Open relationships part I – do they exist?

Do open relationships exist? This is the first in a series of blogs about open relationships.

Yes. That’s almost the only simple answer regarding open relationships – yes, they exist. Recently, more people are semi-publicly discussing their experiences, such as the artist Mo’Nique in NY Times, and the sex- and relationship writer Dan Savage. There are multiple columns about the matter such as this one in Glamour, but the authors mostly seem to want to remain anonymous. The term “monogamish” has been coined to cover relationships which are socially monogamous but sexually non-exclusive.

Dan Savage asked for successfully non-monogamous couples to tell their story a few years ago, and the first letter he printed was from me (link here):

“SL Letter of the Day: The Monogamish Closet

 by Dan SavageDec 7, 2011 at 3:41 pm

My husband and I are the pillars of society; we both work and pay taxes, we have two lovely children, we are an active part of our church community, I brought my kids to sing carols for charity this week and we host the rest of the family for Christmas. According to many of our friends, we are unusually happily married.

But we are not monogamous.

At the moment I have two more-or-less regular lovers; one a friend I sometimes sleep with, the other a sexy model who picked me up at the gym. Most of our friends and family would be absolutely horrified if they found out. It has brought us closer, we laugh more, we communicate better, appreciate each other more and have more and better sex with each other than we did before. We have also (surprisingly) made friends with our lovers, something we didn’t expect.

It feels like having taken Morpheus’ blue pill in the Matrix or having seen how the world REALLY works but not being able to talk openly about it. If others knew how unnecessary and oppressive the current “monogamy is the only way if you love someone” mantra is, the world would be a better place. I accept other people’s choices and understand that my way of living and loving doesn’t work for everyone, but I wish that I could be more open without risking my career and some close personal relationships. I hope that some time in the future, a non-monogamous lifestyle will be more accepted, and I certainly hope our kids will grow up in a world with fewer hang-ups with regards to sex. But for now, we’re in the closet.

Friends And Lovers And Spouses

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Wondering why today’s letter-of-the-day isn’t a question? FALAS’s letter comes in response to a call in this week’s “Savage Love“:

 Yes, yes: Every couple you know who’s ever had a three-way or okayed a fling wound up divorced. And that may be true—of the couples whose three-ways and flings you know about. You know lots of couples who’ve had three-ways and flings who aren’t divorced, but you don’t know you know them. Most married couples want to be perceived as monogamous even—especially!—when they’re not. So your friends who aren’t divorcing as the result of a disastrous fling, affair, swinging experience, three-way, etc., aren’t going to tell you about all the successful flings, affairs, etc., they’ve enjoyed…. ARE YOU MARRIED? Have you had successful flings, affairs, swinging experiences, and three-ways that your friends and family members will never know about? Send me an e-mail, share your story, and I’ll publish it.”
[note: this Savage Love Letter of the Day is from 2011, but even is Dan Savage has moved on, I’d love to hear from you!]
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