There’s no one way to open your relationship
How you and your partner decide to open your relationship will be unique to you. Certainly, there are both positive and negative ways to go about this. Meaning, it’s much better for a couple to come to a decision together as an evolving process in their relationship rather than one person presenting the idea after they cheated on their partner. Coming together and discussing the idea of opening a relationship can be a very emotional process. This is where coaching can be really helpful.
You’re in charge of describing who you are and what you are doing
The concept of ethical non-monogamy is becoming more common. More people are talking about the lifestyle and are showing curiosity about what it has to offer. That said, it can be quite scary for a couple to openly share their open relationship status. It’s very common for couples to keep this information private in order to avoid any harsh judgment from people who may not fully understand the concept. Sharing or not sharing your status is perfectly fine. Again, it’s up to what works for you and your partner. If you do choose to share your status, be prepared to answer questions and provide resources. Allow people to have their experience without taking it on for yourself. Holding space for someone else’s process of understanding without changing how you want to be in a relationship can be incredibly empowering.
Be prepared for growth on all fronts
The decision to practice ethical non-monogamy will invite (rather require) you to show up for yourself and for your relationships. The lifestyle will uncover parts of yourself you never thought possible. You will be asked to look at parts of yourself you might have left behind in the past, face your fears, and learn to speak up. This is where growth and transformation take place. Ethical non-monogamy teaches us how to be vulnerable, how to be real, and how to love and be loved authentically.
Communication is essential
You and your partner’s willingness and ability to communicate effectively, clearly, and openly will make or break your experience. It is crucial that all parties engaging in ethical non-monogamy be transparent. This means sharing their desires, their feelings, holding space for others to do the same. Learning to communicate in ways that respect yourself and others is a lifelong endeavor. There are lots of resources out there. It is incredibly important to seek out what is needed and to empower yourself, your relationships, and your community with effective compassionate communication.
It’s okay to have feelings
Feelings are a natural part of being human; they come and they go just like a cloud passing through a clear blue sky. Granted, some feelings are easier to be with than others. This too is natural and it’s okay. We need to learn to be more accepting of our feelings. Rather than judge the feeling/emotion, or judge the person who is experiencing it, ask questions like, “I see you’re having a reaction to something. Can you tell me more?” Learning to be with someone’s emotion without taking it on and without trying to fix it can be challenging. Keep in mind, there are lots of resources available to navigate the emotional terrain of ethical non-monogamy.
You’re not alone
As the global community of open relationships is growing, people are finding and creating connections all over the world. Online resources make it possible for people to join groups, engage in meaningful discussions and learn more about the lifestyle. If you are newly considering opening your relationship, take some time to educate yourself. Ask questions and reach out to others who can offer their perspective and support. You may be surprised by how good it feels to feel supported and validated.
Last but not least
Enjoy the ride!!! Choosing to open your relationship and practice ethical non-monogamy is a journey of a lifetime. You will have opportunities to explore new territory, face challenges, learn some lessons and discover what’s most important to you, your relationships, and your life. However you proceed, take time to pause, look around, and celebrate the growth and possibilities it has to offer.