It’s always a good idea for things to be balanced when you’re in an open relationship. As wonderful as this sounds, it doesn’t always work out that way. It’s quite common for things to be off balance from time to time. This generally results in both parties having feelings. If we are aware of this and address it in a healthy way, it’s not so bad. If, however, we act out on the feelings we have, then things can get complicated fast.
People come to me with lots of different stories about their relationships. The majority of them want to know the best way to keep things fair and balanced. I often share how my partner and I have addressed this in our relationship. This usually gives them some perspective and insight. It also lets them know that they are not alone. Keeping things balanced in an open relationship is less about the content of each situation and more about how we deal with them.
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Below is a common scenario men and women face in the open relationship lifestyle.
Scenario: In the open relationship lifestyle, it’s easier for women than men.
Ask any woman who has an online profile how many messages they receive in a day or in a week. Chances are, they’ll say they get more messages than they can handle. Some don’t even respond to the messages they get! Compare that to the average guy and he’ll say he gets few to none. This is definitely a point of contention for male/female partners in open relationships.
Here’s what you can do:
If you’re a man, consider this as part of the territory. Try not to take it personally if your female partner has more prospects than you do. Any way you look at it, it’s going to be ego buster. Rather than pout and get upset, share your experience with your partner. It’s important to do this is a healthy way. Something like, “Babe, you’re on a roll with dates this month and I’m starting to feel frustrated. I spend so much time online and no one seems to follow through with my messages. I’m not sure what to do about this sense of imbalance. I wish it was easier for me. Anyway, I just wanted to share my experience with you. I’m not wanting you to change your plans. I’m just wanting you to have an idea of what it’s like for me. I’d really love your support in this. Thanks.” Having a conversation to address your feelings will help you release some of the energy and it will help your partner understand what she can do to support you.
If you’re a woman, consider yourself lucky. Enjoy the attention but don’t let it go to your head. Keep in mind that while you’re probably feeling very empowered by the number of invitations, your partner is probably feeling just the opposite. Show some sensitivity and consideration without denying your desires. You can be supportive and go out on dates. Share your feelings about any imbalance with your partner. Ask him what he needs or what might help in in this situation. It may feel awkward to address this; and, it’s much better to call out the elephants in the room than to let them breed in the closet!
As you and your partner consider how to keep things balanced in your open relationship, be mindful of your inner experience. Be mindful of your thoughts, feelings, and stories. It’s our inner experience that drives our outer experience. Meaning, if there is a perceived imbalance on the outside (your partner has more dates than you do), you can either “act out” or “act in.” If you act out, you will probably blame your partner for your experience. If you act in you have an opportunity to see what’s going on for you, address this with your partner and ask for what you need. It’s the “acting-in” that teaches us how to keep things balanced in our life and in our relationships.