It’s time again for “Dear Wendy Updates,” a feature where people I’ve given advice to in the past let us know whether they followed the advice and how they’re doing today. After the jump, we hear from “Sexually Curious Bride” who wrote in last week in a panic over the thought of being forever monogamous with her soon-to-be-husband who has a much lower sex drive that she has. She wondered if she should discuss her desire to possibly open their relationship at some point or just hope that desire went away on its own. Keep reading to see what she decided.
First, I’d like to thank you and all of the commenters for some excellent advice (and some less than excellent advice that gave me a good laugh). Your insistence that this is something I need to discuss with my fiance sooner than later was absolutely right. Second, I’d like to clarify some things.
At least one person suggested that it sounds like cold feet, and they’re absolutely right. Making a lifelong commitment is a little scary, but I know myself well enough to know that I’m ready.
What sparked this major monogamy panic attack is that I developed a crush on someone. It hadn’t happened since I got together with my fiance and I panicked and wasn’t sure how to handle it. However, it has faded (as crushes do) and allowed me to think through my desires in a more clear-headed way.
On thinking things through a lot, I’ve come to realize that while I may not always want to be monogamous (and I’ll get to the conversation I had with my fiance in a minute), I also don’t truly want an open relationship right at this moment. We are about to get married and I only want two people involved in the beginning of this particular journey. We can renegotiate our terms later if need be. That being said: I wasn’t worried about our relationship ending just because I want an open relationship and he doesn’t. That’s not how we work. I knew that we’d talk about it and come to a decision together. If it’s something he doesn’t want, then I’m willing to forgo it for the sake of him and us. But I did want to talk about it and I wanted to find the best, most loving way to approach it without him thinking I’m not happy with him. My thoughts were pretty disjointed when I wrote (I was still in panic mode), and I wasn’t clear about that, or anything else really.
He and I have always had pretty open communication about our vastly different sex drives, and are currently working on finding out if there is a root cause or if it’s just the way things are. It’s not like a big elephant in the room that we just don’t bring up. But it’s also not something he can just change about himself (unless we do find a medical cause). He can’t just ‘get himself in the mood’ so we can have sex more often. His anatomy doesn’t work like that. We are working on finding other ways to compromise, but that isn’t realistically one of them. In the meantime, I masturbate a whole lot and the majority of the time, I’m perfectly satisfied with that.
After I had cleared my head and figured out what it is I actually wanted, I did talk to my fiance. It’s a discussion we’ve actually had before, but I felt the need to reiterate it (last time we were both intoxicated, so it doesn’t count). I told him that though I am happy being just us right now, at some point I may want to open our relationship and I wanted to feel free to talk to him about that, be it a year from now or ten. I also told him that he is my first priority and always will be. The discussion wasn’t the end of our relationship now, and it won’t be the end of our relationship when we talk about it again in the future. And that’s because he’s amazing.
Thanks again for giving me the kick in the ass I needed to organize my thoughts and talk to my man already. I needed it, and I feel a whole lot better being back to knowing I can tell him anything.
That’s awesome. I’m so glad you handled the situation thoughtfully and responsibly and you two will proceed with what works best for you as a couple, regardless of how such a decision may work for the majority of other couples. Good luck!
If you’re someone I’ve given advice to in the past, I’d love to hear from you, too. Email me at [email protected] with a link to the original post, and let me know whether you followed the advice and how you’re doing now.
bittergaymark July 9, 2012, 1:15 pm
Eh, if you have problems getting him to sleep with you as often as you like now, just wait a few years and see what a hopeless nightmare you’ve married yourself into. Honey, he’s only going to want to sleep with you less and less… Mismatched libidos are a recipe for disaster… BitterGayMark my words, stay the course and you’ll only be writing us in a few years with a very predictable set of problems…
Seriously, I would rethink this marriage.
No, I would call it off. Sadly, you two are simply a horrible fit sexually. His lack of interest will soon become a painful rejection which will drive you apart.
iwannatalktosampson July 9, 2012, 1:21 pm
BitterGayMark my words? Is this a thing? I like it.
bittergaymark July 9, 2012, 1:25 pm
It’s my new 1970s TV style catchphrase… 😉
Desiree July 9, 2012, 1:22 pm
I agree with you. I have a friend in a similar situation, and even though her boyfriend is a nice guy, their sex drive disparity is just too big an issue to ignore. From a basic biological perspective, men’s sex drives don’t increase as they age. If the gap is this wide now, it’s going to be even wider in five (or ten) years. The LW sounds like a very sexually enthusiastic person, so that is going to be a problem.
iwannatalktosampson July 9, 2012, 1:26 pm
Meh I’m feeling very lassez faire today – I say they just wing it.
MJ July 9, 2012, 1:29 pm
Isn’t that when they open up the relationship so she can get the sex she wants while having her primary partner and bff at home?
Sounds like they are big-time communicators and fairly open…I think this could work. As long as she doesn’t view his lack of sexual interest as rejection, and as long as he is okay with the outside fucking…(and yeah, those are some big IFs).
bittergaymark July 9, 2012, 1:37 pm
Oh, he won’t be down for that, he’ll have changed his mind. Or “conveniently” won’t even remember that conversation about opening thing up to begin with. Meanwhile, everybody will gleefully blame her as its always the person who wants sex who is demonized. The frigid asshole? Always given all the benefit of the doubt with judgmental harpies carrying on about how sex really isn’t THAT important. “If she truly loved him, it wouldn’t matter” and blah blah blah…
PS : Yes, I’ve shameless cribbed all this from Dan Savage. But it’s true. People always take the side of the sexual dud whereas the other partner, who usually just has normal wants and desires of sleeping with somebody more than once every two months is labeled the slut…
Get out now, LW. GET. OUT. NOW.
Emma July 9, 2012, 2:26 pm
As someone who is on the ‘sexual dud’ side of things, I’d like to point out that this isn’t always the case. When my fiance and I found that our libidos differed so much, and that we might not like to be monogamous (both of us are strongly pansexual), we decided to open up the relationship. At the time, we were doing the long-distance thing, so we limited the openness, so as not to put undo strain on our relationship, but since then, we have invited others into our collective bed, and he has felt free to (safely) sleep with others. I’m allowed to go do my own thing with others as well, but I generally choose not to, what with the low libido and all.
Yes, sometime our libido difference does cause strain on a relationship, and sometimes we encounter obstacles in having an open relationship, but because we communicate, and try to solve the problems, they aren’t deal-breakers. Just because your relationship has one or two issues doesn’t mean it’s done for! No relationship is perfect. And if you’re looking for that, you’re fooling yourself. We have our differences, but I don’t think I could find someone more compatible with myself than my partner.
(Now, that isn’t to say that all issues should be ignored. They should be confronted, verified as either a deal-breaker or something you can deal with, and then worked in whatever fashion necessary.)
Emma July 9, 2012, 5:04 pm
Also should be pointed out: ‘sexual dud’ and ‘frigid asshole’ aren’t very nice phrases for people who probably already have a hard time. You think that’s any more pleasant than being called a slut? I’ve been called both (lord knows how), and both are a bit hurtful. Just something to consider.
Diablo July 9, 2012, 7:09 pm
While I almost always find BGM amusing, in all fairness, i don’t think he has the inside track on successful LTRs, and the mean-spirited phrases tend to tell the tale. While I do think the LW is deceiving herself, her husband may not be a dud or an asshole. I’ve been with my wife over 20 years, with a much higher libido than her. I probably would want 4 to 5 times as much as I am getting. Yes, we lived together for a few years before marriage, so i knew what I was getting into, as it were. Yes, I have experienced attractions to other women. Basically, all of ’em, all the time, as I am a standard male in that regard. Though i am no Brad Pitt, in all those years I’ve had plenty of opportunities, but have never cheated. Despite my high libido, I’ve never thought of my wife as a dud. We get together at least weekly. BGM, low libido doesn’t mean the same as frigid, and my girl ain’t frigid, not one bit. Without giving details, there is no problem between us, I just want it more often. We have never contemplated an open marriage, because we are everything to each other, and because monogamy was our deal from day one. I am not against open relationships and with another person, might have been willing. Her lower drive is simply a situation i accept in order to have everything else I want. We have talked about it. She knows the real me, but I have reassured her that I don’t want anyone else in a way that would change us. Just lookin’, and I don’t rub her nose in it, either. I just simply deal with it, through “self-help” and accepting the situation, because she is the love of my life. The person with low libido is not a problem as such, and doesn’t need to be disparaged. People who aren’t honest with themselves and each other cause problems. That is the issue with the LW and her guy. I think both are being dishonest because they don’t want to lose each other. I agree that there is trouble in the mail, but the whole idea of “slut” vs “dud” is retrograde, inaccurate and unhelpful. Is this modern times or what?
E July 9, 2012, 8:36 pm
People write into Dan Savage and talk about their partners only wanting sex once every few months, not once a week. You have it pretty damn good compared to them 🙂
Lindsay July 9, 2012, 8:22 pm
I agree. I don’t have a problem with her as a person who wants a lot of sex. Her concerns seem like more of a symptom of not being ready to commit yet or bewilderment over how to resolve the libido thing.
I’m not really sure where I’d put myself on the libido spectrum, but I don’t really see what’s wrong with having sex a little more often than you feel you need to, if your partner wants it. Obviously, nobody should feel coerced to do it against their will, but it’s not like getting a root canal. And I feel like most people will get into it once they actually start.
ele4phant July 9, 2012, 1:35 pm
Eh I wouldn’t call it off *just* yet, but I would wait to get married if they haven’t gotten it resolved.
It sounds like they’re working on getting it figured out, and it *could* be something hormonal or biological. Maybe if they get that figured out, all things will be a go.
If they go through the medical route and find nothing is physically amiss, well, then they may want to reconsider if a marriage between the two of them is feasible.
GatorGirl July 9, 2012, 1:58 pm
I’m going to assume you’ve thought of this but have you invited your fiance in for your *you time*? Even if you’re not having sex he can still be involved in your sexual satisfaction by assisting or even just kissing you while you have your fun. You seem to elude to some erectile disfunction so maybe him giving you a helping hand will be better for you.
Lindsay July 9, 2012, 1:59 pm
It kills me when people write in and suddenly clarify that their problem wasn’t actually a big deal. I realize that not everything can get put into a letter, but sometimes the tone is SO different that it’s hard to believe they come from the same person.
Anyway, I’m with the rest of you. I’m still skeptical. I agree that when most people’s sex lives slow down as time goes on, it makes me really wary of people who already are having problems. Wait till you have crazy job pressure and kids running around. And a lot of things seem not like big deals at first, until you have to live with them for decades.
Desiree July 9, 2012, 2:03 pm
This letter almost sounds like it was written by a completely different person than the first letter. However, the LW acknowledges that she was really distressed when she wrote the first.
bittergaymark July 9, 2012, 2:08 pm
Hah… I so agree. I swear one day soon we’ll get a letter from a women who is “concerned” because she’s just discovered the man of her dreams is actually a serial killer. Here’s THAT update.
