Vows Wide Open

We never would have tried it back home, but when we came to Berlin, everything was differentHere anything was possible and we now had a child. We felt like what we had was unbreakableWe started talking about it, bit by bit, warming up to the idea
At first, It was mostly myself who was into it. At her suggestion, I created a new profile on OKCupid. I even started making plans with a nice lady who, herself, practiced open marriage. But the timing was off and she wasn’t 100% on board so I delayed the change and closed the profile.
It was a few months later when my wife woke me in the middle of the night.We have a young child and have had trouble finding and keeping babysitters. Therefore, we go out separately. One night, she came home very late and told me she had brought someone with her. She asked if this person could sleep on the couch. Half asleep, I nodded and continued to dream til morning.

When I awoke and realized the previous night’s events had not been a dream, I made breakfast for all four of us. U (which is how I will call our guest) had tremendous difficulty coping with his situation. Here he was, being served breakfast by the husband of the woman he had shared a romantic evening with. Furthermore, his host was not in the least bit angry.
I was, however, apprehensive. This was all new to me, but I pride myself on being a good host and I wasn’t about to turn our visitor out without breakfast. Nonetheless, U and I could not make eye contact or carry on a conversation.
Once he had left for work, my wife filled me in on her evening. She had met U on the train where they had carried on a conversation, due to which U had missed his stop. He ended up alighting with her in Kopenick and they talked and made out until both were tired. She felt bad about sending him on a long trip home so my wife invited U to sleep on our couch. Other than kissing, they did not do anything else that night out of respect for me.

Following the encounter, we laid down some ground rules:No sleeping with each others friendsNo sleeping with other Israelis (the common bonds of language and culture could lead to undue intimacy)No bringing partners home unless the other is away travelingWe each have the right to veto any partner we want.
These rules provided a primary framework that kept us each feeling secure and could be modified should the need arise.
Before we re defined our relationship, we were in a sexual slump. Over the seven years we were together, our sex life had been declining gradually. By the time our son had reached his first birthday we had intercourse approximately once or twice a month. Each of us felt guilty and the guilt led to resentment. I thought she had lost interest. She felt inadequate for not satisfying my needs.
Once we freed ourselves from the strictures of monogamy, our sex life skyrocketed. It infinitely improved both in quality and quantity. All the tension, that had built up over seven years melted away and we were, once again, into each other in ways we haven't felt since we’ve met.

In an open marriage, one can choose partners that one would never dream of seriously dating while remaining at ease, knowing that the relationship at home is secure. With the institution of open marriage, we were free to try attractive people who are too confused, too young, too old or too crazy to be considered viable partners when each of us was single.
Though we keep a strict separation between our affairs and our marriage, there is no secrecy. We share everything. We show each other texts, pictures, and talk about our experience. We laugh endlessly about each others bedroom antics. Far from creating an atmosphere of jealousy, our policy of openness takes a lot of the stress out of the situation
I was often asked how we could remain a married couple without boundaries. In which cases, I immediately responded by insisting that there are boundaries. We are no longer forbidden a specific act, but rather are compelled to complete and total honesty If anything, we know we are together, not because of some sexual ownership we have over each other in the eyes of gods and people, but because we choose to be.

The greatest resistance came from our friends and families back home. Our parents were disappointed in our choice we made and predicted the ruin of our marriage. Our friends tried hard to convince us that we were committing a huge mistake. During a visit to Israel, one of my friends spent three hours arguing with me about our choice. He challenged my ability to be a father to my son in a non-monogamous marriage, he urged me to get angry at my wife and he expressed a fear that I might do something drastic.
Over and over again, we encountered the narrative they were telling themselves: I was too meek and nice about it. They convinced themselves that I was afraid to confront my wife and had persuaded myself that I was on board.
I am aware that in some of you the question may arise: Would I not have been better off keeping it a secret? That was never a possibility for us. We believe that, if there is nothing to be ashamed about, then there is no reason to hide our choice from the people in our lives. I would rather suffer the criticism, judgement and repeated challenges of my point of view than being forced to lie and hide. If the experience is not shared, it becomes a secret and a secret becomes a burden.
I have found that it is wrong to view partnership in black and white terms such as monogamy or polygamy. Any relationship is dynamic, the people it encompases grow and so it must grow with them. Love isn’t about what you can’t do, it’s about what you do together.

About the author

Guy ist unser Mann für Illustrationen. Er wird auf Schritt und Tritt von Nogga begleitet, unserem flauschigen 1. Teammitglied auf vier Pfoten.

Guy is our man for illustrations. He is accompanied at every turn by Nogga, our fluffy 1st team member on four paws.



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