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People say opening your romantic relationships up to include other people is a one way ticket to disaster. For one married woman, it was a way back to finding first love.

We screamed over bowls of cornflakes in the morning about nothing. It was no way to live. Ten years of marriage, work together, parent together, everything together. Too much together. So one morning over oatmeal, we decided to see other people, but stay together for the sake of two children — ages two and four — for the sake of a decade of history and just to say, well, I do love you, have loved you for so long I don’t know anything else.

Our decision to open our marriage was one of desperation. I know it’s not the traditional way. “Stick with your marriage and work on it,” they say, but I suspect this advice comes more from fear of rejection and pain than sound judgment. Believe me when I say it wasn’t our first choice either. We read the books, talked to therapists, learned new ways to communicate, tried to forgive and forget, but our togetherness was killing us. So we took a leap and when I left our Brooklyn apartment early one Monday morning for a two week business trip to San Francisco, we parted with only one rule: Be respectful of us.

I never expected to meet someone.

Mission District, San Francisco. Photo by areta

It Happens As Unexpected

Like when a long time colleague offers to show you around his city. He remembered my penchant for book stores and art from an e-mail I wrote last year. By the time we reached the Mission, we walked together in silence, as if to say, no, we’re not really holding hands. That’s when he turned to me and awkwardly banged his mouth into my eye.

Was he worried I’d say no and pull away from his kiss?
I was worried too.

Then it came naturally.

Three drinks later, we danced and kissed. I bit at his beard and pulled away, loving the smile and how much he loved it, finally stumbling home to his room as it became light out again. We slept most of the day, waking, getting warm from the sun pouring in the window, removing more layers from the night before until by the time the sun high-nooned we lay naked in bed together. Feeling overheated, I crawled across the bed to grab a half drunk bottle of fierce berry blue gatorade on the night stand and for a moment self consciously wondered if he was watching me, did he like what he saw. I am, after all, the mother of two who hasn’t seen naked mornings with another man in a long time.

Photo by flawedartist

I lay back down, drank again and felt the sweet stickiness dribble down my chin to neck and onto the bed.

Last night together: He watched me pack my things into a suitcase. I felt his large, rough hand on my waist as he guided me to DNA lounge to introduce me to his favorite DJ where we danced again all night until it was time for me to fly home.


I didn’t see it coming. Suddenly, his head banged against mine, and then it was over. The in-between details fuzz over in the light of day-to-day life.

Did you brush my hair from my face with your hand? Do you know what it meant for me to be naked beside you? The first time I’d been like that with anyone else in as long as I can remember. You are the first after the first.

What I remember is sweetness. Sweet gatorade, quenching real thirst on a hot sunny day in Alameda. I remember nakedness and sleep and kissing. There was never meant to be a future. There already was no past. Just a now where we both let go of everything outside — broken relationships, fights over bowls of cereal, fears of intimacy, not being good enough, not being happy or strong or sexy enough. We let them go for now.

Were we to sit across a table, perhaps, having a drink at some bar in Alameda again, would our fingers twine together, a little bit awkward but perfectly suited? Would I tell him that he reminded me what it was like when my husband and I first met? That without him, I would not have fallen back in love and put aside years of anger and feeling hated. Could I let him know without him I wouldn’t have been able to return home and say yes, again, to my life with my family, as I was able to say yes to him for twenty four hours in San Francisco.

Or would we smile across our coffees, discussing details as if nothing else ever existed between us while my husband, two small children and three thousand miles of distance wait outside.

Community Connection

If you’re new to our Love in the Time of Matador series, check out some other great stories of love, heartbreak and healing.

You may have also noticed this is the first anonymous article published on Matador. Normally, we expect our writers to stand behind their words, but Love In the Time of Matador is a slightly different case. In order to allow people to fully express themselves without fear of exposing their sex and personal lives, this series alone allows for pseudonyms. Have a story you want to tell? Let us know.



About The Author

Fifi Lefleur

Fifi hides behind this ridiculous pen name so she can be free to write what pleases her. Erotica, lyrotica, BDSM, open relationships and hard core sex are all fodder for her stories and personal narratives. Then she goes back to her real life where she pretends she's upstanding, normal, not at all a freak.

  • Tim Patterson

    I’m glad to see this published, even though it required a pseudonym. Lovely writing from the first sentence straight on through.

    • Fifi

      Having a pseudonym is surprisingly liberating. I can say whatever I want, and at a certain point, the pseudonym takes on a life of her own.

