Couples often seek open relationship advice to address how to meet each other’s love interests. They want to know the benefits of meeting their partner’s lover vs. not meeting them. And, if they do meet, they want to know what they can do to ensure that everyone walks away happy. These are very important questions to consider. And, as I sit with my open relationship coaching clients, I am very clear in telling them that there is no one way to answer these questions.
Meeting your partner’s lover is a personal choice. You and your partner get to share the pros and cons and decide for yourselves what will work best and how. Personally, I am a big fan of having some sort of relationship with anyone my partner dates. The depth of that relationship will depend on mutual desire, personality compatibility, etc. What’s most important to me, and something I encourage those who seek my open relationship advice on the matter is for there to be a genuine invitation for all parties to meet if they are so inclined to do so. That invitation opens the door for an organic connection to develop. Granted, the connection my partner has with my lover will be much different than the connection I have with him (or her). What’s important to me, and most honors the way my partner and I choose to be in an open relationship, is to open the door for everyone to know each other in whatever way feels best to everyone.
If you and your partner decide to meet your lovers, here are a few things to consider:
Be sure everyone has a say in how to meet
Having a conversation with all parties to discuss (a) if people want to meet and (b) what that meeting might look like can be very helpful. Opening the door for others to share what feelings come up in the pre-meeting can also be very helpful. Again, the idea is to be conscious, caring, (and fun!) in bringing others together. Keep it simple. Suggest a comfortable place to meet, such as a cafe or a social gathering. Allow conversations to flow naturally. If something goes awry, keep in mind that feelings are a part of being human. Give time and space to consider and talk about feelings before and after the meeting. Lastly, have fun! It’s just a meeting. Trust that in saying yes to meeting your partner’s lover, you are saying yes to accepting a part of your partner that you might not see otherwise.
Getting along with your partner’s lover
Let’s be honest, we all tell ourselves we need to be a certain way in order for another person to like us. As true as that story may seem to be, it is a story. And, stories like that are usually based on fear rather than truth. Unexpressed feelings seem to be at the top of the list for reasons why people in open relationships do not get along with their partner’s love interests. In offering open relationship advice, I encourage my clients to be open and honest with themselves and with each other. If there is something hindering a connection with the person your partner is dating, it’s worth sharing that with others. Communication is key to healthy and sustainable open relationships. By taking responsibility for our experience and expressing our feelings and desires in a way that respects our self and others, we open the door for everyone to have a new (and oftentimes a more positive) experience.
Getting your needs met with multiple romantic partners
Communication, communication, communication. It’s all about communication. The health and depth of your open relationship will be in direct proportion to the level of authentic communication you have with your partner. And, the more people involved, the more communication is required. It may seem daunting at first, however, with practice, it gets easier. This is the core of my work and is why many people seek me for open relationship help and advice.