***I feel like I should preface this by saying that Mr. Scarlet and I have worked through our issues several months ago, learned from it, and moved on, if not to relationship nirvana, then at least to a much healthier place. ***
So if you have been keeping up in Part 1 and Part 2 you will know that I got married young, lost my libido for around a decade, Mr. Scarlet started traveling and it came back, and then I started a virtual fling with an old flame from high school in an open relationship which got me to start investigating non-monogamy. But as I wanted more than just some flirtatious texts, a lot more, I decided to raise the issue of opening up our own relationship with Mr. Scarlet.
Now as I have come to learn there are resources out there that give suggestions on how to do it. See for example the Swinger Manual which suggests ______. Others suggest bringing it up in such as way as to allow for a quick retreat of “I’m just joking” if you get an extremely negative response. Anyway, what I can say for certainty is that the non recommended way is to bring it up in the middle of a fight.
So here is what went down. On one of his brief trips back, the family went on vacation. Vacations are stressful, living apart most of the time is stressful, and wanting to bring this topic up is stressful. And stress to me tends to bring up bitchy behavior. I can’t even remember what started the fight or what the topic was on because at some point the issue changed to the bigger topic of what we were about and if we should continue at all.
From my view we were bickering about something trivial and it had degraded into Mr. Scarlet’s typical responses of fine whatever you want and other passive aggressive nonsense which then always really pisses me off because I don’t want appeasement but actually to win an argument. And at some point, he says, “That’s it. I’m done.” projecting all kinds of negative energy with it.
I felt like I’d been punched in the gut and had my heart broken at the same time. I can’t say entirely what transpired at this point except that it involved a lot of crying and discussion of divorce and that at some point I said something along the lines of “And to think I was about to suggest that we have an open relationship, and here you don’t even want to be with me at all.” Except probably not is as nice words as that.
Unsurprisingly, Mr. Scarlet kind of flipped out over this. I mean here he is rarely getting laid in general, then he’s off traveling it goes pretty much to zero for month on end and when I see him then in the middle of a huge fight I let him know that I want to date other people. But not get divorced.
By the end of the day we made up over the fight whatever the issue was and were both on the same page of staying together but not agreeing on the open relationship part. After a few days, Mr. Scarlet came to me and indicated that he had reconsidered and was thinking about the pros of having an open relationship. I think it finally dawned on him that he would get to have sex with other people too. I might add at this point that Mr. Scarlet was a virgin when I met him so had at this point only ever had sex with one person.
After a bunch more discussion, Mr. Scarlet gradually warmed up to the idea of having an open relationship. But, his idea and my idea were still not in line. He was still convinced that I was going to run off with Old Flame. He was also convinced that he was not going to meet anybody who would want to be with him. I thought that both of those were ridiculous. In the midst of our discussion, he let me meet Old Flame at a bar. Mr. Scarlet wanted me to convince Old Flame to have a threesome or else to convince his wife to agree to a swap but Old Flame was not interested in either.
More discussion ensued. I think Mr. Scarlet was convinced that if he didn’t give me what I wanted that I would probably leave and that if he did then I would find someone better and still leave but that it would be later. Eventually he agreed that I could have sex and date Old Flame, if I would agree to go to swinger clubs with him so that he could meet somebody (or some bodies).
Here is where I flipped out. I’m not sure why, probably a cultural bias against swingers, but while I was totally cool with “open” or “poly”, the idea of swingers freaked me out. Maybe I’m just a tad biased against the concept of completely emotionless casual sex. More discussion. More research on the topic.
I still wasn’t totally ok with the idea of swinging. Mr. Scarlet was not ok with me seeing Old Flame. He also thought I might back out of my end of the bargain so I had to agree that he got his wishes first. Thus, by process of mutual extortion, aka negotiation, we ended up going to a swinger club Labor Day weekend which is where the first blog post picks up.