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Old 12-28-2007, 12:59 AM   #1
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open relationships

Is anyone reading this in a positive and healthy open relationship? I'm not necessarily looking for advice, I'd just like to start a conversation about a topic that it seems receives overwhelmingly negative feedback from the majority. I am in a relationship of this nature, and if anyone else has anything productive, constructive, or positive to say, I would love to talk about it.

 
Old 12-28-2007, 03:26 AM   #2
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Re: open relationships

Quote:
Originally Posted by wholegrain View Post
Is anyone reading this in a positive and healthy open relationship? I'm not necessarily looking for advice, I'd just like to start a conversation about a topic that it seems receives overwhelmingly negative feedback from the majority. I am in a relationship of this nature, and if anyone else has anything productive, constructive, or positive to say, I would love to talk about it.
Well, what are the premises of your open relationship? As I understand it, even an open relationship has its own premises or rules, if you prefer, otherwise it becomes chaotic, right?

 
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Old 12-28-2007, 05:40 AM   #3
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Re: open relationships

If it's what you want and it works for you then it works for you. There are many different kinds of relationships. It could never work for me because I demand 100% of my husband's attention and vice versa!
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Old 12-28-2007, 05:59 AM   #4
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Re: open relationships

My understanding of an "open relationship" is being able to have sex with whomever you choose. Is that correct?

Well, if may work for others and if that is the case then good for them. I, however, would not be able to stomach the thought of my husband being intimate with anyone else. I think it would errode all the trust and love there was between us. But that's just me.

Is an "open relationship" really a relationship? I mean, isn't a relationship between two people? I would think it's more of an "open lifestyle" rather than an "open relationship".

 
Old 12-28-2007, 06:54 AM   #5
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Re: open relationships

If you are ready and prepared for all the consequences that may going to take place because of this open relationship well go for it... we have our own perspective about this matter... what maybe acceptable for you, may not acceptable for other as for myself I can't tolerate that nor bear that. Never.
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Old 12-28-2007, 07:24 AM   #6
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Re: open relationships

One of my best friends is in an open relationship with his wife and it's working out well for both of them. They each go out on "dates" with other people sometimes, but the rule is that they always have to come home to the other person at the end of the night for "last dance". Their other rules include prior approval from the other person before anything is done, and an open and frank discussion of the events that took place during the "date". It works for them and it if anything, they seem to be a lot happier than most couples I know.

My friend explained it to me this way, he said that the one thing that causes majority of divorces is infidelity. If you take away the cheating aspect of the relationship, then you have a lot less stress, and that makes both people really happy. And since their rule is to always come home to each other at the end of an encounter, that solidifies that they are still together.

I think that it's great that it works so well for them. They freely discuss the situation with people, and they have no problem with it. It's kind of cool to see how open they are about discussing it around people.

 
Old 12-28-2007, 08:31 AM   #7
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Re: open relationships

although it sounds like it would be a problem, one of the reasons a relationship (just two people) works is they are forced to work out their problems with each other. In an open relationship, it would allowa situation just like somebody sneaking around where this other person becomes a sounding board and eventually, possibly a true paramour rather than simply a roll in the hay.

What prevents the outside interest from becoming the main interest? The reason people go on dates is to learn about that other person which in many cases results in an intimate interest in them. What do you do when your spouse finds somebody more interesting than you?

As well, why do you need to have sex with another party? If one would put the effort into the relationship with their spouse they spend in pleasing another, why would you ever need to venture outside of the 2 party relationship for excitement?

Sorry, to many pitfalls to be concerned with for it to be a successful situation for long.

the only thing I can see an open relationship provides for the couple is the fear of losing their partner to an outsider so they may work harder to make their relationship better. Fear is not an appropriate motivator to cause one to work to a better relationship.

Love and respect work much better for a real and deep relationship.
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Old 12-28-2007, 08:57 AM   #8
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Re: open relationships

I don't see anything wrong with an open relationship. If that is what works for both people. I don't think it's right if one person is doing it to please the other. But I can see the appeal, I was in a relationship years ago that was somewhat like this, we were together, but were free to date others, this went on for a few years. I have never really assosiated sex with love, it was just fun. I guess it's all how you see things. With my present husband I would'nt do open, because he would NEVER go for it and we have kids and are too busy with that, plus honestly he is the sexiest man I've ever seen or been with, and I dno't have that desire. I have a friend who is in an open marriage and they have been together for 12 years, they are happy from what I've seen.

 
Old 12-28-2007, 09:57 AM   #9
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Re: open relationships

Quote:
Originally Posted by wholegrain View Post
Is anyone reading this in a positive and healthy open relationship?
I was in an open relationship once upon a time Wholegrain, but I'm afraid to say there was nothing positive or healthy about it. I was with him from the age of seventeen to twenty-two. He and I were cheating rings around ourselves (supposedly on the QT) and I said to him one day; "Why don't we have an open relationship"? And he said; "You mean just do what we're doing but be honest about it"? I just fell around laughing! That was a pretty crazy time of my life.

