Open: A Take On Open Relationships
I googled “Open Marriage” and came upon a blog called openmarriageblog.com. How ironic, that the first post was entitled “Open Divorce.” I immediately began reading. Long story short, it was a couple that started a blog about their open marriage (husband did all of the posting). After reading through this blog I began to get a new perspective of what “Open” really meant. They had relationships with other people, I mean full on “falling in love” relationships with other people. Hence what seemed to be the demise of their marriage.
I wasnt expecting love. In my mind, open marriage meant, you see a woman or man you are attracted to, get permission and have great sex, end of story. I dont need to know your name or your number! But these people are going back over and over again, having multiple relationships and falling in love. NO WAY, totally against the rules!!!! Sex, this was supposed to be about sex and great sex at that!!!!! Not love! Hit it a couple times, and bounce! What the hell are you doing falling in love with someone, as though love with one person is not enough!
So I went on to read more “polyamourous” (if you will) blogs. And found this one amazing! After spending over an hour reading through many of her sexual escapades I stumbled upon this one particular post. What made this one so appealing? The question was a question that all women even thinking about the idea of open relationships have asked themselves. And her answer was...right on time…
“I am bi, and in a committed open relationship (we aren’t married). My biggest struggle has been with women he is attracted/interested in–there is nothing wrong per se with them, but they aren’t who I would pick. Have you or your husband ever had this issue? He says that he is not looking for life-long partner qualities (that I have). I understand that, and also we both have veto power, but I would like to work on being more open minded about his choices. Any advice you may have would be appreciated greatly.”
What I would say to Karen is this ~
Hubby and I have indeed had these issues. I have spent far too much time and energy in worrying about the women that he chooses, feeling that they aren’t right for him, and finding things about them that I don’t like, for whatever reason. And, believe me, I can always find a reason if I look hard enough.
My advice, which I feel I can dispense of wisely based on my own frustrated conversations, arguments and occasional knock-down drag-outs with Hubby is don’t look for anything. Don’t look for flaws in her character or appearance, don’t search for reasons you don’t like her, and don’t undermine your boyfriend’s choices in a “friend” just because she isn’t someone you would choose for yourself (or for him).
The fact that you are judging his choices is a clear indicator of your insecurities. I know this because I have been exactly where you are. It has taken me the 2 1/2 years that Hubby and I have been open for me to come to terms with the fact that I have some issues with being open. If you can see it from the beginning it might not be such a struggle for you. Hubby has been very patient with me, letting me voice how I feel about the women he becomes involved with, and allowing me to meet them and decide if I liked them. But, really, it all boiled down to what my fears were. And I was finally able to decide that I was afraid that he might find someone to replace me. Someone who was smarter, cooler, prettier, hipper, funnier, or thinner than me. Someone without neuroses, sensitivities, vulnerabilities or other inherent-only-to-Sadie flaws.
But, I realized, with Hubby’s abiding assistance, that that could never happen. And, I absolutely had to believe it. I had to make myself believe it, and feel myself believe it. Otherwise there was no point in having a marriage at all, open or otherwise.
I can’t tell you how I did it. Digging deep down inside I suppose. But however you do it, I think it would be helpful if you did. Talk it through with your boyfriend and tell him your thoughts, fears and feelings. Let him reassure you that you are what he wants in a life-long partner. Also, be open to the fact that you can’t be everything to him, just like he can’t be everything to you. It’s why open marriage works. The people who choose this lifestyle usually embrace this basic concept.
So, use that as a jumping off point. Realize that basic concept, believe enough in yourself and your partner that neither of you wants to replace the other, face your fears… and then let it all go. It won’t be easy.
But, if the two of you decide it’s worth it, then it will be worth it.
So what about some other couples that have had open relationships? Lets take for example the intimate Will Smith interview with Now Magazine on his open marriage of 11 years to wife and partner Jada Pinkett Smith: