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open relationship...

That Other Guy
Community Member

OK, here goes. A year ago, my wife decided she was leaving me because I am autistic. Six months ago I said I'd accept an open relationship and we were no longer separating. She had met a guy already, she kept him secret for a while but talked to him throughout. I pretty much started drinking heavily in Feb last year and have only stopped in the past week. I was convinced that open meant once she had someone else, she'd realise that I wasn't much chop and she would leave me. So I started dating, expecting no woman to ever talk to me, but to get out there all the same.

I actually spoke to at least 15 women in 6 months. I honestly keep remembering them. Of that there were about 6 who were the most significant. That deepened over 8 weeks. In hindsight we basically dated although at the time I assumed we were just friends. As things seemed likely to boil over, my wife decided to close the relationship, which I accepted with enthusiasm. However as I had 'been intimate' she demanded she be given a free pass at least once. I agreed because I had no choice, but with caveats, I set an end date. On that last day, I messaged her and she confessed she'd had been with the guy she'd pursued all along that same day. The way that had happened didn't feel like it was in line with our agreement, so I feel like she cheated on me. She had never been with someone else, so I feel like we had something together that she threw away like garbage.

So I cut off my lady (she is pursuing me) and she cut off her guy and we did therapy. We seem to be on the mend but we don't live together and when things happen like a few weeks ago we had 10 days together and she was completely disinterested physically, my mind goes into overdrive for what it means and if it's all over. I don't know if we're going to make it because I don't think I can cope. What she did is not a raw wound any more but it still hurts to think about it. I really don't know where I am or what to do....

6 Replies 6

Community Member


Sorry no one replied to you yet. Your post must have got missed.

Your situation seems very difficult. I can really feel the love you have for your wife.

The open relationship aspect of your relationship does not seem like it worked well for you. You mention that you have been struggling to accept that your wife was with the other man. By what you said, it sounds like you were actually with another woman first and that is why you gave her permission to be with the other man. If this is the case, I'm not sure you can be upset by her acceptance of your permission. I know it was quick but she did not go behind your back. I think the problem is, you didn't want a relationship that allows for it but now you can only move forward with the knowledge that she chose you. It is in the past and she can't take it back.

You mention that your relationship is now closed. If you are concerned about a lack of intimacy, than I would suggest raising these issues with her. It might be good to ask her where she see's your relationship going in the future. There seems to be some confusion on your part about it. That way you can decide if you want to continue with the relationship she can accept.

Good luck with it.

Thanks for this.

I agreed to her having sex once because I had (kind of). She had sex three times, and I felt betrayed by that. I was out there because I was sure she would leave me. She was out there because she wanted more than me. So it's complex, I feel like I was cheated on but I don't think that's completely fair. I was pulled into something I didn't want and didn't like how it went. You're right, I can't change it, and while I feel our old marriage died, we seem to be building something out of the ashes. She did choose me, which I didn't expect.

We've been doing marriage therapy and things are going pretty well. You're right, I am very devoted to my wife, I fought for our marriage all of last year and we're making it work. I just feel a lot of conflict I guess trying to make sense of it all.

Out of all that, I always assumed no woman would want me and I met about 16 women in 6 months, so I've realised I might not be as bad as I thought. It was not all terrible, and it's all in the past now. But every time I know she's going out, I wonder if she will 'pick up', knowing she has before. I think it will just take time, but for now it's still a roller coaster.

I totally understand why you feel that she cheated. I would feel the same in your shoes. I think you are entitled to feel that way but I can also see why she may not have felt it was cheating, since you gave her permission, she had already decided to leave before the open arrangement and you did also explore other options. Not an easy situation to progress through.

It sounds like you had been together a long time. So I imagine there was a lot about you that she liked. Don't be so hard on yourself. If you were her first, perhaps she felt she was missing out on something, but quickly realized what she had all along. Just a thought.

I'm glad things are going better for you now.

In regards to the fear of it happening again, I guess you can think about the fact she was very open about it. She didn't lie and try to live a double life. So it doesn't seem like she would go to the effort of reconciling, then 'pick up' again.

You're spot on. She felt she'd missed out on something. She joined a church at 15, we met there, we've both left it. She felt if she wasn't in the church she'd have gone out and had those sort of experiences. I guess for me, she was my second and if I could change anything, I'd have made her my first. If I'd not had anyone else, no matter what she did, I'd never have dated anyone else. So part of this is just realising we're quite different, I guess.

I guess you're right, but she likes to go out drinking with her friends a bit and I know a lot of guys have come onto her, she told me when we were open. So the opportunity is just there, the barrier is down and the alcohol will be present. I think it's something I'll think about less as time goes on, but right now, it was not that long ago and I'm adjusting to this new world, I guess.

I should have mentioned, a year ago she wanted to leave me because she couldn't stand living with me. She says she doesn't feel that now, but that's part of the mix, that I went through that. There are things about me she liked certainly, I was a good dad, I am kind. But we also don't live together because she needs a break from me. So in all this I guess I feel I could find a woman who would want me all the time, but I've realised I want her, on her terms, more than anything. So I feel a bit vulnerable and still worry, and the fact we live apart at least half the time, feeds that.

It sounds like you need to develop trust in her again. Totally understandable. The only way to do that is over time. She will have to prove she can be trusted.

I can understand your situation because I have been with my husband since I was 16. In my late 20's I went through a bit of a mental crisis, thinking I was loosing my youth and I had never experienced much other than my husband. I worked through the emotions and eventually realised that no one can experience everythng. Others didn't get to experience the great security we gave each other when we were starting out in life and we never had to experience the pain of break ups etc. I now think I'm lucky to have found him so young as it has given me more time with him and we have had great times together. Your wife will have to work this out for herself.

In terms of your wife not wanting to live with you, that is a hard one. I feel the way you do and I hate being apart from my husband even though we don't always agree or get along. I guess it could be to do with the fact that when you have been together with someone a long time, things that never bothered you about someone becomes less able to be tolerated. People also go through temporary personality changes as life goes on. If she no longer feels like she can't stand to live with you, perhaps she just needed a bit of a break to reset. Ask her why she now feels different.

Yeah, the past year was obviously about change in her life and thinking about things. And we're together because I offered her everything she needed, agreed to see each other fortnightly, agreed to the open thing, etc. I do think she was working out some things that have perhaps been with her for a long time and that we're moving past it. You're spot on, the issue I have is developing the confidence I used to have in her and us, again.

Being with someone since you were 16 seems to me like the most precious thing in the world....