Monday, March 4, 2013

She says/He says: Married Bisexual Men and Open Marriagess

In the Win-Win for Struggling Bisexual Married Men, I outlined a method that discontented closeted men can use to find inner peace.  If implemented as described, a full range of outcomes are possible; one of those is a wife who cherishes her bisexual husband and their open marriage.

Recently, a straight wife read the Win-Win and left a scathing comment about how selfish, narcissistic, and untrustworthy married bisexual men are.  Her comment deserves a quality reply, not only because she's in pain and wants answers, but also because the things she says epitomize many straight wives' feelings and fears about their bisexual husbands.

In an effort to provide the woman a helpful response, I asked a bunch of men who are bi or gay and in open straight marriages to reply to what she says.  I specifically asked them to focus on why they felt their open marriage was fair to their wives.  A handful of the most interesting replies are below.    One guy answered her point-by-point, which made for a very long reply, so I've included that as a separate comment.

She says: Married Bisexual Men and Open Marriages
What percentage of women, married to formerly closeted men, are openly happy with their lives after their world is torn apart by the proposition of an open marriage? You know of some. What is the ratio? I doubt it breaks into the double digits and not without struggling and trying it "his" way. Do you read sites where women are devistated or do you stick with sites that bolster the selfishness of bi- men to be happy at the expense of their wives?

The other bi-men's blogs I have read pull out what I see as a "poor me, I deserve special treatment" card, like a bi- form of affirmative action. Does being bi- go hand-in-hand with narcissism? How about recklessness? Selfishness?

Fear of abandonment is another excuse. Don't tell cause she won't like it... She might leave or, for the cheaters, also catch on to that lovely aspect. But heaven forbid the wife faced with the news that her husband likes boys feel that same fear of abandonment. She isn't supportive or understanding rather than the truly devistated person she actually is. So does bi- also come with a lack of empathy?

There is no win-win. It is a lie bi- men tell themselves to be able to live with their CHOICES.

From most of what I have read, bi men are far more likely to cheat than not, and to gaslight their wives, which is cruelty beyond measure. Spending a year trying to rebuild something that was never strong due to lies that destroy trust is like the guy who has a GF going to marriage counseling just so he can say he tried. Yet he never stops seeing his affair partner so his trying is a sham and another brick in the wall of manipulation and self-delusion.

If the bi- man continues to see other men there is no real effort to connect.

You married with all of the info. You spoke the words. Honor them or accept that you aren't bi. You are a person without regard for others who just happens to be bi.

Nothing on any of these forums makes me feel ok about being married to a bi man. Notorious liars. Understandable reason. Unacceptable behavior. All a choice, not imposed by external factors but instead acted upon by flawed integrity.

I love my husband but if he cannot honor the vows we made, he will find himself divorced. He has always lied. As far as I am aware, never acted on his attraction to men. We play at home. I will always feel inadequate even though I get turned on and have fun. I love real penises so why wouldn't he? I get it. But if it goes farther than just us, it is over. I didn't sign up for this. BUT HE DID.

That's the biggest difference.

And yes I am upset. I have no idea how this will work out in the end. My husband is struggling. I am, too. I want him to be happy. But if that requires extramarital forays, he can't be happy with me and therefore I can't be happy with him.

The just sex argument I hear so often is another point of contention with me. Why do bi men love anonymous or non-invested sex so much? Afraid of intimacy on both sides of the fence? Seems like it. Dear wife - with you it is love but with him it is just sex. Is anything truly sacred that is treated like spitting on the ground? Treating him like an object, how does that make bi men endearing to their wives or anyone for that matter? I'm just using him. But you are special...

Bi men have problems coming to terms for sure. But most of the real problems they face are of their own making.

Own your sh*t. Stop asking everyone else to accept what you yourselves could not accept. We haven't had the years you have had to get your head around it. All of the sudden you are willing to "share" and we are supposed to be right there beside you.

We always wondered what was wrong, blamed ourselves. You knew what it was. Not freaking fair. Not even close.

Open marriage? Many of you have already had one. Just not BI LATERAL.

Get your heads out of your asses and accept the damage you've caused and stop inflicting yet more pain.

