When my husband (“Ron”) and I got married over 20 years ago, we agreed to have an open marriage. We knew that while monogamy was great for some, it just wouldn’t work for us.
Throughout the years our marriage has remained strong. We’ve never lied or kept secrets from each other about anyone we’ve been with. We wanted what we got: a marriage based on trust, mutual respect and generosity of spirit.
Lately, though, I’ve come to feel that I’d prefer our marriage to be closed now.
I know that part of this change in me comes from the fact that I’m no longer as attractive to men as I’ve always been. Fifty-two is not 25.
The problem isn’t that I’m not good-looking anymore. I look fine. The problem is that women of a certain age are seen as sexually irrelevant. I swear, it’s like on the day I turned 50 the whole world said to me, “Congratulations! Now go stand out in a pasture somewhere.”
Meanwhile, my husband, who is the same age as me, is more sexually attractive than ever. While 30-year-old men see my graying hair and get bored, 30-year-old (or younger) women see my husband’s gray temples and get excited.
Sexy women imagine my husband taking care of them. Sexy men imagine themselves having to take care of me.
Also, lately I’ve had to face how bleak things would be for me if (as unlikely as I believe it to be) Ron ever left me. Every woman I know my age who is single and looking has basically given up looking. The single men our age don’t want women our age. They want someone younger.
Besides, having to start anew with someone else would render the last 20-plus years of my life essentially a waste. I don’t want that.
Mostly, though, it simply feels right to me that Ron and I should spend the next phase of our lives focused solely on each other.
But how can I expect Ron to be okay with my changing the rules of our marriage? Especially at this time, when he’s more attractive to women than ever?
Well, obviously, you and Ron need to have some good long talks about this. What you’re saying makes sense to me. I’m sure it will to him, too.
A good marriage is like an oak tree: it’s susceptible to blight.
Wait! That was awful. Sorry. Lemme try again.
A good marriage gets nutty every fall.
Okay, clearly, I need a nap. Back soon.
Now then: A good marriage grows deeper and stronger with each passing year. Everybody knows that—including, I am sure, Ron. If you’re moving into a phase of your life where you know that what worked for your marriage in the past won’t work for it now and in the future, then of course you should share that with Ron.
My guess is you’ll be surprised by his receptiveness to what you’re asking. I would think—I certainly hope—that Ron will be more than okay with trading whatever sexual cachet he’s now enjoying for not only the emotional well-being of the woman to whom he’s been married for over 20 years, but for the opportunity to grow closer to that woman than he’ll ever have a chance of being with any other person.
Sex with a new and willing partner is awesome. But so is growing old with someone to whom you’ve been married since the both of you were young, and to whom you’re giving yourself exclusively. You’re offering Ron a chance to experience both of those in one lifetime. He’d be a fool not to take you up on that offer.
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