Recently I stumbled across a video on YouTube by the sex and relationship therapist Shan Boodram where she and her partner spoke openly about their open relationship. Initially, I saw the title and refused to watch. What I had heard about open relationships was limited and I immediately rejected wanting to know more about it.
But curiosity got the best of me and I clicked the video. I sat with the discomfort and rejection I felt. On the one hand I thought, oh so this is going to be the new norm to allow people to have their cake and eat it too??? This is just allowing a man to do as he pleases! But also, I thought about how we as humans are always evolving, who we were even 5 years ago can be drastically different than who we are today. So maybe an open relationship acknowledges that, by allowing us to fully enjoy the present committed to someone now and understanding those same two people may grow apart.
Shan and her partner's questioned who they would be to stand in the way of each other's life experiences. That by having an open relationship, it allows them to get the most out of life.
This resonated with me. And so I questioned if an open relationship was for me. I spoke with friends asking for their thoughts.
Most said they would be too possessive. Which led me to think why do think it's okay to be possessive in romantic relationships? If you feel the need to be possessive of your partner is that a biological response where in who you mate with you automatically have a sort of "marked territory" attitude or one of insecurity?
I looked at how an open relationship could be conducive to my life. After all, the idea of a lifetime commitment to anyone still leaves me with discomfort. Like, how will I know if in 10 years I still want to wake up to you?
I don't believe in saying "I'll always love you." Because honestly, I don't know if I will. I can say I will always strive to be honest in my feelings with you. That feels about right.
I questioned and questioned and found that my questioning came from a place of trying to understand what makes men stray.
I found that open or closed relationship, if a partner wants to cheat, they will.
In an open relationship, I'd be fully aware if my partner was romantically involved with others. But why would I want my partner to explore that? It's like, with friends, you can't get jealous if they gain other friends. So why do we become jealous when our lover has another lover? I know it's different but how exactly?
I'm resolving that it's not about not allowing my partner to be with others, it's that if my partner wants to be with others, they can't be with me.
On the other side of things, I think an open relationship is enticing because if partners are allowed to explore other people then I would think they're less likely to leave their primary partner. What is taboo and off limits drives us. Sometimes we do things simply because of the rush we get knowing we're not supposed to. So if a partner decides to explore someone else, maybe it'll be a more honest exploration such that it will be less enticing since it's allowed.
For me, a closed monogamous relationship is what I think would work best. But even more important than that label is honesty. I am aware that my partner will have desires outside of myself, that is human nature and I'd hate to be a in a situation where you stand me next to another woman and I'm left. But what's worse is if my partner would not give me the respect to be honest where our issues are first, try and resolve them and close out our relationship before starting another.
I can't control anyone but me. And through this topic exploration, it's solidified how important open, honest communication and trust is for me to have a thriving relationship. I don't expect my partner to promise me forever. But I do expect for him to be open and honest if he no longer sees a future with me regardless if our relationship is open or closed