From Monogamy To Open Marriage is a weekly column devoted to the discussion of pursuing sex and love outside marriage.
I lie to my kids all the time.
“Where are you going?” they ask.
We no longer struggle with what to say. “We’re going to a party at Ron and Mindy’s house,” my husband replies. “We might stay over, but we’ll probably be back late tonight.”
I remind them that there’s food for dinner and breakfast in the fridge and I make them promise to call (not text, actually call) if they need anything at any time. We wait until they aren’t paying attention and we put our bags in the car.
I lie to my parents.
“Why are you always going out with the same friends?” my mom asks.
I tell her that my husband really enjoys spending time with Ron and Mindy. She asks what we do when we visit them, and I tell her that we dine out or go to concerts or shows. My mom says she’s glad that we have such good friends to go out with. She reminds me that she’s having a barbecue next month and she’d like for us to invite Ron and Mindy along so that she can meet them.
I lie to my coworkers.
“Did you do anything exciting this weekend?” Ana, my friend and office manager, asks.
I tell her we went into the city and enjoyed some live music with our friends Ron and Mindy. She asks which show we went to, and I mutter something about a jazz club, and I pretend that I don’t remember the name of the band. She asks about traffic and travel and reminds me that I once told her how much I hate driving into the city on weekends. I tell her that the traffic is less stressful with good company and she suggests that we go together with our husbands sometime soon. She even offers to drive. I smile and tell her we’d have a blast.
I lie to my friends.
“Are you free this weekend?” Mindy almost always asks this loaded question.
She tells me that Ron would like my husband to come over and help him with a few car repairs, and she insists that we spend the afternoon together while they toil. She tries to lure me with homemade sangria and a nice dinner. I tell her we have plans to visit my parents. When she starts asking for more detail (is she just making conversation or is she being nosy?), I find myself sharing mundane facts about my mother’s love for houseplants or my father’s home repair projects. When Mindy laments about how long it’s been since we’ve spent time together, I suddenly feel like a terrible friend.
We haven’t been to Ron and Mindy’s house in six months.
I’m not going to tell my kids that we’ll be at a hotel five miles from the house. Even though they’re in their teens, I’m not going to explain that we have an open marriage and that we enjoy sex with other people together and apart from one another. I’m never going to let them see that we pack a bag full of condoms, lube, lingerie, and a variety of sex toys and bondage equipment. I’m not going to explain to my parents that my husband and I like to meet people at a local hotel for a few hours of group sex.
I expect that they’d understand why we’d choose to book a hotel room rather than inviting these casual partners into our home, but I’m not going to tell them. I won’t tell Mindy that I enjoy watching other women have sex with my husband. I won’t show her about all the photos I took last week of him entangled with a beautiful, insatiable woman.
I’m sure most people agree that there’s nothing wrong with keeping your sex life private. While many people enjoy sex, and their friends and family can assume this to be true, no one needs the details. I don’t want to give anyone the details, but I am still trying to get used to lying on a regular basis. I don’t think there’s any way around this. Unless non-monogamy becomes commonplace, we just have to get comfortable with never telling the people we love the most the truth about where we are going and who we are spending time with.