It’s quite common for people to be totally on board with the idea of being in an open relationship and then have a totally different experience when it goes “live”. People experience a conflict between their cognitive and emotional responses. Many times people are surprised by how triggered they are when their partner comes home after a sexy date. The person who had the date might say something like, “I don’t understand where these feelings are coming from. You were so supportive when we first talked about this.” Another person might say, “Being in an open relationship makes so much sense to me and yet I can’t deny that my feelings are making it really difficult to move forward.” Sound familiar?
Here’s what you can do:
Concepts and feelings don’t have to compete
This means they can co-exist in the same space. Taking it a little deeper, just because someone is having a thought or a feeling about something doesn’t mean we have to create a story about it. When we create stories about any experience, we jump out of the present moment and into our minds. Our minds will look for solutions based on what it has learned from the past. This is happening all of the time. The sooner we become aware of this the sooner we can create a new experience. With this awareness, we have more clarity on our experience. With practice, we can begin to identify what our underlying needs are and how we can get those needs met. Thus, awareness is the key that opens the door for us to have a more spacious experience in our relationship.
It’s okay to experience emotions
Love, attraction, fear, jealousy, insecurity, and excitement are just a few. These emotions are normal. A person’s ability to be in an open relationship should not be based their emotions. Rather than judge the emotions or the person having the emotions, pro-actively look at the emotions and see what the underlying needs might be. When we create a space to look at and experience emotions without blaming or shaming them, we give ourselves an opportunity to create a new experience. That new experience may involve having some compassion for ourselves and our experience, as well as reaching out for support.
There’s always learning curve
What makes sense might not feel good. Trust that when you pay attention to what is important to you AND you address any feelings that come up in the process of following your desires, you are more likely to get what you want. Your experience will be unique to you. It’s valid and it’s okay. The key is to find healthy ways of being with your experience and sharing it with others, all the while taking responsibility for what you need.