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Wife says she wants open marriage after discovery

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Anxioushusband posted 10/26/2020 01:36 AM

This is my first post. Iím not sure how much of my story to tell or if this is the best forum to post under because my situation feels so different from the experience of many others here. Hopefully I have enough in common as a betrayed spouse (a husband betrayed by my wife), to find healing with other BSs.

My wife of 11 years has had a series of affairs in the last year which I just discovered four weeks ago. The discovery was a huge shock to me (still is). Yes our marriage has many problems and our relationship was strained for years by conflicts and codependency. But I never considered she would commit infidelity. So naive!

I have an anxious attachment style which has led me to be controlling and jealous and possessive of my wife. I have always been threatened in some way by her more outgoing personality, her easy relationships with many friends and her sexual energy that makes her so attractive. (She has many great qualities and I still love her).

As for discovery: as an anxious type I tend to obsess over the details of my wifeís private life and when I snooped on her photos I found evidence of her affairs. The details are very painful! She slept with one man many times over almost a year, had some sexual contact with a woman, and started engaging in an online affair with another (married) man a couple months ago. She claims they havenít had sex but she has refused to sever contact.

In fact, she now says she wants to continue seeing this guy and open up the marriage, meaning she could date this man , potentially fall in love and still be married to me and ina romantic and sexual relationship with me. Still not sure if she sees other partners beyond this guy or how far itís gone.

Non-monogamy is an arrangement we have never previously discussed. However my wife claims that this is just who she is - after starting the first affair she realized this about herself, that she is not a monogamous person and wants a polyamorous lifestyle. She says she couldnít tell me because I wouldnít understand her feelings or tolerate how she wants to live her life.

To say the least, the cheating is extremely hurtful to me but the open marriage tallk has pushed me over the edge of my sanity. I have no desire for an open marriage, but I am considering going along with her wishes to keep my family together (we have one young child) and because I hope it may bring us a level of intimacy and understanding we have never had before. We have been so distant for so long, and the last year while she was having affairs has been awful. I felt pushed away by her and very alone with my pain.

I do have some fantasies about my wife with other men but we have never experimented sexually with swinging or thirds, and I am threatened by her having a love affair with someone who is not me. This is all new territory for me.

Thereís nothing inherently wrong with people having multiple partners if every one is on board. But she cheated and lied and never gave me a chance to come around to the idea of a non monogamous marriage before she started having affairs.

I!feel traumatized but I am frequently the one comforting her! Trying to persuade her that I want to be part of this decision and convince myself that I can handle a new relationship with her that is contrary to my basic instincts - that I want a spouse who is loyal to me and chooses me over other potential sex and love partners.

Iím trying to feel this out to see if I can tolerate what she wants before deciding if I can go through with it.

Am I crazy for even contemplating this?

Buffer posted 10/26/2020 02:06 AM

So sorry 😐
First off, get tested for STDs and STIs, she has put you and your child at risk. Controlling or jealousy is not a good trait to have in a relationship and you can do with some IC to address those.
Please seek legal advice for your location you need to know your rights and her responsibilities for a future apart.
As she is in a active relationship with another, she can leave with your child at any time.

But donít change your core values, if you donít like the idea of your spouse getting ready for a weekend of banging her lovers. While you get to pay the bills and look after the home and children; then donít accept it. Get into IC for yourself.
Exercise, drink water and eat healthy. You have to take care of yourself for now on it is you and your little one.
Sounds like your WW will be out of the door if you donít agree. Can you also partake in having multiple women on the side? Probably not sounds like she will be cake eating regarding this and will blame you if you donít agree. Her infidelity is never your fault, she chose this rather than addressing her concerns or wants with you.
You will get a lot of good advice from others but for now:
STD checks
IC for you
Lawyer up ASAP
Exercise, eat healthy and drink water
Check your finances.
And donít change your values so to remain in a unhealthy relationship just for the children.
One day at a time.