And get some psychological help for the shitty way you treat people. That's where you really need to focus. Stop thinking with your dicks. Grow up. Become decent human beings in all facets of your lives.

I would say this to anyone who behaves this way.

Using bisexuality as an excuse is pitiful.

He says: Married Bisexual Men and Open Marriages

Man One


My wife is the opposite of this woman.  She is genuinely happy that I am happy, which results in us being happy together.  

My coming out was a challenge but it didn't rock our marriage to the core. Our struggle was simply to help each other find a pathway to success. Our marriage evolved from “you are NOT having sex with men” to a marriage were my relationships with men are just sexual enough to keep both my wife and myself happy. 

I never pressured her to support me, especially at her expense.  My wife is a strong woman and there is nothing she does that she doesn't truly want to do.  My liaisons don't rip her heart out.  They are met with joy and mutual happiness because the resulting happiness around the house when I return makes both our lives together so much happier.  My wife learned this through experience, that's what baby steps are all about.  “If a little is good, more must be better” until we found the perfect mix.    

Those who make it to happy MOM are the exception, but for those of us who do, it’s worth it.  I personally believe the greatest challenge is knowing when to cut your losses and move on. If the ship is sinking why should you both go down with it? I don't believe it's narcissism to save my own ass if others are not willing to save their own.

Man Two

I think an aspect of the perceived invisibility of happy open marriages is that people who are happy with things are less likely to complain. In the first 2 or 3 years, my wife and I both were enthusiastic posters on various support sites while we struggled with our issues.  We started out participating in 3 or more groups: HUGS, MMOM, SSML, and another that dried up.  We quickly fled SSML where gay husbands were allowed to participate but weren't really welcome.  We left MMOM after we became non-monogamous.  HUGS was a mainstay.  It provided so much critical support for us for a long time, but now, while we participate in conversations there, we don't really have issues to raise so we might seem to be invisible.

My wife never joined Alternate Path because she has no need or time for it, as good a group as it may be.  The very fact that she can be outspoken about our MOM but is not on AP speaks to the fact that she has nothing to be unhappy about.

And though I have been out to her for nearly 11 years, I only joined this group less than 2 years ago when I was between CLRs and wanted some of the camaraderie offered here.   Beyond that, I would say I didn't/don't need the support per se.  Our MOM is a well-oiled machine ... it hits rougher patches like when I was between CLRs but operated very well in getting us through that, and sails along best on the CLR road.

Man Three

My wife and I just celebrated our 33rd anniversary.  It's been 18 years since I came out.  While the first couple of years were definitely rocky, I know I speak for both of us when I say we are happier now than at any point in our marriage.  Both of us have evolved and I think with the passing of time, my wife has become more secure. I think her initial fear was that even though we had made a decision to stay married, she was concerned that at some point I would meet a guy who would sweep me off my feet and make me want to leave. We discussed this a lot in the beginning, because we both felt that if I was going to leave, it would be better while we were both relatively young. But neither of us wanted that and with each successive boyfriend she has learned that I'm not going anywhere.  Someone else summed it up really well:  There is no one else I would rather spend the rest of my life with. 

Man Four

Following the first couple of emotionally chaotic weeks post-disclosure, my wife and I realized we needed some sort of "operating agreement" even though we did not know where our future would take us.  That agreement included monogamy until otherwise agreed.  I very strongly wanted to remain together with my wife, and we couldn't see how non-monogamy would work, so I readily agreed to this "monogamy until" condition.  At the same time, my wife insisted we provide an escape valve:  if monogamy became untenable for me, then we would discuss how to deal with it, rather than me either going on the down-low or going back into the quasi-depression I had been in before disclosure.

