Book Review: The Game Changer by Franklin Veaux

the game changer by franklin veauxI had hoped to post a joint review here, as monogamous friend volunteered to read The Game Changer with me and share their thoughts and reactions. Unfortunately that didn’t work out so without further ado, here is my take on The Game Changer.

You that “watching a train wreck in slow motion” feeling? I lost count of how often I got that reading this book. As someone whose been (more or less) involved in poly for over a decade now, I’ve made most of the easy mistakes. Franklin would start a new section with something like “and we decided this, and had no idea how we were setting ourselves up for disaster.” And I would already be mentally tracing the lines of disaster, shaking my head and thinking “Yup, I remember being that (naive/foolish/culturally brainwashed/oblivious).”

This is why I wanted a monogamous (or at least inexperienced poly person’s) take on The Game Changer. it must be a completely different read for those of us who haven’t been around the block long enough to see those disasters coming a mile away.

I won’t go into the details of Franklin’s story here. I will say that the title is fitting. There is a Game Changer in the story, and after the change hits, the game is no longer recognizable as what it once was.

In spite of the almost complete lack of surprise in any of the major “plot twists,” I had trouble putting the book down. As usual, Franklin has an engaging writing style, a way of working humor, self awareness, and bulls-eye insight into his narrative that makes for an engrossing read.

It seems that we, as a culture, understand that if we leave kids to teach themselves math or history or literature, few people will end up being good at those things. So we have developed formal systems of education to teach people, to help them become productive members of society. But we don’t teach them communication, compassion, forgiveness, empathy, or many other skills we need to become fully formed human beings. We leave kids to figure that stuff out on their own. The results are about what we might expect if we left them, say, to deduce the laws of algebra by themselves. The difference is that most of us need interpersonal skills a lot more than we need algebra.

If Franklin’s writing suffers from any flaw, it is a tendency to take a US-centric view, which has occasionally been criticized in his advice on polyamory. However in a memoir, that kind of cultural focus is not just expected, it is required.

Perhaps the most important thing I took away from The Game Changer is a new perspective on the poly approach to honesty and communication:

Self awareness is a prerequisite for open and honest communication. We can’t tell others the truth of our feelings and needs if we refuse to face them and admit them to ourselves.

The Game Changer by Franklin Veaux will be available on September 23, 2015, from Thorntree Press.

19 responses to “Book Review: The Game Changer by Franklin Veaux

  1. >If Franklin’s writing suffers from any flaw, it is a tendency to take a US-centric view, which has occasionally been criticized in his advice on polyamory.

    Do you mean other people criticized this focus? Could you say more about that, i am curious what was the critique like (being from outside the US, too)

    • Basically, a few people outside the US have said that for cultural or practical reasons, some of Franklin’s approach to polyamory doesn’t work for them or their communities. The specifics have varied from person to person depending on their culture and experience.

      One specific point I can speak on is Franklin’s focus on putting the individual first. Some cultures are extremely communal and find the US fetish for individualism uncomfortable. For poly-folk from these cultures, the way Franklin’s advice places the individual as more important than the group/family/community won’t fit very well with their culture and way of life. As someone who grew up in a more-communal-than-usual-for-the-US family, I find it uncomfortable sometimes. So I can’t imagine how it comes across to folks from, for instance, parts of Africa where the community is focal to the point that mental health therapy ALWAYS involves [involved–my info is 20+ years out of date] the entire family, and the idea of the individual therapy practiced in the US is seen as foolish at best–how can you treat someone’s mental health without including the family? They are part of that mental health! (My info on this comes from a psych teacher who spent time many parts of the world teaching Western-style psychiatry and learning about local approaches. Awesome guy, huge impact on my own growth and my world view. He did not specify in which parts of Africa he observed this.)

  2. Ah, thanks. That is true, individualism is striking in what Veaux writes, if not essential and fundamental in his aproach to poly. I mean, have he ever written something about closed polyfidelity? 😉

    I did not find it offputting, personally, even though i am supposedly from more collectivist country (but am i myself or my social bubble?).

    Very interesting, in any case. Can you share any other specific cultural critiques?

  3. The other specific critiques re US-centrism I recall at the moment were shared on private groups and list-servs, so I’m not comfortable discussing them publicly.

