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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

SL Letter of the Day: You Must Meet His Wife

Posted by Dan Savage on Tue, Nov 2, 2010 at 10:27 AM

I'm a bisexual woman married to a bisexual man. We are polyamorous and see others together and separately. For about a year we have been seeing a married man together, we'll call him Andy.

Here's the thing, we really like Andy and want to see more of him both in and out of the bedroom, unfortunately Andy is married. While we were clear with Andy about the necessity of openness and honesty in our relationship and were assured by him that his wife was aware of his outside activities we still harbor some concerns about deepening the relationship as we have neither met nor spoken to his wife.

Long story short we're torn. We don't want to become more deeply involved with someone who *may* be behaving dishonestly with his primary partner, however we have had no indication that he has been dishonest. Additionally we find the concept of seeking "proof" or the "permission" of his wife to be somewhat repugnant. I would, after all, be insulted if someone sought my husband's consent or permission to engage in sexual activities with me, my body being my own and not a prize to be given or withheld on the whim of another.

Do we push forward or just DTMFA?

Confused In Chicago

Sent from the Savage Love App for iPhone

My response after the jump...

•••••••••••••••••

"Trust but verify," as someone once said.

You let Andy know at the outset that you regard openness and honesty as necessities, CIC, or conditions that must be met to obtain your consent. And Andy assured you that he was being open and honest; the wife, Andy either said or implied, knew exactly what was going on and approved. You didn't seek to independently verify that Andy was being honest with the wife (and with you two), essentially placing your trust in Andy.

Not the call I would've made, CIC.

Determining that Person A is an open relationship with Person B before you fuck the living shit out of Person A doesn't undermine Person A's physical or sexual autonomy. Person A's body would still be Person A's body even if you two had sought "proof" and/or Person B's "permission" before you bent Person A over. Bringing this back to Andy: Andy would still have been able to do whatever Andy wanted to do with Andy's body even if you had discovered that Andy's wife really wasn't okay with him sleeping around. Andy just wouldn't have been able to whatever Andy wanted to do with your bodies, CIC.

You say that openness and honesty are necessary conditions for obtaining your consent, CIC, and I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt: at the beginning of this relationship Andy aroused everything but your suspicions. But if things were on the up and up with the wife, CIC, then you should have met her by now. You haven't, your suspicions are aroused now, and so it's time to do your overdue diligence: Either Andy produces a permission slip—preferably signed by his wife while you watch—or you'll have to stop seeing him. If Andy doesn't produce a permission slip and you keep seeing with him, CIC, then you and the husband will have to stop describing openness and honesty as necessities and start describing them as niceties.

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