WHEN A RELATIONSHIP HAS REACHED ITS EXPIRATION DATE – MARRIAGE MINUS

For over a year I have been thinking about opening up my marriage. Not because I want to fuck around, but because I want both my husband and I to have the freedom to have fun with someone else when the opportunity arises without feeling guilty about it. 

The thing is, our marriage has more or less bled to death. We managed to be in love for a long time, seven years for sure I’d say, which is longer than most couples experience feeling highly attracted to one another. We shared the same interests, we had great sex and we were good friends who could talk about nearly everything. Somehow along the way all of that changed. 

Every day life started to hit us. The repetition of things, the little and bigger annoyances. Job issues. Being parents. Seeing new sides of each other we had not seen before. We had some big family issues on both sides that had left their mark. The sex became monotonously. I changed, developed an interest in some forms of BDSM, which was a no-go for my husband. Like many couples we grew apart, stopped communicating about our feelings and putting effort into one another, resulting in me feeling more like a comfy piece of furniture than a loved and desired partner. Consequently, I disconnected from my husband emotionally and lost sexual interest in him completely. 
 
I figured that by giving us the freedom to find sexual pleasure and intimacy outside of our relationship, it would enable us to stay together as a family without anyone getting frustrated. So I slowly pushed for a conversation. The few times we more or less talked about it, my husband did not seem that enthusiastic about it. It certainly isn’t easy to hear that your partner does not feel attracted to you anymore, I understand that. It is also hard to stomach hearing that she desires someone else. His last reaction, just a few months ago, was: “Well, if that’s what you want, sure, why not…” 
 
He never came back on it. Not knowing how to deal with the situation and having the impression he was doing quite well, neither did I. Until a week ago when he told me he had met someone. I had been suspecting it for some time already. The signs were obvious; he started a diet, went to the gym again regularly, played his games deep into the night. His voice was different, softer and warmer, when he chatted with a certain woman he was playing with. So when he came out, I wasn’t surprised. I told him I was happy for him, which I meant and still do, but I am seriously wondering if this can actually work. 
 
We do not have a relationship any more, so it’s not an open marriage. We are roommates with a child. We have a marriage minus. Even though I aimed to get to this point, a period of digestion and deciding if it makes sense to have a domestic living arrangement just for our daughter’s sake is necessary. He on the other hand seems to be very much in a hurry to enjoy his freedom, not showing much consideration for me needing some time to take it all in, which to be honest kind of feels like a disrespecting slap in the face. There is a difference between picking your moments to be with a lover without the partner being directly confronted with the fact, or bluntly rubbing it in and (intentionally?) adding some salt for an additional sting. 
 
After three years of drifting apart, can we be friends again? How much unexpressed hurt is lying underneath the surface? Do we need to address this? What is good for our daughter? Once she finally sleeps in her own bed, do we still want to share ours? Do we tell her we are not having a relationship like other parents do? I do believe it is possible to be a good team that lives together, offer a steady foundation to our child, be there for one another when needed and enjoying a private life next to that. Do we somewhere, underneath the pile of unspoken issues, have this foundation? 
 
I want to be honest with my little girl. I don’t want her to grow up with the same sexual dogmas we have been raised with. I don’t want her to think there is a Prince or Princess Charming out there, her better half, the missing half, with whom she will happily and exclusively spend her whole (sex)life with. I want her to feel free to love who she wants, as many as she wants to and how she wants to. I don’t want her to become a comfy piece of furniture because of unrealistic relationship models that society has forced upon us.
 
We’ve obviously set foot on unknown territory. Only time will tell if the bumps on the road are too big for us to pass. To be continued.