I know myself that the only reason I was able to conduct that sort of relationship was because I was not in love with the man. I loved him, don't get me wrong; but I was not in love, and had I been I know there is no way in heaven or hell or anywhere in between that I'd have been able to conduct an open relationship.

I think the feedback is generally negative because it sounds and feels unnatural to people. I've experienced being truly deeply in love twice in my lifetime and in that emotionally charged mind frame, there is just no way I'd be sending my partner out the door to get intimate with somebody else! I don't think the state of being 'in love' and the practice of non-monogamy correlates in a lot of peoples minds; I have to be honest here and tell you it does not correlate in mine. The first thing I would suspect of a person who was conducting an open relationship would be that they were in the same situation I was; that they loved the person they were involved with, but were not in love.

Pendulum was asking what are the paramiters within your relationship; I am also curious to hear about that. Also, Gooby asked; what prevents the outside interest from becoming the main interest? I thought that was a good question and I'm wondering do you ever entertain fears about that? And does it genuinely sincerely not bother you at all, the thoughts of other women doing all the intimate things that you do with your partner? I know I'd have a nervous breakdown!

I'm sorry for firing all these questions at you; I know they do not seem to correlate with the discussion you wanted to have so feel free to disregard them if you like, I'm just curious as to how you feel about or deal with these things. Like I said, I know why I could conduct an open relationship, but if any woman is going to tell me she's actually in love with her partner, but also happy to share him, that'd be a real point of interest for me.

 
Old 12-28-2007, 12:15 PM   #10
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Re: open relationships

An open relationship would never work for me. I'm needy and have some jealous tendies.

I do know of one couple that it works for, although it doesn't happen often ("it" being a date or encounter with another person.) Their rules include being honest about everything and no kissing, although they have can sex with other people if they want. (She feels kissing is more intimate than sex.) Sometimes they have a 3rd person join them, somtimes they go out on their own. It works for them. They've been together 8 years. And I have no doubt that they love eachother deeply. They've become close friends of mine and their feelings for eachother are undeniably.. this just works for them.

Different strokes for different folks.

Last edited by jen52983; 12-28-2007 at 12:17 PM.

 
Old 12-28-2007, 01:11 PM   #11
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Re: open relationships

Well I will just respond to one thing at a time here!


Quote:
Originally Posted by pendulum View Post
Well, what are the premises of your open relationship? As I understand it, even an open relationship has its own premises or rules, if you prefer, otherwise it becomes chaotic, right?
Yep, an open relationship is STILL a relationship and ALL relationships require boundaries and responsibility, or else they will fail and people will be hurt. Our premises are on more of a case by case basis right now. A lot of people in open relationships have a "primary partner" and much O.R. literature recommends being monogamous with your primary at least the first year. I have known my husband for 8 years and we have been together exclusively the last three. Our relationship has always been open, but I've never wanted anyone else (except for in the very beginning, when I was still dating), and it was better anyway to focus on just us. To build our foundation.

Then a while back I met a girl I really liked and discussed it with my husband. You ALWAYS talk about things when you're in an OR. He gave his approval and I've been seeing her for several months. Like I said, we're just figuring it out as we go along. That's the only way I'll know how I feel about things. He's told me what HIS boundaries are and I of course respect them, and when we cross over into grey territory we just sit down and all talk about how we feel. For example one boundary he has is that for some reason he is not okay with me dating men, only women. This is fine with me, I've never been highly attracted to men anyway and he really meets the entire need for masculinity in my life. I am extremely happy! I love both of them tremendously, my relationships with each are very different, and they are friends with each other.

 
Old 12-28-2007, 01:14 PM   #12
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Re: open relationships

Quote:
Originally Posted by BeaTrade View Post
If it's what you want and it works for you then it works for you. There are many different kinds of relationships. It could never work for me because I demand 100% of my husband's attention and vice versa!
Ha, I know what you mean on that one! There are definitely times when I have to take "time off" from one partner or the other, or I need my man especially much at the moment. And vice versa sometimes my husband needs all of me. The key for us is just talking about what's going on in our heads, and planning to compromise on time sharing if we don't agree (which hasn't happened yet).

 
Old 12-28-2007, 01:25 PM   #13
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Re: open relationships

Quote:
Originally Posted by happymom28 View Post
My understanding of an "open relationship" is being able to have sex with whomever you choose. Is that correct?

Well, if may work for others and if that is the case then good for them. I, however, would not be able to stomach the thought of my husband being intimate with anyone else. I think it would errode all the trust and love there was between us. But that's just me.

Is an "open relationship" really a relationship? I mean, isn't a relationship between two people? I would think it's more of an "open lifestyle" rather than an "open relationship".


