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Her Husband Wants an Open Marriage

Dear Chump Lady,

You’ve written cogently about the way cheaters employ a double standard rather than asking for open marriage.  So I’d like your take on my sitch. After three decades of tacit monogamy, my husband asked for open marriage, pretending to be all honest and transparent and progressive, and was angered by my conventionality and uptightness in saying no.  

He went on and on about how monogamy was unnatural, he didn’t get it, no one could be everything to someone else, blah blah blah. I said, no thanks, not built for it, don’t think it conduces to true trust and intimacy, and don’t quite trust a request coming at this point in the relay.

I asked whether I was already an unwilling participant in an open marriage, he reassured me NO.

Long story short, it was total bullshit. Discovered a two-plus year clandestine affair and other sexual adventuring (of the Craigslist, crotch-shot variety). Really fun stuff. But what happened then was simply ongoing demand for open marriage, which I refused, then kicked him to the curb, after which he held tight to his new philosophy (which he sees as blasting the terrible ideological fog of conventional monogamy), and played Mr. Oh So Progressive and Tragically Compelled to Leave Wife and Children to Escape the Unnatural Constraints of Monogamy. And of course, on a slightly different channel, to realize Selfhood, escape Controlling Spouse, and all that other crap.

SO…I felt totally gobsmacked and will admit to chumpily waiting several months for the “fog” to lift.  But then I filed and have moved to post-hopium attitude.

Here’s my question. Can you fortify my sense that this guy is full of shit? I hate the pretense of “I couldn’t live that way anymore and now have to be upfront about open marriage need.” He’s all “Well, I guess we just have to agree to disagree.” It makes me so sick and it feels so abusive to have him simply throw this in my face over and over and act as though he’s done nothing wrong, since his PHILOSOPHY explains his prior cheating.

The suffering will be finite, I know. I have filed. But still, I would love to hear what you think about this: whether you think it’s bullshit or laudable if belated honesty.

Phoenix7

Dear Phoenix7,

I vote bullshit.

It’s one thing to begin with an open marriage. It’s quite another to have it thrust upon you after you’ve invested years in what you thought was a monogamous marriage.

This “offer” is not sexual sophistication, it’s an implied threat — let me have my cake, or we’re through. The cheater lays the blame with monogamy — that impossible condition that, oh hey, we all agreed to.

The problem isn’t monogamy. The problem is that your husband unilaterally changed the terms of the marriage agreement.

You were presented with a choice: Agree to let your husband have multiple partners, and you can enjoy the same, or end the relationship.

Let’s say you had accepted the open arrangement. You would then need to negotiate the sort of terms that polyamorists set, such as, am I the primary relationship? Who is an acceptable partner? Can we ask mutual friends? How much time is spent on extracurriculars? How do we manage risk for STDs, etc.?

But the problem there is you’d be negotiating relationship terms with someone who just demonstrated to you that he couldn’t be trusted. He behaves unilaterally and changes the terms of agreed upon arrangements (like monogamous marriage). Open relationships are based on trust too.

I really don’t think your husband believes in polyamory. I think he’s just a run of the mill cake-eating cheater.

Did he spend two entire years working out his “philosophy” on Craigslist? (What kind of Platonic dialectic is that?) Apparently, he was quite happy to have you living by a set of rules that he was not bound by. Do you think compassion led him to invite you into his swinging lifestyle? Or the idea that he could enjoy a smorgasbord of pussy without consequences?

Why did he come out about the wonders of open marriage after two years of cheating? (That you know of.) A guilty conscience or something else? The OW threatens to blow the whistle, he caught an STD off a Craigslist friend, he decides his latest kink is watching someone else fuck you. I don’t know — but I sincerely doubt your welfare was at the top of his agenda. Because he was okay CHEATING on you for YEARS.

He thinks he is a man of principle. A noble Don Quixote tilting at the cruel windmill of monogamy. A lonely philosopher wandering the moors of convention.

No. He’s a pathetic man-child who sends crotch shots on Craigslist.

You don’t control his philosophical delusions. Just get on with your own improved, cheater-free life. Hopefully he’ll drink a cup of Hemlock soon.

This column ran previously.

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  • I could have written this letter. My x (who is dragging out the divorce—now at the 18 month mark) claimed, after 29 years that “monogamy isn’t natural,” “I didn’t know marriage vows meant forever,” and by the way “I’ve been f@cking a hooker in our house, during COVID lockdown.” He wanted to pursue a “relationship” with said hooker—who 2 years since discovery he’s still paying. He was pissed off that I wouldn’t accept his polyamory relationship suggestion, and that I had an old fashioned view of marriage. I filed, after I realized this was a problem no amount of praying, wishing, crying would fix.

    He has never given me closure, the answer to my “why.” I guess I’ll never know if the person I trusted more than anyone on earth decided to decimate our family. The morals he claimed to have, the honesty he boasted about were ephemeral. I hope one day to get to “meh.” He moved on without a backwards glance, says he doesn’t remember anything from our decades together, “all a blur.” To have my life, my family, that I built crumble and realize it never meant anything to him, that stings.

    • I suggest “The Myth of Closure” by Prof Pauline Bass for anyone contending with Ambiguous Gruef such as you are enduring.

      • Sorry for spelling error:

        I suggest “The Myth of Closure” by Prof Pauline Bass for anyone contending with Ambiguous Grief such as you are enduring.

    • I find the evolutionary polyamory argument funny. Leading evolutionary primatologist Richard Wrangham, author of “Demonic Males: Apes and the Evolution of Human Violence” and “Catching Fire,” theorizes that humans evolved to be basically monogamous.

      Unlike some guru-ish pop-primatologists who seem to be ignoring carbon dating to echo popular concepts in order to get clicks and sell books, Wrangham argues that we could not have evolved directly from the groovy, peacenik, egalitarian, orgy-loving bonobo chimpanzees. So much for the “bonobo excuse” for infidelity. The poly faction tends to love the bonobo argument but it sort of takes the groovy associative glow off frantic promiscuity that the trait also happens to be shared by our closest ape cousin, the regular, rapey, ultraviolent Clockwork Orange chimps. In response to a variety of “evolutionary excuses” for various elective human behaviors, Wrangham points out that regular chimps also regularly engage in infanticide and cannibalism which successful organized modern societies aren’t prone to make excuses for, therefore the “evolutionary excuse” for these behaviors is tired bullshit.

      All in all, humans have evolved away from apes in some significant ways, one of which is the development of free will and another may be monogamy. Wrangham theorizes that the formation of human language may have evolved in part as a “mate guarding” strategy, a means of mate-guarding “in absentia”:https://books.google.com.ar/books?id=9YInrVSoa9cC&pg=PA93&lpg=PA93&dq=Richard+Wrangham+infidelity&source=bl&ots=q-tnqvFW6Q&sig=ACfU3U23Oo2cyKM-naKs70vRPrmrGG4iig&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiklu63wP_pAhX9mXIEHT1RBk4Q6AEwAnoECAgQAQ#v=onepage&q=Richard%20Wrangham%20&f=false

      Polyamory people may argue that poly comes naturally to them as individuals just like Soviet-era serial killer Andrei Chikatilo can argue that serial child murder and cannibalism came naturally to him. Both could point out that our ape ancestors engaged in these things. But that doesn’t make the behaviors defining, universal human traits.

      • HoaC, the problem is not which relationship model you follow, the problem is getting into a relationship with someone who lies, cheats, and puts you at risk. Cheating exists in all kind of relationships, polyamorous included, because cheating is deceiving and breaking a promise you made to someone you’re in a relationship with. Ain’t no need to be monogamous for that to happen.

        I’m really tired of people shitting on polyamory for no reason, and I don’t appreciate your comparing it to fucking cannibalism and infanticide. Polyamory is not for everyone AND it’s not an excuse to cheat on your partner. There’s nothing wrong with either monogamy or polyamory! As long as everyone involved in the relationship consents to its terms, people should be able to live with whichever model they prefer.

        The problem with cheating is not polyamory, because the problem with cheating is not sex or love. The problem with cheating is lying and hurting others because you feel entitled to it, and robbing people you purport to care about of their ability to consent (emotionally, sexually, financially…). That’s abuse, whether it happens in a monogamous marriage, in an open relationship, or in a non-romantic relationship.

        And of course, trying to explain current human behaviour through the current behaviour of other primates is just bad science. Ethology doesn’t work that way.

        • Agree strongly.
          Being cheated on involves lying. The point of poly, open, etc other non monogamous relationships is to foster trust and full honesty, regardless of partner numeracy.

          People who embody polyamory in truth are about full disclosure.

          Non monogamists get a bad wrap because cheaters use non-monogamy to justify their idiocy but they are truly and wholly opposed. Their idea that they are the same is exacting proof that they don’t understand the reality of an honest equitable relationship which is the requirement of non monogamy. It’s a shame that people use it as an excuse. After my D-Day, the non monog community was absolutely pivotal to getting my head back on straight. Proof positive that honesty can exist and that lies were nothing but a power play. I understood what parity and equity and sharing and honesty look like.

