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Sign of the Times 

I am a 43-year-old mother of three, married for almost 20 years. Three years and one child in, my husband confessed that he had a penchant for being a BDSM sub. My reaction was, "OK, I'll try it, but if you want to explore that with pro doms, be my guest." Which he did.

Fast-forward a dozen years. I'm going bonkers because my husband is impotent. So he gives me his "blessing" to take a lover. I didn't even have to ask! I just needed to be miserable and depressed for a dozen years!

Now I have two lovers. One lives far away, and I see him a few times a year; the other is local. The problem is that they are both married to spouses who don't know. Like me, neither of my lovers is interested in divorce. That's the good news. The bad news is that I'm not happy with the integrity of these situations. I know that what I am doing is considered despicable by many people, despite the fact that I'm probably a marriage-saving device for both of these women. (Their husbands are happier, I'm not trying to steal their husbands, and I'm not a financial burden on either of them.) I would love to find someone in an honest open relationship, but this has so far eluded me. So I guess my question is: How do I set up a situation with more integrity when the world isn't really ready for people like me?

Normal Soccer Mom From Afar

The answer NSMFA seeks is obvious — there are hard-up single men out there, married men in honest open relationships, men in the organized swinging movement, and she should go fuck some of them — but I'm including NSMFA's problem in the column for all the smug monogamists sending me angry letters in the wake of Mark Oppenheimer's recent feature about monogamy and its discontents in the New York Times Magazine ("Married, with Infidelities," June 30, 2011). While regular readers of Savage Love know where I stand on monogamy — with the realists, monogamous or not — not many readers of the New York Times knew where I stood.

Anyway, smugsters, here's what I think is interesting about NSMFA's letter: Everyone involved is perceived to be in a monogamous relationship, by their friends, family members, neighbors, bosses, coworkers, elected representatives, etc.; two of the women involved — the duped wives of the men that NSMFA is seeing on the side — may actually believe themselves to be in monogamous relationships. But not one of these three couples — not one of these six "traditionally married" straight people — is actually in a monogamous relationship.

Just something to keep in mind, monogamists, before you hit "send" on your e-mail to me about your beautiful, deep and meaningful monogamous relationship, about how your parents never cheated on each other, about how none of your married friends would ever cheat on their spouses, and about how people like me have no idea what real love means because we're not in monogamous relationships, etc., etc., etc.

Because you just never know, do you?

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