Living a Successful MOM Life

I’ve been on this forum for a few years now, and one of the common threads I’ve seen is that things have a tendency to go awry when

  • People move more quickly than they are emotionally capable of handling
  • People do things that they do not want to do because they feel like they have no choice — either they do them or lose their spouse.

I have a very healthy MOM, but I do not think I could have gotten there if my husband gave me an ultimatum, “do this, or else I leave you.” I think when I hear people say that their husband “wants his cake and to eat it too,” they mean that they feel like doormats; that he gets something while they get nothing; that they are stuck between a rock and a hard place; that they are being pressured into doing something they don’t want to do.

There are lots of different solutions for a successful MOM, but the one key unifying thing is that the couple work together to create it. No ultimatums. No threats. We worked together on this project for many many years. I learned about his bisexuality ten years ago and we only opened our marriage 2.5 years ago (2 for me). We spent close to a full year in therapy, perhaps two working together to figure out how we would handle this. It was hard, hard work. There were many tears, much anger, and many times that we thought we had reached the end. But they key is that we both were willing to do the work and challenge each other without setting ultimatums. When we did finally open the marriage, we did it because the two of us together had decided that this was the best way for our marriage to proceed.

I am no doormat. I am an incredibly strong, extremely intelligent, strong-willed woman with a good education and a good job. OKCupid has taught me that there are plenty of men who would be happy to have me. I am not in this marriage because it’s too hard to leave. I am in my marriage because my husband is my soul-mate, the love of my life, my best friend and the perfect partner for me.

No matter what path you decide to take, I think the path has to have these elements:

  • The journey can only move as fast as the slowest partner can move. The other one just has to take a deep breath and garner all of the patience he/she can
  • No one should do anything that violates their principles or makes them feel bad about themselves
  • The only viable solution is one that you come up with together as a team
  • Although it would be theoretically possible to do 1-3 on your own, I know I could not have done it without a skilled therapist who could help us from getting stuck, help us through the hurt and fear and help us to think outside the box.

I hope this helps. This really and truly has to be a team project.

Always Being the One To Initiate Sex

Hi all,

I’ve been reading these recent posts about us wives always being the ones to initiate sex. This started happening with me after we got married – I didn’t really initiate it before because I didn’t feel I should or could ask for sex from a gay guy! If he came to me wanting it that was different.

But after we got married I started feeling I could initiate it when I wanted it – and that was pretty much all the time!

We sat down and had a looooooong talk about it when it became clear we were both feeling a little uncomfortable. My H is very good about telling me stuff so I thought I’d share it with everyone here in case it helps. It will be a little graphic (because, um, that’s what we were talking about.) Here’s what we figured out:

– I was getting worried that he didn’t want to have sex with me all that much any more, which is why he never initiated it

– He was getting worried that he didn’t necessarily want to do EVERYTHING all the time, and that’s why he wasn’t initiating it – because he didn’t know what to do if I wanted to do something that he didn’t.

I was so relieved to discover this – it’s not that he didn’t want to do anything at all, it’s just that there were some things he didn’t NECESSARILY feel like doing. Phew!

So then we sat there and talked about various sex acts and how he felt about them – which may or may not be to do with him being gay, right?

So first up was he said he would never ever EVER object to me giving him oral sex. Never, at any time of day, under any circumstances! ! This is good because I LOVE giving him oral. (By the way I don’t do this with other men.)

Next up – he said he would also never object to me giving him a hand job, or helping him masturbate (e.g. by playing with his balls), or watching him masturbate (which I also love – my own private porn show. And he’s an exhibitionist at heart…)

So then we went to: things he sometimes doesn’t feel like doing. The main thing is that he doesn’t always feel like getting on top and penetrating me. And he’s terrified of me asking him to do it when he doesn’t want to – because on the one hand he loves me and so wants to do what I want, but if he physically doesn’t feel like it, what should he do? This is likely to make him go soft and unable to do it anyway.

But we figured out that he would pretty much never object to ME getting on top and riding him. This is fine – because I love doing that.

He also said that he doesn’t always feel like fingering me. This is another thing I sometimes ask for – I really like it in the build-up to penetration, especially if I’ve been sucking him for a long time I might not be ready to go straight into penetration just like that.

Now, I understand him not always wanting to finger me – I have tried been with women twice, and was very VERY offput by fingering them. (This is how I figured out that I wasn’t really bi after all…a different story.)

But he did figure out that he would never mind helping me to masturbate (eg by playing with my breasts)

So then we asked ourselves: what should he do if I ask him to do something he doesn’t feel like doing? I REALLY don’t want him to do something he doesn’t physically want just because I felt like it – first of all that sounds awful, and secondly frankly that’s probably a good way of making him long for men even more!

But I’d also be quite put out if I said “Please would you do such- and-such?” and he said “I don’t really feel like it, sorry.”

So I figured out that he should instead SUGGEST something he DOES feel like doing – since there is always going to be something. And as long as phrase it as a genuine question rather than a request, it’ll be ok (or just a statement of what I feel like)

For example, I say “Would you like to get on top and penetrate me?” he could say “I’d really like you to be on top tonight”

or I say “I’d really like you to finger me” and he could say “Can I lick your nipples while you do it?”

or “I’d really like you to suck me”

etc etc.

