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UBT: Opening the Marriage to Save the Marriage?

An alert chump sent me a link to a sad women doing a sad pick-me dance dressed up as unicorn sophistication — My Husband Cheated On Me — And I Stayed. Here’s Why.

Cheated on? Hey, the problem isn’t that your partner told you they were at the gym when they were fucking someone else. And it isn’t the venereal disease you may be experiencing as a result. Nor the mindfuckery. No, the problem is monogamy!

That arrangement we all agreed to, but never mind. They were not happy. And if you would just unshackle them from your ridiculous, naive assumptions about fidelity and encourage their extracurricular hook-ups, Your Marriage Will Be Stronger!

You can have partners too! Maybe. After you finish folding the laundry and put the kids to bed. And work your day job. Okay, so they got a head start on this open marriage thing, but DON’T YOU WANT THEM TO BE HAPPY? I think you do. And, chump, you simply don’t have enough orifices.

The open marriage ultimatum. CN knows it well.

The Universal Bullshit Translator has been lounging about, waiting for its next snow day, considering what cookies it could dunk in its cocoa. About time it got to work! (You can read the whole essay here. The UBT had to edit.)

It’s been almost four months since I discovered my husband’s cheating. Three and a half years of it, some of it in our house, some of it without protection.

We had been monogamous, or so I thought, for 16 years.

When people used to tell me about how devastating infidelity could be, and what measures to take to prevent it, I took their advice with a grain of salt. Such betrayal would certainly feel crushing, I knew, but surely it could be managed.

Surely, I could manage crushing grief. What is marriage for, if not crushing grief?

But in September, when a stranger reached out proffering a photo album of incriminating screenshots ― a Tinder profile showcasing my husband’s smiling face, in which he claimed he was “slightly married,” a series of graphic sexual text messages, and time logs of hourlong phone conversations ― I realized that these earlier claims weren’t exaggerated or relegated to a sensitive few. The knot twisting in my stomach proved their validity.

I considered throwing all his shit on the lawn and telling him he’s only “slightly homeless.” And should he use his credit card to buy a hotel room, he might find it “slightly cutoff.”

But the lucidity faded.

I suddenly found myself careening through a type of grief, as if the person I thought my husband was had died. As if, in fact, a part of me had died. What remained was now being dragged, kicking and screaming, through an existential metamorphosis into something new and unknown.

At first, I thought divorce was our only option. “Once a cheater, always a cheater” looped in my head, along with the imagined porno film of what my husband had done. I couldn’t sleep. I could barely eat. I lost weight. The walk to the STD testing clinic felt like a funeral march. And through it all, that horrible movie kept playing on repeat, torturing me with all the visuals and sounds and smells that I imagined had occurred in his adulterous moments. In a frenzy of despair, I banished a couch ― “the couch of sin” I called it ― onto a truck-bound journey that assured I would never see it again.

I was destroyed and couldn’t fathom recovering.

I think PTSD is a solid foundation for a relationship. My husband isn’t abusing me with his double life, he’s dragging me into an existential metamorphosis!

The notion dawned on me that perhaps some of the pain I was feeling stemmed from a preventable social malady rather than abject personal failure. Maybe, to a certain degree, our institutions had misunderstood love, and taught it to us all wrong.

My husband didn’t cheat on me, our Institutions just taught us to love all wrong. Mrs. Cieleski, my 7th grade geometry teacher, the Milwaukee Department of Sanitation, and the International Monetary Fund — we need to talk.

What if the lack of respect that made infidelity so agonizing was less about sex and more about dishonesty? If honesty could be achieved and mutually maintained, then, could my husband and I develop a level of empathy that would allow for more sexual freedom without damaging our partnership? Could we think and feel past the societal taboo of sex outside of marriage and discover a truer definition of love? Was there a third viable path hidden alongside divorce and forced monogamy?

It’s absolutely believable that a man who conducted a double life for 3.5 years is going to “achieve” honesty. Right after he learns empathy. And how to fold the laundry.

Who am I to continue to “force” him into monogamy? I must relinquish my shock collar and the mind control that made him stand up in a hall full of family and friends and expensive ice swan sculptures and swear fidelity to me. No more damage! No more expectations!

My husband and I had talked about opening up our relationship nearly a decade ago, before we got married. It had been my idea at the time, and he had nixed it over concerns that I would have much more success at the endeavor than him. I now understand that his worry was rooted in the kind of abandonment fear that fuels jealousy and a tit-for-tat mindset. The kind of visceral half-conscious terror that, when left unexplored, upholds institutions like monogamous marriage and vilifies other ways of living.

Visceral half-conscious terror is his pet name for me. He only abandons me because he is afraid of abandonment.

Le me cling to spackle and psychobabble! Do not vilify my way of living!

So in the wake of my husband’s infidelity and the philosophical renaissance it catalyzed in me, I found myself at a crossroads, wracked by cognitive dissonance.

Hindu elephant fandango wracked by flaccid soufflé regret. Grok! Michelangelo!

(Excuse me, the UBT is malfunctioning.)

Dissonance! Heidegger duck toy! At the crossroads!

(We need a moment.)

I understood intellectually that ethical non-monogamy could perhaps be a truer expression of love than traditional monogamy, but emotionally I was still bound to the traditions into which I was raised. Disney princesses. Happily ever afters. All or nothing. Good or evil. True or false.

A Disney princess would never tolerate this shit. All the birds and squirrels in the forest would knit together a divorce degree and a fairy godmother would serve the summons. As global mega-stars Disney princesses have far too much self-respect than to be bit players in some fuckboy’s drama. They have snowman friends, genies, and dwarves to hang with.

(Excuse me, the UBT is refusing to do its Translation persona. Good grief.)

Will things between my husband and I progress into the mutually empathetic utopia I imagine?

Or genital warts?

Only time will tell.

And an abnormal Pap smear.

One or both of us could prove emotionally unfit to sustain an open arrangement and our experiment could fail. And there are sure to be bumps, some jarring, even if we succeed. I still have moments when I think I ought to consider separation as an act of self-preservation, when I wonder whether the mental load of our new arrangement destroys more than it builds.

If it fails, it’s just because I’m emotionally unfit. My mind won’t open enough. The mental load of this cognitive dissonance is destroying me.

But hey, at least I’m not judgey!

Inevitably, though, those darker moments are followed by the conviction that the true act of self-preservation is to maintain courage in the pursuit of happiness ― to follow whatever paths, no matter how unorthodox, lead to that place of self-actualization. And for now, at least, the most promising path involves walking with my husband, side by side.

And his girlfriend.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
      • I confess that I was astounded at what I read. The fact that DIL wants to bring her affair partners to her in-laws home and family get-togethers (son apparently didn’t say anything) and be applauded for it really got my goat.

        Here’s a boundary. Unless you are related by blood, adoption or marriage – you are not expected. If you want to bring a guest, you ask for permission in advance and if you are sleeping with someone who isn’t your spouse – you don’t rub it in our faces. And get a hotel room.

