I was waiting for a train and flicked through my phone to pass the time. Scanning my emails, I saw a message from a person I didn’t know.
Could it be Mrs DWHNA/Toolman? My heart raced as I touched the screen, peering at the message sideways, looking for confirmation wanting to be both wrong and right.
“Hey – I’ve followed your blog since the beginning, and I know you’re not a counsellor but my situation is fucked up.
I’m a single mother who’s been seeing a guy for almost a year. We’ve been having sex on the weekends when my kids are with their father. The sex is fucking amazing and neither of us wants a commitment, and have agreed to an open relationship. We’re pretty honest and even had a threesome; it was my first, and while it was hard to watch him with another woman in my bed, I’m open to new things and really enjoyed being with a woman the first time.
Then a month ago his lease expired so I said he could live in my spare room until he found a new place.
Since he’s moved in the sex has stopped. In the beginning we fucked when my kids were asleep but now it’s just a peck on the cheek goodnight. He’s out late some nights at a another woman’s house.
I shouldn’t be upset as this is an open relationship and he actively encourages me to see other guys but really I’m struggling. He said ask him anything about this girl and I told him I want to know when they have sex. But it’s messing with my head, him living here, not touching me yet desiring another. I feel some kind of existential angst even though I guess I signed up for this.
My kids are now used to him being here, and I worry about what will happen when he eventually leaves. I hate myself for being jealous but I feel like I’m being pushed into the friend zone.
My friends say I should ask him to leave. I saw him out with the other woman last night and he seemed enthralled by her. Like he used to be with me.
I feel I’ve killed us and our sexual energy with domesticity and it’s over. Is it the thrill of the chase? Keep doing what you’re doing, your blog inspired me.”
Speeding along in the train, I felt relieved it wasn’t Mrs DWHNA, as well as a tug on my heart strings for My Reader.
I know how it feels to want to explore with someone you want to trust and invest in, only to have them ignore your needs. Which I suppose is why she reached out.
So I responded.
“Firstly, thank you for reading and I am so happy I’ve inspired you. It is so humbling to know my experiences have had any kind of influence on someone.
Secondly, you gave me a heart attack!! I thought you might be The Toolman’s wife! LOL!! I’ve invited her to email me, as you’ve obviously read, so when I saw an email in the inbox I immediately assumed it was his wife/gf/Mrs Done with his nasty assss.
You are right that I am not a counsellor (far from an expert in matters of the heart!) but I can relate to your predicament, and I am sure lots of my readers would too.
Would you be okay with me posting your email on the blog and responding there? I think it could benefit others who might relate to your situation.
My message to you is ultimately simple. What do YOU want? Work that out and settle for nothing less. And in the meantime get him out of your house!! Keep fucking him if you want to but it sounds like living with him is damaging a good thing.
Anyway, if you are happy for me to make this a blog post (completely anonymously of course) please let me know and I will do it on the weekend.
Thank you sooooo much for reading. Xx”
A day later I got a reply.
“Thanks so much for your reply, I really wasn’t expecting one! I’m ok with you posting my email anonymously, and I am most definitely not the Toolman’s wife, but like most of your readers am waiting for her to contact you!
You really did inspire me, having been with the father of my children for almost twenty years, we were nowhere sexually. I feel I’ve rediscovered that dormant part of myself and maybe this man is all part of the journey. I’m certainly more confident about many things in my life and he’s helped me with that.
I hope all is going well The Captain, he sounds fabulous.”
So I responded:
“I will absolutely change the details of your story to ensure you are anonymous. Thank you for letting me address this on the blog.
You may well be right that he is just a chapter of your story, which will prepare you for the next one.
I believe for an open relationship to work, the focus MUST be on the primary couple. And it sounds like he isnt focussed enough on you. He has to take care of what he has with you so you want to stick around.
I will think more on this and get writing on the weekend!!
Be strong and do you girrrrl!! Xx”
And before I had a chance to start writing I got an update from My Reader.
“Thanks and I look forward to reading your post.
I asked him to move out last night – I am going away with my children for a few days and said he must be gone before I’m back. He genuinely didn’t seem to realise he’d been here a month.
We are very honest with each other and I felt he was self-censoring some conversations. For example, he said he was going away for the night to get ‘grounded’, and I asked him if we would get to spend our usual Saturday night together when my kids are with their father. He responded cagily that he may stay away a few days. I asked straight out if he was going away alone, to which he answered ‘no’. That one word was like a dagger.
