When I was first introduced to the idea of open relationships my position was pretty strong that it wasn’t for me. As I state in my post Open Relationships: Yay or Nay? that while I am good with the idea of being on the outside of one, being in one was simply not for me. Six months later I’m looking at this again wondering if I got it all wrong. A few weeks ago I started talking to a new guy who has been honest with me that he expects me to see other men (which I am) and that he will be seeing other women. When we first discussed it I didn’t put much thought into it because I figured it would end up being a mediocre first date as usual and I would not have to really address it. Well he is turning out to be an incredible person. We not only have great chemistry but we can talk for hours and really enjoy each other’s company. So now I am thinking about this a little more critically.
The men I know that have wanted or are currently in open relationships find it to be a turn-on to know the other person has been intimate with someone else. That doesn’t bother me so long as it’s not a punishment thing, but it’s not a reason I would choose to be in an open relationship. I am never going to be turned on by the thought of someone I am dating in bed with another woman. I can respect it under the right terms, but I don’t get excited from it. Having said that, if the man I am dating is getting excited about the fact that I am with another man….I can’t really see the negative side of that.
What’s appealing to me is the honesty aspect. Honesty turns me on. I can never stress enough the importance of open and honest communication in any sort of relationship. Romantic, platonic, professional or otherwise, honesty is always the key. In an open relationship it is encouraged to speak about your desires. In an exclusive relationship, this is not exactly a welcoming conversation. Desires are natural and I can bet that most people at one time or another have had them and kept it quiet, feeling guilty about it. What if those that were feeling guilty, were now free to discuss those feelings with their partner who they are supposed to trust the most? Whether you act on that desire or not, it sounds pretty liberating. Just the thought that it could make communication so open and both parties would have to listen with no judgement and keep open minds is so appealing.
Now I don’t believe that everyone is cut out for an open relationship. I am not even saying yet that I am. But I do see how it could work and I also recognize the challenges. Jealousy would be a challenge. How do you avoid the jealousy? Having it open on both sides is a big help, but is it enough? I personally am not a jealous person. Jealousy reflects insecurities and feelings of envy, which I don’t typically bother with. I am human so I do have insecurities, but I own them and I know that’s my own personal struggle that may not be how others see me. Or maybe they do, and that’s fine because I already know. I am however naturally a competitive person. Mostly with myself, but at times I compete with others. I hate that I have that tendency and usually try to remove myself from a situation where I feel I am getting competitive with others. Especially other women. In today’s world we need to be empowering each other. We have enough battles just being women, we can’t be battling each other. For this reason I am also extremely intolerant of women who do compete with other women. So this is something I would struggle with in an open relationship. There would have to be some clear set rules that would make me feel comfortable enough where I don’t want to just bow out.
Another desirable aspect is that you are committing to a person while not really committing. There are very few things in life I actually commit to. Other than my children and my immediate family, I commit to nothing. It’s amazing that I have gone to the same hair stylist for the past year. The minute I get a new job I am looking for a promotion or new company. I have deep rooted long lasting friendships, but even then, there are legitimately five people I call my best friend. And as a friend pointed out to me recently, for my entire marriage I always saw the appeal of being single. I was never really all in. Could that just be because of who I was married to? Maybe. Could I just be the stereotypical divorcee that feels she wasted her 20’s being tied down and now wants the chance to actually live them? Probably. What I am certain of is that I also don’t have to commit to answering these questions right now.
Once I broke that mold of a perfect Catholic girl who was to get married, have babies and hold the picture perfect image everyone expects of me, it opened the doors wide open for a new perspective. I survived not being perfect and not being the social norm. I see differences in what I have been told relationships should be and how I actually think they should be. I have learned to appreciate that sex and love can be separate and how to identify each (and not be ashamed of it!). I have also learned how to not be afraid to have emotion play a part in a physical relationship. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing all the time. Maybe there is a gray area somewhere. It certainly will be fun to find out.