thoughts. There are a few instances where an open marraige might work- but I just don’t think this LW is ready for the life long commitment that marraige is meant to be. She isn’t even married yet and yearning to sleep with other men. I’m getting married with in the next year and I am pumped that this is my for sex partner.

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        kerrycontrary July 3, 2012, 11:23 am

        “If her fantasies absolutely cannot be fulfilled without fucking multiple random dudes, she’s not ready to be anyone’s wife” See, I disagree with this. While I intend to remain monogamous in marriage, some people are completely OK with their wife sleeping with other people. In fact, some men like to watch it happen. Everyone has their quirks.

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      • avatar

        Nadine July 3, 2012, 12:23 pm

        Yes. Non-monogamy isnt a sign of immaturity, its a valid lifestyle choice.

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      • avatar

        sarolabelle July 3, 2012, 11:25 am

        Yeah, this is what I mean by my comment.

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      • Lili

        Lili July 3, 2012, 12:24 pm

        ‘If her fantasies absolutely cannot be fulfilled without fucking multiple random dudes, she’s not ready to be anyone’s wife.’

        I disagree, listen to Dan Savage talk about cuckolding. And ‘Hot Wife’ fetishists. There ARE men out there who like this kind of stuff. They’re just harder to find through ‘ normal’ dating and with the stigma put on such fetishes (which is coming through in comments left and right here…) a lot of people bury these feelings and thats SO not healthy.
        Lets all try to cultivate a world of acceptance. We don’t PERSONALLY have to dig these fetishes, but if people do, they do. And they don’t need to hear any comments about morality or have people questioning their love and judgments. They just like different things. Its ok 🙂

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      • Moneypenny

        Moneypenny July 3, 2012, 2:04 pm

        Totally agree!
        Oh and also I just sent you a fb message.

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      ele4phant July 3, 2012, 11:41 am

      If you and your husband end up having a happy, sexually fulfilling marriage, its not because you’ve waited for marriage, its because you’ve talked exhaustively with each other about your values and expectations when it comes to sex

      This is what the LW needs to do.

      Not everybody has the same attitude towards sex, love, and monogamy. That’s okay. We don’t all have to have the exact same value system. But we should share the same values as the people we marry. The only way you can do that is by talking about it first.

      You’ve found someone who wants to wait and wants a monogamous marriage, like you do. She needs to be with someone who would be happy in a non-monogamous (or monogamousish to steal from Dan Savage). That could be her fiance, but she won’t know unless she opens her mouth.

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      • avatar

        MissDre July 3, 2012, 11:52 am

        I love your first paragraph! “Its not because you’ve waited for marriage, its because you’ve talked exhaustively with each other about your values and expectations when it comes to sex.”

        SERIOUSLY!

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      • katie

        Katie July 3, 2012, 11:58 am

        preach!

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      • littlebit

        littlebit July 3, 2012, 12:03 pm

        Can we get an AMEN?!

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      • avatar

        Matthew July 3, 2012, 12:17 pm

        AMEN

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    • avatar

      MJ July 3, 2012, 12:05 pm

      I think she has more than 2 choices. In fact, I know she does. She can share her body discriminately with men she wants to share it with and/or that her husband approves of. It’s not monogamy vs. open your legs for the next guy who asks.

      People who aren’t in open relationships don’t understand them. I can’t understand them. But I know that “break up so you can bone everyone” isn’t really a helpful suggestion, especially if she doesn’t WANT to bone everyone. Just the occasional someone. Can that work? Can her partner be on board? What sort of boundaries and rules do there need to be to make it work and keep their relationship healthy? This is stuff they need to talk about before the wedding, ASAP.

