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Your Cheatin’ Heart … Or Is It?

Your Cheatin’ Heart … Or Is It? Galina Barskaya/Shutterstock
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Life is lived almost exclusively in the gray zone. Things are rarely completely black or white, right or wrong, good or bad. Yet despite the very obvious fact that almost nothing is absolute and “morality” is often very much in the eye of the beholder, there is a very strong tradition of looking askance at “extracurricular” sex by married folks or other heavily committed couples.

Monogamy is considered the rule. The gold standard. The “right” way to go.

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Thank you, I an easily see myself in your last line soon but first I want to communicate that honestly and openly and isn't that the toughest part? It would be so easy to "cheat" but I am in fact committed to him and don't think I could ever face him if I wasn't honest about it up front.

01/20/2013

Actually, communicating is indeed the toughest part. When my wife started to feel the need to expand sexually to other people (or, rather, to feed that need that had existed all along), it wasn't easy. (I wrote about how we finally got over the hump here: [http://www.edenfantasys.com/sexis/sex-and-society/-expresslove-into-the-deep-end-0419122/] and I wrote about the challenge of opening up about sexual needs here: [http://www.edenfantasys.com/sexis/sex-and-relationships/coming-out-letting-out/] )

The challenge is, of course, that something like having sex with someone else can really set a person off, so how do you even broach the subject? There is no easy answer to that, because for every person in every relationship, the ways to do this (and the opportunities that make it possible) will differ vastly.

I will say, in general, that you should start by letting him know you have needs or interests beyond the normal day-to-day of your sexual life. When or how, I don't know. And whether you reveal it by slow degrees or all at once, even if you do choose to broach the subject...well, I also don't know what's best.

But what made it work for my wife and I was this, for whatever it's worth in your journey:

Yes, I was put off and thrown off when she told me I wasn't enough and she felt she needed to go outside our marriage. But at the same time, we'd had some tensions already, and it felt like our marriage was on the edge. That confused me, because we get along so well. When it became clear it was an intimacy/sex problem, and that the difficulty was that I couldn't be everything she needed, that helped.

It helped because we realized we didn't have any sexual problems per se. I was very able to give her orgasm consistently and we did have a good thing going. But she was becoming less interested in having sexual relations because she *thought* there was a problem between us.

The only "problem" is that I cannot be everything she wants. I can't be a woman. I can't be a tall, rough guy. I can't be a lot of the things she might want. But I WAS most of what she needed, the vast majority of the time.

Coming to the understanding over the course of a day or so of talking that what she needed was relatively small (in terms of frequency) compared to what we had...but was seriously fucking us up because it had been held back so long...well, I didn't feel threatened anymore. It was clear I was her rock and her "primary"...I was the person to whom she was committed, and she simply needed something extra. I no longer felt like I was in danger of losing her because I was a failure; instead, I realized I was doing most things right and simply needed to do one more small thing: Give her the space to have sexual activities that didn't involve me.

At that point, I realized I had a gift I could give her. I gave up very little, and we gained strength in our relationship and a closer bond.

I know it isn't going to work that way with everyone. But perspective is the key. Granted, it might have played out worse had she said, "I need to fuck men and women several times a week and only want to bed you every few weeks." But that's not what the usual desire/need is in these cases, probably.

Another thing that helped was when she realized that having her freedom to explore and me not having the same freedom was a bit unfair. Also, counterproductive. That came out in conversations over the following days, when it was clear that while I didn't have an urgent desire to go outside our marriage, I should also have the option. And that it might prove to be a way for me to get kinks met that my wife would prefer not to deal with or to have contact with women who had a different vibe than my wife.

In the end, not much has happened. In fact, knowing that we have the freedom to explore now has take much of the stress off my wife and off our sex life. And that improved our marriage immensely.

I wish you all the best of luck, and hope that you can find a way to express your needs without anything going wrong between you and him in the long run.

01/20/2013

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