Her husband wants to explore his bisexuality


Dear John,

I’m not sure if this is the type of question you’d normally answer, but after reading posts on your blog about relationships involving more than two people [1 Man, 2 Women In A Polyamorous Relationship, Dancing Cheek to Cheek to Cheek, The Sole Christian in a Three-Way Relationship], 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 had 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 option 1, 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.

So (to state the obvious) you have a problem. You want to be in a monogamous relationship. Your husband doesn’t. That’s a problem.

In a nutshell, you have to decide whether or not you’re okay with your husband having extramarital sex. If you think that you can live with him sleeping with people outside of your marriage, then pat him on the back on his way out the door and tell him to use a condom. If you can’t live with that, if his having sex outside of your marriage is a deal-breaker for you, then he has a question for himself that he needs to answer—the same question every person in a committed monogamous relationship sooner or later has to ask themselves: Is my desire to have sex outside of my relationship worth the cost of what that would do to my relationship?

I can’t tell you what you should do or feel in your situation. There is no should here. There’s just what you need, and what you believe, and what’s best for your daughter, and what you and your husband can and cannot live with. And that’s a conversation that can only be had first between you and yourself, and then between you and your husband.

Speaking for myself personally, I chose, at twenty-three years old, to spend the rest of my life in a monogamous marriage. My wife chose the same, and thirty-three years down the road we’re pleased we took that route. But there are lots of different ways to arrive at a good place.

Readers? What’s been your experience in these matters? If you’re married, have you or your spouse ever tried to include a third person in your relationship? How did that go for you? How has monogamy—or being in an open relationship—worked out for you? What would you say to this woman?

I’m the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question:

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • BarbaraR

    Danger! Danger Will Robinson!

    I am assuming (it isn’t clear from what’s written here) that up until now, a threesome or other extramarital involvement has not been an issue. (Correct me if I am wrong.)
    I am also assuming this couple has been married at least a few years.

    So all of a sudden the husband wants to have a threesome? What changed? Is it just that this guy showed up and started flirting with the entire family? Or has this been simmering along quietly and unspoken for a while? If the “friend” (I am using that term loosely here) started sending naked pix to the husband, he spotted a vulnerability and willingness in him that he could easily manipulate. And now that he took the younger sister on a date, it’s gonna get weirder from here. The “friend” is a major player and IMHO should be kicked to the curb immediately.

    Bottom line: the woman doesn’t want this to happen. The husband does. You can’t stay married if one person is blatantly disregarding the feelings of the other.

  • Pavitrasarala

    I agree… and I’m surprised John said nothing about the husband taking his *sister* on a date! That to me is a HUGE red flag. That’s essentially courting incest.

    It makes me wonder exactly what went on with the siblings before the wife came along that they think this is normal or okay. My husband would get served the divorce papers by his waiter at the restaurant mid-date if he did such a thing, because to me that is an earmarker for something way disturbing to which I would not want my children exposed.

    The wife needs to stop seeking advice here and needs to be picking up the phone to schedule an appointment with a counselor who can guide her through this. With all due respect to Mr. Shore, this situation’s way above and beyond complicated, and I’m picking up so much undermining and disrespect against the wife I can’t begin to fathom how she’s tolerating this or holding herself together one more second.

  • Lala

    I see a few issues: One, the “friend” is not a friend. No matter how attracted a friend is to your mate, they do not act on it. Only when they do not value you, do they send naked pictures of themselves to your life partner. Two, would she feel this conflicted, if the “other person” was a woman? Or would she be more territorial? Could it be that she feels more conflicted because she was unaware that her husband had these feelings for other men?
    Bottom line: These two people are married, and if the fundamental structure of their relationship is changing, both need to honestly voice their opinions. When this 3rd person was flirting with her, she did not feel a need to pursue a sexual experience. When he approached her husband, the husband DID feel that need. This speaks to some serious disparity as to how they view their relationship. Disparity is best dealt with PRIOR to acting on it. I would suggest some time in a marriage counseling atmosphere.

  • Bryan Sebeck

    Ok, so let me lay my cards out on the table before I get into this possibly really long response so you can see the viewpoint I’m coming from. I am a pansexual (think bisexual, but without the gender binary), cisgender, married man in a monogam-ish relationship.

    I agree with John completely. The question is not what you should feel, but what you /do/ feel.

    You say that you were raised to believe that relationships should be monogamous in all ways. And maybe you are monogamous and being raised in that belief resonated with you and that’s perfectly ok. But monogamy is hard. It’s a choice, and it’s not for everybody. Numerous studies have shown that the human brain is not hard wired for monogamy. But, we decided long ago as a society that monogamous relationships are the preference and anything outside of that was shunned, put down, and many times run right out of town. It’s only been very recently that society has /started/ to get a grasp on non-monogamous relationships.

    Now, let me be clear, I am /not/ telling you that you should go with this if that’s not what you want. What I am telling you is that maybe your husband would prefer to be in a non-monogamous relationship but societal and religious pressures prevented him from expressing that early on in your relationship. Maybe he never mentioned it out of fear of your response or the response of anybody else that might find out. Maybe he made a conscious decision to commit himself to you in a monogamous relationship despite his personal preference for a non-monogamous relationship. /All/ of that is ok. It doesn’t make him a bad person. It doesn’t make him a liar. It doesn’t mean that he’s cheated on you.

    Now, for your friend. I’m not willing to put scare quotes around it, because it’s unnecessary. He’s in the wrong here, at least based on the information that we have available. There are really two possible options with his sending pictures to your husband. The more likely option is that he just sent them without your consent. Bad move on his part. The less likely option is that your husband lied and told him that you would be ok with it and the other guy just didn’t do his due diligence to follow up with you and make sure that it was ok. Either way, he made an error. That doesn’t necessarily mean he’s a terrible guy. People make mistakes all the time, especially if he’s new to the concept of a non-monogamous relationship himself. It could be a new and unique space to work in for him and he messed up.

    What you don’t mention in your letter is if your husband had previously talked about any same sex attractions with you. That would be really useful to know. Without that, I’m going to go with the most statistically likely situation. It’s likely that your husband and you had not discussed any same sex attractions previously. It’s also likely that your husband has had them on and off to varying degrees for significant portions of his life. Sexual attraction is fluid. So, while he’s been in a relationship with you, he could have simply not met any guys that quite did it for him and so he didn’t bring it up. Maybe he thought that previous same sex attractions were a phase. That happens to a lot of men. It doesn’t mean that he stops being bi, it just means that it’s a part of him that hasn’t been as important. So, now he meets this guy and they hit it off and he’s your husband’s type. Now, all of those feelings that he’s either ignored or suppressed come back to the surface and it’s new and scary and he doesn’t know how to handle them. He wants to explore this area, so he comes to you, in trust, to talk to you about it. You never mentioned whether he wants whatever happens with this other guy to be a long time thing or not, so we don’t have any way of knowing what he’s looking for there. He could be looking for a one time thing or something long term. Unless you ask him, you’ll never know.

    I tell you all of this because it will help you to understand where your husband is likely at in all of this.

    Like John said, this is a tough situation and it’s about what you want, what you’re willing to do, willing to deal with and what you’re not willing to deal with. So, spend some time looking inward and figuring out where you’re at. What is it about the idea of your husband sleeping with this other guy without you there that makes you frustrated or insecure? What would be different if you were to have a threesome with the other guy? Try to think of every possible combination of events and what your response will be.

