In this installment of Ask Constance, we’re talking about some interesting things that come in marriage.

Dear Constance,

I have a problem I never thought that I’d have. I’m married to my wife and we’ve been together since our late 20s (I’m 43). I’ve always considered myself “straight” but I’m having some different feelings. I met this guy through some friends and someone casually mentioned that he is bisexual. I would have never guessed that about him on just a first meeting but we got talking anyway and he turned out to be a really cool guy and somehow, I don’t know, but I felt some sort of attraction to him. I’ve never felt anything for another guy before, I’ve always been interested in women. I don’t know for sure but it seems like thinking back he might have been hitting on me. I’m really not sure about all this and this is uncharted territory for me both because I’m having feelings I’ve never had before and also because there’s this guy. Constance….help!

Dear Help,

This is not too surprising. For many men, they grew up in a time where homosexuality was not as accepted as it is now. In recent years, we’ve seen the LGBT movement go from fringe and strange to delightfully mainstream. For many, this might lead to a new allowance to experience feelings that they have never felt before. The first thing to do is to talk to your wife, this is not the sort of thing that you want to keep a secret. As a separate conversation, if you want to explore these feelings, then talk about that after your wife has time to process this new situation. She may be open to letting you do some exploring and she may not be but the conversation should be open and honest with good listening principals involved. We are all human beings and all have different sexual feelings. These sorts of feelings aren’t just for the young, especially as times have changed. I would also explore local LGBT support groups to support you through this journey and explore this new possible dimension in your life. Good Luck!

Dear Constance,

I’ve got a new situation in my marriage that I never thought I would have. My husband and I have been together for 28 years and now that the kids are out on their own, we’ve been working on filling our time and reconnecting in new ways we haven’t in a few years. I’ve been being more social these days and I’m finding some new guys with whom I might like to explore more than friendship. I’m in great shape and I’m finding men are responsive in a way I haven’t experienced since my early 20s! I never thought that we would be the “open marriage” people or really consider anything like that but I think I’d like to explore an open marriage but I don’t really know how to bring that up to my husband. How can I approach this with my husband without completely destroying my marriage and devastating the man I love. I still love my husband but I’d like to have some fun too!

Thanks Constance!
Kind Regards,
Girls just want to have fun!

Dear Just Want to Have Fun,

An open marriage is a difficult thing but not impossible. Communication is key from the very start. When you approach your husband about this, you’ll want to validate what you have and express your feelings about wanting some different experiences. Once you’ve expressed this make sure to use active listening practices and really hear what he has to say. Try not to judge his response and simply let him give his first hot take and then after some consideration, talk again. This sort of situation can reveal cracks in a good marriage so its important to set one’s house in order before trying something new. If he feels ok with moving forward, you’ll need to work out details especially around how much he does or does not want to know about your activities. It is also important to have proper time management. Make sure to keep your relationship with your husband as the top priority. It might be helpful to schedule date nights with him and special times for just you two which will keep your primary relationship intact while allowing you the freedom to explore as you desire. Make sure to have a good long talk about feelings, jealousies, and the possibility that he may want to explore as well and examine your own feelings about that. There are several good books on a successful open marriage and I would avail myself of those if I were you. I hope it works out!

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