Friday, June 25, 2010

Open Relationships

Open relationships usually get the side eye when they are mentioned and it is understandable if you could never see yourself in one. If you are seriously into monogamy, THIS is not going to ever work for you. If you are selfish and just want to have sex with anyone who arouses you but you want wholehearted devotion from one person too, it is not going to work. Open relationships ONLY work when the mutual understanding is there and that whatever you participate in, the one person you choose to be committed to, will have those same privileges.

Growing up in a very religious household, some might have never thought that I would be okay with this but unbeknownst to many, I have had issues with monogamy since I first knew what dating was. The fact that I have commitment issues also made it an easier concept to grasp. Even though my household was religious, it wasn't perfect so I saw some things and was able to comprehend a lot of activity that didn't seem so "Christlike". I figured, if everyone else could pick and choose how/when they'd abide by their Christian standards, why couldn't I? Needless to say, that attitude made me feel some kind of way about religion as a whole...but back to the topic at hand.

I had a lengthy conversation with someone the other day about my relationship. I don't discuss my relationship in detail online because you never know who is waiting to misconstrue your words. For all intents and purposes of this blog, I am choosing to use myself as an example though. I am currently in an open relationship and it is of my own volition. I was not coerced into it; he was actually persuaded by me. In my history of dating, I have found most men's idea of an open relationship is that they get to do whatever they please but the woman must ONLY give herself and her time to him. That isn't an open relationship; that's you getting a free pass to be a whore AND have a girlfriend. If I was delusional and dickamatized, then a one-sided open relationship might take place. However, I am not and I would never agree to a relationship like that.

The reason my open relationships didn't work in the past were due to jealousy...on behalf of the man I was with. They had no problem doing whatever they wanted and were happy as pigs in shat to have their "freedom", however, the problem came in when I would choose to exercise my "freedom" and hang out with other people. It became a big problem and from my previous experiences, I know it had to do with their male egos. Apparently, women should have no problem with a man liking variety but heaven forbid we want to experience someone else! In the minds of those men, one man should have been good enough for me but I should be understanding that one woman would never be enough for them. So we broke up. 

Open relationships have terms & agreements in them just like any other kind. In order for me to even be categorized as someones girlfriend/woman, my terms & agreements have to be met. The person I have chosen to be with at this moment understands that. He isn't always comfortable with it but if he wants to be with me, this is it. All relationships require compromise and sacrifice; it is no different for us. As long as everything remains fair, I have no problems. Talking to friends and family about this subject is off limits for me because I don't ever want to feel like I HAVE to explain my adult decisions to anyone. My relationship is not up for discussion unless I choose to discuss it with you. 

As far as his friends go, I have no idea what they think or what they have been told but I could really care less. He has Neanderthals, mainly, for friends (yes, he is a bit of one at times too) so they would never agree to anything like this with any woman they even half ass commit to. Yes, they would have a girlfriend but would constantly be cheating behind her back. If my relationship can't be open, I would much rather prefer not being in ANY committed relationship because I don't think anyone should be subjected to the deception behind cheating. Could I do monogamy? Sure. Will I get bored? Well...who doesn't? Having an open relationship doesn't mean that every week, I'm splitting my time up between him and someone else. It means that when I WANT TO, I have the "relationship freedom" to do so. Same goes for him.

TO ME, it doesn't matter how well I get along with someone, or how perfect things might seem to others, I get bored of the same old thing too. It shouldn't be viewed as an insult; it just is what it is. Will I purposely pursue someone else to fill the shoes of my significant other? No and if I see that someone I get involved with wants to take things to a level I cannot devote myself to, I exit the situation. I don't have a desire to be as close to anyone as I am to him, and to my knowledge, the feeling is mutual. Should either of us decide one day that this isn't going to work, we are both free to go do something with someone else that makes us happy. The only binding we have here is love.

