I have a funny relationship with the old green eyed monster. In many if not most things he doesn't bother me very much at all. Jealousy isn't an emotion I have a lot to do with and seeing the destructive affect it has on so many people, I'm quite glad about it.
A lot of people are often surprised at my very relaxed attitude to my marriage. I've come in for quite a bit of criticism over the years for my polyamorous open marriage where my husband has a great deal of freedom to see other women. The thing is that I genuinely don't see infidelity as something to get too worked up about. I'm a pretty confident kind of person and even my most verbose critics would be hard pressed to paint me as some kind of victim bullied by an over bearing husband. So with that in mind, even people who disagree with what I do have to admit that I enjoy an open marriage because, well because I enjoy an open marriage.
I suppose I also have a touch of arrogance. I know my husband would be hard pressed to find anyone more interesting than me to take my place. This gives me the confidence to slacken the conventional reins of marriage. Why shouldn't I have my cake and eat it? Why shouldn't he?
The question I am often asked is how I can bear to let my husband cheat on me. Well the thing is that it isn't cheating if he has my full knowledge and consent. Cheating implies lying and there are no lies in my marriage (well except the price of that coat I bought last year but we really don't need to talk about that now, do we...). He keeps no secrets from me and his first loyalty is always to me and to our relationship. I rate my husband highly as a friend as well as my partner and if he has needs and desires outside our marriage then as his friend I do not want to ask him to deny those desires. Nor do I expect him to ask me to deny the things I need that he cannot provide me with.
I do not believe that any one person can fulfil every single one of another person's needs and I honestly believe that couples who claim that they can are either deluding themselves or have some pretty simplistic needs.
There are things that I would consider to be a betrayal of our vows but to be honest a bit of sex would certainly not fall into that category. If my husband wants to fill our house with lovely ladies who are happy to help me out with the washing up, then why would I want to object? Some of his lovely ladies have become very close friends of mine and I can't imagine a life any more where it is just him and me. We would drive each other slowly round the bend and we would be living a life of compromise. I don't want to compromise, I want to live my life exactly the way I want and do whatever it is that I need to be happy. I can't do that inside a conventional framework.
And an open marriage has other advantages as well. Should I want to take a lover, my husband wouldn't object which would save all that sneaking around that goes on in so many marriages. He respects the time I devote to my witchcraft, to my friends, to my novel writing and even to my 12 hour Dallas marathons.... I don't feel I have to be "the wife.." I have my own identity as a person, independent of who I have chosen to spend my life with. I'll never be a Shirley Valentine type cooking chips and egg and talking to the wall, I couldn't do it, I couldn't compromise being me and if I have to give away all the freedom in the world to get that same freedom back then so be it and I'm more than happy with that.
Also - I resent being dictated to by society. I resent being told by the media that I ought to be living my life a certain way. It makes me angry when people criticise the lifestyle I lead when actually I've probably got it a lot more right than they have. I've lost track of the number of people fuelled by paranoic suspicion who have confessed to me that they constantly go through their husband's pockets or his phone or his computer. I don't want something as trivial as a bit of adultery to become an important part of my life. I don't want to be someone who characterises themselves by their relationship with others rather than their relationship with themselves.
I've written this blog because sometimes I get very frustrated by the judgements of other people and the idea that people living an alternative lifestyle should keep quiet about it. I'm getting a bit fed up of being quiet about who I am and what I do. I've jumped out of the broom closet and now I'm jumping out of the polyamory closet. (There's no room in this closet anyway, my husband seems to have filled it with scantily clad girls lining up for his amorous attentions. I'll just go make a cup of tea....)
Image http://www.sxc.hu/photo/30043 (Nickwinch)
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