[relationshipfilter] Suggestions on working within an open relationship (not including, get out of it)?
October 24, 2009 11:59 AM Subscribe
Offer me suggestions on my open relationship. I believe in it - but still feel a little weird about it.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (35 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
My partner and I have been together for four years now. We are one another's primary partner in terms of emotional relations - but we have essentially a don't ask/don't tell policy with regards to what we each do with other people. We both feel that monogamy works poorly as a universally imposed standard and feel that sexual monogamy is not important to either of us. We certainly don't believe that enforced monogamy "saves" a relationship that isn't going to work on all other counts - so we see no point for ourselves in enforcing it.
Our only rules are - if you have sex, have it safely; and if an outside relationship starts to impact what we have, you have to be forthright about it so we can work through it. We've discussed these issues on several occasions, and I firmly believe both she and I are on the same page about it.
My problem is, although I do honestly believe these things, there is some part of me (maybe linked to too much Disney viewing as a kid?) that feels that I'm doing something wrong if I start to think about acting on this policy - I haven't done so myself, yet, and I don't know whether she has. I think it is probably cultural absorption - but it makes me feel a bit badly. And then of course I feel bad that I'm not living up to what I believe in - at least, abstractly, I'm not down on myself because I'm not chasing hot ladies.
I'm also worried that, despite what I believe about monogamy, if these feelings continue to bother me, it might damage our relationship. I'm not worried about jealousy - thinking about things from her POV doesn't bother me at all.
I'd prefer no responses along the lines of "this is a sin" and "this can never work" - I respect that other people's opinions about whether this is OK to do will differ. But what I'm looking for is specific advice about how to deal with feelings I didn't expect - not lectures on my sinfulness or misguided-ness. (If you want to offer a detailed exposition of where I've mistaken something, that would be OK.)
If you have a relationship like this, do you get these feelings too? How do you work with them? Do you feel that your open partnership works for you? Or have you found that feelings of jealousy or guilt - wherever they come from - have gotten in the way, despite your best intentions?