Embracing Chaos Ch. 01byBigdenverman©
Married and exasperated.
"I don't know what went wrong," Gary said slowly.
"We're boring." Samantha replied firmly. "We're disconnected. We don't even seem like lovers. We're roommates. Nothing more."
Gary hesitated, aware that they were on the brink of divorce. He tried to choose his words carefully - perhaps too carefully, because Gary often let caution stand in the way of truth. He knew he was not a good conversationalist - words so often eluded him. Rather, he wanted to problem solve and take action, not analyze things to death. There was a solution to every problem, he felt, and he just wanted to find it and move on.
Gary never thought of himself as sexually boring, and certainly neither did Samantha. Both had substantial experience with sex before marriage. Both had several lovers. When Gary and Samantha first met, there was energy and passion and fire. They were unafraid to talk honestly and take risks. Somehow, through a series of seemingly arbitrary life challenges, they had lost it and were finally discussing divorce.
"Yeah," Gary answered weakly. "I don't understand it..."
"We fell into roles. Wife. Husband."
"We simplified ourselves."
"We forgot who we really are."
"Who are we?"
"We are raw and sexual. We always have been."
Gary nodded. For the first time in several weeks, he found himself getting hard. Both Gary and Samantha had done research into various alternate relationship lifestyles, open relationships in particular. Both were intrigued by the idea of preserving their relationship and making more opportunities available for each of them. On the surface, it smelled like then perfect compromise - marriage and freedom. The discussion itself was exciting.
"You're turning me on, baby."
"We love to tear down walls and let the animal in us run free. We can do better than this."
"I don't know. We just do. We find a way," Samantha said, wiping a tear.
"Yes. What have we got to lose?"
"I remember when we first met," Samantha recalled. "We had great sex."
Gary smiled. "I remember."
"I wanted to be the best lover you ever had."
"Yeah, same here," Gary recalled.
Samantha ran her fingers through her hair and bit her lip, as if working out a puzzle in her mind. "Maybe it's competition that drives passion. Once the competition is over, people stagnate."
"Maybe. All I knew was I wanted you. Bad."
"You were amazing."
"Maybe an open marriage might work for us."
Samantha sighed. "I like the idea, too, Gary, but it also scares me a little. It sounds like a lot of responsibility. I'm not sure you respect that side of it."
"What do you mean?" Gary asked impatiently.
"I think you see the freedom, but you don't see that it takes a lot of communication and negotiation...this could go so totally wrong..."
Gary remembered reading quite a bit of material regarding open marriages. He had to admit that he had been focusing on the sexual aspect and tended to skim the passages discussing communication and emotion. He felt slow when it came to emotional issues. He didn't see how sexual freedom could complicate their lives. It was just sex, after all.
"Most people break up when they reach this point," Samantha explained rationally. "If we try an open marriage, it'll be much harder, because we want to be a stable couple at the same time. I can't even begin to imagine all of the issues it might bring up."
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Over one month prior, Gary had left the home that he and Samantha had purchased many years previously. He moved in with a goofy and somwwhat nerdy friend, Kent. Kent opened his home to Gary graciously enough, though it was clear to them both that this was to be a temporary living arrangement. Gary and Samantha's separation was designed to clear their minds and allow each of them independent time away to consider the next step.
"It is not right that we are supposed to try to find something sexy that we don't find sexy," Gary had told his friend one night. "Married people are magically supposed to keep finding each other hot, but it just doesn't happen."
"Thank you, Mr. Uplifting Marriage Guy."
"It's true, though."
"Man, you're depressing me," Kent said almost mockingly. "Where's my Zoloft?"
"I don't know what to say. Everyone has this idea that we have to rekindle a spark, keep things interesting - well, that works for a while, but then it doesn't.. People need variety."
"People also need some stability."
"Can't we have both? A stable place and the freedom to meet new people?"
