Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
Open relationship - worth asking?(104 Posts)
Name changed obviously.
Bit of background - married for 25 years. Don't want a divorce until the youngest is an adult as dh is a good friend and father. No tension between us - even a fly on the wall would not suspect that I ultimately want out.
We've not had sex for 2-3 years now. My doing. I haven't fancied him for a long time now - maybe 10 years and he got fed up, understandably, with my lack of responsiveness My libido is sky high though.
I would really like an open relationship. I think we could both benefit. Selfishly, I know I would.
Has anyone done this? How did it come about? How did you ask (if it was you that asked). What was the reaction? Did you go ahead? How has it worked out? Any men had their dw ask them, how did you feel to be asked?
So many questions.
If you don't want him then separate but I think asking for an open relationship is rubbing salt in the wound. Poor guy
It would be better for your children if you were separate rather than you going off and being with other men while still with your husband.
-What if you fall in love with someone you're with and have to explain that to your kids?
-If you meet someone and end up leaving your DH for him he will always been seen as the OM even with an 'open' relationship.
-Think of how your husband will feel if you bring this up and he has no clue.
I know someone who had/ has an open relationship. The wife asked for this as she is bisexual and more adventurous than her husband so wanted opportunity to explore. He agreed and they met other couples, but he wasn't really into that scene and wasn't happy with the whole set up. The wife was disappointed with what was available to her in terms of the quality of partners as I think she had idealised the experience in her head (I believe they met singles and couples into swinging lifestyles etc, as opposed to an affair sort of thing). They are still together and describe this as a 'phase' in their marital life. However, I got the feeling he just let her pursue this because he didn't want to lose her which was on the cards if he refused. I also knew a girl at Uni. who had a boyfriend with a non-identical twin. He agreed that she could sleep with his brother...which I found very weird at the time. Turns out she had declared sexual confusion and wanted to end their relationship to start dating women. In his desperation to keep her, he wanted to show her that she liked men by sleeping with his brother...not sure I follow his logic, but it didn't work either way. Brothers argued afterwards and she left him for a woman which broke his heart in pieces.
If your marriage is done, and you clearly feel nothing positively romantic for this man then the kind thing to do is to end the relationship. Let him find someone who does fancy him, and then you can go and do what you want to find happiness.
So you won't sleep with your husband but want him to give you his blessing to shag someone else? Leave, he deserves better.
Why don't you want to get divorced until your children are older? Do you think that if they accidentally discovered their parents were in an open relationship that would be better than just divorcing amicably? Serious question.
So you don't want to leave until the kids are adults because you don't fancy him, but want to use his resources and make sure his does his share of parenting in the meantime? Not sure why you're still there otherwise. I imagine if he feels the same way he might be overjoyed at your suggestion. Not sure how he'll feel being strung along until the kids are older though. How honest are you going to be with him?
Ten he may well want an open relationship too, just didn't dare to ask. It really could not be such a shock to him as they had no sex life for years and he knows already she doesn't fancy him. Surely without knowing his thoughts, or whether he fancies other women, you can't assume he wouldn't be open to the idea, open r-ships work for some couples who prefer to share a house for the sake of DC, if they are more like friends.
Thanks for your replies.
I don't want a divorce because we have a lovely life apart from sex. We have a lot of fun, shared interests, the kids are very happy, we never argue, we're a good team.
I do feel bad that I don't fancy him. I would love him to have an affair but I don't think he would. I want to nudge him in that direction. But I also don't want to hurt him because he hasn't done anything wrong.
I'm not sure what my children would think. I don't think they'd want us to divorce though.
I don't want him to feel strung along.
As for how honest am I going to be - do you mean am I going to admit I ultimately wqnt a divorce? I don't know.
I don't really want to open this can of worms. But as I know I want out fairly soon I think it's a good interim measure for us and would definitely be best for the children.
Better for the children than a divorce that is.
What is the financial position? Are you reliant on him for money and is that colouring your view on divorce?
Those I know in a open relationship (and I do know a few through having frequented swinging websites in my time) do it as an extension of an already good sex life and are open and honest about sexual preferences. Are you prepared to tell him you don't fancy him and don't want a sexual relationship with him but do with others? Surely very hurtful for him.
