You Don’t Have to Agree to an Open Relationship
I have found myself in a variety of precarious situations when to comes to love and relationships. This happens most often when there is discussion of involving other people.
Years ago, my marriage had come to an impasse. Something had to happen and I wasn’t exactly quite sure what it was. My emotional and physicals needs weren’t being taken care of. I knew I had urges to cheat on my husband. It was only a matter of time.
I wasn’t happy and I needed something to make me feel alive. It was getting to the point where I was just numb.
I contemplated approaching the subject of an open marriage with my husband. We’d been part of the swinger lifestyle but had never dated anyone independently of the other.
In the back of my mind, I knew I could navigate an open relationship. There was no way he could have. I never brought it up for one reason: if I would have suggested it, he would have gone along with it and he would have hated it. I didn’t want to do that to him. Instead, our marriage came to an end.
Open relationships are a great idea if you’re in the right place to navigate them and you have the wherewithal to do it. If these things aren’t in place, then you’re looking at a disaster waiting to happen.
After I got divorced, I found myself in a long-distance relationship. This was exactly what I wanted because I needed some time to focus on myself and to be independent and to learn how to live my life all over again.
It just so happened that at the same time I was trying to accomplish all of this the most adorable man walked into my life.
While I needed the occasional presence of a man to keep me company, what I didn’t need was to have my vulnerability cracked right open like a fragile egg.
When we first met, it was incredibly intense. We quickly started talking about me being his and him being mine. We were hooked on each other.
Distance, however, began to take a toll and he started getting lonely. As a result, our relationship became open. I don’t remember there ever being a discussion that this was going to happen. I was just told that he was going to date other people and if I didn’t like it then I had a couple decisions to make.
This, by the way, is not how you have a conversation about seeing other people. This is called creating an ultimatum. Not the same thing.
If there is one main reason why open relationships fail, it’s because one person agrees to it when their heart really isn’t into it. They’re not comfortable. There is a bit of jealousy in the unknown that they think they control and then they find out they can’t.
I had no business agreeing to be in that open relationship with my boyfriend. It ended up making me a completely crazy person. I didn’t have the stability from the start that I needed in order to feel comfortable with the idea that my boyfriend could see other people and still be as into me as he ever was.
I knew that if I didn’t agree to the open relationship then I was going to lose him. At the same time, I felt terrified that if I agreed to the open relationship I was going to lose him. This was the perfect set up to make me absolutely insane.
I have no problem with the concept of an open relationship. But it’s kind of like a soufflé. Even if you have all of the ingredients right if you don’t handle it with care it will cave-in on itself.
We should never feel pressured to agree to do something that we don’t want to do because we feel that’s what we need to do to keep someone.
I think in order to have a successful open relationship you need to understand the motivation behind doing it. Also, the definition of open relationship needs to be outlined. Is it a matter of one person will never be faithful, therefore the only kind of relationship they can be in an open relationship? Is it releasing pressure on each other to be each other’s everything?
I don’t think that there are many people that can grow into the idea of accepting an open relationship while trying to be in one. It’s putting the cart before the horse.
Open relationships, whether polyamorous or ethically non-monogamous, are modern and now much more widely accepted. In some ways, it’s seen as an emotional evolution. It’s very easy to feel like a dinosaur if you’re not willing to openly grasp the idea.
There’s a certain amount of normalization of multi-partner relationships that’s occurred in the last five years. It doesn’t mean that it has to be normal to you. If it doesn’t feel normal to you, there’s nothing wrong with that. There’s nothing wrong with being the kind of person who craves monogamy. That stance is just as important as the opposite.
Every relationship, no matter the form it takes should be about fulfillment. We owe it to ourselves to examine what that fulfilled state requires and feel comfortable with how we’re going to get there, regardless of how many people it involves or doesn’t.
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