        AVERT YOUR EYES!

        Dear Amy: My son and his wife have been married for almost 10 years.

        Recently, his wife explained to me that they are polyamorous.

        I did not really know what this was. She explained it and said that she wants to be honest with everyone.

        I was in total shock.

        After they left, I thought about what she’d told me.

        I love them both. I want them to be happy. They were married in her church, and I do not understand this.

        I want to be a part of their lives, but I do not know that I can cope with them bringing other intimate partners to our family gatherings, which is one of the things she says she would like to do.

        I don’t know anyone who has experienced this. How can I keep my relationship with my son? My daughter-in-law wants open and honest acceptance. She says they have the right to live their lives the way they want to. But do I have any rights to what I am feeling about all of this?

        I am in shock and trying to process this.

        Your advice?

        — Confused Mom

        Confused Mom: A polyamorous relationship is one that has more than two partners, where, for instance, a couple will bring another adult into their intimate life as a partner.

        I shared your question with sociologist Elisabeth Sheff, author of “When Someone You Love is Polyamorous” (2016, Thorntree Press). Sheff and I agree that you deserve lots of credit for your kindness to your son and willingness to accept his family.

        Her response: “This is a great first reaction if you want to maintain positive relationships with sex and gender minority family members. Acceptance doesn’t have to be all or nothing, and I suggest that you all take smaller steps of getting to know each other at first. For instance, instead of meeting for the first time at Grandma’s 90th birthday or Passover dinner, meet the son, daughter-in-law and their partners on Zoom for a chat, in the park for a walk, on the porch for cup of coffee, or eventually a restaurant for a regular dinner a couple of times. This allows you to establish a connection, chat with less pressure and talk about boundaries before plunging into a big family gathering, which is already kind of stressful, even if it is fun.”

        “At the same time, educate yourself on consensual nonmonogamy by reading and asking your son and his wife questions about their lives. There are hundreds of websites and social media pages devoted to polyamory and even more for other forms of CNM (consensual nonmonogamy).

        “Finally, give yourself some credit for trying to understand, as well as some patience if it takes you, and them, a little while to adjust to this new family style.”

        • Anybody that knows and respects me knows I don’t tolerate party crashers. A party for friends or a family gathering. They will promptly be ejected, with the person who brought them along. Boundaries.

        • I suspect DIL likes parading her sexuality around for shock value attention. There’s no other reason I can think of why she would want to bring her fuckboys to family gatherings. Gross. How the hell do you explain that to kids?
          “Well, little Madison and Dakota, that’s Nancy’s boyfriend for today. His name is Adam. Fred was her boyfriend at Thanksgiving, but he’s not now. Craig was her boyfriend at your birthday party. Uncle Joe is just her husband, so that’s why she doesn’t sit in his lap and ruffle his hair like that.”
          Try saying this sort explanation in the voice of the hippie teacher from Beavis and Butthead. You won’t be able to get through it without cracking up.

          • I think you have the right of it. If the son wanted to bring his long-term partner to meet his mother because “well, I’ve been dating Rainbow GlitterTits Moonchild for a year now, and it feels like we’re at the ‘meet your parents’ stage of the relationship?” Ok, sure. But “I want to bring unspecified future lovers to my mother-in-law’s house?” That’s just wanting to show off how edgy you are.

            Also, who wants to get dragged over to have dinner with your girlfriend’s husband’s mother? Is her meatloaf that good?

        • Elisabeth Sheff is who my ex was threatening to bring into our custody trial to “prove” that polyamory was not harmful to children. She earned a PhD on this stuff and has made it her mission to proselytize. Hey, I watched Big Love. I get it. I see the upside of multiple moms. You do you. But my ex is not polyamorous, he’s a lying cheater, pursuing more and more extreme sexual experiences.

          He also says that having as many partners as he wants and introducing any and all of them to the kids is his First Amendment right, which trumps family law. (He ‘s a lawyer.)

          I can’t be bothered with that fool anymore. I have come to accept the fact that a) he can’t lure one woman into tolerating his lifestyle for long, let alone two, and b) my kids are teenagers now and old enough to see what’s going on and make up their own minds.

          Case in point: My 13 year-old son recently told me “Dad living in his parent’s basement is the definition of creepy.”

  • “Melissa Gabso (she/her) is a writer, graphic designer, and illustrator living in central Connecticut with her husband and two four-legged house gremlins. She writes science fiction and personal narrative, creates branding and publications for a number of nonprofits, and draws realistic landscapes and portraits with colored pencil. Her most recent artwork can be found on Instagram at @melnessguru”

    Well, she is a writer, who writes science fiction, personal narrative, and creates branding, and an illustrator who draws realistic landscapes with colored pencil.
    My guess is that she uses the rose colored pencil the most. So why not use those same handy skills to create the brand of relationship you imagine as well?

    I am dizzy and nauseous from watching the mental gymnastics, and grateful I have no desire to become a gold medalist like our writer.

    • I am just as dizzy and nauseous as you are, Velvet.
      I can’t even feel sorry for someone who CHOOSES to build a LIFE on such bullshit and with such an asshole.

    • TYPO…

      “So why not use those same skills to imagine and rationalize a brand of relationship you can try to sell yourself as well?”

  • “Disney princesses have far too much self-respect than to be bit players in some fuckboy’s drama. They have snowman friends, genies, and dwarves to hang with.”

    Wow– thank you, Chump Lady, for this. It brought tears to my eyes and reaffirmed my decision to run like hell when I discovered my husband was cheating. It hasn’t been easy, but every day I wake up and thank God I am not waking up next to a person who could lead a double life for four years.

    • My favorite relevant quote:

      “Someone who is worthy of your love will never put you in a situation where you feel you must sacrifice your dignity, your integrity, or your self-worth to be with them.“

      She’s given up all three.

      • This is the hands down winning truthful witty polite comeback about affairs to anyone and everyone at anytime. It is all that needs to be said….to people defending their cheating, defending cheaters, or criticizing the cheated upon for their feelings.

        Million dollar sentence. Thank you.

  • “It’s been almost four months since I discovered my husband’s cheating. Three and a half years of it, some of it in our house, some of it without protection.”

    “My husband told me he needed to be non-monogamous to feel whole. He said he was sincerely sorry for what he had done, and claimed he could be monogamous now, but would not be truly happy if he was. He also said he could be safely, honestly, and ethically non-monogamous, if I would allow it. He was willing to do the necessary work to address the dishonest parts of himself, he claimed, in order to enter this new chapter from a place of trust and respect.”

    I can’t wrap my mind around this banquet of bullshit. Wait until he gives you syphilis. Or HIV.