"I dunno. Jealousy rips people to shreds. It isn't human nature to stand back as their partner fucks other people. This is the kind of thing that leads to body bags."
"Some say we've been trained to feel that way. To see people as property. To feel happy only when our woman is exclusively ours. Maybe it's okay to not be jealous and just let go sometimes."
"It's all theory, though. Theories have a way of blowing up in your face. Remember the theory that having Fonzie jump over a shark would boost ratings? I'm sure, in some boardroom somewhere, they thought that was a great theory. Two years later, and - Boom!- it's Joanie Loves Chachi. What you need is a reality check, pal."
Gary laughed nervously, but slumped in his chair and considered. His friend was right. Eventually, theory would need to be put into practice. Somehow. Kent took a sip from his can of beer as a ceiling fan whirled above, spinning continually.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
"Open relationships can work well, but they need discussion and clear ground rules."
Both Samantha and Gary nodded. Gary was playing absently with a small toy that their therapist, Mrs. Savage, had displayed on a small coffee table in front of them. Samantha leaned forward, brushed back her long blonde hair and looked casually upward as questions presented themselves in her mind that words couldn't quite capture.
"What kind of ground rules?" Samantha asked by default, choosing to delay her own questions until she found the right language for them.
"Well, some couples are okay with developing full relationships with other people, others want their involvement with others limited to sex. Some couples want be present and switch partners for a night, and others are okay with their spouses making dates alone with others. There are soft exchanges, in which couples switch partners only for foreplay and kissing, then return to their regular partner for intercourse. Really, the options are limitless and are confined only by what meets the needs of each couple."
Gary perked up and joined the conversation at that point - partly because his curiosity had been piqued, and partly because he was genuinely aroused by the discussion, though he positioned himself in such a way that it wouldn't be obvious to anyone. He hoped.
"What is the most common way of doing this?" Gary asked awkwardly.
"Honestly?" the therapist began. "This will sound like a copout, but there isn't an answer to that. In my experience, when a couple decides to open their marriage, there are three distinct possibilities. Either they will break up, or they will end the open part of the relationship but stay together, or they will go through a period of time of adapting their relationship by altering the ground rules until they settle on something that works."
"What tends to work the best?" Gary prodded.
"Every couple needs to find the right balance," she said. "Actually, I'm concerned about both of you. Usually, we say that only strong relationships can sustain openness. You two don't seem like you have a particularly strong relationship right now. The chances of success are very low."
Samantha understood. The comment deflated Gary slightly - it was obvious that Gary was excited by the prospect of an open marriage and would have preferred to begin soon rather than engage in more long discussions. He felt that he needed a resolution, one way or the other.
"How does a couple handle the emotions involved?" Samantha finally asked vaguely, still not quite able to put her concerns into the right words. "I can imagine misunderstandings, jealousy, anger..."
The therapist sighed. "The greatest myth of an open marriage is that it is selfish. It is not. It is a gift that you give with open minds and open hearts, and you give it fully expecting your partner to enjoy it. Their joy becomes your joy."
As the session wound down - with many questions still lingering - the therapist had given them an important question to ponder: How will you react if and when your spouse finds someone who gives them great sex?
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Despite all of the lingering issues, sex filled the atmosphere around them and they made hard, passionate love for the first time in many months. Samantha prodded Gary with the therapist's question throughout, enjoying the prospect (fantasy?) of a satisfying sex life and a husband who was more attentive.
"Maybe my next lover will take me out, dance with me and take my body in ways you can only imagine," giggled Samantha. Gary peeled Samantha's clothes off and explored her body as if it were fresh and new. He imagined another lover who might do the same with her soon. The thought pushed him to new heights.
Gary didn't reply verbally. Yet, Samantha felt in his kisses and in his touch that he had internalized her ideas. His hands caressed her more firmly. His kisses were both tender and confident. His erection was unusually strong and his thrusts were deep. Samantha was surprised and wondered if this was a good omen. Maybe they could manage an open marriage after all. Maybe it would turn them on and be fun.
