Sunday, August 8, 2010
A TLBFB Series: ADVENTURES IN OPEN RELATIONSHIP LAND Part I: Getting Our Needs Met
Many of my readers on several different occasions have asked me to write more about the ins and outs of my open relationship with my boyfriend, Adam. Tonight I feel inspired to do just that. This will the first of a few posts in a series I’m going to call Adventures in Open Relationship Land.
My boyfriend and I have decided to be in an open relationship on approximately five different occasions. Every time, we have gone a bit deeper into ACTUALLY enacting an open relationship. It was only two times ago that we finally put on paper some of the guidelines by which we’d like to conduct our open relationship. For me, this was so vital. Not in determining exactly how our open relationship will go—you never really know how it’s going to go, how people are going to feel, who you’re going to meet, etc—but it was vital in that it made me think about my relationship BELIEFS. What I WANTED out of our relationship. What I NEEDED. What were my relationship NEEDS?
A lot of us go into a relationship and let the relationship happen TO US. I wanted the relationship between Adam and me to happen FOR US. I wanted to be the subject of my relationship, not the object. And I’d never really thought of it that way before writing up this contract. We can conduct this relationship however we like, as long as our needs are being met. One of us can be actively seeking out partners while the other is only seeing his/her primary, and it doesn’t matter—as long as our needs, individual and collective relationship needs—are being met. The open relationship needn’t be symmetrical—but it needs to be equal. We both need have our needs EQUALLY MET.
People who are sort of outside gazers on our open relationship wonder how it can work when Adam is out fucking another girl at an orgy and I am staying at home and nursing my menstrual cramps. How can I POSSIBLY be happy with a situation like that? Don’t I feel lonely, neglected, sorry for myself? No, I don’t. Haven’t yet. Why? Well, we make sure that I DON’T. Because the night before that orgy, Adam tied me to the bed, blindfolded me, and played with my body for hours. We made love many, many times, softly, roughly, I cried in his arms, I Mommied him, we laughed and made out like teenagers in between eating salami and provolone sandwiches. And we fell asleep in each other’s arms. This actually happened. My NEEDS had been amazingly, stupendously, wonderfully met the night before Adam went to the sex party. So the next day, I was walking around with the same validated, blissed out, in love feeling that everyone experiences after a good date with the person they love. And when I feel that way, I’m so happy when Adam goes out and gets what he wants—gosh, Adam can do whatever he wants. I mean, within reason, of course. He can do whatever he NEEDS. Because my needs have been met. Our relationship’s needs have been met. And we can proceed boldly, daringly, adventurously in other directions because of that.
And then we can come back together again stronger.
That’s the beauty of the open relationship for me. It encourages my independent explorations—it asserts that Adam need not be my EVERYTHING at all times (and I need not be his). The open relationship says, Go, be my own person, have my own experiences, and then share them with my partner. The beauty of the open relationship for me is that we’re not being open, separately—we’re being open TOGETHER. This is a journey we’re each taking on our own, together! And every successful relationship is dependent on that—new experiences together. Studies say that couples who go experience new and exciting things together—their relationships are invigorated and rejuvenated over and over again. The beauty of the open relationship is the ability—as long as our BASIC needs are being met--to insert new life, new vim and vigor into our relationship whenever we both see fit. As two people on the same journey, experiencing different diversions along the way.
An open relationship is about valuing our freedom and valuing our security.
In my next post in the series, Adventures in Open Relationship Land, I’m going to show you a few points we’ve written down in our “open relationship contract” which is always in flux. I’m going to point out some of the open relationship “mantras” that have helped me understand and reiterate to myself what this open relationship thing is, and what it can be. I have the distinct feeling that a lot of the points will be related to by monogamous folks as well. My open relationship contract is just as much a relationship contract as an open relationship contract. So stick around!