Since this question has come up several times in the last few months, maybe it’s time to answer it on my blog. For some reason people want to know.
What’s the deal with my marriage?
Decoded: Are we swingers and/or do we have an open marriage?
At first this question rattled me because why do people want to know? Isn’t that a personal question? What difference does it make to other people what happens in my marriage? Are you going to use this information against me? I mean, unless you think I’m going to be a threat to your marriage (I wouldn’t touch that would a ten-foot pole) it’s really only juicy gossip.
But hey, I like gossip as much as the next gal so I can’t get too mad about it.
So in the interest of pushing back against monogamy as the only working relationship model I’ll once again put myself out there. Also, if people are going to speculate about my marriage, I’d rather the information come directly from me.
So do I have an open marriage? The quick answer is sort of. We are monogamish.
Sort of in that the success and longevity of our marriage is not contingent on having a perfect track record of monogamy.
Sort of in that sexual expression isn’t strictly physical.
Sort of in that we don’t have to pretend that we don’t find other people attractive; we can openly acknowledge attraction and desire and talk about it with humor and joy, rather than fear and shame.
Sort of in that we decide the boundaries of our relationship, no one else. Those boundaries have changed over the years and they will continue to change based on OUR comfort levels, OUR circumstances, OUR values.
I entered this relationship with Loony as an affair that blew up my first marriage in a spectacular, painful, and destructive manner.
My ex said that I destroyed our marriage “Italian style” which is a cinema term we coined to mean that in Italian horror films it isn’t enough to kill someone, they have to be bludgeoned, strangled, shot full of holes, set on fire, pushed out a window and run over with a bus.
I did that to my marriage, one that had a strict monogamy agreement, the only kind of agreement at that time.
It was a terrible thing to do to my ex (who is a really wonderful person and I miss having in my life) and it was a terrible thing to do to myself. I’m not being “poor me” here, I’m being honest. Think twice about having an affair because you are gonna hurt yourself as much as the person you cheat on. My integrity is important to me and I lost it for years. I daresay my ex got over my infidelity long before I ever did.
I was determined to be a better person when Loony and I got married. I was terrified of fucking up again.
Childbearing and being a stay-at-home mom took care of the wandering eye for a while but in the end a high school reunion (yeah, I’m a cliché) prompted conversations about fidelity.
Turns out that both Loony and I would rather stay together and be happy than give a shit about a brief distraction.
I have never felt more loved, more understood, and more close to Loony than that night. I was able to bare my soul and know that he loves me for who I am and doesn’t hold me to a standard set by society. Loony is the man for me.
BUT DO WE FUCK OTHER PEOPLE? Inquiring minds want to know.
Well, that’s really none of anyone’s business but if we do, we deal with it together and don’t look to the court of public opinion for approval or condemnation. But real talk here … I can get as much dick as I want at home. I’M MARRIED!
It’s not about sex, it’s about New Relationship Energy or NRE. It’s about who I become when I am getting to know someone new and winning them over. I become the best and shiniest version of myself and that’s fun.
It turns out that I don’t need to deal with someone else’s junk in order to get a little shot of NRE. That’s the beauty of getting older, I know that even the hottest sex gets boring after a while so why bother? A thrilling conversation and sexy banter is way more fun and way less trouble than dealing with an affair.
Especially if I don’t have to feel like a piece of shit for finding someone else (gasp!) attractive for a minute. Especially if I can take that little shot of “Hey! I’ve still got it!” home and put it to good use.
So yeah, this works for us. I’m not saying that it would or should work for anyone else, relationships don’t have a one-size-fits-all fix. I hope we can all live in a world where people prioritize their happiness, connection, and comfort over whatever the fuck anyone else says or thinks. People should figure out what works for their relationship by talking about it.
But this is real talk here, I don’t want another relationship – I barely have time for mine – which gives me an opportunity to share Jacq The Stripper’s fabulous quote:
These days penis is the devil and I’d rather deal with the devil I know. Hardly a ringing endorsement of my marital relations (and I don’t mean to make it sound like that, Loony and I are great together) but if some guy thinks that I’m just dying to see a picture of his dick (yes, it happens) or that I want anything to do with his broken down middle aged ass, Imma set him straight.
The problem with affairs – illicit or not – is that they are draining and I don’t know of many people special enough to warrant the emotional toll it would take on me. I’d rather make out with my pets, make art, hang out with my kids, go dancing with Loony, and not obsess on whether someone thinks I’m attractive or not. That’s the brain damage of youth and I’m over it.
In the immortal words of Paul Newman, “Why go out for hamburger when you can have filet mignon at home?”
You betcha Blue Eyes, even though you are on my short list of “worth it” men.
The other day I was shown a rather disgusting picture of this guy’s dick, and believe me it came out of nowhere, I thought we were having a business meeting.
Here’s a helpful infographic for men considering showing a random woman a picture of his shit.
I asked him why he thought that this was an okay thing to show me. His answer was that I ooze sex.
You know what I think I ooze?
Confidence, playfulness, intelligence, directness, an open heart, curiosity, and really good conversation. Yeah, that’s sexy but it isn’t an invitation to be disrespectful.
If someone can meet me with respect and good conversation, I am down to hang out. Man or woman, old or young. But I probably won’t fuck you, I have a really great husband for that.
*Sorry Maddie, not trying to be gross, you are just the hottest woman we know who is completely out of everyone’s league so you are the best example I can think of. We totally love and respect you.
**Oh, and Do I Swing? Nope. But I have been invited to a party and I can’t say that it wouldn’t be interesting to check it out with Loony as tourists. You only live once, right?
You know, whenever I hear that someone I know is into some freaky shit, I am always happy for them. PTA mom has a dungeon in her basement? Hell yeah! Just because it’s not my jam doesn’t mean that it isn’t totally awesome that they have figured out ways to keep it fun.