Wednesday 22nd November 2017
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Tuesday links

  • These flower-filled city trash cans are a delight. (The Jealous Curator)
  • This ought to be amusing. (The Cut)
  • Here’s the trailer for GLOW, a new Netflix series about women’s wrestling in the 80s that I’m particularly excited about because it was co-created by Liz Flahive, a former Lucky staffer. (Vulture)
  • This slideshow on film’s most fashionable moms was pegged to Mother’s Day, but I liked it so much I’m posting it a few days late.
  • I’m curious what you guys think about this piece on open marriage. (NY Times)
Posted on May 16th, 2017 22 Comments

22 Responses

  1. joannawnyc says:

    Re: open relationships. I’ve known a few couples who’ve tried it, in various flavors (usually one is bi, and the open aspect is with people of opposite sex from the spouse). None of those people are together any more.

    Monogamy is tricky, though, too.

    Actually one pair might still be together, but I don’t really know the details so can’t comment. They have a lot of professional collaborations, anyway.

  2. Viajera says:

    I haven’t read that yet. I am a skeptic but who knows it could be a good read.

  3. Mary Alice says:

    I read that NYT article with interest. Marriage is such a tricky proposition, and who am I to judge people who make it work any way they can? I’d be interested in reading about more long-term arrangements and how that’s worked out (or not).
    I know that I couldn’t do it. It doesn’t fit in with what I believe a marriage represents. But that’s probably a result of long-term Catholic guilt.

  4. Tily says:

    My husband (50s) and I (40s) are both professionals and have been monogamish since we met online 5 years ago (married 3.5 yrs). We’re more swingers than poly. We both like dressing up, being flirty, and sometimes having sex with other couples. We see it as an extension of our past online dating world, but with the comfort and security of our married life. We slow down sometimes, but will continue with the swinger lifestyle as long as we’re both having fun!

  5. Louise says:

    Marriage is tough and most couples probably engage in some form of questionable behaviour in order to make it work. That said, I have only seen this scenario play out three times in my social network and each time it seemed that one person was using the idea that it would “help them both to see other people” in order to avoid an honest examination of their relationship and the choices they were making. As such, I am left with the belief – crass though it may be – that you can’t polish a turd…and this is often a big turd of an idea.

    • w says:

      Louise, thank you. Your words articulate something that I’ve been having trouble explaining.

    • Mamavalveeta03 says:

      Louise, why do you think “most couples engage in some form of questionable behavior in order to make it work”? I’ve been married, both of us monogamous, for almost 35 years, and I can assure you, neither my partner nor myself have engaged in questionable behavior.

      • Louise says:

        Apologies Mamavalveeta03. I should have been more careful with my language when making that point. When I referenced “questionable behaviour” I was not talking about non-monogamous behaviour. I was instead talking about the compromises we may make; the blindspots we may develop; the unspoken arrangements that may keep a marriage together but undermine it’s health; the failure to communicate as effectively and compassionately as we could; inequity in the division of household labour and child care; and the small fantasies we may indulge in over the many decades of a marriage. My partner and I openly joke that we have just enough life insurance to protect each other but not so much as to be appealing. Some, outside a marriage, may judge these behaviours negatively, but in my view they are all part of the “growing pains” involved in maintaining a relationship through the challenges of child rearing, career, health issues, and moments when we are simply not at our best.
        I recently attended a 40th wedding anniversary of a couple that have a very strong marriage. In their speeches, one partner thanked the other for “a great 5 years”. They both had a good laugh over this statement. They were just trying to be honest about how challenging (and rewarding) marriage can be. I really appreciate that kind of honesty when it reflects a shared understanding of and respect for the difficult choices that we all make.

        • Viajera says:

          That’s hysterical!!! I think Bob Hope and his wife had a similar one since he traveled so much.

    • DeDe says:

      I’ve noticed the same thing in the open marriages I’ve observed. In one instance, the guy ended up dating a woman who was the spitting image of his (now ex-) wife, only younger and with tattoos.

      Maybe there are people who can make it work, and as someone else said, I try not to be judgy about other peoples’ choices, but it seems like an open marriage would be at least twice the effort over a monogamous one. If you just want the fun (“fun”?) of dating without the responsibilities and sacrifices, why even bother getting married to begin with?

  6. Mamavalveeta03 says:

    I get a bit pissed when disagreeing with something is automatically considered judgement. I don’t “judge” the polyamorous, but I think the concept is so far off the idea of marriage, that I’m not sure why they find it necessary to wed at all.

    There was so much in this article that I found to be B.S. that I don’t know where to begin! Some “stream of consciousness thoughts: You don’t truly have commitment to your spouse if you need someone else to meet your needs; If you open your marriage, only to end up with a steady girlfriend, isn’t that just changing your loyalties to someone else?; Yes, there’s a reason some women lose interest in sex for a time…It’s called “giving birth and tending to a newborn”; Couples and individual counseling was mentioned very little; People tend to become attached when having sex on a regular basis…someone is bound to get hurt!; It strikes me as childish to see something you want and just grab it, regardless of its effect on your spouse; There are many examples in the animal world of monogamy…Geese, Swans, gibbons, prairies voles, gray wolves, etc….So maybe monogamony IS somewhat evolutionary?; The whole thing just smacks of “having one’s cake and eating it, too”…one partner always seemed less into it, but in a desire to hold on to the marriage, consented in the end.

    Marriage is WORK (just like ALL relationships, it needs tending), commitment can be hard, but so worth it (There are things in life worth sacrificing for!), I fail to see how the practice of polyamory is beneficial to the children at all…isn’t there a reason polygamy was outlawed? I wonder how many of these relationships will be sustained in the end.

