Monday, March 28, 2011

Open Relationship... What's that? The hard stuff yet to come.

It occurred to me just after posting my last entry that it might be valuable to point out some challenges of open relationships. I didn't mention them at first due to the fact that hubby and I are new to this! Certain experiences have yet to cross our paths. Nonetheless, it's likely that at some point...

One of us will fall in love with someone else, and both of us will have to deal with that. Neither one of us has yet been through what I'm thinking of as 'third-wheel NRE (New Relationship Energy)' - where he's in love with someone else, and I'm the third wheel, for example. He's not yet come home talking non-stop about another women, but it's likely to happen sometime.

One of us will feel like we're not getting enough attention, affection or time from the other. Right now, I'm the one who gives approval for him to go on a date, and vice versa. It's predictable that that level of control will diminish as we get used to sharing each other, and as demands from other partners increase. At some point, one of us is likely to feel slighted and have to make some powerful requests accordingly.

One of us will not WANT to keep our agreements, or give the other what's been requested! 'But I'm having so much fun with him, and now you want me to spend the Whole Next Week only with you? Wanh!' Chances are that one of us will have to manage a frustration when what we've agreed to do or give no longer feels like a good idea.

One of our relationships will end, and both partners will have to deal with it. NRE happens when a relationship starts. What's the term when a poly relationship ends? I count my blessing that both he and I are so responsible with our emotions - chances are that we'll be able to maintain friendships with our future exes as we already do with past ones. But there's still an amount of grieving that occurs when a relationship ends - something that brought me joy, for example, is now gone, and that's a loss. I can pretty much guarantee that one of us will experience grief, and the other will have to navigate "my partner is grieving, but I'm still here, but he/she's still grieving," etc.

None of these situations are good, nor are they bad. They are simply some challenges that to me appear unique to open relationships. Are they insurmountable? No. Are they 'growth opportunities?' Yes! Are they the reason that some couples end their open relationships? Yes.

I like to think that we're ahead of the game just by knowing that this stuff is likely to occur. So, when it does, we can say, "Oh yep. Here's that frustration that I knew would show up! Now, how shall we deal with this...?"

M. Makael Newby, 2011 - All Rights Reserved -

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