“First, I so want to thank everybody for all their advice. It really gave me the courage to confront him about this… (Although, I do think a good too many of you recommended I rush right down to the police station! Huh? If I were to do that, he’s get all pissy and totally end things! Ladies, seriously? HELLO!!!) Anyway, we REALLY talked this out. And he’s promised me that it will never happen again unless he gets stressed at work or something like that. Plus, looking through all his press clippings, I realized that it’s true, he IS only slitting the throats of prostitutes! This might worry me if I had sluttier friends or something, but I don’t even know any strippers much less hookers! Whew… So, yeah, this is so not that big a deal! He completely understands my fear of blood (He hates it, too!) and swore up and down that he would never murder anyone in our home, garage, or even the back yard, so I am all psyched for our June Wedding!!”
iwannatalktosampson July 9, 2012, 2:11 pm
People do have a way of explaining away all issues in relationships. Or downplaying it.
amy July 9, 2012, 2:17 pm
And when he hits me, it’s because he loves me and he just wants me to realize that I am wrong… because sometimes… I just talk to much and he can’t get a word in elsewise!! I mean seriously people!! look at what I’ve been putting him through! All of your comments have helped me realize that if I just baked better brownies and talked back less and didn’t ASK him to pick his clothes up off the floor, I wouldn’t get hit. It’s that simple. A woman’s job is to sit back and just do whatever her man says. Seriously, thanks for the advice, we talked it through and decided that I will pick the clothes up off the floor, let him stay out and cheat all night, I will make him dinner AND yummy yummy treats every night and he just won’t hit me again.
Thanks everyone, and Wendy, what GREAT advice!!!
Muaaahs, love you aaaaaaaaaaaallllzzz!!!
amy July 9, 2012, 2:18 pm
Oh, and I will buy him condoms for his escapades as well, I am sooooooooooo proud of myself for protecting him from potential STD’s that he might pick up elsewhere. God I am an awesome girlfriend, aren’t I. I am sure to get that ring any day now, thanks everyone!!
FancyPants July 9, 2012, 2:38 pm
I have nothing to add other than I wish there was a Dear Wendy comment hall of fame, because this was truly a timeless work of beauty. Bravo, BGM, Bravo.
amy July 9, 2012, 3:02 pm
You are my favorite.
Theenemyofmyenemyisagrilledcheesesandwich July 9, 2012, 8:00 pm
Can you please start writing a series of horrible advice-column updates? And animate it? And put it on youtube? I need this in my life.
bittergaymark July 9, 2012, 8:47 pm
That would be so fun to do… Can anybody on here animate?
Leroy July 9, 2012, 10:59 pm
amy July 9, 2012, 2:11 pm
I don’t agree with Wendy on this. Nothing was accomplished.
“We will enter the marriage as monogomous, I always wanted to be monogomous and I don’t want an open relationship, but….”
Meaning “I want to get married but I want to go out and sleep with someone and cheat if the desire ever comes along”
What kind of an update is this?
Great. You talked to him. You said “right now, I want to be with you and only you. But that might change in one year, or ten years, or not at all”.
Please. You are lying to yourself. I wish you well in trying to boost his libido… but… sorry to say… This response (a week after the first) has solved nothing. It’s only solidified in my mind that you are not ready to commit, and you just eased your own feelings by telling him that this is on your mind and that there’s a CHANCE that something might happen in the future.
You know damn well something will happen in the future, you’re just easing your conscience by “warning” him that it might happen in a few years and that it might not.
As soon as it DOES happen, and as soon as you sleep with another guy, I see a divorce on the line.
amy July 9, 2012, 2:14 pm
I am freshly engaged and I haven’t had a crush on anyone… I only have eyes for the one that I love.
Maybe you are just hiding in the safety of a wedding coming up instead of realizing that you two are not meant to be.
missmetrodc July 9, 2012, 2:41 pm
And THIS is just what BGM was describing. The person who wants more sex is demonized for perfectly normal desires. Crushes are normal – even, gasp, among the recently engaged! Not having a crush is not a sign of meant-to-be-ness. Youth and romantic comedies seem to make people believe this is so, but let’s be honest. At some point in your marriage, you might only have eyes for all the annoying things he does, and that guy across the cubicle from you might start looking pretty studly. It doesn’t mean you act on the crush, of course, but it’s not the end of your meant-to-be with your husband. “Brains make thoughts like butts make poops, and none of it nevcessarily means anything.”
As far as the mismatched libido thing goes, I think open relationships are useful ways of dealing with it as long as both partners are completely on board. If he is, and he’s not agreeing now just because the wedding is coming up soon, go for it. You’ll have plenty of time together to negotiate your boundaries and plenty of practice communicating by the time you ever decide to sleep with someone else.
amy July 9, 2012, 2:47 pm
And he is not ok with it. If you read the first letter, you would see why we are making fun of her.
I am in no way demonizing her. She clearly states in her first letter that he does not want her to be with other people. So now, she says, right now it’s fine, so let’s get married, and then deal with it later on when I wind up with sleeping with someone else.
Thanks for the slap in the face though! It was awesome 😀
amy July 9, 2012, 2:51 pm
OH. and back to when you slapped me in the face for “demonizing” her for having a high sexual drive. I’m not “demonizing” her. It is a recipe for disaster, they want different things, and she will cheat, and break his heart.
Emma July 9, 2012, 3:09 pm
Where in the first letter does it say he wasn’t okay with it? They had had an open relationship before, and yes, he didn’t date around or anything, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t okay with it. Many couples actually have ‘one-way’ open relationships, because one person in the couple is okay with being with only the other.
amy July 9, 2012, 3:15 pm
It seemed like he wasn’t ready to commit to her in the beginning of the relationship because she wanted an open relationship. You are right, she was the open one, but he wasn’t. She says after eight months or so of that, she came back to him and said she wanted to be monogomous.