    I can say that one other factor aside from cultural stuff is the time polyamory communities have had to develop. Places where the community as a whole is back where the US poly community was in the 80s and early 90s, though with the advantage of the internet, seem to take many of the same approaches that were common to poly in the US during that time (approaches that Franklin discusses in The Game Changer). Advice written for polyamorous people with a community and support system that has 30+ years of trial and error and finding what works just may not work as well for people in areas where the very idea of polyamory is completely new and radical (even if “polyamory” is still little known in the US, open relationships have been widely known and talked about for over a decade).

    And maybe the way those communities practice polyamory will follow a similar pattern to the US in the future–or maybe polyamory in other countries will develop in a much different direction. Resources for non-English speaking poly-folks seem to be few and far between (much like the US 15 years ago). As people in those communities create their own resources, in their own languages, we may see polyamory taking very different forms in different parts of the world. And maybe that would be a good thing.

  4. That is certainly interesting! I live in Poland, and polyamory is quite new here (say, it is about as known as it was in the US app. 12 years ago). It is certainly true that polyamory resources in Polish language are extremely limited compared to what is available for anglophone world. Actually, it is certainly much smaller than it was 12 years ago, because of the scale factor, simply not enough people.

    This is strange. I have not noticed much of a change in past 10 years when it comes to polyamory idea. Sure, there were refinements… see, for example, when i first read Veaux site in 2005, and when i read it now, there is almost no change. Sure, there are some more stuff, but for me, it directly comes from what was already there back then. It is also somewhat true for other people. Sure, Hardy&Easton wrote a less stuff, and Anapol wrote more, but these were older times, and what i read on the net was building on ESlut, and shedding the spiritual parts of Anapol anyway.

    In a way, the same thing happened here. We had some people who were into the stuff Anapol were, but i never seen a polyamorist who became spiritual because of polyamory.

    So, even though the idea certainly was – and still is – radical here, it does not seem to be in any way different from what people in the US went – and still go, if we talk about people being new to poly – through, with troubles grasping the exclusivity equals love at first, etc.

    Uh, what i mean, even if the advice and poly theory was refined prior to 2005 (and i dont think it was after), nowadays it is as readily applicable to US as it is to Poland.
    (Not surprisingly, given that it was miniscule social group back then in the US.)

    I am very curious how does the poly stuff develops in other places… too bad for the language barrier.

    By the way, what do you mean by good thing? I guess you have something particular on your mind, given the way you said it could be a good thing?

  5. A few people in other countries have described their communities and situation to me, and some are where you describe Poland as being, others are definitely describing something that sounds like the US in the 80s and 90s. Not sure what causes the difference, but it’s there.

    As far as why I think polyamory developing in different directions might be a good thing? I have a constitutional objection to “one size fits all.” There is no one right culture, there is no one right ethical framework, and there is no one right polyamory. Having different cultures and different communities develop their own approach to polyamory can, in my opinion, only make the world wide polyamory community richer and more inclusive.

  6. Ah, i see where you are coming from. And the difference… perhaps they were in a situation similar to the US before that? By which i mean, having some strong if niche traditions of nonmonogamy.

    Anyway, thanks for your replies!

  7. I’m monogamous, married 21 years, and dealing with my husband’s sudden desire for polyamory. I trying to understand what’s happening, I’ve read just about everything I can get my hands on, both blogs and books. Sadly, everything is written by poly people for poly people and are very polycentric. Some authors actually come out against mono-poly pairings, Veaux included.
    What I and several other mono spouses in my support group got from this is the dangers of speaking up. Being the “problem child” in a poly situation gets you divorced. Most of us have fairly well-established marriages with kids and mortgages and very entwined lives with our spouses, and we’re struggling. None of us feel safe in our relationships anymore and most of us are preparing for the ax to fall by getting finances and housing set up if we’re suddenly dumped for a game changer. All of us are in counseling trying to cope, figure out why and how this happened.
    I’d advise monogamous spouses who are just facing this to NOT read Franklin Veaux’s books.

    • I can’t say I’ve found Franklin to be anti-mono/poly, but he does have very strong feelings on some types of poly relationships and on the supremacy of the individual. I can certainly see why his approach to polyamory would be scary for a monogamous person trying to come to terms with their spouse suddenly coming out as polyamorous.

      I usually recommend monogamous people trying to make mono/poly relationships work start with Ms Mono/Poly ( Ms. Mono/Poly is a monogamous woman writing about her experiences in a mono/poly relationship. While I believe she has recently closed her blog, her archives chronicle her experiences and link to several other mono/poly resources.

