By Vince Shifflett
Open Relationship. Is it right for you and your partner/spouse? I have seen a huge increase in the number of my readers contacting me to talk about this very issue, so I decided to write about it.
Growing up, it was absolutely unheard of to have anything but a monogamous relationship. Or at least that is what was taught in the church and by society, while at the same time infidelity was rampant both in the church and in society. Is monogamy realistic?
Let me first start by being clear that I do not believe there is a right or wrong when it comes to relationships? No judgment. It is whatever works for the people involved in the relationship and not for others to decide or judge.
I tried monogamous relationships. I have been in them most of my life because I believed it was the right thing to do. The rise of divorce and infidelity led me to ponder this issue. Are we perhaps trying to put ourselves in this little box that society and religion have told us we belong in once again?
You meet that special one, get married, have two kids, the house with the white picket fence, and you live happily ever after. Sounds beautiful, but the research is showing that it doesn’t work for many. Again, not being judgmental but instead just thinking outside the box. That box that we’ve been put in.
There are many different types of relationships. There are monogamous relationships, polyamorous relationships, open relationships, and more. Open is defined by the people involved. It is important to have a conversation, so both are on the same page with what open actually means. Again, no right or wrong.
I am currently in an open relationship. It is my first and has turned out to be my best. There seems to be a huge tendency for people to say they are in a monogamous relationship while at the same time lying, cheating, being deceitful, and harboring secrets. How healthy is that? In my opinion, it is much healthier to be honest and have the open conversations without judgment. Why would one choose to cheat, lie, and harbor secrets as opposed to an open, honest conversation and relationship?
People evolve and change, which can make relationships challenging. You must be able to have the conversations as you evolve without fear of judgment from your partner or fear of losing them. I know for me, I stayed in a “monogamous” relationship out of fear of losing my partner. I instead cheated, lied, and hid things from him. Ultimately that ended the relationship.
An open relationship is not a license to be careless or disrespectful to the one you love. Maintaining respect is essential. Neither myself nor my partner actively goes out looking for sex with others, but we are both adult enough to realize that it could happen on a rare occasion. For us, it is about no judgment. We do not feel the need to talk about it if it does happen. We just have an understanding between us with parameters that are good for us.
Sex does not equal love. Just because I have that rare occasion when sex may occur with another does not mean I am in love with them. I am in love with my partner and have full trust in his love for me. Could it perhaps be a lack of trust and insecurity that causes one to suppress their normal desires or act on them in secrecy? Could it be tradition that keeps one in a “monogamous” relationship? Could it possibly be fear that your partner will fall in love with the person he has sex with? Are any of these good reasons to remain monogamous?
Sex has many different purposes. It is obviously used for procreation, but it is also used for pleasure. Sex can be a spiritual experience when shared with the one you love. It is a way to bring the two of you closer together.
If monogamy is for you and it is working with no secrets, lies, or cheating, then it is a beautiful thing. Having said that, open relationships and polyamorous relationships are also beautiful. The main question to ask yourself is, are you totally happy in your relationship? Can you get everything you need from one person? What type of relationship do you desire? What type of relationship best suits your ideas?
I chose honesty. I chose healthy conversations. I chose unconditional love without judgment. I chose to be my authentic self. I chose an open relationship.
Whatever type of relationship you choose to be in, remember there is no right or wrong. Let us end the judgment of others who choose a different type of relationship than us.
Vince is an author, speaker, registered nurse, and popular blogger. You can sign up to receive his monthly blog on his website at vinceshifflett.com.