I took that to mean that things weren’t “official” between them until he had her to himself, even though he wasn’t with other people. Saying that she “clearly stated this” was an overstatement, sorry about that.
Emma July 9, 2012, 3:18 pm
I just thought I had missed something. I guess I took their ‘being in an open relationship’ to mean just that, and that she decided to make the relationship monogamous after eight months. It’s hard to tell when you only have as much information as one of the parties is telling you, though.
amy July 9, 2012, 3:23 pm
Na, I was just confused. Sometimes I wish we had an open communication with the LW’s so we can clear things up. I thought the openness was one sided and she came back to him when he was ready to settle. Not to mention my confusion on the two letters, I apologize for my rudeness.
amy July 9, 2012, 3:24 pm
When she was ready to settle I mean to say
a_different_Wendy July 9, 2012, 3:16 pm
That was my thought too. I don’t remember reading in the first letter that he wasn’t okay with it. Seemed like she was just nervous to bring it up a second time because it was an awkward subject.
amy July 9, 2012, 3:18 pm
To be honest, I confused this with the letter of the girl that went to a swinger bar by herself on her bachelorette party. Alone. Lol I had the two confused.
Neither were demonized in my mind, to each her own, I just had the letters mixed up, so I’m sorry about that
amy July 9, 2012, 3:17 pm
I’m sorry, but negotiations happen BEFORE marriage. Boundaries are set BEFORE marriage, and adjusted as the relationship changes. She’s basically saying, I want to marry you, and I’m not interested in sleeping with anyone right now, so right now, I’m monogomous. But down the line, if I meet someone I want to be with, I want to sleep with them.
That’s not setting a boundary. That’s clearing her conscious and giving herself the freedom to cheat. If he agrees to this “future” condition, then he better be ok with her sleeping with other guys.
a_different_Wendy July 9, 2012, 3:30 pm
I think she’s actively trying to avoid cheating by communicating with him openly about this. As long as she continues that, I don’t see why there would be a problem. Her saying “I may want to discuss changing the nature of our relationship down the line” is very different than “Hey, I’m probably gonna cheat eventually. Just wanted to let you know”
a_different_Wendy July 9, 2012, 3:34 pm
I could be wrong, that’s just how I’m interpreting.
amy July 9, 2012, 3:36 pm
I know, I just don’t see that working well. He could be putting this in the back of his mind, like… “that will never happen”. I trully hope that it does work well, and that he really will be willing to reanalyze the relationship after the marriage and choose to have an open relationship again.
I sort of feel like she just eased his mind for now and they are going to take it up in the future. Communication is everything, but having her come home one day after a few years of marriage, asking for an open relationship MIGHT not go over well. I have a feeling the guy might have just said “ok, sure, a few years down the line we can deal with it” so they can go on with the wedding.
That’s my thought anyway, but I hope I am wrong and that he is really open to the idea.
It just seems like the response was waaaay to quick
ele4phant July 9, 2012, 3:46 pm
Well, what do you suggest she do? She knows that it is likely she will want an open relationship down the road, but she first wants a few years to solidify their bond. She’s told him this, asked him if he is okay with this, and he’s said yes. He may be in disbelief, he may change his mind (so may she), but its sounds like she’s communicated her needs and expectations as clearly as possible. Now its on him now to accept those terms or not. Sounds like he has. What is she supposed to do, hook him up to a lie detector to make sure he REALLY means it? Get a crystal ball to look into the future to see if it’ll really work out?
I don’t think its unreasonable to know that you’ll want an open relationship eventually, but want to establish the marriage first. Think of it as wanting children. Lots of people want children – eventually – but first want to enjoy being just a two-some and really focus on establishing their relationship. If you knew she wanted children after a few years, would you cajole her into having a children right away because “she’s kicking it down the road”? No, its completely reasonable to want to wait. Same here, I think.
I don’t know what more she can do, she’s thought about what she wants, she’s communicated what she wants, he’s so far agreed. Things may change, but that’s life. People change their minds about all sorts of things all the time. The best you can do is to be upfront in the here and now. She’s doing that.
amy July 9, 2012, 3:51 pm
Delay the wedding for a few years to see if he is ok with her being in an open relationship. This is why the divorce rate is so high, people just have the lets wait and see what happens after the marriage attitude.
amy July 9, 2012, 3:54 pm
You don’t get married on a what-if scenario. Especially when it comes to a what if situation on an open relationship that one person probably won’t be ok with.
Emma July 9, 2012, 5:14 pm
Eh. She did say she was willing to be monogamous with him if that’s what it came down to. Whether that will be true in the future, or not, I can’t say. And I think she has given him fair warning for what she might be asking for in the future.
Whether all of this actually translates to real life (what with our limited perspective on the situation), it’s hard to say. But with the information given to me, I really think she’s adequately discussed the topic, in terms of what she needs to do before she gets married. She should just remember that she needs to have a serious talk about this (in the future) if/when she decides she wants to start opening things up, and not jump into it on the assumption that this conversation was enough. (Of course, I’m sure she realizes that.)
ele4phant July 9, 2012, 3:59 pm
See, I don’t see this as a what if situation (although we could argue that life is just a big ole what-if on everything). I see this as a “I do want this, but I want to focus on building a foundation first.”
