Missing the butterflies, or how we opened up our marriage

Redefining Love
Oct 30, 2018 · 3 min read

It was our 8th marriage anniversary. We left the kids with a babysitter and went out for dinner at a nice restaurant on University — a cute street in downtown Palo Alto. Mid-way through appetizers my husband said: “How do you think they do it?” I knew immediately what he was talking about — a few days earlier we had gone to a party at our friends’ house where they’d announced they were poly and shared some fun stories about their non-monogamous life.

This was not the first time non-monogamy came up in our conversations. We’ve broached the subject before. Those conversations started when I realized I was missing the excitement of developing a connection with someone new, missing the feeling of butterflies in my stomach. Hubby and I have been together since about 2004, so generating this new relationship energy and cultivating the butterflies while also having the deep trusting and secure relationship we’ve built over the years was virtually impossible. We talked about how we both have this wide range of needs, some of which conflict with each other — like the need for having this secure and trusting connection that can only form over many years, kids, and mortgages, while at the same time the need for feeling the excitement of getting to know someone new, which would be hard to fulfill with someone you’ve known for 15 years. Seeing people close to us living the lifestyle was the ultimate nudge my husband needed to actually decide to try it. By the end of that dinner we were both excited and in agreement to give open marriage a shot.

A week later my husband went on his first date. With his ex from about 15 years ago, who randomly pinged him only a couple days after our anniversary dinner. When he was on that date I was closely monitoring my thoughts and feelings — to my surprise I was not feeling jealous at all — more excited about what he would tell me when he got home…

It’s been over a year now since that dinner and this past year had been the most exciting, challenging, inspirational and interesting year I’ve had in a while. After the husband started dating his ex I developed a work crush on a coworker, who was in a monogamous marriage, went on a few dates with some people I knew, eventually decided to give online dating a shot and started seeing a very special guy on a regular basis. Husband added another long-distance girlfriend to the mix and seems to be content with this situation as well.

The best thing about opening up our marriage and polyamory is the feeling of freedom to explore connections with new people we meet without feeling guilty — whether they end up becoming friendships or more than that. Before becoming okay with non-monogamy, we had to control how we were around others in a more constraining fashion. If, let’s say, I met someone that I felt attracted to I had to curb that attraction, constrain it within the box of what I thought was “the norm” and kick it to the side. Now if I meet someone that I feel attracted to, not only I am excited to see where the relationship might go, but I also enjoy discussing these feelings with my husband, talking about it with some of my poly girlfriends and bathing in that new relationship energy (NRE).

So far, being in an open marriage and admitting that I am indeed polyamorous has resulted in better communication with my husband, more excitement, new friends, and new connections.

Originally published at www.redefining.love.

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