"Oh my God..." Samantha said as orgasms washed across her body. Gary didn't slow down. "Oh my God..."
Gary finally filled her, coming in deep, loud gasps. He felt a surge of confidence once again. He hoped that Samantha would see that he could, indeed, handle whatever challenges they might face. He wanted an open marriage and wanted to prove that he would still be a good husband. Everything about it turned him on. Samantha rolled over and covered her face, breathing deeply, trying to gather her thoughts.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
"Fourteen years," Melissa said with a slight smile. Phil hugged her tight and added, "Married for nineteen."
Melissa and Phil were an 'open' married couple that had been specifically requested, by the therapist, to talk to Samantha and Phil about their experiences.
"Do you know many couples that have made an open marriage work?" Samantha asked.
"Uh, no. Usually people get upset and they throw in the towel."
"How did you two handle it?" Samantha followed up.
"Love, honesty and acceptance," Melissa listed. Samantha winced a bit at the abstractness of the answer. She found it hard to bridge the gap between these platitudes and reality.
"We share everything and we enjoy everything as a couple," Phil began as if he'd explained this a thousand times before. "When Melissa has a date, I know she'll tell me everything and it becomes a shared experience for us as a couple. One good night for Melissa can become a month of great sex for us."
"Why have you succeeded and the others failed?
"Good question," Phil began. "I think we're just very naturally calm people. We don't get upset by much. We don't feel a need to control anything."
"What do people try to control?"
"Everything. People set ground rules, talk things out, come to understandings, but I think it all boils down to the fact that life is sloppy and imperfect and none of it is personal. For example, let's say a couple tries a threeway. Okay, fine, you bring in a third and then let's say the female of the couple has many orgasms along the way. The male of the couple might get upset because she never came like that with just him. Then, the male might decide that the sex was too good for her and create new rules to make sure she doesn't experience that again. It's all nonsense. He should be happy and proud but instead gets jealous. It's so common."
"What ground rules do you two have?" Gary interjected.
"Openness and honesty, veto power and safe sex always," Phil replied as if reading from a mental list. "During those first couple years, those ground rules were very important but after awhile you begin to develop a feel for what works and what doesn't."
"Okay, but, I'm afraid of hurting him," Samantha proceeded cautiously. "What if, for example, I am able to find more guys...and he has trouble finding girls?"
Phil laughed out loud, which startled Samantha and made Gary instantly curious.
"There is no doubt," Phil stated loudly, after taking a breath. "You can get many, many more partners than your husband will. That's just a reality."
"Doesn't that bother you?" Samantha asked Phil. "That your wife can get sex more often than you?"
"Naw. Her sexual experience is really our sexual experience. So long as we live a balanced life, it's all good."
"When I have a date," Melissa smiled. "All I have to do is tell him what happened and whether I enjoyed it and...well, uh, let's just say we have fun. A lot of fun."
"It's really that easy?" Gary pointed out, suddenly concerned that his wife might have a lot more fun than he will.
"It was an adjustment at first. It takes time. Like I said, we found a balance that works for us."
"How often do you see others?"
"Now days, maybe a couple times a month for her and a couple times a year for me. It all depends on finding decent people. No hurry and no pressure. Just if the opportunity is there."
Images of his wife screwing men left and right while he sat at home flipping channels on his remote control danced through his head. Samantha was a good-looking woman, no question about that. He was hit - finally - with a realization that maybe this might not be so easy.
"That's the tough part," Melissa said. "Learning that when either of us enjoys sex, it enhances both of our lives. It's all just words until you can internalize it, though."
Samantha bit her lower lip. Silence descended on the group for some time. She didn't know if her husband had the capability to view relationships in the same light as Phil and Melissa. Phil was emotionally strong, confident, seemingly able to handle uncomfortable situations with ease. In contrast, her husband seemed impulsive and emotional. Samantha felt she could enjoy such a lifestyle; she had enjoyed sex before, with a variety of men, in a friendly but meaningless way. Her doubts about her husband did not go away.
