You get a lot of blank looks when you tell someone you’re in an open relationship. The thought going through most people’s minds is that it’s all about one month from being over. When they find out you’ve been in an open relationship since day one and you’re currently on year three, well, then they’re curious.
As far as how it works – honesty is the only policy. In each successful open relationship, everyone knows what’s up. You might talk it out before it happens, or immediately discuss the crazy one night stand you just had. You discuss what you enjoyed about it, what you didn’t. You always throw in some compliments to your partner, and yes, you even straight up compare the two – to their face. There are no secrets in this relationship. You likely pee with the door wide open.
There are boundaries – maybe even more than in monogamous relationships. But, you understand them. A lot of people aren’t allowed to bring people back to a shared living space. Family is probably off limits. Friends are usually no-nos too (This varies in the polyamorous circles). Maybe you can have casual sex, but you can’t date. No spending the night. You have to talk about it first. Veto power. There are lots of possibilities. But, you both know what those boundaries are, and you respect them because otherwise, it’s like you’re cheating.
The ability to be comfortable with the person you love sleeping around or dating other people can be a multitude of things. But, if you’re not motivated to have an open relationship, and neither is your partner, it will fail. Below are some motives/reasons that people have for being in open relationships.
1. Love is Endless.
You’re polyamorous. You have many partners – and your partners have many partners. There is plenty of love to go around.
There’s often a hierarchy in your relationships – someone is the primary lover, the secondary, and so on. Other times, lovers are ranked equally, and some are even in shared multiple person relationships – triads and quads.
What it all boils down to is that you love each person your with, and all the people they’re with know all the other people you’re with in some way and have met, creating this spirograph of relationships. It’s beautiful…and convoluted.
2. Monogamy is Not Practical or Possible.
You have a lot of self-awareness – and you know that if your relationship is not open, you’ll feel trapped, and will either leave or cheat. After all, “til death do us part” used to be a much shorter timeframe. There’s more room for lovin’ now.
It’s all about confidence in this relationship. You’re so confident in yourself that you know, no one out there is better than you, or is a better match for your partner. You know they feel the same way because you talk about it. You both understand the need for variety, and that that’s all it is – a little dose of the new relationship highs and lust. So, you’re comfortable with sharing and being shared. There are small tinges of jealousy that can arise – it’s only natural, but you’re so comfortable in your relationship and your value that it’s ok for both parties to wander from time to time – no one else is as perfect for your significant other as you are.
3. Love is Not Real.
You have either never found love, believe so strongly against the idea of love, or simply have apathetic feelings toward others. But, you find someone with the same feelings. In this scenario, you appreciate the connection you have, but aren’t about to be tied down into something that isn’t storybook love. So, you both stick to each other first and foremost, but understand that sex can be just sex. You can be in a second relationship, but it’s more like friends with benefits.
At some point in your life, you realized that you liked both genders. So, how are you supposed to be satisfied with only one half? You’re not. You find a partner that understands you swing both ways and is willing to open your relationship so that you don’t have unmet desires. Maybe your partner swings both ways too. If not, you have an agreement that if you’re playing with someone else, they can do the same. You tend to keep the other relationship simple, one dimensional, and you really focus on each other – but there’s just something you have to get out of your system first.
5. Sex, Sex, Sex.
You’re a really horny person. Your partner is a really horny person. You love each other so much, and you love having sex with each other, but in this relationship, maybe you’re the top and they’re the bottom, and you need to be topped sometimes. Hell, you need to be topped by two people sometimes. You see someone new and they intrigue you. How are they in bed? You can’t just not answer that question. You need to have sex with others, to experience others in that clothing optional way. Your partner needs the same thing. You understand that your body has desires that are absent of the heart, so you have at it. In the end, you come back together, maybe even the same night, maybe even with the other person in tow. You talk about the great sex you had, and then you have more of it. You’re machines.