I never had to use the escape valve.  The years that followed were so full of exciting personal development in many dimensions, that I was completely occupied by all that without being impatient for m2m sex.  Those dimensions included:

  •     developing a much higher degree of emotional intimacy and communication with my wife
  •     enjoying a renaissance of our marital sex life
  •     coming out in stages to more and more friends, family, and colleagues
  •     developing a social network of gay friends
  •     connecting to my local gay community generally, and to national equality and pride movements
  •     connecting with MOM friends on line and in person
  •     experimenting with some gay-related sex play with my wife
  •     using porn with permission, without guilt, and in moderation
  •     generally, developing my new gay "identity" without it being mixed up with the complications of gay sex, if that makes any sense.
My wife fully supported -- no, rather she helped push -- this re-envisioning of my identity in ways that included two key goals:  authenticity and integrity.  It also included fidelity, with the meaning that we understood at that time.  This whole monogamy period was an amazingly rich and valuable time.

Some time in the third year, when things had become very calm and loving for us, my wife had what she calls her "paradigm shift" which included at least two aspects:
(1) From the experiences of friends, she realized that a "side relationship" can in some cases be beneficial for marital stability, rather than destructive (even for straight people);
(2) She explicitly decided that given we were in a MOM, she wanted the next few decades to be a life built on generosity not fear, and abundance not scarcity.

On that basis she is the one who suggested I explore a Closed-Loop Relationship (CLR), with a MOM couple we had already known for a couple of years.  That led to a great 6-year relationship for me, and contributed to the stability and satisfaction our marriage gave us, and certainly provided a foundation for confidence about our future that helped us even when that CLR ended in 2011.

So, I realize that my case does not involve "long-term post-disclosure monogamy," but I think it does give an example of the possible value of committing to monogamy in at least a provisional (possibly indefinite) way, putting aside the fretful part of it and focusing on all sorts of other opportunities that may be offered.

In taking a second look at my bulleted list above, of all the great things that helped me develop as a gay man while monogamous, I was struck by the (not surprising) fact that they all would have been impossible if I had not been allowed to be open and affirming of my orientation both within my marriage and home, and/or in my community.  I expect I would have been very much more "itchy" for gay sex as a private or secret expression of my sexuality, if I had not had all these other modes of shared or public expression for it.  I am sure my wife, an exceptionally smart and insightful person, recognized that from near the start.

Man Five

I have been with my wife for 14 years and we have been open (mostly in theory rather than practice) for almost 4. Just recently my wife and I were sitting in the living room and she mentioned, sort of thinking aloud, while knitting, that she wished I could find a nice guy. This was out of the blue and unexpected, but welcome as it showed to me that it was something that she was so comfortable with that it was just a random thought floating around her mind, not weighed down by doubt or worry.

Now, I have to say that none of us can ever know for sure how our wives feel. We are not in their heads, never can be, and, frankly, I wouldn't want to be. All I have to go on is what she tells me and what I observe, which are both flawed since she could be fooling herself and by extension me as well, but it's all we have to work with and both have been pretty positive.

We briefly talked about this last night, and she got a bit annoyed since I have worried greatly about this in the past (yep, this narcissistic, reckless, selfish guy has been so concerned about the impact on my wife that she's tired of reassuring me that she's fine and dandy). If she were to paint her perfect world would it include me having sex with other men? No. But we don't get to paint our perfect world, do we? In my perfect world my wife wouldn't snore so much and cause me to lose sleep? Hell no. But when she offers to sleep in another room I just smile and tell her I won't hear of it. This isn't a perfect analogy, but my point is that living together is a balancing act which will never be perfect. We are who we are, but are also constantly changing, and the balancing act always needs adjustment to keep things going.

Man Six

I am peripherally involved in organizing a nude yoga/body electric weekend in my little community.  Because some of the participants are coming from several hundred miles away, I am hosting five of them at my house and am making dinner for the whole group on Saturday night.  When I discussed this with my wife, she smiled and said she would spend the weekend out of town with our daughter.

I mention this to demonstrate how far the gay thing and our open marriage have evolved for us.  When I came out eight years ago we went through a year or more of emotional roller coaster hell.  Initially, my wife was adamant that if I continued to have sex with men, our marriage would end.  Within a year, that gave way to a don't ask, don' t tell situation which, very recently, has moved light years ahead to where we are very happily enjoying a truly open marriage.

