Maybe you are in a relationship and one of you just got hit with a bad crush on someone else.
Maybe you swallowed a fake gender stereotype like, “All men want is to sleep around without commitment” (which, like all stereotypes, has the ability to hurt you – think twice before you swallow).
Maybe you just read the book “The Ethical Slut” and thought, “Hey, I wanna try that.”
The bottom line is: you are in a relationship and someone had an inspired moment and said the magic words:
“Let’s have an open relationship!”
When I say “open relationship,” I’m not talking about actual polyamory, or “poly people,” of whom there are plenty in the Bay Area.
I’m talking about you. You are dating someone you like and even love. You think you’ll get married (to just one person) someday. You aren’t sure what you want, and now you are going to try and date someone outside of your current partner.
Here are my questions for you, seeker of open relationships.
Hmmm… Questions to answer for yourself about your Partner (the one you are dating right now)
- Do you really want to be with your partner?
- Are you actually trying to back out of the relationship but you don’t know how to end it?
- Are you actually trying to talk someone into staying with you, and this is the best you can get? If yes: ask yourself – “how long can I settle for less?” Be honest.
- Are you just afraid of committing? If so, why? Will this reason change over time?
- What are you afraid you will miss out on if you are in a monogamous relationship?
- What is your relationship to sex? Do you think it is only for people in love, or for physical fun? If the former: reconsider your “open relationship,” please.
- Are you trying to distract yourself with sex because you are afraid to get closer to the person you are with?
- If your partner never changes their mind about sleeping around, will you be happy with their choice?
Questions you should discuss with your partner:
- Have you discussed the boundaries of your open relationship?
- What is allowed/not allowed? Note: Get graphic here. Details are better.
- How much do you “kiss and tell”? Note: See above note.
Questions to ask yourself in the middle of your “Open Relationship”:
- Are you jealous? (If so, how are you dealing with your jealousy?)
- Are you scared you won’t find something better?
- Do you feel closer or further from your partner?
- Do you want to continue your open relationship, break up with your partner, or close the relationship back up?
Everyone is different! Don’t let other people’s judgments or pressure sway you (not even mine).
The key to any relationship is openness and honesty. This means: be honest with yourself. If you aren’t feeling it, be real about it. Be honest with your partner. If you need something different, be real about it.
Finally, if you end up changing your mind – don’t feel bad. It doesn’t work for most people. But, hey, it could work for you!
Your unofficial dating coach,
PS: I am showing off my crap-tacular graphic design skills with these new icons on the top of each post. Let’s see how long I can keep it up.