          Please remember that all people from all walks can be cheated on, regardless of your personal lifestyle or relationship alignment. The abuse control and lying can disassemble a person regardless of what they experience as their day to day relationship.

          I hope people remember this.

          • Yes, it was reading posts on the poly forums that reassured me that what was happening to me was NOT how polyamory works. I already knew that to be true, but seeing so many people posting about how awful cheating is, and how much they resent cheaters preying on the poly community, really helped me be clear that this is not what it’s supposed to be like, that you suddenly find out that there was a new member of the polycule for quite a while, without your knowledge, and they’re going to be part of it whether you like it or not, and whether it’s ethical or not. I experienced the same humiliation as anyone else at finding out that a stranger I didn’t even know existed had actually been let into the family circle of trust, told all kinds of intimate details about everyone in our family, including the most private possible health details about me.

            Back years ago when we lived in a swinging city, I was never really that active in the poly community events and forums, but FW was, and he was constantly complaining that people looked down on him or didn’t like him and would trash talk him, and I just thought it was regular friends group drama, but now I think I know exactly why he had those problems there.

        • Sorry to make you angry with the remarks about polyamory. I grew up around it and though there are people who don’t make sweeping, radical claims about the entire species to justify the lifestyle choice, many do, probably partly to signal group belonging. I’m echoing internal criticism that it can get cult-like and can be used as an excuse to be an asshole. The latter is the theme of the thread. I should have been clearer that I was aiming at the hypocrites.

          The point is that people can make and own individual choices without chalking it up to evolution. Because, let’s face it, we hail from the most wantonly violent, patriarchal species of mammal in the history of the planet, probably rivaled only by hyenas. The ape social system is not something I think we should enthusiastically embrace or return to.

          If someone wants to be poly and is up front about it, I have no problem with it. I just ask to be spared the dogma and junk science.

    • “I didn’t know marriage vows meant forever,”

      Riiiiight. What a pathetic lie.

      “The morals he claimed to have, the honesty he boasted about were ephemeral.”

      They were non-existent. He faked them in order to have a family as a front of normalcy. The guy is so disordered he thinks paying for sex is a relationship. There is no why, no closure, beyond the fact that he is deviant and deranged. It does sting how they dismiss and forget an entire life together. What more proof do we need that they are freaks and there is no rationality behind what they do, and therefore they can give us no answers.

      • Ask, “What does ’til death do us part’ mean to you?” For humans, that is effectively ‘forever’.

      • Mine said he meant “forever” when he said it (repeatedly over 20+ years) but then “decided to go in a different direction.” Never a second thought, ounce of remorse, etc. – he said he “flipped a switch” and that was it. The amount of time I wasted trying to figure this out – even thought he had a brain tumor, because that made more sense than this BS.

    • I’m so sorry FR, when they paint themselves as true and honest and all in it more than stings when you find out they’re as shallow as a puddle. It hurts like a motherfucker.
      I also had the ‘open relationship’ request, not realising I was already in one. I stupidly said I’d give it a try as subconsciously I knew he’d look elsewhere if I didn’t. needless to say the rules were broken straight away and led me to play detective and find out about his hidden relationships. When I finally kicked him out after 6 months in the RIC he went straight into another relationship within 2 weeks. Without a backward glance. It crushed me. I’ll never be the same but I’m glad he’s out of my life.

      • CDU-Cheater would give endless weekly lectures on his integrity, “he was a man of integrity.” He portrayed himself as Saintly. In my ignorance I believed him.
        People who have integrity don’t need to advertise.
        I should have known.

      • I didn’t have the ‘open relationship’ request, but I did have the head-spinning other relationship within days of having to flee the house. I now understand it was part of the discard, all calculated because as a covert narcissist, he could not adult and ask for a divorce. “Without a backward glance, it crushed me.” Yup. My only rationale is to learn that evil exists, but that reality has also opened my eyes to kindness and tenacity, both of which I find here.

    • Faithful Rage, what a vacuous banal blow-hard nightmare of a man he has turned out to be–you deserve so much better!
      Don’t let his words hurt you–you already know this guy is a liar, think of all the lies he told to hide his cheating. To paraphrase what Judge Judy says, “you can tell when he is lying–it’s whenever his lips move”. I’ll bet he remembers just fine, and that you will hear plenty of his self-serving “memories” whenever he thinks it is to his advantage. I think that his pretending it is just a blur was to put you off balance, because he thinks that way you’ll be easier to manipulate during the divorce process! But you are much too smart to let him do that. You built a real life; and you will be surprised with how much of it is still real and good after his poisonous character is out of your life. His fakery does not cancel your worth, and you don’t need his validation (i.e a “reason” from him) in order to give yourself closure emotionally–the validation of a liar and an abuser has no worth; you are the only thing in that marriage that had worth. The faith and truth you brought to it were what gave it worth, and you will be taking both of those with you after the divorce. I hope you and your lawyer also fight hard for a great financial settlement for you, including recouping for you all the money he spent on her; so that the one whose life is crumbling in the end will be him!

      How long can he continue to pay her prostitute fees after a fair divorce settlement? The Karma truck is coming for him really soon.

  • My STBX told me he felt he could date a better caliber of women if he could say he was separated because better women won’t “date” a married man.

    • …that’s quite possibly the most dim-witted, oblivious, narcissistic statement I’ve ever heard. Oh my god…

    • Like he’s going to be honest and tell people he dates that he’s a cheater?

      (insert maniacal laughter)

      I laughed when I found out he was on Tinder, lying in his profile, of course. I found it hysterical that by continuing the behavior (lying and deception) that ruined our “marriage”, he was already on his way to divorce number two. Before divorce number one had even started.

      Success in life is about sticking with the winners and being one yourself.

      Cheaters, by definition, are not. It’s tragic that I found out I was duped, but better late than never.

    • Learning- that’s a good one. Might actually be one of the best I’ve heard. And by “best”, I mean “most insulting and audacious”. I am glad the he’s your stbx and hope that you are well on your way to “meh”. After being caught cheating (the first of many times), the clown I was in a relationship with told me that he did it because he was afraid of not being able to live up to what was expected of him,with me being so super amazing and all. Then, it was because HE was so fantastic and it wasn’t his fault that men of his caliber are able to attract multiple women. Next, it was because he was a man and it was his privilege. He didn’t write the rule on that one. It was just the natural order of things. Each time, I was shocked by how ridiculous it all was and by his audacity. Yet, I stayed. For far too long. Good thing for me is that when I finally walked away, I was completely disgusted by him and didn’t care whether he lived or died. I didn’t care who he was sleeping with, and I certainly didn’t care if there could have been any truth to explanations/excuses. None of it mattered. I finally saw him for the sorry bum that he was and was just glad to be rid of him. I was mostly angry with myself for tolerating his fuckery for as long as I did.

      • my FW said “men and women cheat for different reasons” and that he had a “brain malfunction” that made him cheat. As if it was uncontrollable and he had no free will in saying no. Although after he suffered the consequences of me not giving him cake, he claims he won’t cheat in his next relationship. Whatevs dude, doesn’t make a difference to me.

        He thought because he is muscular that he deserved a certain caliber of female – he thought he deserved an Instagram fitness model. He was obsessed with them, and thought he had a chance. Right dude, you’re 5′ 3″ 57 years old wearing speedos. No hot 20 something will give you a glance. Who did he cheat with? A woman that is not an athlete at all. (I am, in fact an athlete, a distance runner, which is something he can’t do). Who is he with now? She’s older than him, not an athlete at all. Has no muscle tone which is important to him (I recall how he would feel my arms and legs cuz he loved feeling muscles. He only has his own to feel now).

        So his obsession with fitness models led him away from me, an actual athlete that participated in athletic pursuits with him, to women that just watch him.

    • Like a stopped clock, FWs might be right twice a day. It’s absolutely true that “quality” people don’t fuck married people.

      I feel like I field tested this equation from the time I was in college and starting out in my career.
      I was a bit confused about other people’s sexual conduct and didn’t want to be “judgmental.” But I eventually figured out that cheaters and mate-poacher types are pretty terrible in all ways. Without fail, they’re also the backstabbers or character assassins, the vile climbers, the harassers and harassment/rape-enablers, the wake-boarders, the kleptos and plagiarists, etc. Scammy people are not just scammy in one direction but lack integrity in a general sense. I won’t hire the type to watch my kids, legally represent me or even clean my gutters.

        • Maybe that’s too insular a workplace term– it means people who take credit for other people’s efforts, generaly coming in at the last second after the hard stuff has been completed, say “Make the header cornflower blue!” and then tell the boss and clients they spearheaded the whole thing.