I think the main reason our marriage has lasted so long, post coming out, is that we allowed it to evolve - had either of us, taken an immovable stance, we could not have succeeded.  Another major factor is that our marriage was fairly strong in the first place.  Had we been in rough seas when I came out I believe the gay thing surely would have dashed us onto the rocks.  The third major factor was that my wife was very respectful and accepting of the gay thing - she never showed me anything less than respect, no matter how bad things got words like queer or fag were never tossed about.

Up until a couple of years ago, my wife presented me with a big bouquet of flowers every year on the anniversary of my coming out - she was grateful that she got me back from the cave that I dragged myself into several years ago.  I'm relating all of this, because I want to demonstrate that if the marriage is reasonably strong to begin with, a good counselor, patience, and time, along with mutual respect, a successful MOM can be created.

My thoughts on open marriage for mixed orientation couples

Generally speaking, I'm not a big fan of mixed orientation marriages (MOMs).  I'm somewhat optimistic about them if the couple is older and neither spouse has much hope or interest in finding another life partner. I'm also modestly optimistic about them if the couple communicates well and all the cards are on the table, including an agreement to be monogamous or not.  However, as soon as honesty and good communication end, then I'm very negative.  

Lies are a doomed attempt to create an alternate reality.  Anytime a spouse feels the need to repeatedly lie about who they are or how they live their life, they're moving the deck furniture around on the Titanic.  Lies temporarily hide awkward situations but they don't change the fundamental situation.  When a couple is truly happy with each other, and have a good relationship, then they're able to communicate honestly.  When they lie, they're doing so because they already know they're on a risky voyage, but they want to pretend that nothing bad will ever happen.

Would I advise a straight wife to seriously consider her bisexual or gay husband's request to open their marriage?  

Surprisingly, I would, even though I don't think most MOMs are a good idea.  

A request to open up a marriage is plea to communicate honestly.  When a straight wife says she's willing to consider the possibility of an open marriage, then, and perhaps only then, can the couple start to truthfully share what their deepest thoughts, needs and fears are.  And when that kind of communication happens, wives can start to feel less threatened and husbands more loyal.

The biggest mistake men make when they ask for an open marriage is doing so too soon after disclosing their same-sex attraction.  Once a husband's hidden sexuality is revealed, many wives fall into a deep depression where they question the authenticity, trust and love in their marriage.  It takes time and dedication on the husband's part to rebuild authentic trust.  Until that happens, why would a depressed wife grant permission to her husband to have sex with men?  She wouldn't.  

Ultimately, what the Win-Win does is build trust and confidence in the marital bond. And in those situations where trust cannot be built, that fact soon becomes obvious to both partners.  Either way, doubt is removed and the best path for the couple becomes clear, whether it's monogamy, an open marriage, or dissolution.

Please share your thoughts about opening up a mixed orientation marriage in the comment box below.

18 comments:

  1. What percentage of women, married to formerly closeted men, are openly happy with their lives after their world is torn apart by the proposition of an open marriage? You know of some? What is the ratio? I doubt it breaks into the double digits and not without struggling and trying it "his" way.


    Hard to know. But I know one, mine. We are doing it "our" way. I was not a dictator.


    So many bi-men pull out what I see as a "poor me, I deserve special treatment" card, like a bi- form of affirmative action. Does being bi- go hand-in-hand with narcissism? How about recklessness? Selfishness?


    I am just being honest with who I am and I gave my wife the freedom to be who she is. Before coming out, I was having sex with men without her knowing it. Now it is her choice to stay or not.


    Fear of abandonment is another excuse. Don't tell cause she won't like it... She might leave or, for the cheaters, also catch on to that lovely aspect. But heaven forbid the wife faced with the news that her husband likes boys feel that same fear of abandonment. She isn't supportive or understanding rather than the truly devastated person she actually is. So does bi- also come with a lack of empathy?


    My wife was not devastated. Yes, hurt, etc. and had to go through the grief of losing her straight husband. But now she is happy with her bi husband and has even said she does not want to go back to like it was before when we thought I was straight.


