I initially shared some of my thoughts on open relationships here in Part I and had intended to follow that up with this post (Part II) fairly quickly. But, like a lot of things in my life, my intentions get sidetracked by my procrastination and so it took a LOT longer than I would have liked to get around to finishing Part II. And, about midway through this installment, I realized that I am likely going to need a Part III and possibly a Part IV (and maybe more) to say all that I have to on this subject. So, with my sincere apologies, here's Part II:
So, at the end of my Part I post on this subject, I mentioned that I'd recently done something that made me realize that navigating the potential pitfalls of an open relationship was probably not as easy as I'd previously believed. Basically, what happened was that I had sex with someone not named "Holly". That, in itself, wasn't a huge problem. While Holly is not exactly thrilled with the idea of my being intimate with another woman - just as I cannot imagine ever really liking the idea of her with another man - this incident was a problem primarily because of how I handled it. You kids out there pay attention: Communication is REALLY important in relationships.
Let me provide a bit of background here. A long, long time ago (which for Holly and me is like 6 months), Holly confronted me about whether or not I was still cruising the Ashley Madison site where the two of us had met. I was. Keep in mind that this was after I'd told her that I wanted to be exclusive with her. At the point where she caught me looking around, I hadn't actually met anyone else, but I was open to the idea. Anyway, I mistook her questioning me about my being on AM for her being angry about it and so I rather impulsively pronounced our relationship over and told her that I didn't think we should talk anymore. Just like that. Have I mentioned that sometimes I'm a dumbass?
Also, keep in mind that this was at a time before we'd developed the very intense and deep emotional bond that we have now. In other words, we were just kind of still in that "having a good time" phase. And, let's face it, we were two married people who were fooling around on their spouses. I know that to many, the notion of being "faithful" within an extramarital affair seems pointless and maybe even downright silly. But, as I wrote in Part I, I was torn about the issue of exclusivity. I think this was due at least partly to the fact that I was laboring under the notion - probably fostered by my affinity for sappy Hollywood movies (read: Chick Flicks) - that, somewhere out there in this big ole' world, there was one person who could - and should - be everything to me all the time. So, to sum up, one reason I told Holly I wanted to see only her is, well, because that is kind of what I did want.
Holly asked me about why I had been looking on AM, I didn't like it, got pissy, and broke things off with her. That lasted a couple of days during which I felt pretty shitty about what had happened and tried, several times, to explain my feelings and motivations. I'm not sure that even I fully understood my thinking at the time though and, unfortunately, ended up making a bad situation worse by hurting Holly's feelings in all my ham-handed attempts to explain myself. Luckily, I was a bit drunk one night and sent her one last email to try and apologize/explain. She responded favorably to it and we ended up having some SUPER hot makeup sex a few days later. I chronicled that meeting for posterity and you can read about it here: Make-up Sex. My life was never quite the same after that day - and that is a very, very good thing!
Anyway...we talked some after the mind-blowing sex of that day and agreed that neither one of us thought that long-term monogamy was a good idea (for us anyway) and pretty much also agreed - at least on paper - to have an "open" relationship. For whatever reason, we really didn't have a lot of discussion about the open/closed issue after that and so I pretty much went forward thinking that I could just do whatever the hell I wanted regarding seeing other women. And, the fact is, I think that was essentially true. However, as I already mentioned, communication is key in any relationship and the lack of it between Holly and me about this issue left us open to potential problems. Holly's accepting attitude toward my desire for other women did not give me the right to disregard her feelings or treat her with anything less than total respect and honesty. And yet, I did. Of course, I didn't MEAN to - I'm not really a total asshole (although I do sometimes play one on TV).