    “We sat down together and wrote a list of guidelines unique to our situation, some of them hard rules ― like using protection and not meeting up with established friends or family ― and some softer, more malleable but requiring open conversation. We agreed at the outset that we would remain each other’s primary partner, and though we would still be capable of developing deep, meaningful connections with other partners, the main purpose of opening things up would be for friendship and sex.”

    Oh, NOW he’ll follow rules and have open conversations. Sure, right. Also – your friends suck.

    • At least he can go and be non-monogamous with someone else No Shit Cupcakes, see how they like it. I don’t know if feel sorry for the person who wrote this drivel today or not. Is it a blanket of delusion or are they cloaked in their own cloak of narcissism that thinks being cheated on, when it happens to them, they can prove how special they are.

      Anyway I will wish them luck, cause they’re sure gonna need it.

    • The dishonest parts of himself = his dick and his brain. Yeah, good luck with “addressing” that.

      Notice also the use of “he claimed”. That’s a sign her instincts are telling her he’s lying. Usually when we refer to a statement as a claim we mean it’s not just unproven, but likely to be false. She has subtle tells like that all over the piece. She doesn’t really believe her own spiel. I think she knows damn well that nobody on this whole green earth actually needs non-monogamy to feel whole. It’s a preference, not a need, and getting to enjoy one’s preferences aren’t essential to “wholeness” as a person. That’s why being straight or gay is an orientation, not just a preference. I’m pretty sure there’s no such thing as non-monogamy as a sexual orientation. Maybe people should try seeing a shrink if they don’t feel whole unless you don’t get to do specific sexual acts or have multiple partners. That’s a psychological problem. Not feeling whole without a sexual partner is also a psychological problem. Most of us prefer to have one, but if you don’t feel like a complete human being without one you need to get help. I’d very much prefer to have a partner who loves monogamy and is willing to scrub the toilets. I don’t have that partner and never did, yet somehow I’m still a whole person, albeit pissy about it. Cheaters falsely elevate their preferences to needs due to their childishly entitled gimme gimme attitude. When this cheater says whole he actually means completely satisfed and he is manipulating her. If he said; “I demand total satisfaction of my every whim because I’m special!” she’d run away, so he offers up a douchey plea to wholeness. Bonus douchebag points are acquired if the psychobabble sounds new-agey.

    • Right, and all that emotional growth took place in just four months? At four months post-dday, I was still not eating or sleeping, I was experiencing panic attacks, trying not to lose my job, and doing a poor job hiding my tears from our children, all while feeling like I’d been run over by a truck. What a perfect time for my husband to date other people while I hook up with other losers with no boundaries. What could go wrong?

  • If any decent person went on tinder and the profile said a “ little bit married” that should be a hard pass . But alas it’s not and people really do want to have affairs with married people .

    Not that I’m dating but to me even before becoming a chump a person with decency , morals and self respect doesn’t go near a married person no matter how much of a “ little bit married” they are

    • Agree. And I don’t really understand the attraction of a married person.

      Just spitballing her, but is it?:
      *the allure of the forbidden fruit
      *the titillating risk (sneaking etc…esp in the married person’s own home!)
      *an ego boost to win someone already married (They’re willing to sacrifice it all for me.)

      Or maybe some like that there are no strings attached. “It’s just a fun game that I can easily leave. Who cares what damage it does to the family?”

      I’ll stop there. It hurts my brain to try to get into the minds of disordered, non-ethical cheaters.

      And I need a shower.

      • Hard to believe that there are people who enjoy hurting others and/or don’t care, but there are.

      • All of the above plus a means of expressing latent hostility and aggression. My cheater used to drive by OW’s house at random times (thank you, GPS and cheater stupidity) for no purpose. He said it was because he was hoping to get a look at her but nah, he saw her seven days a week, usually several times a day, and they texted all the time. I think he was hoping to get a look at the man he was cucking so he could picture him in his head while he was snickering and feeling superior. OW made sure her teenaged kids saw them acting shady together multiple times, presumably to insure they would be scarred for life, as I can see no other possible purpose. They repeatedly tried, albeit unsuccessfully, to engineer situations where her spouse and I would both be at the same social events with them, so as to have more opportunity to cruelly snicker at us, feel superior and to humiliate us in public, since everybody but her spouse and I knew what they were doing, which I’m sure they loved. IMO cheaters are full of rage and hate that must have an outlet and a target. Hence their particular penchant for doing it in the marital bed, doing it with people who socialize with their spouses, involving the children in their con, and the other horrors we know all too well that, at least in part, must be motivated by aggression.

        • OHFFS, I know well what you are describing, both from experiencing it as a child and as a spouse.
          Your comments made me think of “insolent contempt”. Here from Wikipedia, under “Seven deadly Sins > Pride”: In Ancient Athens, hubris was considered one of the greatest crimes and was used to refer to insolent contempt that can cause one to use violence to shame the victim. This sense of hubris could also characterize rape.[43] Aristotle defined hubris as shaming the victim, not because of anything that happened to the committer or might happen to the committer, but merely for the committer’s own gratification.[44][45][46] The word’s connotation changed somewhat over time, with some additional emphasis towards a gross over-estimation of one’s abilities.

        • The other woman in my case stalked me all over the county, showing up where ever I went. This has resulted in a good old case of agoraphobia for me – if I don’t go out, I don’t have to see that round heeled slut, do I? It wasn’t until a year ago that I figured out how she did it. When my husband was driving her to the next town over to a motel, we had a cell phone I left in the car consol. She’d obviously put a tracking device on it. I’d like to think she was looking for opportunities to “run into” him, but the fact is, after investigating, I discovered she always made sure the wife found out about her. She’s a serial cheater with married men. Maybe your fuckwit was hoping to be discovered by his AP’s husband.

          • Not my fuckwit, he’s a confirmed coward who would never directly confront the guy he was cucking.
            The OW in your case is clearly several bricks shy of a load. Stalkers count on their mere presence being threatening to you. It’s psychological warfare. I’m so sorry you developed agoraphobia from that evil bitch. I have had two stalking attempts, one from a neighbor and one from a random weirdo, but they found it unrewarding to try to stalk somebody who came walking right at them, wielding a lug wrench. However, I would not suggest you use this test of how serious your stalker is.

            I hope you can get over your anxiety and live a full life once again. I had agoraphobia when I was a teenager and I recovered. Apply lots of self care and therapy and medication if it helps. I didn’t find therapy particularly helpful, but learning martial arts and strength training were. I lost the crippling fear because I felt I could defend myself in most situations. Wishing healing and happiness to you, Jay.

            • I have a “chain” made of a series of brass padlocks. The keys were lost decades ago and I haven’t gotten around to taking it to the metal recycling place. So I keep it in the footwell of the car, just in case I ever need it.

              Intimidating as hell.

            • Ohffs
              A katana unsheved speaks loudly as well.😂
              After a few hundred sparring matches, and having one’s face routinely put to the mat- primal self-protection becomes instinct hardened by muscle memory. When a stalker looks into their vitcims eyes and encounters a shark eye stare back they freeze. But the wild west advice of never bringing a knife to a gunfight comes to mind. Sometimes guts is all it takes. Well done.

