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Mon Jul 20, 2015, 07:05 AM

What Open Marriage Taught One Man About Feminism

As I write this, my children are asleep in their room, Loretta Lynn is on the stereo, and my wife is out on a date with a man named Paulo. It’s her second date this week; her fourth this month so far. If it goes like the others, she’ll come home in the middle of the night, crawl into bed beside me, and tell me all about how she and Paulo had sex. I won’t explode with anger or seethe with resentment. I’ll tell her it’s a hot story and I’m glad she had fun. It’s hot because she’s excited, and I’m glad because I’m a feminist.

Before my wife started sleeping with other men, I certainly considered myself a feminist, but I really only understood it in the abstract. When I quit working to stay at home with the kids, I began to understand it on a whole new level. I am an economically dependent househusband coping with the withering drudgery of child-rearing. Now that I understand the reality of that situation, I don’t blame women for demanding more for themselves than the life of the housewife.

Still, as a man, I could, if I wanted to, portray what I’m doing as “work,” and thus claim for myself the prestige men traditionally derive from “work.” Whenever I tell someone I stay home with the kids, they invariably say, “Hardest work in the world.” They say this because the only way to account for a man at home with the kids is to say what he’s doing is hard work. But there’s a subtext in the compliment that makes it backhanded: We both know no one ever says it to a woman. Mothers care; fathers provide care. The difference is crucial. Despite my total withdrawal from the economy and the traditional sources of masculine identity, I can still argue I am a provider. I provide care.

In this way, my masculine self-image was stretched but not broken. Diaper bag notwithstanding, I was still a Man. It wasn’t until my wife mentioned one evening that she’d kissed another man and liked it and wanted to do more than kiss next time that I realized how my status as a Man depended on a single fact: that my wife fucked only me.

Read the rest here: http://nymag.com/thecut/2015/07/what-open-marriage-taught-one-man-about-feminism.html


What do you think DU ???

47 replies, 4103 views

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Arrow 47 replies Author Time Post
Reply What Open Marriage Taught One Man About Feminism (Original post)
IronLionZion Jul 2015 OP
Nuclear Unicorn Jul 2015 #1
IronLionZion Jul 2015 #7
TreasonousBastard Jul 2015 #2
Erich Bloodaxe BSN Jul 2015 #3
geek tragedy Jul 2015 #4
Gormy Cuss Jul 2015 #42
TM99 Jul 2015 #5
IronLionZion Jul 2015 #6
GliderGuider Jul 2015 #8
TM99 Jul 2015 #10
GliderGuider Jul 2015 #18
TM99 Jul 2015 #19
GliderGuider Jul 2015 #22
TM99 Jul 2015 #23
Yo_Mama Jul 2015 #14
onehandle Jul 2015 #9
AngryAmish Jul 2015 #13
Shankapotomus Jul 2015 #11
Yo_Mama Jul 2015 #12
lostnfound Jul 2015 #15
ladyVet Jul 2015 #16
RadiationTherapy Jul 2015 #17
Yavin4 Jul 2015 #28
MADem Jul 2015 #35
kcr Jul 2015 #43
bemildred Jul 2015 #20
closeupready Jul 2015 #21
libodem Jul 2015 #25
closeupready Jul 2015 #29
libodem Jul 2015 #32
Romulox Jul 2015 #24
CBGLuthier Jul 2015 #26
Yavin4 Jul 2015 #27
shenmue Jul 2015 #30
Nay Jul 2015 #36
Hekate Jul 2015 #31
Orrex Jul 2015 #33
madinmaryland Jul 2015 #44
MADem Jul 2015 #34
Yavin4 Jul 2015 #37
MADem Jul 2015 #40
Prism Jul 2015 #38
ProudToBeBlueInRhody Jul 2015 #39
IronLionZion Jul 2015 #41
irisblue Jul 2015 #45
Skittles Jul 2015 #46
RobertEarl Jul 2015 #47

Response to IronLionZion (Original post)

Mon Jul 20, 2015, 07:09 AM

1. She sounds like the kind of woman I wouldn't want to be and he sounds like

the kind of man I wouldn't want to be with.

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Response to Nuclear Unicorn (Reply #1)

Mon Jul 20, 2015, 08:05 AM

7. That's my take as well

good for you

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Response to IronLionZion (Original post)

Mon Jul 20, 2015, 07:11 AM

2. If it works for them, who am I to object?

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Response to IronLionZion (Original post)

Mon Jul 20, 2015, 07:11 AM

3. I think...

I hope they got Paulo blood tested first, and that he's 'serially monogamous', so that they don't have to worry about any STDs being passed along.