The point is that this way instead of feeling rejected I feel wanted – he does want me to do something, and then I can do the thing he wants.

Does this sound like he always gets what he wants and I don’t? Well the fact is that there are more things that I ALWAYS feel like doing, and not many things I would ever object to doing with him. I mean, I’m the straight one in this relationship! It’s true that if he never ever wanted to get on top of me I’d get a bit fed up in the end…but we haven’t had that problem yet. (and if we do, I’ll be sure to post on here with desperate pleas for help!)

He sometimes worries that he’s getting MORE of what he wants than I am, but I’m always reminding him that there’s more than sex in this equation. He gives me so much in my whole life, and he makes me so happy, I’m completely happy to suck him off whenever he wants in return…

Overall, my advice is as always to sit down and TALK about the issues. One thing is for sure – fear, anxiety, guilt, and pressure do not enhance male performance! Talking about it can be awkward it’s true, but it’s worth it in the end. When I sat him down to talk about it I first convinced myself he was going to say “I don’t want to have sex with you any more” so I was then extremely happy with everything he said he DID want to do! At the end I told him I’d convinced myself he didn’t want to have sex with me any more, and he was horrified and took me in his arms and said it was not at all true, and then…well, you can guess what we did next!

Take care all, E

Straight Husband, Bi Wife, #1
My wife and I have been married over 30 years and I am the straight spouse.  We are somewhat an exception to the rule in that I realized that my wife’s sexual orientation was not straight about 20 years before disclosure.  A year and a half ago while in therapy with our AASECT* therapist, my wife became honest about her lack of physical attraction to men and her sexual attraction to women. My wife is fully bi-romantic and we have a very close emotional relationship. She is able to connect with me sexually on the basis of that emotional relationship even while having zero physical attraction.

Our AASECT therapist is excellent and has helped us walk through many individual and couples issues. Our sexual relationship has evolved into a way that works for both of us. We don’t do porn or fantasy, and we both choose to remain monogamous. We focus on continuing to deepen our emotional connection and that has been enough for my wife. She is from a fundamentalist Christian background and considers her same-sex attractions to be sinful desires that should be resisted instead of celebrated. This plays a factor in how we handle things. Openness, brutal honesty, good communication as well as agreed upon values are essential to making a MOM work. An AASECT therapist can be of great help in the whole process of figuring things out.


*American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors & Therapists

Straight Husband, Bi Wife #2

My wife and I have been married for 13 years and she came out about 18 months ago. I am 44 and she is 39. She is attracted to women but is emotionally bonded with me. I joke that she is bisexual by circumstance. She was not aware of her attraction to women until just before she came out to me. We have had an interesting year and a half and we have become closer than ever before. We strive for good communication and honesty which I feel are the two most important things in making a MOM or any relationship work.

Currently, we are monogamous and our goal is to stay that way. We have two children and my wife feels she has everything she wants from a relationship with me with the exception that she is attracted to women. We use things like porn, fantasies, and even checking out women together as a way to give her some of what she desires. They are not a good substitute for the real thing but neither of us feels we can open our marriage–at least not any time in the near future. So we do what we can and it has been working.

There are always ups and downs. It is difficult for her to deny that part of herself but she doesn’t feel it is worth the risk and pain to explore outside our marriage. I want her to stay too but not at the cost of her well-being. So we check in with each other to make sure we are both still OK with what we are doing. If she needs to open the marriage I will try for her but neither of us thinks we will be able to handle it.  I sometimes become insecure and she worries that I will get fed up and want to leave. We deal with this during our check-ins as well.

We have an AASECT* therapist who is very good. She helps with sex stuff that we may not have considered and she is also very helpful with couples counseling. I strongly recommend that MOM couples consider seeing an AASECT therapist if possible.

The only rule we have is to maintain our open communication and honesty with each other. For minor issues and for any changes either of us feels we need to make, we talk about it before anyone takes action.

*American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors & Therapists

Straight Husband, Bi Wife #3

My name is Bob and I am a straight spouse. My wife and I have been married for 19 years and last year she came out to me as bisexual. Disclosure for me began with my wife’s requests for us to find a woman for a threesome. I have no desire to experience threesomes and thought it would be bad for our marriage. After a trial of a threesome (vanilla sex), I said, “No, this isn’t for me.” However, over the next few months my wife disclosed that she had been on dating sites and admitted to having some infidelities with a couple who were not married to each other and with two men.

My heart felt broken. The reality hit me very hard and I could not eat or sleep properly. I felt that this could be a death sentence for our marriage. I was on an emotional rollercoaster every day and I became desperate for some relief.

I visited my physician who was really great. She patiently listened to me which is what I needed. It was impossible to talk with anyone else this being a marital taboo. My physician prescribed an antidepressant to help me deal with this situation.