              Submarine much? Kings rule boxing? Fuck that. Restraining orders are just hamburger wrappers to some idiots.

              Growing up through HS my wise mother ‘suggested’ I try martial arts which to this day I’m grateful. She saw that team sports were Not helpful to me and instinctually knew to point me in the direction of activities that made me challenge Myself. Putting on the gee again after 40 years definitely served as therapy navigating abandon, discard and Divorce.

              So to any noobs out there in our club stuck in Hell… find a Dojo. Tape your unicorns face on the heavy bag and visualize which nerve meridians you want to practice on. Sun Tzu is recommended divorce reading once you decide to pull the trigger.

              • Great writing! So refreshing after reading the muck that the poor UBT has to digest. Not only is it a stupid article, it is written in a pseudo intelligent style that makes me cringe.

        • My God! How sadistic!

          Apparently and unbeknownst to me, I first met the OW at a funeral for the young father of two. Wonder what sick thrill they got at the otherwise sad event when he introduced us, and I shook her hand and made small talk. Jesus!

          Was my ex acting out of hatred? I guess so. I think he hates himself. He feels rage in general. I can appreciate the need for a target for all that. Does it help regulate his own rage to transfer it onto me or society? I mean, now that the jig is up, he’s a bit of a pariah. And he’s lost his 3 adult kids and grandchild. Even his own nieces and nephews ON HIS SIDE of the family want nothing to do with him.

          Either he wanted to whip and be whipped, or he did not envision any negative fall out from his behavior and just liked the sadistic part (hurting me).

          I need to think about this more…

          • Correction: a young father of two

            I mention this detail because when someone younger than 45 dies, there’s usually an added level of sadness.

      • I realize this might make me sound like a gold digger (which I am emphatically not) but my #1 rule in life is, if you go home and bring your paycheck home to another woman, your ass can go home for nookie and emotional validation too. Taken men don’t have a DAMN thing to offer me. Dick is not in short supply.

  • Ethical non-monogamy=oxymoron (emphasis on “moron”). Like ethical-non-truths or ethical non-love.

    I think it’s ethical non-sense.

  • CL.
    “ slightly married”
    Must go into your famous quotes book!

    I had no idea how many jerks were “ slightly married” until I knew the painful way called DDay!

  • In six months max it will all collapse. Melissa will notice that her unicorn is a jackass with a carrot taped to his head, realize that he risked her very life and that she therefore doesn’t mean much to him despite their slight marriage, that he actually enjoyed watching her innocently plop down on their body-fluid drenched sofa, and that he continues to be a liar, a coward and an abuser.

    The only sad thing is that I’ll have to relinquish my Spackler of the Year trophy. Because, damn, I thought I was good, but Melissa is a stone cold master, the Leonardo da Vinci of Spackle.

  • my ex, unfortunately, had sti(s). you would have thought they could have used protection. He asked me for an open relationship. Obviously, I said no, Currently have a swollen foot, 3 times normal size, doctor said due to heart problems, which I have, or kidney problems. Whilst on the subject. having my gallbladder removed, my heart stopped. my then partner, now ex, refused to help with children at all. He spent all his time with the ow. Ow is still hanging around, we split up 8 years ago. She gives me filthy looks, he hasnt been to my house for 3 years. He even admitted to having sti. He actually thinks he was at no risk of HIV. Incidentally met one ow who decided to tell everyone on the bus that she had sex with everyone in the crackhouse, she is married. Make of that what you want.

  • “My husband didn’t cheat on me, our Institutions just taught us to love all wrong. Mrs. Cieleski, my 7th grade geometry teacher, the Milwaukee Department of Sanitation, and the International Monetary Fund — we need to talk.”

    😂🤣😆 I love you, Chump Lady, you incredibly gifted writer and total mensch! 💜 Thank you for the laugh on this freezing morning!

  • Wow, this lady has a taste for dramatics and pretentious verbiage. All this amounts to is a pantload of rationalization for her cowardice in not standing firm in her convictions, turned into a mind-numbingly boring word salad.

    The irony is that the “alternate lifestyles” people in her life are the ones being judgy and foisting their beliefs on her, shitting all over her feelings by dismissing them as mere byproducts of cultural conditioning. I guess she caved to their brainwashing because her self worth is so low after being betrayed, which makes what they did particularly vicious and dishonorable.
    The idea that somebody who is a proven liar really wants honest non-monogamy is absent of any logic. If he did, he would have asked her for that before he cheated and then divorced if she was not agreeable. Since it was so easy to turn her into the Manchurian Chump after cheating, he could have achieved the same result by recruiting their nasty friends to shame her into compliance beforehand. But nah, my money’s on that the guy gets wood from lying to her and he’ll break any agreement they have. She’ll rationalize away her cognitive dissonance about that, too, and her “friends” will tell her that her lack of enthusiasm about consensual non-monogamy drove him to it; “If you had only worn the cut out panties and bra he liked and smiled dreamily while he watched you being used like a fucktoy by Sam and Bob as he jerked off, he wouldn’t have felt so guilty that he needed to seek comfort from your sister. You made him feel bad about himself.”
    Yeah, fuck that noise.
    Btw, thank you UBT. I laughed so loudly I scared the dog into skittering outside to do her business.

  • “I understood intellectually that ethical non-monogamy could perhaps be a truer expression of love than traditional monogamy, but emotionally I was still bound to the traditions into which I was raised. Disney princesses. Happily ever afters. All or nothing. Good or evil. True or false.”

    She left out “right and wrong”. Tellingly.

    Lying and deceiving another person is wrong. She seems to be going everywhere she can around that elephant in the living room.

    I don’t know which Disney princess she is referring to, but Jafar was an evil lying conniving mindfucking creep and Jasmine was not mired in cognitive quicksand trying to figure out a way to buy his bullshit. Merida did not cave in at the Suitor Selection showcase event. Mulan went undercover to kick the ass of the opposing forces.

    • His great need for sexual variety forced him to lie and betray? I’m not buying it either.

      He is a selfish creepy twat and she is a dish rag.

  • This is my story.

    This is exactly what I was telling myself (and one truly trusted friend) because I simply could not wrap my mind around the fact that I’d been discarded.

    This is the dance I danced, convincing my self that “now that it’s out in the open . . . if any couple can make this kind of arrangement work, we can.”

    Melissa has jumped to a supposed solution without fully understanding, or honestly facing, the real problem: the entitlement and horrific lack of character that creates it.

    • “My husband told me he needed to be non-monogamous to feel whole. He said he was sincerely sorry for what he had done, and claimed he could be monogamous now, but would not be truly happy if he was.”

      UBT: He’s saying: “After 16+ years of saying I’m ‘this,’ I now declare that I am ‘that.’ And if you refuse to allow me to be ‘that,’ it’s your fault if the marriage fails.”

