Open relationships aren’t for everyone, they’re not exactly new either. Polygyny (one husband, many wives) was common in Ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt, as was orgies in Ancient Greece. Not to mention the practice of polyandry (one wife, many husbands) in Nepal.
On one hand, this style of relationship existed in previous cultures for the benefit of the economy; to help with population control. In other cultures, it was to promote good fertility within a community.
But here in the western world, my version of an open relationship is based on a personal creed of connecting with people in the most caring and passionate ways possible. Often it includes physical intimacy, but sometimes it’s just a strong emotional connection.
My partner and I both believe in never denying oneself of feeling attraction or wanting something society often says you shouldn’t have.
The Mamamia Out Loud team deep dive on one night stand etiquette. Post continues after audio.
I have one partner whom I love, but many people I will meet, care for and share a bed with.
That’s a system that works for us. We didn’t get there easily, but it did strengthen my ability to trust all facets of our relationship. This trust helped me process moments of insecurity and worry.
Every time there was a thought of insecurity, he would reassure me that he loved me.
Every time he left to be with someone else, I worried about if he’d still come home to me. I’d tell him how I felt and we talked about it.
Every time eventually turned into sometimes.
That reassurance and support he gave never left me.
My partner told me he loved me after two weeks of meeting me, the very morning after we had decided to be official. After he said that to me, I was more intrigued than worried that he might have been an oddball. Instead, I just had to trust that how he felt was the truth, and wasn’t simply a pick-up line.
Realistically, I didn’t initiate this kind of relationship. People always say, “Oh I bet he wanted to do it”, and they are right! I asked my partner why an open relationship was so important to him and why he thought it’d work for us. This is what he said:
“This is just what I am. I sabotaged too many relationships because I felt trapped. I saw your open-mindedness, your ability to love and care for others so deeply, and I figured this would work for us.”
The more I heard him speak, the more the words rang true to me. He tells me I happy cried when we had this conversation — apparently I have forgotten all about it.
“I didn’t want to waste your time. Most importantly you need to be honest with yourself if you’re gonna be honest with someone else.
“Just because you’re in a relationship doesn’t mean you’re not still going to be attracted to other people,” he said.
Needless to say, he took a chance on me and it worked. I always say that the phrase, “it takes a village to raise a child” is much the same in life. It takes more than one person to influence you, to love and care for you and to help you grow. So, why not open your relationship to affection and an intimate friendship from more than one person? Because we started on a strong foundation of trust, I was always honest with him.
That's not to say it wasn't strange. I mean, what kind of person doesn’t get angry or jealous, when I kiss other people?
This one apparently!
Opportunities came up to talk about everything and I would make sure I hadn’t done anything wrong. These conversations turned into “are we in an open relationship” and “what does that even mean for us?"
Trust me, there were lots of conversations, but that’s just what it takes.
Ask any old couple, your parents, newlyweds, ask them all. What makes your relationship successful?
Through this constant communication, we both determined that we liked to explore other avenues. That we liked to flirt with others, potentially have new sexual experiences, but ultimately, have the opportunity not to feel guilty about wanting to meet other people.
Being in an open relationship has not been without its hard times. I have struggled with insecurities more than he has, but it has really shown me how strong our love really is. If we can always talk about one of the things that some people lie about, then we can conquer the world.
Each relationship has a different system that works for them. Some are okay to let each other make out with people at parties or when you go out. Some only allow one-night-stands and never want you to see the person again.
For us, it’s about the connections we make with people. Both of us care deeply about others and love having new experiences. We are okay with that line blurred between friends and sexual partners, because by adding intimacy just strengthens a friendship.
First and foremost comes our love. Yeah, it’s cheesy, but when the love is there, so is the trust. This feeling of security and respect was one I had never felt in any monogamous relationship before him.
I’m not telling you that being in an open-relationship will solve all your trust issues. It’s not that simple. But I will tell you it has been a fantastic blueprint for a healthy, communicative relationship.
If you’d like to know more or just ask a question, you can find my page on Facebook.