I’ve had my share of open relationships. Some where with my knowledge, an arrangement we made together, while other’s I found out after the fact. I wouldn’t call the latter cheating, due to the fact there was no formal discussion as to if the relationship was exclusive or not. While there are those that consider a few weeks of dating, several dinners, movies, sexual encounters and even meeting a few friends to all scream monogamous couple, until you actually have the discussion, consider the relationship open.
My last attempt at an open relationship was a disaster. We had only been dating a few weeks and while we discussed our feelings about sex with others and love with each other being very different, I was clear I didn’t want to be disrespected. I was in the end disrespected. But is there really respect when you partner is eyeing everything that walks? I thought there was. I thought it was possible to separate love and sex to the point I would be okay with an open relationship. I thought knowing he loved me and was coming home to me would lessen the hurt and feeling of not being enough.
Open relationships are a theortical dream. To have your man at home and to truly be in love but then to be able to satisfy fantansies with no negative cost to the relationship sound amazing. With my own personal belief that sex doesn’t equal love, a physical sharing of the body wasn’t enough to ruin the emotional connection that ultimately is the base of the relationship. After twenty plus years, all you are left with is the emotional as sex tends to fade. The thought was why not start a relationship that way but after my own attempts, and even hearing from other couples still happily engaged in an open relationship, I learned a real lesson.
If one decided to have a relationship that is open, my experience says it must be after the relationship is emotionally solid. Without trust in the relationship, anything open will lead to jealousy and a possible connection with that flavor of the week he just went to meet. There also needs to be open discussion to avoid disrespect and misunderstandings. A lack of communication in a situation where misunderstandings can easily occur is a recipe for disaster.I do believe open relationships can work but it is very very important to have a base of love, respect and understanding first.
Personally I can’t say I will try an open relationship again. I am too much a fan of love and I would prefer not to create conflict for the sake of fantasies and lust. Even if the sex fades, I can get drunk off love and be completely happy just in that. Each person is different and there is no need to condemn a couple’s choice. Just communicate and figure out what is best for you. There are no set rules to love. Just honor love.