Open relationships, online dating, and is this nuts
January 2, 2014 6:22 AM Subscribe
Last year I ended a 15-year marriage (my only serious relationship ever) and am trying to slowly ease my way back into dating. The marriage was falling to pieces for awhile, and my ex and I are fine friends and co-parents, but probably never should have married. There's no drama and my head is on straight, pretty much. I am a female, early 40s, with children. A couple of weeks ago I put up a profile on OKC, and soon after, what I had previously imagined as The Doomsday Scenario happened. I was contacted by a dad I know through the neighborhood and my kids. It gets more complicated....
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (52 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
....he's married and in an open relationship. It's very up front in his profile in several places, and knowing what I know about him and his wife (they're acquaintances, not close friends, but I know them to be pretty free thinkers) I have no reason to doubt that it is an actual negotiated open relationship and not just someone trying to cheat.
He confessed to having been attracted to me for awhile, but was very cautious and respectful about the potential for this to freak me out. (As it did.) He's suggested chatting a bit, getting to know each other better, and seeing if anything progresses. I find him interesting and attractive, and we've always had plenty to talk about when we've run into each other (and the OKC matching thingy is over 90%, FWIW).
I am new to online dating, virtually new to dating at all (my ex was my one and only partner....ever) but after several years of zero sexual anything with anyone, and a lot of "down time" to figure out myself I feel ready to start something. But is this it? I have no experience with open relationships, but think (in general terms) that as long as everyone is honest, respectful, and kind, a lot of "non-standard" relationships can work. I know I don't want a serious relationship right now, and one-night hookups just aren't my thing - but maybe this is a workable middle ground? He's kind and experienced and isn't looking for a serious relationship. And I certainly need some education on the whole dating and sex thing. Cautiously corresponding for a bit and meeting up to see what happens seems like not a bad idea. But I am second-guessing myself all over the place.
What am not considering?
-How much "due diligence" do I need to do on the details of their open relationship? I would hate to cause any pain to his wife. Can I take what he says about the relationship at face value?
-How incredibly awkward will this be, out in the real world? I will see them out and about -- I can certainly keep secrets and act casual and cordial. Is that how this goes?
-Is this just a terrible idea for a recently divorced person to contemplate? Maybe this would be jumping right off into the deep end when I need to be in the baby pool for awhile?
I know there will be people who have a lot of ethical objections to open relationships in general, and especially when the people involved are parents. I'm not really interested in an absolutist moral stance about it (I'm working that out on my own and am still unsure) but more nuanced advice would be awesome. Personal experience, books to read, etc., are all great. Thanks.