Do you suggest people who want children but want to wait should delay the wedding until they’re ready to conceive? To me those situations are comparable.
oldie July 9, 2012, 6:57 pm
He hasn’t said he is okay with an open relationship down the road. He said he doesn’t mind talking about it down the road and she says that it will work, because if he isn’t happy with it then she won’t do it. This sounds like self deception. She says she’s cheated in the past. She needed to date other people at the start of their relationship, although he didn’t. She said she was ready for monogamy and after that, they got engaged. They’ve had the talk. It sounds like she still thinks she will want to have sex with others down the road. All they’ve settled in their talk is that they’ll talk in the future, if she feels the need to wander. She’s already had a crush on someone since they got engaged.
I don’t think this ends well for the guy. He hasn’t agreed to anything other than to kick the can down the road.
Skyblossom July 9, 2012, 7:35 pm
I agree. All the fiance agreed to do was talk about it but he hasn’t agreed she can have other relationships while she seems to think she probably can if they just talk about it.
a_different_Wendy July 9, 2012, 3:26 pm
I didn’t get “Just looking for an excuse to cheat” from this situation. Honestly just seems like someone who’s freaking out about committing, which doesn’t necessarily mean not ready to commit.
amy July 9, 2012, 3:38 pm
I was confused with a different letter, but I do think she is letting him know it is possible that she will want an open relationship in the future. I am just hung up on the fact that the “later” will come after the marriage. She told him it’s a possibility, and I hope he realizes that it is a real possibility so he’s not hurt if she does choose an open relationship after the marriage
Fabelle July 9, 2012, 2:36 pm
I wasn’t around for the original letter, but I…don’t know about this update. The dynamic between this LW and her fiance actually sounds similiar to the one I have with my boyfriend– I usually want sex more often, in more places, more spontaneously, & I’ve had to introduce him to (& get him comfortable with) a few things. We’re open about this. I’d say his ideal “times-per-week” is probably around 4, while mine is seven (give or take) Also, I can be down within minutes, while he usually takes longer to get “in the mood” (so a quickie is never that quick, if I include his “getting ready” time, which is frustrating when I just want a brief romp)
Soooo LW, is your disparity similiar? Because I think that can be workable… to a point. You’re saying NOW that you’d never consider an open relationship if your fiance wasn’t okay with it, but you’re not even frustrated enough right now to fully ASK for one. What happens when you are? And he says no? And you’ve developed some other crush? I feel like cheating may be likely here.
You could be (COULD be– not trying to add to any pile-on here) over-estimating a lot of factors. 1.) Your ability to remain faithful 2.) his sexual growth– like, are you hoping so hard that he’ll develop a higher libido/more overall “willingness”? 3.) Flexibility on his part for opening the relationship. You kindaaa glazed over your conversation with him? Was it mostly you talking? Did he seem most at-ease when you assured him “Oh, this is FAR, far, far, in the future. Maybe!” Because he might not be so “amazing” if/when this plan is actually occurring.
Just things to keep in mind.
rachel July 9, 2012, 3:03 pm
4 times per week is probably a pretty normal sex drive though (as is 7). In the original letter, she said that her fiance had a very low sex drive, while she had a very high one. So, I’m assuming that the disparity is quite larger than with you and your guy. She definitely needs to be thinking about what it might be like in 5 years if he hardly ever wants sex and doesn’t want the open relationship. Will she still be willing to give that up for him if she’s more frustrated?
cporoski July 9, 2012, 3:44 pm
Honestly, when I was in Pre-cana before I got married, they asked us if we ever thought we would be attracted to someone again? They said if you think that won’t happen, you are setting yourself up for failure and doubt. Marriage is a choice you make over and over again. You also choose to put yourself in tempting situations as well. I was in a bible study group (no lie) that a guy was also in that I thought was so freaking hot. I chose not to go anymore because he was distracting. avoid the crush.
mandalee July 9, 2012, 4:13 pm
Yes, it’s so true. I had a co-worker who used to make me blush up to my ears. I’m not even into super attractive guys, but well, he was good looking and he had amazing muscles! I loved my (then-boyfriend now-husband) so much, but yeah, I noticed an attractive guy. Big deal. I didn’t egg on the situation, I used the pent up sexual energy with my husband and kept my distance.
ele4phant July 9, 2012, 4:29 pm
I agree. I’m sure there are a few people who genuinely never feel attraction for another human being after getting married, but I think most people that say that are lying, outwardly or to themselves. If marriage suddenly gave everyone lust blinders, the rates of infidelity and divorce wouldn’t be so high. Commitment isn’t supposed to be easy, but that’s what makes it special if you can make it work.
theattack July 9, 2012, 10:18 pm
I agree with this so much. I have nothing against open relationships, if that’s what both people actively want, but I think it’s weak to just assume that if you’re attracted to other people, you should have an open relationship. That’s only true if you find very little value in having a monogamous relationship to begin with. Relationships are work, and you have to sacrifice things like having sex with other people in most cases.
amy July 9, 2012, 3:49 pm
My comments are all over the place. I want to state for the record that I had two letters confused. My full thoughts on this are that this conversation was a quick fix and that they will continue with the wedding.
I don’t demonize women for having high sex drives, but I don’t believe in cheating or open relationships unless both parties agree to it. In the first letter (the right letter that I am remembering lol) it seemed like he wasn’t thrilled about the idea, he stayed monogomous and she didn’t for eight months.
Telling someone that something might or might not happen in the future isn’t really good communication. How can you say that you would be ok with that? That’s like saying “honey… I’m not a drug addict right now… but will you be ok with me picking up a habit in a year, or maybe ten?” She basically told him that her crush was over, but she might have one later, a year later or ten years later, so getting married is fine now because she wants to only be with him.
