Is an "Open Relationship" Really for Me? How About a Custom Relationship?
Initially two people come together through an energetic attraction, but in order for two people to stay together, there has to be a need being filled. For me, that need is growth. That doesn't mean that I place the responsibility of growth on the other person. It does mean, however, that I look for partners who optimize growth in their own lives. And sometimes that growth means total expansion to the point of discomfort.
When I entered the relationship that I am currently in, we decided to optimize growth in a way that I had never done before. We both really desired an open relationship. We were nomadic travelers, living uprooted lives and it just made sense. We both realized that it was impossible for one person to fulfill every need that they other may have and we wanted to feel free in our interactions with others. Soon after we made this decision, we opened up a co-living space for nomadic travelers and moved in together. Our desire for an "open relationship" remained but the definition of openness changed as we spent more and more time with one another.
Openness is something that has to be defined. It is really a structure for behavior. There is no such thing as total openness; any relationship involves putting a container around two beings. Its a matter of what size you want the container, what shape, what color, what flavor. And defining this with a partner was one of the most beautiful exercises I have ever done. It was no longer about copying the rest of society of what is acceptable or not in romance. It was a totally custom relationship based on our needs. It was a conscious choice around what we needed and what we desired. I also accepted that over time, the definition or customization of openness could change. This is where total and complete transparency is crucial. We are evolving beings and over time, as our desires and levels of trust and intimacy change, so do our needs. This absolutely can complicate things as two people are growing at different rates. Relationships take constant effort and the more open a relationship, the more open the communication needs to be.
And throughout this process, our relationship strengthened, our communication became transparent, and our desires were openly expressed. Feeling an attraction to someone else? Say something. Talk it through. Ask yourself why. Are you upset that your partner looked at another girl? Why? Why do you feel jealously? Why do you feel possession? Why do you feel you own that person? What is acceptable? What is not? What makes you uncomfortable? What feels natural? Can we dance with other people? Can we go out to dinner?
The reason I desired this was because I desired to be completely transparent and intuitive in my own life. I desired to completely express myself. I desired to give someone a level of trust I have never given anyone before. And I desired to grow consciously.
So is an open relationship for everyone? I think the better question is, are customized relationships for everyone? That can only be answered within, by looking at your values and determining what you want to be in a relationship for in the first place.