A few days after I had written the post for intermediate openness which I post on Monday I received a very frank and amazingly written letter from an old classmate of mine. He shared with me his story about stumbling into open relationships in order to prevent him from cheating on his partners and I will be honest I think this a very common misconception about going from an open relationship to one of a longer term openness. I can only speak for myself but the vision that I have for openness in the long term is one of love and freedom, whereby I have my significant other, but also where I am not bound to only be with that one singular person exclusively. I love the freedom of choice and in a perfect world I would have my partner with whom I would raise a family, but I would also have a male on the side who would provide that extra spice.
There is something in this though, this has to be the lifestyle that you really want. The hope or the waiting for that perfect person to come along who will sweep you off your feet and offer you the world is just not a part of this scenario. This is a chosen lifestyle based on past experiences and future desires and in really taking the time to get to know yourself. This lifestyle cannot be one where adapt it because you cannot stop cheating on your partners, so you adopt it as a preventative measure. Long term a lot more soul searching needs to be done. Had I stumbled upon this lifestyle because I had cheated in the past I honestly think I would be taking a very different stance. I would be tempted to take a hardened, screw it, it’s my life and I will do what I want type of perspective. Instead though, I was shown this lifestyle through love and support, along with an amazing amount of ongoing research and asking of questions. I did not want to open things up to cure a bad behavior. I wanted this lifestyle because of the possibilities that it offered to me long term.
I see very few short term gains in having an open relationship especially as it is so similar to just dating a whole bunch of people that it becomes difficult to really connect with just one or two people and give them the amount of deserved time to build things successfully. It just is not an easy thing to do and I cannot pretend that it is. Juggling 4 or 5 people is hard work and leaves you feeling drained, and more importantly these people are dealing with their own emotions about the situation as well. Grooves are harder to make when in this place and it takes and incredibly special person to work well. Which is a vicious cycle as these special people are much harder to find, and they need special attention to really bring this out in them. I think though that in finding these people and putting all this extra and specialized attention towards them, the result is an incredible bond filled with amazing communication and connections.
Hence why I know that living in an open lifestyle is just not easy. Knowing that I have exactly what I want right now, it can be difficult watching from the sidelines as my “partner” finds his groove. It is almost painful at times and the only thing that is helping me keep it together is the knowledge that I have what I want and I need to be patient and supportive until he does the same. I know that the sentence I just wrote is very scary to most of my readers and I understand completely that this seems like the most foreign and horrible thing to be on the sidelines for. All I can say is that knowing the goals he is seeking is easier to me than it would be coming home one day from a stable, happy, long term marriage to find that my husband is in bed with another woman. A small daily struggle, versus that earth shattering experience, well I have made my choice. And the joys that will result when he finds what he is looking for, playing a role in the happiness that I have found just seems like the biggest fantasy come true. And with my eyes wide open what he wants and what I want may never quite be the same, but as I said before there is an intense amount of effort put into developing these relationships and thus if ending things is the way to go it will be peaceful and with love and respect.