I believe open relationships, for the most part, are misunderstood by mainstream society. They’ve long been force fed the idea that a relationship must be monogamous to hold any real meaning. This is an established rule handed down primarily through the halls of religion as a means of control. It keeps men obedient to the status quo and forces women to be
If you’re used to that type of relationship, it’s hard to comprehend an open relationship lifestyle. Honestly, people get jealous of it and they think it’s like you live in a 24/7 porno. I’m here to tell you; that’s not how it works. These are normal relationships. I have a steady girlfriend. We occasionally sleep with our friends. The biggest difference between us and the normals? We don’t have the guilt.
Can you have an open relationship and be a good guy, though?
Absolutely, and here’s how:
1. You need to establish rules and boundaries. Are you cool with letting each other see people independent of one another or do you want to share the experience with your partner only? Are you looking for a side boy/girlfriend or are you just looking to have some fun? Do you want to be friends with the people you have sexual encounters with or do you want it to be one and done? You must evaluate what you’re comfortable with and communicate that. Compromise if at all possible, but don’t agree to something you can’t handle.
2. Honesty is essential. Repeat after me: secrets are very, very bad. Hold nothing back. Don’t spare your partner’s feelings with a pretty lie when an ugly truth is there. Finding out later about something that happened behind your back is worse than finding out immediately. If something is making you uncomfortable, you need to express that to your partner. Resentment will kill the relationship much faster
than having sex with other people.
3. Jealousy is going to happen. How you deal with it can make or break the entire thing. As a man, you know that women are going to get more interest. In general, a lot of us are flirty horn dogs. Your partner may get a lot more interest than you. That’s okay! Keep in mind that the interest means you’re with a beautiful, sexy partner and you’re lucky. Also, remember that they’re coming home to you. Your insecurity isn’t warranted as long as that keeps happening. Whatever you do, don’t use the relationship to retaliate in anger against your partner for any reason.
4. Be upfront with the people you engage. Don’t lead them on and don’t break the rules you’ve established as a couple. You might end up being friends with these people. It’s not like having an open relationship is the norm. It’s a small knit community, so don’t pee in the pool.
5. Be safe. I can’t stress this one enough. Be safe and take the proper precautions to avoid diseases. It’s not porn. It’s real life.
6. Don’t be a flake. If you agree to meet with people, at the least you should show up. If you don’t want to be intimate with the other couple/person? Say so. I’ve found that most experienced and mature adults will take it gracefully and
realize it’s not because of them.
7. Be open to new scenarios, but if you’re uncomfortable with something don’t do it just for the sake of it. For example, I have no inclination to be with a man. Whatever it is that turns people on about guys doesn’t turn me on. I can say if I think another man looks good or if I think they have a good personality. I can even watch another man have sex with my partner and appreciate the inherent sexiness. I can’t imagine enjoying sex with another man. It’s just not in there. That said, don’t limit yourself and be open to changing your perspective. Just because I won’t consider bi-sexual experiences now doesn’t mean I might not later. Things change. Welcome, that.
8. Take your time. You’re going to be super excited at first. You might even obsess a bit. Just remember that sex, even with multiple people, isn’t life in and of itself. It’s an experience that should be savored, like a good steak. You
can’t rush it.
9. Reassure your partner that the relationship is solid if they need that. Let them know how much you love them and how much you appreciate taking a chance with something new. This lifestyle won’t erase problems from your relationship. You’ll still get mad at one another. Communication is the universal lubricant. Apply it liberally.
10. Have fun. If you’re not having fun doing something, then don’t do it. It’s a great philosophy to live by if you want to enjoy life. If this choice of lifestyle makes you uncomfortable and miserable, then ditch it.
Yes, with a few established rules and the desire to remain a good person, you can very easily be a good guy in an open relationship.
Photo: Flickr/nate bolt