A Week in the Life of an Open Marriage

"I had to get over feeling like we need to do every single thing together as a couple."

Lola B., 35, is a queer sex educator in New York City, who hosts a monthly sex-related show and works at sex toy store in Brooklyn. She's been married to her husband Evan* for 9-and-a-half years, and they've been together a total of 15. They'd been monogamous until 10 years ago, when Lola had an affair and fell in love with the other person, which made her realize she was interested in polyamory. She had shied away from the idea, thinking monogamy was the only way her relationship with Evan could work. After much discussion over the next four years, they decided to officially open their marriage six years ago; currently, both of them date other people. Evan's girlfriend of 4 years is Sheila, who lives in another state. Lola is currently seeing two men outside her marriage: Dylan, who she's been seeing for 2-and-a-half years, and Frank, who she's been seeing for 8 months.

*Names have been changed to protect privacy.

Rare lazy Sunday morning at home with Evan. Coffee, breakfast, and snuggles. We don't get to do that often, there's usually a lot going on. I check in with Dylan about our upcoming date and overnight. Usually when we see each other, we make a plan for the next time. Dylan can't host and I have to do a lot of extra planning to make hosting at my place work, so we usually stay at a hotel. There was a mix-up this month, but we sorted it out. I'm glad I touched base with him.

Evan and I don't tell each other whom we're texting. When we first opened up our marriage, that was information we felt we needed to share. Now, as long as texting isn't taking us away from quality time together, it's not a big deal. We'll ask, "Do you mind if I leave the room?" if we need privacy, but it's not about asking for permission, it's more about consideration, especially if we're in the middle of watching a TV show together.

"I would feel bad if he were home alone with no plans while I was with someone else."

We end our lazy day together with a movie in bed and sex. It's still important for us to connect in that way after all of these years.

Talking with Evan over breakfast, I suggest he get in contact with Sheila to see if she's free this weekend, since I won't be home and I know he doesn't have any other plans. She's married with kids and lives in another state, so they don't see each other as often as I see the men I'm dating. He doesn't always plan ahead like that.

I would feel bad if he were home alone with no plans while I was with someone else, but that would be me projecting because he loves napping and video games. If I was in that position, I would be bored, so I make the suggestion.

There have been times when he was with Sheila and I was on my own. I wasn't jealous, but I felt sad I didn't have anybody to be intimate with. We've been in an open marriage for six years now, but that's not that long. I had to get over feeling like we need to do every single thing together as a couple—not just related to sex. We spent years doing everything together: traveling, discovering new places, and things. When you start sharing your life with others, that's not possible. It took me a while to wrap my head around it and be okay with it.

Today is a quiet day working from home. I get up early, answer emails, then see Beauty and the Beast with friends. I get home in time to go grocery shopping with Evan. We make dinner before I have to excuse myself for a Skype meeting. Afterwards, I snuggle with a book in bed with Evan.

Skin, Hand, Finger, Child, Nail, Play, Baby, Gesture, Toddler,

(Image credit: Archives)

Frank reached out to me; we haven't been able to see each other a lot recently. We don't have a set schedule for meeting up though we've been seeing each other a few times a month for the last 8 months. He's a music teacher, he tutors, and he's also married. Neither of us have a lot of free time. Part of our attraction to each other was finding someone who got that. We see each other when we can. We make it work.

After checking in with Evan to make sure that he's fine with me making last-minute plans, Frank and I schedule a time for tonight; this will be our first time seeing each other since mid-January. In general, I prefer to have things planned out ahead of time. It's easier for me that way. I don't mind last-minute plans as long as it's understood that I may not be able to drop everything and see them. Dylan also leads a busy life, too, so we tend to plan out our time together way in advance. He knows I can't always say yes on a few hours' notice.

Since I'll be out with Frank tonight, I make sure dinner is ready for Evan. It's not a rule that I have to make it, but it was my night to cook. We generally take turns making dinner. I don't want to take advantage of him being nice about my last-minute plans. This is one of those moments where I try to be as courteous as possible. I also do the laundry and clean the kitchen since it's chore day.

"I brought some paddles and other sex toys with me that I currently only use with him."

Evan gets home from work early and offers to drop me off at Frank's house because it's on his way to run errands.

Frank gives me hot pink mirrored clitoris earrings, which is a nice little surprise. I brought some paddles and other sex toys with me that I currently only use with him. I'm submissive with him and he usually has a scene planned out for us.