      I do have to say that in my experience, no one feels safe in a mono/poly relationship initially. The fear you have of a divorce and end of your 21 years together is likely fully shared by your spouse. Many married poly-folk spend years working up to courage to tell their partner they are poly, and many never speak up because they fear their spouse will leave them.

      Also, in my experience there is a huge difference between speaking up about your concerns and being a “problem child.” When I first realized I was polyamorous, I was perfectly willing to remain in a monogamous relationship with my fiance. I had made a commitment to him and I intended to honor it. But he told me he was fine with polyamory, pretended to support me, and then had on-again off-again jealous fits. Three years late, when he finally admitted that he had never wanted to open our relationship–he only said he did because he believed I would have left him for someone else. His lies did far more damage to our relationship than simply being honest would have.

      If your fear of polyamory and fear of losing your marriage leads you to trying to control your spouse and their behavior, yes that is being a problem child. It is, in my opinion, just as unhealthy as the monogamous couple I roomed with for a while where the wife had final say of her husband’s hair cut and the husband told his wife that she wasn’t allowed to exercise b/c he didn’t want her losing weight. Any relationship where one partner is trying to control the other is at best extremely unhealthy and usually abusive. That was the real problem in Franklin’s marriage in the Game Changer, not that his wife was monogamous, but that she used monogamy as a tool to control and coerce Franklin, rather than being willing to trust him to stay with her because he wanted to.

      That’s very different from expressing your fears and concerns and asking your spouse to help you deal with them.

      I don’t know if this helps, but I recently came across the idea of love as a pendulum vs love as a fountain. For some people, love is a pendulum—by moving closer to one person, they move away from everyone else. For these people polyamory is often literally incomprehensible, because y were to fall in love with someone new, they would always move away from the person the had been in love with. For other people, love is a fountain. No matter how much love they give to one person, they always have more to give because the fountain never stops flowing, and there is room for many people to share in it. If you approach love as a pendulum and your spouse approaches love as a fountain, you will have a lot of miscommunication and misunderstanding, because when you talk about love you are literally talking about two different things.

      Thank you for calling my attention tot he lack of good resources for mono/poly relationships. I can’t take on a new blog topic right now, but I will be including a post on mono/poly in my blog series on abuse in poly relationships, and I will try to address mono/poly relationships in future blog series.

      • Thank you for replying. I think the difference in the fears monogamous spouses and poly spouses have is we see that our loves will be with/have other loves who will influence them, and if we leave, they’ll have someone to fall back on; while we feel entirely alone, kind of an us against them situation. The Game Changer illustrated how it becomes a very strong competition between the new person who’s “everything they ever wanted” and the old person who feels they’re losing everything they ever wanted. We’ve built our lives with this person and suddenly, someone else has as much or more power than we do. We were discussing it, and someone said it feels like settling for crumbs from the cake we baked while watching our spouse’s give it to their new loves.
        I’ve already told my husband I’ll never veto or ask him to leave someone. If I can’t handle it, I’m the odd one out and I’ll leave. I don’t have any say on who he dates, where they go or what they do together. No control whatsoever.

        • “if we leave, they’ll have someone to fall back on”

          Wow. If that is the impression you have been getting, either from your spouse or poly resources, I am so sorry. No. Doesn’t work that way. You are a unique person, and your relationship with your spouse is unique and special and something you have spent decades building together. If your spouse loses you, they are losing YOU, the wonderful amazing person that has been a part of their life for years, the history you have together, the relationship you have built. No one can replace that. No one can be a fall back for that. I am STILL mourning relationships that ended over 5 years ago, because when my partners left me, I lost everything we had together and it was devastating.

          Ironically, one of my partners thought the way you do–the one who satyed with me. He was upset and angry because “why are you upset, why are you sad all the time, you still have me!”

          Doesn’t work that way. Unless your spouse is an absolute ass (in which case you may be better off with out them), you don’t shrug and say “well I have a fall back relationship.” You, and the relationship you have built with your husband, CANNOT be replaced. Cannot be substituted for.

          “it feels like settling for crumbs from the cake we baked while watching our spouse’s give it to their new loves.”

