5 Things You Need to Know About Open Relationships

From someone who is actually in one.

A few weeks ago I watched a Buzzfeed video in which a woman sits with her two boyfriends and discusses what an open relationship means to her, how she met her men, how they feel about it and so on. Watch it for yourself if you’d like:

I then made the mistake of scrolling down to the comments section on the Facebook post it had been shared in and was horrified at the awful things so many people had to say. Think along the lines of the classic slut-shame comments: ‘that ho’, ‘frothing for multiple penises’, ‘those bros are not men, real men don’t share their woman [read: property]’, ‘those dudes are probably just gay for each other’… Ah, 2017, what a time to be alive!

Despite my own monogamous-blissful take on relationships, I call bullshit on the people who are ‘mortified’ by open relationships, and so I decided to ask a friend who’s in one what five things she wishes people knew about open relationships.

This is what she had to say:

1 Every one of them is different
*Paul and I have been together for three years and from our second date, he knew I needed the freedom that an open relationship allows. We have friends who, like us, are in open relationships but only worked it into their relationship later on down the line. We have friends who have more of a ‘hall pass’ take on things and would never even consider introducing their partners to each other. There is no right or wrong way to do this, guys.

2 I don’t want to even have to try and get everything I need from one person
Consider how different the relationship you have with your current partner is from the one you had with your ex. The dynamic of every relationship is different. The dialogue you have within them, the sex you have within them, your sense of humour within them. Consider that sometimes you may not even miss your ex, but you kinda miss who you were while you were with them. I don’t want to suffocate the parts of me that thrive with a highly intelligent partner; or the witty banter I get from a creative mad-hatter. I want it all and that’s really okay.

3 Stop asking if everyone is gay
Truly, truly, stop it. It’s 2017. Stop trying to make sense of people in a way that suits you.

4 Maybe I did or didn’t include it in my family newsletter
Lots of people seem to want to know if my relationships are shrouded in mystery when it comes to my family. The thing is, I just am who I am. My sister knows the name and postal code of every person I’ve ever slept with, so sure, she knows about this part of my life. But have I told my dad over Sunday lunch? No. But that’s to do with the fact that we’re not big on talking about romantic relationships. It’s not to do with the fact that I have open relationships.

5 Sure, I get jealous sometimes
But then I’ll talk it over with whoever I need to, understand that my feelings are normal and try to get on with my life and relationship in a really honest way. When you manage to dismantle that societally enforced thing that tells you that you should be with one person, it’s really freeing. You’re able to appreciate in other people that which you lack in yourself – sometimes even in the partner of your partner.

* Name has been changed

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