    From most of what I have read, bi men are far more likely to cheat than not, and to gaslight their wives, which is cruelty beyond measure. Spending a year trying to rebuild something that was never strong due to lies that destroy trust is like the guy who has a GF going to marriage counseling just so he can say he tried. Yet he never stops seeing his affair partner so his trying is a sham and another brick in the wall of manipulation and self-delusion. If the bi- man continues to see other men there is no real effort to connect.


    bi men cheat, gay men cheat, straight men cheat, bi women cheat, gay women cheat, straight women cheat. and there are many that do not cheat. Cheating has nothing to do with orientation. If it was never strong, then nothing can save it. But a strong marriage can and is saved when both work at it. Bi men can and do connect with their wife. This does not negate the need to connect with a man nor reduces the connection with the wife.


    You spoke your marriage vows. Honor them or accept that you aren't bi. You are a person without regard for others who just happens to be bi.


    I am keeping my vows, my wife and I both assumed forsaking others meant forsaking other women. Neither of us had me with a man in our mind. This is how we rethought our marriage contract.


    Nothing on any of these forums makes me feel ok about being married to a bi man. Notorious liars. Understandable reason. Unacceptable behavior. All a choice, not imposed by external factors but instead acted upon by flawed integrity.


    I don't think he is forcing you to be with him???

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    1. [Continued...]
      I love my husband but if he cannot honor the vows we made, he will find himself divorced. He has always lied. As far as I am aware, never acted on his attraction to men. We play at home. I will always feel inadequate even though I get turned on and have fun. I love real penises so why wouldn't he? I get it. But if it goes farther than just us, it is over. I didn't sign up for this.


      YOU and HE did not sign up for this. We each have to decide what we can and cannot accept. I cannot live with someone that thinks I am a lier and scum, etc.


      And yes I am upset. I have no idea how this will work out in the end. My h is struggling. I am, too. I want him to be happy. But if that requires extramarital forays, he can't be happy with me and therefore I can't be happy with him.


      Sounds like you know the outcome, Just be loving while you are divorcing.


      The 'just sex' argument I hear so often is another point of contention with me. Why do bi men love anonymous or non-invested sex so much? Afraid of intimacy on both sides of the fence? Seems like it. Dear wife - with you it is love but with him it is just sex. Is anything truly sacred that is treated like spitting on the ground? Treating him like an object, how does that make bi men endearing to their wives or anyone for that matter? I'm just using him. But you are special...


      Some of us have a special female (wife) and a special male (hubby). So for some of us sex is sex... but love is love and love of one does not lessen the love for the other.


      Bi men have problems coming to terms for sure. But most of the real problems they face are of their own making.


      If I came out as a child, I would have been put in a mental insitution and treated until made striaght. I would not call this my own making.


      Own your sh*t. Stop asking everyone else to accept what you yourselves could not accept. We haven't had the years you have had to get your head around it. All of the sudden you are willing to "share" and we are supposed to be right there beside you.


      I do own my own. I have accepted otherwise I would not have come out. We have talked many times of giving the wife time to adjust to the new person. Each on their own time table. but from what I heard there is no adjusting from the wife; only do it my way (only me) or else out the door!


      We always wondered what was wrong, blamed ourselves. You knew what it was. Not freaking fair. Not even close.


      For a bi guy, yes it is not freaking fair. We have been pushed into a corner of one or the other. But now we know that it can be both, not one or the other. You can now choose to be there or not.


      Open marriage? Many of you have already had one. Just not BI LATERAL.


      Personally I don't like the term open marriage. I rather think of a marriage as something that grows and is not in cement. You can again choose to grow with him or go and grow with someone else.


      Get your heads out of your asses and accept the damage you've caused and stop inflicting yet more pain.


      Head out of ass. No damage done. No pain inflicted by bi men. You can chose to respond that way or not. Up to you. We don't have control over you.


      And get some psychological help for the shitty way you treat people. That's where you really need to focus. Stop thinking with your dicks. Grow up. Become decent human beings in all facets of your lives.


      I did get help. Being honest is the best and giving you the freedom to chose to stay or leave was important and one of the important reasons for coming out in the first place.

      I would say this to anyone who behaves this way.

      Using bisexuality as an excuse is pitiful.


      bisexuality as an excuse? It is who I am, no excuse. Accept or not. Again, your choice.

