Caroline has been with the same man for 30 years. After years of reflection, discussion and other questioning, her couple decided to give each other some space and freedom, in a word: to open up.
“We’re an open couple,” whispers the dynamic fifties, recently met in a Starbucks on the South Shore. We guess that the decision is recent, and not necessarily consumed, and we guess right. But the reflection seems to have matured for a long time.
Our interlocutor, discreet, but voluble, wrote to us in response to the testimony of a certain Louis*, young sixty, very happy in his couple, but not exactly in his bed1.
“It pained me, damn it! He’s stuck! […] Because he lives, and we all live, in the straightjacket of the couple! »
It must be said that Caroline has only been in a relationship once (with her current spouse), and this, in her entire life. Indeed, after a “rather disappointing” first experience at 18, she went on a date, without ever really entering into a relationship. Before meeting her husband in her late twenties, she “never left [her] toothbrush anywhere!” “.
And no, these love affairs that follow one another do not really fill her. Each time, Caroline sees herself taking care of the other and putting her own pleasure aside. “In my head, I had to be good in bed to be liked,” she recalls with a grimace.
At the time, she also had an affair with a girlfriend, where there, yes, she finally got off. “It’s obvious, a woman with a woman, we know how it works,” she said knowingly. The adventure even stretches over more than a year, but no, Caroline does not question her orientation. “We were having fun. ” Final point.
All this to say that when she meets her current husband, late twenties, he is officially her very first lover. Detail: he is also her colleague, and already in a relationship to boot. “Me, my parents are separated, she confides here. In my head, you don’t break up a household. »
Except they’re “fused,” and what had to happen happens: he ends up becoming her lover. “Yes, it was exciting,” she confirms with sparkling eyes. There was the wait, we could never see each other, and on Monday morning I knew he was coming…”
The first times in the forbidden are “completely crazy”. “Every time was the last time!” And then, they complement each other well. “He complained about not having enough in his couple, and I just didn’t have any!” »
After a few months, Mr. ends up leaving his wife and, 30 years later, Caroline and him are still as accomplices.
And then ? “And then, the wear and tear of time, the habits, the life which becomes more intense than the sexual life, she sums up. The years piled up. »
She hears herself say to her husband, “I’m tired.” “But you know, when you’re a lover or a mistress, you’re never tired!” You never know if there will be a tomorrow! »
However, now that for 10 years, with age and menopause helping (“I had a drastic drop in hormones, it surely has an influence on my libido”), her spouse begins to imply a certain dissatisfaction, sexually speaking.
If it’s hard to hear? ” But yes ! I don’t feel adequate! Shit, he left the other woman because he didn’t have enough sex, and I’m the one who doesn’t give enough! “Caroline worries.
She doesn’t like the word, but it’s a fact: yes, so there were times when she “made the effort” to sleep with him. ” That works. It’s correct. But… not more than that,” drops the one who also never considered herself a great “orgasmic,” as she puts it. “Real big orgasms?” It happened to me maybe 15-20 times? I’m 55! »
By dint of not “feeling into it”, he even sometimes suggested that his spouse go elsewhere. “In my head, I don’t need it, but you go!” Mr. refuses, but the reflection remains nonetheless initiated.
No need ? That was until the day when, very recently, Caroline realized that she liked. A guy took an interest in her. Absolutely flirted with her. “Nothing happened, but it made me feel alive!” she said smiling. It woke up a sleepy end! My life as a woman! »
All sorts of ideas are suddenly swirling around in his head. Jumbled up, Caroline paraphrases Esther Perel (Erotic Intelligence), summarizes for us the importance of distance in intimacy and the dangers of too much closeness (“we are one, we know each other so well!”), realizes that she has undoubtedly left aside her femininity (no more short skirts and low necklines), in short, concludes that these light butterflies have completely revived her. “It blew over an ember!” It awakened that side: look at that, I still like it. […] It brought back an exciting side! »
Yet another conversation later and Caroline and her partner have dared to name things and even give themselves rules (for the moment: Thursday evenings are free, without accountability to each other), to live what they have to live, each on their own. “We’re an open couple,” she repeats.
“I know very well that these butterflies will not last 20 years, but me too, my sexual desire that I had put aside, it still exists! “Caroline realizes.
If nothing has happened yet on this side (neither hers nor, as far as she knows, that of the spouse), this new development in their couple gives her wings.
” It changes everything ! “, says the one who has also changed her passwords on her devices, in this new way of life, and her little “secret gardens”. And do you know what? Unexpectedly, “I pay more attention to him and more than ever, I feel like I choose him!” […] The fact that we are open, that I have the freedom to go elsewhere […], it gives me this impression: more than ever, I choose it “.
Caroline also wonders if opening up is not the next “standard” step in the social evolution of the long-term couple. If one day it won’t become some kind of “norm”. In the meantime, if she doesn’t want to put her most “precious” thing at risk at all, she insists, she simply wants this: “Just pleasure on both sides.” I hope it’s just going to be bliss…”