A friend’s questions

The following is an unusual post as it’s a transcript of a long conversation I had via text whilst flying across the Eastern US this morning with my friend Happa (not his real name). He and his wife, Cheyenne (also not her real name) follow both my blog and Thumper’s (his now real name – kinda) and they have gotten to know both me and Axel outside of the anonymous confines of this space.

The two of them are looking at their own options, whatever they may be, so how Thumper and Belle and how Axel and I approach our newly fully open relationships is of specific interest to them. I told him a long while back to ask me anything and, as you will see, he actually did, and boy did he. Also, this is the actual transcript of the chat (just with spelling and grammar corrections).

This afternoon I talked with Thumper and mentioned the conversation to him and we decided that he would insert his own responses in here as well, since many of the questions were me assuming about he and Belle or, worse, speaking for them.

So, what follows is a Thumper and Drew first – a dual post of sorts.

Keep in mind that Drew’s replies were happening in real time while mine, when I have one to a particular point, are after the fact. — Thumper

Happa: Cheyenne and I were talking last night about Belle’s choice to not hear about details of Thumper’s relationship with you. We were trying to understand how her being completely okay with the situation coincides with not wanting to know about what goes on between you two. It’s more intuitive to think she’d be more secure in knowing than not.

Drew: Well, keep in mind Axel doesn’t know details either. He is much more aware of Thumper, I assume, and he and I talk about him a lot both as my boyfriend and just as a friend and person who we both admire for various things he has going for him.

Thumper: Open relationships take many forms. Some are swinging in which the two partners go out and play with other couples together while others are “don’t ask, don’t tell” types on the other end of the spectrum that happen totally under the radar. Belle has chosen for herself that this will be one where she knows it’s happening (in fact, has set some rules about how it happens — i.e., I will always be locked) but she doesn’t want to know any of the gory details. She’s also not shown an interest in becoming social with Drew in the same way Axel has with me.

I don’t think there’s a Right Way™ to do this. My and Belle’s particular arrangement could be seen as the analytical part of her brain being OK with the concept of me getting specific sexual needs met outside our relationship while protecting her reactive emotional side by keeping the specifics out of her mind. Bottom line, how a couple opens their relationship can be in whatever way is best for the two of them, both together and individually.

Happa: For Cheyenne, being 100% ok means she knows what’s going on. She couldn’t say she’s okay without knowing what’s happening.

Drew: Well, she (Belle) knows what’s happening, just not how. It’s the same thing with Axel, he always knows when I am with Thumper and even weeks in advance since it has to be scheduled.

He also knows we talk and/or text often, but I rarely say “guess what, I talked to Thumper for 37 minutes this morning”, I think he just rightly assumes we talk because I tell him things. I also tell him when it’s been awhile since we have connected and if it bothers me and/or I don’t hide when I am talking to or texting with him either if Axel is around, but I try not to ever put Thumper over Axel if he needs attention.

Thumper: Belle and I are pretty much the same. She’s told me not to try and hide when I communicate to Drew when we’re together. For her, I think, if I did those things it would be too much like slinking around behind her back. Drew’s right in that she does know conceptually the kinds of things Drew and I are doing (and not doing) and, for her, that’s enough.

Happa: You and Thumper have a pretty close relationship given you’re both married. Does Belle have a sense of the closeness of your relationship, or does she see the situation as “contained” within the circumstances therefore details are unimportant?

Drew: That would be a question for him I think. Actually, that would be a great question to email to his blog. But, I assume, no, pretty much think, she knows we are tight, she knows we talk, are planning travel together, and that he is likely doing business with Axel, so I assume it’s unimportant to her, but I will ask him.

But again, Axel doesn’t know the details of what we do either – when naked.

Thumper: Belle knows we’ve developed a friendship and talk and, of course, are going to LA together and see one another about once a month. I don’t tell her everything about Drew, but then again, I don’t tell her everything about any of my friends (that aren’t also her friends). She also knows me well enough to know that I am constitutionally incapable of having a non-“contained” relationship with any man, let alone Drew. My feelings for him will never evolve into those traditionally thought of as romantic. It’s not in my nature to be able to feel that way for another man.

Happa: So from your side with Axel, how would you answer the same question? …and thank you for fielding my questions!

