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Open Relationship Backfired

roseyglasses posted 7/22/2020 11:35 AM

Newly BS here. My WS and I have been married for 1.5 years now, and we were dating 1 year before that. Our relationship has always been open with the ground rules that we must communicate when we see people outside the marriage. WS has always said that they had a high sex drive, and I thought this arrangement was respected by both of us. Really, the only rules I had was that my WS could not hook up with their ex.

Now, my WS and his ex do talk because they previously owned a business together. That honestly should have been my first sign, but I didn't want to seem controlling (HA). As time goes on, WS seems distant and testy. I trusted my gut, looked through his phone, and was absolutely devastated by what I saw.

WS and his ex were sexting each other their fantasies. Each morning while I lay sleeping next to WS, he is texting his ex about his "usual morning fantasies" and planning to buy sex toys for her. WS tells me that it's just words. No emotions. It means nothing. But Honestly, I don't know if I can believe him. I don't know if I even want to believe him.

I guess I'm just rambling. I feel stuck - he owns the car I drive and pays for the apartment. I don't even know how to leave, but I have began saving up. Just feeling so lonely, broken, and pissed off.

Happenedtome2 posted 7/22/2020 12:29 PM

Sorry to see you here.

1.5 years married and together about 2.5. I am sad to say you probably should have seen this coming. I only know of 1 or 2 people with "open" marriages and both failed. One person always seems to be stuck playing homebody while the other goes out and does whatever they want.

Speak to a lawyer yesterday. Find out your rights. Don't stick around, especially if you don't have kids. The marriage is young enough that you can cut ties and never look back.

Westway posted 7/22/2020 12:49 PM

Divorce him.

The1stWife posted 7/22/2020 12:58 PM

Iím so sorry foryou. Maybe if you D him he can start texting you, his X-Wife his early morning fantasy and he can drop XW#1.

Good for you for starting to develop a plan B.

ThisIsSoLonely posted 7/22/2020 13:04 PM

I only know of 1 truly open marriage that has worked and it's been going strong for 15 years. That being said, it truly is "sexual" for both of them, and they always both participate actively or inactively (either participating together or 1 watches and/or they are involved in the communications beforehand and after together).

They have very explicit "rules" for this arrangement - where as soon as one of them is "interested" in someone, they discuss it, mutually agree, and then talk to that person (or couple). If someone is in a relationship and their spouse/partner is not participating they get verbal confirmation from that person before doing anything. It sounds complicated, but apparently it's worked for them because they both enjoy the process AND it is 100% open, meaning not only the sexual part but the entire process. They have turned down people/other couples for a vast array of reasons and although I've never asked, I can pretty much guarantee a prior relationship partner would be 100% off limits for both of them. But that's not what it's all about for them anyway. For them, it's about the physical act of sex, so I doubt there is much "foreplay" by way of beforehand communication and if there is, they both participate. It's not for me but it works for them and that's great.

It sounds to me however, like where you are is far from that, and for that I'm sorry. The fact this has happened is exacerbated by the fact that the communication with EXs was explicitly out of bounds and outside the open agreement you had, and so regardless of whether or not you have an open marriage, this was not part of the openness and is therefore garden variety cheating and don't let your spouse tell you otherwise.

So, treat it as such - read the healing library, and take some time for yourself - distance yourself from it, as much as you likely don't feel like doing that. It is the one thing I wish I had done more of in the beginning as I think it would have saved me a lot of time and agony later, as hard as it would have been to do in the beginning.

[This message edited by ThisIsSoLonely at 1:05 PM, July 22nd (Wednesday)]

sisoon posted 7/22/2020 13:12 PM

One rule, and he violated it. That's cheating. That's betrayal.

What do you want to do?

Did you want an open relationship, or did you agree to it because he wanted it?

roseyglasses posted 7/22/2020 13:36 PM

Did you want an open relationship, or did you agree to it because he wanted it?

Initially, I wanted to try it out as I was exploring the terms of my sexuality. He was okay with it, but now I realize it's probably because I was dating women and he 100% sexualized it. His ex was always a no go. He's always said that he can separate emotions from sex and honestly, the physical part isn't what bothers me the most. It's the blatant lying and manipulation he did so he could have his cake and eat it too.

Thumos posted 7/22/2020 13:39 PM

I know of several open marriages that arenít marriages any more because they are divorced. The one-way street phenomenon seems about par for the course, usually to the advantage of the female in the marriage ó so youíre a bit of an outlier in my experience.