I gathered courage (something I used to lack) and said that while we are in an open relationship, it’s been incredibly difficult for me to see him planning time with another woman.
He appreciated my honesty and apologised for hurting me. He seemed to have no idea because we had earlier discussed acting as “roommates” while he lives at my place.
I asked how he would feel if I was living at his house but kept going out to see other men, or go away with them, and not tell him?
We decided space is what we need right now. He admitted he may have started seeing the other woman, who his known for a few years, as he was feeling ‘caged’ and ‘accountable’ for his whereabouts while living with me. I told him I tried really hard to give him his space and didn’t want him to feel like he had to report in to me, but the other woman has changed things for me.
I couldn’t care less if he was every night at a bar with his friends. It’s the lack of compassion, desire and respect which bothered me.
Now he understands my point of view and we discussed whether we can get through this after some space. We hugged and then I gave him a blow job because I wanted to. I still desire him but as I was doing it, I felt strangely calm for the first time in a few weeks, almost like a goodbye, yet a promise of what still exists between us.
We’ve had some truly magical times together and I have grown so much within myself from our experiences.”
The most important part of being in an open relationship, or any relationship really, is communicating what you want it to be. In this particular case, obviously the moving in together was an error which My (very smart) Reader has now corrected.
It seems to me that this was a friends with benefits situation that became something else when he moved in. And it hadn’t been properly defined in advance.
Living together changes things and it doesn’t sound to me it is what My Reader really wanted. Like most women, she has tried to fix his problem, put his needs ahead of her own and be helpful. Because that is what considerate, empathetic beings do. Maybe we should remember to be more selfish.
In a true “open relationship” there are two people, well connected emotionally, who nurture and care for their primary partnership first. Once you have built the connection and trust needed, then you begin to introduce other people. You HAVE to be on the same page, wanting the same things for yourself and for the other person, and putting their feelings above anyone else’s. It is about knowing that no matter who comes and goes from your bed, you will go home together and relish being in each other’s loving arms.
Calling a relationship “open” can be misconstrued as a license to cheat. And it is not that at all. Your primary relationship has to be at a place where you know you are as rock solid as can be and that any other people who enter your relationship are simply visitors for playtime.
This is very different to polygamy. In that paradigm there are more than two people in the primary relationship and it isn’t about being free to have sex with whoever you want. Polygamy is a whole other discussion for another time.
I am very happy this guy will no longer be living with My Reader’s children. Not only because of the emotional attachment they may form, or confusion they may experience understanding their relationship, but also because they may have been in danger from him.
My Reader’s judgement and parenting skills are not in question. The ability to truly know somebody is a tricky thing and I’ve been lied to and misled by people enough to never completely trust anyone. I also know you can’t predict or control the future and people change. Sometimes long-dormant damage emerges or hurt causes violence.
That sounds awful, but its where my life experience has led me, and I am at peace with it.
I am so happy to have inspired My Reader to be more sexually adventurous, explore what she likes, be confident and strong, and I hope she meets many more interesting men, and continues to grown and learn about herself in the way I have done on this blog.
There are plenty more dicks in the sea, and each one moves you along on your journey, even if it doesn’t feel helpful at the time!
As for me and The Captain…
We have had a small rough patch for a few weeks where “he needed space” but we are getting back on track. It is very common for this to happen and, as we are still getting to know each other, I didn’t step back as readily as I should have. This meant it probably went on for a week too long, but its water under the bridge now.
But we know we adore each other’s company, the sex is awesome, we are moving at the same pace and want the same things. He makes me laugh and I could kiss him all night long. He tells me I am beautiful and sexy all the time and I love showing him my affection in so many ways (wink).
We both have full lives and regard each other as a beautiful break from the stresses of daily life. We go out and have fun, we hang out and watch movies or talk over a bottle of wine. We go for walks and plan trips, making lists of things to do together in our future.<
Its pretty great. That doesn’t mean we don’t have our misunderstandings and insecurities, and we have both brought plenty of baggage to the table. But we are able to talk things through calmly, intelligently and rationally. I love him and he loves me (he said it first. HA!).
He is still a typical male who thinks and talks about himself and his immediate needs most of the time, and has difficulty with his emotions. But he is more self-aware than most guys I’ve known and isn’t afraid to fix things. Its pretty darn good.