    The is no right or wrong answer here other than it would be wrong for you to do something that you’re completely against. Trust your heart and trust your husband. Figure out what you want and then talk about that with him. Use your words. If you’re insecure, tell him. If you’re frustrated, tell him. The only way to negotiate this situation without broken hearts, regrets, and resentment is with copious amounts of communication with all parties involved, including the other guy.

  • Bryan Sebeck

    You misread what was said about the sister. This other guy took the letter writer’s sister on a date, not the husband. There’s no implications of incest at play.

  • So with these things a lot of times I have to try to cut to the very core issue at hand–which, in this case, to my mind, is that her husband wants to sleep with someone else. Because of the severely short space defined by a blog post, I had to let everything else go.

    But, yeah, the sister thing creeps me out. In one of the earlier drafts of my response to this woman, I wrote:

    For the other man, knowing the kinds of conversations that you and your husband were having about inviting him, to then date your younger sister sets off so many alarm bells off in my head that right now I must have smoke coming out of my ears.

    When it comes to sexual relations between emotionally healthy consenting adults, there is no should: there’s just a process of open and honest discussion that needs to happen with everyone involved. But you should definitely not have a threesome with Mr. “What’s Your Sis Doin’ Tonight?” That guy sounds like fifteen different kinds of trouble. Don’t do it. And insofar as you can (read: if it’s not too late), stop your husband from hooking up with him. And if for some reason you or your husband just can’t resist this guy, be sure that he gets tested before you go anywhere near him. Twice.

    Your little sister. What … ox excrement.

  • RainbowGurl

    I would add that you should not feel obligated to try to change your mind just to please him. In fact, if you just decide to go along with what he wants, that can easily breed resentment, which would be very harmful to your relationship. I get that you probably love your husband and feel some pressure to consider his desires, but at the same time, I would imagine that you and your husband both signed on to a monogamous relationship from the start, and now he’s the one who wants to change the rules. If you’re not just as into this idea as he is (and it sounds like you’re definitely not!), don’t put any pressure on yourself at all! (And if he’s pressuring you, then he’s being a jerk!) Being open enough not to judge others for their own choice of polyamory is one thing, but the ethic to be “open” does not extend to your own personal life choices, especially if you’re just not comfortable it.

  • BarbaraR

    Even though I think you’re enjoying yourself playing a game of devil’s advocate & semantics, the sister/incest element is quite present.

    The “friend” has zero scruples. He’s playing husband against wife already for a threesome. I can see where this is going: at some point, it’ll be husband, wife, “friend” and little sister.

  • Bryan Sebeck

    “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.)”

    What part of that suggests that the husband took the sister out on a date?

    You certainly assume the worst of people to immediately think that this other guy is interested in having the younger sister be sexual with the letter writer. There’s no information that suggests that at all.

  • BarbaraR

    I might have been born last night but the lights were on.

    I can read it for myself, thanks. I never said the husband took the little sister on a date. The “friend,” however, did, while during the same time period making a play for the husband.

    I know exactly what the “friend” intends.

  • Bryan Sebeck

    You can read his mind, can you?

    Look, the other guy was a jerk by sending the husband naked pictures without the letter writer’s approval. But that doesn’t in any way imply that he’s interested in trying to get the letter writer and her younger sister in the same bed at the same time. You have no reason to come to that conclusion other than you’re just being judgmental.

  • The friend is a jerk for hitting on a married friend, while at the same time dating the married friend’s sister in law. That would put him in super creep category for many.

    The husband is a jerk for not telling friend, “Dude, I’m married, you know that. YOu also know my partner, and should respect that we made a commitment to be monogamous to each other.”

    Instead Mr. married-jerk reveals that friend-jerk has sent naked pictures and has discussed a more expansive sexual repertoire, which wife did not sign up for and is uncomfortable with. She sounds quite open-minded, but also betrayed, by a spouse who is willing to break a promise, by seeming to be thinking with his “jerk” .

  • BarbaraR

    The guy was a jerk whether he had the letter writer’s approval or not.

    Yes, I am being judgmental. I’ve been around the block more than a time or two. If you want to believe this is all above board and he’s just being friendly, I have some property about 100 miles west of Hawaii to sell you.

  • Bryan Sebeck

    It’s not being a jerk if he were to have the letter writer’s approval. There’s nothing wrong with that at all. But he didn’t.

    You should go back and read Matthew 7. There are some words there that are rather applicable to you.

  • BarbaraR

    OK guy – you’re getting dangerously close to getting banned here.

  • This was sent to me by a guy who wishes to remain anonymous (but was okay with my sharing it here):

    I am a married bisexual man. Your article today about the threesome question prompted me to respond – but sadly I can only post on your blog from my Public Facebook account, and I am not quite brave enough for that on such a personal matter. But you ask what your readers have to say and I felt the need to reply simply.

    Having that discussion with my wife led to celibacy. It [unctuated the end of all sexuality in our realtionship. She knew I had gay relationships before, we had councelling, etctec. And now we have just reached this desert that is, by now, almost a decade long.

    I think LGBT people suffer tremendously, I live that suffering myself. But i think the partners of those people suffer terribly too. My having any interest in any alternatvie sexuality at all was so horrific to my wife that her own sexuality just shut down.

    We raise the most beautiful child together. It seems I had to trade my sexuality for the privilege of being a father. Ironiclly I spent a year in a monastery – considering a priestly vocation and I left because I felt celibacy would be unnatural for me. Little did I know that marriage would ultimately lead me down the same road.

  • Bryan Sebeck

    Generally, I would agree with you.

    However, many couples don’t explicitly discuss the monogamy or non-monogamy of their relationship, monogamy is just kind of implied. If the couple had not previously discussed the matter, it doesn’t seem particularly jerky for the husband to want to discuss it with his wife. What’s not clear from the letter is whether or not she expressed to her husband that she was uncomfortable with the idea or not. If she had told him that she was uncomfortable and he continued to pressure her, he is absolutely a jerk. But I don’t think that it’s fair to conclude that from the limited information given.

    I also don’t think we can assume that husband is willing to break a promise. He’s been open with her about his desires and has discussed them with her. If you’re getting from the content of the letter that he’s going to sleep with this guy without her blessing, could you quote it for me, because I’m not getting that vibe anyplace.

    Couples renegotiate the terms of their commitments to one another regularly. It’s not a super uncommon thing. I’m not suggesting that a majority of couples do it, but it does happen with greater frequency than you’d expect. I think it would be unfair to assume that just because the husband wants to have that conversation, that he’s going to break their commitment if she doesn’t go along.

  • Bryan Sebeck

    For what, disagreeing and having a calm and rational discussion about that disagreement? I thought the point of an open discussion was to actually discuss things, not keep this an echo chamber where anybody who doesn’t go along gets kicked out.

  • No the danger lies in being presumptuous by thinking we are unaware of biblical passages or that we lack intuition or insight into the dynamics of relationships.

  • Bryan Sebeck

    I don’t think you are unaware. Maybe forgetting them or ignoring them, but not unaware.

    As for intuition and insight, those things are often wrong and individuals and whole communities get painted with very broad brushes when we jump to conclusions based on very little information. There are a lot of complexities to the situation and it does justice to nobody when people are making comments that are wildly judgmental and have no evidence to support them like this friend must have some incest fetish either because he’s bi or because he made a crappy decision.

  • BarbaraR

    If you get booted, you know why. We see shittons of trolls here who just like to mindfuck with people over semantics and dissecting to the nth degree.