However in your case, it doesnít seem like the open marriage part of this has much to do with it. Rather this is a WS rekindling a relationship with an EX which was specifically forbidden as part of the mutual understanding.

So thatís really more like just a plain old fashioned affair.

Westway posted 7/23/2020 12:13 PM

No one will ever convince me that open marriages are equitable and fair in their makeup. I can see people who have cuckold (or cuck-queen) fetishes being happy in them, but that is because they eagerly accept the innate inequality of the relationship as a trade off for satisfying their kinks.

phmh posted 7/23/2020 21:12 PM

2.5 years together? That's still honeymoon period. I'm 5 years into dating my SO and we are still in the honeymoon period.

Reread your story and pretend your best friend came to you in that exact situation. What would your advice to her be?

You deserve better.

gmc94 posted 7/23/2020 21:34 PM

It's the blatant lying and manipulation
And if someone is willing to behave this way in the "newlywed" phase of a relationship/M, how do you anticipate it getting better in a decade? or two?

Personally, short term M, no kids? Given what I know today, I'd be running to file for D.

\

KingofNothing posted 7/23/2020 23:46 PM

I know of several open marriages that arenít marriages any more because they are divorced. The one-way street phenomenon seems about par for the course, usually to the advantage of the female in the marriage ó so youíre a bit of an outlier in my experience.

Seconded. I've known a few open relationship couples from an activity I used to participate in more avidly until, well, I had reason to never show up there any more. They all start out rainbows and unicorns and end up with one party left out in the cold.. almost always. I just recently drank some excellent whiskey with a friend of mine from that time whose wife declared she was in an open marriage so she could sleep with a younger, slimmer guy with higher sex drive (my friend was pretty heavy then). Well, gradually he's sleeping on the couch in their apartment and they are in the bed together. "Oh, but you could go out and get your own partner!".. never quite as easy for the guy in that arrangement (you ARE unusual in that respect), especially when over 300 pounds. On the plus side, my friend lost 120 pounds, looks great and is dating again, as a single man again. Crushed him, though, for several years. This story played itself out over and over again in that crowd. One partner is delirious, the other miserable, and then a divorce.

I'm not lecturing, just observing. When you choose that lifestyle, you are introducing a certain elastic regard for marital fidelity to START with. It doesn't take much to alienate each other in that situation.

Best of luck going forward, though.. if you think it can be salvaged at all.

gmc94 posted 7/24/2020 00:24 AM

Rosyglasses - I apologize for the t/j here:

usually to the advantage of the female in the marriage ó so youíre a bit of an outlier

never quite as easy for the guy in that arrangement (you ARE unusual in that respect)

Really? So now we are gonna use a NEW BW's thread to make irrelevant 'observations' about women being the "usual" cheaters? How is it OK to insinuate that women are more likely to cheat, on the thread of a BETRAYED woman?

What difference does it make if her WS was a man, a woman, or an elephant? Can we please stop with the gender-based generalizations?

In MY experience, it's the MEN who break the boundaries of polyamory. Indeed, I do not know a single woman who has done it (but I do know some men who have).

So, does that make my experience accurate? Statistically relevant? Of course not. All it means is that I, as a women, tend to have those kind of intimate conversations with women, who would share with me how their male partners lied and cheated. Just like a man may tend to have more intimate conversations with other men who feel comfortable sharing how their female partners lied & cheated.

For the life of me, I cannot understand why it is in any way, shape or form, helpful to tell a BS that HER betrayal is somehow "unusual" bc the WS happened to be of x gender.

This is a person who has been betrayed. This is a person who has been hurt in ways that every BS (male & female) knows all too well. To make these irrelevant comments serve no purpose to the OP. Worse, they can be very harmful to the extent they insinuate that there is something not "normal" bc it is "usually" HER TYPE who cheats.... adding an additional whack to the self esteem "hit" that any BS has already suffered.

Rosyglasses - I'm so sorry you had to find yourself here. I'm so sorry that your WS has broken your boundaries. I already posted that given the short duration of your relationship and the breaking of such an explicit boundary, I would probably not engage in attempting to R.

It's not to me to judge the decision to enter into a poly relationship. I do think that adds another dimension to betrayal in that those who make that choice must have very firm and well communicated boundaries that are always respected. It takes courage and a big leap of faith and vulnerability to be poly - IMHO, beyond the leaps of faith & vulnerability in a strictly 1:1 monogamous M. So to have it all "mapped out" (so to speak) and STILL have the boundary broken is heartbreaking.