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  2. Can we all just accept that if you're gay it's best that you not get married?

    Most of the guys following this blog seem to be over 40. They were young, in denial, or whatever, and living on a very different time. They went forward with the socially acceptable path of marriage.

    Now years later this desire for men has become more pronounced and it's a problem. OMG, now what do I do? How do I extricate myself from this situation without everything crashing around me?

    There is no easy answer.

    You can rehash it a thousand times here, but there's still no easy answer. Everyone's situation is unique. Some women may not care and allow the guy to play with anyone and everyone. On the other end of the spectrum the wife may go ballistic, leading a jihad against her ex husband for the rest of their lives. Most will land somewhere in the middle.

    I think we'd all agree that sneaking around fucking guys unbeknownst to your wife is not a good idea either. But that's what a lot of gay married guys do.....for their whole lives. I think the minority actually leave their wives, but I could be wrong.

    This open marriage thing might work for a few people, but I'd guess it won't work for most.

    So I'm wondering what the point of this post was? You don't need to justify anything. It seems you're married on paper only. This is an interesting point, counter point. I'm still confused about where you are going with this. May you can elaborate in a future post.

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    1. A lot of the men you're talking about, men over 40 who married when they were young and in denial, are the ones who see open marriage as the best solution, the easy solution. Is it? It all depends, which is partly what this post trying to show.

      The main purpose doesn't have anything to do with me. It's about responding to the woman who left the angry comment. I'm sure her anger is shared by many straight wives so I think it's interesting and useful to show their opposing perspectives. It's an opportunity for men and women in this situation to see how others think, and why. Other than that, I'm not really 'going' anywhere with this.

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  3. Bisexual? Have you ever count the men(hundreds of them in group sex or 3somes..) you had sex, compared with the one woman you are having sex,once or twice the month? where are the rest of the women you are having sex, so you can justify your bisexuality? in your fantasy world maybe?
    its that why you are looking for passionate sex with men?someone to hung you? kiss you? get intimate with? not feeling lonely?
    its because you are bisexual and treat men like sex objects? or its because only a man can fulfill you 100% cause you are gay and not str8?

    And you women are you so desperate to be married to a gay man? is it because you have low self esteem and low dignity as a person that's blinds you for seeing and accepting the reality?

    check this site for info http://www.gayhusbands.com/


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    1. I've often wondered what the most common triggers are for men to change their self-perceived orientation from bisexual to gay. That's not something guys talk about very often. Usually, they're remembering the change from years before and they say something like, "I used to think I was bi, but then I realized I was more gay." No specifics.

      One trend I've noticed is that more men are labeling themselves as "one woman away from gay." That's more accurate than "bisexual" so their improved honesty should be applauded.

      Thanks for the link.

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    2. And if we're not told about his sexuality...but find out by mistake,that's our fault is it?

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  4. Cameron why don't you tell us your opinion(ask the others opinion,like you have asked for this post too), about Helen's three main points at your post "My Parents' Open Marriage" since you were/or they are in her dads place for years?
    a gay closet man in a marriage with a str8 woman?

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    1. Helen's three points are: 1) A closeted parent puts the whole family in the closet, 2) Open marriages can work, but only in the true absence of any kind of coercion, and 3) Children of MOMs are cheated out of healthy sexual and relationship models.

      I could write more about these topics in the future, but I'm not sure such a post would generate much interest, so, for now I'll be brief.

      1) Keeping a loved one's socially embarrassing secret is always a burden and always has unseen consequences. The damage from the closet, to everyone, can last a lifetime. Children can definitely be affected, especially if they know they're keeping a secret. If they're not aware then I'd think they'd escape most of the typical long-term damage that the closet causes.

      2) "true absence of any kind of coercion" - those are the key words. The men who brag about their perfect open marriages...I'm sure some of their wives are totally happy with the arrangement...but I have to wonder if there's a contingent of women who feel like they don't have much of a choice. That's coercion, even if it's self-imposed. The problem with coercion is that it generates resentment and resentment tends to build over time and spill out in very unhealthy ways. To me, the most logical solution is for men to be totally honest about their desires and intentions and for women to be totally honest about whether they can accept their man for who he is. Lots of times I feel like one or both partners are trying to squeeze a square block into a round hole. Because the pain and mess of the whole situation is just too overwhelming, one or both parties accept a compromise they're not really happy about. Of course all that does is bury the issue until the resentment can't be held back any longer, then marital conflict explodes again.