    Testing the limits of a forum just because you can, then whining that “anyone who doesn’t go along gets kicked out,” along with citing Bible verses as a passive-aggressive remonstration, isn’t going to fly here.

  • Clerks of Courts are littered with records of couples where one decided that monogamy needed to be “negotiated” often without prior knowledge of their spouse. Even discussing it can cause great pain, and throws the spectre of distrust, which one suspects someone of breaking can be quite difficult to rebuild,

    Few couples willingly and equally agreeably decide to allow more people into the sexual part of their relationships, especially after they’ve been a monogamous couple for awhile.

  • BarbaraR

    And it’s your job to remind us, is that it?

  • We are discussing three people. not a community at large. It’s not about incest, its about trust, its about respect, which the wife in this situation apparently feels is being threatened.

    One’s sexual orientation is not at issue here. The scenario could easily be a female friend of the husband who wants into the bedroom, or a male friend of the wife. its about someone trying to horne in on a relationship where they were not invited by both parties.

  • Hardly.

  • No, Jerk #1 is trying to get Husband (jerk #2) and the wife into the same bed at the same time. The sister may be a means to an end.

  • Bryan Sebeck

    Things done without prior knowledge of the spouse don’t count as “negotiation” in the minds of anybody other than the person who was cheating.

    I completely agree that it can cause a lot of pain to bring up the topic and discuss it. But, as outside observers, we have no reason to assume the worst about the husband just because he broached the topic. We can’t pass judgment on his character based on the behavior on others who have acted badly in the past.

    If I suggested that the numbers of couples who negotiate the terms of their relationship and open it after they’ve been together a while is huge, I apologize. But, it does occur and it occurs at a higher rate than you would expect and is more than just a few.

  • That’s so sad.

  • Bryan Sebeck

    Barbara made it about incest when she said :

    “The “friend” has zero scruples. He’s playing husband against wife already for a threesome. I can see where this is going: at some point, it’ll be husband, wife, “friend” and little sister.”

    I never said that it was about sexual orientation. But, with her comment that I quoted above, Barbara clearly is saying that the friend is interested in an incestuous relationship with the wife and sister. The only things we know about the friend are that he’s bi and he made a bad decision. Either one of those things led Barbara to the conclusion that he has an incest fetish, so she’s jumping to conclusions with absolutely no evidence to support it at all.

  • Bryan Sebeck

    No, I don’t know why. That’s why I asked.

    I’m not testing limits. I’m presenting reasonable and rational arguments in a calm way. I had absolutely no expectation that, on a “progressive christian” blog, calm discussion involving considering all of the possibilities and not assuming the worst people based on limited information would be met with such needless hostility.

  • So how would you feel, if your partner, who’d you’d made a monogamous pact with, a relationship that had worked, where no discussion about changing that had ever risen up until this “friend” decides to enter the picture, doing small flirtations then upping the ante along the way?

    Would you feel betrayed, hurt? Would you wonder if your partner had been considering this before, had acted upon it without your knowledge? Would you, being strictly preferring one gender be willing to consider a dual gendered relationship? Would you, never having had a sexual encounter involving more than one other person be willing to fathom something different? Would you be scared, suspicious?

  • I can’t believe you are defending the jerk.

    And yeah, he could very well be going for the whole family “meal plan”. Maybe, maybe not, but why date a sibling of the wife, while making a play for the wife and the husband? It is probable.

  • Bryan Sebeck

    Now you’re suggesting that I think that the wife’s fears worries, and concerns are unfounded. I never did that. All I suggested is that we, as outside observers, can’t conclude that her fears are a reality because there’s not evidence to suggest that there is and I encouraged her to be honest and upfront with her husband and to have a frank discussion about the matter.

  • BarbaraR

    Oh for fuck’s sake.

    You have made a leap of logic that defies imagination. I did NOT say that.

    The jerk is interested in a three-way. He’s going to sleep with the sister. By taking the sister on a date, he is “grooming” the wife – “hey – I’m not a bad guy! Look how nice I am!” It’s a short hop from there to a four-way.

    You seem to think if the jerk had just asked nicely if he could send naked pix to the husband, that that would have made everything all right. The jerk has already crossed the boundaries and the husband is letting him. Meanwhile, the wife is distraught and getting no help from the person who ought to have her back – her husband.

    Both the jerk and the husband-jerk are screwing with the wife’s feelings and emotions. She’s confused enough that she had to reach out for help here; they’re going to play on that confusion and lack of direction and make this a worse mess than it is already.

  • Bryan Sebeck

    I don’t think it’s really defending him to say “Let’s not read more into this than there’s any evidence to suggest that is there”.

    He’s a jerk. There’s no argument about that. But being a jerk, being bi, or making a bad decision doesn’t imply that he has an incest fetish.

  • BarbaraR

    Yeah, we’ve heard that “hey, you’re progressive Christians, so you ought to listen to my story even though I’m deliberately baiting you” crap before.

  • Bryan Sebeck

    If only I were actually doing that…

  • I think she’s tried that, and is at her wit’s end, which is why she’s seeking outside council.

    You are young. Heck I have kids older than you. I know a thing or two about relationships, and trust. I know quite a bit about betrayal, and how it feels for a partner to attempt to coerce someone into something they didn’t sign up for.

    My heart breaks for her, and for her child. I am concerned for her husband. He sounds confused, and seriously tempted by the allure of his creepazoid friend. He needs to make some difficult decisions for the sake of his family.

  • BarbaraR

    It doesn’t matter if he has an incest fetish or not.

    He needs to be shown the door.

  • With a boot print on his posterior.

  • No he has a dick fetish. His own, and apparently is willing to devastate a family to feed that fetish.

  • The Lost Dutchman

    There may not be a “should” here…but there are plenty of “thou shalt not”s.

  • AtalantaBethulia

    I agree. There was a little misunderstanding there.

  • Mariah Sizemore

    I disagree with those who seem to believe that there is an inherent dishonesty in the husband showing an interest in a threesome. It is likely that he had simply not met a man that he was attracted to up til that point. It is also likely that he did not feel until recently that it was “safe” to have this discussion. None of this means that he is, has, or wants to cheat on her.

    My husband and I have a “monogamish” relationship, to quote Dan Savage. We are monogamous, until we mutually agree that we aren’t. It’s our choice, based on a large number of factors. Primarily, our feelings. Our choice is not up for debate by strangers, and literally until I typed this paragraph to you, no one knew about it except him, me, and a select number of partners.
    There is no “should” and “should not” when it comes to your emotions. There is only what you feel. It is not unreasonable for you to be nervous, jealous, or insecure – however, please recognize the courage and trust it takes for a man to open up to their spouse at all on this level. Unless he is offering you an ultimatum (give me extramarital partners or give me divorce), there is no reason for you to feel that your relationship is in danger.
    I do not agree with your friend’s actions. It is disrespectful and dishonest, and a little presumptuous.
    In closing, letter writer: if you do not feel that you can handle a threesome, or your husband seeking to satisfy that part of his sexuality, make that clear to him in respectful, honest, and sincere terms. Just because your husband finds himself wanting to engage in these acts and you do not does not make him a cheater, a liar, or a bad husband. It just makes him human. Approach this with acceptance – of your feelings. Approach this with honesty and self awareness. And approach it with an open mind for the person you married. He may not have conducted himself perfectly, but it doesn’t mean this situation has to turn into a disaster.

