The unravelling of a non-monogamous relationship: When love and HSV2+ enter the equation.

Liz Sinclair
6 min readNov 7, 2023
Photo by Kinga Howard on Unsplash

For those of you who have been following my last few posts, you know that my relationship with my husband is tenuously holding on by a very thin thread. Four years into our non-monogamous exploration, his new, very serious, relationship with an HSV2+ partner has caused our relationship to implode.

In the nine months since he started dating his new partner, we have had to grapple with the significance of introducing someone with an STI into our sexual lives, in the face of very different views on the associated risks. We’ve also had to negotiate my husband’s request to change our non-monogamy agreement and transition to becoming non-hierarchical. And, on top of that, we’ve been navigating the contrast between his new, highly sexually and emotionally charged relationship and our long-term, relatively less sexually intense relationship involving three kids, a dog, a mortgage, bills and the other realities of married life.

Yeah… it’s been a fucking awful few months….

From my perspective, all of this started nine months ago. Right around the time — actually, to be totally exact, it was exactly at the time — that he met his new partner. Before that fateful point in time, things had been mostly humming along between us. We’d survived the roller-coaster of the first few years of the massive transition from monogamy to having sex and relationships with various new partners. We’d entered a fairly stable phase of our non-monogamy.

I was pretty confident we were kind of normal. Yes, obviously, there were some points of friction and just general blah-ness that comes with a quarter of a decade of living together, but overall I felt good about our relationship. We were talking about the future. We were going out on date nights every couple of weeks. We enjoyed our time together on vacation. And we were getting through the daily hum of family life without too many hiccups. Plus we were kind of rocking non-monogamy, with both of us having stable partners that added rather than depleted from our life.

I totally acknowledge that there were parts of our relationship and life together that weren’t perfect. There were days were we struggled with our different communication styles — I’m…

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Liz Sinclair

Ordinary, middle-aged, university educated, working mother of three in a long-term loving marriage. Oh, and also non monogamous.