Would you let your part­ner sleep with some­one else?

New TV drama Wan­der­lust sees a cou­ple de­cid­ing to have an open re­la­tion­ship. Closer speaks to one mum who says it’s the best thing she ever did…

Closer (UK) - - Contents - By Kristina Bean­land


Branded BBC B One’s “filth­i­est ever” drama, Wan­der­lust hit our screens last week. The six-part se­ries sees mid­dle-aged cou­ple Joy and Alan des­per­ately try­ing to re­vive their sex lives by em­bark­ing on an open re­la­tion­ship.

With its drug-fu­elled romps and the first fe­male or­gasm on BBC One, chan­nel bosses say the show asks an im­por­tant ques­tion – whether monogamy is pos­si­ble or even de­sir­able.


A re­cent sur­vey by dat­ing web­site Seek­ing.com sug­gests the amount of mar­ried peo­ple join­ing the site has dou­bled in the past two years, with one in five of those mem­bers in an open re­la­tion­ship.

Pauline Schueler, 51, a busi­ness con­sul­tant who is in an open re­la­tion­ship, tells Closer, “I’m pleased that TV view­ers are be­ing shown that monogamy isn’t the only op­tion. My part­ner Richard and I have been to­gether for 35 years, and I love him deeply. But I have other lovers, as does he.

“Be­ing in an open re­la­tion­ship means we com­mu­ni­cate more, and all our needs are met, both in­tel­lec­tu­ally and sex­u­ally. So­ci­ety tells us that it’s im­pos­si­ble to love more than one per­son, but that’s not the case.”

Pauline and Richard, 55 – who have three sons – were monog­a­mous un­til 2002, when she had an af­fair. She says, “We still en­joyed a healthy sex life, although it wasn’t that ad­ven­tur­ous. Then I met a man at work. He was older than me, and when he paid me at­ten­tion, I was flat­tered. We started an af­fair, he was so dif­fer­ent to Richard and was dom­i­nant in the bed­room. I hadn’t re­alised that would be a turn on – the sex was amaz­ing.”

A year later, a sus­pi­cious Richard con­fronted Pauline. “I con­fessed,” she says. “I as­sumed he’d tell me we were over and, when he sug­gested an open re­la­tion­ship, I was stunned.”

They set some ground rules and agreed never to bring lovers into their own home, and to be hon­est about when and where they were meet­ing part­ners.

“It forced us to com­mu­ni­cate in a way we never had be­fore,” says Pauline. “It brought us closer. It didn’t af­fect our sex life. With Richard, it was lovely and com­fort­able, and I could be more ex­plo­rative else­where. But there are chal­lenges. I can get jeal­ous of Richard’s lovers, espe­cially if they’re younger than me.”


Pauline con­tin­ued to see her lover un­til he died in 2014. “I was dev­as­tated,” she says. “I was cry­ing all the time, so I had to tell the chil­dren why. Thank­fully, they un­der­stood. They’d rather this than have their par­ents sep­a­rate.”

Pauline still has other re­la­tion­ships out­side the mar­riage, but only sees one man at a time if she’s in love with them. “It brings vari­a­tion into our lives and gives me the free­dom to ex­plore my de­sires,” she says. “We talk about our feel­ings much more, and we really value the time we spend to­gether. I want cou­ples to re­alise that monogamy isn’t the only op­tion. Hav­ing a re­la­tion­ship with space changed my life.”

Pauline and Richard have been in an open re­la­tion­ship for 16 years

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