          That is definitely something you need to talk with your spouse about. While you can’t control your spouse and their other relationships, if you feel like all you are getting is the crumbs, that’s a problem. You spouse isn’t giving their other partners the cake you baked, you spouse is trying to bake a different cake with them. Maybe you and your spouse baked a chocolate cake, and they and their new partner are baking a carrot cake. That chocolate cake should still be yours. Its true that another relationship takes time away from your relationship–but that would be true if your spouse decided to go back to college, or take up golf, or join the local Lions chapter. Your spouse having a new relationship should NOT be taking anything from YOUR relationship. If it is, then your spouse is neglecting you and your needs, and that needs to be addressed.

          you have no control over your spouses relationship with someone else, but you damn well should have some control and say in your relationship together. No, you can’t control who he dates or what he does with his other partners, but you damn well should be able to say “I need time with you, I need us to be able to do X together, I need you to give some attention to our relationship.”

          • I hear what you’re saying, and logically it makes sense, but fears are rarely logical. Most of us are pendulum people. I’m so pendulum, I have to be away from the other person and completely over them before my heart can even think about someone else. And I know the whole poly “you love more than one child” thing, but that doesn’t work for me. That’s like comparing apples and anvils. Same with multiple friends. I don’t have the depth and intensity and level of commitment with my friends that I have with my husband, and I can’t imagine feeling that for more than one person at a time. That’s not saying I don’t believe it doesn’t happen, I just don’t understand it personally. So everything from here on is entirely built on faith, rather than mutual understanding.
            Some of the things I’m mourning the loss of, he doesn’t get, but he’s trying to be supportive. He’s never been impatient or angry with my fears and insecurities. I’m mourning the loss of being his special love, the loss of being the only one who’ll know his kisses and lovemaking, the loss of being the Queen. That last one is a very monogamous thing, but still. I’ve been his Queen for 21 years, it’s something I hate to give up. I really, really hate the thought of him in someone else’s arms and bed, but I know if he’s going to have other relationships it’s going to happen, so I’ll have to find a way to deal with it.
            Thanks for talking to me, I feel a little better, a little less alienated than with the Veaux doctrine of poly.

          • I’m glad I was able to help a little. You are always welcome to comment here or contact me privately if you’d like to talk more.

            I totally get you on irrational fears — I have an anxiety disorder, irrational fears are my life 😉 Sometimes it helps to remind myself of the tangible evidence that shows my fears are wrong. Sometimes it doesn’t…

            I also get you on not understanding–though my lack of understanding goes in the other direct. The idea of not loving my children with the same intensity and depth and commitment as my partner is mind-boggling. The idea that I could love one person to such an extent that nothing can compare is both mind-boggling and scary. The way pendulum folks talk about their love sounds like a consuming obsession and loss of self that I can’t wrap my mind around.
            I know a few pendulum folks have found the rabbit starvation analogy a little more understandably than the child analogy, but I don’t know if it actually helps.

            I think you are right that the faith and trust you and your spouse have in each other needs to be the center. I hope you will be able to hold on to that faith and find a place of acceptance and happiness in your relationship as it continues to evole.

          • I think it’s more the nuances that trip monogamous people up with the child analogy. Of course you love your kids with a deep intensity and devotion, but the nuances of the relationship between a parent and child compared to two lovers makes the difference in our heads. With kids, your relationship is caregiver, nurturer, disciplinarian, guide, educator, advocate. You want to be involved, but not too involved, and as they grow older, your role in their lives by necessity changes and shrinks. A parent who’s as involved in an adult child’s life as when they were young is unhealthy. Success for a parent/child relationship is eventual separation.
            In a lover relationship, the involvement and intensity is way different, especially because of the sexual aspect of the relationship. You’re not grooming each other to become independent and leave you. Just a few of the sticking points for that analogy for monogamous people.

          • Definitely something being lost in the nuances. I may not be grooming my partners to be independent from me, but I damn well want them to be independent and able ot survive wtihout my involvement. Even if we do stay together “until death do us part” one day we WILL be parted. Well, unless we bot die in the same car crash or something. Sooner or later that separation happens in every relationship. So I don’t see that as being a huge difference. My love for my kids is different from my love for my partners–but my love for each of my partners is different, just like I don’t love all my kids in exactly the same way. Every relationship has different components. In every relationship I want to be involved, but not to involved (co-dependency=bad). What “too involved” is varies from relationship to relationship, but the idea of walking that balance, being prepared for separation sooner or later, etc, none of it is a fundamental difference to me. Sooner or later I will lose everyone in my life, and they will lose me. That relationships evolve, change, and end doesn’t change the intensity of my feeling or my commitment.

