Exploring the Spectrum of Open Relationships | Part 2
Just like every monogamous couple is different from the next one there is not one single form of a poly-relationship. Talking to friends and acquaintances, I have gotten to know something you might call the spectrum of open relationships.
If you wish for sexual diversity in a relationship, the best thing might be simply talking to your partner about wishes and expectations because let’s face it: the only other option is having an affair. I know that this is a hard step and takes a lot of trust from both sides. If one of the partners is not into the idea of opening up the relationship, this might result in an uncomfortable situation.
Still, I believe it’s always best to talk about what both partners want, even if they’re not the same things.
Some couples might start by talking about having a threesome and go from there. Some couples have open relationships, but only when they’re on a vacation or when one of the partners is away for a business trip. Some couples give each other the opportunity to stray sexually but only a certain amount of times.
The only thing all open relationships seem to have in common is that they have set rules and boundaries of what can and can’t happen. Breaking these rules is comparable with being unfaithful in a monogamous relationship. I only know very few people who are in truly polyamorous relationships. These are relationships where, aside from having sex with other people than your long-term partner, you may fall in love with other people or have multiple comparably important partners at the same time. I find these relationships to be the most complex and complicated, but for some people, polyamory works very well.
I am not saying that everyone should be in open relationships.
What I am saying though, is that some people might be better off, opening up their relationship if both of the partners wish to do so. No one is happy when an affair occurs: The one who had the affair feels guilty, the partner feels betrayed. The relationship you used to have is over after an affair. If you wish to stay with your partner and not break their trust, talking about wishes and needs before acting upon them might be a better way.
It is scary to talk to a partner about wanting to have sex with others.
If you’ve been asked something like that by your partner, this is not (necessarily) a bad thing. It doesn’t mean your partner doesn’t love you or doesn’t find you attractive anymore. It can also be a sign of how strong the bond between the two of you is. Coming forward to share secrets and hidden desires, even if they’re complicated and potentially hurtful, takes a lot of trust on both sides.
If you ever consider opening up your relationship, take your time, talk everything out, make compromises. The goal is to find an arrangement that fits both of your wishes and needs. Know that opening up a relationship will make things feel different and will complicate things. And remember, if it doesn’t feel right, it might not be right.
Suggested further reading:
The Truth about Polyamory by Psychology Today
Polyamory through my Eyes by Lady of Pure Filth
Polyamory and Commitment by Oh my Mermaid
The Selfishness of Polyamory by Life.Exe
Also suggested: Netflix’ series Wanderlust on the topic
Monogamous relationships are really interesting. But personally it seems to me that it is quite difficult to love in such a relationship.
I’ve just come out 5 months ago at age 50 and I think I met my soul mate already… Before meeting him I befriended a couple of guys mostly through Grindr. Met a couple who is in an open relationship and one of them is on Grindr looking for threesome partners. I met them a few times and I just wasn’t ready for that kinda thing… not that I wanted it. I was looking for gay friends to learn more. I’ve learnt a lot from them. I guess they love that sort of thing and that floats their boat. Each to his own. For me… I’m a one man, man! A relationship is sacred and I’m old fashioned anyway. The thought of doing it like that has crossed my mind but I don’t think I’ll ever be ready to share my man on any level. Or myself in that way. I’ve “heard” it’s very much the case with most gay guys. Sad actually… I guess that’s why so many men got infected and killed in the Aids era. Promiscuity? I have for the first time slept with my man a while back and still no penetration. Cannot wait for that. Perfect love happens between TWO people. Three (or more) is a crowd… Just my view.
First, I wanna congratulate you on coming out and taking this big step – I’m sure you’re not gonna regret it!
Of course you don’t have to participate in open relationships and be as promiscuous or not as you wish to be. I don’t understand, however, why you think promiscuity is ‘sad’. To each their own and as you wrote yourself: If it works for some, that’s great.
I personally don’t believe that the promiscuity in the gay scene has a lot to do with the fact that we’re gay and more with us being men. Might sound sexist but I believe that men have a higher sex drive than women which makes it easier for gay men to be promiscuous than for straight men.
Is promiscuity the reason for the HIV spread? Might be a factor, but more importantly, HIV is more prevalent with gay men because the virus is more easily transmitted during anal sex than during vaginal sex. It’s damn unfortunate but I guess very understandable… In a time before people knew about Aids why would you use condoms as a gay man?
Thanks for your input!
Hey Ben. Thanks for your reply. The “sad” part… that it is so easy to just be casual about sex, I guess. I am still completely new to the “out” gay scene as I just came out. You can imagine my conversations with my now first partner. So much to find out and learn. He is 44 and out since age 18 with 3 relationships.
I get what your’e saying… men do have a higher sex drive and that there is a fine line between that and promiscuity.
Thanks for your blog. Great to learn from those who have been around the block a couple of times!
Of course, I am always happy to hear new views on the topics I write about 🙂 So thanks for leaving the comment.
I get what you’re saying and sometimes I think that the gay scene is completely oversexed. I’m probably a little ambivalent about it all.
I actually can’t imagine what the conversations you’re having with your men sound like – but I would be very interested in them. If you’d ever consider writing about them I’d love to publish something about your late outing on my blog 🙂
If you’d like, you may read my story here… https://stone7774.wixsite.com/stone777 I started a blog in November 2016 and I’ve only been active there up to April 2017. I am going to continue there when I’m ready. Couple of reasons why I am not there anymore. So much has happened since I last updated it. So I have much to write about. Let me know what you think. All the best and thanks for sharing with us.
Leon C Ferris
A very good presentation on open relationships. I have a couple who are best friends of mine. They are both bisexual men who sometimes invite a woman into their bedroom. Just a thought but one you should know. Naked hugs!
True, one of the coudples I thought of is between a bisexual man and a straight woman. Sometimes they invite extras and I think that they’re mature and open enough to pull this off is amazing. 🙂