If I don’t believe in the fairytale ending, what do I believe in?
Another thing – in recognising there is no fairytale ending, how do I set up my life & ensure my own happiness? I still need (we all need) intimacy, companionship, validation, rewarding relationships. So how do I achieve these if it is not through a traditional (for me) man & woman monogamous relationship?
I really don’t know where I stand on monogamy. I have always been monogamous in my relationships, but now I can’t see a time where that would work for me anymore – simply because it feels just too risky to put all your eggs in one basket; counting on one person to be your everything & meet all your needs. I’m much happier now because I realise what relationships can’t offer me – so I don’t demand them anymore, and get many of my needs met elsewhere instead.
It seems much more sensible to have several partners (not that I have done this in a relationship sense) so where one can’t provide something you need, you always have one or more you can turn to for this. Having said that, this sounds like a description of polyamory to me and I’m not sure that is something I am interested in. I don’t think I could handle the thought of my ‘primary’ partner also having other partners, that I knew about, had to meet and maybe even hang out with – and to be cool with that. I’m afraid my ego is just far too big for that kind of scenario!
I can maybe (??) envisage however, a situation where I have a primary partner and we are allowed to occasionally fool around with other people without severe consequences or guilt. But where are the boundaries with this? Personally I think I would prefer not to know, so it wasn’t discussed. I suppose a fear is that your partner could then fall for one of these other people…but I think I would want the set up to be so that even if they did, the two of you could stay together also (as long as they were still into you too of course). And also, who is to say because it’s allowed, you wouldn’t feel guilt anyway?
In this scenario, one partner could decide they are leaving to be with one of the ‘flings’ – but that could happen (and does frequently) in a traditional relationship anyway! I wonder if adding this kind of flexibility to the set-up is any protection against the breakdown of a relationship. Surely, diversifying in this way makes you more adaptable in your relationship life?
I just looked it up – this is what is indeed known as an open relationship; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_relationship#Types_of_open_relationships
And having read this page it makes me more intrigued as to whether this could work for me… crucially;
‘No two open relationships will be the same, and the relationship will change due to the current circumstances at each specific moment.’
However, it looks like I have a lot to learn – in an open relationship it seems you fully discuss (and even get permission) for who you are going to have sex with. I suppose this feels scarier in one way but more comfortable in another – in that you are taking due care and attention to your primary partners needs and feelings, and they of yours, which I suppose is how a relationship like this can be successful rather than collapsing due to mistrust and jealousy.
…Or maybe it makes it worse; the fact they can create an intimate bond through sex which they otherwise wouldn’t have. But I have slept with people I didn’t have an intimate bond with – there was no danger of me falling for them. Hmm….
Also would this kind of freedom mean each partner would be happier? I feel for me I would really want this kind of freedom, as this is the main amazing thing I have in my life at the moment, and – not trusting a relationship to necessarily go well longer term/make me happy as I had believed it would – is something I really want to hang onto. Though of course it’s a harder thing to give to someone else – but I believe (I hope) I would if I found someone I was comfortable reaching this kind of arrangement with.
It’s a scary prospect. But for me, less scary than the idea of a traditional ‘one person for everything’ false fairytale ideal which in my experience frequently causes unhappiness on one or both sides (plus collateral damage…).
I’m not endorsing any of this or suggesting certain lifestyles – I’m exploring it because I really don’t know what the answer is.
Here is an interesting discussion of open marriage from an article a few years ago which seems largely supportive of the idea: http://www.harpersbazaar.com/culture/features/a400/open-marriages-0809/
‘It is an act of imagination to live differently from everyone else, and maybe, in rare and magnificent moments, it works’.
I think for me one of the things to work through would be fear – fear of losing a relationship with someone I liked. Ironically though I feel a more flexible, open romantic relationship (depending of course how it is conducted/the particular people and circumstances) might just be something that could allow you to have a longer, more fulfilling relationship with someone than in a monogamous arrangement.
But who knows? I’m yet to try it. And who knows if I’ll have the courage (or even still the desire) when I do next meet someone I consider having a relationship with.
As you can see I’m pretty wet behind the ears with this stuff so would love to hear from people who have already had/are living these experiences…What do you think? Does it work for you? What are the benefits? What are the pitfalls to look out for?Follow @singlefemaleblg