News

This Is Me: We’re in an Open Marriage and Expecting Our First Child

"She’s interested in doing more kink. Now I’m more comfortable letting her explore that with someone else."

Image by Ryan Weisser.

This Is Me is a new column in which we speak to Washingtonians who have a unique story to tell. Did you leave your job on the Hill to become a bartender? Did you manage to buy DC real estate on a $200,000 budget? Do you support yourself as a social influencer? We want to hear all of your stories—no matter what the subject or how kooky they may be. Email Mimi Montgomery at mmontgomery@washingtonian.com.

Who: A husband-and-wife duo (who asked to remain anonymous, as they aren’t out as non-monogamous) 
Ages: 31 and 30
Live in: Silver Spring

On how they met:

Husband: “We’ve been married for a year now, and we’ve been together for eight years.”

Wife: “We met online on PlentyOfFish.com. I went to close my profile, and I had one message from him. We ended up just connecting. I knew pretty quickly even just messaging online that there was something special about him.”

On deciding to have an open relationship:

Husband: “We weren’t engaged yet—it was the early summer of 2016. We had been together for a long time, and we had grown so close together that it was hard to figure out who we were as individuals.”

Wife: “We’d been together for so long—since we were 21 and 22, essentially. We ended up being seclusive, and I think we were both yearning for a little bit more. We were at a point where our intimacy was really suffering, and I cheated on him and kissed a boy. We realized we needed a change. We wanted to have more life experiences, and for us at that point, that was dating and sexual experiences.”

Husband: “On my end, I hadn’t quite integrated sexuality or being a sexual person into my personality, so this was a really good opportunity to have those experiences and that kind of growth.”

Wife: “We didn’t know what we wanted at first. We knew that when it came down to it, we wanted to have the freedom to find dates, go on dates, find another boyfriend or girlfriend, or multiple partners at once. That was the one thing we did know—we wanted these things, but we wanted to do it together.”

On setting boundaries:

Husband: “When we started down the road of ethical non-monogamy, it was just a lot of communication, and it still is. A lot of contracting—figuring out what you and your partner are comfortable with—is being very open and candid about what you’re feeling, what your concerns are, what your desires are, and figuring out what your boundaries are.”

Wife: “As you’re experimenting, you don’t know what’s going to hurt you. So we were hurt at the start of it. There are all these different things on the spectrum of what non-monogamy is. For our situation, I don’t know any of his partners, and that was per my choice. After he went out on a couple of dates, he would come home and talk to me about the types of conversations he was having, how he put his arm around her, how they ended up kissing on the street, details about sex positions, is she on birth control, is she not on birth control. I don’t want to know too much about [all that]. I’m not interested in the partner.”

Husband: “Generally, we agreed no sleeping over with someone else.”

Wife: “I feel more comfortable at night knowing he’s going to come home and there’s an end in sight. You don’t have to worry about all the feelings associated with staying the night at someone’s place. Like, what did they cook for breakfast? We cook breakfast together. I’d get jealous thinking he’d have eggs with somebody else in the morning.”

Husband: “Yeah, it’s the funny stuff that makes you jealous. It’s oftentimes not the sex stuff, it’s the smaller things that have more of an emotionally intimate connection. My one boundary was I know she’s interested in doing more kink or BDSM stuff, and that wasn’t something I was comfortable with at first. Now I’m more comfortable letting her explore that with someone else.”

On finding new partners:

Husband: “At first, we were using Tinder. Neither of us had used it before, and it was a lot of fun. You see who is attracted to you, and it’s a superficial rush and validation. Now if I were to look for a new partner, I would say OKCupid is the better way to go because I’m only interested in finding people who are comfortable with our situation.”

Wife: “People put ethically non-monogamous [in their bios], and when you see those profiles, you swipe right on them.”

Husband: “Women are really suspicious. I wouldn’t go out on a date without telling someone [that I’m ethically non-monogamous]. The respectful way to go about it is to disclose that up front and let a person make a decision about whether they’d want to meet in person or not.”

Don’t Miss Another Big Story—Get Our Weekend Newsletter

Our most popular stories of the week, sent every Saturday.

Or, see all of our newsletters. By signing up, you agree to our terms.

Wife: “Guys don’t care [that you’re married], but my thing has been what I call ‘ghost kissing.’ I go to a bar and seduce a gentleman or woman and have a makeout session and can go home at the end of the night. For [my husband], it’s the thrill of the first date. He’s a great conversationalist, so he gets a lot out of getting to know people.”

Husband: “It’s been both sexes for both of us. I’d always been interested in seeing what it was like to be with a guy. Maybe once every six months I get kind of curious—it’s a very casual encounter, where it’s like, okay, that was fun, and that’s that.”

Wife: “I gave it a good shot with trying to date another woman. We went out on like, three or four dates and hadn’t even held hands yet. It was like, geez, this is intense. So I give guys full credit—that’s more than I ever wanted.”

Husband: “The really casual sex encounters [like threesomes or being with other couples] have been things that we’ve done together.”

On having their first child:

Wife: “I’m eight months pregnant now. We didn’t know how that was going to impact our relationships with other people. That’s why we appreciate the contracting so much—at any point we can sit down and communicate what we’re feeling, what we’re needing, and decide where to go next. His partners are actually okay with me being pregnant.”

Husband: “What’s funny is we both thought that once she got pregnant, that would just be it [for the open relationship]. And we were okay with that—it just seemed like what you do. But we realized we’re in charge of what the boundaries are for our relationship. If we want to continue with an open relationship, we can do that, and if we don’t want to, we can do that, too. We’re waiting to see what feel rights after the baby arrives. Parenthood is not a limiting factor.”

Wife: “I haven’t put myself out there since I’ve had the belly. I have a hard bedtime of 9:30—the energy’s not there. I’m tired.”

On telling their future child about their open relationship:

Husband: “I’m still a private person. I don’t know that I’d be comfortable with my children knowing the details of any part of my sex life, regardless of who it’s with. I would want a sex positive environment and a place where our children would be comfortable knowing that it’s okay to have sexuality be a part of life and their identity.”

Wife: “We’re not out to people. I view it as our thing.”

On how ethical non-monogamy has benefitted their relationship:

Husband: “The kind of dedicated communication [this entails] really brought us together and benefited our relationship in every other area.”

Wife: “At any point we feel like we can easily sit down and communicate what we’re feeling and what we’re needing and decide where to go next.”

Husband: “We never get tired of being together. There is no one else that I feel that way about. We could be together for hours and hours and hours, traveling on an airplane, stuck in an airport, in the car on the way back—it doesn’t matter. I enjoy every second I’m with her. There’s no question that I would want to be with her.”

Wife: “We want a life together. We’re both dedicated no matter what to each other and to our future. There was never a question about that. We don’t see a life without each other.”

 

Associate Editor

Mimi Montgomery joined Washingtonian in 2018. She previously was the editorial assistant at Walter Magazine in Raleigh, North Carolina, and her work has appeared in Outside Magazine, Washington City Paper, DCist, and PoPVille. Originally from North Carolina, she now lives in Adams Morgan.