      Try it sometime! :)

  • David Miller

    really enjoyed this story.

  • Michelle Schusterman

    Wonderful story.

  • Richard

    I absolutely loved this. Thanks fifi, whoever you are :)

  • Coleen

    Beautiful and very encouraging. I am happy to hear from someone who has a different perspective from the typical one on marriage and monogamy.

    • Fifi

      I do tend to see marriage very differently. The idea that we can share lunch with another person but not other more intimate relationships is highly outmoded. But it does take a tremendous level of communication and self possession.

      That’s not to say I have it all figured out. There was some post fall out after this event, but my husband and I are working through it. I think we’re stronger for it.

      And fwiw, he has read this story and knows exactly who wrote it. The honesty is difficult, but no where near as destructive as lies would be.

      Thanks for reading and for your comment.

      • Paul

        I really enjoyed your story. It was open and honest and beautifully written. It heart-warming to hear people can find a solution to their problems when all avenues appear to have been exhausted. However, if I understand you correctly, I have trouble agreeing with you when you made the following comment:
        “I do tend to see marriage very differently. The idea that we can share lunch with another person but not other more intimate relationships is highly outmoded”.

        People have different ideas about what level of monogamy they need in a marriage and even what ‘monogamy’ means. Many marriages are destroyed by a “more intimate relationship” taking place outside of the family. For those people, their relationships and ideas about exclusivity are in no way outmoded, but totally up to date.

        I have absolutely no moral objection to any of the activities in your piece, but I think you are incorrect in calling marriages with less room for intimacy with other people “outmoded”.

        Thanks again for sharing your story. I look forward to reading more.

        • Fifi

          Hey Paul,

          Thanks for your comment. I completely agree with you in that every couple needs to figure out the boundaries that work for that particular relationship. Certainly I’m not saying everyone needs to make the choices my husband and I made.

          What I believe to be outmoded is the view that there MUST be sexual exclusivity and that intimate relationships with others are not possible once married.

          See what I’m saying?

          • Paul

            I see what you are saying entirely now and agree wholeheartedly. If a couple have complete honesty and trust, and both parties are totally clear in what the situation is and happy with the arrangement, I think extra-marital sexual relationships, are perfectly manageable.

            I’m be interested to know what percentage of people feel such a situation would be acceptable or manageable for them. [Does anybody know of any studies that have been done?] Also, I wonder what is the extent of the difference of opinion, which I think must exist, between men and women on this issue (I’m guessing more men are open to this).

  • Fifi

    Thank you for your comments. This was a particularly difficult story to write. Probably because it’s all rather fresh.

    And thanks Matador for giving me a place to publish and an audience to read.

  • Laura Townshend

    I admire your courage — it’s a beautiful read.

  • James

    How does your husband feel about this?

    If it’s so liberating, why the dishonesty and fear of being found out?

    • Fifi


      This isn’t something I would have done had I not had the go ahead from my husband. He, too, has the ok from me. It is a mutual thing that allows for respect, freedom and trust on both sides.

      You place the negatives of fear and dishonesty on my actions and motives. I do not. There is no dishonesty here. I have been clear about my choices and why I made them. I have also been straightforward in telling you that I have decided to hide my exact identity.

      Why do I hide my identity? It’s not fear. It’s protection. I have children. They are not in any position to understand our adult choices. Why would I force it?

      I also find it ironic that you post with no links, e-mail or photo while calling me a coward and liar. Who are you trying to protect?

  • Fifi


    Apparently I can’t reply directly to your post on the thread.

    I don’t know of any studies that talk about what percentage of people believe an open marriage to be doable. I have tried to research polyamory statistics and haven’t found much at all. Mainly, the only statistics cited in relation to polyamory are current divorce rates of monogamous couples with infidelity as one of the top causes.

    At it’s best, though, I do believe polyamory can be a chance for people to be honest with themselves and others to entirely trust and be trusted. It’s a chance to open communication and love someone without worrying they need to have sex with only you in order to love you.

    But emotion is unwieldy. You’re not always going to get at best.

  • Theresa

    I have REALLY enjoyed this love in the time of matador series. Thanks Matador and thanks fifi :)

  • Jasper

    Great article, Fifi.

  • Vagabundo

    Hey Fifi, great article! Where is the story now, 3 years on? I have explored polyamory abit and still haven’t found my definition yet.

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