  • I would guess that over 80% of the chumps on this site were offered the same “open marriage” with the same philosophical drivel. My ex claims that he has that with Schmoopie. I chuckle and ask (in my head), “does she know that”? Doubtful.

  • His pitch and response remind me of how controlling my second husband tried to be. When he was unable to control me, he turned quite angry and huffy.

    Changing the subject … Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis published an autobiography that I listened to. They had section on their decision to try Open Marriage. After the kids were grown up. The book made it sound as if they had many discussions first before agreeing. Outside relationships had to be discussed. The outside relationship was not supposed to threaten the primary relationship. I believe, but can’t find it that they eventually publicly said it didn’t work for them.

  • Hemlock to them all!!! Gah.

    FaithfulRage: it hurts when you take off the rose-coloured glasses. The awful sight of Themselves As They Really Are (no moral compass). And get a good look at the sunk costs of investing in/breeding with a TERRIBLE PERSON (to quote CL). You will get to meh, but it will be hard. Hand in there (((hugs)))

    • MamaMeh, when you remove the rose colored glasses the sight you see is frightening.
      For years thinking his behavior was normal or “not that bad” and remembering the endless pick me dances, and gallons of spackle wasted on an imposter/con-artist.

      Unfortunately the high cost of investing/breeding with the imposter, is an endless nightmare.

  • After my ex got caught having a yearlong affair, she tried saying that what she really needs is an open marriage because our relationship isn’t enough.

    Divorce was finalized last month and the last of her stuff moved out yesterday. As I understand she currently has no relationship, I hope that’s enough for her, maybe she can actually spend some time with the kids.

  • The ex brought up the idea of open marriage/polyamory about two years before he left. HOWEVER… (yes, doing my best to stop untangling the skein, but…) when he brought it up, I was EXCITED and INTRIGUED. And I wonder if that wasn’t the reaction he was looking for. Looking back I wonder if he wasn’t laying the foundation for his exit and was HOPING I wouldn’t be open because then he could claim later I was holding him back.
    I started reading the requisite books, More Than Two, Ethical Slut, etc., opened an account on FetLife, and we started discussing it. Of course he assured me that he would NEEEeeeeeEEEEEver start exploring on his own. 🙄
    I found a meetup of swinging couples and we made plans to go on St. Patrick’s Day weekend 2020. Welp. Shutdown shut it down, and three months later he blindsides me and leaves me for a girl thirty years younger, and in a Google doc manifesto to me, cites my fundamentalist Christian (???) and puritan-style sexuality was, yes, holding him back.
    So being open to the arrangement isn’t going to stop them. FWs gotta FW.

    • Exactly. There’s no amount of bending over, agreeing with them, or giving them what they want because what they want is to do whatever they want.

      • 👍

        Yes and the reality is for most is that they left us a long time before they told us. They had to be sure, before they blew up their own life.

        • Exactly, I believe they’ve left mentally long before D-day. Looking back at the couple of years prior to D-day I recall feeling that ex wasn’t present. With time, distance and chump nation I realize it was my intuition telling me to be aware. I was in the way and ex was planning his departure

          • Same Brit, FW traveled more and more over the course of a year or two, then started a discard in earnest a full year before I figured out what he was doing.

            Somewhere along the way he waffled back to wanting to stay in the marriage, but shortly after I figured out why he had been treating me like I didn’t exist, it wasn’t his choice anymore. No small thanks to CL & CN!

            • Y’know, I’m glad to read this. My ex did the surprise-polyamory thing; I didn’t stand for it at all (I could see that she was not going to even attempt to respect my needs and boundaries) but I’ve occasionally wondered what would have happened if I had.

        • Susie Lee

          Yep, he was telling her that he weren’t sleeping together. I wish we hadn’t been. LYING liars gotta lie. Howorker told me they discussed how they might have to pay me rent since I owned equally the commercial property. All news to me….

          Yeah, too bad it wasn’t the “brain tumor”.

          • At least if the FWs dropped over from brain tumors, we would save a ton of legal fees.

            And people would bring casseroles over.

            A brain tumor would have been a blessing in disguise.

            I mean no disrespect to any chump who actually found out it WAS a brain tumor.

            • Yes, even my mother in law when I told her said to me “you would have been better off had he died” her abusive cheater did die of a massive heart attack, so I guess she knew. Blood eventually took over, but she knew.

    • I get the feeling most of these “open minded FWs” would not like it one bit if their chump got some action on the side. Oh no, that’s only for them!

      • Truth. After D-Day #2/GF#3, FW sat me down (he was mostly moved into GF#3/Wifetress’s house by now) and explained how me (Fourleaf) marrying again and giving our children a stepfather was one of the worst nightmares he could ever have. He was in tears explaining how awful the idea even was. How stepfathers are awful for step kids because they abuse them (based on GF#3’s stories to him about how her stepfather abused her). He never wanted me to have a boyfriend, husband, or otherwise introduce a man into our children’s lives.

        I was still in a stunned haze and in antidepressants, so I remember doing a lot of nodding and agreeing. I remember telling him “How can you even think I’d ever date anyone else?” The thought was completely foreign to me.

        Satisfied with my answer, he took the last of his suitcases and left to finish moving into GF#3’s house. With her kid. That he became the stepfather to.

        I couldn’t unpack what he was saying at the time. It all didn’t make any sense to me. Nowadays I think back on conversation and I get angry. The absolute gall of him. The gall.

        He kindof got what he wanted. I have never had the desire to ever date or marry again.

        • Four leaf, their entitlement has no limits. My XH of 25 years wanted to “see” young mate poacher “openly.” Devastated, I asked, “like an open marriage?” Nope. He was “breaking up” with me (and our 4 kids, pets, businesses community, extended family). Wtf, is this middle school?!
          When I filed and divorced him and was awarded almost everything and full custody, and met a wonderful mensch who wanted the same things I do (loyalty, monogamy, to grow old together raising our respective kids and grandkids, to travel, entertain friends, build a business, run races and climb mountains) XH was furious, rewrote history and told everyone I cheated on him first. What?! He’s a fucker to the core. Good riddance!

        • Wow. I’m so sorry that you had that experience. What a monster. And a liar. And and a piece of shyt. Do NOT let him steal your joy or belief in love. You were married to an asshole and a manipulator and a narcissist. You will thrive without him. Me? I get to sit with the reality that I am STILL a decade younger than he is, very happily married, and glad that I didn’t let that experience ruin me. Allow yourself to release that experience and be free from all the lies and manipulation you were subjected to. I totally get the anger. But, now? I realize just how pathetic my ex is and I laugh at the sorry excuse for man hoping to exalt himself by creating the very FALSE narrative that he was more interesting/desirable than he actually was. And I probably would feel sorry for him being such a loser, but then I think about the fact that he actually got off on thinking how clever he is with all his lies and mind games and I imagine him as he is now: an aging, balding loser with bad knees who will ultimately wind up alone and miserable. He will no doubt wind up spending his pension on increasingly lower caliber women in order to maintain the illusion of his ability to maintain his control over women because of his status as a “high quality” man. It really is sad. But, it’s what he deserves. And who am I to stand in the way of his karmic comeuppance? As ugly as it sounds, I would be satisfied knowing that he died and was buried in a pauper’s grave because he has no one to care about him in the end. But, I realize that my vengeance won’t take death. He’s no doubt looking in the mirror each day and feeling the desperation of a man living with increasingly limited options.

      • Their centrality is the majority of the turn on. Even though FW was the one to ask for the divorce to be with the OW and he spent his first night away from the family home in hers, he lost his shit when he discovered I was dipping my toes in the dating pool. Apparently I was to join the convent.

        • Yep, my fw had left me and told me he never loved me, and had cheated for half our marriage. (I suspect he cheated through all of the marriage). Anyway, when he found out I had gone out on a date almost a year after he left me, he called the preacher to try and hoover back. He didn’t want me at all, but he never meant for me to have anyone else. In his fucked up mind, I assume I was to sit in a corner and cry over him for the rest of my life. And hey if I was lucky, maybe he would throw me a mercy tumble every once in a while.

          My daughter in law told me that fw hated my husband and was even speaking of his hatred for him not long before he (fw) died. So that hatred lasted years. Which was weird because he didn’t even know my husband and we didn’t even meet until long after my ex and I split.

      • Listen to some Reddit stuff and your suspicion will be confirmed. Far too many times one partner wants an open relationship (usually with a single, very specific person in mind) and when the partner accepts it and starts exploring on their own, the partner who proposed it screams cheating. The second, agreeing partners are quite often left with a reputation of a cheater, even if they have confirmations in emails etc. about the agreement.

        Never, ever agree to it (unless it’s your spiel). But then, if it’s their spiel, people let you know in advance what floats their boat and don’t hide it. Also, these open relationships have so many rules, dos and don’t, more than monogamous relationships. Such restrictiveness isn’t for me. Also, I’m not a chattel to be given by my partner to somebody else for a quick duck. Not to mentions swinging parties … If I wanted sex with sad, middle aged men, I wouldn’t need to go to a swinging party, thank you very much, I can find one or two by myself, no problem.

