She Wants an Open Marriage, But She’s Upset That Her Husband is Being “Unreasonable” About It?
This story featured weird behavior, terrible advice, and an open marriage. It sounds fun in a horrible sort of way, right?
What we’re talking about here is a recently released advice column from Slate that is, believe it or not, titled this way, “I Asked My Husband for an Open Marriage. Now He’s Being Completely Unreasonable.”
First of all, the letter sent to the advice columnist is, well, really something:
Dear How to Do It,
I was raised in a very religious home where sex and dating were completely taboo. I ‘saved myself’ for marriage. My personal beliefs don’t align with this, but I thought I had no choice.
After a decade of marriage and hating sex, I asked my husband if I could explore sexual experiences and experiment with other people if the chance arose. He enthusiastically agreed but said he didn’t want to hear details. A few months later, he said he did want to hear all the details. A while after that, he said he didn’t want me to do it. He keeps changing his answer.
I’m not trying to cheat; I just feel like I lack any basis for having enjoyable sex, and it seems everyone I know who enjoys sex has tried a few things with a few people before getting to know their preferences. The result has been that I am not in the mood for sex at all, but he still badgers me for it daily. I’ve told him that if he needs sex so badly, he’s welcome to an open marriage. He says he refuses to have sex with anyone but me. I feel a little trapped and I’m always wondering, am I being wrong here?
— Feeling Stuck
There are so many minor oddities and obvious questions we’ll never get answered. For example, why does she “hate” sex? Is it his fault? Is it her fault? Is there a medical problem involved? Who knows? She says that people who enjoy sex have, “tried a few things with a few people before getting to know their preferences.” Why couldn’t she experiment with her husband? Maybe he’s a prude. Maybe she just doesn’t want to do that. Also, it seems extraordinarily unlikely that she walked up to her husband after a decade of marriage, said she wanted to have sex with other people, and he genuinely “enthusiastically agreed.” Then she goes on to note with disdain that her husband “badgers” her for sex daily. Well, yes. No man alive ever got married so he could NOT HAVE SEX. She goes on to note that she feels “trapped” because her husband only wants them to have sex with each other. Of course, that’s just what marriage is.
Believe it or not, many years ago I had a friend who was basically in this same situation. It was a bit of a surprise to me because I had known both of them for a while and the two of them seemed to be one of these couples that fit hand in glove and were perfectly made for each other. One of the couples everyone else looked at and said, “Wow, they really seem to have a great relationship.” Interesting side note: 2 of the 3 couples I have in particular thought that about in the last couple of decades have gotten divorced. At this point, Chris and Dana Loesch are the last ones left, so if either of those two crazy kids sees this, make sure to stay together to keep hope alive for the rest of us.
In any case, after my friend from back in the day split from his wife, I asked him what happened. He told me that one day, she came to him out of the blue and said she wanted an open marriage. He reluctantly agreed because he was afraid he’d lose her if he didn’t. Next thing you know, she was bringing home different guys to THEIR HOUSE every other weekend and, as in this case, she wasn’t even sleeping with him. Things got more and more intolerable for him, and he said the last straw was when one of the guys from work called him to ask for his wife’s number. I’m not sure who technically filed for divorce from who, but it was basically destined at that point.
This doesn’t seem all that dissimilar. It sounds like either she’s upset that she never got to sow her wild oats or alternately, she wants out of the marriage. Whatever the case may be, there’s absolutely nothing in her letter that suggests that she has any remaining love for her husband. In fact, she’s talking about him more like he’s a jealous “just friends” guy she hangs around with rather than the man she married. Ultimately, with the paucity of information here, it’s impossible to say how it got to this point, but it sounds like this is a woman looking for permission to cheat or get a divorce.
Still, she wanted advice and Slate certainly gave it to her. Boy, did they ever:
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