I am as open minded as they come but this is just a recipe for hurt and pain for him. I think it's cruel if he still wants you and you will flaunt wanting to have sex with others in his face by asking him this.
What has made you stop fancying him by the way? You must have done at one point?
I've known a couple who did this and it went wrong. She initiated it and he went along with it at first. He then got cold feet and accused her of forcing him into it and divorced her for adultery. Be very careful OP.
If you got divorced, but could remain amicable and live close, surely that would be more honest than offering him something he probably doesn't want, that will benefit you, but might give him false hope that he can hold onto you. I have a friend who happily co-parents with another adult. They have never been married, but the have holidays together and a very good relationship as friends.
There are so many what ifs in these situations that even with the best of intentions, i think it could go horribly wrong.
What if your husband finds someone and you don't? Are you happy to sit at home looking after the kids while he's out dating and having sex? Does he bring her back meet you?
What if this woman was everything you weren't, would you feel jealousy about the way he spoke to her, and about her, if he was very enthusiastic? What if he fell in love with her?
And it's ok for him to be seen around town, in the pub with her, infinite dinners with her, strolling hand in hand? By your friends? Your family?
Because it sounds to me like he wants the whole package of wife, companion and loving sex life with that chosen person. So I think this will turn out worse for you, because you are trying to engineer a person into a precise situation that you want, and I don't think you can do that with another human being who has different thoughts and needs sorry.
I also agree with the PP I thought these agreements were based on the extension of a good solid trustworthy and sexually active relationship.
Have you got someone in. Und for yourself already OP?
And intimate dinners not infinite
(Can't find my glasses)
I have a friend whose parents are in an open relationship. When we last spoke about it she was in her mid twenties and said they had been in one for 10 years. Apparently it was for similar reasons. She always said how much it upset her and that she wished her parents would just get divorced. She found it painful to watch it going on as to her a loving relationship was two people committed to only each other and being with other people was disrespectful (even if it was agreed). It boiled down to the fact that dad wanted to sleep with other women and mum didn't want to lose him.
I think it can work but it's less likely to if you've been married for a long time or children are involved. You say you don't think your children would mind as long as you are together, but you don't know that and it's quite naive really. I think most children would be more devastated about their parents sleeping with other people than getting divorced.
Has he wanted to have sex with you?
The main problem here is that it sounds like you have avoided having sex with him, then reveal that you do want sex....just not with him.
If dh did that to me that would be the end of my marriage. It a rejection. Its not really about wanting an open marriage. Its 'i dont fancy you anymore so going to sleep with other people'. Especially since you say yoi dont want to get divorced until your youngest is older. So an open marriage until you leave? Are you going to tell him thats your plan?
I also agree that open marriages usually include a good sex life at home.
There are loads of pitfalls in open marriages. Especially if there are problems at home.
I am pretty sure most teens would prefer their parents to get divorced rather than discover their mum or dad have been seen out and about with another woman/man.
You need to be honest, with yourself, about why you dont want to divorce. Its doesnt really come across as being about the kids. Staying together for kids is rarely a good idea anyway.
Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.
I've been in open relationships. Some have been fantastic and others have not been. I think ultimately, as other posters have said, is that you need to have a strong core relationship to start with. Openness and honesty is key. I'm not saying don't try it, but if you do, you are going to have start communicating a lot better with your DH than you've been doing so far.
Open relationships are a two way street. If they aren't they don't work.
The mind set has to be sex without attachment. If you cannot guarantee this then it won't work.
It has to be pretty black and white. There are no grey area's. If there are it won't work.
If you both cannot meet the criteria for an open relationship then better to go separate ways.
However having said that your body is your body and no-one has the right to tell you what you do with it.
Beware emotional attachment. It gets very messy. Singles only.
Does your DH know you don't fancy him? Or does he just think you don't want sex and have a low libido?
Has he simply accepted that it's now a sexless marriage?
Have you asked him how he feels about not having sex anymore?
I was going to suggest you broach the topic by saying that you've been thinking about him going without sex, but in reality, I think you're main concern is about yourself.
Either way, you could ask how he'd feel about the two of you having an open relationship /marriage, without actually saying you want one initially and see what he says.
If you go down that route, then you need some rules, like it being nobody known to both of you, discreet, whether you would be with other married people or not.
The last one is important, because even if you agree on it, it's not right to destroy another marriage in the process.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.