      • I’ll never forget floating that test question to FW just before D-Day in the period when I strongly suspected that he might be cheating and was being coached by a lawyer friend to hire a PI. I asked if he wanted an “open marriage.” He said– and I quote– “Nooooooo!”

        Somehow I think that’s even uglier than the cheaters who assume they’re being groovy by offering the option long after stepping out.

      • “I get the feeling most of these “open minded FWs” would not like it one bit if their chump got some action on the side. Oh no, that’s only for them!”

        Yup. I was told this quite directly. I was expected to “forgive” him but he didn’t think he’d forgive me in the same situation. He was in knots over the idea that I’d have a revenge affair.

        • 😜❤️

          If only I could learn to apply alleged brilliance to my choice of romantic partners….

          • “Good advice is of no use to one’s self. It simply must be given away.” The wise words of Ms. E. Jean. (Who I believe may have been quoting someone else.)

      • exactly. Deception is the beer goggles of for the FW. That’s part of why they tend to cheat down.

    • Oh yeah, after living polyamorously for 22 years, suddenly he says I’m “vanilla,” that he’s poly and I’m not (he’s claiming now that it’s a sexual orientation, not a relationship style), and that I don’t approve of “his” lifestyle. Because I used the veto that most poly couples have so that nobody gets hurt. It’s just so tragic that I became old and sexless while he is still young and virile, as proven by his ability to get a person 20 years younger than us to have sex with him. I’m just so uncool because I find that gross and exploitative instead of exciting and proof of his hotness.

    • DWA, I believe your hunch is absolutely spot on: your ex was expecting you to be completely against his open marriage suggestion.
      And had shutdown not stopped you from putting it into practice, I’m pretty sure your ex would have sabotaged it, and you, in any way he could.
      They don’t really want true open marriage / open relationship – they just want to eliminate your ability to object to their cheating.
      After I caught the Lying Cheating Loser cheating the first time (about 6 months into our relationship) I’m the one who suggested we open our relationship, “so that he could show up as who he truly is.” (Insert facepalm emoji here.)
      He enthusiastically agreed to the open relationship idea, and to all my proposed boundaries, and then methodically set about breaking them.
      I’m big on identifying our payoffs in life, and in this case I mistakenly believed that LCL’s payoff was to get to have sex with other partners. But no. His main payoffs were lying, deceiving, and getting away with shit. The sex was just a pleasant side effect of his systematic duplicity.

    • Yep we explored that lifestyle too, however I was very reluctant about it and he behaved appallingly.I thought that we were exploring our sexuality together and I was giving him his fantasies not realising it was all a cover up for his affairs.
      My therapist says I was groomed to agree to what he wanted. And it went much further than an open relationship and has been incredibly damaging. I really believed that he adored me even when seeing him flirt openly with others including my firends.
      Leaving him was like leaving a cult.

  • “It makes me so sick and it feels so abusive to have him simply throw this in my face over and over and act as though he’s done nothing wrong”

    Wouldn’t it be nice if a FW just admitted that, yes, they’ve done something wrong? Boy, a genuine apology and owning up to one’s misdeeds sure would be nice.

    FW are incapable of that. They never do anything wrong (according to them). If they hurt you then it’s society’s fault or your fault and they’re sorry you feel that way about it.

    I spent years looking for closure with someone who couldn’t be trusted and with someone who can’t bring him to say the word “adultery” or “affair.” He simply won’t paint himself with that brush.

    They will continue to throw their philosophies in our face. They will continue to insist that they’ve done nothing wrong. We can only remove ourselves from that situation and leave them to their fantasies.

    • Fourleaf, I tend to believe that FW’s do not have the capacity to offer a sincere apology… much less define the whys of their actions.
      I received an obligatory “My actions were inexcusable and just so hurtful to you” which was written to me while he was in the throes of a days long sex bender, making his words as unbelievable and unreliable as mine when I promise myself I’ll stop at the next ThinMint cookie.

    • Four leaf, there have been rare moments over the past 7 years when XH seems to have expressed true remorse— for about 30 seconds… when he’s been drinking or smoking mellow weed. Mainly he’s sorry that I’m no longer of use to him. Who wants that? Not me!

    • When he was pretending to reconcile, FW told two different marriage counselors that the problem we were having is that I *thought* what he did was wrong, and wouldn’t accept that that’s just my opinion, not an objective truth. And, being “infidelity isn’t always abuse” type of toxic therapists, they’d not along, until I’d tell them that he exploited a natural disaster to seduce his friend’s partner while lying to his family that he was selflessly doing emergency rescue work. Their mouths would drop, but he’d be totally oblivious and go “See? She thinks that’s wrong and won’t admit it’s subjective!” They really do think that if it was fun for them, it can’t be that bad.

  • I actually asked my ex-wife after D-Day number two (affair number four total, D-Day number one contained three affairs) if what she was seeking was an open marriage. I didn’t ask the question because I was prepared to offer the open marriage, but obviously monogamy was not working for her, so I asked if that’s what she was getting at with all of this. Her response:

    “Oh, no… absolutely not! I couldn’t bear the thought of you being with someone else, it would destroy me.”

    The mindblender was strong with this one. We’re divorced now and my single life is awesome, but I was sick both physically and mentally during this time… developed an auto-immune disorder, lost my hair, lost 35 pounds.

    Doing much better now on the other side.

    • So sorry you went through that. My ex wife said that if I ever had an affair or cheated she would divorce me, no reconciliation! While she had multiple affairs. Being married to a difficult woman can cause all kinds of issues. I ended up with two permanent autoimmune diseases. I am glad you are doing better.

      • Thank you, I appreciate that. Auto-immune issues are so common in us chumps. I wonder what the science is behind cortisol flooding and auto-immune diseases?

        It’s truly amazing to watch people actively cheat while demanding fidelity from their partner.

    • My ex had an ex gf on the side our entire 13 years together.

      After I’d found out and done all the usual worthless things like drag him to counseling (where he continued to lie) and try to get the truth out of him (story kept changing and he’d throw tantrums to get me to rug sweep) I filed for divorce.

      I’d been hanging out with friends a lot more while the divorce sas in process because I didn’t want to deal with hid phony sadz and nasty bullying. As the signed papers are sitting on the judge’s desk waiting on his signature (it was the holidays) ex had the audacity to ask if I was cheating on HIM.

      Rich…i rolled my eyes and informed him that my life was no longer his business.

      The double standards and entitlement of these pricks is mind boggling.

  • I know of a few successful poly families, and they are a whole heck of a lot of work for everyone. Deciding where to live, work, have kids is more complicated with the needs of three or four people much less 2! They also put a lot of time in communicating and understanding each other’s needs. They have spreadsheets worth of scheduling.

    It’s like relationship on Hard mode. For those who want to live that way and do it ethically it is worth it for them and to have that family/support network. But it is very much not something someone can succeed at if it starts with a breech of trust. It takes way more trust and conversation to build a house without a blueprint then to follow a known and well understood model. That isn’t a bad thing, but it means LW was set up to fail. Her husband already burned down the house and is trying to call it by a different name. He doesn’t have a new lifestyle, he is trying to rebrand a wreckage he caused.

  • I hope Phoenix7 now has no doubt that cheater x is chock full of shit. I hope she is in a far better place with no doubt that cheater x is absolutely full of shit. But mostly I hope that she doesn’t even think about cheater x any more. I hope she is so busy and happy that he is nothing to her. But mostly I hope that Mr. Open Relationship is cheated on and miserable. I hope he somehow becomes capable of normal emotions and experiences all the pain he inflicted on his ex wife. That would be about right.

    • I found a movie, Alexandra’s Project that is about just that. Parts of it were tough to watch, sort of gritty. The point was that the FW was forced to feel exactly what his chump felt for years. The image of him at the end of the movie is haunting.

  • There’s always a noble reason for their cheating right? The end of the marriage is always your fault, not theirs. There’s a million ways for them to say it, but it’s all the same “I take no responsibility — it’s all your fault” bullshit.

    In truth, it’s just gaslighting. No matter how ridiculous their words are, if they keep repeating them, after the years of lies and bullshit, we question ourselves and the truth.

    The truth is this: he’s a run of the mill Cheater who refuses to take responsibility and is digging in his heels to find a way to blame you for his selfish shit choices.

  • Apparently, I had a problem because I was the only person he knew who wasn’t into porn – everybody else loves it.

    I found this confusing because I was never into it and he knew that from the start, (we talked through stuff like that) didn’t stop him from marrying me and having three kids.
    Also, how the hell did he know who was and wasn’t into porn – what kind of conversations was he actually having with people – huge clue, right there.
    Us chumps, we’re just so dull aren’t we!