            As far as the sex thing… I find it kind of ironic given how often polyamorous folk are accused of being all about the sex. Sex is just not a defining part of any relationships for me. No more than going on hikes together or sharing a love of gaming. And that’s not just a poly thing, I’ve know monogamous spouses who hadn’t had sex in over a decade. Their relationship grew and changed and sex just wasn’t part of it anymore–but they were still as loving and devoted to each other as they had been when they first married. And what about folks who, for various medical reasons don’t or can’t have sex? Is their marriage suddenly less meaningful, less involved, less intense, because of that?

            Don’t get me wrong–sex, done right, is absolutely awesome–but if the defining difference in a relationship with your spouse is that it includes sex, then IMO we have a far wider divergence in view point than just mono/poly.

          • There are several issues with sex. I’m of a generation where sex was something special that you shared only with the one you loved. Anything else was frivolous to slutty. I know, big no-no there being all sex negative. But I’m NOT sex negative, just casual sex negative. It’s not a physical bodily function like burping or farting. It’s body, mind, heart and soul. It goes much deeper than just “bumping uglies”. When it’s reduced to something so crass, it loses its magic. As a monogamous person, I only share my body with the one person I love deeper and more intensely than any other. Him going out and doing that with a bunch of other women makes it feel less special, less connecting. That’s the psychological/emotional block. I’m afraid I’m not going to be able to enjoy the same deep connection with him knowing he’s just come from another woman.
            Physically, I’m a bit of a germaphobe. With sexual exclusivity for 21 years, I haven’t had to worry about that. Now I do, and it’s freaking me out quite a bit. Again, I don’t have control over who he chooses to have sex with and what they do together. I’m completely powerless in that respect and it’s scary.
            As for asexual marriages, that’s usually a mutual “we aren’t interested in sex with each other”, not a “I want to have sex with other people” situation. I could deal with celibacy if my husband was physically unable to perform, it’s a way different prospect knowing he wants to be intimate with other women. Kind of a “I’m not enough, sexy enough, desirable enough, hot enough” thing. I’ve got several deep, long-term friendships with men, but they’re all purely platonic. One is my sports buddy because my husband hates sports. One is my shooting buddy, and one is my theater buddy. They are all wonderful men, I just don’t see the need to have sex with them. This is another thing I don’t get. If sex isn’t that important in your relationships, why do you have to have sex with them?

          • I’d say the casual sex thing is cultural rather than generational. I’ve known folks younger than me who felt the way you do, and others my grandparents age who are perfectly comfortable with casual sex. For me sex isn’t casual, but it also isn’t exclusive.

            “This is another thing I don’t get. If sex isn’t that important in your relationships, why do you have to have sex with them?”

            More nuances here.

            I said sex isn’t a defining part of what makes a relationship for me. That doesn’t mean it isn’t important. It just means that how important sex is (or if it is important at all) varies between relationships, and I don’t consider a relationship where sex is important more meaningful than one where sex isn’t important.

            Let’s say someone viewed theater the way you view sex. THey might say, you don’t share theater with your shooting buddy, so it clearly isn’t an important part of your relationships. So why do you have to share theater stuff with your theater buddy? THe answer would probably be, removing theater from your relationship with your theater buddy would really damage that relationship. Theater isn’t a big part of your relationship with your shooting but, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be an important part of your relationship with your theater buddy.

            Very much get you on asexual marriages being mutual (usually, I’ve known some that weren’t but that spouses managed to work through it). The lack of mutuality is what makes mono/poly relationships that started as monogamous so difficult and often so heartbreaking. And I think it is that lack of mutuality that is the real problem. Not necessarily the sex or the having other relationships (though obviously those are problems), but that this isn’t something you sat down and agreed to try together. It’s something you were told your partner needs and your choice is to adapt or refuse to adapt. Your needs and your spouses needs are in direct conflict, and how do you navigate that?

            We can discuss differing views on sex and relationships for ages, we can work on finding ways to understand each others views and needs for the next 100 years. But no matter how much understanding or empathy or communication there is, that fundamental conflict of needs will still be there. I wish there was something I could say or do or suggest that would magically fix this conflict. All I can do is be here as someone to talk with as you try to navigate that conflict.

