Close The Door

Ask Emma: How can we close the door on our open marriage?

Hi Emma! My husband and I have been in the LS for about four years and it is becoming too much for me. I am tired of the parties and the constant goal of hooking up. I know you and Kevin have the half open marriage but ours is fully open. We play separately two or three nights a week and together at a local club once or twice a month. The whole thing is draining and I really just want the full attention, admiration and sexual dependence of my husband. When he is getting his needs met elsewhere I notice a shift in his mindset and it creates emotional distance between us. Last week I asked if he would agree to closing our marriage to focus our attention on us and our needs. He agreed and surprisingly said that he had felt the distance for some time but didn’t want to disappoint me by suggesting that we exit the lifestyle. Funny enough that we were both thinking the same thing but I guess it is possible to get burned out on any lifestyle dynamic.

I voiced my concern about getting stale and stagnant after living our very open lifestyle. Would we get bored? My husband suggested a female led relationship and pointed me to your site as a way to give me the control that I desire and simultaneously close our marriage. He purchased a chastity cage and this is all moving more quickly than expected but I am curious your thoughts. Is this his latest fetish or do you think this is something that we can sustain? Another concern is my physical needs and I don’t know if he will be able to fully satisfy those. What does a female led relationship look like for a marriage that was previously open?
-No Name

Thanks for your email! I normally encourage that the ebb and flow of a marriage leads to opening but the ebb can flow to close that door as well. I applaud you and your husband (you specifically) for identifying that need and prioritizing your partner. Open marriages can be very exciting but they can cause tension, resentment and ongoing relationship damage over time. By choosing to return to a monogamous connection, you’ve identified a need to eliminate stress and outside influence in your marriage.

Reconnecting with your husband can present a serious challenge as you may find you have drifted apart. You’ll likely need to get to know one another again and restore mutual trust and intimacy. It is going to take a lot of work from both of you.

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Communicate: What needs to change?

Start with a strong conversation in an uninterrupted setting. What needs to change? What worked for you in the open marriage? What didn’t work with the open marriage? In an open relationship, your attention is diverted from one another to connections with other people. Now, you must redirect and prioritize that attention back toward your relationship. Some questions to discuss include:

  • Where do we go from here?
  • What do we need from one another?
  • Are we closing the relationship for both or just one of us?
  • What did we like and dislike about an open relationship?
  • Will we need additional stimulation to not get bored?
  • What lessons did we learn from the open relationship?
  • What do we do with our existing external relationship(s) friends and partners?
  • What changes are necessary for both of you to meet each other’s emotional needs?
  • What changes are necessary for both of you to meet each other’s physical needs?

Keep in mind that this is not a one-time conversation. Rather, this is the start of a process. Determining what you want your relationship’s future to look like. Set goals as a couple. Consider taking notes to refer back to as you move ahead.

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Talk about feelings and needs

When your relationship was open, new and exciting needs were met by your external connections. What sort of needs will be unmet if you close the door on your relationship? Are you ok with those needs going unmet or should you talk about ways to compromise on those needs. For example, if you like going to musicals and art shows but your husband doesn’t enjoy those sorts of things. If you are very size oriented in the bedroom, how can you adapt to a husband that may not meet that need? Your relationship conversations need to include discussion of your individual feelings and the importance of each of these needs. Are they needs or are they just wants? Would you be ok with having some of these needs met on an infrequent basis or are they on your mind on a weekly or daily basis. Are there any lingering resentments from the open relationship that need to be resolved? What steps do you need to take to make that happen? How do you feel about one another now and how do you wish you felt about one another?

It’s okay if one or both of you are not “head over heels” for the other right now. Remember, it takes time for love to grow when you start dating. Therefore, romantic feelings may need time to rekindle after an open relationship. The aim now is to create safety and communicate that you remain bonded to one another. As an outgrowth, romantic love will likely develop and deepen.

The physical connection

Many couples open their relationship because they desire sexual novelty and they often get wrapped up in that sexual novelty as the normal. For this reason many couples grow apart sexually when they open their relationship. When looking for new partners, it is easy to find very specific sexual traits that may not be part of your primary relationship. Compromise may be necessary for those needs to align and the key is to shift your mindset to stop being selfish. Marriage and partnership will ultimately fail if you focus on your own needs, focus on meeting the needs of your partner and lean in to the relationship. If you feel like your partner isn’t leaning in, address that rather than resorting to the more comfortable old ways of being physical selfish.