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    • bagge72

      bagge72 July 3, 2012, 1:17 pm

      Now I do think if there is a small mismatch in a couples sex drive or what they like then yes there definitely is usually an easy compromise that works for both people, or if it is just when, where, and how you are going to do it. But there is a lot more to sex then just saying oh if we don’t match we will compromise, there are some things in sex that you just can’t compromise, and if that happens you have to be willing to let go of that person, but instead some people are willing to stick it out for “love” and be miserable with each other. Now this girl on the other hand is the exact opposite, she knows exactly what she wants, and knows that she can’t stick it out for love, but is willing to be in a potentially miserable, and hurtful relationship, instead of finding somebody that matches her. So don’t assume that compromise will overcome everything, because it most certainly won’t. I don’t disagree with your approach to it either, and if it works out for both of you that is great.

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    kerrycontrary July 3, 2012, 10:25 am

    You shouldn’t marry someone who doesn’t know who you are. And your fiance thinks that you are happily monogamous, which you aren’t. Going into marriage with different terms and expectations than what was agreed upon is grounds for annulment, or a divorce if this secrecy last for years. Tell him now so he knows who he is marrying.

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    • avatar

      Christy July 3, 2012, 11:13 am

      WKS

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  • katie

    Katie July 3, 2012, 10:27 am

    hey you guys! just wanted to say hey to everyone in the middle of my awesome vacation at my house. haha. friday night i went to my family’s lake house in wisconsin, back monday, out for dinner and drinks in chicago, and now today were going to one of the taste fairs…

    ill read over all the letters (and the weekend open thread about food… of course im gone the weekend we all talk about food.. sigh) sometime soon so please be extra insightful!! haha

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    • katie

      Katie July 3, 2012, 10:42 am

      ok, and now because i felt guilty about not addressing the LW (and because my sister just woke up to take a shower…) here is what I think about your letter, LW:

      if you marry him, and he finds this out about you, and if he finds a good lawyer, he could probably get an annulment on the grounds of fraud. you are, currently, “frauding” him into a marriage… a marriage implies to many people monogamy. and also, you have told him you want monogamy.. so, you are lying right now, as we speak, to yourself and to him. if you want to be in an open relationship, thats fine, but you need to find someone who shares that with you. this man might be the love of your life, but if he doesnt match up with something so incredibly important to you (and honestly, something that could potentially effect him TONS emotionally and physically), he isnt going to be your “one”. he can still be the love of your life, but not your “one”. how many of us have had guys that were just perfect, but that one thing was something either partner couldnt get over and the relationship ended… it happens all the time, LW. just please -PLEASE- tell this man what you are thinking and feeling before you get married…

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        kerrycontrary July 3, 2012, 11:02 am

        “he can still be the love of your life, but not your ‘one’ “. THIS! You can be incredibly in love with them and everything is perfect but they still aren’t someone you can successfully spend your life with. It’s a hard thing to reconcile.

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    spark_plug July 3, 2012, 10:34 am

    You know that saying ‘once a cheater always a cheater’? I strongly believe that cheating behavior has very little to do with another person, wanting to satisfy a ‘need’ or incompatible drives. Sometimes its something else that drives us to cheat. Inability to commit, fear or sometimes not having been taught self control as a child. This is true – I have a really great friend who was the channel of love for her parents as they dealt with their unhappy marriage and got everything she ever wanted; this girl had never been taught self control and as a result was 150 lbs overweight all her life. The simple concept of saying ‘no’ was just so difficult and foreign to her, she couldn’t deal with it. She had to teach herself how to separate want from need in her teens.

    What I’m trying to get at LW, is that rather than chalk things up to sex drive, talk to a relationship professional. In fact, I think that this couple of all couples, should go see premarital counseling.

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    • avatar

      SweetPeaG July 3, 2012, 10:59 am

      yes to counseling!

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    • avatar

      ele4phant July 3, 2012, 11:47 am

      Or her desire to be non-monogamous could just be how she is wired, and she can save herself a bucket load on therapy bills by just acknowledging that’s who she is and what she wants, and stop forcing herself to be in a type of relationship that’s wrong for her.