      3) Great question, one that I cannot answer. I would defer to what Helen says. Only children of mixed orientation marriages could speak to this issue. I wonder what most of them would say?

      If others would like to answer these questions, please feel free to do so below.

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  5. My STBGX in the closet freak can GTH he had no right to use me none

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  6. This woman, though obviously hurting has probably just exhibited who she is when stressed. Her marriage is ending not because her husband is bisexual or gay but because she is so vile to anyone that stands in the way of her dogmatic understandings. She is completly unwilling to face her own truths and demands her versions on others.

    The marriage was doomed long before the revelation.

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    1. You might be right, but I don't see how you have enough information to come to this conclusion based on what she said. Are you implying that any wife of a bisexual or gay man who refuses to open their marriage is dogmatic? If so, I strongly disagree.

      Marriage is a legal contract but it's also a contract of social understandings. Of course, in many marriages, those understandings unravel or were never clearly agreed to before the commitment was made. Conflicts erupt when one spouse wants the other to accept "new rules." These could be about almost anything; sexuality is probably pretty far down the list. When conflicts happen, there's only three possible final outcomes: agreement to change, agreement not to change, or, a decision to dissolve the marriage. The first two outcomes require agreement, the last one can be unilateral. So...when a bisexual man asks his wife for an open marriage and she says no, that's HER prerogative. Similarly, it's HIS prerogative to dissolve the marriage in response. He doesn't *have* to agree to be boxed in and she doesn't *have* to agree to a non-monogamous marriage. Neither decision is wrong or dogmatic; it's simply the result of two people not being able to come to an agreement.

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  7. Different arrangements work for different people (gay and straight marriages). I would not be presumptuous enough to comment on another person's marriage. If it works for them then that's great.
    Really interesting blog, by the way :)
    Jeffrey

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    1. Hi Jeffrey. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

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  8. " Similarly, it's HIS prerogative to dissolve the marriage in response. He doesn't *have* to agree to be boxed in and she doesn't *have* to agree to a non-monogamous marriage. Neither decision is wrong or dogmatic; it's simply the result of two people not being able to come to an agreement."

    This strikes me as painfully naive. And I've just realized why. This coming-out process is therapeutic, and therapeutic culture is practically solipsistic in its focus on the client. Everything's about you, and you're unnecessarily heroic when you think seriously about what you've promised, what you've made, how your actions affect others. Except in how all that affects how you feel about yourself.

    When a spouse who -- through omission, through deliberate lying, through lying to self -- has convinced another person that he or she wants to marry, wants to be monogamous, wants the other sexually, and lets that person build a life around that lie, maybe with children...my god, the childishness of the whole "but don't you want me to be happy?" plea.

    Almost all men want to run around. Are you kidding? And they want magic running around that doesn't involve the messinesses of real life: children's needs, money trouble, fights, bad days, illness, all the heavy stuff. Furthermore they want a mom-wife who'll keep a nice home for them despite their giving the good stuff to other women, or men, as the case may be. Why do you think women say no to this? It's not about your dubious biology lesson; it's that we're not idiots. By and large women put far more into family and relationship than men do; we give up money, health, our own interests to do it to a much greater extent than men do. And men enjoy what we do. To put all that out just to make a playground for a guy who doesn't give back because he's busy on his personal journey that he neglected to take long ago? And kinda sorta didn't say anything about wanting? Unless the woman wants the guy off her back but still wants a comfy marriage, no, of course she's not going to want that.

    I had a guy tell me eleven different ways he wanted an open relationship, and I said: no dice. And then he told me again how much he needed this. So I said choose -- don't do it, or, if you must, don't tell me about it. Or forget the whole thing, and for God's sake don't think I'm going to sit there and girlwatch with you. So he chose, and to his credit he recognized that trying to sneak around would be a mistake and undesirable, so he went all in. Do I care what he fantasizes about privately? No, I care what he does.