Sex is a big part of the physical needs of a relationship but it is often misconstrued as the sole or primary physical needs of a partner and it often isn’t. Some people need cuddling, back scratches or even laying with their head vulnerably in their partner’s lap while he/she runs fingers through their hair. Is your love language physical touch? Do you sometimes feel empty even after a sexual experience? Physical touch is so much more than just sex, it is a way of life and a very sexually active couple can still feel empty in the physical touch department.

A healthy primary sexual connection will not come back immediately especially if part of your compromise includes maintaining some of those external physical or emotional connections. Refocus your energy on each other’s needs and genuinely trying to meet the needs which were previously met by the external connections.

Show your commitment to each other

Following an open relationship, one or both of you may doubt your commitment to the partnership. That’s why it helps to demonstrate that each of you is invested. These gestures don’t need to be grand or overblown. Rather, they are most effective if they are genuine and consistent. Often, it is the little moments of connection and appreciation that send the message that you love and care deeply about your partner.

This can be as simple as turning your phone off when you are intentional about spending time together. Except for some very rare cases a work emergency can wait for a half hour while you put your relationship first. Your employer will understand.

If you plan to retain external connections, reduce those connections to the minimum that you need to get your needs met. Don’t use a large number of connections to mask your feelings, you will just feel more empty, overburdened and forlorn.

Create new memories

With the end or reduction of your open relationship, you are starting a new chapter together as a couple. Remember what it was like when you were first dating? Each date offered the potential for a new experience. Those experiences were the catalyst for drawing you both into a relationship and the catalyst for love to blossom. Instead of building shared experiences with others and sharing them with your spouse, have these experiences together.

Now is the time to use that positive history as inspiration for creating new experiences together. Seek out both small moments and novel experiences to bond you. For example, try some of the following PG experiences:

  • Try a new restaurant together
  • Play games together
  • Sing karaoke together
  • Go skydiving
  • Plan a quick weekend getaway
  • Try a new sport

You clearly are a sexually liberated couple so what about some curated adult experiences?

  • Nude beaches
  • Swingers resort
  • A threesome
  • A cuckold threesome
  • Male chastity
  • Pegging
  • Domestic discipline
  • Humiliation
  • Orgasm Control

Strong and loving female leadership

You might be surprised that I left the aspects of female leadership to the end of this blog but the relationship dynamic isn’t the primary thing component of success. Once you’ve sorted the dynamic out and decided that a female led relationship is the right direction for you, decide how invested in a female led relationship you are. Which level of female led relationship do you seek?

  • Level 1 – Low Level Control
    The female has some say in the decision making process and a more dominant role in the bedroom. The level 1 relationship is often more of a bedroom dominance and sexual exploration dynamic.
  • Level 2 – Moderate Level Control
    The female enjoys being the leader of the relationship and has a good sense of ruling her man. She gets a good boost of confidence by being in charge of the overall morale in the relationship. She often will run the household calendar and the male should ask permission before scheduling activities. The woman at this stage usually sets her own guidelines and personal boundaries. The male is typically subservient in the bedroom and will wear a chastity device recreationally. Pegging is a great way to reinforce the control and subservience dynamic. Humiliation is often a part of the bedroom play for level 2 female led relationships.
  • Level 3 – Defined Control
    The female’s happiness and satisfaction are priority and she makes most of the household decisions. She is the person the household revolves around and the male will not make decisions without first having her approval. This level is often associated with a chastity device schedule, orgasmic release schedule and pegging. For those with partially open relationships, the female may decide to have external sexual relationships at this level. This stage is often accompanied by a humiliation, feminization and domestic discipline dynamic.
  • Level 4 – Extreme-Control
    This level of control encompasses the bedroom, living situation, career and daily lifestyle. In the extreme control level the female is expected to have a stable successful career, the male is a supportive role for the female and takes care of the home and family. The finances and all household decisions are handled by the female and most often the male is not consulted. Physical and sexual needs of the female are considered an this is almost always a halfway-open or cuckold relationship.

Which level of female led relationship is right for you? I can tell you that Kev and I sit somewhere between a level 2 and level 3 but you may have different needs. Some couples omit the female led component completely or adopt some variation that best suits their needs.

Summing it up

However you decide to move forward, you’ve identified the most important thing; your happiness. If you aren’t happy then something in your life needs to change. You’ve found a partner and he is someone that you can together with in your relationship. Your life experiences and open relationship give a wonderful openness and honest communication about your physical and emotional needs. I think you can manage but if you run into any trouble, you know where to find a listening ear. Thank you for reaching out!

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