I'm going to have a gay/straight/open marriage

We decided to get married on Thanksgiving. We had been involved, off and on, for ten years, but had not seen each other in over a year and a half. I picked him up the next day and he moved in. I’m mostly straight (female), he’s mostly gay and we’re getting married because we’re in love.
I expect that some people in my family will quit talking to me when they find out his orientation, and that we both are going to continue to see other people. I am considering the best way for us to come out, because I don’t want to have to lie about my husband.
So this post is my practice explaining the whole thing. Ask me anything!

Yeah… good luck with that.

Is there any particular reason why his orientation is any of your family’s business, if you know they are not going to approve? It doesn’t sound like other situations where they would inherently know.

In other words, why do you feel the need to come out at all? Why can’t you just not mention it all? I really can’t see think of any situation where you would need to lie. What you guys do in the bedroom is your business.

How open is open? If he develops a consistent relationship with another male, do you expect to bring that person to Thanksgiving dinner?

Can you really knowingly marry someone who will never be fully satisfied by his relationship with you?

Straight or gay, everyone I know who has allowed a third person into their married sex life has wound up miserable. Whether it was a consensual couple inviting a third person into their bed, a wounded husband whose supposedly monogamous wife cheated, or an “open” couple both having sex with third parties on the down low: All the folks I have known who have tried this have wound up very unhappy.

I would think that his strong male orientation would make it even worse. That’s a powerful force pulling you apart from day one. I don’t question that you are sincerely in love, but it’s easy and common to fall in love with incompatible people. Folks do it all the time, I’m afraid. The smart ones - and the ones who heal fastest and get happy again soonest - are the ones who allow no financial or legal interdependence to develop.

I’m sorry, I know that’s not what you want to hear, but I wouldn’t consider myself to be a true Doper if I didn’t let you know. I see unhappiness down this road you’re on.

How did you go from not seeing each other for a year and a half to married? Seems like there’s parts of the story missing there.

I could see a gay/strait marriage working out for love, but not an open one. I’m sorry, but if he is sleeping around outside of the marriage then that isn’t love, its friends with legal benefits.

This would drive the Pubs crazy. You MUST start calling in to all the conservative talk radio shows.

It will have problems, but that doesn’t mean you can’t work it out.

Every marriage has problems, they’re just different. As a gay man I have to tell you always and I repeat ALWAYS use condoms, if you and your fella have sex.


And here’s something else to remember, never have sex with him WITHOUT A CONDOM.

I can’t state this strongly enough. No one on this board wants to hear from you in a couple of years saying “I was diagnosed with HIV.”

You will have issues but who doesn’t. So good luck and remember USE A CONDOM 100% OF THE TIME :slight_smile:

Really? It is impossible to be passionately in love with someone while at the same time having sex with anyone else? Because my experience says differently.

It’s not clear to me why you’re getting married. If you’re both still interested in separate extracurricular activities, why are you making a commitment to each other? Why not just declare yourselves a couple with the freedom to sleep around?

Few questions:

  1. Have you been married before? If so, why did the marriage fail?
  2. Have you been in a long-term open relationship before?
  3. How old are you?
  4. As others have asked, why did you decide to get married after a long period apart?
  5. Are you planning on going the whole married hog and combine finances, by a home. What about starting a family?
  6. Is there any reason why you’re planning on telling the family about his orientation and the open nature of your marriage? Is there any reason they would need to know?
  7. You’ve dated on and off for a long time, but have you lived together before?

I guess my big question is, why get married at all? Hate to say it, but this has Vegas/Britney/Minelli written all over it at this point.

This is so jacked up. I can’t even begin to pick it apart and comment, it’s so jacked up. Wow! Why are you marrying, again? Sounds like you want to drop a bombshell on your relatives and watch them explode. (All I can say is, if this is what “marriage-between-one-man-and-one-woman” allows, who could possibly object to a nice ordinary gay marriage, lol?) You seem like you’re going to enjoy doing this whole thing, right up to the inevitable divorce, no matter how many shocked responses you get. So, go for it, be a happy couple, and as mentioned already, do use condoms. And let us know how it goes, and how your relatives reacted! That’s the part I really want to hear about.

Call Dan Savage NOW. Because while this arrangement could conceivably work, the odds are not good unless the relationship is solid and the ground rules very clearly understood by both of you.