      There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with an open relationship IF both people are onboard. At this point, we don’t know if the fiance would be okay with that, so I would co-sign the premarital counseling. Not to get to the root of her “issues”, but to determine if they are compatible.

      Maybe I’m wrong, maybe she’s just a hot mess. But I do know that there are plenty of happy well adjusted adults who can’t be happy in a monogamous relationship. There’s nothing “wrong” with them, that’s just not the right type of relationship for them.

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      • avatar

        SweetPeaG July 3, 2012, 12:00 pm

        I think counseling is more for their marriage and less for her. At least in my opinion.

        I think premarital counseling is a great idea for any two people entering a life-long commitment. And, for two people who seem to have very mismatched ideas of what makes them happy? Where one wants monogamy and the other doesn’t? All the more reason. Why not have a mediator who can guide them through a very serious discussion about something very serious and very important.

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      • avatar

        ele4phant July 3, 2012, 12:10 pm

        Yes I think counseling for them as a couple (and probably every engaged couple) is a fantastic idea. But to me, it seemed spark_plug was insinuating that because she couldn’t or didn’t want to be monogamous that she must be some sort of headcase. That’s not fair, or necessarily true.

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  • avatar

    SweetPeaG July 3, 2012, 10:55 am

    I totally agree with Wendy and everyone else that says “TELL HIM NOW”…

    One thing I wanted to add (and forgive me if this has already been brought up, I have only skimmed the comments) is has his “VERY LOW SEX DRIVE” been addressed… at all? Is there something medical going on? Has he spoken with his Doctor? Have you been very honest and told him you need to have more sex to be happy? Maybe he has a lot of stress, but would be perfectly willing to make changes to make you happy.

    I have a fairly high sex drive. And when I don’t? I fake it. I rarely turn it down (even when too tired or whatever). I am never upset that I did. I think it is really important and a huge key to a happy relationship. There is nothing like it to bond two people and make them feel close mentally/emotionally (which is why so many people are fond of monogamy, I think… because it can be so deep and emotional). So, if your fiance knew how much you felt this part of your life lacking, maybe you two could work out a way to step it up. He clearly loves you very much. Give him the chance to make changes, if possible.

    I definitely don’t see this is the end all solution to your problems. But, maybe more frequent sex within your relationship would quell some of your bed hopping desires.

    Either way, you need to both be on the same page. Right now, he’s thinking you’re at the part of the story where you two live happily ever after. You need to let him know that you’re not there yet.

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  • landygirl

    landygirl July 3, 2012, 10:57 am

    LW, you seem like you’re trying to convince yourself that your fiancee is the greatest thing since sliced bread but it isn’t really working. Marriage is difficult enough when you’re both on the same page but you and he are reading different books. I can use the term “Thou does protest too much” to describe how I reacted to your letter.

    Be open and honest with him and for gawdsakes, do it before you get married so he can have a choice. You seem to only be considering your needs in this, he has them too.

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  • avatar

    Addie Pray July 3, 2012, 11:05 am

    LW, do you think you’d want to be monogamous if your fiance had more sex with you? Or do you think you *need* multiple lovers or whatnot? I don’t think your answer makes a difference in terms of moving foward – WWS re: that – but I’m just curious. Maybe there’s another guy out there you’d want to be monogomous with. Or another guy out there who is down with an open relationship. Or maybe this guy would be ok with an open relationship? … I don’t know. Also, I thought this was funny, “I want my soon-to-be husband to have … access to my body whenever he wants it.” Like an easement of sorts? Ha.

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    • avatar

      ele4phant July 3, 2012, 11:49 am

      Right, maybe he’ll need to build some powerlines and will need access. You never know.

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray July 3, 2012, 12:07 pm

        Also, does access include mineral rights?… Her body could have some treasures underneath. … They should definitely draft up a contract that outlines all these points.

        I don’t even know what I’m talking about anymore. Besides, properly law was a million years ago (ok 7 years ago).

