I am in an open relationship, so I am required by law to corner you at a party and tell you how it “just kind of works for me!” In all seriousness, the only time I talk about my open relationship is when people inquire about it, or when I’ve been given the liberty to do so in a writing assignment, so there’s nothing you can do to stop me. In any case, whenever people discover that I am in a relationship that allows me to f*ck other people, they come in hot with an onslaught of questions. There’s nothing wrong with curiosity—in fact, I encourage people to explore topics they aren’t familiar with—but sometimes people don’t think about the implications their questions and words hold. People’s questions about my open relationship can sometimes feel intrusive, judgmental, condescending, and ignorant. Because people are…what’s the phrase I’m looking for…really f*cking annoying.
So, in order to help you avoid annoying someone with your questions about their open relationship, I’ve gone ahead and answered some of the most common questions I get bombarded with while attending a party I didn’t want to go to in the first place. God, the things I do for ART.
“Doesn’t That Make Things Complicated?!”
Babe, all relationships are complicated. Have you met people? They’re messy AF, and when you put two of them together and try to live in harmony, sh*t tends to go down. Working on yourself and your partnership and finding what works for and makes both of you happy is an amazing thing, but I can promise you it will be complicated at some point. And open relationships are no exception. And yes, incorporating a less traditional “rule” where you can get it on with other people does require work. It forces you and your partner to confront things with a very open mind. And above all, it requires constant communication. My open relationship has transformed me from a person who would never admit when she was devastated, to a woman who is ready and able to talk about her feelings and her feelings about those feelings. So, in that sense, open relationships force you to be able to better handle complications. Opening your mind and focusing on mutual respect, desire, and freedom requires a lot of growth. And after some time, you just might find that your relationship feels less complicated than others you’ve had, because now you’re a pro at openly communicating with your partner.
“Don’t You Get Jealous?”
Sure. Show me someone who never gets jealous of anyone in their life—including significant others, friends, and enemies—and I will show you either a liar or a robot. Jealousy is a natural feeling, and it’s one we’ve been taught to feel when our sexual partners desire someone else. But like, I hate to tell you this, but desire is natural and your partner will likely feel it when they see a hot person. And the thing about hot people is they are everywhere, for better or for worse. Being open has taught me how to deal with my jealousy in a non-accusatory, hostile way. It’s okay to feel jealous, and when I do, I simply let my partner know. I tell him, “Hey, obviously you didn’t do anything wrong here, but just wanted to say that I feel a little jealous!” And you know what? Being able to say that out loud in a healthy way feels really good. I often find that once I do that, I’m able to let go of the jealousy, instead of letting it fester inside of me until it explodes. Also, I’ve found it important to disconnect jealousy from possession. While it’s okay to feel jealous, it’s not okay for me to let that jealousy transform into an active need to control and possess my partner. Because one of the best things about an open relationship is experiencing a love that is void of possession. My partners wants me to be free to be my own person and, and I want the same for him. Our love is lit.
“So Will You Be Monogamous When Things Get More Serious?”
People often assume our openness is temporary. I can’t predict the future, but I can tell you I love our relationship more than anything, and it’s been working great for the past three years. I don’t see any reason to change it, and implying that being “serious” in a relationship requires doing the opposite of what we’re doing is…rude. Like, I just witnessed you and your “serious” boyfriend get in a screaming match over the dishes, but go off, Carol.
“But If You Really Loved Each Other Wouldn’t You Only Want To Be With One Another?”
Nope! Some people like being monogamous, and that’s great! Do love your way, I’m not here to tell you it’s wrong or not real. Everyone should do what works for them, and for me and my partner, that is not monogamy. For us, sleeping with other people doesn’t change the fact that we love each other and want to be together. I like to explain it like this: You have multiple friends, right? (If you answered no… sorry?) And you love them, right? And maybe you have a best friend? But hanging out with friends you’re less close with doesn’t change the fact that you love your closer friends, right? For us, sex is a fun thing that we love to do together, and that we have fun doing with other people. You can have a favorite dish without depriving yourself of other snacks.
“Is The Sex Just Not Good Enough? Like, Why Do You Need To Have Sex With Other People?”
This is directly related to the previous question. Again, just because you really enjoy one person doesn’t mean you necessarily don’t want to enjoy other people. TBQH, the sex I have with my partner is by far the best sex I’ve ever had. It’s been three years and our sex life still blows my mind and keeps getting better. And honestly, I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that we both find our relationship and each other exciting. That, combined with the fact that we are so open with each other, creates a sexual connection that is v satisfying. Hooking up with people is fun. One stands are often a hoot. Sometimes you’re out at a bar and making out with a hot stranger is ~the vibe.~ That doesn’t change the fact that you and your partner know how the f*ck to lay it down in the bedroom.
Images: Max Rovensky / Unsplash; Giphy (3)