We ended up having a week apart when things got really tense. I told her to move out. However, being apart turned out to be a good thing for us. After several days she emailed me and we started a lengthy written conversation over a period of time. We shared many things we like about each other as well things we dislike. I know that my bisexual wife does love me, as I do her. I understand that the lies that she told me were to protect me and our marriage. During the early days, I was not ready to hear all of this.

During this conversation, I agreed to an open relationship that is open on both sides. However, I was clear that the constant lies and cheating had to end. I knew that opening our marriage would remove her need for being so secretive with me.

There is another important aspect to our relationship which I would like to share. We had been exploring my “kink” for several years prior to her coming out. It was something I introduced to our relationship. I have always been kinky and S&M is my thing. Vanilla sex has never done anything for me. Our S&M relationship is usually excellent but my wife also has a big need for vanilla sex. This has been strictly personal for us and we were monogamous prior to her coming out and admitting to cheating.

I have found that monogamy does not suit my wife. She is suited to being sexually free while I am sexually private. In our case it’s more than just her being bisexual although she identifies strongly as being Bi.

When my wife came out to me, it heralded a lot of self-searching for both of us. This is still ongoing and we are learning more every day. It’s been a journey of discovery for both of us. I still have bad days but most are good. My wife understands this too. We now have an apartment where my wife stays with our son two nights a week. This has had the benefit of giving us a regular break from each other.

These are our current agreements which came from many months of open and honest communication. They are fluid and are subject to change as required.

  • No cheating or any involvement with others who cheat
  • Single women are ok if they identify as being polyamorous
  • Married or partnered people are ok too. But they must be open & honest with each other and with us
  • Safe sex
  • “Your ass is mine”
  • Marriage and family come first
  • Both of us have the right to veto each other’s relationships with third parties.  This must be respected regardless of circumstances.  This is a measure to protect our marriage and will ideally never need to be exercised.
  • We promise not to hold things in. These agreements are fluid and if we find something is not working, we can and should discuss and amend them as appropriate. Written communication is often helpful.
  • Time should be allowed to think over larger issues to prevent knee jerk reactions.
  • Neither of us wants to know about the sexual details of the others encounters. But we are always free to ask about them if we want.
Reflections - A 16 Year MOM Journey

We are all on our individual paths in mixed orientation marriages.  I want to reflect on my own path and share with you how very far I have traveled to get to where I am today.  My husband and I have been married for 33 years.  Seventeen years into our marriage, I discovered that my husband is gay; that he had cheated on me with men; and had kept many secrets from me.  I can recall being devastated and feeling like the rug of reality was pulled out from underneath me. Back then I was a different person and our marriage bore little resemblance to what it has morphed into today.  Our marriage is stronger now.  I am stronger too—more so than I was back then.

When I read your stories after finding your way to Alternate Paths membership, I can relate to so much of what you are experiencing.  I dearly wish that I could let you peek inside my own mind—to see what I have been through and to realize how much better it can get. But that is impossible because your path will be your own.

My husband and I started out by almost divorcing.  We made it through the rough first few years with lots of ups and downs as I discovered just how much he did and hid from me. We went through a period where I felt that I needed to control his activities just to get my own sanity back. I thought marriage and relationships should only be the way I was raised to view them.  I had no idea that I could simply write my own rules. To me, rules have always been there to help keep order. There are many rules to keep us safe from both physical and mental harm. I still believe in rules but I have changed in how I perceive rules for my own marriage. I do not view anyone else’s marriage in this way–only my own.

For me the monogamous marriage I thought I had was a farce.  My husband is not the straight man I thought he was for the first 17 years of our marriage. So I had to change the rules or else divorce and start over again with a different man. But I did not want to give up this man I married.   I had no desire to live without him by my side as my husband. That realization took me a few years to reach!

I used to see his online flirting with other men as cheating. That is a normal assumption. But for us now, it is just a way for him to express his true orientation within a marriage to a woman.  I no longer see these men as a threat to our relationship. We went through several years in an open marriage where we were both free to have a boyfriend, or several, as long as they did not interfere with our primary relationship. This worked very well for us once I got over the fear and insecurity of dating.

However, over time, we seem to have both gravitated toward monogamy once again. It was a slow process and he still flirts and has intimate chat with his guys. But in the physical world, it’s just the two of us who are intimate. I had one boyfriend for many years, but I realized that this guy was giving up having a wife and building a family in hopes that one day I would choose to leave my husband and live with him. I did not want that and anyway I am too old to have children! Once he found a girlfriend, I backed out of the picture. He still tries to get me back into his life, but I really just want one man now and that is my husband.

Wow… who would have thought I would make it full circle back into monogamy? I still view open relationships as viable choices for others. And I bet I would not have remained married if I had not allowed both of us to have outside relationships. I do not even know if we can consider this monogamy since we leave the door open for the future.  But right now, this is how it is and we are happy.

I hope each of you finds your way through this journey with health, happiness, and one another. However you choose to morph your marriage, I hope you keep your minds and hearts open to success. It is not the marriage you signed up for, but it CAN be much better. You do not have to follow the rules of your parents’ marriages because yours is much different.