I’d like to explore the idea of an open marriage, but I’m scared my traditional husband will judge me. How can I approach the subject?

Hi Evie! I’m a 41-year-old woman, married to my husband (44M) for 15 years. We’ve got a good relationship, never had kids, and are generally enjoying life together and individually. I’d consider our setup quite traditional, we’ve both been raised in Christian families and even though we’re not very practicing as a couple, we still adhere to certain values. This worked well up until about a year ago when I started feeling attraction towards other men. I have no idea why it started, and I’ve ignored my desires all this time as I wanted to remain faithful to my husband. We have an okay sex life, I wouldn’t say it’s the best but also not the worst. But for some reason, I can’t shake the feeling of wanting to explore outside of my marriage. I haven’t figured out if it’s just sex I’m craving or actual relationships. The main problem is that I have no idea how to bring this up to my husband. We’ve never really discussed it, but I imagine he’ll be horrified, and even if we agree not to open up the marriage (I’d, of course, respect his decision) I think he’d still judge me for even asking. A close friend told me to just get over the idea and never think about it again, but I’ve been trying that for the last year and it’s not working! Help! – Confused Wife, UK

Dear Confused Wife, 

It’s great that you’ve written it – let me start by saying you’re not the only woman out there experiencing such a difficult situation. The challenges of marital fidelity and personal desires can be tough, especially when those desires seem to conflict with the values you’ve upheld in your marriage. It’s clear you’re facing an internal struggle between honoring your marriage vows and exploring new personal desires.

First, it’s important to understand that having desires, whether emotional or sexual, isn’t a betrayal. These desires are signals of deeper needs or curiosities. Suppressing them, as you’ve already experienced, usually makes them stronger, so try not to judge yourself harshly. Instead, see these feelings as worth exploring, either on your own or with a therapist who can offer a neutral space to discuss them without judgment.

Now, when it comes to discussing this with your husband, tread carefully. Bringing up the idea of non-monogamy can be intimidating, especially if it’s never been part of your conversations. However, open and honest communication is key in any strong relationship. Before you talk to him, clarify for yourself what you are truly seeking—be it sexual freedom, emotional connections, novelty, or addressing unmet needs in your current relationship.

When you do bring it up, be sensitive and avoid framing it as a critique of your current sexual life or emotional connection. Focus on your feelings and the exploration of those feelings rather than proposing immediate changes to your marriage. This is about starting a dialogue on personal growth and understanding, not making demands.

Be prepared for resistance or hurt feelings. His reaction will also involve his own views on fidelity, marriage, and sexuality. If the conversation feels too difficult to have alone, consider seeing a marriage counselor together. A professional can help facilitate this sensitive discussion in a supportive environment.

And if he isn’t open to the idea of an open marriage?

Shift the focus to how you both can explore new dimensions of intimacy within your marriage. This might involve new activities, adventures, or revisiting neglected aspects of your relationship.

This path isn’t easy, but it’s worth navigating if you value transparency and growth in your relationship. Remember, feeling attraction or desires outside your marriage doesn’t diminish the love and commitment you have for your spouse. It reflects your complexity as a human being. Thoughtfully engaging with these feelings can lead to a deeper understanding of yourself and what you need in this phase of your life.

Wishing you all the best, 


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Ask Evie

Evie is on a mission to revolutionize relationships and help you sort through your emotional woes. Her popular column helps readers break free from societal restraints and create empowering relationships - both with their inner selves and with those around them. With a wealth of experience in relationship counseling, backed by several professional certifications, she’s open-minded, big-hearted, and extremely compassionate… But she’ll also be completely honest in telling you the (sometimes) brutal truth, so you can get straight to the heart of the matter. Maybe you’re trying to save a marriage that currently feels like a sinking ship? Or worrying that your new friend isn’t quite as nice as they seem? Perhaps you’ve accidentally killed your partner’s goldfish and are weighing up the pros and cons of going to the pet store and finding a doppelganger, or fessing up? Whatever the dilemma, Evie’s at the ready to help sort through the emotional turmoil and guide you towards the next best step. To get in touch with Evie, click here.

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