I’ve been thinking about the concept of having a “negotiably open” relationship. I’m wondering how I really feel about that. The concept I am wrestling with at the moment is one of significance. The idea of the negotiably open relationship as opposed to the polyamorous one is that in the former, it is just sex, and in the latter, it is more significant than just sex. So we’re thinking about having the former, where it is possible for one or both partners to be sexual with someone else with the stipulation that it not be a precursor to a relationship. In short, that it be just sex.
So here’s the question: if it is JUST sex, and it isn’t more significant than that, then why bother? The connection seems to be the reason for having sex for both of us, so why have it without a connection? And if there IS a connection, then how can one be certain that there is no potential for anything else? How can this work?
I look back to my relationship with my husband and I realize that the only person I was attracted to outside the relationship (before the very end) was a woman. That was reasonable given the fact that I didn’t have that energy in my life. But I never took another look at another man during that whole time, at least not that I can remember.
Now that could be due to the fact that I turned off that portion of my sexuality towards other people. But it could also be that I just focus best on one person. I can’t say. I have been attracted to other people during relationships before, but it was usually when the relationship was not going so well. So I’m not certain where I fit on this.
I can grasp the idea of going outside the relationship for same-sex stuff because that’s not covered in the scope of the relationship. I can grasp bringing in someone new to spice things up. I’m not sure what the energetics are of going outside separately or why I would want to do it. Anything I find outside the scope of the relationship will pale in comparison, as Daniel found with Jenne.
Now consider the odd, extraordinary situation of the strong connection with a person. That happens once in a blue moon. It needs to be expressed, but it is not something that screams relationship, only connection. Now THAT makes sense to me. I know how those things work. They are situational and fleeting and must be grasped when available. But those are really rare. Maybe every 5-10 years.
What is this concept of “playing”? I know what it is, but I’m not sure I subscribe to it. Why spread your energies so thinly? Why go there? Because it’s fun. OK. But can’t you have fun with your partner? And what sort of energetic dynamic does that set up? I understand about going out and flirting with others to spin oneself up and then bring it home for the other person. That’s one thing, but spending that energy outside the relationship just dilutes the relationship doesn’t it?
Daniel says that I don’t share well with others and he’s correct. I don’t. Do I want to be someone who does? What are the merits of being so? The downside is not getting all of his attention. The upside would be what? Getting the attention of some random guy that might want to fuck me? Sounds like a bad trade. Giving Daniel play space so that he wants to come back? Well, if he needs that, then that might be worth it, but why would he need it? I don’t get it. It’s not like there’s much I won’t do. And variety can be had by bringing others in. Why would he need to go outside of the relationship? He claims not to need wild monkey time, so that’s not it. Must think on this more. If can understand the why of it, then perhaps I can get the motivation down.
I would have sworn that when we discussed this originally that it was solely to accommodate the fleeting, significant connection that comes rarely. But the thing with Jennifer at Drum and Dance didn’t seem to follow that rule. If it had, then he would have slept with her at AHO and it wouldn’t be relevant at Drum and Dance anymore.
I need to talk to him more about this obviously. Figure out the motivation. Figure out the rules.
(Update 2014 – It is over 11 years later and I still wrestle with this concept. I have had open relationships and not so open relationships. But I realize now that I haven’t had a single fully monogamous relationship in the last 11 years, so there must be SOMETHING in this that works for me. Or perhaps, I just haven’t found the person who can hold my attention for long enough. I don’t know. But I do know that it is still a question in my head. Perhaps it always will be.)
* This is part of an ongoing series of posts detailing what happened on a spiritual pilgrimage that I took in 2002. To start from the beginning, go to July 2, 2013. To see the entire spiritual journey as it gets published, click on the category “You Want Me To Do WHAT?!!?” to see all of the posts.