No demonization on her, I just think this relationship won’t work because their needs are not the same.
amy July 9, 2012, 3:53 pm
I say, delay the wedding for a few years and see if he will be ok with her experiencing an open relationship when another opportunity presents itself. Which in my mind, there is no doubt that it will.
ele4phant July 9, 2012, 3:56 pm
Will what if its not a conversation is not something “May or may not happen” but “I would like this to happen, but not right away.”
What if the conversation was “I would like children, but I would like to be married a few years before we start trying first.” No one would think that’s unreasonable conversation to have. I think this is the same. She’s pretty clear she wants an open relationship, yet she’s knows she doesn’t want it RIGHT AWAY.
Yes, she may change her mind. But we can’t see into the future. Some people say they want to have children but wait, only to find five years later, hey, no they don’t.
If anything, she’s preparing him for the worst case scenerio that he’s agreed he can handle. If she said to him “Hey, I may want to become a drug addict in a few years, you cool with that?” and she decides later she in fact does not want to do that, well bully for them.
amy July 9, 2012, 4:00 pm
That’s a good point, I just hope he really is OK with it. I just have doubts when the LW’s come back with updates so soon is all.
amy July 9, 2012, 4:03 pm
Also, an open relationship (for me, anyway, but I am old fashioned in that sense) is a bigger pill to swallow than waiting a few years for children.
I guess it’s because society does put a stigma on open relationships, I don’t judge anyone by that, to each her own, like I’ve said, but I see that as a bigger issue than the children situation.
Probably because waiting to have children is a common discussion that happens before marriage. I might just be sheltered, but I guess the question of an open relationship down the road seems like a major issue to me, probably because of our society.
I’m not judging her or him, people have different needs, I just see this as a big issue for some reason
amy July 9, 2012, 4:04 pm
Probably because it would be a big issue FOR me lol. Maybe it’s not an issue for him at all, and I’m having trouble wrapping my mind around that because of my own old fashionedness or something.
Emma July 9, 2012, 5:30 pm
Haha, yeah. I really don’t want kids, so someone telling me that they MIGHT want kids in the future would be a pretty big deal, and I’d probably have to end that before marriage was a subject, or at least wait until they were more clear that that front. But this, I’d be okay with. Every relationship is different. :]
You’re right though, I hope he does realize that this is a real possibility, and he’s not chalking it up to pre-wedding jitters or something.
ele4phant July 9, 2012, 4:21 pm
Right, that’s you. If your fiance came up to you and said “I love you, but I do want an open marriage a few years down the line” you would take your leave, and you’d be grateful he told you BEFORE the wedding.
She told her fiance, he said okay. Whether he means it or not, well its kind of his problem now. He’s been given fore-warning, he’s been given the opportunity to leave before the wedding. And he’s decided to stick around. She can’t read his mind, she’s been upfront as possible, so if he’s in denial or thinks she’ll change her mind, well the fault is really on him then, is it not? She shouldn’t have to keep asking him every few weeks “Hey, still on board with potential open marriage later on?”
They had the discussion pre-wedding, he’s seemingly on-board, what more can be done?
amy July 9, 2012, 4:49 pm
You have a very good point
painted_lady July 9, 2012, 5:03 pm
Exactly! There are definitely ways to tell that someone is just paying lip-service to being okay with something, but otherwise you have to take it on faith that people mean what they say.
My boyfriend, for example, has always said it doesn’t really matter whether I take his name or not when we get married…except when he gets drunk. It comes up then, and I know he would really like me to take his name. As far as what I’m doing about that, I don’t know, but the conversation has happened enough times under the influence of alcohol where he’s trying to persuade me that his last name is perfectly acceptable. However, his story is always the same regarding kids (he doesn’t want any, either), and so I choose to trust that. Could he be really good at lying because he knows that’s a dealbreaker for me? Of course. But I’m his partner, not his mama, and at this point, he knows what he’s getting with me, so continuing to check in with him on this would be detrimental to our relationship. I just take on faith that if he changes his mind, he’s going to tell me.
a_different_Wendy July 9, 2012, 4:04 pm
And if he decides it’s something he’s not actually okay with, he needs to be honest about that too. Cause that’s where all this could fall apart
amy July 9, 2012, 4:05 pm
exactly. Communication is an absolute necessity.
niki July 9, 2012, 6:15 pm
I don’t think the “I want to have children, but in a couple years” analogy. In that situation she would be saying, yes I 100% want to have children, but I want to wait. Here, she is saying I MAY want an open-relationship someday. It’s more analogous to her saying :I’m not sure if I want to have kids, let’s see how I feel in a couple years.” Would we tell someone who definitely wants kids to marry someone when they aren’t on the same page about whether to have children or not? Probably not.
Now I agree that since the LW talked to her fiancee and expressed her desire for an open relationship in the future, it is now on him to say whether that is ok with him or not. My gut feeling is still that this is going to end badly because he will either agree to an open marriage, although he doesn’t really want one, or she will agree to be monogamous, but be unhappy because she’s not sexually fulfilled. Or she’ll end up cheating. Regardless, I hope the fiancee is being honest with the LW and with himself or this is going to be a disaster. If he’s truly ok with the situation, then more power to them.
ele4phant July 9, 2012, 6:21 pm
I guess that’s true. IF she is still wishy-washy on things, she really shouldn’t make a life-long commitment anymore than someone who is wishy-washy about wanting kids should.
My read on it was that she was confident about wanting an open relationship down the line. If that’s not the case, then yes, that needs to get figured out before she can get married, to this guy or any guy.
