Stay with Open Marriage?
Q: We have been married 41 years, and in an open marriage for 10 of those years. We are not swingers but enjoy dating others. I love my husband but really don't think we are "in love" anymore. We've been through a lot together but I feel like he is more of a roommate than a husband. I have tried changing and tried talking but nothing seems to make any difference. Should I just give up and keep enjoying dating or should I opt for divorce? Hubby says he doesn't care what I do as long as I stay with him. -- Elaine, 57
Dr. Susan: After four decades of marriage, it's not that unusual to feel, sometimes, like more of a roommate than a real mate. And I suspect the two of you have kept intimacy at bay for the past decade by means of your open marriage. When two people are crazy in love (what you seem to be missing), they tend to feel too much jealousy to be comfortable with their mate dating others.
If you divorced and started over with someone new, what would that relationship look like three years from now? What needs aren't you getting met now? When you say your hubby doesn't care what you do so long as you stay, what is he counting on you for, exactly? Companionship, cooking, sex, not rocking the boat? People often say they've tried everything and nothing changes, but they usually have not tried everything. Or they tried it once, or feebly, or for a short time. But can you and your hubby even agree on what ought to change? You're hardly elderly yet, but in reality, your options are narrowing. Talk or think this through thoroughly before leaping.
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Advice for Her
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.