open marriage

Open Yourself to the Possibilities (Relationship Series: Part 1)

You can find the series intro here: Relationships – An Intro


type….backspace…type, type, type…backspace….select all…delete.

*sigh*

I wish I could claim writers block on this, but it’s the exact opposite.

The words are fighting to get out. So many ways to say things and every word has to be considered, weighed.

So lets change approaches here and start with a bit of background instead.

Rewind the clock….way back to my childhood, when on a chilly fall day, at the age of 12, I met…well, let’s call him Mr. O

It was intrigue at first sight.

Even back then he didn’t quite fit in to that tried and true mold of what defines normal.  He’s always marched to the beat of his own drummer.

As we grew up, he was always there.  Always whatever I needed him to be.  Friend, confidant, protector, and…more.

Then, in the way that sometimes happens when you’re young, as I turned more and more to whatever guy was flavor of the week and less to him, Mr. O slowly faded, then disappeared from my life.

I always wondered what had happened to him.  Not in a longing, want him back in my life way.  But in a wanting to know his life had turned out alright for him way.

Until a chilly fall day in 2009, when I opened my inbox to a message from him.

That would be one of those days when I love social media.

4052558883 c9920bf4ef m Open Yourself to the Possibilities (Relationship Series: Part 1)
Image by xmasons via Flickr

We exchanged messages that went something along the line of “So… what have you been up to for the past 15 or so years?”

We caught up on friends, parents, work, family, marriages.  And that would be where he dropped…well, for me… a bit of a bombshell.

The words “open marriage

I don’t know why I was the least bit surprised.  Remember that ‘marching to the beat of his own drummer’ thing?  Yeah.  Exactly.

For what ever reason, though, those two simple words prompted Bil and I to have several lengthy conversations about our own relationship, relationships in general, and whether monogamy is a natural state of mind or a force sense of being in today’s world (more to come on all that in part 2 of my series)

But just examining my own relationship wasn’t enough.

After I got over the whole “OMG, No Way, Are You Serious, WTF” reaction, I moved on to curiosity.  OK, who am I kidding, I’m just nosy.

Mr. O agreed to sit down and talk with me about the dynamics in his relationship with his wife.  The words below are mine as recalled from snippets of our 3 hour conversation in a local Starbucks to the best of my memory.  I was too busy firing questions at him to actually write the answers down (cause I’m classy and brilliant like that).  Any errors or omissions are mine alone.

Isn’t Open Marriage just a fancy way of saying ‘cheating’?

No.  Cheating means sneaking behind your partners back.  This is an open marriage.  It means being open and honest. If I find someone I want to play* with then I talk to my wife about it.  She has to agree to it.

*people who engage in BDSM or D/s relationships often refer to their activity as “play”. A single play session called a “scene”

And if she doesn’t?

My wife has full veto power.  If she’s not comfortable with it then it doesn’t happen.  If she does agree to it, then later changes her mind and decides she doesn’t want to continue, that’s her right, and everything stops.  My relationship with her is the priority.

If you did meet someone and start playing with them and then your wife decided she wanted you to stop, wouldn’t that… I don’t know… tick you off a bit?

No.  Absolutely not.  She has to be able to trust me to respect her wishes in this, otherwise it’s not going to work.  And I’m not going to do anything to screw up my relationship with her.  So if she says no, then that’s the end of discussion.

So is it just you that goes outside the marriage then?

No.  If my wife met someone she wanted to play with then we’d have the same conversation and I’d have veto power.

Do you guys ever play together with other people?

We have.  It really has to be the right situation and everyone has to agree with it.

What would make you go outside the marriage in the first place?  If you’re happy in your relationship would you really need to look outside your marriage?

Sure.  It’s not about not being happy in a relationship.  I love my wife and am very happy with her.  She’s the only one who could put up with my shit for this long.  But, I like to play, and she knows that.  That’s who I am. Sometimes it’s as simple as having a friend who isn’t getting something that she needs in her own relationship.  If I can help her with that, help her spice up her own relationship, and my wife’s OK with it, then why wouldn’t I?

Do you kids know about your lifestyle?

No.  Never. The don’t need to know.  I don’t want them to know.

** UPDATED** As I said any mistakes in writing this are mine.  What this should have said was No, because they’re too young.  But Mr.O was kind enough to respond and expound on this particular point:

In order to clarify for our avid readers I will comment.