"I'm not sure this is right for us, honey," Samantha said softly.
"Why do you say that?" Gary was upset.
"I dunno..." Samantha said, stuttering. "I think...I'm afraid... you'll get mad. It might hurt you."
"Why, because you'll fuck a lot of guys?"
Samantha didn't reply. She stared downward, rubbing her hands together, unsure what to say next.
"I really want to try," Gary said. "I think I'll surprise you."
"You could always try once, just to see," Phil interjected. "We know some people and could arrange a date for Samantha. Someone with experience. Who won't play mind games. Then you could judge for yourself whether this is right for you."
"I could do that," Gary said. Samantha shrugged but nodded affirmatively.
"Only if he's hot," Samantha added as an afterthought. Everyone laughed.
"I'll introduce you and whatever happens after that...well, it's up to you."
- - - - - - - - - - - - -
"You, my friend, are a deer in the headlights," Kent told Gary. "First guy that Samantha screws, your head will fucking explode."
Gary was listening more intently to his friend this time. "Nah. I'll be fine."
"Listen," Kent said confidently. "It isn't human nature to share our wives like that. We're competitive. We don't want other men messing with our girls."
"But imagine the great sex we could have if we weren't that way."
"That's all porn and fantasies. Down here, in the real world, it won't work. Someone will end up being buried in a shallow grave somewhere."
"We're going to try it, though. It's inevitable. If it doesn't work, we'll break up. Nothing to lose."
"Jeez, why not just divorce? Nobody dies that way."
"No," Gary said coldly and without further explanation. "I love Samantha."
"Well, if you do this, I, of course, want to hear all of the gory details. Maybe some good stories will come of it. Maybe even some good video."
"Wednesday night what?"
"Samantha has a date Wednesday night. It's an experiment to see if we can handle this."
"I'll pop the popcorn."
"Who's the guy?"
"I guess his name is Crue," Gary shrugged. He had no explanation for the unusual name.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Two neighborhoods over, in the basement of a non-descript suburban house, a large plasma television displayed a baseball game while hard rock music blasted from two large stereo speakers standing in the corners. In the center of the basement was a powerhouse, a 6'4" muscle-bound machine pumping weights and dripping with sweat. On the wall, several military plaques hung honoring his time as a Navy Seal.
He wiped his face with a towel and answered the phone. It was an old flame, Melissa, the one with an open marriage - an arrangement he never understood. Several years ago, he and Melissa met and had sex on a number of occasions - occasions which left Melissa exhausted and wanting more. Ultimately, Melissa ended their sexual liaisons for reasons unknown to him. He didn't bother to think too deeply about it.
Melissa described Samantha to him - about 5'5", hourglass figure, blonde hair, smooth skin and cute smile. She explained how she and her husband were going to attempt an open relationship and wanted to be sure her first encounter was with someone experienced.
"She sounds fucking hot," Crue told Melissa. "I want her."
"You're such an animal," Melissa said. "I miss that."
"Anytime, baby. I'm ready."
"No, no. Would you meet Samantha? Maybe Wednesday night?"
"If you two hit it off, I think she's ready..."
"I'll meet her. Let me know where."
"Good. I'll be in touch. Thanks."
"No, thank YOU," Crue said emphatically. Melissa chuckled.
"Treat her well. She's a little shy."
"I'll treat her so well it'll wreck her marriage completely," Crue responded seriously.
"That might be more true than you know."
Crue hung up the phone and turned on the shower. He had enjoyed a few experiences with openly married women through his friendship with Melissa - all of them satisfying in their own way.
"It's all a lot of talk and theory and psycho-shit, sweetie," Crue announced to the empty room, as if he were sending a sub-conscious warning to Samantha. "Maybe we'll make it reality and we'll just see if you can handle having your world turned upside down."
Crue couldn't wait.