    In the end, if your wife knows the value of her love and commitment and work and time, and she isn't getting back more or less the same value from you but she sticks around, you ought to be asking why. The answer is probably not that she's a saint or an angel, or that all she wants in life is to see you happy. If she doesn't know the value of what she's giving you, well, that's another problem, but the moment she figures it out, you're probably in trouble.

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  9. I think this article is kind of one-sided. It only shows the viewpoint of the men who wanted the "open marriage". It would have been good to hear the other side as well.

    That being said, there's interesting research that shows that female executives and male executives are just as likely to cheat as the other. This hints that "cheating" may be more about socio-economic freedom and choice than anything else. Some people stay married because they have nowhere else to go.

    However, I believe in the saying "Most of can, as we choose, make of this life a palace or a prison."

    Communication, Honesty, Respect, Confidence, etc. Many men in MOM describe getting "tired" and "exhausted" with the charade. I can only imagine how their partners must feel as well.

    There's still so little we know about monogamy. Let alone sexual orientation. There's a lot of people spreading what equates to "old-wives tales" about these things, this comment section included. We have no definitive metric for sexuality, only what is self-reported. We're also not sure if our concept of "cheating" is a social construct or an ingrained thing. There's so many unknowns and variables, it can be hard to recommend anything!

    I just hope that at the end of the day, people are doing pro-social things that benefit not only themselves, but their families, friends, and communities. I'm not sex-negative. I think sex is a great thing. For some it's sacred, for others, it's a fun thing to do on a Tuesday night. Again, I just hope people of all sexual orientations are living positive, meaningful lives.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I think this article is kind of one-sided. It only shows the viewpoint of the men who wanted the "open marriage". It would have been good to hear the other side as well.

    That being said, there's interesting research that shows that female executives and male executives are just as likely to cheat as the other. This hints that "cheating" may be more about socio-economic freedom and choice than anything else. Some people stay married because they have nowhere else to go.

    However, I believe in the saying "Most of can, as we choose, make of this life a palace or a prison."

    Communication, Honesty, Respect, Confidence, etc. Many men in MOM describe getting "tired" and "exhausted" with the charade. I can only imagine how their partners must feel as well.

    There's still so little we know about monogamy. Let alone sexual orientation. There's a lot of people spreading what equates to "old-wives tales" about these things, this comment section included. We have no definitive metric for sexuality, only what is self-reported. We're also not sure if our concept of "cheating" is a social construct or an ingrained thing. There's so many unknowns and variables, it can be hard to recommend anything!

    I just hope that at the end of the day, people are doing pro-social things that benefit not only themselves, but their families, friends, and communities. I'm not sex-negative. I think sex is a great thing. For some it's sacred, for others, it's a fun thing to do on a Tuesday night. Again, I just hope people of all sexual orientations are living positive, meaningful lives.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I think this article is kind of one-sided. It only shows the viewpoint of the men who wanted the "open marriage". It would have been good to hear the other side as well.

    That being said, there's interesting research that shows that female executives and male executives are just as likely to cheat as the other. This hints that "cheating" may be more about socio-economic freedom and choice than anything else. Some people stay married because they have nowhere else to go.

    However, I believe in the saying "Most of can, as we choose, make of this life a palace or a prison."

    Communication, Honesty, Respect, Confidence, etc. Many men in MOM describe getting "tired" and "exhausted" with the charade. I can only imagine how their partners must feel as well.

    There's still so little we know about monogamy. Let alone sexual orientation. There's a lot of people spreading what equates to "old-wives tales" about these things, this comment section included. We have no definitive metric for sexuality, only what is self-reported. We're also not sure if our concept of "cheating" is a social construct or an ingrained thing. There's so many unknowns and variables, it can be hard to recommend anything!

    I just hope that at the end of the day, people are doing pro-social things that benefit not only themselves, but their families, friends, and communities. I'm not sex-negative. I think sex is a great thing. For some it's sacred, for others, it's a fun thing to do on a Tuesday night. Again, I just hope people of all sexual orientations are living positive, meaningful lives.

    ReplyDelete