I have found that a lot of people are curious about how open relationships work but the respect in the relationship is no different than in a monogamous relationship. If at anytime either person begins to disrespect the terms & agreements, that person has to go. It isn't very hard to grasp. It isn't for everyone but for those who like a certain element of freedom in their relationship, it works. I get questions all the time about it and I don't mind answering them, as long as they are respectful of my personal decision. I don't need anyone throwing the Bible at me about it, nor do I need anyone making assumptions that I'm being forced into this. I have always been very decisive with my actions and if I participate in something, it is ALWAYS of my own free will. 

I love AND like who I am with; there are things about him that I haven't experienced with anyone else. I can freely open up to him and share things with him that other men might not even want to hear. He is able to be himself around me as well. We are so close that we can finish each others sentences effortlessly. We are so much in unison that our thoughts actually sync so much that we find ourselves thinking about the same thing at the very same moment. It's weird and I've never experienced a closeness like this since I was in high school. It isn't something either of us is ready to let go of so we make the necessary adjustments in other areas of our relationship so that both of us continue to be happy where we are.

If you are considering it, you can't be jealous. You must be confident in your decision to embark on this kind of relationship. It isn't anything to jump into in an effort to save a relationship that is dying either. Being with someone, through monogamy or not, requires you to be concerned ONLY about that person, not anyone else who you think MIGHT distract them. There are so many different vantage points from which these kinds of relationships can be viewed. Whether it is right or wrong is not a concern of mine; all I know is that I am happy and when I wholeheartedly try monogamy, I am not.

So feel free to ask questions if you're curious and/or share your thoughts but passing judgment will not be looked upon kindly :)

14 points of view:

Carolinaware said...

This was a good read. You gave some sound advice too as far entering an open relationship and the reasons NOT TO DO SO. One of my pet peeves is when people find out there is a little trouble in someone's relationship in the form of cheating and suggest 'opening it up to an open relationship'. As if that is some sort of elixir for that. NO. So I am glad you bought (alluded to) that up. Good stuff!

CurvyGurl ♥ said...

Honesty at its best. I realized a while ago that the ever-evolving world of relationships is more about what works for the parties involved rather than tradition (which is increasingly meeting an unfavorable end). I'm the jealous, selfish bitch who couldn't do it, but you've definitely raised great nuggets of truth as food for thought.

Ms_Slim said...

"Talking to friends and family about this subject is off limits for me because I don't ever want to feel like I HAVE to explain my adult decisions to anyone. My relationship is not up for discussion unless I choose to discuss it with you."

So true. You already know how private I am to this regard. Wholeheartedly agree!

ChiChi said...

So, if you meet somebody you like, ya'll hang out. If they want to take it to another level, you don't or you have to make that decision if the situation arises?

AssertiveWit said...

Carolinaware: A relationship that already has problems will probably end quicker once you "open" it LOL

CurvyGirl: That's the thing about relationships...they have ALWAYS been about what works for the people involved but so many people try to do things according to what makes others comfortable and that's where you get all the FAILS. Knowing who you are is VERY important in platonic and intimate relationships and it makes it easier to say, "hey, I can do this and I won't do that". I think the important thing is not changing who you are to be with someone. It doesn't really work in the end. I wouldn't beat myself up over being "jealous, selfish" if I were you; at least you KNOW this and don't have to ruin any relationship to find out LOL

Slim: hey stranger!

ChiChi: I make the decision if it ever comes up. There are some people that I am physically attracted to but I wouldn't necessarily pursue any kind of sexual relationship with them. You ever been around someone who just emits VERY good energy? I don't know if you're into that whole cosmic thing but I like being in the company of certain people. There is DEFINITELY an attraction there but sometimes, their company is enough. If I felt it progress pass that, I would definitely let them know my situation at home. If it isn't anything they could grasp, then I don't even play around. I'm very transparent with most things. I have no reason to hide what's important to me so I put it all out there.

There have been instances where someone wanted more out of the relationship but I know I couldn't give them what they wanted so we settled for friendship. I don't just break hearts LOL

ChoColAte KiSs said...

I finally have means to post a comment although I read it when you posted it...Honestly this was good to read from someone who actually is engaging in an open relationship....I'm too jealous for it...WAYY too Jealous, but I've always been curious about how one works...Now if this isnt offensive or too NOSEY, when its open does that mean SEX too? I know that might be a dumb question, or is it just the opportunity to hang and possibly spend semi intimate moments with someone else, like dinner or even kissing...