Drew: I think I would answer the same way as I have above on behalf of Thumper. Axel knows everything about him and has seen his penis on the internet, BUT, he does not know what we physically do together when we are with each other (unless he’s reading here and not telling me). When I am with him in (his city), I check in with Axel just like I would any other day with things like: “going to dinner”, “going to x place – need anything?”, or “back at hotel – will call later”.

No, I don’t say “just wanted you to know we are both naked.” I think he can assume that for himself. Now, where I think we are different than T and B is that he has asked before along the lines of “did you fuck him?” or something similar and, when he has asked, I have answered with 100% accuracy which generally just makes him say something like “okay” or “just wondered”, there is no detailed account and those particular times are rare, in fact, I think it’s only been once or twice and that was the first time I was with him.

Thumper: I think this is one of the ways MM relationships are different than FM relationships. When they’re open (and they more often are than straight-appearing relationships), there seems to be a greater degree of this kind of conversation. Belle has never asked what Drew and I have done specifically and I doubt she ever will (though she’s alluded to certain things at times in a general way).

Happa: We were unable to see how your spouses can be 100% okay yet not need to know about the goings on of the relationships.

Drew: Axel absolutely gets the depth of our relationship, but he likes that and finds comfort in that because he knows what we are doing is safe and protects our union because it’s inside our agreement. I am not sure he needs to know more because he feels safe and happy with how it is.

Thumper: I think this boils down to trust and confidence. Belle trusts me and is confident in her position within my heart. There’s no need for details because they’re essentially inconsequential.

Drew: Wait, are you meaning who puts what in where? Or that we talked today about baseball? He had chicken at lunch and I had beef?

Happa: Not so much those things. I’d say the strongest indication of the intimacy in your relationship with Thumper is how much you think about him, admire him, or just like him. At least from what I can gain through your blog, texts and when we met.

Drew: So you are saying you think it would be easier on the spouses if we didn’t like each other but just fucked? And I do like him, admire him, and think about him. He’s in my inner circle and I care a lot about him, but that does not mean bad things that some people think it should or will.

Happa: Not saying that. We are just trying to understand how not knowing works or if not needing to know just begins to feel natural.

Drew: I get that, but what’s the missing link? I get the impression I am not at the same spot in the conversation that you are?

Or, are you confused because I think of him as an inner circle friend, but I can honestly say I don’t even have a crush on him. I might have had a man crush at the beginning, and I think maybe we both did, but that’s also infatuation that is natural and comes with finding a new someone out there who compliments you, attracts you, and has the same interests as you – even outside of the sexual attraction.

Happa: My questions are completely without judgement. I’m actually very impressed with how you all manage the situation. It’s only when Cheyenne and I tried to reason out how your spouses could not need to know about such a big part of the secondary relationship that we were at a loss to see from our experience how not knowing is consistent with being completely settled.

Drew: I have taken no judgement tone from this. In fact, I wish you’d email me paragraph or two with these questions and Thumper and I will both answer them and then maybe blog it. These are actually really good topics for something like a blog.

Happa: Will do!😊

Drew: What is the not knowing though? I mean, if Cheyenne had her own “Thumper”, would you want to know explicit details of the hour they had sex or just that during that day they went to lunch, saw a movie, and then spent time together?

Happa: No, but I’d want to know the temperature of the relationship. I’d want to know enough to feel if it was growing beyond the scope of our agreement. I’d want to know how much energy she was putting into the relationship most of all.

Drew: That sounds a bit like you are worried about being jealous? THAT, I don’t think any of the four of us have that, at all.

As for temperature, I think Axel and Belle both know the temperature 100%.

The fact is, Thumper and I won’t grow deeper except through experiences and time, like any friendship. I can see or think back and know that, at least Axel, probably wondered the first few weeks of my new relationship with Thumper and possibly worried that it would grow out of control on my end (I say my end because T never ever gave any glimmer of chance he’d feel emotionally more or was capable of that, but, obviously I do have that in me), but he gave me that freedom to prove him wrong if that is what he was thinking because, 7 months later, it’s working beautifully and I know he is 110% happy that I have a Thumper who is, in fact, Thumper.