  • Cathy Doty Jeffers

    Wow. I just read this whole Bryan/Barbara/Allegro exchange and feel a need to express my disappointment at the tone. All Bryan seems to be saying is that we should not make inferences or jump to conclusions about the people in this scenario, we should take ONLY the info offered by the writer and take it at face value. And for that he gets threatened with being blocked and told that because he is younger than you are it is he, not you, who is necessarily wrong? Could it possibly be that, as I believe Bryan stated in his initial post, he’s been involved in “non-traditional” relationships (I’m not sure that I fully understand his description) that have given him a different perspective than someone in a monogamous, heterosexual relationship and that his experience has taught him not to jump to conclusions about people’s intent?

    From my perspective as a spectator of this exchange: Do the scenarios/conclusions that you ladies have brought this to seem likely? Yes. But can any of us DEFINITIVELY say that your conclusions WILL come to pass? No. We don’t know the people involved, we don’t know if the husband values his marriage and his wife’s feelings over his desire to experiment, we don’t know if the sister knew about the whole situation before agreeing to go on the date…in short, there’s a lot we don’t know. All Bryan seems to be doing is pointing out that he thinks that you are making judgments about people that you really can’t and shouldn’t be making when we have such little information about the whole dynamic of the situation. There’s no reason to respond to him in such a threatening and condescending way. I appreciate the perspective he brings to this conversation.

  • Cathy Doty Jeffers

    Well said, Mariah. Speaking as someone who has been in a monogamous marriage for more than 20 years, IMO it takes a HUGE amount of trust in spouse 1 for spouse 2 even to raise this scenario, especially if they’ve been monogamous for a long time and monogamy has been the expectation. While I personally think that their so-called friend is a jerk of highest proportions (because it seems to me that he’s being deceptive and manipulative), I don’t think we can draw that conclusion about the husband. He shouldn’t be pilloried for being honest about his desire to experiment, as long as he respects her feelings and their marriage vows if she says “No.” To the letter writer I would advise you to be just as honest with your husband, and if you are in any way uncomfortable, DON’T DO IT. Either way, you might want to consider exploring this in couples counseling.

    And whatever you decide, neither of you should get physically involved with this friend until he can give you a clean bill of health from a doctor. He sounds like a player who would put someone at risk as long as HE gets the sexual satisfaction he’s looking for. Just my impression.

  • Livin

    15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”

    16 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”

    17 “I have no husband,” she replied.

    Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”

    Jesus says “9 And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.”

    Jesus also said
    7 ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife,[a] 8 and the two will become one flesh.’[b] So they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9 Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

    So the husband made a commitment and now wants to change it. Too bad marriage is not about fulfillment but sacrifice. You sacrifice for the other person. If the other spouse is getting in your way then you no longer value them or your relationship.
    It also sounds like this “friend” dose not value their relationship or the lives of the kids.

  • BarbaraR

    *Beats head againat wall*

    When I was a young and clueless lass, I often had this same kind of exchange with my parents. I would express admiration for a certain person. My parents would say, “He’s going to get you into trouble.” And I would sound the old battle cry of the young: “Ooooh you’re so mean! You’re being judgmental! You don’t even know him! You’re not giving him a chance! He’s not like all the others!” My parents would say, “You’re too young to understand but when you’re older, you will see we were right.”

    And sure as shit, my parents were always right.

    Now that I am older, I have done a number of things I am not proud of, including allowing myself to be led down the garden path by people who were clearly trouble to anyone except someone young and foolishly optimistic. I’ve also been witness to friends who were also much too trusting of someone who was trouble witth a capital T. Yes, being older does give you a perspective and cynicsm about things, and it also gives you the experiece to back it up. In other words: my parents were right.

    There’s about a, oh, 0005% chance that this guy is not trouble, and if that is true, I will gladly apologize and eat my words, but I am not counting on that happening.

    As for threatening to block Bryan, when someone starts telling us to read the Bible because some of it might apply, that’s using the Bible as a weapon to beat people up with, especially when the Bible had not yet (and did not) appear in any of the rest of his conversation. It was thrown in there as a “Hey, you’re Christian, so I’ll beat you over the head with the Bible.” And I still believe that he was enjoying himself playing the troll game. He may have dressed it up in a a prettier package, but still trolling.

  • Michael C

    “Should I be open to the things he wants to try?”

    Yes, but only within the context of the type of marriage you’d like to have.

    It seems as if you’re looking for permission to say “No, that would make me uncomfortable.” You have it. Not from us, though. We’re unimportant. Your husband gifted you with that power when he committed his life to you.

  • moondoggie1960

    Random thoughts:

    John nails it, I think, with his advice. It sounds like you and your husband may be facing some tough choices, but I’m happy for you in this one regard: you and your husband are having an open and honest dialog, which puts you guys in, like, the .00001 percentile of healthy communication. I hope you find that incredibly reassuring.

    Dan Savage, not a Christian and definitely a sexual outlaw, would, I believe, tell you: don’t do it.

    Dan often refers to his “3G’s” — Good, Giving, & Game — as essential to a healthy sex life and a healthy relationship, overall. It seems clear you’re not Game for this … so the tough part is figuring out priorities and definitions: who’s going to do the “Giving”? Your use of the word “cringe” would lead me to think it’s your husband’s place to be Giving … but sexuality is such a huge factor, it’s hard to think that saying “no” to the 3-way will end the issue.

    For my part, my husband and I, together for almost 30 years, each clearly state we have faithful (if-non-monogamous,) marriage. For us, getting naked with another guy isn’t cheating … BUT … lie and sneak off to movies and dinners with another guy? Having a secret romance-without-sex with another guy? Well, those things would break our hearts. Those things would be cheating on the other.

    Many years ago (when we were younger and hotter and had hair,) we had a polyamorous relationship with another guy. Like you, it was with a man we’d known and been friends with for years. It came about very naturally, and it was lovely and loving and unique … our biggest problem was in the closet (a real closet, I don’t like sharing my clothes.) A long time went by, then he met someone, and moved on. The four of us all remain best, non-sexual, friends.

    And, last thought … Joe Jackson wrote a song, “Different for Girls.” From what I’ve seen over the years, monogamy does seem more important to women. I suspect 3 guys in a bed has a far different dynamic than a mixed gender 3-way. Add a 1yo child into the mix, and I think you have a situation in which your husband should be the “Giving” one. The dialog and future possibilities don’t have to end; the conversation can always be revisited.

    (OK, that actually wasn’t my last thought … my very last thought is that I don’t trust the friend … openly bi- or not, sending naked pics to the brother-in-law of the woman he taking out on a date? Very bad form, if nothing else. Warning lights are flashing … )

  • moondoggie1960

    really well said.

  • R.A.

    Excellent response, Mr. Shore. Color me old fashioned, but I’m with the writer of the letter. I think I would have a terribly difficult time with such a situation.

  • R.A.

    Bless his heart. If you can’t discuss this with your spouse, with whom you should be able to share absolute trust and non-conditional love, with whom can you share it?

  • I am an openly bisexual man. Here are my thoughts:

    a) It is important to have the conversation about sexual orientation and the conversation about sexual exclusivity as two separate conversations.

    The questioner has stated she has no problem with her husband’s bisexuality. This is great (and a refreshingly supportive viewpoint). Her husband needs to feel this acceptance in various forms. For example, being able to express his attraction for a male star in a movie, being able to vocalize his identity in many small ways, receiving acceptance in small ways like getting a sexy firefighters calendar as a gift, or in a more direct way through role-play, gender-role-switching and toys in the bedroom. He may also need a sexual dynamic where he is occasionally not the aggressor but the receiver of sexual advances, of sexual compliments, of sexual touch, etc.