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Response to IronLionZion (Original post)

Mon Jul 20, 2015, 07:18 AM

4. "Feminism always comes back to sex"

 

This dude did not learn anything before becoming a swinger. Then again neither did he beforehand.

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Response to geek tragedy (Reply #4)

Mon Jul 20, 2015, 07:12 PM

42. I'm happy for them in their open marriage

but this guy has a seriously screwed up view of feminism.

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Response to IronLionZion (Original post)

Mon Jul 20, 2015, 07:25 AM

5. As someone who has been in open relationships before

 

and who is in a polyamorous relationship now, this sounds like a man trying desperately to rationalize a very bad marriage where one partner is getting what she wants to the exclusion of the other partner.

These types of relationships only work when there is no bullshit, complete honesty, and full equality.

It doesn't read like this marriage has any of those three things. It could surely but not as it stands.

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Response to TM99 (Reply #5)

Mon Jul 20, 2015, 08:04 AM

6. That's what I think as well

The dude doesn't sound like he had much choice in the matter and he never mentions his dates or even female friendship. I suppose someone needs to care for their kids.

I had a partner who decided to have a polyamorous open relationship where she was the only one who knew we were in such a relationship (lied and kept it hidden from me). I did think it was a bit odd that she would not let me have any female platonic friends and was constantly jealous and suspicious of my classmates.

Staying with her after I found out the truth was still the worst mistake I have ever made in my life. A year later, I had enough and decided to liberate her from my patriarchal oppression. I got to hear a lot about how men get to own women as property and control their sexuality through female genital mutilation and how men will never allow women to have any sexual pleasure at all. All this horrible misogyny didn't stop her from showing up at my door drunk at 2 AM months after we separated. She was also twice my age and a professor at my college.

If it works for this couple, then great. If it were me, I would never want to be with such a person ever again.

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Response to TM99 (Reply #5)

Mon Jul 20, 2015, 08:28 AM

8. honesty,self-awareness and equality are crucial in any relationship, and especially in an open one.

 

This relationship has a severe deficit of all of those qualities. I sympathize with the guy - I was in a situation similar to his in the 1970s, and I know all too well the well-meaning and neurotic issues that keep both partners in such an unequal relationship.

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Response to GliderGuider (Reply #8)

Mon Jul 20, 2015, 08:41 AM

10. My first marriage started out with those qualities,

 

but my ex-wife's alcoholism destroyed them. She began lying and sleeping around with both men and women contrary to the boundaries we had established for our relationship. It was difficult when she left for another man given the health crisis I was in at the time, but it was a good thing in the end as the relationship was highly neurotic and certainly harming me.

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Response to TM99 (Reply #10)

Mon Jul 20, 2015, 10:26 AM

18. Mine was open from the start, which was a good thing.

 

But it still went off the rails within a half-dozen years - we were too young and changing too fast.

It's much harder to open up a marriage that was originally based on exclusivity. There are way too many opportunities for ulterior motives, neurotic needs and self-deception to come into the picture.

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Response to GliderGuider (Reply #18)

Mon Jul 20, 2015, 10:31 AM

19. Yes, we were as well from the start.

 

But as you say youth and issues like addiction can derail even a monogamous two person relationship.

I totally agree. My current partner and I are not yet married. But we have discussed and set up our polyamorous relationship now for almost 9 years of intimacy. And each one must be unique to the individuals in the relationship no matter the number.

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Response to TM99 (Reply #19)

Mon Jul 20, 2015, 10:51 AM

22. Sounds to me like you've got a good grip on what makes for healthy relationships.

 

I'm glad you've found a partner who is equally thoughtful and realistic. Best of luck to you two (or 3, 4, whatever)

Five years ago I finally reconnected with the woman I should have married in 1976 when my first marriage broke up. She was a good friend and knew both my first wife and me back then, but never got involved in our shenanigans. And now she and I are as closed a dyad as you can possibly imagine! There is no one-size-fits-everyone-forever relationship. IMO the best things you can bring to the marriage bed are thoughtfulness, honesty, adaptability and compassion.

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Response to GliderGuider (Reply #22)

Mon Jul 20, 2015, 10:54 AM

23. Very well said.

 

I could not agree more.

Thank you. There are only 3 of us. Me, my partner, and her partner. It works for us in our own honest little way.

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Response to TM99 (Reply #5)

Mon Jul 20, 2015, 09:26 AM

14. Thank you for posting.

My reaction was that both partners were being childish to an extent, and it's nice to read the take of someone who has experience with this type of relationship.

