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How an Open Relationship Can Possibly Work

None of this is meant to be a guide for you personally, although take it as such if you find it to be useful.

My current partner and I got into our relationship very soon after we had both ended monogamous relationships. I met him a week to the day after my previous partner had moved out of our apartment, and he was ten months out of a marriage. Needless to say we weren’t interested in striking up anything super serious. However, after a while, we ended up falling pretty hard for each other and realized that we were in fact, accidental or not, a “couple.” This struck a chord of panic in both of us. How were we going to hang on to our freedom if we jump back into being in love? But we have managed to keep that freedom alive and well to this very day. This fact gets a log of questions from a lot of people, mostly: how is a couple a couple if they’re to remain free?

I had been dating many couples and individuals that were parts of couples in my post-breakup escapades, and realized that it just might be a perfect set up for someone like me. Every monogamous relationship I’d been in had ended because of my wanderlust. There were other issues, of course, but the curiosity of what I might be missing was the consistent straw that broke the camel’s back; every camel, every time. So after a bit of discussion, my partner, we’ll call him “Aaron,” and I decided that if we were a couple, we would remain “open.” We would make no promises of commitment, as neither one of us had ever been a fan of such concepts, and we would be free to date whoever, whenever. Now that we’ve been together for over a year, some rules have come into play, but we retain our general freedom. For us, it works, and it works great. But it’s not for everyone. Here are some of the reasons that I think we’ve had success.

  • We are communicative. Like, overly so. I’m not just talking, “how was your day, dear?” I mean we spell things out crystal clear and try to do so before a problem can even arise. He was a counselor for about fifteen years and I’ve been in and out of therapy since I was eight. We know how to talk. We even go so far as letting each other see our threads, be they in Tinder, Kik or texts. If he’s going on a date, I know with whom, what they look like, where they’re going, and anything else I might be curious about. Now this is optional. There are times I don’t want to see what he’s been texting with people, or know what they look like. For some reason this is especially true when he’s going out with a straight girl. I think because if there’s no chance of my involvement, I just lose interest. However the where and when is not optional. This is a safety concern, as everyone should check in with someone who cares about them before they meet with a perfect stranger. Rather than me letting a girlfriend or my mom know, I tell my partner. That way if I disappear, he can at least lead the cops to the person’s Tinder account.