J recently read The Husband Swap by Louisa Leontiades. Because he isn’t as into blogging, I decided to interview him about the book and type up his responses instead :)
The basic premise of the memoir: the author and her husband adventure into the world of open relationships and polyamory.
J says Leontiades’ story is the classic “why you don’t open up a struggling relationship” example. J sees through the author’s description that there was very little wrong with the open relationship itself. Instead, the people within the relationship were not happy with each other and wanted different things leading to dramatic experiences.
Leontiades and her husband decide that they want to meet another couple to explore nonmonogamy with. The other couple they end up exploring with also struggles within their coupled relationship (serious mental health issues plague the other woman). J mentioned that it was really interesting to see the different relationship dynamics the author experiences with each man (her first husband and with the other man)- in the fashion of Arianne Cohen’s The Sex Diaries Project, the author has more of a lovers relationship with her first husband and more of an aspirers relationship with the other man.
SPOILER ALERT: The author and her husband are not together at the end of the story. Both couples end up divorcing and actually “swapped partners.” The author has been with the other man from the other couple, married for seven years, has children with him, and they have an open relationship. (Her ex husband and the other woman were also together for a little time.) J was quite shocked to read at the end that Leontiades and her new husband still have an open relationship, given all of the drama that the two couples went through together. Pretty interesting, yeah? It definitely speaks to the potential fluidity of relationships.
This story is a pretty dramatic example of open relationships. J doesn’t see the story as a very positive representation of open relationships, but the author doesn’t blame the relationship structure (she blames “messy” individuals). Leontiades gives a great deal of insight into her emotional world, which is helpful and insightful into the dynamics of her particular story. In fact, the story made J question if poly relationships can ever really work, as the story represented a pattern that he has seen between me and other women we have been in relation to (situations spiraling out of control between the women involved). (However, I have to say J in response: this is blaming the “failure” of poly relationships to the structure and not the individuals in relation to each other. To which I also say: I have been a “messy” individual myself, as you well know. And my internal world has become a lot cleaner in the past couple of years, and in the past year in particular!)
J doesn’t know if he would recommend this story to others; it definitely is not for the poly/open faint-hearted, and probably not the best for someone just exploring open relationships (it sounds like it could scare people away! ha!). It also has little to no advice or how-to structure; it really is just a personal story. It is awesome to have another memoir out there about open relationship experiences (we both really love Jenny Block’s Open) and we hope to read more and more as people have the courage to share so publicly their experiences.