Once Holly and I had agreed that we both were open to the idea of being, well, open, I think I just sort of went off thinking, "Wow, I have a beautiful, smart, sexy woman who loves being with me and who doesn't mind if I have sex with other women - how cool is that!?" On the other hand, Holly viewed the whole open thing as something we might explore down the road as a means of keeping our relationship fresh. Our dealing with this issue - like REALLY dealing with it and talking about it further - was interrupted and complicated by the many breaks we've taken during our relationship. None of the previous breaks ever lasted very long, but at the onset of each, both Holly and I intended that they would. She was really sweet and told me that she would understand if I saw another woman while we were on break. And that's how I came to meet my couple friends that I wrote about here: Alan & Annie
When I met them, I really thought it was for a very specific roleplay kind of fantasy and that it would be a one-time thing. As such, I didn't volunteer a lot of personal information and...they didn't ask. Specifically, they never asked about my marital status and so...I didn't tell. But, the thing is, they turned out to be really nice, really cool people and we ended up meeting several more times. The longer it went on, the worse I felt about not coming clean with them. So, I finally did and they were gracious about it, but Annie just didn't feel comfortable seeing me any more after finding out I'm still married. I told Holly that I was no longer seeing them and we didn't really talk about it much beyond that. Holly didn't ask why and so, that was pretty much the extent of the conversation.
But later, because she is a nice and thoughtful person, Annie reached out to me and we corresponded some via email. I explained more about my situation and she and I kept in touch a bit. I felt bad about lying to them and wanted to explain and apologize in person so, a few weeks ago, I suggested that maybe Annie and I meet for lunch or a drink to talk. She had told me that she missed our little get-togethers and even got a bit flirty with me online before we met. But, she also talked about how we needed to be "good" - and I agreed. I certainly didn't want her to do something she wasn't totally comfortable with. I won't lie, I find Annie attractive and I genuinely like her and so as the day of our lunch meeting approached, I did think about what it would be like to have sex with her again and even hoped that something might happen that day.
The problem with all of this is that I did not tell Holly about any of it beforehand. I don't think she really expects or maybe even wants me to tell her if I'm emailing with another woman, but obviously, meeting in person - even if it's supposed to "only" be lunch, is a different matter. I was conflicted about telling her, too, because I really thought that Annie wouldn't be open to any physical contact and, as such, there really wasn't much to tell Holly about. But I now realize that I screwed up royally. To compound matters, Holly called me as I was driving to meet Annie and asked me what I was up to. I was honest and told her where I was headed and explained that I wanted to apologize to Annie in person. The conversation with Holly was awkward and I immediately felt really, really shitty about how I was handling it. Yes, part of the reason I felt shitty was because I got "caught", in a way, but I also knew that I'd disappointed Holly and felt like I'd broken her trust somewhat too. On one hand, if Annie and I had met for lunch, talked and then gone our separate ways, would there really have been anything to tell? But, as I already mentioned, I did still desire Annie and I wasn't truthful with Holly about that or about the fact that I was secretly hoping that lunch might turn into more.
I called Holly on the ride home from my meeting Annie and told her that lunch had turned into more. She had already figured it out - probably due to the fact that I called her much later than I'd said I would. It was a difficult conversation but I knew that I owed it to Holly to be honest with her now and face up to what I'd done. She wasn't pleased and I certainly don't blame her - in fact, I think I'd be a lot more upset and hurt if the roles were reversed. I felt awful and later that night, after I had more time to reflect on all that had happened, I felt even worse. Holly and I had already planned to meet the next day (this was one of the reasons she was upset with me - because we'd already had a meeting planned) and we went through with it.
We met at a hotel late one afternoon but I think both of us knew that we probably wouldn't be having sex that day. Instead, we talked. Holly started by telling me how my actions had made her feel and she got a bit emotional as she spoke. I wanted to slap myself for hurting the woman I love. I wasn't sure it was possible to feel worse than I already did, but...I did. And I totally deserved it. Hell, I probably deserved 10 times worse than I got, but Holly said her piece and we talked, we cried and...we got through it. We did end up sharing some sweet kisses toward the end of our rendezvous that day but I don't think either of us really felt like sex was appropriate at that point.
We did agree to meet the next morning back at the room though for what I think we both hoped would be some more hot "make up" sex. Unfortunately, later that night, Holly's husband dropped the bombshell that he'd tracked her to the hotel that day and knew exactly where she was and how long she'd been there. As you can imagine, things took a strange turn for us after that. In fact, we are still dealing with the fallout from her hubby's discovery to this day. Holly and I have talked more about having an open relationship and what that means and how it would work. We certainly don't have it all figured out just yet, but we've made some progress. In truth, I still feel conflicted about it - about my own desires regarding other women. I have more thoughts to share on that, so stay tuned for Part III of my thoughts on open relationships. I promise there won't be such a huge gap between posts this time.