    • So familiar with this gambit! My FW tried to tell me that a prominent feminist blogger we both read at the time was “porn-positive”—— in my chumpiness (and reaction to years of gaslighting) I actually did a search of the entire archives …. I did not find what he hoped was there! They are full of sh*t

  • Successful open relationships are based on a foundation of trust and respect. It’s called ethical nonmonogamy for a reason.

    You can’t build that retroactively.

  • My Ex tried something similar. She had cheated at least once early on (living together, but not engaged yet) and was currently cheating with a guy she played volleyball with, call him C. He got her reading “the ethical slut” and she was all into the “polyamory” lifestyle. D-Day was a few months later. In theory the affair with C was over, but she continued to lie to me about this other guy (call him D) she was starting things with. Not sure why she was still lying, maybe because D’s wife didn’t know, or maybe because she actually wanted to stay married to me.
    In any event, there was no way I would be happy in a marriage like that, so we got divorced. We had a pre-nup and no kids, so it was relatively easy. She didn’t fight for my savings or 401k which was nice, at least. I think I ended up with over 80% of the assets in the divorce, since we never mixed our finances and I wasn’t dumb with money. We also got divorced during the 2015 dip in the housing market, which means cashing her out of the house was much cheaper than it would be now.

  • My ex wife actually said post D-Day – “do you want an open marriage? Actually no he (the OM) wouldn’t agree to it”

    Haha I mean WTF?

  • Like many chumps here, I too was offered the open marriage on DDay. Fortunately, I already knew that I had been in an open marriage for at least two years but just was not informed of that fact. I turned down the offer and filed after trying the pick me dance and the RIC. Happily many of his pictures and videos of he and Schmoopie (32 years younger than FW) were easily accessible (“accidently” uploaded to my adult son’s shared account). We are currently trying to settle. The evidence and his fear of it going on the record are helping to ensure that a settlement is fair. Of course he still contends that everyone except those of us who are true prudes, send pictures of their private parts to other people. I know many people who do not make this a habit. So I guess it only applies to FWs?????

  • When I began looking past the big headline that said CHEATING, I found an even bigger headline that said BROKEN AGREEMENTS.

    The confirmed episode of cheating that I discovered was just the biggest, loudest, most painful glaring undeniable example in a long long long line of broken agreements that went all the way back to the beginning of the relationship. I never looked at them in totality. I looked at them individually. Big mistake.

    I evaluated staying in the relationship on individual broken agreements, not seeing them as. PATTERN OF BEHAVIOR that indicated he was incapable of keeping agreements (or telling the truth).

    Am I going to end my marriage of 15 years because he lies about masturbating in the shower? That sounds ridiculous when said out loud. (There is one bathroom in the house and I had asked him to please rinse down the bathtub after “finishing” so the tub would be clean for child’s bath…what a jerk I am….he told me he NEVER!!!!!! did that in the shower….though I had seen him or been with him fooling around in the shower…..)

    It doesn’t really matter what someone lies about. It’s the LYING.

    I’m not into polyamory, but I do think that to be successful, there has to be Olympic gold medal levels of integrity and communication skills among the parties. Something one proves one totally lacks by cheating.

    • Years ago, as a participant in a recovery program for partners of men in a batterer’s intervention program (yes, I thought I would stay and see if he would change….*sigh*….) I was taught that TRUST and SAFETY are the essential qualities of a healthy relationship, and without them, it is an ENTANGLEMENT. All relationships of all kinds, not just romantic partnerships.

      Recently I read “where there is deception, there is no relationship.”

      Once trust and safety goes, there is no getting it back any more than you can get whole eggs out of cake batter.

    • Same dynamic was present throughout my marriage — or MIRAGE, as you would note.. He broke so many low-level agreements and I excused them all away. If I had seen the pattern, I would have realized that this is a man who cannot be trusted. He made decisions to lie/betray/break promises/etc, all the while thinking only of himself, while I was invested in a partnership.

      I found out after DDay about a secret that he kept from me. It had nothing to do with infidelity but it was a huge sign of his deceptive character. This is something I “should” have known, as his wife of 20+ years. When I found out (accidentally), he raged at me for “snooping.” And still I tried to excuse this away….Sigh.

  • I ran across people writing about the poly lifestyle on quora and was shocked at how it is all about rules and commitments. Essentially, from what I understood, your Xspouse would never be accepted into a true poly situationship because – you guessed it! – they have already proven themselves to be cheaters and liars.

    The true poly community, from what I have read, is on high alert for this because it will crash all of their relationships if even one person in the circle cannot be trusted.

    Makes sense to me. And highlights the fact that our D-Day offers of “poly” are just more frantic, self-absorbed, distraction bullshit cake maneuvers.

  • Mine tried this one too. When I caught her cheating after 18 years together I got the heartfelt email saying ‘My wish was that we could have an open marriage so that I could get this out of my system and we could grow old together…’. Charming and delightful.

    We’ve been divorced for over a year now and the cosmetic surgery she’s become addicted to is starting to go badly wrong. She’s desperate to hold on to her Italian lover, who is 25 years younger than me. Happy days.

  • Fuckwits are gonna fuckwit. No stopping that. If you had agreed to the open marriage he would have worked to find ways to continue to lie to you and cheat on you.

    If you had said he could have sex with a particular woman and you were ok with it, he’d have sex with her and lie to you about it. He’d say she wasn’t interested. But she’s a friend. And they’d both have dinner with you and laugh behind your back about what a puritanical prude you are and how you’re so stupid to not know they’re fucking. Why would they do that when they could just be honest?

    Because fuckwits gonna fuckwit. They want the deceit and lying. People don’t cheat because they want sex, they cheat because they want a victim.

    • “People don’t cheat because they want sex, they cheat because they want a victim.”

      What a succinct and perfect way to capture the fuckwit mindset.

    • My sister had a bf years ago and they both understood the relationship was not exclusive. She saw other men and truly did not care that he saw other women. It was a different time in her life….she wouldn’t go for that now.

      Yet he’d still lie about it….particularly when he’d see his ex. She’d call me and wonder why he continued to lie even after she’d told him point blank that she knew what he did and was fine with it.

      I told her that some people just lie and that made him a poor prospect. Or maybe he just wanted to have the appearance of am upper hand on her…..still made him a poor prospect.

      She agreed and dumped him.

      • Yep, he was definitely a poor prospect, glad she got out of that. There’s no happy ending with people who lie like that. It’s actually a trait of psychopathy to lie for no reason. I’m learning that pretty brutally right now. That’s what my ex would do, lie just to lie, even when the truth was perfectly fine and would have served him better. He’d lie anyways. There were times I’d catch him in the most ridiculous lies and couldn’t figure out why. It made no sense. Bizarre, senseless lies that had no benefit.

        Now I’m dealing with it with our son. I love him but he’s never felt a moment of real fear in his life and he will lie just to lie and claims he doesn’t know why. This is a kid (young adult now) who has never had a nightmare, never been afraid of the dark, wasn’t even afraid when he was robbed at gunpoint. He wondered why they sent him home from work after the robbery and was in a fist fight with a shoplifter a couple weeks later. Had no real effect on him, he doesn’t feel fear. Failure to feel fear is also a huge sign of psychopathy. He seems to have a decent sense of justice and knows right from wrong but he doesn’t feel the feelings associated with that. I taught him the words and values but how far does that go without the feelings? I don’t know.

        They said my son was autistic as a child. Now I’m realizing the absence of any fear and the lying for no reason was saying something else. Too late for any intervention now, if it’s ever actually possible with antisocial personality disorder. I love him but I can’t fix him. Will he end up like his father? Maybe. I guess if he does this to a woman someday I can be there to help her and be her family like I wish someone had for me.

        It kills me to think about it but there’s just something wrong with some people. My son tells me himself he loves me and he had a good childhood. He doesn’t know why he is the way he is and why he does the things he does. He’s looking at a possible courtmartial right now. Why? He doesn’t know why he did it, he just did. I won’t enable any of it. My best friend cut me off as a bad mother for that. Oh fucking well. Actions have consequences. I love him but I won’t clean up a single fucking mess for him. Not one.

        Some people just want to hurt others. It’s not about gaining more money or getting something they want or any logical type of crime. They just want to hurt people for the sake of hurting them. And that’s what fuckwits are. There are lots of ways for them to have the lifestyle they want without harming people. They don’t want that. They want victims. They want to lie just for the pure joy of lying.

  • My STBX husband supposedly did everything “right,” in the beginning. He told me before we were married that he wanted polyamory, and I agreed. We were both very young and it seemed like a good idea. We had two rules to make sure neither of us got hurt: Total honesty, and either of us could veto anything that made us uncomfortable.

    I’m sure you can guess what happened, since I’m here. Turns out cheaters don’t care about rules, at all. He lied to me that he was doing animal rescue work during a natural disaster, while actually pursuing another first responder’s longtime partner behind their back, something he knew I would automatically veto because it’s wrong and a horrible thing to do to a friend, especially during a disaster. A horrible thing to do to the whole community actually, since this person was the dispatcher for the group and it could have severely impacted the entire rescue mission if the affair had been discovered and the dispatcher incapacitated with grief.