I don't know if I can believe him. I don't know if I even want to believe him.
This is what happens when trust is shattered. Whether poly or not, for those of us who had explicit communications about our boundaries, having them broken feels especially cruel.

FWIW, I think beginning to save up is a healthy step. Get your ducks in a row. Despite my criticisms, SI is a wonderful place and has helped me tremendously. We are here for you.

DictumVeritas posted 7/24/2020 00:38 AM

Many years ago I was attracted to a woman. This was after I had been cheated on by and divorced my second wife. When it came to where a relationship would progress to normal dating and getting physical, she suggested an open relationship.

What I heard was: "I don't care for you and respect you enough to be yours."

However she was still willing to sleep with me. I proceeded on those grounds and any possibility that the relationship would be anything more was destroyed the moment she suggested other parties be involved.

This "arrangement" lasted about 2 years and I never invested anything of myself into it. When I thought it was no longer to my benefit, I ended it and was taken aback by how emotional she became. After all in my mind I was just her primary side-piece.

To be honest I never loved her nor did I actually respect her all that much, from the moment she suggested an open arrangement.

I am just wondering if your SO is perhaps not in the same mindset as I was, since it was you who wanted to explore in the first place.

Perhaps in his mind, since you were not willing to be his and pushed boundaries in the beginning, he might feel very little obligation to maintain any boundaries in regards to your relationship.

I am simply postulating a possibility.

[This message edited by DictumVeritas at 1:47 AM, July 24th (Friday)]

KingofNothing posted 7/24/2020 13:10 PM

Really? So now we are gonna use a NEW BW's thread to make irrelevant 'observations' about women being the "usual" cheaters? How is it OK to insinuate that women are more likely to cheat, on the thread of a BETRAYED woman?
What difference does it make if her WS was a man, a woman, or an elephant? Can we please stop with the gender-based generalizations?

You are certainly free to believe what you believe, and I apologize if you disagree with me so much as to call my observations irrelevant. They are only observations and I labeled them as such. If you want to cast me as a villain for making an honest observation based on personal experience, I'll shut up and consider myself censored.

I DID specifically state "I have been in a social circle where there was polyamory present" or words to that effect. I didn't engage in it, don't say this was my experience personally. However, I was pretty good friends with two poly couples and knew two other poly couples in a vague social way. (This wasn't any kind of lifestyle activity, it was recreational activity that attracted a certain "hippy" kind of enthusiast that seemed to be attracted to the practice, but that's just based on a sampling data of four couples).

Every one of those couples I mention ended up in divorce, The two of them that I knew better had the dynamic where the woman initiated the relationship and the men ended up pretty miserable-- I didn't know the details of the other two that I knew casually. I'm still good friends with one of them, as I mentioned-- so I know his story best of all.

Small statistical sample, I admit it, but then again, I admitted it the first time, too.

In MY experience, it's the MEN who break the boundaries of polyamory. Indeed, I do not know a single woman who has done it (but I do know some men who have).

How many have you observed? Your experience is entirely valid yet runs counter to what I have seen. So what? I was very careful to say "One PARTNER is often left in the cold"..

I have seen more than one Open Relationship start of as a great idea by one couple and it goes South rather quickly when one of them isn't "getting laid" as much as the other or as much as imagined. That seems to be a consistent complaint. Women in the lifestyle seem to less difficulty finding casual partners than men do, and I bet the data on that will bare me out.. if anyone cares to collect it.

I'm not casting aspersions on women, believe me. I was saying that inequities in the relationship are easy to introduce into a relationship where there are more than two individuals participating. That is ALL.

gmc94 posted 7/24/2020 17:12 PM

My experience is no more "valid" than anyone else's. My point was that your experience is women are the "usual" waywards, and my experience is the exact opposite. And whether more men or women cheat - generally or in a poly situation - (and whether or not there has been any study) is wholly irrelevant to the OP or any of the issues and pain she now faces due to the betrayal of her clearly communicated & agreed to boundaries.

What matters is that OP is a betrayed SPOUSE. The fact that she is a woman is irrelevant.

And FWIW, I actually do appreciate sharing your experience & perspective of friends /acquaintances whose poly relationships didn't work. Sounds like we've both known folks in those situations that did not work out.
It's the subliminal -and unnecessary- jibes against an entire gender that make no sense to me.

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