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        ele4phant July 3, 2012, 12:11 pm

        I’m not a lawyer (I just took some planning classes way back when), so sounds good to me.

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    • Lili

      Lili July 3, 2012, 12:27 pm

      Addie, when I meet my future husband will you write us a sexual pre-nup. That includes words like body easements and treasures underneath.
      kthnkbai!

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    • avatar

      Desiree July 3, 2012, 1:14 pm

      I think you make a really good point. Some of the other commenters could be right that the LW is someone who just doesn’t click with monogamy. But it is also possible that there is a potential partner out there in the world for her that would make monogamy a much more appealing option.

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  • avatar

    Lilybell July 3, 2012, 11:27 am

    You are not ready to be married. It’s really as simple as that. If you love this guy, let him go, you owe it to him. Marrying him will be a disaster (for him, especially).

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  • fast eddie

    fast eddie July 3, 2012, 10:29 am

    Re wedding: STOP! That’s unfair to both of you. Poly or open marriage could be the solution but try it before getting married. I know a few couples that lived that way for several years, had kids etc. All of them are now divorced but have no regrets and had years of happiness.

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  • avatar

    AndreaMarie July 3, 2012, 12:53 pm

    LW, you need to be honest with yourself. You are going to have sex with someone outside of the marriage. You can “try” to be monogomous now but think about 5 years, 10 years, 15 years. If you are having such a strong desire to have an open relationship now it will only magnify as time goes by. You need to talk to your fiancee now. You need to be on the same page about this now and not live a lie until your secret is found out and then the outcome will be far worse, and more painful, that it will be now. You need to be completely open and honest. Tell him exactly how you feel about him and why you want to marry him and be completely honest about your feelings towards sex outside the marriage and your desire to want to continue to pursue sexual experiences outside of those with him. Let him make the decision. He might be ok with it and put certain boundries around the behavior or he might flat out call the wedding off. Either way you have to let him make that decision. If you truly love him don’t hurt him by being in a marriage with him, where he thinks you are faithful, only for him to find out years down the road and be crushed. And it won’t be so much the act of sex with another man that will crush him, it will be the dishonesty and lies and disrespect behind his back.

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  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark July 3, 2012, 1:00 pm

    See if he’s open to an “open” marriage. He might just surprise you and say yes. Monogamy ISN’T for everyone, you know…

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  • avatar

    AliceInDairyLand July 3, 2012, 12:16 pm

    I think, LW, you really need to have a talk. A lot of talks. And you should have been having them from the beginning. Having an open relationship is possible but it requires an exceptional amount of trust and communication that some people are not capable of. You will have to figure out if you and/or your fiance are capable of that. I don’t really have a lot of advice that others haven’t said, but I might talk a little bit about my experience to see if anything strikes a cord.

    My boyfriend and I have been dating for almost 2 years, although our relationship has been monogamous we have discussed that some day it might not always be. We have lucked out in the fact that our sex drives are pretty well matched, but they might not always be that way. As weird as this may sound, we have talked about whether or not we would be willing to negotiate an opening of our relationship in some “what if” situations. I feel comfortable in the thought that I would be willing to listen to my SO’s thoughts, needs, and open up the relationship on terms I felt comfortable with.

    I have also figured out that one of my biggest turn-ons is being seen as super sexually desirable, especially by men that I don’t know at all. Especially attractive men I don’t know. Why? Who knows… but I know this about myself, and I have explained it to my partner. Maybe this is a part of our “sexual curiousity” I don’t know. After a lot of discussion (this is over like weeks/months) we have come up with a plan that works for both of us at this current point in time.

    I like going out either with my SO or my friends, wearing something super sexy, and dancing/grinding with guys that I find attractive. Then I go back home and have the best sex with my SO. It satisfies my turn-on of feeling desirable, and my partner has found that he now enjoys the fact that other men want me but I end up going home with him. We have discussed the idea of me making out with other guys, and he is comfortable with that. I think I would like to try it eventually, but for now our plan is working well.