    • What I find with most cheaters is that their moral compass is fluid, so no matter what you give (or give up)… it will never be enough.

    • Without fully understanding the real problem – spot on! When the Lying Cheating Loser fucked around on me 6 months into our relationship, my “solution” was to propose an open relationship. I actually used – and believed – these words: “…so you can show up as who you authentically are.” Turned out, he was authentically a sociopath, with no interest in being honest or transparent.
      In the words of Dr. Joe McGraw, I wouldn’t take a million bucks for the experience, and I wouldn’t give you a dime to do it again.

    • “Entitlement and horrific lack of character”…
      Thanks UX – this is the message that I am still working to accept, WHY the man I loved and trusted with my whole heart chose to deceive me for years.
      You just said it perfectly.

  • It’s all BS, of course.

    I don’t want polyamory, but I also don’t judge ethical polyamory — and by ethical, I mean 100 % up front and honest right from the get go with total consideration for the health and well-being of everyone involved. It’s rare to achieve, but if that’s what someone is really, truly doing, I can grok that.

    Today’s story is all BS, though, of course, because there’s nothing ethical about it. It’s just asshole entitlement.

    After all these years, I find myself sometimes hearing this story from a real person, and I sometimes suggest, as a thought experiment, “So, what if you say ok to the open marriage, but your one contingency is that the two of you can have sex with anyone you want EXCEPT each other, and you’re not going to discuss your sex life with your spouse.”

    Often the person says, “S/he/they would never go for that.”

    To which I respond, “Then it’s not an open marriage. Open means you each get to be with whoever you want. Requiring a person to have sex with you when the person doesn’t want to have sex with you is rape. Do you want sex with him when he’s also having sex with other people?” — “No.” — “Then requiring you to do so is rape.”

    It’s a thought experiment with flaws, sure, but it exposes some cracks in the word salad of the entitled asshole’s theory, too.

    Bottom line: If I want monogamy with you, and you don’t want monogamy with me, the problem isn’t that I’m ‘not open-minded enough”. The problems are that (a) I’m not doormat enough and (b) you and I are not compatible.

  • Well, Melissa did identify one important aspect of adultery that’s often misunderstood: it’s the betrayal, more than the actual sex, that destroys the marriage. She is trying to solve this by reclassifying extramarital sex so it’s no longer betrayal. This seems unlikely to succeed, for all the reasons that have popped up here many times (it doesn’t erase the previous 3+ years of deceit; her lying douchebag of a husband is likely to breach any rules that they agree to; entering an open marriage under duress is a recipe for failure; most people can’t pull off ethical nonmonogamy even under ideal conditions, which these aren’t) but – since she’s clearly unwilling to divorce – I guess it’s worth a try. I mean, the worst that can happen is that she throws a few decades of her life down the drain and maybe gets an incurable STI or two.

    (Full disclosure: I had one of the “I won’t let you touch me because I must remain faithful to my AP” cheaters, so I never had to directly confront the prospect of sex with my cheater after knowing she had sex with the AP. This may color my attitude somewhat).

    • I had one of the “I won’t let you touch me” cheaters, too. On the few nights when he chose not to sleep on the couch with the TV blaring, he would lay as close the edge of his side of the bed as possible, with his arms tight against his body, sort of like a log. It was so confusing and frustrating, because I tried numerous times to get him to talk with me. All the while he would lie and say I was wrong, I was reading into things, you know the drill. He was doing his best (poorly), trying to keep his obvious involvement with someone else a secret from me – up until the day I found their texts. The texts really just verified what I had suspected and he kept denying.

      While the texts were horrifying to read at the time, they’re actually almost funny now. She went into detail about her frustrations with having to keep their relationship a secret, even after 2 years of being “a thing.” And she wanted children, dammit! BTW she was 27 years old, while he was 57. Just gross.

  • “My husband and I had talked about opening up our relationship nearly a decade ago, before we got married. It had been my idea at the time, and he had nixed it over concerns that I would have much more success at the endeavor than him.”

    So basically, if he had actually wanted to explore a real open/poly relationship, he could have talked to her first, knowing she had been interested before. I know of and have been in open/playful relationships and they actually take much more trust, communication, and organization then the default setting to make sure everyone’s needs are met in a healthy way. I have never seen a healthy poly situation emerge from cheating, because cheating isn’t just the sex, it is the breaking of an established boundary in the relationship. Nontraditional relationships still have boundaries, they are just different. Breaking those boundaries is still a big deal, almost a bigger deal because there is a space to renegotiate and adjust them that was intentionally ignored. What OP has done is simply redrawn the boundaries retroactively and in denial, not faced the fact that her husband will freely break boundaries when he so chooses at her expense.

    He didn’t really want a true equally open relationship. He wanted to play around while also having her completely at his disposal. He wanted cake. He has said this explicitly.

    • “My husband and I had talked about opening up our relationship nearly a decade ago, before we got married. It had been my idea at the time, and he had nixed it over concerns that I would have much more success at the endeavor than him.”

      This is just mind boggling to me. Really, if an ‘open relationship’ is what you want, why on earth bother to get married?

  • Among the many therapists I saw one woman stands out. She told me that it is perfectly acceptable to stay in a bad marriage if there are other perks involved. She said she has a few friends who stay with cheaters for financial reasons or dependency reasons.

    It made me more convinced to proceed to divorce.

    • Are you from my small southern town? This is exactly the shit that people do here. They stay with their narcissistic cheating abuser husbands for the money. The country club memberships, beach houses, vacations, and to be a sahm. Meanwhile they’re miserable becoming alcoholics, suffering from depression/anxiety, getting autoimmune diseases, or eating disorders. They are totally unaware they are being abused (just a so was). I’m thankful for this great awakening but at the same time being the “outsider” is hard too. I just hold onto that my people are out there.

      • Yup, staying for the lifestyle is not uncommon.

        And yes, selling our souls leads to a lot of nasty health and lifestyle consquences …

        But I realize that giving up a cheater can also mean putting your kids in inferior schools, living in less safe areas, losing health care benefits. It is not simple or easy and there are many considerations.

    • Lol, so true. If my ex had delivered in any of those areas, maybe it would have been worth it to stay. But he was an irresponsible, disloyal, deadbeat.

  • No offense to artists with integrity, but does anyone else get the impression that these articles are written by people that are “baring souls” to essentially promote their freelance creative work? This one and Ms Ruby of the Potato Table may as well be the same person. Yawn.

  • I hate how this post made me feel because this happened in my life too. I was told that I was acting too Christian for not wanting to have an open marriage. But I had no longing to have sex with anybody else other than my husband.

    And with his fixation with other women I knew it would just be a parade. And a parade where he wanted me to be in bed with him and somebody else. I was not up for that.

