This Reddit Family Rift Was Cemented By a Cat’s Birthday Party & No, We’re Not Kidding
Most of us know what an open relationship involves, theoretically. You and your partner both agree you can see other people, setting as many or as few rules and boundaries in place as you need to make that happen. It doesn’t sound so complicated on paper, but as with anything that involves relationships and emotions, open relationships can feel a little different in practice. Sometimes, we don’t realize just how different until we’ve already agreed to try it.
This is especially true of those of us who have insecurities that are triggered by our partners being interested in other people. It can be a turn-on to know your partner is seeing someone else (no kink-shaming — that’s one reason some people want an open relationship!), but it can also be painful in ways you might not have expected.
We say all this to introduce a couple on Reddit who seem to be experiencing this exact issue. After being married for eight years, the husband has been pushing for an open marriage for years, according to his wife (aka our OP, which is Reddit-speak for the person who wrote the post). She finally agreed, but now he’s started acting strange and insecure — even though he was the one who wanted this arrangement in the first place. Keep reading for the full story and for Reddit’s take on it all.
According to OP, her husband has “passively pushed” her to have an open relationship for a few years now, “as if it’s a need,” she says. After thinking it over for a while, OP eventually agreed to try an open marriage, “but we’ll do it solo,” she explains. “He does his thing, and I do mine.” They also agreed upon a few rules and boundaries.
That all sounds fairly healthy, right? Well, OP reports, now things have changed. Her husband has gotten more and more insecure, to the point of being unrecognizable. “It’s like I married a different person,” she says. “Gone is the guy who got a kick out of the thought of his wife with another man … Replaced with this wreck.”
It’s gotten to the point that OP’s husband is “freaking out” about her going to an event, telling her he “didn’t want anyone looking at me, saying I AM HIS wife!”
OP managed to talk him down in that instance, but the issue is persisting. “He is accusing me of trying to get away from him, and no matter how I confirm that I’m not, he still brings it up,” she explains. “He says I’m being distant, and I’m acting the way I normally do… He picks arguments out of nowhere to make his insecurities sound reasonable. Or brings up past arguments to justify insecurities.”
The real “kicker,” OP says, is that she hasn’t even started dating or talking to anyone. She’s not even actively trying. “[I] told him that, but he still is acting this way,” she writes.
“It’s like all my social media reactions I’ve gotten from my pictures made him realize that I am actually very cute,” OP observes. In his mind, she says, “he was going to be able to be with any girl, or have a threesome. But he didn’t think of his wife actually being with another dude.”
Now OP is even considering divorce. She’s worked for years on herself, she says, much of it to his benefit: asking him how she could be a better wife, satisfying him sexually, going to therapy… “and he can’t drop his insecurities?”
In frustration, OP turned to the Reddit marriage forum to ask if she’s being too hard on her husband. “I feel like I’m passively being manipulated into making his insecurities seem rational,” she says.
Reddit’s first response was something like (to quote Taylor Swift) “I think I’ve seen this film before.”
“‘Husband pushes for open relationship, then loses his mind when his wife is more successful at dating than he is’ is my FAVORITE brand of FAFO Reddit post,” one commenter said. “I’ve seen so many. Freaking gold. You deserve better OP.” Another Redditor agreed — “These posts are sooo plentiful. Why do these guys never think this through?”
“People never seem to do the due diligence before proposing something like [an open relationship,” another commenter wrote. “You guys should shut this down now and start therapy. In my humble opinion.” Other Redditors agreed, with one commenting “Funny how everyone wants an open relationship until they realize they don’t actually want an open relation.”
Another person observed that at least one good thing came out of the situation: “Going ahead with this has shown you a bit more about who he is (or who he had the potential to be), and you (rightfully) don’t want any part of it.” They continued, “You sound like you’ve been patient. If you want to try and see if there is anything to fix, you can tell him he needs to figure out what he really wants (because a truly ‘open relationship’ clearly isn’t it), and then you can discuss whether you agree with it or not and go from there, although the damage has probably been done.”
“Open relationships where one partner is pressured into accepting it never seem to work out,” another commenter wrote. “At a minimum, the partner pressuring to open things up is generally focused on their wants alone and not on what would happen when their partner starts participating too.”
While many Redditors thought OP should get the divorce she was contemplating, it sounds like OP is going to stick it out. “For now I’ve decided to work things out with my husband,” she wrote in an update on the post. “He will start therapy to work out his issues.” Best of luck, OP, and for any other partners out there considering opening up their relationship, remember that it goes both ways — you can see other people, but so can your partner!