I was sitting in a bar recently waiting to meet a friend and a stranger came and sat next to me. We made some light conversation before he subtly/not-so subtly announced that he was interested in meeting again...privately. He asked about my relationship status, to which I responded that I am in an open relationship, and when I asked him the same question, he told me his partner knew that he fooled around but she often turned a blind eye. In essence he cheated in plain sight. It made me think, in today’s society is there really a clear cut definition of cheatin
In a world of non-monogamy, poly-armory, swinging, swapping, and open relationships, how do two people who are committed to each other define the boundaries of their relationship. The standard rule of sleeping with anyone aside from your partner can no longer be assumed, and the need for defining your own relationship is now the focus. While some traditional folks will say that this is the demise of society, I respectfully disagree, we are now in an age that puts a spotlight on communication. It highlights the fact that couples have to be open with each other and have to be able to have conversations that make them uncomfortable. I truly believe that understanding and the ability to share your needs with your partner is the best way to create a more sacred bond. We just have to think back to 2015 when the Ashley Madison site was hacked and thousands of accounts were leaked, waking up to realize that the perfect marriage you once had was all an illusion. How many of my readers searched the names of their spouse or their own father only to have their memories of the person shattered? If these people had only lived an open and honest life with their spouses they would have never had to endure the shame and public humiliation many had to endure. Anyone who argues that the men and women on this site deserved the humiliation needs to remember that it wasn’t limited to these individuals, what did the spouses and children of these individuals do to deserve the same shame.
For anyone who has recently rejoined the world of modern dating and are confused by the mountain of new dating terms, I have defined a few popular terms below, with the help of Google of course.
Non-Monogamy: is an umbrella term for every practice or philosophy of intimate relationship that does not strictly heed to the standards of monogamy, particularly that of having only one person with whom to exchange sex, love, and affection.
Poly-amorous: is the practice of, or desire for, intimate relationships with more than one partner, with the consent of all partners involved. It has been described as "consensual, ethical, and responsible non-monogamy.
Open Relationship: a marriage or relationship in which both partners agree that each may have sexual relations with others.
Swinging: the practice of engaging in group sex or the swapping of sexual partners within a group, especially on a habitual basis.
Monogamy: the practice or state of having a sexual relationship with only one partner.
There is many more ways to define intimate relationships including Casual Sex and Friends with Benefits, but for this discussion we are only looking at committed relationships.
So before anyone jumps up and says non-monogamy is not a committed relationship, I would argue that simply committing to sleep with only one person does not mean you are in a committed relationship. I would define my relationship with Ethan is a committed one, why? Because we have gone through a lot together and we are still together, we are each others number one when it comes to priorities, we support each other, I know I can trust him, he knows he can trust me. Just because we have decided to add variety to our sex life, we have not abandoned our partner. We discuss our potential sexual partners with each other and make sure the other is ok before we take things to the next level. If anything I can pretty much guarantee that we have better communication as an open couple than most monogamous couples.
So how did our conversation come about? I was the one to bring up the subject of not having boundaries to our relationship. I didn’t define it as open due to all the negative connotations associated with the term, I didn’t want our relationship to feel sleazy. Open seemed like a catch-all word, and when people hear it they automatically assume that we will sleep with anyone and everyone or we fear commitment. Neither of which are true. I wanted a relationship where I could be open and honest with my feelings. I wasn’t ready to commit to one person again, I didn’t want to fall into the same old pattern. Thankfully Ethan himself told him that he wanted to explore himself outside the bounds of a vanilla intimate relationship, so while he never expected to find himself in a relationship with a girl that had “commitment issues” he had the mental mindset that he wasn’t going to close himself off to anything without first giving it some serious thought. So when we first started dating, everything was on the table and open for discussion.
So how could you bring up the conversation with your significant other? There’s the way I chose which was to just be blunt, rip off the band-aide and speak your about feelings. But for others it might not be so easy. Other options would be to tell your spouse you read about it in an article (like mine) and it made you think. Or you and your partner could do the research together, I truly believe that in order for relationships to work they need to constantly evolve. The thing that worked for two people in the beginning won’t work as time passes. Yes, you can still have a good relationship while sex becomes stagnant but deep down no one wants that kind of long term relationship.
Before you bring up the conversation with your significant other you should spend some time focusing on why you want to change the dynamic of your relationship. Ask yourself why five times (Five Whys). This was my process.
I want a relationship with no boundaries:
Why? Because I prioritize an active, vigorous, fresh sex life.
Why? Because I don’t want to end up in another stale, sexless relationship.
Why? I have experienced a sexless relationship and I hate the feeling of rejection.
Why? Rejection affects my self-esteem.
Why? Because it’s human nature to want to feel part of something, a stronger deeper connection.
So the reason I wanted to do this was because I feel variety will keep us close. For other people they may feel the relationship is already stagnant and the root cause of them wanting this would be so they don’t end up cheating on their spouse.
Once you have done some self reflection. You can begin talking to your spouse, be prepared to be shut down, be prepared for anger. Just because you have decided you would like to do this you need to give your partner time to catch up. They may want to start off by spicing things up in the bedroom first, maybe explore a little kink. But for some the shock of hearing this could cause them to pull back, but this is the prime time to keep talking, this doesn't mean you start pressuring them, you now have a platform to discuss your intimate relationship and you should take advantage of the opportunity to prioritize your sex life again, even if you don’t end up being in a non-monogamous relationship as least you’ll be able to talk candidly.
Say you start talking and he/she reluctantly agrees, I suggest you start discussing your comfort levels, boundaries, ground rules, and research the potential emotions you will both feel during the process as well as the need for aftercare...remember communication is key!
I can go into details about how you will navigate the world of non-monogamy if my readers would like but this post is mainly focused on finding what you and your partner want, my goal is to make couples talk so sites like Ashley Madison doesn’t need to exist.
So grab some wine, wait until the kids are down for the night and start talking. You never know, sometimes just talking about trying something different is enough to get the blood pumping to the nether regions.
In case anyone is wondering, I did not sleep with the guy from the bar. While I admired his forwardness I wasn’t interested in taking it any further than an interesting conversation.