Lately I have been thinking a lot about different marriage arrangements. Marriage does not have to be just black and white. There are different ways of creating relationships. What I am doing now, secretly, is not the answer. I don’t want to continue with affairs.
I love my wife. She loves me. We love our children. We have a good life together that is very practical and loving. Our sex life is average at best. Clearly not working for me. It upsets me to think that the only solution is to throw the entire marriage away. Black and white. Only accept a sex life as is or leave my entire life behind. It’s 2018, can we not discuss alternate solutions?
Recently I purchased three different books on open marriage. I have not started reading them yet as I’m finishing up two other books from our counselor. Soon though I will dive into them. I really want to explore this option intellectually for awhile. To understand the philosophy, structure, benefits and struggles. Perhaps this is what I’ve been looking for even if I’ve been doing it all wrong.
When I think of my relationship with Meredith we had a very strong connection on many levels. One thing that upsets me is that we had to think of it as a way to escape our marriages. There wasn’t any other option. We could not be together in any capacity other than exclusive. There were no lasting options that included our spouses. Yet we loved our families, and we loved our spouses. We also loved each other.
At one point we did talk about ways of possibly opening up our marriages. Meredith and her husband both seemed open to the idea, but Claire was not. Meredith’s husband really wanted Claire to be in the loop, but I knew at the time there was just no way. This was all right before the physical affair started. Looking back though it does seem that it could have been a possibility if we could have all talked about it together with openness and honesty. Three of the four were open to exploring the possibility. Meredith was able to talk about it with her husband, but I was not with Claire.
Things have changed since then. Claire has admitted she had been fairly close minded about sexual relationships, and a lot of it has to do with her church upbringing. She does seem more open to exploring our relationship, and discussing things we never could discuss before. Does that mean she is ready to embrace an open marriage? Probably not, but the idea won’t be as foreign as it would have been two years ago.
Also I want to be more knowledgeable about open marriage in general so that I can verbalize what I’m thinking without being vague. That requires me to do some research first. I’m serious about this, and it’s not just an excuse to fuck around.
A major hang up will be trust. Having an affair destroys trust. An open marriage requires a tremendous amount of trust and communication. Previously we were not good at communication, but we have improved immensely with the help of counseling. I want to be able to communicate everything to Claire. I want to tell her my feelings and desires without the judgement and criticism. We are getting much closer. The trust we will have to work on. I think being honest with what I want and open with any other communication would be a good start.
When I think about how I got into the affair I hated myself through the process. I had to hide things. I don’t want to hide things. If I could go back and have a relationship with Meredith and communicate what I’m going through with Claire that would be wonderful. I am drawn to Claire for her stability and love. Sitting on the couch last night holding her I was thinking of that. If she trusted me to have another secondary relationship I would feel differently toward Claire. I would gain a level of respect and admiration while at the same time losing that trapped feeling. I could just enjoy Claire for what we have rather than what I keep trying to mold us into being.
What I have with Claire is really nice. It’s a good relationship. Very functional and loving. We support each other well. Yet it keeps getting derailed by me because I’m not happy when it can’t be everything. I would love if I had another sanctioned outlet for some of my desires so that I could better enjoy what I have with Claire. Honestly I think she would too. There would be a lot of pressure removed from her. I hate that she feels so much pressure.
Earlier this week Claire and I were looking at an online sex toy shop together. I wanted to know what items she finds intriguing, and then get some of them. It wasn’t a great experience. Like most of our sexual relationship she has so little experience or personal desire that she didn’t know what nearly anything was, and was hesitant about even trying most of them. That was frustrating to me. Yet I know she was trying because she didn’t want to let me down. It makes me sad that she keeps trying to conform to me.
Honestly I’m fine with the frequency and type of sex we are having now if I had another relationship that I could focus the kinky sexual energy into. If there were someone like Meredith I could have a secondary relationship with, then I could have a fun side to explore things creatively. I mean Meredith would’ve known nearly every item we looked through at the sex shop, and she has tried most of them. She was kinky. She wanted to be with someone kinky enough to want to use those toys with her. It would be nice to have that type of relationship if I could have it in a way that honored my primary relationship.
In the mean time I will continue to do homework. I will continue to stop my affair with Sydney. I will continue to read books on differentiation and codependency in relationships. I will continue to try to understand what I need to be whole while focusing on an outcome where I can stay married to Claire. It may not happen, but that is my goal. I think it is better to explore non-confirmist relationship options before deciding to just end things.