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A couple having dinner | Source: Freepik
A couple having dinner | Source: Freepik

On Our 10-Year Marriage Anniversary, My Husband Proposed an Open Relationship — I Agreed, Only to Teach Him a Lesson

Caitlin Farley
Jun 21, 2024
10:35 A.M.

On our 10th anniversary, my husband dropped a bombshell: he wanted an open relationship. Shocked and hurt, I agreed, but only to teach him a lesson. As he floundered in the modern dating scene, I thrived, sparking jealousy and tension. Can our strained marriage survive this daring experiment?

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Alright, so there I was, sitting across from Dave in this swanky restaurant he insisted on for our tenth anniversary. Candlelight, soft music, the whole shebang. You'd think it was straight out of a rom-com, right? But no, this was my life, and Dave had a bombshell to drop.

An upmarket restaurant | Source: Pexels

An upmarket restaurant | Source: Pexels

"So, Felicity," Dave started, his tone overly casual, like he was asking if I wanted dessert. "I've been thinking..."

Now, here's the thing about Dave. When he says he's been thinking, it usually means trouble. I mean, this is the guy who thought it was a good idea to put up Christmas lights in July because, "it would save time." So naturally, my guard was up.

"Uh-huh?" I replied, trying to keep my voice even, but my heart was already doing a little jig of anxiety.

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A woman eyeing her husband warily | Source: MidJourney

A woman eyeing her husband warily | Source: MidJourney

"You always say you're tired, and I get it. Taking care of the kids and all. It's a lot. So, I was thinking, maybe we should open up our relationship."

I blinked. Once, twice. Then again, just to make sure I wasn't hallucinating. "Come again?"

He leaned forward, his eyes wide with what I could only describe as misguided enthusiasm. "Yeah, you know, if I go out and have fun with real women, you can focus on the kids and won't have to worry about me. It's a win-win!"

An enthusiastic man | Source: MidJourney

An enthusiastic man | Source: MidJourney

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I swear, I could feel the exact moment my heart cracked.

"Real women?" I echoed, my voice barely a whisper.

"Yeah, you know what I mean. It would be like a favor to you. Less pressure, right?"

I wanted to yell, to throw my wine in his face, to make a scene worthy of a soap opera. But then, in a flash of what I can only describe as divine inspiration, a better idea formed.

An angry woman | Source: MidJourney

An angry woman | Source: MidJourney

I leaned back, forcing a smile. "You know what, Dave? You're right."

He looked like a kid on Christmas morning. "Really?"

"Absolutely," I said, my voice sweet as honey. "As long as I get to date other people too."

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For a second, just a second, I saw a flicker of uncertainty in his eyes. But then, Dave being Dave, he brushed it off with a laugh.

"Sure, why not?"

Oh, Dave. Sweet, oblivious Dave. He had no idea what he'd just agreed to.

A woman smiling | Source: MidJourney

A woman smiling | Source: MidJourney

Fast forward a week. Dave, bless his heart, was drowning in the modern dating scene.

I'd see him on the couch, scrolling through dating apps, swiping left and right like his life depended on it. Spoiler alert: it didn't go well.

"Another one canceled," he muttered one evening, flopping down beside me.

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I was folding laundry, pretending not to enjoy his misery. It was hard to keep the smile off my face.

A woman holding a laundry basket | Source: Pexels

A woman holding a laundry basket | Source: Pexels

"She said she's 'taking a break from men.' What does that even mean?"

Dave frowned at me as though he seriously expected me to act as some kind of interpreter for him!

I shrugged, trying to hide my smirk. "Maybe she sensed your desperation through the app?"

Dave sighed. "You're not helping."

A woman laughing while doing laundry | Source: MidJourney

A woman laughing while doing laundry | Source: MidJourney

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One morning, as Dave showered before work, I couldn't resist the temptation to snoop through his phone. I knew it wasn't the most virtuous thing to do, but curiosity got the better of me.

Scrolling through his messages and dating app notifications, I saw nothing but rejections and awkward conversations. Although a part of me had been worried he might meet someone who would be competition, my fears were quickly soothed.

His dating struggles were almost pitiful.

Meanwhile, my week was a different story.

Woman scrolling through a phone | Source: Pexels

Woman scrolling through a phone | Source: Pexels

Enter Shawn, my attractive coworker with the smoldering eyes and a smile that could melt butter. I casually mentioned the whole open relationship thing to him during a coffee break.

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"Wait, so your husband actually suggested this?" Shawn asked, eyebrow raised.

"Yup," I said, stirring my latte. "Crazy, right?"

Shawn laughed, shaking his head. "Well, his loss is my gain. I'd be happy to take advantage of his crazy decision, if you'll let me?"

A man and woman having a conversation | Source: MidJourney

A man and woman having a conversation | Source: MidJourney

Who could say "no" to that gorgeous smile?

We went out for coffee, and it went well. Really well. So, I invited him over for dinner. I spent extra time getting ready, a little thrill of anticipation buzzing under my skin as I slipped into a beautiful new dress and did my make-up.

I made a meal that would make Gordon Ramsay proud, and just before Shawn arrived, I sent Dave a text:

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Don't come home tonight. My date might go to the next level.

