The Universal Bullshit Translator is weary. So many stupid articles, so little time… The gears crank for the Washington Post’s “How to break free from monogamy without destroying marriage.”
(Sigh) Isn’t this what every cake-eating cheater tells themselves? I’ll keep all the niceties of marriage — the combined 401K, the way you buy my mother-in-law gifts, your Sunday pot roast, your child-rearing, the appearance of normalcy — and chuck the sexual commitment stuff! I can fuck around and Our Marriage Will Be Better for It!
Why didn’t anyone ever think of this before?! Yes, Caitlin Dewey, non-monogamous marriage is such a new, ground-breaking, revolutionary concept. No one has ever challenged the hegemony of monogamous marriage before! Caitlin, I guess you were born before the 1970s and the whole swinger thing, huh?
My parents had some friends who did the whole wife-swapping scene in the early 1970s. Here’s how it worked out. One of the “new” couples decided they liked that arrangement better, and left their spouses. The rejected chump wife went a bit mad and bought a gun to confront the lovers. Fortunately no one was killed or arrested. She got to raise 6 kids on her own (until her eventual happy remarriage later to a nice architect). I was in kindergarten at the time of the open marriage debacle and was buddies with two little boys from each of the destroyed families.
I came home one day and told my mom I was going to marry Brendan and then divorce him.
Then I asked my mother what a divorce was.
Oh, but those were more innocent times! You want an open marriage today? Now there’s an app for that!
The Washington Post article is reviewing “Open Minded” a new app for couples who want to swing. Jessie is one of its brave, new users.
Her first marriage, in her early 20s, had ended after an affair. (Hers.) Her second marriage, started shortly thereafter, was “happy — very happy,” but as her boys grew up and moved out and moved on, she was left faintly bored.
She thought about cheating on her husband of 20 years. She considered bars, parties, a review of the lapses in her mid-20s.
Instead, she sat her husband down and told him something that more and more progressive couples are beginning to realize. They loved each other and wanted to stay together — but in the age of Tinder and Ashley Madison and OkCupid, they also both wanted to have other options. Options they knew were just a click away.
Don’t you too want to be progressive and open minded? Still fucking the same ol’ same ol’? I think you can do better! And better is only a click away!
“Interesting, introspective, happily married D.C. professional,” reads Jessie’s profile on the new non-monogamous dating site Open Minded. “I’m into building deep and loving relationships that add to the joy and aliveness of being human.”
Because you can’t possibly feel “alive” and be monogamous. Those two things are completely incompatible along with monogamy and progressiveness, and monogamy and open-mindedness. Monogamy is oppressive! Deep, loving relationships are only a click away!
I’d like you to be home on Sunday to have brunch with my parents. Click!
The baby’s barfing. Click!
I’m on a really tight deadline, could you please do the carpooling this week? Click!
Someone has to attend the 8th grade choral concert. Click!
I’ve got cancer. Click!
I’m sure all you hip, modern professionals are managing the home/work life balance just fine. Why not add dating to the mix?
Instead, says Brandon Wade, the site’s pragmatic, MIT-educated founder, Open Minded is a new kind of dating site for a newly mainstream lifestyle: one in which couples form very real attachments, just not exclusively with each other. He expects swingers, polysexuals and experimental 20-somethings to use his site. But he guesses that most of his 70,000 users are people like Jessie: Those in committed, conventional relationships, who realize that, statistically speaking, few modern couples stay with a single person their whole lives.
“If you look at marriage, it developed as a survival strategy and a means of raising kids,” Wade said. “But relationships are no longer a necessary component of life. People have careers and other interests — they can survive without them.”
Whoa, hang on there Wade. You’re selling the whole “very real attachment” thing in the first paragraph and then tell us relationships are unnecessary in the second paragraph. I mean, I know you’re an illustrious MIT grad, and I can’t begin to fathom the serious brain power that must go into a site like this, but I’m confused. I’m supposed to shop for new meaningful mates and then discard them?
That sure seems like a winning business strategy for a guy with a dating app.
Jessie doesn’t like that word. Adultery. It conjures images of lipstick stains and burner phones. Or worse, stonings and scarlet A’s. It also reminds her of her first marriage, which ended after an affair. She hated the lying, the sneaking around. This time, she wanted to be more honest.
In 2010, Jessie approached her husband with an idea she called “ethical non-monogamy.” They would stay together as each other’s primary, lifelong partners, but they wouldn’t rule out other relationships — as long as they happened openly. Jessie has shown her husband her profile on several dating sites, including Open Minded. When she returns from her weekly date with one of her four extramarital partners, she tells him as much, or as little, as he likes.
Publicly, no one knows about this arrangement. (It’s why we have agreed to just use her first name in this story.) Jessie doesn’t plan to tell her children, though she could see it coming up one day. She and her husband still have sex, still go to social functions, still celebrate anniversaries.
Well, Jessie, I commend you for proposing the idea openly. That is certainly better than cheating, as I’ve said here many times. I’m just wondering if you’ve thought this whole thing through.
Did it ever occur to you that you might not have a marriage to come home to? I guess the thinking is your marriage will be stronger if you give yourself free rein to sample other wares, but did you ever consider that your husband might enjoy younger ass? What if you’re having a bad day? What if you get sick? What if you’re in crisis? His four extramarital partners are probably a hell of lot more fun that you are with that crisis. Click! I mean, who wouldn’t want to escape the bummer that is domestic life sometimes, huh?
Did you think your husband might not be turned on by viewing your dating profiles? Sure, he might pick me dance pretty for awhile, or create his own profiles. Yes, some men enjoy a cuckold kink. And other men get shotguns. I guess after 20 years of marriage, you just don’t know which one you have until you ask.
Good luck with that.
This column ran previously. Happy three-day weekend to some of us. (Not me, alas. However, I did oversleep.)