    Separately from this, there needs to be a series of discussions about fidelity, exclusivity and rules. Monogamy is not the only model (and has a failure rate of >50%), so the couple might research polyamory, closed loops, and other forms of relationships. Jealousy is a key challenge, and overcoming it requires a lot of nurturing and honest dialog. Support groups, polyamory forums, books and seminars may help. (This is NOT something to jump into impulsively!)

    b) Involving a close friend in a threesome may prove problematic. It may really affect relationship dynamics. Even if the husband would want to explore his bisexuality, the mutual friend might not be the best option.

    c) Perhaps the most important part: Look for the TRUE problem instead of its symptoms. Most likely the husband is restless because, as many husbands with a one-year old, he feels displaced in her affections, demoted in the relationship, emotionally displaced and sexually frustrated. The solution to this is NOT a threesome, the solution is to regain the connection and intimacy the couple once had. The wife addressing the very real problem of her husband’s feelings is key. Hiring a nanny and paying the husband some needed attention would help. So would the husband gaining awareness of what’s really at the heart of his itch.

  • BarbaraR

    Thoughtful analysis.
    “So would the husband gaining awareness of what’s really at the heart of his itch.”

    Yes, this.

  • Sara Lin Wilde

    I can tell you how it turned out for me when I chose to let my then-boyfriend, eventual-ex-husband explore his bisexuality.

    He had a bi friend from high school who was open to experimenting, but he didn’t want to do anything without my blessing. I wanted to provide said blessing; it felt to me like a natural extension of the love I felt for him. This set-up worked for us for a very long time. Every now and then Eventual-Ex-Husband and Bi Friend would get together for play. At first I wanted to be around, and then I got bored and didn’t. And then at some point I did again, and wanted to be involved, and there were threesomes, and we were briefly heading down the road to becoming a poly triad.

    You might be able to say that the non-monogamy led to the end of my marriage, but not in the way most people expect. See, Eventual-Ex-Husband was controlling, abusive, and selfish. I married him anyway because, to be honest, he treated me how I expected to be treated. There wasn’t any violence until after the marriage was already started. I spent a lot of hours in therapy trying to figure out my life and how to save my marriage (and whether it could be saved at all). I had a lot of stress and trauma and . . . well, it was a dark chapter. But the thing that finally led me to figure out what I wanted was the life experience of being in a relationship with Bi Friend and experiencing a happy, non-controlling relationship with healthy boundaries for the first time ever. Once I knew what that felt like, it was only a matter of time before I kicked out Eventual-Ex-Husband because I was no longer willing to take the crap he was peddling. So yes, non-monogamy killed my marriage, but only because it was a marriage that deserved to die. And Bi Friend and I are still happily together to this day.

    Based on my own experience, then, I’m a fan of polyamory and I believe it has the potential to be incredibly empowering. In my case, it empowered me to end a relationship that was abusive and harmful because it a) disproved my husband’s abusive rhetoric about all the reasons no one else would ever put up with me; b) gave me an example of what I really wanted a relationship to be like, to which I could compare my marriage and realize it sucked; c) proved to me that really cynical things I had been taught to assume about relationships or men were false; and d) gave me a sense of physical and emotional safety to leave a sometimes-violent marriage because I had someone willing to support me relatively unconditionally. In other words, it created the conditions wherein I felt I had the power to break the cycle of abuse, an irony Eventual-Ex probably didn’t consider when he chose open marriage.

    That’s my experience, complicated and individualized though it is. Take from it what feels like it works for you, leave the rest. Best of luck. 🙂

  • Superb response. Thanks, Greg.

  • MaryLouiseC

    [The usual fundie nonsense comment deleted]

  • buzzdixon

    Discussions on orientation, commitment, and specific interests (particularly if they include anyone outside the relationship) ideally should be conducted before the relationship gets to the point where those things move from the abstract to the concrete.

    That being said, a relationship should be good enough and strong enough that if one partner says to the other, “What are your feelings on XYZ?” the other partner can respond honestly without feeling threatened, or being threatening in return.

    And -that- being said, if the partner being asked says, “I really wouldn’t feel comfortable with that” then the asking partner should respect that answer and back off. (And, yeah, I know some things will orbit back again and again; just don’t be like a little kid who keeps asking please-please-please incessantly.)

  • tmccool1

    Monogamy is paramount for me. The one sliver of respect I can give to the husband in this situation is that he’s being upfront about it, and not sneaking behind his spouse’s back. But on the other hand, he’s trying to get his spouse involved in the menage a trois. Why? To assuage his guilt? If this clod wants to go explore his “feelings” she should file for divorce immediately, Even if she declines his offer, he’s going to do it anyway behind her back.

  • Yes, the realm of speculation is apparent here. But, I seriously doubt this woman would have written her letter if she herself didn’t see some of the same things Barbara and I are seeing.
    Also Bryan is young, and lacks the insight that living long enough to see one’s own children marry. Besides we were asked for our thoughts on the matter, which has been provided along with some excellent personal stories from people.
    Trust is a fragile thing, which is really at the heart of this woman’s problem. We can be concerned, share our thoughts on the matter, and speculate all we want, because there are some clear warning signs there. We speculate, because we’ve lived enough of life and seen or experienced enough heartache where we don’t want anyone else to suffer thus. Hopefully the warning signs are heeded and tragedy can be averted. Sadly, that doesn’t happen near enough,

  • Cathy Doty Jeffers

    Why are you “beating your head against the wall?” Because I disagreed with you? Because you think I’m a ‘clueless lass’ and you are, by virtue of being older and ‘wiser’ than I, unquestionably right? People both young and old should be able to post without moderators being condescending. For the record, I am a Baby Boomer with children who have entered adulthood, not a “clueless” (your word) youngin’. Like you, I have made mistakes and have life experience. My point of view is just as valid as yours. We simply…disagree. There’s no reason to get worked up. Disagreement is how we learn about the points of view of others.

    Older folks haven’t necessarily cornered the market on wisdom. Malala Youfsafsai (sp?), the young lady from Pakistan who was shot by the Taliban for advocating for education for girls, is wise beyond her years and was so even before the shooting. Bill Clinton, who by all accounts is highly intelligent, didn’t have the wisdom to keep his pants zipped while occupying the Oval Office.

    As for the conversation: From what I’ve read, NO ONE here thinks that this guy isn’t trouble. That’s not the argument that Bryan (and later, I) were having with you. What we took issue with was your jump from “he dated the sister” to “his intent is incest” (which, by definition, would mean that the sisters were being sexual with each other, NOT that the jerk is having sex with both sisters. The jerk isn’t related to them, so his having sex with them is not incest.) You simply cannot know that for certain based only on what the woman wrote. I’d agree that it is LIKELY that the jerk is using the sister to get to the woman (“Hey, tell your sister that I’m a great guy and that they should hook up with me.”) It’s POSSIBLE that he has a “the more the merrier” approach to sex and wants to hook up with the sister too. But we can’t conclude that from what the wife has said.

    I know that you disagree, but semantics ARE important, especially when we’re making judgments about people or situations. And it’s ok to disagree about that.

  • BarbaraR

    This horse is dead. I am not going to rehash it again.

  • BarbaraR

    I agree with you that he is going to sneak around anyway. That barn door is open.

