I have just spent the better part of the day talking with two friends who are now divorced because of an open marriage. I was given permission to share their story. Names will be changed to protect their identities in case someone who knows them might be lurking on this site.
“Ken” and “Barbie” were married for 8 years. “Ken” and “Barbie” were friends with another couple who were swingers. Anyway, their friends talked to them about the benefits of swinging and having an open marriage. “Ken” and “Barbie” didnt have children yet, but thought that it would be fun and exciting since neither of them were the jealous types and truly believed in the others happiness. They figured in a few years when they decided to have kids that they would have a last hurrah before they settled down with their previously decided on 2-4 children.
Anyways, they, K and B became swingers. All was great. They had a couple of people they swung with, always with the understanding that honesty, commitment to communication, and openness was key to making it work. It worked for a few years. Then “Ken” was diagnosed with an illness that would require surgery.
Now they both agreed that if life got real that they would close the marriage. Well it got real when he had a life threatening illness and would ultimately need several surgeries to save his life. Illness brings about its own set of challenges. Anyways, Ken felt that Barbie wasnt wholly with him through his illness. He brought it up to her that he felt like she was there in the physical, but not in the emotional sense. She claimed that wasnt at all true.
Ken had decided that after his illness and near death experience that he wanted to start a family. One of the factors were their ages. He was pushing 35 and she was pushing 32 and he felt like if they were gonna start a family they needed to get started. After all she had agreed to it while he was in the hospital. I was there when she said, when you are better we will start a family.
Anyways she apparently came out and told him that she wasnt quite ready to have children and that she wanted to open the marriage again. He wasnt thrilled about it. To make her happy, he and she agreed to one more year of open marriage, then they would settle down and start the process of getting pregnant.
Anyways, he wasnt really interested in being in an open marriage, but he didnt mind that she was having fun. So a year passed, and they talked again. Was she ready? To start a family? Yup, and within a year they were pregnant.
Six months after the little one is born she asked to open the marriage again. He was adamant that now they had children he didnt think it was appropriate considering their responsibilities were more pressing. She had sick parents, he had some relapses from his illness. She was not happy.
To make a long story short, she had fallen in love with one of her regular swinging partners. Of course he didnt know this. While she had been pregnant she hadnt cheated physically but she had carried on an emotional affair.
Well they continued in the marriage. Him unaware that she had fallen for her partner, and she was pregnant again. However, the man she had fallen in love with found out she was pregnant and thought it might be his. She and he apparently hadnt been careful. So there was a chance the baby was his.
It was his. But in their state, the law doesnt recognize another person other than the spouse as the legal father of the child.
Their marriage has since dissolved. They divorced, but under the law the baby is his even though DNA says the baby is the other man’s. Under the law he now has to pay child support to a child he isnt even allowed to see.
The other man dumped her, went back to his wife, and he doesnt want to see the kid now since he reconciled with his wife and since the law says the kid belongs to her ex husband regardless of DNA, he has to pay child support for two children, one of them not his.
Barbie would like to reconcile with Ken. She wishes she could go back and change what happened. In her words, “If I had known what kind of lying untrustworthy person I would become, I would have told them to take their swinging lifestyle and shove it where the sun dont shine.”
Ken says that while he still loves Barbie, he can not ever trust her again. He cant forgive her for the lying and the deceit.
On her side she fell madly in love with her partner and just couldnt give him up, and she thought he felt the same, until life got real and went back to his wife.
Advice from them both..dont do it. Its not worth the heartache.
Edited to add: They both agreed in the beginning that it would be sex only with no emotional attachment.