In relation to divulging the nature of my marriage and its openess, it is not a matter of us never revealing it to the children, it is a matter of when! As they are both under 12, to divulge this information now could be detrimental to not only my wifes work, but also any social relations my kids have. Dependant upon their development and emotional maturity, I have every intention of speaking of this with my kids, when they have the ability to comprehend what is being said and to make informed and educated decisions on it. It is not a matter of any hidden or suppressed form of shame, but rather an issue of maintaining balance between our Kink and our mundane lives to ensure that it causes no complications for anyone.

As a professional Martial Artist and former Unarmed Combat Instructor, it would be akin to my teaching a new student “Death Moves” on day one rather than ensuring they have the basics first.  Same goes for telling our kids, when the time is right or they have questions, we will answer them fully.

And besides, if and when the time comes, we may have stopped playing and therefore have no need.

It’s like I said before… I refuse to subscribe to socially accepted morality when I was never consulted during its development!

~Mr. O


Have you guy always had an open marriage?

No.  I repressed a lot of myself when I started dating my wife.  I assumed she was vanilla*  so tried to be that way too and we never talked about it.  We were married for years before it finally came out and I found out that she was a sub**.

*vanilla – used to describe anything or anyone that’s non-kink
**sub – short for submissive.  The less dominant partner, and sometimes slave to a Dom, in a D/s relationship

Have you always known that you were into this sort of lifestyle?

Well before I met my wife I was actually in a polyamorous relationship.  And that worked well for me.  So I knew then that I enjoyed that type of open relationship.

What about jealousy?

Yes, that can be an issue.  But that’s why you set up certain ground rules and why any potential relationship or play is vetted through my wife.

And these types of relationships aren’t for everyone.  It  takes a certain sort of mentality to engage in them.  If you can’t separate love from sex then this is not going to work for you, because that’s when a lot of jealousy happens.

What would you say to someone who was suppressing their sexuality in a vanilla relationship?

Talk about it.  Communication is important.  Even more so if you’re considering an open relationship.  You never know… your partner might be interested in exploring the same things as you, but just suppressing it as well.

Eventually you’re going to get tired of suppressing what ever it is (kink, the need for sex more often, whatever).  If you don’t have open communication with your spouse at this point, then that’s when you see people cheating because they feel they don’t have other options.  But there are always other options.

Like what?

Well, you can go back to suppressing, which isn’t going to make you happy.  And if you’re not happy how can you make your partner happy?.  You could cheat, but then you’re ruining the trust in a relationship.  You could talk to your partner about about the possibility of opening up the relationship.  Or you could consider divorce.

Of the four options, if you have good communication and ground rules, then I think opening the relationship is the best option.

So, that, in a long drawn out nut shell, is an open relationship.  Or rather one version of it.

So now you should all go and make your marriages open.  Noooo… not really.  That’s not what this is about.

It is merely to prompt conversation.  Your own internal conversation, conversation with your spouse, conversations here.

And to allow you to begin to examine prejudices.  Even if you don’t agree with open relationships (and I’m no psychic, but I’m going to bet that a lot of you wont), is it really a bad thing for those people who it does work for?

I would also be curious if there’s anything that I didn’t cover here, that you would like me to go back and ask Mr. O about.  Because, being the nosy bitch I am, and him having many years experience dealing with my charming personality, I’m sure he’d be willing to share, if only to get me to shut up.

UPDATE#1: I posted the first update from Mr.O in the section about whether his kids know, above.
UPDATE#2: Some further information and clarification from Mr. O:

Many so called “Dom/mes” are not always as they tout themselves to be. Far too many are just egotistical and prey on weaker individuals. Anyone that participates in any form of BDSM or D/s play and has done so for any length of time understands that it is not the Dominant that has control… Submissive in any facet have the control and thus control any “Scenes” that take place. The only power a Dominant has is that which is given to them. Thus it is imperative that the trust is there!

Granted, some may view my wifes and my relationship as abnormal and that is within their right. But even if a couple that is just looking to spice things up engages in multiple play partners for an experience, it is a very personal choice and should be discussed at length prior to!

Allow me to make one thing very clear, I love my wife with an intensity that is beyond description and we have a wonderful marriage. I fall in love with her more everyday. This is my solemn word and as such is beyond contestation.

