What? You want to sleep with other people too? Oh wait, I can, as well. But how does this work? And does it work out? Open relationships seem to be for the commitment phobes, the forever wanderers, the creative arty types, for the free spirited. And they almost never work out on the long run, right? And they are so unfair.
Let’s start with the unfair, let’s start with the ugly.
What to do when you want to sleep with other people:
1. Open Relationships – the Ugly (Truth)
Why are so many men reluctant to marry? They dread monogamy. Sleeping with the same woman for the rest of their lives is not appealing. Monogamy is one of the most challenging promises men are (and in most cases aren’t) willing to make. Casual, non-committed relationships are beginning to become the norm. As it happens, more and more women are reluctant to adhere to a long term committed relationship or to marry too soon or ever. The partying years, the casual hook ups and short term relationship years are pushed out in many cases into their mid or late thirties. As for men sometimes until their fifties.
2. Open Relationships – the Bad (Way)
It used to be the 7 year itch. That’s when couples came about assessing and re assessing their relationship. Nowadays is more like 3 and a half years or less. Yes, the itch. The time when we start to wonder. Even the good guys. Even the good gals. We think about sex with other people more. We fantasize. We can get frustrated. We might want to break away, but we invested so much into our relationship. Dilemmas are born. We are torn.
Are we commitment phobes ? No, we love the safety, the comfort, the security of our relationship. We love the familiar. Sex only gets better by knowing each other more. Yet, the perspective of “together forever” might still seem daunting.
So, we cheat. And by cheating we step on a slippery slope. We start lying. We are trying to hide our transgression. We cover lies with more lies. And that’s the beginning of the end. We might make cheating a habit. We get estranged. We might get found out.The trust is broken. The relationship tanks and sometimes never recovers. It’s hard for a partner to come to terms with the fact that they’ve been in an “open relationship”, without them even knowing about it.
[Tweet “What is the good way to have an open relationship? #nonmonogamy”]
3. Open Relationships – The Good (Way)
What if you could do both? The long term relationship or marriage AND the casual hook ups as well. And not as mentioned above. Then how? Well, don’t delve into it right away. Even the thought that monogamy is not the only option can lift that claustrophobic feeling that could appear in time within the couple, when the honeymoon phase is over. Give it a few years to build up your relationship and make it strong.
Research into couples who are in an open relationship reveals that due to the fact that the “forbidden fruit” is actually not forbidden, it is not so avidly desired. This means that they might engage in sex with others maybe a couple of times a year, once a year or even once every few years. They do have other priorities, like building a life together, having children and progressing in their careers. How do they navigate the many pitfalls of jealousy, various insecurities and trust issues? The rules are, I wish I could say simple. They are not. What’s essential is to establish the boundaries both parties are comfortable with. There are loads of ” what if’s” within the, shall we call it “polyamory” scenario. The most valuable guideline to follow would be that you should always put your relationship first.
Think of sex with other people more like seasoning.
Beside jealousy, ego issues, insecurities and trust issues one of the most challenging aspect of an open relationship is different sex drives. Newsflash! An open relationship shouldn’t primarily be about sex! It should be about finding fulfilling ways to express and affirm our personality without disrespecting and hurting others.
I remember a scene from a movie, where the wife goes off to her tennis lessons, but not before saying hi to the dominatrix who had just arrived and is ready to take the husband into the bedroom for a session. She needed tennis, he needed…a spanking. I admit, this is not the same as when your man goes off to the pub to watch football. But if you work along the same principle that, as different people, we have different desires and expectations, one or several dimensions where our partner can’t give us what we need, then, by compromising and creating space for those dimensions the relationship can grow and become stronger. What’s most trying in a monogamous relationship is its predictability, the dreaded routine we are all in danger of falling into. By leaving the door open to other possibilities, we might just be able to make the “together forever” last.
For more related articles or for help with your online dating profiles, contact Laura now.