    Maybe at some point I will want to do more, or he will feel a desire to be with someone else at various stages of intimacy. Point is, I feel comfortable talking about it with him and finding a point where we both feel comfortable and happy. You will have to figure out if you and your fiance can do that, and if you can’t then it might not be the best relationship for you.

    Good luck!

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  • avatar

    MsMisery July 3, 2012, 1:20 pm

    “I don’t want another boyfriend and I don’t want to be truly polyamorous; I just want the freedom to pursue and satisfy my sexual curiosity when I meet someone I’m attracted to.”

    In other words, you don’t know if you will even ever want to cheat, but you want permission to have the option, while keeping your husband at home nice and neat for you?? Yes LW you are selfish. However, that doesn’t mean your fiancee doesn’t deserve to know that he’s marrying a selfish, maybe-going-to-cheat-on-him person. He dealt with you and an open relationship once, maybe he’ll do it again, or maybe he’ll decide he’s sick of your bulls*t and it’s time for BOTH of you to find people (in your case, multiple people) who are more sexually in tune with each other.

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  • avatar

    *HmC* July 3, 2012, 1:29 pm

    I had a thought I wanted to add to the whole sarolabelle debate above, but I wasn’t sure where to include it.

    I know that today, with folks like Dan Savage screaming from the rooftops about open relationships etc., everyone is very PC about non-monogamous relationship and sexual kinks. This generation of Westerners is extremely concerned with being “non-judgmental” about alternative sexual lifestyle choices, and I can appreciate that in a way. I don’t think it’s good to hate others based on what their sexual choices are, even if they are not in line with your own. And I understand that different people have different values.

    But, I have to say, I think that at least some of this newfound entitlement to have all sexual (and other) urges and proclivities filled at all times and “settling” for nothing less is somewhat reflective of an unrealistically selfish view of life that is bound to lead to a lot of suffering. What I mean is, monogamy is a sacrifice for everyone, even people (like myself, I admit) that derive a lot of satisfaction from committing to just one person at a time. It’s a sacrifice, but so are a lot of things worth having. I think that in this race to make sure that every sexual urge is satiated because damnit we’re entitled to that, other valuable things can fall by the wayside. That is, happiness is more than just getting everything you want, sexual or otherwise, at every moment you want it.

    Anyway, I feel like I could definitely expand more on this idea, but I don’t have time to write much right now. Hopefully some of you can see what I’m getting at. I think it’s sad that the LW would discard such a potentially amazing relationship because of some skewed idea about her sexuality that may be derived more from a culture of selfishness than genuine, innate, constructive sexual desires. However, with where she is at now, I do think this guy deserves to know the truth so he can find someone that is better suited to him.

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    • katie

      katie July 3, 2012, 1:33 pm

      I really like this… Great thoughts, hmc.

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    • avatar

      MJ July 3, 2012, 3:52 pm

      I don’t disagree with you. We’re not entitled to have what we want, when we want it all the time, and that’s a major problem with American culture these days, I think. We’re all a bunch of selfish consumers who don’t think of anyone but ourselves and our own happiness.

      But the reason that Dan Savage started screaming from the rooftops about monogamish-ness is because people were NOT communicating about their sexual needs. 30 years of marriage (mostly happy) could be undone by one regretted infidelity, because people presumed that love equaled monogamy until the end of time.

      In reality, people have different sexual needs, and expressing them ahead of time, especially when sex drives are so different, can end up saving relationships, not destroying them. If, in the case of this LW, she is able to tell her partner what she wants and he is ready to accept that (a big IF), a valuable relationship could be strengthened. If she is honest and he rejects that, and they break up, then they are probably both better off as well. The only problem comes with NOT BEING HONEST, in which case she hides her feelings and eventually ends up cheating.