    Whatever works for other people, But it would have made me feel devalued and hurt. I can’t even imagine how I would have explained that to my children. That’s not a life I choose to live in front of my family. I’m not going to be the creepy lady with the open marriage.

    • Yes, exactly. I was a “prude” for not wanting an open marriage too. The EX was a nice church-going guy on the surface, but he had piles of secrets. And he loved his secrets more than anything in the world. First he wanted his porn. Then he wanted me to join him with the porn. Then he wanted other women. Then he wanted me to go with him to have sex with a prostitute. Ew, gross. Just no.

  • Call me “inflexible”. Though my friends all wished they could be as laidback as me, the Dick accused me of being inflexible. Cheaterspeak for…she’s not buying my lies so I’ll accuse her of being rigid and she‘ll dance faster. Cheaters by definition cheat. Whatever rules and boundaries you set…they will cheat. It’s what gives them the rush. He’d like his family and Cake, he will cheat and twist everything to make it the chumps fault.

  • I’ve confronted a lot of faulty programming that needed changing, societal and familial and adopted, in the 35 years of being in recovery (counseling and 12 step programs).

    I’ve never had any violent physical reactions, unimaginable emotional pain, developed complex PTSD,
    or experienced other emotional, mental, or physical symptoms of trauma as a result of confronting that programming.

    The violent and visceral, common and almost universal reactions we experience as victims of infidelity ndicates to me that monogamy is not just some societal institution we constructed in opposition to nature.

    Even very young children and family pets feel threatened when a new baby is brought home.

    It makes me think the open relationship is what goes against our biological neurology…..

    • >>The violent and visceral, common and almost universal reactions we experience as victims of infidelity ndicates to me that monogamy is not just some societal institution we constructed in opposition to nature.

      >>Even very young children and family pets feel threatened when a new baby is brought home.

      Good points. It’s anti-instinctive. I think that we’ve forgotten the old understanding of cheating, like someone mentioned earlier how our idea of sins have changed thru ages. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_deadly_sins. But cheaters would screw up even supposedly consensual “swinging”.

  • I heard two themes screaming through her rationalizations:

    – I will pick me dance better than the world’s best cha-cha dancer

    – I’m more fuckable than you hubby-dear – hold my beer

    So sad so many realize living a single, authentic life minus a cheater is a much better way to live (and win). I saw a meme recently that said something like “Not everyone can handle the POWER of being alone.” I embrace that 🙂

    Rock on Chump Nation – you’ve got this!

  • “‘the most promising path involves walking with my husband, side by side.’

    And his girlfriend.”

    👏👏👏
    Damn. Talk about getting the last word, CL. Drop that mic.

    • This was exactly the thought that made me decide to pursue a divorce. People kept telling me that the best things would be to stay with my husband and work things out. And I remember saying, “I see what HE gets out of that. He gets a wife, kids, no child support, a nice home… What do I get out of it? I get a cheater!” There was no scenario in which I got a stable home and a faithful husband. It would always be me and him… and his girlfriend(s).

  • The writer of this piece is nothing more, nothing less than a sad, pathetic chump desperate to hang on to her cheater. She’s created a narrative to make it seem monogamy is really not natural for evolved, superior people such as her and her husband so why not let him date other women? You know, “maintain the courage for pursuit of happiness”. Pretty sure that isn’t what the founders had in mind but anyway the writer states she is not sure if this evolved lifestyle will work out. Meaning, she’s not sure how long she can hang on before hubby eventually dumps her ass for another woman. In the meantime while he’s out dating/pursuing other women she’s sticking it out and will walk by his side.

    • The narrative chumps rewrite in our heads to spackle… is just amazing. The harder and more complex the more turns and twists our minds make to deal with rewriting our reality. Doing mind flips and thick spackle is no way to live.

      We also have generations of spackle and I’m thankful for CL and this group for showing us the way!

  • Love this from Spinach@35: “Ethical non-monogamy=oxymoron (emphasis on “moron”). Like ethical-non-truths or ethical non-love. I think it’s ethical non-sense.”

    As prior writers pointed out, if he was interested in polyamory, he had years to broach it to Melissa, who had already expressed an interest BEFORE they married; instead, he chose to lie, cheat and betray her. How can she believe that he’s suddenly credible, because in September, a stranger sent her proof that he’s having affairs?

    And yes, I do wonder what motivated that stranger to share in such a devastating way–was it to be helpful, or is this a potential future polyamory partner?

    Melissa writes science fiction (apparently unpublished) and here she’s created a fantasy world–her husband’s fantasy. Sad to think of how many HuffPo readers she’s harming—I can see cheaters waving it in triumph, and Chumps reading it in anguish.

    She’d have a bit more credibility if she wasn’t FOUR MONTHS from D-Day. How solid was their marriage if it takes so little time for her to go through the whole grieving process and move to dating, especially during COVID? If you look at the stages of grief, I’d say she’s bargaining, offering to take up polyamory in hopes of keeping her husband and her myth of a happy marriage. She’s clearly in denial, trying to convince us, and herself, that this is what she wanted, or should have wanted, all along, if not for those dratted institutions CL pointed out: Mrs Cieleski, the 7th grade geometry teacher, the Milwaukee Department of Sanitation, the International Monetary Fund. And those mind-control experts who forced her–FORCED HER!–to have a wedding and marriage with those meaningless vows instead of living together. Oh, but I forgot; she’s not grieving, she’s celebrating their evolution to a higher life form. Or whatever.

    Her essay, in its entirety, makes it clear she knows she has fragile self-esteem and relies on others for validation. Melissa is a chump, but she’s out looking for a kibble supply too. If she can’t get them as a married woman from her spouse, or from herself, she’ll get them from “open-minded” friends, new dating partners, and readers of the HuffPo.

    • I read the comments. The majority of them saying exactly what we’re saying here.

      I’m not surprised her sci-fi is unpublished, if it’s anything like this turgid ‘essay. 🙄

  • This is such a no-brainer. He knows she was once interested in open marriage so there was zero need to cheat. All he had to do was tell here he was now interested and then see what she said & respond accordingly.

    Instead, he cheats. For years. He cheats IN THEIR HOME. He lies, He gaslights her. And she thinks opening the marriage after the fact will make it all just fine.

    I don’t understand how anyone sleeps next to people who lie to them. But that’s just me.

    • “This is such a no-brainer. He knows she was once interested in open marriage so there was zero need to cheat. All he had to do was tell here he was now interested and then see what she said & respond accordingly.”

      This exactly. No new relationship structure will fix the fact that her partner doesn’t give a shit about her and her feelings if they get in the way of what he wants for himself.

  • A few years into my marriage my ex started trying to convince me that being a swinger was still monogamy if you just view the other people as sex toys and don’t have any feelings towards them. I left him without giving in to his demands, but I’m sure it thrilled him to no end knowing that complying would have meant me compromising my personal self worth and moral code to do it. It would have been the ultimate pick-me dance.

    • “…. you just view the other people as sex toys and don’t have any feelings towards them”.