  • moondoggie1960

    Whoa, carry a lot of baggage around with you? Cynical much?

    You do realize that you’ve just told this woman her marriage is over and that the father of her their daughter is a lying cheater, don’t you?

    You do realize this is a real family you’re tossing out like trash, don’t you?

    You state you have a “sliver” of respect for the husband, but you really do not. Rather, you’ve pre-judged that the husband will cheat if the writer doesn’t give him a green light on this. And you can’t know that.

    In your “he’s going to do it anyway” world, why should anyone ever discuss anything at all?

    Believe it or not, some people actually love others enough to sacrifice important hopes, desires, and dreams, in order to demonstrate their love for their partner. For example, several couples I know have not had children because one spouse did not want kids. There are many examples of this kind of love.

    Most importantly, this type of love involves honest conversation, which is what this couple is having.

    We should be wishing the very best for them, whatever that may turn out to be.

  • I don’t think many people would just come and say what you have here, but this is, in fact–and for better or worse–a lot of people’s core reaction to this letter.

  • Jennifer Easlick Potter

    Personally, I couldn’t be in a relationship that wasn’t monogamous. However, my husband and I are on the same page on that issue. As with any marital issue, the best approach is open and honest communication. Ask him for some time to figure out how you feel about it. Then, take the time to search your heart for your true gut reaction to the scenario. If you can live with a compromise, then let him know what you would be able to accept. Set very clear boundaries since any situation involving intimacy can get messy very quickly without an idea of expectations and boundaries. If you can’t accept a polyamorous relationship or an open marriage, then be sure to let him know that right away so that he can also take some time to make a decision. Like other comments have suggested, perhaps toys or role playing games or even just some time for reconnecting would help him to explore his bisexuality in a way that doesn’t alienate you or destabilize your relationship. Good luck! I hope it all works out for you both.

  • I’d love to have such a positive mindset about this story, but I just don’t see it. Instead I read a wife’s concerns…

    1. That she may lose her husband, no matter what.
    2. That she may, in a means to keep the marriage intact, agree to something completely out of her comfort zone.
    3. that her husband doesn’t find her adequate as a sexual partner.
    4. That she may be wondering if he’s already gone down this road already.

    Making sacrifices for each other is not necessarily a bad thing, until it is. Sexual exploration can be healthy for a couple, unless one feels coerced, or pushed into a situation. In this case, a third party approached the husband, got the idea started and seemingly on board with the idea , and only then was the wife approached.

    This doesn’t appear to be a conversation about possible exploration, just to see how each feels, and whether such a thing would be healthy for both. Instead, It’s been plotted already, prior to her knowledge, and now all that’s left is for her to agree, or to shoot it down, at least from her participation.
    Hopefully the husband has enough respect for his wife and what they’ve built together to set this aside. Maybe in a different time a different third pary, and with her getting to call more of the shots such a gathering would be a possibility. I dont see that here.

  • RK

    Whatever the bible does or doesn’t say about homosexuality it is very clear about not having sexual relations with someone one hasn’t made a life commitment too, married etc. I am more than a little disappointed John Shore didn’t point that out (John, are you afraid of taking any stand for the bible?) Also there is some basis in the new testament when Jesus pointed back to Adam and Eve as the example of a marriage that it is meant for just two people. I am sorry this choice is before you. Do you think knowing what the bible says about this will change his mind? If not I hope he will choose to value your feelings more than his own sexual inclinations. Even to risk your health, the mother of his child with the sexual disease probability that this guy sounds like he has…. is to me an example of how selfish he is being. Everyone has sexual fantasies they don’t live out for the sake of putting others first.

  • Here’s the thing. We don’t live in a Roman occupied province in a time centuries before the compiling of the Bible. We certainly don’t live in a Bronze age agricultural/city-state society. Using it as a marital guide based on the parameters you mention, forces us to ignore all the variations that exist in scripture that were the norm for the people written about.

    We don’t know the religious persuasion of any of the people mentioned in the letter. So, dragging out the Bible at this time, may not be the best approach.

  • Todd Rogers

    I am single now, but I think I am qualified to weigh in on this subject seeing as I was in an open relationship (and kinda forced into it really, but then I had to ask and answer those same questions John mentioned in the article above) for 5 of my 8 years with my now ex-husband.

    My ex and I got together in 2001. We actually consummated our relationship in the late night of September 10th, 2001, and into the morning that would be what that all became.

    I was happy. SO very much in love. No thoughts AT ALL about sex outside the relationship.

    It changed shortly thereafter, however.

    Talk of opening the relationship, started by my then partner, who broached the idea on a roadtrip to Arizona (one of our many mini-vacays we took whenever I had a 3 days weekend).

    It was spontaneous. It was shocking. It hurt me to the core, and I resisted it; saying no at least 3 dozen times over the course of nearly 2 years.

    My ex made me pay for that decision not to open the relationship, and he asked himself what HE needed vs. what I wanted (or at least thought we had) and he decided that his need to get off trumped our marriage vows that we took on February 23rd, 2004.

    Our relationship went downhill fast, and all that we’d built was swiftly going with it.

    When I finally relented (I felt that giving this open thing a try was only a band-aid to the ultimate problems our relationship faced), things improved only marginally, and I hadn’t even gotten USED TO the idea that I was now IN an open relationship before it became same old sh*t again.

    Turns out that now that I’d given my ex what he wanted, it was all about him, and I and any needs I had were pushed to the wayside.

    So no. I do not believe in the “open and honest” relationship. There is no such thing, and anyone that would tell you that open marriages are good for the both of you needs to open their Bible and get jiggy with all it says about marriage and commitment.

  • moondoggie1960

    My own opinion is very much in agreement with yours, and I think you’ve parsed it out very well and realistically.

    To take it one step further, I worry for the writer, as I fear/know that, often, bisexuality is a layover (sorry, no pun intended) on the trip to a full-blown, “jeez, I’m gay,” epiphany.

    What I didn’t like about tmccool1’s response was it’s not-so-subtle declaration that this writer’s marriage is already over, when that is not at all the case. And I greatly disliked the cynicism of the “he’s going to do it anyway behind her back.” comment. There are plenty of honorable, faithful, giving, people out there, and he may well be one of them.

    What we do know: this couple is having a very open dialog which could get them through this. And while I think everyone’s warning lights are flashing, we need root for the best possible outcome for this little family.

  • moondoggie1960

    You had a horrible experience, and given that you had to say “no” to an open relationship 3 dozen times in a two year period, and given all else you’ve written, your ex sounds like a selfish prick. You’re well shod of him.

    With that said, my husband and I have lived in an open* relationship for nearly 30 years, and this includes a period of polyamory with another man. We are our own proof that an open and honest relationship can not only work, but flourish and deepen over time. Though perhaps rare, there is such a thing.

    * “Open” can mean a lot of things and should be defined by the people in the relationship. For my husband and me, physical sex with other people was just never an issue (to be blunt, we were both sluts when we met) … for us, fidelity has always been a matter of our hearts and our devotion to each other, not of our recreational activities.

  • RK

    Good point and well said.