    And what happened when I did find out and vetoed it? Everything that happens to everyone else here. The shark eyes, the rage, and being told he never wanted to be married, he just did it basically out of pity for me. Of course that’s not true, he was deep in the lovebombing when we had our fairytale wedding. I thought I was the luckiest girl in the world, and that cheating would never happen to me, because he could just come to me with any urges he was having and we could talk it out and see if it would be ok to do. For 22 years, I thought that’s what we had and that it was working out well, that I had a say in who was part of our family circle of trust, until it turned out he didn’t mean any of that, and if I wouldn’t let him have this schmoopie then he would never forgive me and make me pay, and he would never stop seeing her just because I objected.

    Then when schmoopie dumped him and he wanted to take it all back and stay with me, I could tell he was still hiding something, and I told him we had to be totally monogamous during our reconciliation, to work on our relationship. He agreed, said he would wait as long as I needed before even asking again, and didn’t need anyone else, but he was still hiding his phone. I told him I know what that means, you’re still seeing someone. He denied it right up until I found her secret Valentine’s gift in our Amazon archived orders (three times as expensive as my gift, of course.) When I confronted him, he said he’d never stop seeing HER, and if I wanted that, then we had to divorce. So much for our family being the primary relationship. This dominatrix is primary now, and our son and I are to be tossed out like trash.

    He actually said to me yesterday that he had been expecting there would be no moving costs when I moved out, because he thought I would leave behind everything I own and accept a check for the garage sale value of it. I mean, I’m trash, so my things are too, why would I want them? He didn’t even want them for himself, he was planning to throw them away. Just wanted to save money by not having any moving costs. He took away my marriage, my intact family, my home, all my dreams of the future, and then he wanted literally everything I own too, to throw it away.

    So, agreeing to polyamory doesn’t mean a FW won’t cheat. A FW will break any rules there are, because breaking the rules, the smug “I know something you don’t know, and you’re not the boss of me” is the thrill. Looking back over the years, I can see now that there were other times when I “used my veto” and he just did it anyway. There’s no other reason a woman would show up on my porch screaming his name, etc, etc, but I spackled it all. I mean why would he do that when he could just be honest? It made no sense. People who are *really* polyamorists despise cheaters who pretend to be poly, but then do whatever they want and lie to their partners about it, or pursue people in monogamous relationships. That’s not polyamory, it’s just cheating.

    • “He actually said to me yesterday that he had been expecting there would be no moving costs when I moved out, because he thought I would leave behind everything I own and accept a check for the garage sale value of it.”

      The bold-faced arrogance of this guy is astounding. Narkety narc narcaroo.

      “A FW will break any rules there are, because breaking the rules, the smug “I know something you don’t know, and you’re not the boss of me” is the thrill.”

      Absolutely.

      • Rural Chump, this is so wise. The arrogance knows no bounds. Best to you for knowing your worth and what is worth caring about.

    • Your story is very similar to mine. Why would he lie when he could just be honest about it? Yep. It’s part of why I lost everyone else too. Nobody believes he would lie because he didn’t need to. I must just be crazy. It makes no sense for him lie therefore I am a liar and just made everything up, even when there’s proof. It’s crazy making.

      Mine also expected the divorce to have zero effect on him and was shocked when it did. I think he thought I would just get rid of my things and go quietly die for him. I really think all the nastiness was supposed to inspire me to suicide for his convenience and he was shocked when that didn’t happen.

      Every sane adult knows that divorce is going to impact both parties but not our exes. They thought they were special and exempt for some bizarre, demented reason.

      • It sucks so bad to be a member of this club, but thank you for sharing your story because it does feel better to know other people get it. I’m sure I’ll get a lot of comments like, “But weren’t you poly? How could anything be cheating?” and I guess I’ll just say “Yeah, poly means no lying and he lied.”

        When he was raging at me, one of the cruelest things he would yell is that if I didn’t like his behavior, then “Fly away free, little birdie!” and I think that’s how he really thought it would go, I would fly away like a bird and his house would still have all the same things in it, everyone would look at him the same way, his life wouldn’t change at all except switching out an appliance.

        • I am sure my fw thought that too. In his mind was likely, oh I will dispense with Susie, and whore will just step in her place, and because I am so important and powerful, folks will forget, etc… after all Susie and whore have one thing in common, they are simply appliances, the important one is me (fw).

          Didn’t work that way.

  • He thinks he’s Mr. Cool, and tries to make you believe you’re a drag, not cool, and oh so behind the times. (Typical mind fuck games to justify his slimy ways.) Get him oh so behind you. Three decades of marriage? He’s not young and no one in shallow hookups care if a genital partner gets sick or goes broke. Don’t let his wrinkly nasty ass crawl back when the party’s over.

    • “He’s not young and no one in shallow hookups care if a genital partner gets sick or goes broke. Don’t let his wrinkly nasty ass crawl back when the party’s over.”

      Yep. He’s going to get his just desserts when he ages out and becomes both limp-dicked and infirm. Of course he’ll try to get her back when that happens, and I hope she blocks him and goes NC forever so he can’t.
      What a self-owning idiot this guy is.

  • Raising my hand to vote bullshit.
    He’s a gaslighting prick. I’m betting he “discovered” his alleged disdain for monogamy after he started cheating. IOW, he didn’t cheat because he’s “polyamorous”, he cheated because he’s a fuckwit who likes abusing you. If you had agreed to an open marriage, he’d violate the terms of that agreement in any way he could. He already made one agreement with you and he broke it. It was his responsibility, if he found that he didn’t like monogamy, to attempt to change or end the agreement honestly instead of going behind your back, then guilt tripping you about how poor oppressed fuckwit was constrained by the limits of a puritanical society. He wasn’t. He AGREED to be monogamous of his own free will. This arrogant ass has a lot of gall and is full of himself. I smell a narc.

    But here’s the thing. You don’t have to listen to his bullshit, and you’re free to tell anyone he’s boo-hoo-hooing to that he started cheating long before asking for an open marriage. So shut that shit down. You filed, so why keep talking to him? If you don’t stick your head in the blender you won’t need CL to remind you that he sucks. No contact with this whiny little bitch is an absolute necessity. Some fuckwits (though not many) can still be reasonable, but this guy can’t. He’s so far up his own ass that his every utterance is self-serving dishonesty.
    He actually deserves a punch in the face, but a divorce is ultimately more satisfying.

  • Maybe I’m hung up on semantics, but I consider myself a progressive and HATE the suggestion that open marriage is “progressive.” Ick.

    Artists (usually male) have been opting for open marriages for ages, so people who push open marriage are not “progressive” in the way I understand it: embracing positive change with the goal of moving forward toward a better future for all.

    “Open marriage” is not an idea that promotes the common good – it just promotes promiscuity. Nothing “progressive” about that.

    • Agree.
      Saying it’s “progressive” to fuck a bunch of people is a load of self-justifying horse manure. Objectifying and using people is regressive, not progressive.
      They’re creeps, so naturally they need a socially acceptable excuse for their creepiness. I’m sure lots of people fall for the con.

    • This must be some line from the cheater playbook. FW told me that he thought all progressives are pro-polyamory and nobody who is progressive would be offended if he asked if he could sleep with their partner, or told them that he and their partner had already been talking romantically and agreed they wanted to sleep together. I was like…progressives want everyone to be free to live their lives as they wish as long as everyone involved is an adult and freely gives informed consent. That doesn’t mean no progressive will be offended if you proposition their partner. And everyone, even polyamorists, would be angry if you already started the relationship without even asking them. WTF!

    • Agreed.

      If I have my history right it was progressives who stood up against polygamy because of the example it was setting for children that women are worth less than men. I know that is an over simplified view of it, but it was a big part of the movement to make it illegal.

  • This little nugget: “No. He’s a pathetic man-child who sends crotch shots on Craigslist.” sums up my marriage. Whenever I started to “feel sorry” for Mr. Sparkles or try to untangle the skein of his fuckedupness, I’d remember that he had agency. It takes time to set-up accounts on AFF and Ashley Madison and Craigslist. It takes money to book hotel rooms and pay for hookers and go on dates and attend swinger parties. NONE of that time or money was put in to our marriage, our family, our happiness… it was all about HIM. I didn’t have a unicorn and neither does the newest “fiance”.

    You’ve got this Chump Nation – keep the focus on you and your filing, your healing, you being the sane parent (if that applies), you building a cheater free life.

  • I think this is pretty simple – the time to ask for an open marriage is BEFORE you start fucking other people. Otherwise, it’s not a request.

    This has nothing to do with being cool, monogamy-is-so-antiquated guy. It’s about keeping the spotlight off his abusive, selfish character flaws. You’re not old-fashioned -you are holding him to the standard he promised to live by when he married you.