      That’s what Dan Savage is doing. He’s not advocating for non-monogamy. He’s advocating for honesty about sexual desire. If you want a monogamous commitment and you believe that your sex life would be cheapened by your partner going outside your relationship for sex, then by all means find someone who agrees with you and stick with that person. That’s what I intend to do.

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      • avatar

        ele4phant July 3, 2012, 5:57 pm

        This, yes.

        I agree with HMC that there are trade-offs, that monogamy can be difficult but for *me* the pay-off is worth the cost. I find monogamy strengthens *my* bond with my boyfriend.

        But I’m not going to dare speak for anyone else. If they want an open relationship, if they refuse to compromise on that until they find someone who shares that view and the two of them are happy, who the f*ck am I to say anything about them or their relationship? To speculate that they are being entitled about their sexual desires, or that they have less intimacy than my BF and I have? And if that was even true (btw I don’t necessarily think that), that’s their decision to make, not mine. If someone else prizes freedom over intimacy, so what? What business is it of mine what others prioritize?

        Live the life you want, find someone who shares that, and don’t speculate on how entitled or cheapened someone elses life is because they make different choices than you.

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        *HmC* July 3, 2012, 6:16 pm

        I’m with you ele4phant, that’s how I choose to live my life too. But honestly, I think that being “judgmental” can get a bad rap sometimes… it’s like this generation’s racist or something. I form opinions, I’m entitled to believe what I want, and if sometimes those opinions involve speculations regarding other people’s choices, then I think that’s, well, pretty normal. Avoiding any and all judgment seems kind of… unnatural, and also, boring? To not have any opinions about life and human nature just because you’re terrified of coming across as, GASP, judgmental…

        I do NOT advocate treating people poorly based on decisions they make regarding their sex lives (with the exception of child molesters etc.). For the most part, whatever consenting adults choose to do with each other doesn’t concern me at all. There’s no place for hatred there either, of course. If you’re not hurting others, I don’t CARE what you do. But, in conversations with my boyfriend, or a good friend, I like to espouse theories and opinions, and sometimes those opinions are judgmental because I’m speculating on what causes certain behavior. I think that people who are terrified of sounding judgmental to the detriment of being capable of having an honest conversation about something sometimes strike me as kind of… inauthentic.

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      • avatar

        Anna July 3, 2012, 8:50 pm

        I think you really hit it on the head here, HMC. In this day and age, ‘judgmental’ is among the worst things you can be called. My family is very judgmental, all the way to the right-wing extreme. The only acceptable sexual relationship to them is a man and a woman after their marriage. Anyone else is a whore and a sinner and going straight to hell. So, given that upbringing, just the fact that I have sex before marriage and have lived with a partner out of marriage is crazy black-sheep-of-the-family material. For me, any kind of sex with someone I’m not in a serious relationship with is out of the picture. I’ve been single for two months and my ex is still my most recent sex partner. I’m sure that makes me a boring old prude by today’s standards. But I really hesitated here as to how to portray my thoughts about sex without offending anyone. And that is a little inauthentic; to self-censor for fear of community backlash.

        Also, I think we have that syndome a lot more here on DW as opposed to other internet sites because we are more of a community here, not a bunch of random strangers with usernames we’ve never seen. The majority of us who post here regularly are well-known and have reputations at stake.

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  • AKchic_

    AKchic_ July 3, 2012, 12:38 pm

    I am really confused and slightly irked about this letter writer. It could be that I’ve been on a lot of pain killers for the last two weeks. And steroids, so I’m in a very, very grumpy mood. (Which, in the interest of full disclosure: on top of the ‘roid raging, I’m also dealing with hormone fluxuations)

    LW, you say you’ve been with this guy for 3+ years and other than the first 8-9 months, you have been 100% exclusive, even with the incompatible sex drives.
    You are getting married in 3 months and you’re unsure of whether or not you can handle being monogamous.

