Having an open relationship is amazing. Your heart opens to many different new connections at a deep level of interacting on the level of the heart. To me an open relationship is all about sharing love. Love can manifest itself in the form of a sexy person, but also as new possible business partners, friends, clients, teachers. Existing connections switch towards a deeper level.
But is switching your relationship to an open model just fun and easy?
There are challenges in an open relationship, in living polyamorous.
When opening your relationship, be prepared for a journey of unpeeling all the layers you formed over time. You will face many limiting beliefs, defense mechanisms, projections and assumptions you have towards other people and towards yourself. You will rediscover and redefine your relationships. There will be confusion and loads of emotions. But if you can allow yourself to feel all those feelings, when you are brave enough to keep looking into the mirror and see the lessons you are being offered, you will become stronger and stronger. You will find more and more of that amazing core within you. You won’t be depending on other people to find confirmation, love and acceptance. You will realize it’s already there, inside you.
You will find true happiness.
Are you prepared to open your heart and soul to life?
The foremost important thing in open relationships is communication. As you will be confronted with many emotions during the process, you need to keep talking with your partner.
You and your partner need to fully trust each other to make this process successful. It can happen that you have a lack of trust in mankind in general. In that case it’s especially important to set boundaries to the openness of your relationship and stick to those compromises. Especially in the beginning of an open relationship this is very important. By building confidence that your partner will respect your boundaries, you will gain trust. And with trust, insecurity and other negative emotions will decrease and eventually disappear. Be aware, this is a process that might take time.
You can only build trust by being totally honest with each other. Don’t do anything you feel you cannot tell your partner. Even if they don’t want to hear it. You don’t need to tell your partner in that case, but by committing yourself to the boundaries of what you can tell, you won’t push limits.
Agree upon how many details you will tell each other. There’s no need to tell all dirty details if your partner isn’t eager to hear them. But once you’re confident about connecting with other people it can be great fun to share the stories of your explorations with your partner.
You can decide on many levels of being open considering intimacy. The most important thing is to keep communicating through all steps off the process. While connecting with people you will notice that there is always a flow. Sometimes this flow is on a friendship level, but even then, a flow might turn sexual. Ideally, in an open relationship it is okay to follow that flow no matter where it goes, as long as the boundaries of all people involved are respected.
Whether you allow each other to have full sexual liberty, have some agreements, or whether you follow a flow of opening up, it is important to set clear boundaries. Set clear definitions. What do you consider hugging? What is snuggling? Cuddling? Which activities are in the spectrum of sex? Without clear definitions it is very easy to cross other people’s boundaries without being aware of it.
Talk about your boundaries with your partner before you start connecting with people. But when you start putting theory into practice you will notice your feelings might change. Keep checking with your partner how s/he feels very often and redefine boundaries whenever one of you feels it’s necessary. Follow the flow of the person that takes the slowest pace and respect that pace. You can easily take steps too quickly – rebuilding the trust you destroy by doing so will take a lot of time.
There is a difference between the things you want yourself to be able to deal with, and what you really can deal with. Be really honest with yourself. You won’t be happy if you don’t respect your own boundaries, how badly you might want to be the open, able-to-cope-with-everything person you believe you can be. Stick to your deep feelings. Go within, meditate, walk, talk with your partner. Discover what you truly feel and be true to those feelings. Be flexible and adapt your boundaries to your present feelings. Take a break when you need some space. We agreed to have a veto: if the other connects with a person with whom the other for some reason cannot agree with, we will stop the connection.
Don’t worry too much when you find your new connection more thrilling than your partner considering aspects of intimacy. Or when you feel your partner finds someone else more sensational. A new connection is new. New things are exciting. You will learn new things from your new connections. Bring those things into your primary relationship and see what happens. Probably things between you and your partner will feel new, exciting and awesome!
Suddenly your partner expresses interest in other people. Maybe s/he wants to go out without you, tell you what great contacts are manifesting. Maybe you hear how beautiful this new person is. How smart, tall, sexy… It is quite likely and very normal to feel insecure from time to time.
