Is an open relationship right for you?
Notes from a town hall about non-monogamy
Most of us were raised to believe that the defining moment in a couple’s journey from dating to long-term commitment is when they decidedly stop sleeping with other people.
But what happens when partnership and sexual exclusivity become unwed, and a couple pursues a life together while continuing to explore other relationships in bed and in love?
At this month’s touchpoint town hall, we heard from singles, couples, newly weds, and parents about their non-monogamous explorations and what they’ve learned along the way.
“My wife had sex with a man with a much bigger penis than me,” said one person as he recalled the fear of not being enough. “But we talked through it, and the experience taught me to respect and trust her — and myself.”
“I tried to be monogamous,” said another person. “But I cheated on my partner all the time. I crave novelty in sex and I don’t experience jealousy. After that relationship, I promised myself I would never be monogamous again — and I never have.”
“We’ll tell our children that we have sleepovers with our friends just like they have sleepovers with theirs,” said someone in an open marriage with two young children.
But non-monogamy isn’t relegated to sexual relationships. One person talked about having multiple long-term partners, one that was exclusively emotional. “We’re both alphas,” she said. “It just wouldn’t work in a sexual dynamic.”
While many of us are in monogamous relationships because of unconscious cultural programming, it was clear that those who choose consensual non-monogamy do so thoughtfully and transparently.
And therein lies the most important take-away of the evening: to choose our love lives consciously; to design them in accordance with our own nature and in reverence to the ones we love — whether that’s one or many.