A woman applying make-up | Source: Pexels

A woman applying make-up | Source: Pexels

I hit send, feeling a mix of giddiness and defiance. Shawn was due any minute, and I couldn't wait to see the look on Dave's face when he read that message.

Tonight was going to be a game-changer!

Shawn arrived right on time, looking even better than I remembered. He had that easy confidence, the kind that made you feel like everything was going to be alright.

We sat down to dinner, and the conversation flowed as smoothly as the wine.

A woman on a date | Source: MidJourney

A woman on a date | Source: MidJourney

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"So, how did you get into marketing?" Shawn asked, leaning in with genuine interest.

I laughed, recounting the early days of my career, the missteps, and the small victories. Shawn listened intently, his eyes never leaving mine. It felt good to be seen, really seen, for the first time in a long while.

Just as we were finishing dessert, the front door slammed open. Dave's voice echoed through the house.

Woman laughing during a dinner date | Source: MidJourney

Woman laughing during a dinner date | Source: MidJourney

"Another date with a cat lady. She showed me pictures of her twenty-five cats, Felicity! Twenty-five!" He stomped into the living room, his frustration evident in every step.

He stopped dead in his tracks when he saw Shawn and me, mid-laughter. "Uh, hey. Am I interrupting something?"

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I didn't miss a beat. "Actually, yes. Didn't you get my text?"

Dave frowned as he reached into his pocket and removed his phone.

A shocked man standing in a doorway | Source: MidJourney

A shocked man standing in a doorway | Source: MidJourney

I had to bite back a laugh as I watched his face turn bright red while reading the message I'd sent earlier.

"So," I continued, "could you maybe give us a few more hours? Shawn and I were just getting to the good part."

Dave's jaw dropped. "You can't be serious."

"Dead serious," I replied, crossing my arms. "Remember, you wanted this."

A woman with crossed arms | Source: Pexels

A woman with crossed arms | Source: Pexels

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Dave's face went through about a thousand emotions in ten seconds: confusion, anger, and, finally, a begrudging acceptance. "Fine. But we need to talk. Now."

I sighed, turning to Shawn. "I'm sorry about this. Rain check?"

Shawn smiled, a twinkle of amusement in his eyes. "Of course. Another time."

He gave me a quick kiss on the cheek and left, leaving Dave and me alone in the suddenly tense atmosphere.

A woman glaring at her husband | Source: MidJourney

A woman glaring at her husband | Source: MidJourney

"What the heck, Felicity?" Dave demanded. "Where did you find that guy? A modeling agency?"

"He's a colleague, actually." I met his gaze, feeling a strange mix of anger and satisfaction. "You started this, Dave. Now you have to deal with it."

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He ran a hand through his hair, looking more vulnerable than I'd ever seen him.

"Look, I messed up. I thought it would be easy, but it's not. And seeing you with someone else...it's killing me."

A man with regrets | Source: Pexels

A man with regrets | Source: Pexels

I softened, just a bit. "Did you really think I wouldn't have feelings too? That your suggestion wouldn't hurt me?"

He sighed deeply, his shoulders slumping. "I was an idiot. I'm sorry. I've been neglecting you, and I see that now."

I nodded, the anger slowly ebbing away. "I appreciate the apology, Dave. But things have to change. We need to work on us, for real this time."

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"Agreed," he said, taking my hand. "Counseling, more time together, whatever it takes."

A couple holding hands | Source: Pexels

A couple holding hands | Source: Pexels

In that moment, I saw a glimmer of the man I fell in love with ten years ago. Maybe, just maybe, we could find our way back to each other.

We sat down on the couch, the silence between us not uncomfortable, but filled with unspoken words and shared history.

"Do you remember our first date?" I asked, a small smile playing on my lips.

Dave chuckled. "How could I forget? I spilled coffee all over your dress, and you still agreed to see me again."

A couple laughing together | Source: MidJourney

A couple laughing together | Source: MidJourney

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"I thought it was charming," I admitted. "You were so flustered, trying to clean it up."

He squeezed my hand. "I miss those days. When everything felt new and exciting."

"Me too," I said softly. "But we can't go back, Dave. We can only move forward. Together."

He nodded, a determined look in his eyes. "I want to be better, Felicity. For you, for the kids. I don't want to lose what we have."

Close up of a man's eyes | Source: Pexels

Close up of a man's eyes | Source: Pexels

I believed him. It wasn't going to be easy, and it wouldn't happen overnight, but for the first time in a long while, I felt hopeful.

"Let's take it one day at a time," I suggested.

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"One day at a time," he agreed.

A happy couple | Source: MidJourney

A happy couple | Source: MidJourney

And that, my friends, was the beginning of our real journey. It wasn't wrapped in the neat bow of a fairy tale, but it was real, messy, and worth fighting for.

Here's to second chances, to learning from our mistakes, and to the crazy ride that is marriage. Cheers!

Click here to read about how one woman's unsettling discovery of a blonde hair on her pillow led her to make an unsettling discovery!

This work is inspired by real events and people, but it has been fictionalized for creative purposes. Names, characters, and details have been changed to protect privacy and enhance the narrative. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental and not intended by the author.

The author and publisher make no claims to the accuracy of events or the portrayal of characters and are not liable for any misinterpretation. This story is provided "as is," and any opinions expressed are those of the characters and do not reflect the views of the author or publisher.

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