Ever since we launched the Summer of Sexiness, friends as well as strangers have been intrigued by our sexploration. While there is, of course, the general titillation of sex and kink, there is also a genuine interest by some in the concept of an open marriage and more specifically, how they might consider something similar for themselves. This has been a very rewarding piece of sharing our story.
Make no mistake, although we are delighted with the way things are going for us, we are not advocates for open marriage, per se. Such an arrangement is not for everyone and I would never simply suggest that someone consider it unless they came to me and explicitly asked about it. But, since people are asking, I thought it might be useful to share my thoughts on why it works for us and what couples might consider if they want to explore such an arrangement for themselves.
Overall, I think there are several essential components that MUST exist for an open marriage / non-monogamy to work:
- A strong relationship with a solid foundation of love and compassion
- Clear, open communication
- (Did I mention communication?)
- Both parties must be fully on board and committed to making it work
Without these essential components of the relationship, I don’t think that an open marriage/open relationship will be successful if you want the marriage/relationship to remain strong and intact; there is too much room for error if you aren’t open and honest with one another.
But, how do you even start such a conversation? I would suggest that you schedule time to talk with your partner when it is quiet, you will be uninterrupted and there are no distractions such as televisions, phones, Facebook, etc. Then, broach the subject carefully. I think you must be clear on why you want to explore the addition of other people, what you want from such an arrangement and how you feel that this will enhance, rather than diminish, the existing relationship. You don’t need to get into all of the details; this initial approach simply gets the conversation started to determine if your partner is even willing to consider the option. If your partner is open to exploring non-monogamy, then you can broaden the discussion. If not, you will need to decide how else you can address whatever it is that you want, i.e. more frequent sex, increased intimacy, being the center of attention, etc. within the context of a monogamous relationship.
I truly don’t remember how we first discussed it, but I know that the idea of threesome came up early in our marriage. At that time, I was deathly afraid of what a single encounter might do to our marriage and wasn’t willing to take a chance on one night of potential bliss. Given that frame of mind, I know I made the right decision not to follow through.
Years later, the idea of a threesome, open marriage, etc. came up in a discussion I was having with some new-found friends. I was so thrilled to be at that lunch, having that conversation. Before that, I had never felt comfortable to share these fantasies/desires with anyone other than my husband. Soon after, I befriended a woman in my women’s community who was frank about her open marriage and on another occasion met a woman who had a lover and a husband with his own lover. These experiences were enlightening, intriguing and freeing and gave me the impetus to revisit the conversation with Viktor.
We started slowly; simply opening up a dialogue on what we might consider exploring together. But, the most interesting thing about these conversations was that, time and time again, they sparked intimacy, desire and love between us; instead of pulling us apart, they pulled us closer. But, despite the positive nature of these discussions, neither of us was ready to do anything other than talk until several years had passed, revisiting the conversation over time.
With each subsequent discussion, we became clearer on what we wanted, what we felt comfortable with and, most importantly, recognizing that we were not going to damage our marriage. We were confident that our marriage was strong enough to sustain this experiment and whatever might happen (that we couldn’t foresee). I knew that our continued sharing, deep trust and openness would guide us through any rough patches that might present themselves without weakening our bond.
Admittedly, some couples may not advance past the talking stage and that’s okay. As I said, open marriage isn’t for everyone. But, if this is something that you think could enhance (enhance, not fix) your relationship, get clear on what you want and why and share it with your partner.
And remember that it is a continuous conversation. Just because we have made this decision, we talk about it constantly, revisit our desires and shift as needed. We are agreed that we must both want this to continue and, if not, it ends. For now, we see the value that non-monogamy has brought to our marriage and are excited to see what else will unfold…
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