Role Change

My wife Beth and I have been married for twenty-three years. Our very conservative relationship began to change as our two children became adults and started their own lives. It started with small things, but I could sense that Beth was not only becoming the dominate partner in our relationship, but becoming more independent as well. She never had male friends previously, but now she talked about guys she met at the gym, or at a class she was taking, or even at work. She was dressing more provocatively and definitely carried herself with more confidence. About three months ago, she asked me if I minded if she went to a concert with a guy she met at the gym. I felt very strange agreeing, but I thought it would seem juvenile to not allow her. She had other dates with other men after that first date and it began to feel normal that she had male friends. Then two weeks ago, she mentioned that she was going away with one of her previous dates for a weekend ski trip. I didn't think that was a good idea and I told her so. She looked me straight in the eye and told me in no uncertain terms that she was going with or without my permission. That was last weekend. When I asked her if she had a good time, she just smiled and said it was a magical weekend. I then asked her if we were still a married couple. She replied that she was happy being my wife as long as I didn't become too possessive. I told her I didn't mind her dating, but it really bothered me that she would spend the weekend with someone else. I then added that maybe I would start dating other women. Beth surprised me when she replied that if I ever dated anyone else, she would leave me and that if I wanted to stay married to her, I would let her see whoever, whenever, she pleased. I still love her.

— Rob, 47

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