[This message edited by Buffer at 2:08 AM, October 26th (Monday)]

ShatteredSakura posted 10/26/2020 02:13 AM

Sounds like your worst fears became true, or your gut was trying to tell you something all this time.

She's abusing you. It's not going to get better opening up the marriage and you're going to have a lot more trauma. The people who successfully do this life style do not pull these tricks on their partners.

Take it from someone that suffered the indignity of an overtly cheating WW. Don't share her. If she wants to date this man, then she can't have you.

allusions posted 10/26/2020 02:34 AM

Having an open marriage was not agreed upon when you first said your marriage vows, correct? Why does she think she can change the agreement without your consent? She has broken the rules and destroyed the marriage as you thought it was. It's perfectly acceptable for you to end this marriage.

99problems posted 10/26/2020 02:51 AM

My STBXW asked me for an open marriage for her, but when I asked if it would be open for me (I never had any intention of saying yes, BTW) she said no.
So yeah, you should make sure that your wife even has the intention of having the marriage open 2 ways.
And if you don't want an open marriage, you should get out of Dodge.
I know I'm making it sound easy. It's not, at all. But it is really the only way out of the shitstorm of infidelity.
Let her know that you will not tolerate the terms of your marriage being changed at this date.
Leave her if that is what it takes.
But don't let her dictate the terms of the marriage if that is not what you want.

99problems posted 10/26/2020 02:51 AM

My STBXW asked me for an open marriage for her, but when I asked if it would be open for me (I never had any intention of saying yes, BTW) she said no.
So yeah, you should make sure that your wife even has the intention of having the marriage open 2 ways.
And if you don't want an open marriage, you should get out of Dodge.
I know I'm making it sound easy. It's not, at all. But it is really the only way out of the shitstorm of infidelity.
Let her know that you will not tolerate the terms of your marriage being changed at this date.
Leave her if that is what it takes.
But don't let her dictate the terms of the marriage if that is not what you want.

99problems posted 10/26/2020 02:51 AM

My STBXW asked me for an open marriage for her, but when I asked if it would be open for me (I never had any intention of saying yes, BTW) she said no.
So yeah, you should make sure that your wife even has the intention of having the marriage open 2 ways.
And if you don't want an open marriage, you should get out of Dodge.
I know I'm making it sound easy. It's not, at all. But it is really the only way out of the shitstorm of infidelity.
Let her know that you will not tolerate the terms of your marriage being changed at this date.
Leave her if that is what it takes.
But don't let her dictate the terms of the marriage if that is not what you want.

99problems posted 10/26/2020 02:51 AM

My STBXW asked me for an open marriage for her, but when I asked if it would be open for me (I never had any intention of saying yes, BTW) she said no.
So yeah, you should make sure that your wife even has the intention of having the marriage open 2 ways.
And if you don't want an open marriage, you should get out of Dodge.
I know I'm making it sound easy. It's not, at all. But it is really the only way out of the shitstorm of infidelity.
Let her know that you will not tolerate the terms of your marriage being changed at this date.
Leave her if that is what it takes.
But don't let her dictate the terms of the marriage if that is not what you want.

99problems posted 10/26/2020 02:51 AM

My STBXW asked me for an open marriage for her, but when I asked if it would be open for me (I never had any intention of saying yes, BTW) she said no.
So yeah, you should make sure that your wife even has the intention of having the marriage open 2 ways.
And if you don't want an open marriage, you should get out of Dodge.
I know I'm making it sound easy. It's not, at all. But it is really the only way out of the shitstorm of infidelity.
Let her know that you will not tolerate the terms of your marriage being changed at this date.
Leave her if that is what it takes.
But don't let her dictate the terms of the marriage if that is not what you want.

99problems posted 10/26/2020 02:51 AM

My STBXW asked me for an open marriage for her, but when I asked if it would be open for me (I never had any intention of saying yes, BTW) she said no.
So yeah, you should make sure that your wife even has the intention of having the marriage open 2 ways.
And if you don't want an open marriage, you should get out of Dodge.
I know I'm making it sound easy. It's not, at all. But it is really the only way out of the shitstorm of infidelity.
Let her know that you will not tolerate the terms of your marriage being changed at this date.
Leave her if that is what it takes.
But don't let her dictate the terms of the marriage if that is not what you want.

SnowToArmPits posted 10/26/2020 02:59 AM

To say the least, the cheating is extremely hurtful to me but the open marriage tallk has pushed me over the edge of my sanity.

Divorce your wife and end this poisonous relationship.

Get some counselling to get a better sense of your self worth.

Don't settle for this awful marriage.

Sorry you find yourself in this mess.

Jambomo posted 10/26/2020 03:12 AM

I think the open marriage talk here is her just wanting to carry on the affair with your permission. It would be interesting to see if her thoughts ran to it going both ways but thatís a secondary point to the fact that you donít want one.

Open marriages will only work if everyone is a happy participant. You donít sound like the kind of guy that would be happy in one. Your feelings and values are what they are, you canít change them and they should not be ignored. To do so is only going to keep you in misery for a long time and your wife is neither going to love you nor respect you whilst you agree to this.

Separation and divorce is a truly sad and difficult process. It does however, have the benefit of bringing the hell of infidelity to an end. Do not underestimate the mental strain her infidelity will put on you, or the relief that comes with not having to worry about where she is, what she is doing etc This was actually the part where I truly realised I did the right thing and was much happier for it.

Bigger posted 10/26/2020 03:18 AM

We see this all the time here on SI.
The request to have an open marriage is IMHO more to justify the affairs rather than maintain them.
To each his own. If a couple decide to have an open marriage, polyamory, swingingÖ whateverÖ then thatís their mutual decision and to each his own. However, we do have posters here that either are in an open marriage or have been in an open marriage and they will possibly confirm that the MUTUAL decision is made BEFORE any infidelity, requires firm ground-rules and trust. Without that I doubt marriages survive and its plain old simple infidelity.

I agree with those that suggest you stick to YOUR core-values.

Has your wife told you what will happen if you refuse to open the marriage?

Hopeful30 posted 10/26/2020 04:35 AM

Do you know who the married man is that she is having the online affair With? Contact his wife, the other BS, and see if they are in an open marriage. Iím betting that they arenít. And she deserves to know.

Your wife is playing you. Stick to your principles. If you are having these thoughts now about doing it for her, you will not be ok with knowing or wondering what she is really doing when she leaves the house or answers her phone.

And would you really be ok with the potential of bringing in people you do not know into your childís life?

The1stWife posted 10/26/2020 05:06 AM

She is asking you for permission to cheat.

You are not obligated to give her the opportunity to cheat.

Itís that simple.

Many cheaters offer ďsuggestionsĒ to the betrayed to keep both the marriage and the affair. Things like trying to remain friends with the AP or inviting the AP to their home with the APís spouse. The cheater tries to pass off the AP (affair partner) as a ďfriendĒ as if nothing is going on.

You cannot change the rules of the game after the fact. Your wife deciding she wants an open marriage is certainly changing the rules. And itís not something you need to agree to.

During this Covid 19 epidemic her exposure to random people could bring a serious disease (plus STDís) to your home. Is that a risk you are willing to take?

See a lawyer. Immediately. Understand your situation if you choose to divorce.

[This message edited by The1stWife at 11:07 AM, October 26th (Monday)]

ChamomileTea posted 10/26/2020 05:49 AM

I have no desire for an open marriage...

Here is your TRUTH. And anything you do that goes in opposition to that is a bad bargain which will be soul destroying to live with. Your child will be fine. Studies say that kids do fine if they have just one sane parent. Your WW will run a revolving door of lovers through her home and that will feel worrisome to you. But you can get a morality clause in your divorce which will create some limits and as long as you're providing a safe, wholesome alternative to mom's chaos, your kid will eventually model her values on you.