If she IS sure about it, to me she’s done her part and its now on the fiance to be honest about what HE wants.
niki July 9, 2012, 6:23 pm
I totally agree with you. It’s all on him now.
fast eddie July 9, 2012, 3:16 pm
She stated everything very well. Even with a difference in libido the marriage can work IF the communication remains open, and it seems to be. Nobody can predict what the future will be or how you’ll feel about it. My wife’s cancer treatment has killed her libido but we can and do talk about it. It’s been 9 years since we’ve jumped our bones on a regular basis and we TALK ABOUT IT. Bliss it isn’t but the rest of our union is solid and we don’t want to change that. The saving grace is that we both miss it and she understands that I need a manual release fairly often. The reality is that nothing is likely to change and we’re willing to live with it.
Emma July 9, 2012, 5:24 pm
Sex is important, but a difference isn’t always the end of a relationship. Compromise and communication can make this work, so long as the rest of the relationship is how you would like it to be. It’s all about collective priorities and respecting one another. It doesn’t always work, and it is difficult sometimes, but I personally think it’s worth it.
Leroy July 9, 2012, 4:42 pm
I question whether the LW is ever going to want an open relationship. It seems like she just wants a normal relationship and has tried to convince herself otherwise to rationalize her desire for sex.
XanderT July 9, 2012, 4:49 pm
I have only been privvy to one marraige like this. The couple is in their mid 20’s and the wife stated prior to marraige that she wanted an open marraige. The guy only said OK because he loved her so much and wanted to marry her. Flash forward 2 years & after some discussion, she has opened her side of the marraige. The husband in miserable and has moved out of their home. My advice LW is to make sure your guy is not saying yes just to please you so he won’t lose you. I can’t tell from your letters if that is the case or not.
6napkinburger July 9, 2012, 5:08 pm
When both sides haven’t agreed to open up a marriage, I think it’s just called “cheating.”
theattack July 9, 2012, 11:26 pm
It sounds like XanderT’s friend DID agree to it. He just didn’t actually want it.
ele4phant July 9, 2012, 11:53 pm
Yeah, I don’t think its cheating if you begrudgingly agree to it. But it is dumb on your part.
theattack July 10, 2012, 3:59 am
Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. It’s dumb to assume that you can just get over your problems with it, but it’s not dumb to choose to try something out before losing the one you love.
Either way it’s no dumber than getting married without having the basics of your relationship worked out.
XanderT July 11, 2012, 1:48 pm
Correct. He hoped she would never actually act on her desire for an open marraige.
Lili July 9, 2012, 6:50 pm
I think I’m losing my eyesight and/or am famished today Because I just keep seeing this in the recent comments as “sexually curious BRIE’ and I wander on over every time because I am intrigued by some brie and if its sexually curious all the better. And then the headline says Bride and i Recoil naturally. All the wedding letters make me do that. Sigh.
I really want some brie.
iwannatalktosampson July 9, 2012, 6:51 pm
I over-caffeinated myself today and I am shaking in class. Like twitching. I feel like I’m just going to randomly blurt something out. I need some food in me to counter act.
Lili July 9, 2012, 6:56 pm
I’m mentally sending you some burgers on GF buns!!! So I hope you’ll b e up tonight and on DW/FB because I have decided I will be skipping the gym and instead drinking wine while I mass message as many men as I can on Ok Cupid. My dating dry spell isn’t going to end itself. I need to go big or go live a lonely life. Fun times to be had!!
iwannatalktosampson July 9, 2012, 7:11 pm
Haha I love it. Your night sounds amazing. I might not drink though. Although I say that every time I drink. But seriously – I had 3 glasses of wine last night and didn’t even really get buzzed. What is going on with me? I am normally a light weight because I’m a smaller individual – so this is outrageous. (and by smaller I mean height-wise, clearly not weight-wise).
But I support your drunk-Ok-Cupid-ing.
Lili July 9, 2012, 11:14 pm
UGH. regretting the decision to skip the gym and drink. Only because all the men that pop up on my matches all put ‘athletic’ as their body type. Way to make me feel like a fatty OKC. But with that said, there are A LOT of cute guys on there. Like, guys so cute I wonder why they can’t get dates. Should I ask?!
painted_lady July 9, 2012, 6:55 pm
I would love some brie, sexually curious or otherwise. A lack of desire for bondage or sexual variety or threesomes would not be a dealbreaker with my brie.
Lili July 9, 2012, 6:57 pm
Good, because I’d happily share my brie with you! And then we can attack it together as well, from all sides.
rachel July 9, 2012, 7:21 pm
Can I join? It’ll be a brie orgy.
painted_lady July 9, 2012, 8:52 pm
YES! A cheese orgy? Amaaaaazing!
Caris July 9, 2012, 8:07 pm
This comments are making me so hungryyy
Anna July 9, 2012, 8:09 pm
Anyone else wondering how this will be fit into the wedding vows? “I, LW, vow to forsake all others unless I meet someone I really want to have sex with on the side.”
Monogamy doesn’t seem like something you can commit to in the short-term only. If you are going to marry him as a monogamous couple then later on ask to bang other people isn’t that kinda like bait and switch?
E July 9, 2012, 8:55 pm
I kind of agree. If you are going to go down that road, I think you have to be open and willing from the start. A close friend is bi, and she and her husband have a semi open relationship. Basically, she gets to play with other women and he gets to join in when he wants. She told me they had numerous discussions before they got married about it, and they have like a ten year plan (no kidding). How to deal with it when they have kids, what happens when one of them wants to stop, etc.
E July 9, 2012, 8:59 pm
Not my cup of tea, but I kind of see how their relationship works…What I can’t see is saying all of the sudden after 3 years of marriage that you want to open a relationship up. I think it’s one of those things that needs to be discussed thoroughly before committing to a relationship.