    To me, an outsider, it kind of looks like cold feet, even though you say you want to be married to him and you love him and say you want to spend the rest of your life with this guy. Kind of.
    Another part of me wonders if maybe you really are the type who can handle a more “non-traditional” relationship. I don’t know. Can HE handle one?

    My current SO can only handle one so long as he is the only male in it. Which is fine with me because honestly, because what I am missing is female companionship and I haven’t had a steady girlfriend since 2005 (and that one came complete with her own fiance, so it was a complete).

    You need to really sit yourself down and decide if this is what you want because you’re scared to be tied down to someone for life or because you truly feel sexually incompatible with him. Realize that he may not be willing to allow an open marriage (my 1st husband was 100% against it) and may call off the wedding. Ultimately, you do need to be true to yourself though. A called off wedding is far less embarassing and cheaper and less stressful than a divorce.

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    • avatar

      Christy July 3, 2012, 12:49 pm

      Does that ever make you feel icky, like your SO is cheapening your relationships with other women? Whenever I hear about guys who are ok with their girls sleeping with other girls but not other guys, I get that instinctive “you’re cheapening gay relationships” vibe.

      On the flip side, I feel less threatened by my gf’s ex-bfs than by her ex-gf. Because we’re providing different products. (Not that I feel threatened, it was more in a general sense of wanting to see that I was prettier than her ex-gf. I am, btw 😀 )

      Thoughts/response? I’m totally not trying to say anything negative about your SO. I’m just wondering if that was something that you thought/cared about.

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      • AKchic_

        AKchic_ July 3, 2012, 2:20 pm

        That is actually a good question to bring up for this LW to think about.

        With my 2nd husband, we were young. We got married when I was 20 and he was 21. It was his first marriage, my 2nd. He was, well, skittish when it came to an open relationship. He fundamentally understood but wasn’t exactly good at putting it into play for himself. I brought women home, and as much as he’d like to get involved, he couldn’t do much more than watch briefly, or touch a bit. I mean, this is the guy who woke me up and confessed out of guilt that he went to a strip club for a bachelor party. The only person he did do anything with was my sister, who was the only person he wasn’t allowed to be with. That was what killed our marriage.
        My current SO has had a few drunken make-out sessions at a bar with a female during our relationship with a friend of ours, but other than that, nothing. Mainly because we don’t get out much and we don’t have too many single friends who are into the whole open/bi-sexual relationships.

        To me, a relationship is more than sex. I can see sex as a completely closed-off aspect of a relationship, or, as a non-relationship. I am not the jealous type, and I know that my relationship with my SO is multi-faceted. We have connections on many levels. I amthe reason why he started exploring paganism and got into Norse paganism in the first place, so we share our paganism, we share our intellect, our love of sci-fi, some of our hobbies, I am the mother of his only child, our love of Alaska and the ourdoors, we compliment each other in many ways, we have a different view of the world… so sex isn’t so much of our relationship that we can’t share that with other people. To us (and to many open/poly people), it could enhance our own relationship. Whether sexually, spiritually or intellectually.
        No, he doesn’t like me sleeping with other guys. He was too much raised in a traditional hetero lifestyle to change that bias, and I respect that. I can be monogamous if needed. If he were to ask, yes, I could not sleep with women as well. But, he hasn’t asked that of me. I doubt he will. He knows I get something different from females than what I get from him.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl July 3, 2012, 5:41 pm

        See y’all are a great example of how this can work. You’re not doing it to be selfish, but it seems like you’re doing this because it actually helps your relationship with your SO. That is the right reason to be in an open relationship- not so you can get your kicks when ever you feel like it and don’t have to be saddled with the guilt of cheating.

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  • theattack

    theattack July 3, 2012, 1:58 pm

    I haven’t read everyone’s comments yet, and I’m not judging her preference for open relationships at all, but I just wanted to say that I’m a little annoyed when people think they can magically have everything they want without having to make any sacrifices or work to make things happen. This LW wants to have her wedding cake and eat it too, which might be fine, or it might be too much to ask of him. But she also wants to slip around and not even talk to him about it right now because she wants to avoid this awkward conversation. Seriously, relationships are sometimes work, and you can’t assume that you’ll just be able to get what you want all the time.

