‘I got a text from a woman I hadn’t met saying, “What should I wear on my date with your husband?”‘

After already exploring non-monogamy together for four years, my husband, Liam, and I felt excited about starting to date other people separately.

Tonight was the first night for him to explore things with another woman.

I felt soft feelings of nervous anticipation. These nerves were not from a place of fear that he might leave me, but simply from the reality that this was an entirely new dynamic for us.

As I momentarily drifted into my thoughts of what might unfold later on between them, I felt my phone buzz. 

It was a message from her.

Image: Supplied.

I immediately opened up the selfie that she had sent to me, almost dropping the bag of groceries that I was ungracefully carrying back to my car. I stared at the photo, admiring her beauty and cheeky smile, knowing that Liam would be thrilled to know that she messaged me.

The selfie captured her kneeling before her mirror. Her legs were spread and her head was tilted to the side. Her petite body shape differed to mine, and I immediately imagined Liam lifting her up and carrying her to the bed that I could see in the background of the photo.

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I saw the salt lamp on her bed stand and imagined her body softly lit from its light. I imagined him holding her, exploring her body. I wondered what their first kiss would be like?

Sensual and soft, or perhaps desperately passionate? I continued to examine every detail of the photo, capturing a feeling of the atmosphere that Liam would enter into later that night. She was sensual, feminine, playful and had beautiful taste. I immediately understood that tonight wasn’t just about him being intimate with her, it was also about him stepping into someone else’s world.

My heart skipped a beat as I felt simultaneously aroused and nervous.

“Wow, you look amazing,” I immediately replied.

As I reversed out of the car park, I caught a reflection of myself in the mirror. My hair was in a messy bun and I realised that I was wearing the same t-shirt as the day before.

I quickly reflected on the stories that I had grown up believing about women and female friendships. The insidious competition between women. The fear that could arise from a beautiful woman talking to a man who was already in a relationship. The unspoken discomfort of a single woman at a gathering of mostly couples. The mere existence of her ‘availability’ causing a point of potential fear. Men avoiding talking to her for fear of ‘getting in trouble’.

As I drove home, I felt relief to be so far from that world.

To have pivoted so drastically in the other direction that I now felt a sense of excitement, security and thrill to be actively encouraging and participating in another woman’s pursuit of my husband.

Even though I had not met her, I could feel her respect for me by her inclusion of me in her thought process and preparation for the evening ahead. She knew that he wasn’t a single man, he had a wife who knew him well. Well enough to give a second opinion on her outfit for the evening.

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There are female archetypes that we have been told to dislike, the mother-in-law, the ex-wife, the daughter-in-law, the new partner and the single woman. Re-wiring the emotional expectations of navigating female connections has been huge for me. It has been healing.

Being in a position to uplift and support a woman who, historically speaking, should be a major threat to me allows me to break the cycle. Coming together with respect, transparency and appreciation for the differing gifts that we all hold feels like the release of centuries of female competition.

Later that night, my phone buzzed. It was her. She was messaging me with elation and joy. Her cheeky, post coital buzz was vibrating through my phone. I could tell that she wanted to share details with me, and I wanted to hear them too. What was her experience of being with my husband like?

Image: Supplied.

Another message rolled in, this time from Liam.

Image: Supplied.

Many people might run from this scenario, yet I cannot help but be curious as to what might happen to the depth and longevity of relationships if people softened to the idea of welcoming others in.

Sophia’s warmth and spirit of collaboration had created a unique camaraderie between us. It felt symbolic for the space and respect that we were creating for one another.

Abbey is the writer and voice behind the Evolving Love Project and Evolving Love Podcast exploring the topic of non-monogamy. You can find out more of her writing at her Substack here.

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