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Response to IronLionZion (Original post)

Mon Jul 20, 2015, 08:38 AM

9. Dear Penthouse...

Sounds fake.

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Response to onehandle (Reply #9)

Mon Jul 20, 2015, 09:18 AM

13. Exactly. Cuckold fetish.

 

Down to the Paulo.

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Response to IronLionZion (Original post)

Mon Jul 20, 2015, 08:41 AM

11. I have no problem with the sharing part but

the "Feminism always comes back to sex…" smacks of using ideology to satisfy ones baser instincts. I mean, if a physical relationship was okay, why would a deep emotional connection with someone outside your marriage be threatening? Read the section in "The Passion of Ayn Rand" where Ayn Rand used Objectivism to indulge in a physical relationship with Nathaniel Branden.

"Feminism always comes back to sex.."? Maybe for people who place an unhealthy importance on getting their genitals massaged to the exclusion of all other activities and concerns.

Sounds more like a high school relationship to me than one between two fully matured adults.

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Response to IronLionZion (Original post)

Mon Jul 20, 2015, 09:16 AM

12. I object to this being called feminism.

Feminism is equal human rights for men and women. This is not feminism, and he is not a feminist.

Writing as a woman, if another woman were home taking care of the kids by mutual agreement and the husband decided that granted him the right to go out screwing around, I would not accept it as empowerment. There is a natural power imbalance in the equation there - the non-working, custodial parent has less options, and concern for the children often limit the ability to object.

I also strongly object to making such an arrangement public when the kids will inevitably be confronted with it, which is my worst beef with this exercise in bad behavior seeking public endorsement. Feminism IS NOT about bad behavior; it's about good behavior, and having the right to do what is right.

One of these days, the odds are that one of these two are going to meet someone else, and this couple will split. Every human being is capable of loving more than one human being. Those who deliberately restrict themselves to one partner probably do so because they are a bit more realistic.

People have a right to open relationships. There's nothing new about that. But people probably should not publicize it in this way when children are involved, because those kids are going to be faced with precisely this article and this contention, and it's just not fair to the children.

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Response to IronLionZion (Original post)

Mon Jul 20, 2015, 09:28 AM

15. I think he clearly loves HER, and I hope she loves him just as much, in the end.

There is some truth to what he says, in terms of the impact it has on his feelings about his male identity. I think he is kind of brave for talking about it and for risking it.

Love goes deeper than sex. But for a whole lot of couples, this story would end in divorce, and for scores of couples it ends in abuse or even murder. Therefore I think it is a little dangerous to even discuss this, as it could encourage people to open a Pandora's box that hurts others.

The intense reactions that third parties have to stories of open marriage or infidelity are interesting, and annoying. People are loathe to criticize other couples -- and many "normal" couples treat each other very badly, like husbands isolating or abusing their wives, couples deriding each other, or spending the family fortune selfishly -- but any story of one party spending time in another person's arms is treated with revulsion and a DEMAND on the "injured party" not to put up with it. Even our female presidential candidate has been criticized for "standing by her man", as if it would be somehow better to throw away a 30+ year marriage with a soulmate that you've raised a child with, just to prove a point...or just to not be perceived as someone with low self-esteem in the eyes of third parties who have nothing to do with your life.

Personally, I care if my partner treats me with respect and is honest, and if he is kind to other people as well. I don't need to be his one-and-only. Jealousy is a curious emotion.

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Response to IronLionZion (Original post)

Mon Jul 20, 2015, 10:00 AM

16. A wife committing adultery does not equate with feminism.

The dude is a willing cuckhold, or maybe not so willing, but letting his wife screw around (and then rub his face in it) does not make him a feminist.

I don't think he knows much about "being a man" in general.

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Response to IronLionZion (Original post)

Mon Jul 20, 2015, 10:03 AM

17. I think this is satire or fiction to feed the MRA nonsense.

I think this is meant to exemplify what MRAs think of "white knight" "beta male" men.

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Response to RadiationTherapy (Reply #17)

Mon Jul 20, 2015, 11:19 AM

28. Exactly.

Article is complete b.s.

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Response to RadiationTherapy (Reply #17)

Mon Jul 20, 2015, 12:46 PM

35. +1,000,000!

I said downthread it sounded like a rejected PENTHOUSE FORUM letter!

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Response to RadiationTherapy (Reply #17)

Mon Jul 20, 2015, 08:47 PM

43. I thought the same thing.

This is what MRAs thing feminism is.

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Response to IronLionZion (Original post)

Mon Jul 20, 2015, 10:38 AM

20. Right. Why didn't we see this before?

At last a razor intellect cuts through the murk of sexual politics.