      Psychopath. Glad you got away! ❤️

  • My Asshat tried to feed me this BS when I became aware that he was fucking his best friend’s wife- in best friend’s house (with pre-teen children also at home). Bestie was as surprised as I was. Asshat’s rationalization to me was, “this doesn’t affect YOU, Katiedidn’t!” Oh, yes it bloody did. It also affected Bestie, who came after Asshat with a Louisville Slugger and then beat up our mailbox instead, while Asshat ran to our State Trooper neighbor for help. Good times.

    Now I am 3 years out from D-day, 2 years divorced. Bestie’s wife dropped Asshat 6 months after I moved out when she discovered he had another girlfriend, a younger one. Asshat and the younger one are now married. He just turned 59. New wife is 29. Bless her heart.

    • Wait, Katiedidn’t. Is there any cliche your Ex didn’t hit on there?

      Now all they need to do is have kids so he can be Grandpa Daddy cliche.

      • @HerBlondeness- yeah, he’s really special like that. Fortunately, he had a vasectomy about 35 years ago and the young bride either doesn’t want or can’t have kids (he said). He seemed unsure which, so I asked, well, which is it? Because there is a vast difference between “doesn’t want and can’t have…”. Then my brain flipped to “vas deferens” as I said it and I just about died laughing and he stomped out. That was the last in-person encounter I had with him, and I will cherish the memory of it forever.

  • I’m mystified by the number of women who go public, sharing their names, photos and all, with statements that their husband cheated on them and they stayed. Do they do it because the cheating is already public and they want to create a shiny house of spackle? Do they think their acceptance of the cheating after the fact retroactively makes it OK? “I wasn’t cheated on, I just wasn’t as enlightened yet!”
    And yes, I’ll judge. Some people don’t care. They’re fine doing business with–and remaining friends with–someone who decided that hey, marriage vows and contracts are all a mistake, it’s OK to lie to people you supposedly love or who love you, it’s necessary to gaslight people who trust you if you don’t know if they’ll accept your morality, and you don’t care about following society’s outdated morals and ethics. Reminds me of a cheater colleague who went from an affair with a woman in our office building to cheating clients and robbing stores. Goes back to that cheater sense of entitlement: They want what they want and they’ll take what they don’t have.
    Her friends are worse than Switzerland friends if they’re pressuring her into polyamory. Is this the new cool thing, a replacement for lavish weddings they can’t have with COVID?

    • The irony here is that people may accept cheaters and continue to do business with them, but when it comes to money, if the cheaters were instead proven fraudsters, you would see them keep their money closely guarded in their hip pocket from then on in. Oh but partners who have been cheated are just supposed to keep doling out emotional capital into a relationship with a cheater, not to mention putting themselves in the position to actually be financially ripped off, because often it does go hand in hand. How many people who’ve been ripped off in investment fraud schemes are called bitter or unforgiving though, because they wouldn’t give their investment advisor another chance? So hypocritical.

  • Ick. I still think HuffPost solicits these manuscripts in order to cater to the crowd of subscribers that are cheaters. This Melissa Gabso bought a contractor’s supply of heavy duty spackle.

  • Why is it that Cheaters only ever play the “I want an open marriage” after they get busted as Cheaters and never before?

    I’ve recounted this before, but Ex-Mrs LFTT (whose gift to comedy goes unacknowledged to this day) played this card about two weeks after she was caught cheating by the kids (the rather cliched iPhone synched to iPad used by kids gambit). She denied everything and then said (and I wrote it down) “We will have to get divorced …. I would have suggested that we have an open marriage and agree that we can see other people, but you are just not emotionally mature enough to make a relationship like that work.”

    I just laughed at her. I guess that she saw my refusal to just grovel and accept whatever crumbs she threw my way is just another sign of my stunted emotional growth.

    LFTT

    PS – my emotional maturity is fine.

    • LFTT:

      “We will have to get divorced …. I would have suggested that we have an open marriage and agree that we can see other people, but you are just not emotionally mature enough to make a relationship like that work.” YOUR FAULT!! What an asinine thing to say to you!

      I was told that I wouldn’t be able to find it within myself to forgive. Again, my fault.

      Got I hate cheaters’ blameshifting and other mindfuckery.

      • Spinach

        I too was told that I would never be able to forgive what the ex partner had done, that I would end up going on and on about it and he would get tired of talking about the same thing over and over again.

        Wait..what.

        One particularly bad morning….after D day I was on the couch crying…not hysterical crying but crying nonetheless. Ex partner woke up oblivious to me crying. When he came into the living room and saw that I was obviously upset he asked ‘What’s wrong?’ I said what do you think….my whole world has exploded. I can’t believe what’ s happened etc.etc.

        His response…’oh are you still upset about that?’……..it was 10 days post D day.

        • Wow! That’s crazy. Incapable of empathy. What a monster! I just can’t wrap my head around the inability to offer support when you witness someone else crying. Often even strangers stop to console.

            • There was a half arsed attempt to appease me….like the equivalent of a pat on the head…there there…

              He was clueless…..and of course it’s not his actions that were the problem…..it’s my reaction to them.

              What a mindfuck.

              • Morrychump,
                Same, same, same. Exactly the same. My reaction was the problem.

                I also got the little reassuring pat on the had that someday, SOMEDAY I would meet someone else. His little narcissistic dick couldn’t help but pipe up and add the no one else would be able to satisfy me sexually as well as he. hahaha. He also said he’d be upset if I ever dated anyone else. He knew that was unreasonable, he said, but such were his FEELZ.

        • Yep, my ex-h claimed that we would never get past him having an affair, so nice lil blameshifting to the chump that it’s chumps fault for the divorce. 5 days after D-day, he told me that “he hoped I find someone.” The cluelessness & self absorption has no words. Yep, I found someone – myself! His married OW has yet to file for divorce surprise surprise

        • I was just going to write what a gaping asshole sociopath your ex is, when I remembered what his twin, my ex, said to me about my emotional crisis a few days after dday: “Bitches be trippin'”.

        • Hi Morrychump:

          Mine asked me a month after Dday whether I had healed yet. They. Just. Don’t. Get. It. And never will.

      • S35,

        Ex-Mrs LFTT was the master of passive aggressive. She would never have asked a straightforward question if she though that the answer would be “no,” as this would put me in the position of power. Much better (in her eyes) to wrap it up a bit. She clearly wanted the advantages of an open relationship (she gets continued access to my earnings, she can maintain appearances that all is well and that she has done nothing wrong …. and she gets to f*ck her AP) and was using the threat if divorce to get it.

        This was and is very much her MO (give me what I want or I will punish you), as the idea of making a concession (here’s what I would like and here is what I am offering in return) just didn’t sit well with her narcissism. Sadly, she is still like this with the kids (now 24, 21 and 17), which is why they keep her at arms length.

        As I mentioned above, I just laughed at her …. she really is pathetic.