    I say this as someone who would have considered an open marriage had I actually been asked. But I was never asked. I had zero agency while my husband made all kinds decisions that affected my life – no chance to say yes or no, because what I thought or wanted was not part of his plan. The entire arrangement was nonconsensual.

    Your STBX husband has zero understanding of what needs to be in place to make an open relationship work – honesty, respect, integrity, communication, boundaries, self-awareness – it’s serious work, not an all you can eat schmoopie buffet He’s shown himself to be a selfish, coercive, abusive idiot who feels justified in blaming his partner for his own shortcomings.

    Ummm, open marriage/relationships? Good luck with that, dude. Informed partners are way out of his league – they can smell opportunistic, ignorant, mid-life-crisis cliches from miles away. He’s not sexy – he’s gross.

    Glad you are free from this idiot.

  • A smarmy aging man taking his wife and family down in a quest for sex thrills before he is too old for all that comedy

    Disgusting

    He will find out that there is no ‘there there’

    • Or he will die in the attempt. My divorce attorney made that joke once. After 40+ years of divorce law and happily married himself, he had nothing but contempt for retired guys who pursued their “awakening” by ditching the wife and adult kids.

      After we separated, one of my nightmares was having to go through his stuff with his very pious family around if he died.

      Apparently, he’s distanced himself from his family though, so who knows if I’d even be notified. They might just handle it quietly themselves.

      Heck, they may not be notified, for all I know.

      • In the last week or two, multiple members of klootzak’s family have been hospitalized due to freak accidents. Klootzak made the comment that he was the only one of his family (apparently our child and I are not in his family) who had not nearly killed himself in a freak accident that weak. The words just hung in the air in a creepy way like he needed to knock on some wood. Anyway, that night I had a nightmare like you described. He was gone and one of his siblings was in the house with me, screaming at me for throwing away things of his without asking her. This is the SIL who gave him a wall hanging with a poem about how he is the ocean to her clam or something like that. My entire dream was wanting klootzak’s stuff and her out of my house forever so I could have peace. No one was sad he was gone in the nightmare. I wanted to move on as though he never existed and SIL wanted him canonized.

        IRL klootzak is as he usually is… going to the gym to workout or run or whatever like George Clooney’s character in Burn After Reading. He always gets fixated on running and working out when he is on the prowl.

    • Mine actually wrote me an email stating he needed to explore and f@ck around before he got too old—“it’s not lechery, it’s human nature and merciful.” Also “we can always grow old together because you soothe me.”

      • Gag. Like we want their old wrinkled asses when the young whores are done with them.

        My ass wipes version of that was “they say if you love something to let it go, and if it comes back it was yours”.

        Then years later I saw on CN “If you love something set it free, if it comes back then no one else wanted it either” I like that one better.

  • Same situation after 41 years. And shamed me for being “unevolved.” All he wanted was my bf’s pussy which she gladly wagged in his face. She dumped him cold and now, my guess is, he’s filling up his life with sex of various kinds. The truth is, I did feel guilty at first because I was trauma bonded to the narcissist. But once the fog lifted and my feet came to the ground I saw him for the sad, weak, frightened child that I took care of for decades. And-had I acquiesced-he didn’t have the emotional maturity to let me feel safe in a poly relationship. My guess is your ex just wanted the safety net of being cared for and nice family Thanksgiving’s while they get their rocks off. Fuck them.

  • I call bullshit!

    I wasn’t subjected to this particular brand of self-serving a posteriori life philosophy. However I do remember wishing that there was a box for “spouse is full of shit” you could check for reason for divorce (no fault state here). The good news is that you won’t have to listen to any of this drivel once it is said and done and you can go on your merry way.

    Good luck and Godspeed!

  • I bet he wanted an old-fashioned marriage when it came to housework. I kind of don’t see him tripping all over himself to do laundry, wash the dishes, or dust the furniture.

    • Yes indeedy. He wants a so-called open shmopen ‘marriage’ while she stays home nodding her head in agreement, polishing the stove. Open marriage: new words for an age old dilemma, or “How do I get my rocks off while still looking good to everyone and keep getting cake and my domestic needs met (cooking, laundry, cleaning, yard work, etc.) from the little wifey-poo? Easy. Tell people me and the little woman are having an open marriage. It was her idea -cause she’s such a slut, but hey, I guess I’ll go along with it. (I hate these people.)

      • Wow! Yes, that was my life! He literally told people it was my idea and I was home doing everything, working, and I didn’t date! But people had this idea we had to have an open marriage because I was such a slut! I wasn’t doing anything. I didn’t have time to date and I’ve never even received a dick pic which blows women’s minds, that’s how removed from dating and sleeping around I was, I wasn’t doing it at all! I wasn’t even remotely available to other men.

        I wasn’t getting the sex I wanted! My needs were not being met! NOT EVEN CLOSE! I was such a doormat I actually cared about his girlfriends and their feelings and would invite them to holidays! My God, I helped one of them get clean and babysat her child! Fucking traumatic for me because I’m the child of addicts but I cared that much about other people and their feelings and lives.

        While they fucking laughed at me behind my back and called me names and acted like I couldn’t take care of my man! I helped them while they helped him abuse me for fun.

        Finally, after years of neglect, a year of him living in a different city only to come home and continue to ignore me, and years of him trying to pressure me to get a boyfriend, I did. I went out one night because he wouldn’t take me out, no time or energy for dates with me, I’d get a rushed dinner and he had to get home early because he was so tired, but he had plenty of time to date other women. I was so fucking depressed and miserable and had a whole “community” of poly pieces of shit telling me how selfish I was if I had any complaints.

        Took me one night going out to a bar to find a very nice man. I was completely honest, found someone who met all rules, respected my family, not an easy task but it took me a couple hours. I’m that awesome. I’m that much of a catch. I’m still with that guy. Best friend I’ve ever had. He was a good friend to my ex husband too, did a lot for our family, always there to help.

        Ex couldn’t take it. He was fucking everyone we knew behind my back, fucked my family members behind my back, humiliated me constantly with EVERYONE I knew, even hit on my best friend from childhood, fucked my mom. Made me play host to the girlfriends he was open about, I bought these cunt fucking bitches Christmas and birthday gifts while they laughed at me. And I finally go out and find someone, one person who actually likes me, after more than a fucking decade of this “lifestyle” and he was pissed. But did he talk to me about it even then? Nope. Just got progressively nastier and nastier and nastier to me, tearing me down more and more until he dumped me brutally and talked about murdering me. God forbid he ever be honest unless it’s to be cruel and hateful.

        My son told me one day, “Mom, this is usually how this goes down. The shitty, cheating person wants to be poly and goes out and fucks everything that moves and doesn’t care about their partner and then when that partner eventually does meet someone nice, the shitty person loses their mind and ends the relationship. That’s exactly what happened here. Dad didn’t want a poly marriage, he wanted you cooking and cleaning and waiting on him lonely at home while he did whatever he wanted. As soon as you started to get your own life, that was a problem.” And my son has plenty of his own issues but he nailed what happened there. That’s exactly what it was.

        • They (in this case your ex and so-called ‘friends’) laughed at you because they would never be as ‘foolish’ to be as nice, kind, and accomodating as you were for them. They can’t rise to the occasion to be a decent, caring, responsible, kind human beings, so they make fun of those who are and try to destroy them. We are the mirror they can’t stand to look into. They seem hell-bent on destroying that which is good, as well as our good intentions for them. Evil is evil. They can’t rise above it. Best to get out, as you did. And you did it with a good man. No wonder he wanted to kill you.

          • Oh yeah, it made him angry. I heard some of the angry comparisons he’s made between himself and my boyfriend. It’s so funny now. Everyone in my life was this horrible sucking black hole of need and when I met another person who was nice and helpful like me it was such a huge relief. I didn’t realize how bad it was until that.

  • 1. So her husband wants an open marriage?

    When I was 6, I wanted a pony. Right now I want a whole bag of Hershey kissed. I didn’t get a pony. And I’m smart enough to know that eating a bag of chocolate might taste OK in the moment but long term, it will kill me. So after 30 years of marriage, he “wants” an open marriage? That’s too bad.

    2. “It makes me so sick and it feels so abusive to have him simply throw this in my face over and over and act as though he’s done nothing wrong.”

    This is why no contact is so important. Once you file, chit-chat about the cheater’s bad behavior is no good for the chump. You’ve already made up your mind. And you should know, at least intellectually, that a liar is never going to tell you anything that’s actually honest and intended to help you. This is an old post, but if you are still talking to STBX or X, stop it now. Nothing good comes of it. No texting, no phone calls, no face-to-face discussion. Let the lawyers duke out over the money and property issues. You don’t have to behave badly. Just smile and say “send me an email.: Then the BS will be fully fi

  • I’ve never had a man tell me that he and his wife were in an open marriage. But, even before I found this site, I would have assumed that his wife was unaware of this.

