Ever been interested in being in an open relationship? It’s an intriguing topic for some, and some Redditors recently revealed some aspects of their lives and marriages that make polyamory seem just as complicated as you’d think it is. Overall, the themes I got from reading these stories are: communication is key, and jealousy isn’t a trait that everybody has.
Alright folks, let’s open up!
1. “Then he came home and told me…”
After a lot of arguing between my husband and I about the lack of sex in our relationship (I have a very low libido because of medications I have to be on), we finally came to an agreement that he could find a friend with benefits. We agreed to some ground rules beforehand, like he couldn’t spend more time with her than with me, he had to be safe, I wanted to know before he he did anything (not immediately before, but I needed a heads up that he was interested in someone), and if he started developing feelings, he was to immediately drop it.
He started looking, and everything was fine. He’d show me some steamy texts he’d been exchanging every now and then, and it was fine; I really wasn’t jealous and I was glad he was having fun and was at least somewhat being satisfied when I couldn’t help him.
Then he came home and told me he was leaving me for someone else. He hadn’t even had sex with her yet, but had met her while looking for a FWB. And now he’s gone.
I’m not at all saying that open marriages are bad. I think, if he had been happy with the rest of our marriage like I was (and maybe had been more mature, who knows), it could have worked. I really do believe 100% that I would have been okay with it; I am not at all a jealous person and I’ve had FWBs before. But I do believe that if we hadn’t opened the door, so to speak, he wouldn’t have left. Or at least not nearly as soon, and not for someone else. But who knows.
We set up a lot of ground rules initially, things like you can’t hang out with that person all the time and sleep with them more than 3 times etc. Things that would mean that you were now in a relationship with someone else (we wanted open play, not poly relationships).
Now we just can’t be bothered seeing other people and the sex was never as good as with each other. We might bring in a person to jointly play with once or twice a year, but we’re kind of just “over” seeing other people lol.
Honestly, mostly the same as before we were open.
3. The Rules
It’s not as cut and dry as that for most couples that practice something besides strict, classic monogamy.
I have a low sex drive and my wife does not. I am a lesbian and my wife is not, she is bisexual. She remains attracted to men, despite being married to me.
With those two things in mind, we developed a method (with strict boundaries and rules) for her to explore her interest in others. It’s usually a friends with benefits situation, but there has been a one night stand (which violated several rules and we had a heavy argument about it).
Our rules are as follows:
No surprises. I want to know when you realize you’re attracted to someone and to know in advance when you plan to or want to pursue something.
No dating. I don’t want my wife having another relationship, I just want her physical needs met where I cannot meet them.
No unprotected sex, unless we’re very familiar with that person. And even then, birth control is required on her end.
That’s pretty much it. I want to know when it’s happening, who it’s happening with, and that she’s safe. There are some other nuances that aren’t exactly “rules”, but that I prefer. I would rather it not happen in my house so that I don’t have to look at it or go somewhere else.
Keep in mind, this has only happened a few times and she’s currently in between friends with benefits.
4. The Third Wheel
I am not in the relationship, but I am in a friends with benefits with a guy AND sometimes the girl in an open relationship.
They have been together since high school, and we are all in our 30’s now. They do have a kid together. I have been with one or the other, or both, but I have never even met the kid. If it’s with both of them, they send the kid to a sitter and we go to their house. If it’s one or the other, we either get a room or go to my place.
It seems to work very well with them as long as the 3rd party is cool with it.
He has tried numerous girls over the years, but they always want more, or don’t like the fact that his significant other comes first. I don’t want a relationship right now, so it works out great for me. (It’s been going on for about 7 years now, off and on.)
5. “I feel like I gained some valuable skills and insight during my time practicing non-monogamy”
I was in polyamorous relationships for about 10 years, and for 5 of those years I was married.
When I met my ex-husband we were both interested in exploring non-monogamy and didn’t see the need for strict monogamy in long term relationships. It was fun, terrible, super sexy, really difficult, and at some moments felt like the best thing ever.
Things I learned that you will likely need to do in poly/non-mono relationships: -plan/schedule/google-calendar everything, your life gets super busy -tons of time will also be spent talking about EVERYTHING -negotiate and renegotiate rules, peoples boundaries change -be endlessly committed to self reflection and personal growth -be ready for exercising your patience for DRAMA, even those trying to avoid it have drama because if you and your partner are dating multiple people you end up with a huge connected network and drama surely happens somewhere in that network at certain points.
I feel like I gained some valuable skills and insight during my time practicing non-monogamy (like communication skills, managing my emotions, learning more about what’s most important to me, learning how to be good at being alone, being super awesome at negotiating sexual boundaries, ect.) While in my heart I still feel like I’m more naturally inclined toward non-monogamy than monogamy, I’ve actually found that monogamy suits me better in this current world/reality.