          • I really appreciate you talking with me and not getting bent out of shape by my beliefs and questions. I haven’t normally been treated well by poly people on blogs or boards. A lot of “grow up”, “you don’t own your husband’s penis”, “own your own shit” (still don’t understand that unless it means deal with your own problems yourself and don’t dump them on your spouse), and various other. Not so much a discussion of why, or even a suggestion of how to deal with it, just “deal with it.”

            Okay I get why theater wouldn’t be important to a shooting buddy, but say you have 3 theater buddies and the all love going with you, but you can only take one at a time. Don’t you get sick of going to the theater? What if you start to prefer taking one over the others? How do you get over the experience you just had in order to focus your feelings and desire on someone else (notice how I just dropped theater?) We’ve been having sex for 23 years. Exclusively. There’s not much more I can offer him that will be as exciting and intoxicating as a new woman. If he decides he doesn’t want me sexually anymore, or just isn’t turned on by me (I hear it happened to the other author of More Than Two and her husband), I’m kind of stuck. I’m monogamous. I just don’t want sex with anyone else. It would be more damaging for me to do that, than to accept celibacy. I wanted ONE thing that made me special to him, one area that we claimed for just the two of us.

            Sorry, I’ve not had an outlet or someone to ask questions. If I’m going overboard, let me know.

          • I’m sorry you’ve had such a bad experience on poly forums and such. Sadly, I’m not surprised. A lot of poly folks have become so defensive of their right to be poly that they attack anyone who has a problem with polyamory. Which doesn’t help anyone.

            “Own your shit” can mean one of two things depending on who says it. For some people it means, as you thought, that you need to deal with your own problems and stop bothering other people with them. For others it means you need to take responsibility for your problems. For instance, someone with mental illness says hurtful things while having a manic episode–it’s okay to tell people “I’m not always in control of what I say, please be understanding. Doing XYZ can really help when I’m in a bad place.” If they say something like, “It’s not my fault I’m mentally ill, you should know better than to be offended and just put up with me no matter what I say,” I might tell them to own their shit–being mentally ill doesn’t absolve them of the responsibility to not treat people around them like shit.

            Continuing the theater analogy–there are different kinds of theater. I can go to the movies or a musical with my live-in partner, but if I want to catch an opera I need to call up a friend. My partner might go with my to Shakespeare, but he doesn’t really enjoy it, so sometimes its better if I go with my sister (who loves Shakespeare too) and let my partner do his own thing. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t have enough time, money, or energy to go to enough theater to get sick of it. (Have you seen the poly jokes about spending more time figuring out schedules than having sex? Yeah…)

            Now, I prefer to catch Shakespeare with my sister than my partner, but that isn’t because I prefer my sister to my partner, it’s because my partner doesn’t really enjoy Shakespeare, and my sister does. Different experiences with different people.

            About a month ago, I read a post from a polyamorous woman who had sort of the opposite concern you do. She had three relationships, her husband, her Dom and her boyfriend. With her Dom and her boyfriend she was having lots of new and exciting kinds of sex. She was afraid that her husband would feel like she wasn’t satisfied with them because they were still having their old “boring, vanilla” sex. The truth was, while she was glad to get the exciting new stuff with her other partners, she loved the “boring, vanilla” sex with her husband. She didn’t put up with sex with him and wish it was more exciting, she reveled in their time together, the same sex they’d been having for their entire marriage. She wouldn’t have known what to do if their sex together changed, because that “boring, vanilla” was exactly what she needed and wanted from him, and part of what made their relationship special.

            Not everyone will have the same experiences, but just like sometimes you want to order out for pizza, other times nothing hits the spot like homemade chicken soup. Just because the sex you have with your husband isn’t new and exciting, doesn’t mean it can’t be special and wonderful.

            I can’t promise that your husband won’t at some point decide he doesn’t want sex with you any more, anything is possible. But most couples I’ve known who opened the marriage say that they end up having more sex together, rather than less. As far as Eve Rickett and her husband, yes my understanding is that they did eventually stop having sex together. But that was after being open for years and was a mutual decision, not one suddenly deciding they didn’t want sex w/ the other.

            You might consider talking with your husband about setting up some relationship space ( Like deciding to be celibate, relationship space really needs to be a mutual decision, but it can also give your relationship a “safe space” where other things (and other relationships) don’t intrude.

            You are definitely not going overboard, and have no need to apologize.

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