    I am SO grateful for my husband, someone I trust implicitly, someone who is deserving of my trust and devotion…in good times and bad. We’re in this together for life.

  7. Mae says:

    If my husband of 38 years had ever suggested an open marriage, I’d have cut his dick off.

  8. Eleanor says:

    I don’t understand open marriages, but I don’t have to. As long as everyone has consented and knows what the rules are, you do you.

  9. Mimi says:

    I was in my 20s in the pre-AIDS 1970s, when promiscuity and affairs were pretty rampant in the Southern California community where I lived. I knew monogamish married couples and it seemed that flirting and sex were sort of hobbies for them. Nothing in the NYT piece convinced me otherwise. Doesn’t adulthood require making choices, accepting control of ones impulses? Sure, it can be thrilling to have the admiration and attention of someone new, but I’ve always believed a mature person finds gratification in other ways. Perhaps that sounds judgmental. So be it.

  10. Dana D says:

    I don’t mean to change the topic…

    but I love hearing from women here who have been married for many years…such wisdom in those reflections.

    Since I don’t have that, the longevity in a relationship, I appreciate it, value it and respect it.

    I don’t get the open marriage. As has been suggested here, why marry in the first place? I suppose many people have sex with others while married, and either just tolerate it or don’t talk about it.

    The entire institution still only has about a 50% success rate. Not great odds, yet our culture celebrates pouring obscene amounts of money into weddings and parties that don’t stand a chance in hell.

    (don’t get me started on why women still give up their names in marriage…wtf?)

    • y.k. says:

      yes! that taking the husband’s name tradition could not be more outdated! but it’s a hard issue especially once you have kids.

      the NYT article was interesting, but i still think open marriage is for people who are very young and/or immature (“our love is so pure, & monogamy so bourgeois”).

      but the accompanying photos were fascinating. NYT magazine articles often have those staged/ self conscious photos. i don’t get it.

  11. Kristin says:

    What always bothers me about these discussions is that it centers on the couple without considering the impacts on the others they are involved with, either solely physically or emotionally as well. In a culture where we base a lot of economic benefits on a primary relationship, it seems difficult to consider the needs of others fully. And if you’re involved with aomeone, you should consider their needs as well.

  12. DeDe says:

    PS, those flowery trash cans are in-effing-CREDIBLE.

  13. Rachel says:

    The timing of the open marriage article was interesting for me. I’m a month from 50 and have been married to my wife since 1988 (even if the State didn’t consider us married.) We’ve been monogamous and have two teen sons via a known sperm donor.

    In the last couple of months I’ve become keenly aware of all the people I won’t sleep with. I walk down the street and find compelling things about a variety of people: young men, young women, older women, all different ethnicities. I’ll catch a glimpse of a man with a great head of hair and imagine what it would feel like to run my hands through it. Or I’ll ponder the breasts of a 30-something woman in a thin T and feel an awareness that I’ll never put my hands on them.

    Some readers might think I’m a prime candidate for opening up my marriage. But I think my yearnings are more of the terrain of middle-age and knowing that my death is closer to me than my birth was.

    (My wife’s response: “I was aware of giving up sleeping with other people when we got married.” Me: “Yeah, yeah, me too. But now it’s like an existential awareness!”)

    I never dated anyone more than 3 months before I met my now-wife-and-partner-through-life for reasons rooted in early loss. That we have created a life together and continually create a marriage together is truly a marvel to me. The very structure of marriage has allowed me to grow into a person who can be emotionally and physically intimate. That’s invaluable to me.

    And all of those people I pass on the street and want to run my hands over — the minute I talk to them they become a real person with their own wants I needs I desires, let alone personalities and hygiene habits. I’ve decided It’s enough to notice them, feel the tactile yearning for some part of them and just enjoy the feeling of being alive.

  14. C Anderson says:

    I am 47 and have been married for 25 years. My husband and I decided last summer to open our marriage when I met someone who I became very interested in. I did not want to have an affair, so I talked to my husband about my interest and it started a discussion that we continue to have, every day. We are very much in love, my husband and I. We did not invite others into our marriage as a way of “fixing” anything that was broken. It was truly a surprise. We decided that we had to be completely and totally honest with each other about everything. There were things we each wanted to experience, but we wanted to have a “home base” as well.

    Once we started experiencing the personal growth that comes from getting to know another person who you don’t have 25 years of history and expectations with, well, the possibilities are really endless. There was jealousy at first, but doing the work to recognize where the jealousy was coming from – fear of abandonment, inadequacy, insecurity – and then realizing that those fears were truly groundless, was the most joyful and freeing experience I have ever had.

    We have teen-aged children who know (and have met) our friends, but they do not know the extent of these relationships. Children don’t want to know that their parents are having sex with each other, much less anyone else. Maybe in time we will decide to tell them. Time management is difficult, but we all need time with family, time as a couple, time alone and time with friends who are not our spouse. So it’s all been manageable as part of a balanced life.

    Through meeting other poly people I have met people who chose an open marriage as a way of exiting their marriages, or those who date others as just one more way of disregarding the needs of their spouse. The potential for harm is great. However, people get married everyday for the wrong reasons as well, and hurt others unnecessarily while still “honoring” their marriage vows.

    I am no longer with the man who was the original catalyst. But have for several months been seeing a man who is probably the kindest person I have ever known. His wife has had a girlfriend for several years. My husband dates occasionally. So we now have a chain of people who love each other, take care of each other, talk to each other, cheer on each other’s kids.

    I know it’s not for everyone. I truly don’t believe it’s “better” than monogamy, but it’s better for me.