  • spinning2heads

    My advice, with the disclaimer that I have no experience of open relationships whatsoever, is that the letter writer say this to the husband:

    1) You may not sleep with Friend. That is because Friend has no respect for the marital boundaries in place, as evidenced by sending naked pics. That is not the polite way to ask married people if they’re monogamous.
    2) Currently, the idea of your sleeping with someone else is too hard for me, so you can’t do it yet. I will keep thinking about it though, and openness (though not with Friend) may be in the cards for you/us in the future, after we talk about it for a long long LONG time.
    3) We have a one year old. that’s bound to make anyone kind of crazy, if only from sleep deprivation. It’s also bound to make having tome for sexual connection fall by the wayside for a bit. So let’s work on that.
    4) Remember how I said non-monogamy might be in the cards after a lot of talking? We can start that process of talking now. But dont expect it to take shorter than a year.

    After you say those things, see what he says. If he accepts your limits, and is willing to take ‘Friend’ off the table as a potential extra, then you guys may be able to eventually negotiate something that works, because it will be built on the basis of your mutual trust that established boundaries will be respected. If he’s whiny and doesn’t accept them, and/or sleeps with Friend anyway, then you have a very different answer on your hands.

  • buzzdixon

    I don’t think God ever proscribed premarital sexual relations. He said a person who lived a life that made them a credit to their parents was not the sort of person who would commit adultery (i.e., betray a spouse), but I don’t recall a single verse where he or Christ specifically said sex before marriage was forbidden.

    Oh, there are any number of people who said God told them it was bad, but the only times God or His son had a chance to speak specifically on the topic they remained silent.

    (Now, that’s not saying everybody should plunge in, but it seems to me the important part of “no adultery” has less to do with the actual bumping of uglies as it has to do w/betraying one’s spouse)

  • RK

    There are a few verses. The first is 1 Corinthians 7:9 “But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.” Why would Paul say this if it was ok to have sex outside of marriage. I know some discount Paul or the Bible, but if we are talking about the Bible – yes it does have something to say about this. Here is a verse spoken by Jesus himself: Matthew 5:28 “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Here even to look at another person who is not your spouse with sexual intentions/fantasies is wrong. I am happy to show more scriptures too, if requested.

  • We tend to forget that Paul was writing personal letters, giving his opinions on matters in a culture quite distant from our own. I seriously doubt that the man, or the other people who wrote pieces credited to him had any inkling that thousands of years later, their writings would be considered divine. Actually I can imagine the incredulous look on Paul’s face, followed by the chortles of laughter that would have ensued if someone had ever told him that was in the future.

    As for what Jesus is credited with teaching, we must also remember that in that day….and sadly its a reality still, women were looked at as sex objects, or potential birthing factories. Women couldn’t choose who to marry, couldn’t testify on their own behalfs or the behalfs of others in court, were presumed guilty of adultery if assaulted, and other gross inequalities that women have been struggling to overcome for millenia. Pretty much what Jesus was telling men was to stop looking at women with their dicks. There are other stories where jesus did the unthinkable…have honest, open dialog, on an equal setting with women, seeing and valuing their insight. He didn’t see women…at least it isn’t recorded, as a sex object, but as a valuable human being.

  • williamwalker

    Hi R.A.! I agree with Mr. Shore’s response, too.

  • buzzdixon

    Paul, however inspired he was, was neither God nor Jesus (whom we Christians consider to be God made flesh). As with the prophets and poets and philosophers and historians before him who wrote the books of the OT, Paul’s understanding was shaped by his time, his place, his culture, and his own personal history. What he wrote and taught was through that lens, and as he himself admitted, it was like “looking through a glass darkly”.

    In the centuries since then, we have had illumination on what was written and taught in the first century AD. As far as I can tell, the problem areas are almost entirely in the epistles rather than the gospels; and in the gospels those portions that are narrative text added by the author/s, not the actual quotes and teachings of Jesus.

    That, in the words of Perry Mason, is one big honkin’ clue…

    Let’s start with the Christ quote: A reading of the text indicates he was talking about people (primarily men) who used their position and power (ala King David, Christ’s own earthly ancestor) to force their attentions onto a woman; the people doing this were either married and thus betraying their own spouse/s (polygamy still being an option in that day), or were desiring the spouse of another. Christ’s language indicates this was not merely a “Wow! I bet they must be great in bed” kind of thought but rather an active “I do I get them into my bed?” level of planning (much like the situation in John Shore’s original post above). To paraphrase Christ, planning to burglarize a house, casing the joint, gathering the necessary tools, etc. makes one just as guilty of burglary as the actual theft insofar as you have mentally committed yourself to the crime.

    Temptation / stray thoughts in & of themselves are not a sin; after all, Christ was sinless and yet Christ was tempted in the desert. Thinking “Wow, how nice” but then following it (sincerely) with “…but not for me” is not a sin.

    That was pretty much Christ’s direct teaching on the topic of adultery. We know he considered divorce for any reason other than adultery to be wrong (based on his other teachings re forgiveness, we presume he would not object to an injured spouse forgiving the errant spouse and continuing the marriage; and we infer that he was writing about divorce more in the context of men who “traded up” for younger / prettier / higher status wives to replace their older spouses). At the same time, he had no problems talking to the woman at the well (multiple divorcee + living out of wedlock w/man + Samaritan = trifecta!) and using her -in her present condition- to spread the gospel (the first non-Jew to do so, BTW). And he had no problems w/prostitute coming into the place where he was dining, anointing him w/oil, washing his feet w/her tears, and drying them w/her hair (today’s cultural equivalent: Taking her top off and rubbing her boobs on him).

    So pretty clearly the big bugaboo in his way of thinking was the betrayal of a spouse, and the use of power/position to force one’s attentions on another (which is technically rape). He didn’t seem to get too awfully worked up about people who engaged in acts of mutual consent that did not involve the breaking of a marriage vow. (Added note: He did not condemn the woman caught in adultery, which means he acknowledged she had sinned against her husband, and told her to go and sin no more; so again he acknowledged the importance of keeping a marriage vow -once it had been taken-)

    In the OT, there’s only one time when God spoke out loud directly to a large group of earwitnesses who could compare notes on what they heard: The offering at Mt Sinai of the Decalogue (literally “the ten words” not “the ten commandments” which is a human term attached to them; actually, God never refers to them by either term but rather as a covenant i.e., contract which means something both parties voluntarily agree to, not what one party is forcing upon another).

    In the Decalogue, God only proscribed adultery (betrayal of a spouse, or helping someone betray their spouse). If neither party is married or engaged to another, and if the act is consensual and w/o guile: No harm, no foul. We may infer that sex before marriage runs the risk of not being a credit to one’s parents, or of coveting, but those are not automatic givens.

    Any other sexual proscription in the OT came from a human being who used his own personal filter (and I say “his”, the few women who contributed to the OT never got a chance to address this topic) to shape the way he expressed what he felt God wanted him to express. As such, worthy of study in the context of the culture / time / individual, and worthy of contemplation, but -not- the actual word of God.

  • anakinmcfly

    The bisexuality is irrelevant. The husband basically wants an affair, and just happens to be upfront enough to actually ask the letter writer’s permission. Letter writer obviously doesn’t like the idea. Husband continues insisting, enough that they’ve had the discussion a few times. That’s disrespectful, and he’s basically pressurising her to do something she isn’t comfortable with and which upsets her, unwilling to accept that she doesn’t want to do this. So many red flags there.

    I don’t generally have a positive opinion on open relationships and polyamory, but I can at least recognise that in healthy versions of that, all parties involved are enthusiastic and willing. Which is evidently not the case here. Don’t do it.

  • Timothy L. Northrup Jr.

    Sex is such a complicated thing. And Bisexuality is such a complicated thing as well. I think the line here will eventually boil down to want vs. need on both sides.

