A few days ago I ran into a friend. She is around my age, very attractive and full of energy. Her husband is a tall, handsome intellectual. Within ten minutes of our conversation she told me she would rather have an open marriage.
“I’ve been trying to talk him into it for years, “ she said.
I am not usually at a loss for words, but—I was.
We didn’t talk much more about it. At this point in our busy lives we “talk” more on Facebook.
But I got to thinking: First, isn’t it, albeit stereotypically, the man who would prefer an open arrangement? Second—how cool is it that she’s the one pushing for it?
Third, isn’t she telling me that her guy isn’t doing it for her in bed?
Fourth, shouldn’t that be private?
Fifth—ok, assuming that nothing is private anymore, wouldn’t the husband prefer it to be private?
Sixth—should I find her someone?
I personally would die a thousand miserable deaths of sexual jealousy if Sruli even hinted that he wanted an open situation. I secretly don’t even like when he talks to other women in our congregation.
Then I got to thinking practically.
Ok. Who gets the night off? And who gets to watch the kids?
Do I get to ask details?
Do we have to be back by a certain time the next morning—like to get the kids to school?
Are certain phone calls taken in private?
Is it limited to one other lover, or is that private, too?
Say we limit it to one night a week (that comes around pretty often…) but is there a financial limit? Expensive dinner? Courting presents? Hotel rooms?
And what if he (I am already sweating and miserable) falls a bit in love, the way (swine!) men do?
What if she is better than I am? (Ha! No way, but she can definitely be thinner…)
Now ours is a second marriage, so you could say that we are kind of lovers already. But my friend also had a long-term relationship before. What exactly is she looking for?
I understand the urge for sexual experimentation (love Babeland!) and I really understand how experimentation changes when you also have to face each other across the pile of dirty laundry. I understand the need for a thrill.
Or maybe I really don’t, anymore. And maybe I’m just surprised that at our age (at our age, oy!) she doesn’t want to settle in and trade out that part of life.
Maybe it keeps her young. Maybe, because I truly don’t want or need anything more, I’m not really lucky, I am just old?
The other night I wacked my head on the car door (my temple—the part with the throbbing vein?) and almost blacked out from the pain.
After observing my stunned position for a moment, Sruli said, “You know, that kind of thing is going to happen more and more as we get older.”
How sweet is that? Would a just sometime-lover ever make such an observation?
So in a fit of closeness, I asked him. Just, you know, totally hypothetically. If.
And he said, “Well, if you finished all the contracts we have to send out for our music biz, made all the calls for our camp biz, sent out all the emails for our shul biz, and the twins are totally fed, washed and happy and the dogs are walked—sure—go ahead.”
And I said—“WHAT?”
He smiled and crinkled up his green grey eyes.