A Woman Is Rescinding Her Baby Shower Gift & Reddit Is Floored by This ‘Slap in the Face’
Open relationships come with a lot of unique challenges. That’s not a shocking thing to say, considering that every type of relationship on the planet has challenges, but with open relationships, you’re dealing with emotions that most of us aren’t too comfortable with. Jealousy is one of them, alongside fear, uncertainty, and insecurity, just to name a few. Seeing your partner date, sleep with, or even fall in love with other people can just be uncomfortable, even if you gave them permission to do those things — and even if you’re doing those things yourself.
One woman on Reddit is looking for advice for dealing with her own jealousy and insecurity in her open marriage. She and her husband opened up their relationship a year ago, and after a slow start on her husband’s part, he’s finally found a woman to date whom he’s very into: gushing about her, staying up for hours talking with her, giving her lavish gifts and dates. Now our OP (Reddit-speak for the author of the post) is feeling a little neglected, but when she brought her feelings up to her husband, it turned into a screaming argument.
Like we said, jealousy is a common experience in open relationships, as many other Reddit posts can attest to. So what exactly happened in our OP’s case, and what does Reddit have to say about it? Keep reading for the full story (plus an update from OP).
OP and her husband, Marcus, had toyed with the idea of opening up their relationship in the past, and finally decided to try it a year ago as the spark in their marriage was fading fast, OP says. They had some in-depth conversations and set their boundaries. Then, OP downloaded some dating apps and began seeing other people.
OP says she was only looking for non-committed physical connections, like hookups and one-night stands, and didn’t care one way or the other if it turned into anything more. Marcus, on the other hand, was looking for something somewhat serious, OP says. He wanted just one other partner and was struggling to find dates locally until OP recommended he use the same app that she had.
Marcus met his girlfriend, Charmi, on the app and they immediately hit it off. Marcus “gushed” to OP about Charmi’s life and accomplishments, and OP says she was happy for him. Their relationship only got “annoying” for OP when their plans interfered with her own, and she had to cancel hers to watch the kids she shares with Marcus.
However, OP started to get a little bothered when she noticed Marcus and Charmi’s relationship deepening. Marcus would stay up late talking to her while in bed with OP. Then, OP started seeing receipts for gifts like chocolate, purses, and jewelry for Charmi and notcing that they were going out for fancy dinners together. That hurt, considering that OP and her husband have “hardly done anything truly special in the past year,” she says. And that went against her agreement with Marcus, which was that they wouldn’t neglect their own marriage after opening it up and would still have date nights together. Marcus shut down her attempts at discussing it, too, saying he was busy with work, that OP isn’t doing anything special for them either, or just straight-up walking away from the conversation.
Then, OP’s husband decided to go out for Charmi’s birthday on Jan. 31 — which also happened to be his wedding anniversary with OP. OP understandably got angry, yelling at him and saying that their anniversary was more important, while Marcus defended himself by saying they hadn’t done anything special last year (OP says they’d stayed home with their kids) so it shouldn’t matter if he went somewhere else.
After arguing for a while, Marcus walked away from the conversation. He didn’t speak to OP the rest of the day and went straight to work the next morning, refusing to respond to OP’s phone calls or texts. “I am seriously at the end of my rope,” OP wrote. Their relationship had gone “seriously downhill” since her husband started seeing Charmi, but OP also respected the fact that Charmi clearly made Marcus happy.
In response to the comments OP received on her first post (we’ll get to those in a bit), she decided to update Reddit on the status of her relationship five days later. She said her husband ended up going to Charmi’s place to celebrate, but Charmi broke up with him that night, saying she needed to focus on her law studies and her parents didn’t approve of their age gap.
Marcus filled in OP afterwards “in a miserable tone,” and got angry when OP didn’t say anything or try to comfort him. OP now believes he’s trying to win Charmi back, based on the orders he’s placed on Amazon, and despite “moping” over the breakup, he’s been “putting on a good face” the past few days.
That doesn’t change things for OP, though. She says she’s going to meet with a lawyer about separating from Marcus and is ready to serve him the papers ASAP.
The responses on OP’s initial post were unsympathetic and in our opinion, a bit unfair, blaming OP entirely for her marital issues. Some, though, made good observations. One person noticed that many Reddit posts on open relationships fall into one of two categories: either the man opens up the relationship and is disappointed by his lack of prospects while his wife has many; or the woman opens up the relationship and her monogamous male partner finds another woman to be monogamous with, and his wife gets upset when she realizes he no longer has feelings for her. “At this point, it’s a tale as old as time,” the commenter said.
It’s a fair pattern to point out, but one that contributes to a common stereotype of open relationships: that they’re just an excuse for cheating while enjoying the safety and comfort of a long-term relationship. Having your cake and eating it too, if you will. SheKnows has spoken to experts in the past who say it’s possible for a couple to have a successful open relationship even if only one partner initially wanted it, but it takes a lot of open communication, patience, and trust — things that this couple didn’t seem to have enough of.
Other commenters seemed to take OP’s post as an excuse to dogpile. One person said Marcus was clearly in a new relationship and “by the looks of it, he is enjoying it far more than the one he has with you. Hate to break it you.” Another person’s response: “Opening a marriage didn’t work out?! GASP I. Am. Shocked.”
We don’t love the disparaging comments, and neither did OP, who picked up on the fact that most people were on Marcus’ side and even openly cheering for him to break up with her and get together with Charmi (which clearly didn’t happen). Reminder that OP posted this in the relationship advice subreddit, so was looking for actual constructive thoughts on what she should do!
To that end, one person noted that her marriage sounded like an unhappy one even before it was open, and instead of working with each other to bring the spark back, “you had the bright idea that opening up would give you what you want, but allow you to keep the security of your family.” They observed that Marcus seemed to be more interested in replacing his wife with someone else than pursuing an actual open relationship. “I think this marriage is finished,” they wrote.
We won’t get too far into the comments on OP’s update, which are mostly people continuing to pile on and slut-shame OP for sleeping with other people (multiple people! Gasp!) once she and her husband agreed to open up their marriage. To us, it sounds like OP’s husband violated one of the boundaries of their open relationship, which was that they would continue to prioritize each other and spend quality time together — which Marcus was clearly more interested in doing with Charmi than with OP. OP realized he wasn’t respecting the boundaries and was unwilling to recognize or change his behavior, and it wasn’t something she was comfortable compromising on. Divorce is an option when that happens, and it’s the one OP has decided to take.