Since I know I'll be seeing Dylan in a few days, I ask Frank not to bruise me, something I normally enjoy. It's not a secret that I'm kinky with Frank, but I haven't asked Dylan how he feels about bruises.

"In the beginning it was awkward coming home from dates, but now it's not."

Everyone knows about one other, though. In fact, Frank asked me about Dylan when I started seeing him, saying, "Do you like him?" He genuinely wants to know that I'm being taken care of and I'm happy when I'm not with him. Evan has met Frank; all of us, including Frank's wife, had Christmas dinner together. It was awkward at first because I didn't know what to expect, but then it was fine. We had a great night. Everyone got along. It felt really natural. I was worried about all of us relating to one another, but we were all chatting and laughing.

Not everyone I see outside my marriage meets Evan. It speaks to where I am mentally with someone if I'm introducing them to him. I need to trust you and be comfortable with you to invite you into that part of my life.

After we fool around, I make the bed. I always do at Frank's. It's my little way of saying hello to his wife. She knows it's me because he hates making the bed.

After I get home, I have dinner and watch TV with Evan. In the beginning it was awkward coming home from dates, but now it's not. Evan doesn't want to know about what we did sexually; he just says, "Did you have a good time?" I show him my new earrings.

Finger, Shoulder, Joint, Wrist, Elbow, Barechested, Darkness, Trunk, Monochrome photography, Muscle,

(Image credit: Archives)

I'm busy at work and getting ready for a performance at a local university tomorrow, so I don't have a lot of time for texting. Frank checks in with me to make sure I'm okay. We don't have formal labels for each other. I just call him "my person" because "boyfriend" puts certain connotations on things that don't really apply to our relationship.

Performance day is always hectic because there's so much to do, but it goes well and afterwards Evan and I go out to dinner with a friend. She knows about the people I'm seeing. Actually, all of my friends know we're polyamorous. They don't act any differently. We have an amazing group of friends who are open minded and accepting of our lifestyle and our partners.

It was a long day. We go right to bed when we get home.

Evan is going to meet up with Sheila this weekend, so I help him pick out his outfit. I want to make sure he has the right clothes for the weekend she has planned. He needed something dressy-casual to wear to a nice restaurant and party they were attending, and he hates picking outfits.

In the evening, I teach a sex ed class at a sex shop. Dylan comes to pick me up. He tells me where we're going for dinner while we pack up my gear.

We have crepes and take a cab to the hotel. When we get there, I check in with Evan to let him know I arrived safely and to say goodnight. That's something else we always do.

I met Dylan on OkCupid; most of the people I date I meet there. I tried Tinder for two weeks and didn't like it. OkCupid provides more information and the quality of connections I made were better.

On our last date, we filled out yes/no/maybe lists [regarding our sexual interests] and watched Finding Dory because we're both big kids at heart. He was amazed I hadn't seen it. We have similar taste in what we watch; we both like weird British comedies. Bonus points for me, since he's from the U.K.

White, Leg, Thigh, Skin, Human leg, Beauty, Arm, Shoulder, Joint, Briefs,

(Image credit: Archives)

I can barely unpack my bag. We haven't seen each other in a month and we can't stop touching each other. After we have sex, we order dessert from a local diner. It's midnight. Dylan gets cheesecake and I get rice pudding and we fall asleep watching British TV shows. We have sex again at 3 in the morning, then we lay in bed being silly and chatting. Eventually, we both pass out.

We sleep in until 10 a.m. We'd been planning on spending the afternoon together, but he gets a text from his wife and has to go home earlier. I'm slightly disappointed but I understand; stuff happens.

Thankfully, it's not an emergency, so we have time to have sex again. Then we take showers, have coffee, and grab a quick breakfast. I make sure he has enough time to get home and that I'm not going to make him late. Dylan and his wife are newer to poly than we are; they've only been open for two years. I want to make sure I'm a good person to her as well, even though she and I haven't met yet. I don't want to cause issues.

"It's hard enough when you first open up your marriage."

It's that courtesy thing again, but also karma. It's what I would want someone to do for me. It's hard enough when you first open up your marriage. I want him to see that I care about his home life being good. Plus, if she feels threatened or what we're doing doesn't work for them, he could always say, I can't do this. I don't want that to happen. I like him a lot.

I take advantage of my free afternoon and do a little shopping. When I get home, I check in with Even, who's on his way back from his visit with Sheila. He's running a little late, but he did our weekly grocery shopping on the way home, so I'm not upset.

I take a much-needed nap. It's been a long week.

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