Is an open marriage all about sex?

Open relationship: my life with partner, child and lover

Nicki (28) is sitting at the dining table in the kitchen with her fiancé Bernd * (33) and their son. The adults chat about their day while their child plays with the long spaghetti noodles. After dinner, Bernd puts the little one to bed and Nicki disappears into the bathroom to freshen up. Today is Monday, which means "Date Night" for Nicki. She says goodbye to Bernd and sets off to meet her lover.

"With a child you don't have so much free time, everything has to be well planned," she says. That is why the meetings with her "play partner", as she calls him, are scheduled and communicated transparently. Nicki goes out on Mondays, Bernd on Tuesdays. Because he also meets other women for sex and eroticism. The two have had an open relationship for eight years.

Dealing with jealousy

At the very beginning, however, the open relationship didn't go as smoothly as it does today. Bernd wanted to meet other women, but Nicki was jealous: "When I said that, he immediately felt attacked and we argued."

It was clear to the Viennese from the start that her boyfriend wanted to love openly. They met at the SMart Café, a BDSM and fetish café (BDSM is a collective term for a group of sexual preferences that are often referred to as sadomasochism or SM). After a few meetings, the two fell in love and moved in together. "Today we know that the whole argument at the beginning of our relationship was unnecessary." Nicki speaks of a "big misunderstanding" that they were able to clear up with the help of a couple of friends: "We were able to talk about everything with the couple who are friends, who also live in an open relationship. That really helped us."

The jealousy hadn't completely disappeared yet, but Nicki and Bernd learned to deal better with the negative feelings: "He didn't get angry straight away, he hugged me when I was jealous. And he assured me that he only loves me. " Thanks to this emotional security, the jealousy slowly dissipated.

Unspoken law

In the first few years of the relationship, she only rarely met other men, while Bernd met three partners who alternate each week once a week. Not always for sex - also for a drink in a bar, nice conversation.

There were never any problems with one exception: "Bernd and I were together at a regulars' table in a BDSM café. There we met a woman with whom he had often had something, the two of them started talking. When I went over to Bernd, to speak to him, she turned to me and asked me to find someone else. " That was a no-go, not just for Nicki. After all, there is an unspoken law in the scene that the main partners always have priority. "I don't have to be friends with the women my husband meets," she says. "However, I do feel the need to get to know them - at least if it is not a one-off thing."

Four years ago, Nicki met the man she meets once a week today: "I liked Alex * straight away, he was funny, attractive and I found his partner nice too. And it worked immediately," she says . It even fitted so well that even the two men are friends today. Sometimes the couples meet for dinner or for game nights. However, the foursome dates are not about sex. Bernd and Alex's partner tried to get closer sexually, but in the end the friendship remained.

Hardly any sex with each other

What is surprising: Nicki and Bernd hardly have sex with each other these days. "If it comes up, maybe once a month," she says. But that is exactly the great advantage of an open relationship: "Neither of us needs to be afraid that the other is cheating." The couple does not see the outsourced eroticism as the end of the relationship, but as an enrichment.

Nevertheless, this cannot be compared with a platonic friendship: "We love each other dearly. It's like a cheesy, run-of-the-mill relationship, only without sex." Why does the couple hardly go to bed with each other anymore? "Over the years, our sexual tendencies have diverged. We felt quite pressured by it," says Nicki. "After all, you also want to satisfy your partner sexually."

On the childless evenings when the son sleeps with grandma, the couple now mainly uses the time for conversations. Over a bottle of Grüner Veltliner, they tell each other what's on their hearts. "There doesn't have to be a problem that we chew through. We just talk about how the other is doing, what is moving or bothering them," says Nicki.

This is especially important since parenthood: "If my partner had a nice evening while I looked after the whining child, I don't have the nerve to hear his adventure stories." Which is why the couple made the following agreement: You don't tell the other about your dates without being asked. Instead, Nicki and Bernd wait until the other asks about it. "Then I am emotionally ready to hear about it and I can be happy for him," she says.

One condition remained

At the beginning of their relationship there were many other rules, but now Nicki and Bernd's trust in each other is so deep that there is only one condition that both of them have to adhere to: Love to have sex with other partners - but only with a condom. "I want to grow old with him," says Nicki. They'll get married in the fall, and at some point they want a second child.

They also know that their son will one day ask questions: "Now our son is still young, but later he will surely want to know where mom and dad go every Monday and Tuesday and who the man is who always hugs mom so nicely . " And then he gets answers: "I don't think much of secrecy, our friends and family also know about it."

When Nicki comes home from their meeting shortly before midnight, Bernd is still sitting on the coach and watching TV. He turns off the television, smiles at his wife and asks: "Well, how was it?" (kups, 8/22/2020)

* Name changed by the editor