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An open marriage is always destined to end in recriminations and tears, you should know, says BEL MOONEY

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An open marriage is always destined to end in recriminations and tears, you should know, says BEL MOONEY

Try to imagine the scene. Your two young children are asleep, you’ve had another day of being the perfect mother. You love your husband very much and he loves you.

Your sex life with him is great, even after ten years. In fact, it’s hard to think of a better marriage. . . and yet. And yet you want more. You long to have exciting sex with that guy you met at the bar, the one with the thin hips. . .

Tormented by desire and desire to be free from domestic life, she confesses to her husband her desire to have sexual relations with another man.

His calm response rocks your world. He says, “You can go out with him again, as long as you tell me everything.” You realize that he wants to get turned on by the details of your sex with other men. Oh, and he reveals that he wants to sleep with other women too. An eye for an eye, you could say.

In More: Memoirs of an Open Marriage, Molly Roden Winter reveals everything about her relationship with her husband and the other people she shares it with.

Does this surprise those of you who are in committed relationships? Could you do it? Would you ever want to open the door to your marriage to let others in?

In the early 1970s, the concept of “open marriage” was all the rage, and some of us even succumbed to the theory that it is possible to both stay and drift.

Marriage should not be a prison, we cry. We hear Black Panther Bobby Seale’s rallying cry to “seize your time” and consider personal sexual freedom a human right. Down with your repressive and bourgeois morality!

People like me (on the left but with privileged lives) adored Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, united intellectually but unmarried and free to openly engage in any number of relationships.

It is not that such pretentious theorizing exists in More.

The author and her husband, Stewart, are the next generation: our children, Generation X.

There are no political positions for them, only sexual positions. With a minimum of discussion, they accept their open marriage with mind-blowing ease. Molly has fallen in love and has sex with Matt, who in turn feels guilty for betraying his girlfriend. But Molly doesn’t have to feel guilty because she’s just doing what Stewart agreed to. Meanwhile, she is dating another woman. . .

If it seems like a complicated mess, that’s because it is. I’ve been there: the moment when you say goodbye to the husband you love and go to your lover’s room. All very 1970. And Molly’s story seems like a confessional from Cosmopolitan magazine from that time. However, this book is a saga of 21st century New York. The consensual infidelity that Molly and Stewart have chosen is, she explains, “a double life.”

‘In one life I wake up with the kids at dawn, make breakfast and pack lunch, manage pick-ups and playdates, make dinner, prepare baths, read bedtime stories and sing lullabies.

In her book, Molly Roden Winter identifies ¿the void¿ in the lives of many women as ¿a need for something that marriage and motherhood cannot fill¿

In her book, Molly Roden Winter identifies “the void” in many women’s lives as “a need for something that marriage and motherhood cannot fill.”

“I greet Stewart when he comes home late at night, give him back massages or make love and sleep next to him. I am the image of a dutiful mother and wife, but only in service of my other life, the one in which I think about Matt. I imagine what he is doing and who he is with. I wonder if he’s thinking about me too.

What is happening? Like many women (although they won’t admit it), Molly Roden Winter identifies “the void in my life” as “a need for something that marriage and motherhood cannot fill.”

She wants to be “seen with new eyes” and recognizes that her desire is to “feel not like a wife or mother, but like a desirable woman again.”

In the movie of this book (which will surely be made), that is the track for Try A Little Tenderness on the soundtrack.

But no matter how many women have those feelings from time to time, few would want the complicated life this book describes.

Molly has returned to teaching and is a good wife, mother, and daughter to elderly parents, who (she discovers) also had something of an open marriage.

This is almost the most fascinating part of the book. A therapist suggests that she has two sides: the ‘straight Molly’ who always did what she was supposed to do, and the other Molly, the ‘tough’ woman who wants to be seen for herself, wants to transgress.

But neither of those ‘two’ Molly can handle Stewart having sex with another woman (her ex, to make it more complicated) and hates the cold way he reminds her that she gave him ‘permission’.

They set some ground rules for their respective relationships, which include not falling in love with any of the other people. Very wise. But how can you be sure you won’t?

Matt endures four years of shame (her), guilt (him), and good sex. There is some more angst on the author’s part, but she decides that she still wants to “broaden my sexual horizons.”

A dating website offers Mike, who is a failure; Leo, who is morbid; the oddball Laurent; Then Liam. Meanwhile, Stewart dates four women at once and Molly follows the advice of a book called The Ethical Slut.

When the dating site offers Karl, Molly gets into trouble. She likes it too much. This is Love?

It turns out that Karl’s partner, Martina, is a female version of Stewart and wants to know all the details of his sex with Molly.

So the adventure continues until they convince Molly to form a rather awkward threesome with the two of them. And then they drop it. Next up is a connection with Scott. But enough!

More is a fascinating read, but it leaves you wondering what this couple has planned for each other in the future. They are still crazy about each other and the book is dedicated to Stewart. However, there is another volume that begs to be written, about his two children, for example, and the damage that can be done to them.

An open marriage is all well and good when you’re young and irresponsible, but believe me, age often brings recriminations and tears.

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