I’ve been on a roll with top ten lists lately and as I was thinking about my open relationship I had the idea to write another. A lot of people have asked me how being sexual with people besides my husband could possibly help my marriage. I attest that having an open relationship has done nothing but improve our marriage. Here are ten reasons.
1. I know we want to be together because we love, like, and respect each other, not because we swore an oath of “no matter what” and signed on the dotted line.
2. He respects all women. I know men who are monogamous to their wives but disrespect women all the time, or are not polite to women if they know they will not get any favors from them, including fringe sexual benefits that don’t quite count as “cheating.” I like that I know he will be respectful to those he dates and those he doesn’t.
3. I don’t feel ashamed about aspects of my sexuality that include having crushes on others, writing erotica, or fantasizing because I now know they are normal and unlike the societal stereotype, they do not crumble a relationship from the inside.
4. I deal with jealousy in all aspects of my life. After you’ve dealt with jealously in such an intense form as with your lifemate, the other situations don’t seem as urgent and I can better work through them. That takes a lot of stress off our relationship.
5. He is not mine to share. I am not his to share. I am me and he is he. We have respect for each other’s desires instead of being offended, hurt, or irritated by them.
6. We are constantly growing and being challenged. Sometimes those changes and growth spurts are painful, but the strength we gain is worth it and combats the dangers of becoming bored or complacent with each other.
7. I won’t find a woman’s phone number hidden in his pocket because we put the numbers we get on the refrigerator.
8. I now first see another woman as being a potential friend rather than a potential enemy. When monogamy was our foundation, other women were threatening to me. I didn’t realize how entrenched I was in this competition. It was unhealthy and not very wise.
9. Each time we engage in a new experience, the trust in our relationship builds. That valuable investment makes it even more important that we stay together.
10. When we first started discussing an open relationship I was terrified: of what people would think, of infidelity, of insecurity, and a million other things. But I filled that fear with knowledge and have learned more than I could have ever imagined. I look back on the time when I was transitioning from monogamy to ethical non-monogamy as the most fortifying in my life. By investing in myself I am better able to make better decisions for my marriage and be more understanding and kind toward my husband.
An open relationship is not the only way to attain the things I mention here. But I believe they are all very important to a healthy long term relationship. What do you think? Any items you would like to add?