Be aware that your partner’s statements about other people have nothing to do with you. When someone says:” I met a person and she is very sexy”, they don’t say “I met a person and she is way sexier than you are”. The insecure part of you makes a comparison that is negative on your side.
You don’t have to do that. It’s a choice to compare yourself to others and think they are much smarter/sexier/independent/social/wise/talented than you are.
In order to get rid of the insecurity you can choose not to open your heart, or force your beloved ones not to connect with other people, but that will not solve your issues with insecurity.
You might feel yourself not worthy the love and time of your partner. Or maybe you fear your partner finds a better match?
Try to realize that insecurity is within you. It’s not the truth. It’s a possible truth that you believe to be the only truth. There are so many projections that we use as a filter for incoming information. This filter often creates a very negative image of us. Can you identify your projections? Can you see what influence they have on you? And can you see who creates these projections? It’s not everybody else. It’s you. It’s also up to you to let them go.
When you want to spend time with other people it is inevitable to spend less time with your partner. Of course you can try to concentrate meeting other people at the same time, or at times when your partner isn’t at home anyway. But that’s not always possible. There will be days or nights when you are home alone when your partner is off having fun with others.
It’s easy to feel sad and lonely at those times and you can definitely choose to feel like that. But having time for yourself is also a great possibility to explore your own interests. Which things would you love to do but you never give yourself time for doing so? These nights are perfect for those activities.
We openly recognize that’s not an English dictionary term but it emotionally fits as a description.
In a monogamous relationship you are (probably) the only one your partner says special things to. ‘I love to spend time with you’, ‘It’s so great to just lie next to you and hold you’. In an open relationship your partner will tell those things to others too.
But what makes our relationship unique now? And how do I feel special again?
Well, you can only feel special when you allow yourself to feel special. As for some relationships: that will always be unique because most feel we want to be together for a long time. Preferably until we’re old and grey. It can be hard to imagine there is anyone else in the world who can teach and challenge us in as many different areas as our partner does. There is a very strong foundation. There’s not much that can destroy that. The connections with other people are more temporarily or more concentrated to certain things to learn. Maybe they last for one day, for a month or some years. But (probably) not for the rest of our lives. Another unique thing for some relationships is children. Sometimes couples do not plan on having more with other people.
Is there enough love for me when my partner also loves other people?
Many people tend to think in terms of scarcity and neediness when it comes to love. Have you heard of the phrase ‘love is the only thing that multiplies when you divide it’? Well, it’s true. When you, or your partner, love(s) other persons s/he won’t love you less. On the contrary! When people are allowed to love as much as they want, they will be happier people. How do you feel when your partner is happier? Love isn’t a competition, it’s additive. There’s enough for everyone. Think abundance!
People talk. People will always talk. Especially when you do the stuff they can only dream about!
Gossip tells more about the people who say it than it does about you. Our hearts don’t judge. People that talk behind our backs about how we live our lives, whereas they complain they cannot make a move on a guy they really like because they limit themselves to socially expected behavior. When we really like someone, we can simply explore that connection and feel happy, fulfilled and loved. Even though we might be the one gossiped about, believe we are way better off!
Be aware that you are in an open relationship. This means you have a primary relationship. For the people that connect with you this means you are not totally available. You might not have issues with that, but the other person might hold back because there’s always someone else in your relationship life. This may feel like a rejection. Be aware that you are not rejected as a person; rather it is the situation that is rejected. Be prepared to respect and accept the feelings of others.
Remember to Enjoy
Having an open relationship is a guarantee for a trip down Personal Development Lane. It is not an easy trip, but you will learn a lot on your way. When you identify and accept all the challenges you meet, you will be able to let them go and set yourself free. On the other side of all this there’s a person that is happy, comfortable, loving and very sexy. Allow yourself to receive all the things that come your way. Be brave and… don’t forget to enjoy!