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Response to IronLionZion (Original post)

Mon Jul 20, 2015, 10:45 AM

21. I don't wade into gender controversies on DU.

 

Sorry.

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Response to closeupready (Reply #21)

Mon Jul 20, 2015, 11:09 AM

25. Admirable

And just good thinking. I'd wade in but I'd probably drown in swamp water.

Still this is interesting. And also noted how many believe it's meant to tantalize or that it is probably fiction.

If I think about this all day I'll bet I couldn't come up with a better comment than you have.

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Response to libodem (Reply #25)

Mon Jul 20, 2015, 11:35 AM

29. Wisdom borne of DU's nonstop civil board wars...

 

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Response to closeupready (Reply #29)

Mon Jul 20, 2015, 11:39 AM

32. Yep

Damned if you do. Damned if you don't.

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Response to IronLionZion (Original post)

Mon Jul 20, 2015, 10:58 AM

24. Gross. When did DU turn into "Swingers Underground"?

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Response to Romulox (Reply #24)

Mon Jul 20, 2015, 11:15 AM

26. Dear Democratic Underground Forum

Yeah, not exactly the vibe for the room. I think there are healthier ways for a couple to treat each other fairly and in the feminist mindset. I hate to judge and I shall not but how this is an enviable position escapes me.

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Response to IronLionZion (Original post)

Mon Jul 20, 2015, 11:18 AM

27. Open Marriage has little or nothing to do with Feminism

In fact, the article seems to be a back-door way into insulting feminism by giving the impression that Feminism means that women can be unfaithful and men have to accept it. This article seems to be written by a MRA as a cautionary tale.

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Response to Yavin4 (Reply #27)

Mon Jul 20, 2015, 11:35 AM

30. Exactly

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Response to Yavin4 (Reply #27)

Mon Jul 20, 2015, 12:55 PM

36. That's my take on it, too. nt

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Response to IronLionZion (Original post)

Mon Jul 20, 2015, 11:38 AM

31. Fiction. What name does he publish his ebooks under?

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Response to IronLionZion (Original post)

Mon Jul 20, 2015, 11:52 AM

33. Quantum mechanics offers a good explanation for this sense of isolation

It's called the Paulo Exclusion Principle.

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Response to Orrex (Reply #33)

Mon Jul 20, 2015, 09:24 PM

44. You do realize that is the same as three brazillion....



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Response to IronLionZion (Original post)

Mon Jul 20, 2015, 12:45 PM

34. Sounds like a letter that was rejected from "Dear Penthouse Forum." nt

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Response to MADem (Reply #34)

Mon Jul 20, 2015, 02:13 PM

37. These young people today won't get that reference

That's pre-internet.

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Response to Yavin4 (Reply #37)

Mon Jul 20, 2015, 06:41 PM

40. Those whippersnappers will just have to do the google and see if they can figure it out!!

(Adjusts spectacles, waves cane...!) Ha ha ha~~~!!!!

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Response to IronLionZion (Original post)

Mon Jul 20, 2015, 02:19 PM

38. Seems like a cuckold fetish

 

Doesn't really speak to feminism as near as I can tell.

And I say that as someone in an open relationship. I just don't see what the author is getting out of it. The relationship feels . . . imbalanced.

But, whatever. If it works for them.

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Response to IronLionZion (Original post)

Mon Jul 20, 2015, 02:20 PM

39. This has to be a right-wing parody of a "liberal feminist male"

I saw it posted elsewhere and that's what I came up with. "....because I am a feminist" is too much of a punchline for a sorry sad sack who sounds like he's ready to pull a William H Macy from Boogie Nights any second.

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Response to IronLionZion (Original post)

Mon Jul 20, 2015, 06:59 PM

41. I'm impressed by the responses to this thread

I am pleasantly surprised by my fellow DUers!

I didn't know what to expect when I posted this.

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Response to IronLionZion (Original post)

Mon Jul 20, 2015, 09:41 PM

45. I bet this is a spoof

a very quick Google search of the authors name only came up with info about the article, nothing about a human with that name.
Honestly the article itself reads like a 1960s true confession mag story.

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Response to IronLionZion (Original post)

Mon Jul 20, 2015, 10:33 PM

46. "Diaper bag notwithstanding, I was still a Man."

I could not get past that piece of drivel

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Response to IronLionZion (Original post)

Tue Jul 21, 2015, 12:15 AM

47. Relationships are not easy

 

Having watched a lot of long term couples over the years, the most happy were those where the man, when they coupled up, decided he was not going to try and run her life, or his.

I've asked 20 just met couples if that sounds about right, and mostly they all agreed.

If momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.

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