    What can I say, I’m a cynical person.

    • I have a friend who was in one with her ex hb. She would insist on meeting the wife any time she met a new guy who claimed his wife knew.

      That weeded out the liars.

      Her marriage still ended badly even though they had an agreement. She’s remarried and has said she’d never do it again.

  • “.. he decides his latest kink is watching someone else fuck you. “

    This here!

    By the time I was invited to open up my marriage, OW was already in it. He claimed later my invite was at her insistence.

    Turns out she lived pretty far away & had already hooked up with someone else. She was in the process of discarding FW for new guy & he knew it.
    But he decided cuckholding was his kink & offered to give me an invitation! Lucky me!

    I took a pass.

  • Yes, he changed the terms unilaterally which is a no-go. Funny how I’ve heard repeats of that story twice in the last month both from mid-to-late 50’s women whose husbands suddenly wanted an open marriage. All churchgoers too.

    Mine asked me if I’d enjoy a threesome one time. I acted like he couldn’t be serious, but later I realized that was a red flag after decades together. I didn’t say much but was I really offended frankly. We had a marriage of several decades that had been difficult at times but conventional. Where did this come from? The answer of course was his retirement porn hobby. And I am not a porn star. He wanted a porn star.

    Then he took off to “think,” and we separated. He settled many states away, and we divorced. I knew bits-and-pieces about what happened from various sources, but at a certain point I let go and gave up. I didn’t care what he was doing with whomever.

    He wanted our adult kids to visit over the holidays after zero contact for several years, and the oldest was the one who said that he must have replaced me and wants to show them off. I just shook my head and told them that it was their choice. They didn’t respond to my ex and didn’t go.

    Open marriage is not my version of marriage.

    • Elsie,

      I also was asked once if I was interested in a threesome in a joking tone. I jokingly refused and thought nothing of it. Years later – come DDay – one of his confessions was that he had a threesome with prostitutes because it was one of his fantasies and I wouldn’t do it. I think he wanted it to come across as a sort of bragg (look at me – fucking prostitutes and having threesomes – what a stud I am and what a frigid bore you are) – but it only disgusted me more.
      Looking back – the question itself was a huge red flag that I missed.

  • I don’t have much to add, except that I love that you called his bluff. And by that, I know it was a shitshow for you and that’s one of the worst things about the cheating experience, is being left with Hobson’s choice by someone else’s shitty behaviour – here, please deal with this grenade that I have already pulled the pin out of – which is basically them doing the deed and then you having to deal or not deal with two sets of shitty consequences, but I love that he probably thought that you’d acquiesce to his request because he’s so splendid and he’d be living the life, and you shat on that delusion from a great height. Way to be mighty. Cheaters are always overly negative about us to justify their shitty behaviour, but then seems to have this weird, potholed and totally over-optimistic vision of the way things will fall into place, always in their favour. So it always gives me great pleasure to imagine the little, “Oh,” and the pause when reality slaps them across the cheek with a wet kipper. How are you going now, by the way OP. I hope life is wonderful.

  • The EX was similar. Monogamy was sooooooooo hard on him. Alas, so many hot college-age babes he could fuck if only he wasn’t married to the ol’ ball-and-chain. He did ask for an open marriage once, but I shut that shit down. A few years later, he wanted a “secret divorce.” His idea was that we could get divorced but live in the same house and go on like before (and I could keep doing his laundry and washing his dishes), but now he could tell women he was single and have sex with them without my interference. And he and I could still have sex too sometimes because it was “convenient.” Nope. I divorced him, but I left and never came back. Now he lives all alone and has the sadz. I’m guessing all the hot college babes didn’t want to fuck an old fat dude. Imagine that.

    • They are so deluded and destroy everything good in their lives because of their fantasy delusions.

      • They really do! Two of our three kids won’t even speak to him. He completely destroyed the thing that would have been his greatest comfort and support in his old age. He is going to be sixty years old soon. He is overweight, has diabetes and high blood pressure. Somehow he was totally convinced he was still young enough and hot enough to get all the babes. I think he thought he’d be remarried to a much-younger woman within a year. And he thought the kids would be fine with it.

  • One man type gal here , not that I am controlling , nagging or lack self confidence , but for me it has always been the criteria. In my twenty plus year marriage I never knew anyone who lied, stole and cheated like my ex. It is just exasperatingly embarrassing to look back , knowing the stuff he did! The volume of things he did pushed every ounce of my patients . He could always find a response to his fu-kedupness ! I even choked on pride and reasoned why he cheated first time , rationalizing the tough events we had incurred at the time. Wasting my time to Doctor the incurable with a pathetic cheater who had a lousy moral code and obviously zero respect for me let alone women in general . After learning of yet another cheat I spun it around and asked if he just wanted an open relationship , you would have thought his face was going to fall off.! That’s about the time I informed him I wanted a divorce. Four years out glad that’s done !

  • I remember after D-day 1, asking klootzak if he wanted an open marriage and before he could answer I told him that if the answer was yes, we needed to split up because I could not do that. He knew better than to try that shit with me. I kind of wish he had in hindsight because I might have ended it then and there and not wasted time in the RIC.

    While I can’t identify with being told this, my take away from this is that no contact is so important. Continued communication with a FW allows them to mess with your head endlessly. The only way I have survived in the house with him has been constant gray rock and avoidance. Transactional comments related to our child only. Occasionally I will say “Please pass the salt” but I keep the “asshole” ending in my head because little ears. He is preparing to travel to his dream location again soon and I’m saying the rosary that he gets a gig there and leaves. The suspense is killing me. I think while he is gone I will draft my separation agreement.

    A friend of mine received good news today. Her 20+ year FW has agreed to a fair settlement in their divorce and she has breathed a huge sigh of relief. She is much closer to the finish line and working on the GAL part of LACGAL. I have been so happy to support her as she has made her way out of her mirage. I remind her that she is mighty and will do great. I hear more and more spirit in her every time we talk and I remind myself that I will be the same. I know my patience will be rewarded but I am so ready to rip off the bandage and move on with my life. I don’t want to feel defined by this forever. I want to look back and say I WAS a chump just like I once was a high school student or any other phase of my existence. I see a glimmer of that in my friend and I am so happy for her. She will no longer be Mary who was cheated on but mighty Mary for the amazing things she is doing. Raising two kids and finding a good job while working a solid one. I look forward to that for myself someday when I am gray rock/no contact with klootzak. We have shared history. He will be somebody that I used to know of and not much else. He sure as hell is not going to have my phone number and email. Block and delete

  • You tell your husband that the door is open and do not let it hit him in the butt on his way out. Take him to the cleaners while you are at it. If he is having a real mid-life crisis make sure it is a bueat.

  • Tell him the door is open and make sure it hits him in the butt on his way out. If he is having a midlife crisis make sure it is a bueat by taking him to the cleaners.

  • Doubling down on (a) that’s not polyamory, that’s just cheating and (b) he is spewing cheater shit.

    Cheater committed sexual and financial adultery against you for years, and hid it from you and lied about it. And now, trying to distract you, cheater throws out “polyamory” and other new-to-him words he clearly does not really understand. How stupid he must think you are. A cheater that contemptuous deserves to be flushed ASAP.

  • Well I might get backlash but open marriages aren’t marriages and they are wrong. I’m pretty annoyed by all the gaslighting of society. It’s popular because of porn. Men and women but mostly men watch porn, want to act it out, it presents women as there for men, men as king and women unworthy of honour or respect.

    Everyone who’s married sometimes is attracted to other people, now we call that being polyamorous, oh and it’s a NEED. Yes an empathetic man wouldn’t be this way but I’m angry society is so okay with porn, which triples the rate of infidelity and presents women as cattle, and then after husbands have been fantasizing and desiring orgies for 10 years when they cheat it’s like THATS A PROBLEM. However if you say no porn, then that’s CRAZY. You’re “not allowed” to have a problem with that.

    Porn does nothing but make people want orgies, want to dominate, want to act it out, and gets them craving and used to variety. Unhappy with sex. Unhappy with monogamy. It trains them not to have empathy for women and see them as objects or animals.

    You two disagree, and you’re right. He’s wrong that’s why he disagrees. Also don’t agree he ‘needs’ two women. No he doesn’t. He isn’t entitled to women, he doesn’t even ‘need’ one women. He just wants to use women as sex toys. That’s what this ‘need is’.

    If men need sex with even one women then they’d have an excuse to rape. The insanity needs to stop.

    • Yes, most married persons sometimes are attracted to other people. But that is a want not a need. And it isn’t polyamory.

      The confusion is understandable because it is fashionable for cheaters to label their cheating polyamory. This enrages people who actually are polyamorous. They are not cheaters. Polyamorist are a tiny minority, but there are multitudes of cheaters.

  • in retrospect, when my wife of 11 years asked me for an open marriage out of the blue, i should have just leaned into it cause turns out i was already in one for the past 2 months

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