Kudos to you ...happiness is defined in so many ways, and as long as you're happy!!

AssertiveWit said...

Choco Kiss: I think it varies for each relationship; some people have a swinger approach (i.e. Will & Jade), some like variety so much that they explore their options sexually & emotionally, and others will only tolerate the physical interaction but consider it cheating if their significant other gets involved emotionally with someone else. I'm sure there are other elements people involve or remove to make it work for them but it's definitely a case by case thing. I'll BBM you the rest ;)

ChiChi said...

I think I look at men as sexual objects no matter what. LOL Most of the time, in the back of my head I'm thinking I would smash..or not. I doubt I could make an open relationship work. I need strict boundaries to be clear.

Jenny Brown said...

Your post is well-written and you've made some very intellegent points (altho, I think you're a pretty smart woman, so that shouldn't surprize me, right?) I, myself, would never consider an open relationship because 1.) I'm married and only wish to have one partner in my life and 2.) I'd be WAY TO jealous and 3.) I just don't think it would be for me...(for certain reasons that I won't get into) With that said, as long as both parties have come to a mutual understanding and have set bounderies and terms (so no one get's hurt, of course), then to each his own!

Thanks for sharing!

JujuMama LLC said...

Great article... thanks for sharing! I LOVE my open marriage. But I had to master monogamy first. I could not be afraid of commitment because relationships are all about commitment, even open ones. I had to learn to get along with a man, to trust a man, before I could love more... I will be checking more posts on your blog. Feel free to peruse mine http://jujumamablog.com

RAVEN said...

im too much of a jealous hothead to try an open relationship, but i definitely see the perks! you're clearly a smart girl, so im sure you're really in touch with exactly what makes you happy, it's very interesting though---because so many women probably feel like it would be a hard situation to see themselves in.

*also, i think 95% of men fall into the Neanderthals category. lol

JenDay said...

eye opening! thanks for sharing with us... :)

AssertiveWit said...

ChiChi: I am an extremist in a LOT of areas; middle ground is shaky to me. So I know this might be considered an extreme to some but it works for me so I'll be doing it until it just doesn't suit me anymore. I'm constantly evolving so 5 years from now, I might be ready to pursue a traditional monogamous relationship...or not LOL As for viewing men as sexual objects, you're nuts hahahhahaha I look at everyone as being capable of being objectified; it's all contingent on who is actually going to let you follow through with it, you know?

Jenny: I think boundaries are necessary in ANY relationship. As far as mine goes with my significant other, there are emotional boundaries that shouldn't be crossed with other people. Out of respect, if I inquire about someone, since we have open lines of communication, he tells me. He has the freedom to ask me as well. I don't think anyone should be left in the dark when it comes to their relationship. Other people do not have to be privy as to intricate details in the open relationship because it is STILL mainly about those 2 people.

JuJuMama: I think whatever journey someone has to take to be comfortable in a relationship, then that's what is necessary for them. I believe it is different with everyone. Some assimilate to what is considered the "norm" and others never do. As long as people are happy, I'm happy for them!

RAVEN: It is hard when you have a different personality from me. I know I attract certain kinds of men because THAT is who I get along with. Those men aren't cookie cutter images of monogamy. I know I am not going to feel how I do with them, with anyone else. When I was a teenager, I decided WHAT I liked and I've pretty much stuck to it. They have egos the size of gorillas but that's what I like!

JenDay: you're welcome

Relevantlystaying said...

You never cease to amaze me in your writings.. Im not interested in an open relationship.. but reading this post makes me less "judgemental" of those who choose that route. What I like about you is that you stand firm in who you are, and so many of us are afraid to do that. I love that you are happy with your situation and thats all that matters, (plus how many of us know people in monogamus relationships who are miserable..) I am walking away from this blog with confirmation of what I already felt and this is.....what society says is out the door and we have to do what works for us.. Right on sister!! Right on!

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