You're already suffering anxiety. Don't put yourself through more. All you'd be doing is extending your misery. If you do some research into "cuddle hormones" and "pair bonding", I think you'll find that even the science is against a long term resolution. Eventually, she's just going to fall in love with one of her paramours and you'll be out anyway. You can spare yourself all that, see an attorney, and set limits to what your WW can bring around your child. Make sure you ask for at least 50/50 custody.

Sorry this happened to you. Sometimes people just flake out and become unacceptable partners. It's a mistake though to try and twist your own core values to fit with their nonsense though.

[This message edited by ChamomileTea at 5:50 AM, October 26th (Monday)]

cannotforgive posted 10/26/2020 05:56 AM

To be blunt, you have moral values and she does not.

She wants to cheat and keep the marriage going with all the positive things this situation brings to her.

She has you for financial support, your child has a father, while she goes out screwing men.

Is this the life you want to live? Opening the marriage is just a ticket to continue with this lifestyle with your blessing.

As others suggested, do an STD check asap and see a lawyer.

A good therapist will also help you deal with any co-dependance issues and low self worth.

This life style is not compatible with your core values and the sooner you extricate yourself from this situation that will only bring you misery and mental illness, the better.

Your child will be happier with 2 parents that co-parent well but do not live together and you have a chance to choose a better person to be your girlfriend/wife in the future.

[This message edited by cannotforgive at 5:57 AM, October 26th (Monday)]

Butforthegrace posted 10/26/2020 05:58 AM

Am I crazy for even contemplating this?

Yes.

First, let's clarify one thing. The issue here isn't that your "attachment style" is "anxious", or that you "obsess over the details of [your] wife's private life". The issue is that your WW is a liar. She's dishonest with you and you sense this.

I frame it that way because open relationships only work, if at all, in the context of 100% absolute honesty and respect. Your WW is the obverse of this: dishonest and disrespectful.

Which brings me to another point. Unspoken in your post, but implied, is that your WW bullies you in your marriage and you let her get away with it to some extent. That's really your hurdle right now. You' allowed her to lie, cheat, sneak, and unilaterally break your marriage, but then gaslight you and twist it around to the point that you are blaming yourself, saying that the "issue" in your marriage is your "anxious" personality.

Bullshit.

There have been dozens of threads on here where a cheater, after getting caught, requests an "open marriage". It's cheater 101. Almost cliche. What you'll come to realize at some point is that there really isn't anything unique or special about your situation within the context of infidelity. Your WW is a liar and a cheater. It's really that simple. Further, it sounds as if she has zero remorse and no desire to change that. Therefore, your question to ask yourself is: "Do I wish to be married to a woman who is a liar and a cheater?" It really is that simple.

[This message edited by Butforthegrace at 7:23 AM, October 26th (Monday)]

dblackstar2002 posted 10/26/2020 06:31 AM

I can tell you form hearing this form both friends and family who's spouses suggested this. If this is outside of your core value. NEVER agree to something like this! If you do you are doomed to failure! Sorry to say your marriage is over, Time to serve your wife and move on. She has zero remorse and respect for you. No relationship can survive without both, Sorry....

ShutterHappy posted 10/26/2020 06:44 AM

The request to have an open marriage is IMHO more to justify the affairs

Yes... she is justifying her affairs to herself.

ďCheating is considered bad. Why am I falling in love with other men then? I must be poly amorous, it canít be my fault, Iím not a bad personĒ

She is doing this with complete disregard to your feelings and the fact that it will hurt your family unit.

And this is where you say: ďI have married you as a monogamous relationship; I have never agreed to share my wife with other men. You are free to be poly, but not as my wife,Ē. Then talk with a lawyer.

Basically, what she is doing is unacceptable. She does her cheating and you stay resolute and get out of this situation, no matter how much you still love her.

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