8 Questions People Ask Me When They Find Out I’m in an Open Relationship

I’m pretty sure monogamy was never for me. In fourth grade, I got in trouble with my boyfriend because he found out I had another boyfriend. Throughout high school and college, some of my relationships overlapped, and some were purely dishonest. But society told me I had to be with one person at a time, with the goal of choosing one person forever. I would often fall into a cycle of trying to make that work but eventually letting temptation get the best of me, and failing both parties of the relationship; especially my partner. I hurt people, and it felt so wrong. It was so wrong.

After a really great, long-term, successfully monogamous relationship ended, I was suddenly singlein my late twenties and enjoying the freedom and the variety. That’s when I met Adam on OkCupid. Adam was fun and our chemistry was fantastic and rare, and though we kept it strictly physical, with those boundaries clearly defined throughout, spending time together was becoming the highlight. Eventually, the inevitable conversation came up naturally about what we were, and what we could be. We were both always aware of the existence of other lovers, but it was clear that we were each other’s favorite. It occurred to us that we could keep the excitement and variety, and still let ourselves fall in love with each other.

In July of 2012, we began an open relationship. And since then I’ve gotten a lot of questions about how we make it work and why we would even do that in the first place. I get that it can be hard for a lot of people to understand. But it works for us, and it’s not as unusual as it seems. Here are some of the most common questions I get.

1. What does it mean to be in an “open relationship,” anyway?

An open relationship is a form of non-monogamy, which is an umbrella term for any physical or romantic partnership that is not predicated on exclusivity. There are tons of versions. In this article I’m focusing on what Adam and I are and do: a committed couple that takes lovers. Or as Dan Savage calls it, we are “monogamish.” Even that can look really different from relationship to relationship. One married couple I’m friends with has a couple of girlfriends between them, and they also have their own partners (she has both male and female partners, and he has female partners). I have a good friend who lives apart from her boyfriend; she has several regular male and female lovers, while he travels the world, finding spontaneous sexual encounters along the way. For another married couple I know, non-monogamy means one partner does things with lovers that his husband doesn’t really enjoy doing, while the husband opts for trysts that last 25 minutes, tops. They also welcome multitudes into their bed for great big orgies. Adam and I keep our lovers separate (more on that later).

The great thing is, once you’ve decided that you can include other people or lovers into your relationship, you can make it whatever you want. It’s up to the couple to decide what levels of involvement with secondary partners feels comfortable. Generally, the one rule with non-monogamy is that all sluttery must be done ethically, safely, and with consent of all parties involved. Beyond that, each pair or group determines their own limits and guidelines.

And lest you think we’re a small subculture of free-love weirdos, research over the last several years estimates that 4-5 percent of relationships in the U.S are non-monogamous. Even more are interested in the concept. ____ A study described in Psychology Today in 2014 found that between 23 and 40 percent of men and 11-22 percent of women are curious to try it.

2. Sounds fun. But why do you need this when you have a great S.O. at home?

Many people feel that having a relationship or sex with only one person for an indefinite amount of time is too difficult and unnatural. I have always been one of these people. For most of my life I was a serial monogamist and constantly cheating. In fact, I only had one successful monogamous relationship. It wasn’t until Adam and I created our arrangement that I realized I could actually have it all: commitment and freedom. And he gets to, too. Everybody wins. (And everybody gets laid.)

A lot of non-monogamous couples joke that they spend more time talking about it than they do getting any. That is the case with us.

3. Why are you so anti-monogamy?

I’m not saying monogamy is impossible, or improbable. I know lots of people who have very successful monogamous relationships and are really happy together. But a lot of people are challenging the conventional relationship style, and it’s working for them—just like it’s working for me.

We build and modify the relationship—and the rules—as we go. Yes, we have rules!

4. Oh, good. You have rules. What are your rules?

We started with very few, and now we have a few more that we’ve devised along the way. There have been instances where something has felt uncomfortable, or times we’ve felt hurt, so we’ve modified. We don’t get mad at each other if something happens that feels uncomfortable as long as it’s not a violation of an existing rule; we learn from it, and make a new rule.

Rule 1:

This was the first rule we made up: This is our primary relationship. We make a point not to spend too much time with secondary partners. We can, and sometimes do become friends with them, especially if they hang around for a couple years, but we have to cut it off if it becomes more than that.

Rule 2:

Honesty. Always. But that’s something we’ve never really had to make an effort for.

Rule 3:

Always get consent from the person who’s getting involved. And of course, let each other know when we’ll be seeing someone else.

Rule 4:

We don’t date friends or anyone that we know—including anyone we are friends with on social media. Once, I saw a Facebook profile of someone he ended up sleeping with, and she was absolutely stunning. That was hard for me because I couldn’t help but compare myself to how I perceived her online (most of which was just illusions filled in by my very own brain, of course). But we got through it together. Just because he was the cause of my hurt, it didn’t mean I couldn’t wait to run into his arms and have him comfort me. We made a new rule then: No sleeping with Facebook friends, no friending lovers.

Rule 5:

Two different lovers in one week is a little much, so we try to avoid that.

To read more please follow : https://www.self.com/story/open-relationship-stories-rules-questions-people-ask-me

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