Thursday, 23 February 2012

Sometimes I Am Just Too Open, Pardon My Pun

I am direct and honest, (post here).  This has served me well in many many situations, and has added much to my trustworthiness and the general relationships with my friends and family. However, I recently experienced my first, I want to cry reaction to me being in an open relationship.  I am writing this here as I was so surprised by this reaction that perhaps to a lesser degree some of my readers have experienced similar gut jolts to the subject matter.  I want to look objectively at as many possible sides as I can, and with the openness of my character I would like to share some of this conversation with you.

A new friend and I were discussing, life, death and our childhoods, whereby the subject came up about cheating.  I almost never remember how one links to the next, but here we stood talking about this most painful of subject matters.  She told me how her viewpoint was that if her boyfriend had a drunken one night mistake with someone else, she could possibly forgive him in the future.  This being on the assumption that he would change his behaviour to ensure that the cheating never happened again.  This I thought was an amazing and powerful answer.  I was expecting her to say it would be over and the door closed forever.  Thus I stated my view that cheating is a deadly sin, however I am in an open relationship so the terms of cheating are quite different for me.  We chatted a bit more regarding how she has done a lot of reading recently in order to become a more emotionally healthy person, which would in turn strengthen her relationship with her partner. 

Then she paused and asked me what an open relationship actually meant.  So instead of sugar coating anything, which may have been a more prudent response, I told her.  Basically for me, I am aware that neither my partner nor myself are comfortable with the idea of only have one sexual partner for the rest of our lives.  He has cheated in the past, and I have come incredibly close on a few occasions.  Thus for us the solution is to allow sex with other people.  Insert jaw drop here.  Followed by, her eyes swelling with tears and her reply, “just thinking about that makes me want to cry”.  I felt the necessity to emphatically reiterate that I know this lifestyle is not for everyone.  Further I acknowledged that this would never have been the solution for my ex and I.  I know in my heart that if my ex and I had opened things up to try and save the relationship it would have ended in a blaze of hatred.  I firmly believe that a relationship needs to start on a specific page, with mutual goals in mind.  The last ditch attempt at having kids, or getting married, or having a threesome would be an ill fated attempt to simply buy time.  But if a relationship begins with these discussions the success rate can potentially be higher. 

The lasting note we talked about was my feeling that a relationship shouldn’t change its whole dynamic in order to salvage it.  My lifestyle works because this is the way we entered into things and we have our ups and downs within it.  For me, a perfect world would be where I could have my fun on occasion and my man would be hopelessly devoted to me at home.   Which I am giggling as write that knowing the backwards absurdity in that sentiment.  Number one, that would never be equal or fair.  And number two, I need a strong willed man, never a male to put me on a pedestal and pine over me.  That prince charming may be the dream for some women, but it is not mine.  The last thing she told me, was again how sad she would feel if her man ever slept with someone else.  And I get that, through and through I know where she is coming from and have felt those same feelings with my ex.  We all are entitled to feel our emotions and live the lifestyles that we choose so long as we are not causing pain or harm to those we love.  So in summation, I made my new friend cry as a result of my open relationship.  I have been prepared for aggression and disgust from some, but I did not ever anticipate tears.

2 comments:

  1. it's fascinating that this person is so caught up with your relationsihp that the idea of you doing something she would find upsetting brings her near tears. sounds like her boundaries are a bit off.

    i agree that an open/poly relationship seems more likely to succeed if it starts with that as part of it! for my own relationship that's what we did and it was great. but lots of advice people (like dan savage) suggest that it's better to start 'closed', get secure in the relationship, and then open things up. probably different approaches suit different people.

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  2. I would agree with every couple is different :) Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment.

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