This weekend I attended a fascinating discussion on open relationships, polyamory and monogamy with a group of 20 people.

Only 4 of us were in monogamous relationships, the rest were a combination between open and poly relationships.

I am continually fascinated and curious about open relationships, what makes them work and what doesn’t?

Here are my takeaways from participating in the discussion.

One of the most valuable lessons people seem to have learned is the myths surrounding love, intimacy, sex and honest communications.

Myth #1- Love Till death Do Us Part

You can only love one person till death do us part.

The intention of engaging other people outside of their primary relationship comes from love for others, play and the curiosity to openly explore.

Myth #2- Intimacy Is Only Possible With 2 People

Intimacy can only be profound and in-depth with one person.

Often times, we express different sides of ourselves with different people, and we can have a variety of intimate moments with others that can be beautiful, loving, and sometimes life changing.

Myth # 3- Limited Sexual Expression

The one thing that is guaranteed about human sexuality is, variety. There seems to be an appreciation and understanding for the infinite range of human sexual expressions.

They see themselves as people who are committed to finding a place of sanity with sex and relationships, and freeing themselves to enjoy sex and sexual love in as many ways as it may feel good to them.

They are not forced into a situation they don’t feel comfortable with, but they don’t always know what feels good, so curiosity, exploration and adventure is therefore embraced.

Myth # 4- Honest Communication is Impossible

The level of open and authentic communication in these types of relationships is fascinating.

Being in an open or poly relationship is a lot of work and at times it can be very painful as you experience the roller-coaster of emotions from jealousy to hurt and everything else in between.

Many people had tried being in monogamous relationships and felt trapped. Trapped in, self – expression without judgment, trapped in the limited options of sexual expression.

So what do you do when you are faced with a situation or an emotion that is so strong? Like, intense jealousy.

One woman explained it like this: “I don’t try to limit the triggers that cause my jealousy like I did in my monogamous marriage.

Instead, being in an open relationship has allowed me to actively invite that emotion so I can learn how to deal with it better and become more secure with myself.

Sometimes things have to fall apart so better things can fall into place.

When this happens, a new type of aliveness, closeness and intimacy enters the relationship.” Another person said, “these feelings are a call to presence.

It’s time to be deeply honest with yourself and with your partner no matter how embarrassing or scary it might feel.

This type of honest sharing gives in-depth insights, and with insights comes awareness, and with awareness we realize and accept the changes we want to make.

It’s definitely not easy, but I can’t imagine going back to a life of constant ‘no’s’ to be socially correct, it’s so suppressing of ones soul!

I believe in entering relationships with honesty and integrity so everyone involved knows what they are getting into.

This doesn’t mean we still don’t get hurt, what this means is that we don’t hide the way we feel.

We express ourselves as we are going through the emotional rollercoasters.” I’ve seen so many people get into relationships the same way they play poker.

Doing everything possible to get the upper hand. And if that fails, they bluff.

They pretend to hold cards they know they don’t have to the point, they end up cheating, lying and creating resentment in the relationship – to gain what?

This discussion made me think why can’t such conversations take place in monogamous relationships?

It’s so rare to meet a couple in a monogamous relationship that shares that level of openness and honesty with their partner.

Aren’t our relationships the most customized thing we built?

What type of a relationship are you in? Leave a comment below.

Cover Art By| Mark Kostabi 

signature