    LW, if you want to have a good relationship, you need to realize that the relationship that you’ll have if it’s opened up is completely different from the relationship you’re in now. You arrive at the decision to marry hopefully after realizing that things are working out for you two, but things are not going to be worked out in three months. Even if you open up your relationship, you’ll need a good while to make sure that your new set-up works. Marriage is not just about loving each other. It’s about having an arrangement that works for both of you. You’ll need to basically start dating each other all over again to find out. BUT you can’t just ignore this. You have two options as I see it: 1) Talk to your fiance, postpone your wedding, and try to make an open relationship work. 2) Talk to your fiance, postpone your wedding, and figure out if you can handle being with only him forever. If not, leave.

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  • Alena

    AlenaLynn July 3, 2012, 3:42 pm

    I spend too much time on reddit. This post makes me think of when I randomly came across one day. Most of the posters said their relationship woes could have been avoided by paying attention to the signs, and making decisions BEFORE they got married. There are people on there who haven’t had sex for years, because their partner decided they just were done with sex. Or their partners treat it as a chore, or do it reluctantly, etc.

    If the problem is simply his lack of sex drive (so if it was higher you’d be fine, and wouldn’t want to open things up), go read some of the posts there. Look at what a difficult time some of those people are having, because they decided that lack of sex would be ok, they’d find a way through. Most of them are MISERABLE. Sex is important, and both partners need to be fair on it.

    It sounds like LW just craves variety (in addition to more frequent sex), and that’s not simply fixed by more sex. Do the right thing, tell the fiance IMMEDIATELY. What if he doesn’t want an open relationship after they are married? Does LW simply accept this and not sleep around? Probably not, since she’s already thinking about cheating. So then they’re going to have problems, likely ending in divorce. The friend who advised LW to not mention it until after the wedding is an idiot.

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  • sobriquet

    sobriquet July 3, 2012, 5:36 pm

    It sounds like you are simply too young to be married. I totally get that open relationships can work, but don’t BOTH parties need to be willing participants? Being sexually attracted to other people is normal, but it’s not healthy to think that the only way you can be happy is to act upon those urges. Buy a fucking vibrator.

    LW, even if your fiance magically decides to continue with the wedding and let you fuck around town, I don’t think you should get married. Wait a few years. See if your desire to bone everyone you have a connection with fades away. I just… it’s one thing to broach the possibility of an open marriage to save an existing marriage. That totally makes sense to me. Or an open relationship with no intention of signing a marriage contract. But this particular situation… it just doesn’t make sense. Go find a man who will be happy to be in an open relationship. I guarantee they’re everywhere!

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  • niki

    niki July 3, 2012, 6:10 pm

    OK LW, here’s the thing, your fiancee obviously wants a monogamous relationship with you. You have compromised the past 3 yrs by remaining monogamous but are concerned you will cheat, so you want to approach your fiancee about an open relationship. Here’s the problem with that: even if your fiancee agrees to allow you to sleep with other men, you will always know he would prefer monogamy. And as you know, compromising on your sexual desires can lead to regret and fear. With that in mind, do you really think your fiancee will be happy the rest of his life knowing that you are sleeping with other men? Probably not, just as you probably won’t be happy sleeping with only him for the rest of your life. I’m not saying what is right or wrong, but I think you know that this isn’t going to end well. You need to have a really serious discussion with yourself and then your fiancee.

    I’m sorry that this is probably not the answer you want to hear. I wouldn’t even approach him about an open relationship. I think you need to end the engagement. People will agree to things that they later regret when they think their relationship is on the line. Do you want this man, that you adore, to agree to a life that will make him unhappy just so that he doesn’t risk losing you?

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