Violet July 10, 2012, 4:17 am
Why do you need to rush into this marriage, LW? What is the harm in waiting another year or so to work out an arrangement that works for the both of you? I am not trying to be snarky, but I don’t see “ready for marriage” in any of this. Divorce is costly and traumatic. I suggest slowing down, really deciding together what you both are comfortable with, and how you might cope with changes that come down the line in the future, and move forward from there.
theattack July 10, 2012, 4:34 am
LW, If you decide to open your relationship, it will be a completely different relationship. Right now your relationship is completely different since you brought it up. You get married because your relationship is working smoothly, but you are planning on completely changing the basics of your relationship AFTER you get married. You have no idea how it will affect your relationship, and you have no idea if that arrangement works for you two. I think it’s very unwise to assume that your relationship will keep working under completely different circumstances. You should keep dating for a while to decide if you want to open it or not, then keep dating to make sure that arrangement works for you, and THEN get married if it does. You can’t change your relationship this dramatically and assume you’ll be in the same place with each other.
Addie Pray July 10, 2012, 7:00 am
Oh that’s a good point. I second this.
theattack July 10, 2012, 10:53 am
I’m glad you understood it, because apparently at 4:30 am, the only word I know is “relationship.”
Skyblossom July 10, 2012, 7:42 am
I think the question you need to ask your fiance now is how committed he is to monogamy. On a scale of 1 to 10 with 5 being a person who would be just as happy in a monogamous relationship as an open relationship, 6 being a person who would choose monogamy if they were the one deciding for the relationship but they could tolerate an open relationship but might sometimes be unhappy with it, 7.5 being a person who definitely prefers monogamy and would be frequently unhappy with an open relationship, to 9 being a person who sees monogamy as the ideal and only happy relationship but would agree to an open relationship only out of desperation to save the relationship and would despise the open relationship to 10 being a person who says monogamy is essential and if my marriage isn’t monogamous I’m getting divorced. You need to know how strongly he feels about monogamy. Then do the same for yourself except trade monogamy for an open relationship. For you a 10 would mean anything less than an open relationship would mean divorce, 7.5 would mean that you would strongly prefer an open relationship and would be frequently unhappy if the relationship wasn’t open. Figure out how far apart the two of you are and then see if there is any room for compromise.
Successful marriages require about seven times more happy moments than unhappy moments (from marriage researchers) so anything less tends to lead to divorce. If either one of you is frequently unhappy, for any reason, it will have a definite negative drag on your marriage. The more strongly either of you feels the more negative the impact on the marriage if you don’t get what you want. So if your husband agrees to an open marriage but hates it and constantly thinks about it you will have a constantly negative marriage and probably end up divorced. If you have an open marriage and he resents it he will come to see everything you do through the prism of the open relationship. So if you eat one slice less of pizza than usual he wonders if you’re trying to lose weight for some guy. If you get your nails done he relates it to another guy. He not only would resent the time you spent with the other guy but all the time and effort and focus and money you spent getting ready for the other guy. Think about how you prepared for dates when you first met your fiance. What did you do? Did you buy new clothes, get a pedi or mani, new shoes, lots of time in the shower, doing hair and makeup. How would your husband feel watching you do all of that for another guy? Would he hate any clothes you wore to meet the other guy? Would he never want to see those clothes again, would they be a constant reminder? The same for shoes, makeup, hair, etc. Even your job if you met the guy at work. Don’t underestimate the power of the negative to spread across everything that you do, even if it isn’t related to the situation in your mind.
Then comes the question of time. How much time would a second relationship take and where would that time come from? What would you give up for it? What does your husband get out of it? Does he get extra childcare duties while you see another man? If he only got negative out of something that was positive for you it would still sink your marriage.
For monogamy to work it must be positive for both of you and for an open relationship to work it must be positive for both of you. If you need an open relationship how would you make it positive for him? Is it even possible to make it positive for him. If he needs monogamy how could it be made positive for you? Could it be positive for you?
MsMisery July 10, 2012, 12:58 pm
So your plan is to write in “For Now” into the wedding vows?
Meh. As long as your partner knows what he is getting into.
Miz.Me July 12, 2012, 11:54 am
As someone who has a medical issue which causes pain with sex, this is a MUCH bigger deal than either of them realize, IMO. I’ve been married for 16 years, and over the last couple of years, we haven’t been able to have any kind of sex at all. We talk about it on a regular basis. Before this problem stopped our physical intimacy, we had sex all the time, no kids and being infertile meant any time any where for us- AWESOME. The fact that our physical needs are so different now has been difficult for both of us, and I have actually brought up the idea of opening up our marriage on his end because this is so unfair to both of us, but especially for him. Not only did he freak out when I mentioned it, he was adamant that it just wasn’t an option. The fact is that not being able to meet the physical needs for both of us has had a profound impact on our relationship, and luckily ours has been strong enough to handle it thus far. A relationship has to be exceptionally strong to survive this problem. I urge both the LW & fiancé to think long and hard & HAVE A PLAN for how they will keep the communication going and determine what steps they will take. MARRIAGE CHANGES EVERYTHING. LW & fiancé will be surprised by this after the wedding. Some people say that marriage is just a piece of paper. For marriages that stand the test of time, that is absolutely NOT THE CASE AT ALL. Good luck, LW. Once those vows are made, you may find that the emotional toll on you (not to mention fiancé) for meeting your sexual needs elsewhere may be much higher than you think. You may be one of those rare couples who can swing it, but the odds are that at least one of you cannot be ok with it. Now that you two have talked about this, evaluate it six months into the marriage and again after the first year. Keep looking at it periodically; both of you will be surprised by how much you change/grow over time.