There is no one-size-fits-all way to shift from monogamy to an open relationship. And just like monogamy, every open relationship is unique. There are highs and lows, conflicts and miscommunications. There are great times and bad times, and lessons learned only by experience. Getting started is the most challenging and the most exciting part.
A few people emailed me and asked where to start in shifting their relationships from closed to open. Instead of telling my story over and over, I decided to do a little research. When I asked a few couples how they got started, their answers were surprising.
“I found out she was cheating on me. I was shocked and hurt and I almost broke up with her. Then I realized it would be hypocritical because I was doing the same thing. I told her I knew what she was doing, then I told her I was cheating, too. We were confused for awhile because we thought this meant we weren’t happy together.
When we talked it over, we agreed that aside from this one secret we both kept from each other, everything was great. When the dust settled, we decided to open our relationship and stop keeping secrets. The decision to have the freedom to be with others brought us closer together.”
“I never saw other women as a threat. Our marriage and our love for each other never changed just because we looked at other women. I am so turned on by sexy women, and it had been years since I had sex with a woman.
When I first told him I had once had a girlfriend and lots of drunken sex with women in college, I didn’t know what to expect. He asked me what I thought about finding a woman for us to have sex with together. It was a dream come true.
Since then, we’ve had a great time with other women in and out of the bedroom. Opening our relationship to allow me to be openly and actively bisexual strengthened the bond between the two of us. I think our marriage is stronger because we opened our sex life up.”
“He used to watch porn when I worked late. I saw the history on his computer. The only reason I was upset by it was because he kept this part of himself separate from me. He never asked how I felt about it, so why did he assume he needed to keep it a secret?
When I asked him why, he said he thought I wouldn’t like it. I told him I wanted to see what he was watching while I was away. The first time we watched porn together was one of the hottest nights of our lives. He loved group scenes — orgies, threesomes, and gangbangs. A few months after that first time we watched porn together, we were in bed watching two men with one woman on my tablet. He whispered, 'Would you like to try that?’ and the rest is history.”
“While we were away on vacation, we decided to go to a swinger club. Since no one knew us, we felt comfortable with just going in to see what it was like. We thought we were going to walk into a mess of people having sex everywhere. We thought we’d have to practically fight people off since we agreed we were only there to watch.
It wasn’t like that at all. People were dancing and socializing and enjoying drinks at the bar. The ‘sex rooms’ were separate (although there were a few people getting a little frisky) and we met a friendly couple who offered to show us around. We saw four men with two women in the first room. In the second room we peeked into, there were two couples. The largest room had so many people in it and it seemed like almost everyone was having sex with more than one person. When we got back to our hotel, I told him I wished we could have participated. We went back the very next day and did just that.”
After hearing from the other couples, it’s evident that honesty and communication are the keys that unlock the door and open a relationship. There are many ways to present the idea to your partner, so consider what’s best for the two of you.
What would happen if you asked your partner what they fantasize about? Don’t we all think about sex with someone else once in awhile?