Yes, being able to have sex with whomever you choose is one form of an open relationship. However in my opinion this is a very irresponsible relationship (and doesn't sound very fulfilling anyway). It may work for some people, but it would never work for me. The real definition of an open relationship is just any relationship where the two people involved are not necessarily bound to one another in exclusive nonplatonic love. Everyone has their own boundaries for what they are comfortable with their partner doing- a lot of people are even okay with their partner having other nonplatonic relationships, but without sex. In fact, sexual openness is the rarest form of open relationships.

Your last question is an interesting point of discussion. Yes, an open relationship is still a relationship. Yes, an OR is between two people. It isn't a menage a trois. I am simply in two different, independent relationships. It seems like what you are imagining is something chaotic and careless...THAT, in my opinion, wouldn't be a relationship! An OR, just like a closed relationship, needs to be respectful and responsible. Mine is.

 
Old 12-28-2007, 01:32 PM   #14
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Re: open relationships

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Originally Posted by wholegrain View Post
...
I am extremely happy! I love both of them tremendously, my relationships with each are very different, and they are friends with each other.
What an interesting case, Wholegrain! These two relationships sort of make you whole, don't they?

You know, one thing leads to another.

Maybe I failed to see this, but I'm under the impression that your husband has no partner other than you and he's just making a concession to you, right?

But what if he finds another woman/girl? Do you think you can take it?

And (I'll eat my hat if you tell me to do so - lol) what if he finds another man? Have both of you ever contemplated this possibility?

Another thing: I may be wrong, but I suppose that most couples in open relationships have no kids. Either because kids take a lot of your time, or because you think you have to set an example for them, the example of the well-adjusted family, right?

 
Old 12-28-2007, 01:56 PM   #15
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Re: open relationships

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Originally Posted by gooby View Post
although it sounds like it would be a problem, one of the reasons a relationship (just two people) works is they are forced to work out their problems with each other. In an open relationship, it would allowa situation just like somebody sneaking around where this other person becomes a sounding board and eventually, possibly a true paramour rather than simply a roll in the hay.
A lot of text on open relationships recommends that you be monogamous with your primary partner for at least one year before opening the relationship. This time period of course is flexible for everyone...my husband and I were monogamous for three years. Abstaining from outside relationships for a time period in the beginning helps build a strong foundation with your primary. And you have a very good point with an outside relationship (or one night stand as you describe, although that is very uncommon in working ORs) possibly trumping the primary relationship. That is an excellent reason to stay monogamous in the beginning. Get to exactly where you want to be with your primary- strong, deep, committed- and THEN open your mind to loving others.


Quote:
Originally Posted by gooby View Post
What prevents the outside interest from becoming the main interest? The reason people go on dates is to learn about that other person which in many cases results in an intimate interest in them. What do you do when your spouse finds somebody more interesting than you?
To answer your first question, this is the reason for the monogamy-in-beginning rule and the concept of primary and secondary relationships. Your second question: well, that isn't really a problem. My husband is my primary and I work on my end to withhold the principles of that. And even if I didn't, I cannot imagine someone I just met becoming more important than a man I have known half my life and have been through everything with. A man I made a lifelong commitment too in front of all my friends and family. My love for him is something so massive and deep that I am amazed at myself for being capable of feeling or doing it. I will always do everything in my power to keep it thriving as the main event in my life. If for some reason my girl or someone else started to negatively affect my relationship with my primary, I'd swiftly end it. But just the notion feels ridiculous in my head. It isn't logical that that would happen.

Anyway, it isn't like I've got all these lovers fighting for their place at the top of my life. They aren't rivals...they have an order and they COEXIST.


Quote:
Originally Posted by gooby View Post
As well, why do you need to have sex with another party? If one would put the effort into the relationship with their spouse they spend in pleasing another, why would you ever need to venture outside of the 2 party relationship for excitement?
I actually don't have sex with my girl. My husband and I have of course talked about it and he says it is acceptable to him, but I don't feel ready for that with her. I might not ever...it isn't a big deal. And if I did, I wouldn't do it because I "need" to. I'd do it because it would help me bond with my lover and grow as a person. If you are going outside of your primary relationship for sex because you need to, I'd say you have BIG problems in your primary relationship and you need to seek help for them.


Quote:
Originally Posted by gooby View Post
Sorry, to many pitfalls to be concerned with for it to be a successful situation for long.

the only thing I can see an open relationship provides for the couple is the fear of losing their partner to an outsider so they may work harder to make their relationship better. Fear is not an appropriate motivator to cause one to work to a better relationship.

Love and respect work much better for a real and deep relationship.
Well, have I opened your mind a bit and shown you that an open relationship IS about love and respect? It's kind of sad that people seem to automatically think that "open" means "careless and irresponsible". If anything, the concepts of love and respect are MORE pronounced in my life now. I hope that I have told you some things you didn't know before, and that you are enlightened somewhat as to how this works for some people.

Last edited by wholegrain; 12-28-2007 at 01:57 PM.

 
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