        LFTT

  • Seems to me that if she really bought this steaming heap of raw entrails, she would proudly name her husband. That she hasn’t means that she hasn’t fully bought into the ongoing trauma bonding.

    So there may be hope for her yet. Or at least within a year.

  • And I thought my brain was confused as hell from my stbx. But that was next level mind in a blender. These cheaters can really get us in low places wondering about reality. I feel off the cliff this week thinking mine has also been fucking the nanny. I wonder am I totally nuts, wasn’t a wife and another affair partner enough could he really have the time for all this?

      • Thanks, its just really bazaar. He used to say “so do you think I have something going on with her?” Or “are you jealous of her?” I would laugh and say no, because to me she looked like an overgrown adolescent. She then started getting really bitchy with me and the kids, I wanted to fire her. He wouldn’t let me. If there’s one thing I’ve learned through all this is to trust your instinct.

  • That entire article was just insanity. She is 4 months post d-day! Extensive therapy? Umm, no. And wtf is wrong with her friends? She needs new ones. Ones that make sure she feels safe and supported (and fed, she didn’t drop weight quickly because of Disney expectations of marriage) and maybe make sure she doesn’t do anything that’s gonna land her in prison. Maybe. Things are not going to work out well for her. Her husband may be fine hooking up with women who are fine hooking up with “slightly married” men but I’m guessing she’s not going to be super impressed by the quality of guys her situation is attracting. And she loses all moral high ground by going along with his BS. Author needs an intervention, stat.

  • The most telling part of that article is that one of the ‘unresolved’ issues in their relationship is bullying.

    She’s in a typical abusive relationship and doesn’t realise yet, and she’s desperately giving up even more of herself in the hope it can make him happy. He will never be happy but will continue to create a world of confusion and pain for her.

    I hope she is able to free herself from this soon.

  • Are these really words?…
    -—
    Acculturated?
    (occulturated seems fitting, occult saturated maybe)
    (here Honey, have some Koolaid. It’s good! really!)

    Throuples?
    (Through couples) THOT might be the Latin derivative. Qui Bono? Quid est veritas?

    Quaranteam? (Cue Sgt. Hartman FMJ: Lee Ermy. “JEESUS H! CHRIST! Did Your parents have Any children That Lived!?)

    My Red flags…
    “obsessive need for self care” “radical open mindedness”

    I actually know a few of these “enlightened neo-60’s outliers”.
    My take away is always, “Groovy Man. You do you. I’ll do Me.” Oh. Btw, ya got any essential sandlewood oil for sale? I’m out.
    Caio.

  • Lol! A jackass with a carrot taped to his forehead! Thank you so much for this hilarious mental picture. I’ll treasure it forever.

  • Open the dam to save water.

    Open your wallet to save money.

    Open the door to save heating.

    See? Anyone can play this game. You just redefine every noun as something different, and very soon, you will be thirsty, broke and cold.

    Or, as Splendid and Evolved People like to say, ‘satisfied’, ‘comfortable’, and ‘going forward’.

  • I feel sorry for this chump. Reading between the lines, there is A-LOT that she is not okay with.

    …Inevitably, though, those ***darker moments*** are followed by the conviction that the true act of ***self-preservation is to maintain courage in the pursuit of happiness*** ― to follow whatever paths, no matter how unorthodox, lead to that place of self-actualization. And ***for now, at least, the most promising*** path involves walking with my husband, side by side.

    She’s in a dark place with all this. Wants self-preservation, and can’t see a better way forward.

    The whole text is full of subcontext. Much empathy for her as she is obviously in an abusive situation. The Jackass carrot teaser nixed the idea of an open marriage at first because she’d be more successful at it…Is that mindfuckery or what?? He’s successful now, so it’s okay wifey, you can join in too. What will he come up with next to get the upper hand? Controlling FW. Hope she finds this website and gets away from him.

    • Whew, I thought I was the only one who felt sorry for her on here! We’re all chumps. We’ve all spackled like mad, especially immediately after D-Day. I know some are offended because they think she’s judging us for not staying with our cheaters. But this article reminds me of a more verbose version of my social media posts about my “wonderful” husband both before and after D-Day.

      Nitwit also talked me into opening our marriage. I never slept with other men because a) it felt wrong, even with Nitwit’s permission and b) I was too exhausted from working to support Nitwit and doing all the housework to find and vet another partner. So I do understand the desire for “revenge cheating” even if I never acted on it and even though I know this is going to end badly for her, regardless of whether she sleeps with another man or not.

      • Silly me, I wanted my husband, not strange dick. It must have been my societally-imposed resistance to radical open-mindedness that made me have absolutely no desire to chase dick to remind me that the person I valued most valued me so little; to participate in the betrayal of my own values; to dig a spot in the ground next to my cheater to wallow in; to give up what little rights I had as a married woman in the likely event he should bail; to quadruple my exposure to STDs and people who don’t really care about me; to traumatize my children further and normalize intimate betrayal.

        It was bad enough I continued to sleep with him (pick-me-dancing), I regret that immensely. Why would I want to throw some strange dick in there and ‘throuple’ the PTSD?

        My ex told me after dday he had read the Ethical Slut and I should too. I told him I had already read it and he clearly skipped the chapters on Ethical, because if he had, he would have known that getting caught cheating and asking to open up a marriage is not it. I said those things with my words, which had no impact, when I should have voted with my feet.

        I know that now, only in hindsight, because I rode the hopium train for 3 more years until he derailed it again. I knew it then, too, but now I really, really know it.

        I am so glad he’s gone now. I only wish it had been sooner.

  • Key sentence here is “I still have moments when I think I ought to consider separation as an act of self-preservation”. Self-preservation should take precedence over the illusion of sophistication. If your house were on fire you would evacuate first and worry about your trendy clothes later.

    Immediately after D-Day Nitwit persuaded me to open our marriage.

    Here’s what he promised would happen: He would give me sex on a regular basis (he had been rejecting me sexually for months at this point), would not bring any AP to our home, and would actually accompany me to functions as a good husband is supposed to do.

    Here’s what actually happened: Our bedroom continued to be as dead as the proverbial doornail, he continued to ignore my sexual and emotional needs, at least one AP was fucked on our marital bed, and I was too drained even to think about sex with another man. Then, about 4 months into our “open marriage” he announced he wanted a divorce. Huh? I thought that was what the open marriage was supposed to fix. Of course he didn’t actually want a divorce and in fact made no effort to contact a divorce lawyer or draw up a financial settlement. He just wanted me to dance harder, but at that point I had no more energy reserves to give. Just him mentioning divorce made a light bulb go on over my head. I thought about all the little things I would be free to do if I didn’t have 140-150 pounds of dead weight to deal with. It was actually the dumbest thing he could do if he wanted to maintain cake. So when it became obvious that he wasn’t actually going to file I took the initiative, as always, and filed myself.

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