- Before you open up to your husband about wanting to open up your marriage, you have to do some serious soul-searching.
- Some people believe polyamory is a way to get their needs met without having to ask their spouse to meet those needs.
- Doing it for that reason could ruin your marriage.
- Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more.
I’ve been married for five years and overall, I’m happy with my relationship. At the same time, I often catch myself daydreaming about being with people other than my husband.
It’s not like our sex is bad or infrequent, but I sometimes wonder if I’d feel more sexually fulfilled if I got to experiment more outside of my marriage. Until recently, I didn’t think an open marriage was for me, but after seeing more chatter about the concept online, I’m seriously considering it, and want to ask my husband his thoughts.
How can I approach him without freaking him out or upsetting him? He’s also never been in an open relationship.
– Los Angeles
Dear Los Angeles,
Before you open up to your husband about wanting to open up your marriage, you have to do some serious soul-searching.
The thing is, when someone is interested in opening their marriage, it’s usually for one of two potential reasons, according to Manhattan-based couples therapist Bukky Kolawole.
“For some people who are non-monogamous or polyamorous, they don’t feel like they’re their fullest selves in monogamous relationships,” Kolawole told me. But other folks become interested in polyamorous relationships because they believe they can get something out of the arrangement their partner isn’t able to offer them, like hotter sex or simply more attention.
Prior to broaching the topic with your boo, consider which of these camps you fall under (chatting with a couple’s therapist could help). If it’s the latter, an open marriage may not be the best idea for you and your husband.
Hear me out: Sexual fulfillment is an important part of a successful relationship, but that’s something you should first try to seek within your marriage, even if on the surface you think you and your husband’s sex life is already as good as its going to get.
Rather than asking your husband about trying polyamory, be honest with him about what you want in the bedroom, like more foreplay or role playing, if that’s your thing. Chances are he didn’t realise your sexual needs weren’t being met, and he’ll be willing – and likely excited – to work on your requests.
If this conversation sounds impossible to initiate, I hate to break it to you, but your marriage will suffer if you open your relationship. Think about it: If you can’t even communicate openly about sex within your own marriage, how will you navigate having sex with other people while maintaining that relationship?
You should also consider whether there’s something else, something non-sexual, that’s appealing to you about an open relationship. Perhaps you subconsciously feel you’re not getting enough attention from your husband, or that you miss having the deep conversations that can come more naturally during the honeymoon phase of a relationship. If your emotional needs aren’t being met, you should also address them with your spouse before having a discussion about opening the marriage.
After that, if you still want an open relationship, Kolawole said it’s important to bring vulnerability into that conversation with your spouse.
“Share what you’re curious about and why you feel that way with the understanding your partner could have a range of responses, whether curiosity, panic, or anger,” she said. “People can get triggered about their own stuff, so also recognise your partner may take it personally.”
You can’t control whether your husband gets upset over your open marriage inquiry, but you can open a channel for honest communication. That will serve your relationship well – regardless of the outcome of just that one chat.
As Insider’s resident sex and relationships reporter, Julia Naftulin is here to answer all of your questions about dating, love, and doing it – no question is too weird or taboo. Julia regularly consults a panel of health experts including relationship therapists, gynecologists, and urologists to get science-backed answers to your burning questions, with a personal twist.
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