Also, the condom thing.

I’m not really a fan of remaining closeted, but if you’re marrying for love rather than convenience and are only “mostly” - why not tell your family that you’re both bi? It’d make more sense to them.

Also, I’m not sure why you’d need to be out to your families about it being an open relationship. As long as you’re not forming a triad or some other poly arrangement, and use some level of discretion in dating, in most cases I’d think that would be very much a TMI thing for many people.

And yeah, Dan Savage is the man to go for on this. Search his columns or podcast; he’s almost certainly given advice on this before.

On the surface it seems pretty screwed up but I guess it really depends on the two people involved and what they expect to get out of this “marriage”.
My wife and I are acquainted with a married couple (male/female) through work who have 2 young daughters. When I met them my gaydar was going off the charts. On both of them. Turns out I was right. She’s a lesbian and he’s gay.
Their back story turns out to be they’ve known eachother since they were kids, they are eachother’s best friend, they both knew someday they wanted a family. So everything pretty much works out for them except in the bedroom I assume. I have no idea if either of them are ‘out’ to their families.
I know both mom & dad have ocassional girls/guys night out but neither of them really ‘see’ someone else on the side.
Strange setup to say the least but it’s been working for them since I’ve known them (8 years). Not sure how it may impact the kids when they are old enough to start asking questions.

I really do want to wish the OP the best and simply add suggestions for putting a marriage counselor on retainer (the savings will really surprise you) and seeing if your medical plan has any kind of bulk discount for STD testing.

My first thought was “This won’t last”. But stranger things have happened.

My 2nd thought was that one or both of you are heavily in denial. If that’s the case, then I expect that Reality will fix that soon enough for you.
I don’t have any questions that haven’t been asked already, only a couple of recommendations:

First - listen to what MarkXXX says. Paint that on your bedroom ceiling right above the bed if you have to. Have a bowl of condoms handy, and make a game out of putting them on if that’s what it takes. But use them.

Second - don’t do anything irreversible or hard to change for at least the first 2-3 years. My main thought here is having a kid. Divorce is hardest on the kids, and there’s no need to inflict this sort of pain needlessly. There’s time - if you can make a relationship work and stay together after 3, or better yet 5 years, then think about it at that time. Otherwise, part as adults, divide things rationally and with a minimum of histrionics, and move on.

That 2nd recommendation applies to other things like buying a house, etc, but that’s pretty minor when compared to having a baby together. Still, think about that, too!

Opening myself up for criticism:

I personally don’t get ‘open marriage.’ Then again, I have a hard time wrapping my head around ‘marriage.’

If you are a straight female and you’re marrying a gay male, then … just … why? For the tax implications or something? Why not just be roomates who love each other? It doesn’t sound like there’s going to be a whole lot of meaningful intimacy between the two main participants, so really … marriage … what’s the friggin’ point of it in this situation?


Have you read Tristan Taormino’s “Opening Up” yet? Great book on open relationships of all kinds.

My fiance and I opened up our relationship several months ago, and so far, it’s working really well for both of us. I’m very particular that our nuptials not say anything about “forsaking all others” or the like, but I’m not planning on telling all our guests that I’m bi and we’re nonmonogamous. I don’t see any reason to do so, other than shocking (most of) the guests. And as much as I wouldn’t mind shocking a few of our more conservative relatives, it would also create a lot of unwanted fall-out with people that I care about, and who - whatever their own feelings on monogamy - would rather not know so much about my sex life.

Why is it important to you to come out about your fiance’s orientation and your open relationship? If you’re looking for expert advice on whether/how to come out as poly/nonmongamous, I know Dan Savage has addressed that issue in his column and/or podcast, and the podcast Poly Weekly has discussed it as well.

My ex did this. He came out to his family at 15, met his future wife at a gay bar and then had a kid then got married. They had two more children in the course of their 16 years together in their open marriage.

The way he explained it was for two reasons. He wanted to have kids. So that was his reasoning for it and he wanted to have a “normal” life. Her rationale was that she was morbidly obese and had some self-esteem issues and pretty much guessed that that was as good as life was going to get. After 15 years, she got gastric bypass surgery, lost a lot of weight and felt better about herself. She ended up leaving the marriage.

Anecdotal? Sure.