We are slowly continuing this journey toward polyamory. Or maybe just open marriage. Dust off the old model for marriage, and try something slightly different.
How is Claire dealing with it all? Better than expected. We are an adaptive species after all. Almost all the concepts are new to her, but rather than losing her shit she is trying to engage and learn. The idea of another person physically engaged in sex with either of us still makes her queasy, but lighter aspects of it do not.
For instance, she told me she is interested in going to bars and flirting with other people while we watch each other from across the room. Introducing the element of “the third” as Perell would say. But actual kissing or physical affection would be too much. It’s a step. Actually it is a nice idea, and I would do that with her for her. However I’m much too introverted for that to work for me. Plus I’m a guy who hasn’t dated in 20 years. I wouldn’t have the first idea of how to flirt with a woman at a bar. That isn’t how I operate.
Claire also started reading some racy novels involving polyamorous relationships. I think that’s a big deal. Simply exposure to a new idea can be a good thing. It doesn’t change anything right now, but it might change her on a base level to be more accepting of alternative situations.
When I think of what would work, I actually think of a few different situations. The first being my relationship with my wife.
Claire is first and the most important. I do love her very much. We have built a great life together. We support each other well. We parent together well. On a family functioning basis we are an amazing couple.
The primary mission is to strengthen this relationship. Communicate then over communicate. Respect each other and our respective needs and desires. Recognize we cannot be everything to each other. Also reinforce daily our commitment to our marriage. No matter who we are sleeping with we can be committed to our marriage and living our lives successfully and happy together.
Yet there are things missing in the primary relationship. Two things mainly. One is the kinky sex. I’ve talked about this before, but the secondary partner I would want to be a play partner. There must be an intense sexual connection with matching kinks.
Two would be an intense mental connection that Meredith and I had. The more I don’t have that, the more I desire it. In fact the kinky sex often flows from this intense mental connection. It is the core piece that I feel is missing in the primary. What that also means is that this person will be a core part of my life. Not just a side piece from time to time, but I need them as a friend first and lover second.
It would be preferable if this person were also married, and we were both secondary. This relationship will clearly be a challenge to handle for all the reasons having a second partner would entail. Communication and expectations will have to be known and accepted by all. A lot of communication.
It is up to me to meet my needs, and I think this is a great way to do that. It entails an enormous amount of risk and trust from Claire. I want this relationship to enhance my primary relationship rather than detract from it. I feel very positive about the idea, and want to approach it cautiously and methodically.
One thing I know for sure is that the emotions will be intense at the beginning. I will need to navigate those carefully to make sure I stay present with Claire and my family. After awhile I understand the intensity of the feelings often wear down to more manageable levels.
Lastly, having one ongoing secondary relationship is important to me. I don’t enjoy the thought of chasing strange every night. I want a long term relationship that we can build from. I know people who open there marriages for a variety of reasons, but mine would be for the friendship first.
Another aspect I’ve considered are tertiary relationships. To me these would be more casual and shorter term. More of an extended friendship with increased bonding, but no real long term prospects.
I often think of one of my co-workers who is going through divorce. She hasn’t been with a man for about a year since her husband left her. We are very close, but not in a way that would risk my marriage. Generally we are not each other’s types. Yet we are more or less attracted to each other, and we are close friends. It would be nice if it were socially acceptable to grab a bottle of wine, have dinner, and share a night with her. To be there with her and for her. It would bond us close together when she could really use it. Yet it would not be a long term commitment. Frankly she’s not in a position for a long term commitment.
That type of sexual bonding I think would be really amazing to be able to share. Clearly no risk to my marriage. Yet also not chasing strange at a bar. Just two people sharing an intimate moment in a string of friendly moments. For my coworker it would bond us closer together, and we would always have that connection even though the sex would end. Just part of a larger network of lovers and close friends.
Open marriage continues to be on my radar. It answers the questions that have been plaguing me for decades. It is natural. More natural than monogamy. It will take more generations to be able to ever accept such a thing in society, but I can start small now with my own relationships discreetly.
The keywords being love and respect. We should be more open to loving and respecting those around us. With love often follows sex. And even if it is only lust I don’t think it’s wrong to follow it as long as you are open, honest and respectful.