Thumper: Like I said, trust and confidence. Jealousy is natural and, I think, not unhealthy at manageable levels. A little competitive friction does a relationship good.

Happa: Ah, that’s interesting.

Drew: Translate?

Happa: I think knowing the emotional investment or lack of, would be important to me.

Drew: That just comes from experience and time.

Well, let’s put it like this, my best friend is _____, who you know from FB. We don’t have sex, never did, never will, never even seen him naked nor do I want to’

I feel genuine emotion for both, but no more for Thumper than I do _____.

Happa: Translates to seeing the risk of infatuation not materialize was part of the process.

Drew: Yes, I think it had to be. I suspect all four of us breathed a bit a few weeks in when we all really deep down realized that this can and IS working and working well as Thumper and I both report to being happier and better husbands.

Happa: Could be our assumptions about sexual relationships being contingent on emotional relationships that makes seeing your arrangement obvious.

Not familiar territory for most couples.

You two seem to have an intimate friendship, which I don’t understand.

Drew: But, from day one, our sexual relationship was contingent on that emotional relationship. He and I both wanted strings. We stated that from the beginning

But we specified the strings be very thin and elastic and neither ever had inclinations that would be thick as what we have at home.

And, yes, we do have an intimate friendship, but there are many forms of intimacy and I believe we, as in people, have capacity for more than one type. I know, at least, I can have multiple intimate relationships with people in different ways.

Thumper: I don’t know when to add this bit, so I’ll do it here. It’s never assumed that we can only have one close friend or only love one child or whatever. The only interpersonal relationship in which we assume permanent exclusivity is romantic and/or sexual.

There is no finite pool from which we draw energy to conduct these relationships. Yes, they are a lot more complicated than having two or more friends or children, but it’s not like if I spend too much time thinking about Drew that I’ll run out of feels for Belle.

What keeps us from being open and having multiple partners (which I firmly believe we are wired to do by default) is the two things I’ve already pointed out: Mistrust and lack of confidence. They lead to fear of rejection. Fear of loss.

Happa: I see that, but all the more reason for spouses to be interested no?

Drew: I think we are running in a circle (Argee! — Thumper), both ARE interested, but about the relationship, not the sex. He wrote a blog about Belle seeing a text from me. I need to find that. If you can search it was dated around Christmas. She was fine with that and told him not to hide it.

Happa: OH, That’s more clear. From the reading, I was under the understanding that Belle does not want to know anything about it.

Drew: No no, about the sex. She knows about me the person. He says she will from time to time ask about me or talk to him about me. In fact, she can see he and I banter on Facebook and that he is also friends with Axel (I assume she made that connection since we have the last name). At this point, I think she just sees me as “Thumper’s whatever” and likes that I have many of the attributes she’d most likely want for him (you know, good job, big dick (ha), nice life) but she just has no interest in meeting me. At least right now and that’s completely her choice.

Thumper: Yes.

Drew: Axel is the same as all of the above, but he’d meet Thumper if the chance allowed and would likely be very drawn to him, but I know that would not draw him into wanting to know more details or be a part of our relationship. It just doesn’t work that way in our minds.

Happa: The difference in the relationship and sex is much, much more clear! Thanks. I am not sure how I have missed those things.

Drew: Ok. About to land. Search by the tag drew on his site. Those posts might pull up.

(much later)

Drew: I talked to Thumper and I want to send him this transcript, you have the answers from my POV, but I am going to give him a chance to respond from his.

Thumper: Done!


  1. Wow, great conversation and questions and thank you for posting all that boys.

    You guys know I’m not in an open relationship, at least physically. What I do have are other submissive guys, and now girls, who I enjoy time with (online, text, email for now). So I wanted to comment.

    “No, but I’d want to know the temperature of the relationship. I’d want to know enough to feel if it was growing beyond the scope of our agreement. I’d want to know how much energy she was putting into the relationship most of all.”

    That part of the conversation is something that cagedmonkey and I have talked about when I have these outside relationships. What I have fully are relationships with these people. We talk about everything from the weather to kinky hot sex. Usually I’m the one telling them what to do with their bits and pieces and I’m seeing pics and videos and they are fantasizing about me. It can get quite intimate.

    I think that, although cagedmonkey may not know every tiny detail of what goes on and doesn’t see the pics or video (usually), he still wants to know those things above. He wants to know I’m not getting feelings for someone or doing things he hasn’t agreed to. He wants to be aware of how much energy I’m putting into a relationship and has every right to tell me he’s uncomfortable with anything or if he feels I’m spending too much time “with someone else.”

    So, while he doesn’t specifically ask the details of those relationships, he does still check the temperature, so to speak.

    Anyway, I found that part interesting and I think it’s healthy. Thanks again.


  2. Happa: Cheyenne and I were talking last night about Belle’s choice to not hear about details of Thumper’s relationship with you. We were trying to understand how her being completely okay with the situation coincides with not wanting to know about what goes on between you two. It’s more intuitive to think she’d be more secure in knowing than not.

    Um, no. What is ‘more intuitive’ in what way? Have you ever had an open relationship? Trying to share all the details of one – if, indeed, it is a RELATIONSHIP – is a needlessly tedious waste of energy. When you go to a ball game with one of your friends, do you recount the exact details of every moment you spent with that person? Every punch line, every blank stare, every time s/he got up to go to the bathroom, how many times you bought the beer? After your outing, do you share every single detail of your conversation(s), feeling(s) {yes, you have them – happiness, stress, exhilaration – “feelings” does not equate to “romance”} to your wife when you get home? Can you imagine what a strain that would be? Let alone the fact that it would be a COLOSSAL waste of time.

    Yet for some reason, people who have no experience with open relationships seem to think that once you open your relationship, that’s how it should be. Oh, and about the sexy bits too.

    Um, again: NO.

    When it comes to needing to know, my husband and I have worked out between us exactly *what* it is we need to know (which turns out to be very little), and we keep it to that. In the beginning, we thought we were doing the ‘right’ thing by oversharing, and it basically caused more problems than it was worse. If I was annoyed with an ancillary partner, hubby would assume it indicated some huge catastrophe and that it was “over” – regardless of the fact that I get annoyed with HIM every.single.day. Also, in the beginning, I let him read/see whatever he wanted in terms of texts and emails. Except there are pitfalls there, because (1) he would only do so sporadically and therefore misinterpret things to a ridiculous extent due to the fact that he had no background information, and (2) it got to where he only wanted to read the sexy bits, and to me, that was unacceptable because it objectified a person – specifically, a person I was in a relationship with.


    Happa: Could be our assumptions about sexual relationships being contingent on emotional relationships that makes seeing your arrangement obvious.

    Not familiar territory for most couples.

    You two seem to have an intimate friendship, which I don’t understand.

    I suspect this is a case of poor wording, but I have a huge bone to pick with these statements. The assumption seems to be the “intimate” means “emotional” and that “emotional” means “romantic.” Intimacy comes in all forms. Physical and sexual intimacy are most often top of mind when the word ‘intimate’ is used, but that’s because people are too uptight not to use euphemisms. Intimacy can be emotional – shared interests and experiences creating an ‘I get it’ bond on a deeper level is not necessarily romantic though. I share emotional intimacy with my mother, for example. I also share emotional intimacy with several friends (with whom I am not romantically or sexually involved). Intimacy can also be intellectual. Mind, body, heart, soul. All of those facets of self require intimacy, and the type of intimacy a person shares with someone else does not in any way take away from the intimacy one shares with their spouse / partner. I have intimate friendships. I have sexual relationships. They are sometimes with the same person, but the two are not mutually exclusive.


    It’s not clear at all from this conversation what the particulars are of the proposed Happa/Cheyenne “opening up” are, but I would caution against making promises you can’t keep. Thumper is pretty much incapable of developing ‘romantic’ feelings for another male. That likely makes his arrangement more ‘safe’ for Belle, and I get that. I feel the same way about women. I have ZERO romantic interest in women. Men are tricky. Most of my close friends throughout my life have been male. And it’s a varied lot. A high percentage of them, I think of firmly as brothers, and have no physical attraction to them or romantic notions about them AT ALL. But the longest, most intimate relationships (in every sense of the word) I’ve had in my life have been with males, and I would never do anything so foolish as to promise my husband that I won’t fall in love with someone else. Which is a good thing to put on the table at the beginning, regardless of where you’re going with this “opening up” phase of your relationship. Be real with each other. I have no desire to have sex with someone I don’t care about. That’s what prostitutes are for. So for me, ‘care’ is a precursor to sex when it comes to men. How deep that care goes cannot be – WILL NOT BE – guaranteed.

    And just one other thing: Thumper brought up swinging. If you truly thing you need to know everything about what your wife is doing (or vice versa) with someone else, go to a swing club. There’s no requirement that you have sex with anyone else; there are a lot of variations on the Swing Theme, and you can start slow (watching someone else, same room sex, etc) and see how you take it. No relationships, and no need to see any of those people ever again. Work through your issues a little at a time, and confront every.single.one of the problems/jealousies that comes up. You’ll know then what kind of ground you’re on, and whether it’s safe to ‘build outward’ or whether you should keep to yourselves.

    My two (hundred) cents.

    {And I would actually write a lot more except I have a life waiting for me.}

    Also, Drew: You have the patience of a fucking saint. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mrs. F, thank you as always for your comments which are always a blog in themselves, which I so appreciate. Keep in mind, that some of the wording was quick and choppy on Happa’s side because it was text and, while mine may have been too, I was able to go in and add a verb, etc.

      Also, as a note, I know much more about Happa and Cheyenne and why they are asking these questions or having these discussions than I put in the blog out of respect for their privacy as I did not ask permission to disclose in advance. That said, Happa, care to fill us in more?

      On that intimate front, you nailed it and, yes, even if I didn’t say it above, I do feel intimacy with Thumper and I think he does with me, but, that level depends on the day and the activity. For instance, last night he and I were watching baseball together and texting the plays and comments, as stupid as it may sound, that was an intimate moment between two friends in my opinion.

      Of course, maybe it was because I was naked when doing so…hmmmm. 🙂 But, seriously, I view intimacy just as you do – multi leveled, faceted, and poly in nature 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I get that. 🙂 And yes, I do tend to go on when I feel strongly about something. 😉 I write 27 word posts and 2,751 word comments. 😛

        Speaking of: Will you edit that comment, please? I meant to bold Happa’s name but forgot to add the end cap . 🙂


  3. Wow, what a great and interesting post. I have often thought that you two needed to do a live chat one day when you are together, but this just confirmed it. On the right night, you’d have a ton of live chatters.

    Seriously, I appreciate this inside glimpse and think it’s cute in one sense because I can see, or at least think, Drew is more emotionally driven than Thumper, but that you two each care a great deal for each other outside of the sexual acts. I used to wonder if people could become close friends, regardless of the gender pairing, as adults outside of a work environment and you two prove to me it’s possible.

    Thumper, just curious, but do you ever see Belle wanting to know more about Drew as a person than she does now? I ask because my husband has friends I ignore for years but something occasionally click.

    Happa? Now that this is out here, who do you and Cheyenne feel about the response you got? Are things clear or even surprising? Do you see yourselves being more like Thumper and Belle or Drew and Alex?


  4. Great responses all,
    I think it’s important to clarify the genesis of my questions was based on reading about the separation Belle created between herself and the Drew Thumper relationship.
    I used the word “details” when referring to Belle’s knowledge of the relationship more casually than the literal sense that it was taken in. What Drew and I were able to resolve was that Belle and Axel both, to varying degrees are fully on top of the important and relevant parts of their spouses relationships. That point was not obvious to me from reading Denyingthumper.
    It’s likely my perception alone, but the communication between Drew and Axel feels more inclusive of Thumper whereas Thumper and Belle’s communication about Drew as written in the blog feels distinctly separate. Clearly, there’s nothing wrong here at all. The Difference is noticeable.
    I apologize to all about the choppiness of the conversation as it would have been much smoother in person. Also, quite a lot can be lost in semantics and was, so I’ll steer clear of the ancillary points and their implications about my relationship here but welcome any good natured conversation offline.
    As for our relationship, we have a habit of sharing anything and sometimes everything. We’ve talked about open relationships but have not opened our marriage. This conversation was a piece of that dialog. We both are completely committed to each others happiness so naturally we explored this topic from a pragmatic standpoint. Our questions are us learning from Drew, Thumper, Axel, and Belle. Am I surprised by the answers I got here? No! Not at all actually. I do think there are as many opinions as people and each one will be what’s right for that person at the time.
    Thank you Drew and Thumper for doing what you guys do. Your example of integrity and vulnerabity both privately and publicly is a lesson to us all. I only have gratitude for you both for continuing to help us all learn and grow from your experiences. Surely, we’ll have more to talk about in the future!


  5. Happa: good to see a reply from you, but I have to ask you how you missed the distinction on denying thumper? What drew me to both is how on top they are on their respective relationships. I wish one of them would come have sex with my husband so I could get their insight through the writing (boys, either of you volunteer?) (Ill leave cookies and milk). I have followed so long though so I may be biased but see thumpers blog about he and belle with a bit of drew and Drew’s about he and thumper with a side of Axel.

    Thumper or Drew, do you agree?

    Happy, another question, I am not sure of the details nor does it matter, but if you open up and you are the one out there with a woman or maybe a man, do you see yourself being friends with either or more a fuck and go? What about Cheyenne? If she has another man or woman, would you object to an intimate type friendship between the two of them? Do you see yourself in the middle of her friendships?

    Lastly, Thumper, I am just very curious about you so as your thoughts on if you ever really thought you’d get “this” back when you “asked for volunteers”? Any regrets?


  6. Mrs John,
    Which distinction are you referring to? In my conversation with Drew, we went around a bit in our communication regarding the distinction between being knowledgeable about the others investment in their relationship vs details of their time together. I was interested in the former, but more specifically, Belles choice not read about, talk to or have any interaction with Thumpers relationships outside of theirs. That understanding was difficult to reconcile with complete acceptance.
    To me, acceptance depends on being informed. For example, can you truly accept what you don’t know about? Accepting that you don’t have all the information, or don’t want it is subtly different in my mind.
    Regardless, what I learned is Thumper and Belle, and Drew and Axel each have their own distinct degree of “need to know”. That’s what I was hoping to learn actually.
    To answer your question about how I would see an open relationship; the truth is I’d be guessing at this stage. Ideally, all parties would be knowledgeable of and respect each other’s needs and boundaries. For me, knowing for certain my primary relationship was never in question or challenged would be paramount. Any threat at that level would be a deal breaker. Below that point, I think things would be exciting and fun.
    Would I need to know every detail of the relationship? No, but I’d prefer to be friends with the other person. Not having any relationship or friendship with the other person would feel inauthentic to me. But that’s just me speaking from where I am now.
    I’d also like to add that my relationship is ideal already. Anything more is awesome but not at a cost to what we currently have.
    Thank you for asking me!


    1. Thanks for the mail. I didn’t mean to be hard on you but I forget that some may have actually not read every Thumper post like I have. If you had, I thought it would be hard not to understand how Belle was okay with things. But, even in this response I am not convinced you fully understand Belle’s position (I could be wrong to) by you saying her choice not to read, talk about or have any interaction with Thumper’s “other”. I clearly read from Thumper’s response or Drew’s that she does all three in some ways. I think her not showing the kind of “outreach” to Drew and Axel has to Thumper is, as Thumper said, more M/M than M/F.

      You are clearly on a path to something and I wish you both luck. You are reaching out to the right people clearly.


      1. Mrs John,

        Thank you for the kind words. I’d like everyone to know that while reconciling my own understanding of this quadrangle of relationships, I also seek to support my belief that people can rise above social norms and stigma to find a much fuller happiness than our society has taught us to think possible. I want to believe that what Drew, Axel, Thunper, and Belle have will work because it’s not concealed or lived by in denial of any sort. The beauty of Drew and Thumpers arrangement is that they allow light to shine on this intimate and complex arrangement. It’s like an impossibly beautiful flower blossoming in the middle of a desert of humanity. It’s truth and honesty where most can only dream of for themselves. We’d all do well to understand it better.



  7. Thank you for all the responses, Happa. However, I would not be me if I did not highlight the following:

    “It’s like an impossibly beautiful flower blossoming in the middle of a desert of humanity.”

    Really? Do phrases like this really go through your head? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I have read this whole thing 3 times and, Happa, you should pray on this, stay with your wife.

    There doesn’t need to be yet another marriage possibly ruined because Drew created another homosexual or bisexual as “they” like to say.


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