Do I have to share my husband?

Question: I'm not sure if this is the type of question you'd normally answer, but I figured I had to ask.

My husband wants to have a threesome with me and another man we know. I don't know whether to entertain the idea or cry. My husband and I have known the guy since high school. I was friends with him, but my husband just recently started to talk to him. I liked him well enough until he started sending naked pictures to my husband.

He was always very flirty with me, regardless of whether I was single or not. He's very open about his bisexuality. (He actually took my younger sister on a date yesterday. So things have gotten a little weird.)

My husband originally brought up the idea of him and this other man doing sexual things without my involvement, as well as a threesome. I tried discussing both options with him, but the more we talked about the whole subject, the more frustrated and insecure I felt.

I was raised by two loving mothers, so the idea of my husband possibly being bisexual doesn't necessarily bother me. But I was also raised to believe that relationships should be monogamous in all ways, especially in regards to sex.

I've always prided myself on being open-minded, but I cringe at the idea of sharing my husband with anyone, whether I'm present or not. Should I be open to the things he wants to try?

P.S. My husband and I have a daughter who will be turning a year old next month.

Answer: Just to make sure I have this right: You want to be in a sexually monogamous relationship with your husband, who, with or without you, wants to sleep with a man who used to be a friend of yours, sends him naked pictures and recently took your younger sister on a date.

So my first question is: Have you considered selling the rights to this story? Because, you know, husbands come and go. But Jennifer Aniston playing you in a Lifetime movie lasts forever.

Ah ... the funny advice columnist. How I wish I were one them. But you’re stuck with me, so let’s get down to brass tacks.

You asked if you “should” be open to fulfilling your husband’s desire for extramarital sex. Right off, I don’t like anyone being coerced into doing anything that makes them cringe. That said, there is no relevant “should” here. There are cultural traditions and conventions, certainly — and they hardly count for nothing. But there are also a great many unconventional people in the world who are perfectly satisfied with their lives.

I do believe in a universal morality; I don’t believe that monogamy belongs in that category of imperatives. (Though I’m guessing this would be a good time to mention that I myself have been happily and monogamously married for 35 years.)

Put simply, you’ve got a decision to make. Namely, are you OK with your husband having sex outside your marriage? If you are, then, on his way out the door, pat your husband on the back and hand him a condom. If you’re not, then your husband becomes faced with a question he must answer for himself, being the same question every person in a committed monogamous relationship sooner or later has to sincerely ask themselves: Is my desire to have sex outside of my relationship worth the cost of what having that sex will do to my relationship?

For now, what’s critical for you is to decide what you need, what you want, what you believe, what you think you and your husband can and can’t live without and, arguably above all, what you believe is best for your daughter. The only way to figure out all of that is to have an honest, heart-to-heart conversation between you and yourself, and then another one between you and your husband.

Again, though, please don’t allow yourself to get talked or persuaded into doing anything that you don’t know you’re going to be OK with. The waters into which your husband wants you to jump are tricky, rapid and deep. He can leap right off that cliff if he must, but don’t you hold his hand and leap with him until, and only if, you know yourself to be ready for that. Because that particular solid ground is one to which, once you’ve left it, you can never return.

Submit questions below or email askjohnshore@gmail.com. All questions are published anonymously and may be edited for brevity, clarity, or to ensure anonymity. Shore also writes, exclusively for Citizen-Times.com, “Ashes to Asheville,” an ongoing, real-time serial novel (and podcast) set in Asheville. A new installment of “Ashes” is published online every Thursday morning.

Asheville Citizen Times


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