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Posted on Sat, Jan 7, 2012 : 5 a.m.

Husband pressuring pregnant wife into 'open marriage'

By Carolyn Hax

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Hello Carolyn:

What do you think about an open marriage? My husband is pressuring me to agree, since I'm seven months pregnant, and he's frustrated that I'm not fulfilling my "wifely" responsibilities. Granted, our sex life isn't as fulfilling to him as it was when we were trying to get pregnant, but he's really laying a guilt trip on me.

—Newport, RI

I think open marriages are a great idea when the two people in them both think they're a great idea.

I think the idea of them is offensive when one spouse is pregnant and under pressure to agree because the other spouse can't think of anyone but himself.

I hope you have your finances in order, because I have no reason to believe you aren't married to a taker of epic proportions, and that rarely ends well.

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Re: Newport:

Wait, when did we go back to the 1800s? I'm so glad to know we're back to a time and place where men can demand to have an affair just because the wife whom he got pregnant can no longer service his needs. This guy is a cretin and a manipulator. I now have to chant, "Most men aren't like this, most men aren't like this," before I go on a revenging crusade for all of womankind.


Make it a crusade for mankind, too, because by far most mans are kind and they suffer by stereotypical association with the "cretin and manipulator." Besides, it's not as if women never insist they be indulged at the cost of others' health, welfare and dignity.

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Hi Carolyn:

I started seeing someone about a month ago, but I feel like my image of him/us is getting ahead of reality. I need a mantra that would get my perspective back. Please help! I'm walking around with lovesick puppy-dog eyes and probably making people want to upchuck.

—Getting Ahead of Myself

Well, that's your right; I'm sure your nearest, dearest and colleagues have done the same to you plenty of times over the years.

For your own sake, though, you might want to impose sanity rules on yourself, as difficult as that will feel at times, and as silly as it will seem to impose arbitrary limits on seeing him.

In general, you want to invest energy in strengthening the non-guy part of your life. Specifically, that can mean you plan things to do that don't involve Him, at least once a weekend; or you start projects that have historically been absorbing/rewarding for you; or you call your friends and family to check in, on a schedule that reflects—or improves on—the attention you give them when you're single.

Not only will these keep you from acting like a lovesick puppy, but they'll also keep you from becoming one of those people who disappear when they're in a relationship.

None of these will change the way you feel; that's not realistic. What is realistic is to give the rational part of you a fighting chance, instead of letting the puppy completely off its leash.

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