Being let free to go explore made me love and respect my husband more than ever.
It has been about three years since I popped this question to my husband; we had been together for eight. I had just stopped breastfeeding my youngest child and had finally gotten my body back post pregnancy. It was not that I was bored with the sex at home. I think it was more about the fact that I have always loved connecting intimately with people. I love exploring, trying new things, and pushing myself out of my comfort zone.
I can imagine that for a lot of people having their partner make this suggestion will be scary and confusing, maybe even insulting. Many, many people have been cheated on and lied to in relationships, so trusting someone enough to open up might feel uncomfortable to them, possibly even frightening. Some people are truly just monogamous and do not wish to see others, for them it might be hard to understand why a partner would want more. They might feel insufficient, inadequate, undesirable and perhaps even unlovable.
In my case nothing was further from the truth. I loved my husband, our life together, our sex life (which was just coming back to life after a slump during pregnancy and breastfeeding and the early months with a baby who slept like shit and had my husband move into the guest room for months and months.) My desire to see other men was not based on a lack at home; it was not about escaping my marriage. It was more about… I do not know. It was more about a lust for life, I suppose.
That... and the undeniable fact that I love sex.
I was nervous as I considered asking him, I did not know what he would say. On the other hand we have always been open sexually, we have experimented and been free to let ourselves go in that area without feeling ashamed or embarrassed. We had had threesomes together and been to a sex club once or twice, so by all means, we were liberal and more open-minded than your average couple, I assume.
We had always explored these things together as a couple, though, so I was not sure how he would react to my wanting to explore on my own, but when I told him that maybe I would perhaps some time in the future possibly like to try something on my own with someone else maybe, he was completely ok with the idea and said “Yeah sure, just make sure you always practice safe sex.” I was a little surprised that he was so blasé about it, but in reality it did not shock me. As it turns out, there is not a jealous bone in his body – which is probably partly why I married him, as jealousy was one thing I could never live within a partner.
And that is how we opened up our marriage.
I know that few people will be as chilled about a partner suggesting this, so you need to realize that it is really all about communication, communication, communication. You might be shocked when your partner makes this suggestion and it important that you two talk about everything that troubles you. Be open and honest – first of all to yourself! Pinpoint whatever it is that feels wrong or difficult. Write it down so your ideas solidify somehow and feel more real. When your worries are just abstract ideas in your head, it might be more difficult to vocalize them to your partner. If something concerns you, it is real to you, even if your partner might not understand why that particular thing worries you. And your partner has the responsibility to respect you.
When I asked to have sex with other men, I took it upon myself to be extra aware of showing my husband that I loved him, appreciated him and our life together, and I appreciated the faith he had in me, in himself and in us. When he let me go explore, that is when I realized how much he loved me, and it made me love him all the more deeply.
I never understood why jealousy was an indication of how much you love someone, or why the lack of jealousy was seen as a lack of love. I love my husband deeply, I respect him – but I still do not experience jealousy when he goes out and explores with other people. I feel what is called ‘compersion’, the opposite to jealousy if you want, a feeling of joy when he is involved with others. And whereas I realize that a lot of people struggle with jealousy, I also know that it something you can work on, it is something you can live with, if not get over. The first step is being aware of your jealousy. The second is wanting to do something about it.
Wanting to open up our relationship was not because I was unfulfilled at home! It was an appetite for life that I was not interested in suppressing. Indeed, I feel blessed with hunger. And being let free to go explore made me love and respect my husband more than ever.
This article was originally published at BlogHer. Reprinted with permission from the author.