Understand… We are very picky in regards to play and we do not just “whore around”.
There are very few outside of the lifestyle that are aware of our activities as this is a lifestyle that we live privately.
It’s not about sex, or orgies or anything of the sort… For us, we simply allow each other to be who we truly are, away from those that would not understand.

For many of us, myself included, to supress aspects of our nature is extremely difficult, be it Dom or sub. I am an animal by nature… A civilized one, but still very much the Alpha Wolf in the Pack, with my wife, I am allowed to be that in a healthy manner. She is a submissive, and I allow her to express that in a safe environment free from judgement.

As Princess Jenn has stated, we have known each other since we were kids and I have ALWAYS been as I am. Be it genetic or otherwise, I have always been an Alpha as that is part of what makes me who I am. Those that know me are very much aware of this.

And again… The only power I have is that which my wife/slave gives me!

Now, I will turn this blog back over to the princess and observe from the outside!

~Mr. O


Update #3: Responses to some of the comments and questions courtesy of Mr. O

In regard to the question from Avasmommy about what would happen if my wife wanted to opt out – In the event that she were to decide that this was no longer the lifestyle that she wanted to live… It stops, no If’s, and’s or but’s about it! This is again where the communication is key.

Also, I will address the comment regarding being careful what you wish for…

If my wife were to come to me and tell me that she had fallen in love with someone else, than as much as it would crush me, there really is nothing one can do. However, we have had this discussion previously, we are both still very much in love and as she has no desire to play with other men, we are happy! In regards to her taking the kids to another country where the rules are different… We both understand that our children are paramount and regardless of our relationship status, we are good parents and know that the kids need us both. That, and on the lighter side, Jenn can attest to the fact that I am former Military with Special Ops training… It would not be difficult for me to track them down… Call in a few favours… LOL. At any rate… It all boils down to what is best for all parties. That’s the joy of Veto Power.

My wife and I have been together for 11 years and are still going strong.

Phew… Nothing like being proverbially raked across coals!!

~ Mr. O



Part 2 – What a Woman REALLY wants

 Open Yourself to the Possibilities (Relationship Series: Part 1)

Relationships – An Intro

This post has been written and rewritten about a dozen times in the past week as I tried to figure out what I wanted it to say and how the hell I was going to manage that.

Most of my posts tend to write themselves.  I sit down, I write, and when I feel I’m done, I stop.  They may not always flow or be eloquent, but they get the point across.

This one?  Not so much.

I think the reason I’ve struggled with this so much, is two fold.

First, we live in an age where different still so often equals bad.  People love to be judgmental about anything or anyone who doesn’t conform to their idea of norm.  And, as many of my posts do, this one talks about things outside the norm.

Secondly, I have a lot to say on this subject.   I suspect this will probably end up getting broken out into a series of posts exploring the different sides of this topic.

What topic, you ask?

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen this one evening:

PrincessJennStatus Relationships   An Intro

I got a barrage of “Does his wife know that?” comments that made me laugh.

But it also made me stop and think.  And I realized… damn…. that was pretty judgmental of me.  It forced me to really step back and examine why that was my initial reaction.  It also prompted several very deep conversations with Bil about relationships and elemental human nature.

This friend of mine and his wife have chosen (and yes, it is a mutual decision) a lifestyle that is not the norm.  And perhaps that’s why I was taken aback at first.

But I soon realized that, under the surface, the relationship Bil and I have isn’t the norm either.

So what is the norm?  And even though it may be the norm, is it really the best choice for everyone involved?

I had the opportunity to go for coffee with this friend and he was gracious enough to let me quiz him about his lifestyle.  Not just the open marriage part, but the other part of playing they explore (that means BDSM for the uninitiated).  And by quiz, I mean sit and grill him for three hours about every aspect of his life to try and understand the motivation behind it.  He also agreed to let me share some of what we discussed.

So, I would ask that you keep an open mind when reading the next few posts I write before rushing to condemn.  I know some of the things I will write about cover a lifestyle most people don’t understand or choose.  But that is exactly why I’m choosing to write about it.  To see if my readers can suspend judgment in favor of greater understanding and just perhaps opening themselves to options they’ve never considered before.

UPDATE*

Part 1 – Open Yourself to the Possibilities

Part 2 – What a Woman REALLY want

 Relationships   An Intro

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