My Husband’s First Date With Another Woman
What I learned the first time I sent my husband into someone else’s arms
After a few months of flirting, and a couple sexy rendezvous on my end, I decided I wanted Jack to experience the rush of sexual exploration. I wanted him to have the same sexual charge I was getting. We visited the local swingers club a few times and met Katie and her husband, Tom. We had a couple of dates with them and enjoyed a night of 4-way hotel shenanigans.
I hadn’t experienced jealousy during our playtime together as couples. Rather, I found it incredibly arousing to watch Jack seduce another woman. So, when Katie and Jack hit it off and wanted to get together separately I was excited.
After we put the kids to bed, I helped Jack dress, and even picked my favorite shirt for him to wear. I kissed him goodbye, told him to have a good time, and I meant it. I was looking forward to a relaxing bath and a good historical fiction novel. But, as the hours ticked by, the anxiety set in.
“Where were they? What if he had more fun with her than he does with me? What if she’s better in bed? What if he doesn’t come home?”
The What If’s were whirling around my brain like the train around my grandparent’s Christmas Tree. When I heard from him at midnight, I was a disaster.
“You said you’d be home by now,” I texted angrily.
“No, I thought we said I’d leave by midnight. I’m on my way. I love you,”
He even punctuated his text with a kiss emoji.
That’s probably what we agreed on. His recollection of such things is often spot on, but it didn’t matter. I was distraught and bawling. By the time he walked in the door 45 minutes later I was probably somewhere on the homicidal spectrum.
I told you, I was a spinning mess of a locomotive at this point, there was no stopping my rage and frustration.
The nutty thing is, the anxiety was even worse once he was home.
“God, now he’s coming home to this mess, he probably wants to run away again. Who would want to come home to this?”
The train wasn’t just spinning now, it was careening down Kilimanjaro on one of those roads without guardrails.
Then, Jack held me. He laid next to me in our queen size bed, wrapped me tight against his chest and said sweet soothing things to me. He even said he was happy to shut the open relationship down, that nothing at all was worth this amount of distress. At this point, the train whipped around a corner too fast and half the cars swung off the back and over the cliff to their destruction.
“You smell like another woman,” the train screamed. The poor man didn’t stand a chance, “Why didn’t you shower?”
Jack immediately got up to shower, muttering apologies.
See, I had wanted the sexual exploration but had failed to properly address my own internal anxiety and negative self-talk first. I’ve dealt my entire life with feelings of inadequacy. These aren’t limited to my feelings about relationships. Jack says that I suffer from imposter syndrome in my professional life as well: often feeling as if I’m still playing at my professional role, in an industry where I am knowledgeable, respected, and well-sought after. I feel it at home too, suffering from never-ending mommy-guilt. I wonder if I’m giving my kids too much television time, not enough vegetables, enough attention, enough of me.
After the shower, I was able to rest my head on Jack’s shoulder, in that spot that was made especially for my head. His arms wound around me, and his fingertips caressed my arm and hip.
“I don’t need to see other women, you know. This is supposed to be fun. If it’s not fun, if it causes you distress, I don’t want it.”
I listened to his heartbeat and closed my eyes to look inside myself. I want this lifestyle. I want to be the type of person who gets real joy out of her partner experiencing pleasure. And, truth be told, I wanted the freedom to explore as well. I propped myself up on my elbow and looked at my husband, his scruffy face, full lips, and his too-big ears.
“I need more practice,” I said.
See, I am his number one. And he is mine. Always. None of this playing around is going to change that. I forgot that for a moment. Thank goodness he reminded me. We call this aftercare, and Jack is better at it than I am. He remembers that he needs to give me a little extra attention after he has a date. He calls it “stepping up his game on the homefront.” It involves lots of cuddling, foot rubs, letting me sleep in, and bringing me flowers on a random Wednesday. I don’t much care what he calls it, as long as he keeps it coming.
I’ve worked through my anxiety and insecurities over the past year with the help of a sex-positive therapist. We started off slow, with him going out on a date when sex was off the table. We eased into it a bit more so I could work through all the societal conditioning that was telling my ex-Catholic self that this was wrong somehow.
Jack and I have been through so much as a couple that could have broken us, I’m no longer worried when he goes out with another woman.
I even set Jack up a Tinder account. Today I’m sending my husband out on a date with Kelly, a 22-year-old recent college grad who thinks his dad jokes are funny and loves how much he talks about me. I’m going to spend the night watching movies and snuggling with my 9-year-old in the big bed. I know I’ll be ok this time. I’ve been practicing.
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