    Is a monogamous relationship something you want or something you need?
    Is sexual availability/experience with people of both genders something your husband wants or needs?

    I’ve known a few bi people in my life who were monogamous–they dated both genders and then committed to one relationship. And I’ve known others who couldn’t possibly sexually commit to one gender–their needs as they saw them were too diverse.

    I guess you both just have to treat each other with compassion in this. I pretty much knew what John would say before he said it (ie as I was reading your letter). I also know what Dan Savage would say–and oddly (or not so much), these things are very similar.

    and in the end, you both have to consider your daughter. no matter what happens between your two, she has to be taken care of, loved, and provided for by all involved.

  • Zeke

    Your husband is gay.
    Get out for the good of you and your daughter.

  • R.A.

    How are you, WW?

  • williamwalker

    I’m fine! Running around everywhere, trying to get ready for a new part-time job to add to the other part-time work. Who knew full-time work in your chosen profession would take so much effort — that’s what I really call the “New World Order.” LOL

  • fiona

    I don’t think this could work out without both parties being honestly okay with it. If at some point, after some time talking about it (quite possibly years), she can finally be able to be secure in this, that would be the only way I could see this working out. In my own experience, I know that the subject(open relationships/polyamory) was broached between me and my husband and I shot it down, being not in a place of acceptance of either my own sexuality or his interest. Had it been pushed then(it really was only one conversation with simple curiosity, but still), it would have for sure destroyed our marriage. Years later, under my own exploration, I was able to reconcile it and developed my own interest in polyamory/open marriage. I believe this is why it is working out for us, because we were both at the same acceptance, at the same time.

  • R.A.

    Haha. School has started back. I feel your struggle! Sometimes it feels as if just keeping your head above water is the day’s task. 🙂

  • Alliecat04

    An affair is an affair, he’s not entitled to one just because he wants one with someone of the opposite sex. And he’s being a schmuck pressuring you to be the cool open-minded wife. You do not have to be cool with this and you don’t have to apologize. He took a vow to be faithful to one person who happens to have a vagina; if he wants out, that’s on him, not you. I’m guessing he knew you had a vagina when he married you.

    A situation where one person wants to cheat and the other isn’t okay with it is not an open marriage.

  • tomtul2

    If you are tolerant of homosexuality, how can you condemn adultery?
    The prohibition of both depends on a traditional interpretation of the Bible (or other religions’ scriptures).
    If you say, I have a strong desire for it, I can’t live without it, people have always done it, the Greeks did it, the French accept it, those arguments apply just as well to adultery as to homosexuality.
    Note Mr Shore says ‘there is no right or wrong here’. This should help you realize where he is coming from, and where this trend is going.

  • Jeff Preuss

    …except one is based on an innate sexual orientation, and the other is based on straying from a commitment made to another person.

    Professing to follow a ‘literal’ interpretation of the Bible is not even a little bit possible when trying to project a 21st century understanding on texts first passed down through oral tradition and then written down in ancient cultures thousands of years ago.

    They are not even close to equivalent, not even in their treatment in the Bible.

  • Bones

    Next you’ll be saying we get our morals from the Bible. No we don’t.

  • Bones

    “And why do you not even on your own initiative judge what is right?” Luke 12:57

    Once again, we’re more concerned about sin, than God is.

    There are times when divorce is the right thing to do outside of Jesus’s conditions in the New Testament.

    Homosexuality was/is a cultural taboo which has been demonised by religion.

    I currently have Christian friends going thorough divorce because of adultery. The destruction of their family is judgement enough. And they’re probably better Christians than I am.

    The Hebrews supposedly killed male and boy POWs. I would say that is immoral and wrong. Yet the Bible says it’s good and they were punished for not doing it.

    It’s the behaviour we’re seeing right now from ISIS in Iraq.

  • There is a huge difference between homosexuality and adultery. Homosexuality is an innate part of who a person is. Adultery is a breach of trust and respect, a purposeful act.

    No one else is making the silly argument you are making, and John certainly isn’t.

  • BarbaraR

    Specious argument.

    Being gay is like being blue-eyed. It’s how a person was created. It is unchangeable.
    Adultery is choosing to behave in a way that undermines a relationship and hurts others.

    You are twisting this story around to fit your own prejudices.

  • Jeff Preuss

    >>”innate”–the desire to cheat is innate in most me. It is strong and counselling will not get rid of it. They are born that way. “commitment”–what commitment? Was there an explicit commitment or was it ASSUMED by one party? Wedding vows don’t always include it anymore. (And if they do, they also include ’till death do us part’, e.g. no divorce ever).<>By the way, most gay marriages are not commited to monogamyhttp://www.nytimes.com/2010/01…<<

    And, I don't give shit one about whatever statistics you might offer about "most" gay marriages, especially because the article you link nowhere says "most" – it says "many." It cites a study of gay couples in the San Francisco area, known for being more overtly sexually libertine than many other cities, and even that study said only about 50 percent of their responding couples had open relationships — not most. AND, the article goes on to discuss there are many straight couples who have open relationships.

    Some straight couples have open relationships, some gay ones do. Some gay couples have closed relationships, some straight ones do. If one couple makes the commitment, straight or gay, to a closed relationship, and one wants to stray, that’s cheating, regardless of the innate sexual orientation of the parties involved.

  • Jeff Preuss

    Really, tomtul2? Did you delete your own comment? Is it because you yourself realized how pointless it was?

    If it was you who deleted it and not a mod, I’m glad I was able to quote it first.

  • BarbaraR

    I deleted it. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
    Since tomtulz hasn’t been blocked (yet), we’ll probably get to read another pithy comment.

  • tomtul2


    BarbaraR–why did you delete my post? I did not engage in namecalling or disrespect. I used logic to claim there is a similarity between the arguments that homosexual behavior is ok and that adultery is ok. Perhaps my argument is wrong. If so, point out the flaws in my logic.

  • Jeff Preuss

    You’re kidding, right? You link to a different article that actually uses the word “most,” but it cites the same damn survey from your other linked article.

    Do you have anything even remotely resembling a point?

  • Jeff Preuss

    And, yes, your argument is wrong.

  • BarbaraR

    The flaws in your logic have been pointed out numerous times here by several people. Not going down that road with you.

    This is an LGBTQ-affirming forum. This is a safe space for LGBTQ people to express their views on religion, the Bible, faith, and other assorted subjects without fear of some fundie trolling on in to repeat the same old shit that they’ve been hearing all their lives.

    All of your arguments and “logic” have been debunked here many, many times.

  • tomtul2

    Ok, I will respect that this forum is for people sharing acceptance of LGBT behavior. It was not clear to me from some posts that have been left up, and from the Be Nice article.

  • Grace

    Where do you get your morals from?

  • Bones

    Mum, Dad, mates, society.

    Do you think people don’t commit adultery because the Bible says?

    And do you consider religious genocide immoral?

  • Jeff Preuss

    A Cracker Jacks box, same as you.

  • Ericka

    Personally I am a Pagen facing a similar situation, so the whole homosexuality/adultery biblical argument is out the door for me. I just don’t want to share my husband with anyone. I have a lot of thinking to do about this before I make a decision, but it is no ones decision but mine to make. I came here for a bit of advice, but all I see in comments are biblical verses and religious arguments. Does anyone have emotional and/or logical things to say that doesn’t bring spiritual aspects to the table? Seriously, just looking for advice.