New To Open Relationship And Freaking Out!

My husband and I just decided to start pursuing an open relationship. We haven't done anything active yet but I did join a couple groups online. There is a man I have been attracted to for about a year now that I want to pursue but I'm not sure what his marital status is and if he's separated from his wife... I know they just sold their house but that doesn't tell me much. That is a whole other issue because I'm trying to figure out how to hint around at him and find out if he's still married or if they are open to that or not but the thing is, we don't ever see each other. I don't have his personal cell number so I'd have to either call his office or write him a card (which I think I'm going to do). My major dilemma is finding someone to get into a relationship with (If this guy doesn't work out) that doesn't just want sex. It seems like the sites I go on are all about sex and I'm not comfortable starting a relationship based on that alone. I want the romance and flirty friend time first and with websites it seems that sex is the underlying topic on everyones profile.... I am also dealing with the emotions of this whole thing... I grew up very conservative and I am still a very strong and dedicated christian so it is really hard for me to adjust to this way of thinking. Does anyone have any advice for me as to where and how to meet guys and how to get over feeling weird about all of this? I really could us some help :)

Thank you so much!
sookiestack sookiestack
3 Responses May 18, 2012

My fiance and I took our relationship 'open' 9 months ago.

I have been married twice before and I have two children from my second marriage that I have custody of and raise. My fiance has lived with us over a year now.

When she and I first got together, I kept clamming up and trying to end things with her and I kept feeling I couldn't handle another relationship. Then I was at a flea market and stumbled upon a book written by a married pair of research pyschologists in the 1970s that is called 'Open Marriage'. The authors' names are O'neill. I wasn't even charged for the book because it had sat there for years with no interest from anyone.

I started the book alone, privately, at first. I was already feeling like the common misconception about 'open relationships' would precede any discussion I may have opened with my partner at the time. I say 'partner', but let me make it clear, we are a heterosexual couple, though we have friends with other relationship orientations.
I had already been the 'giver' in two marriages, but I was done with trying to please someone else at my own expense. The one thing the book made clear at the start is that "You can not be everything for someone else and someone else can not be everything for you."

I began breaching subjects the book addressed with my partner. She was very receptive. After a time, I sat her down and explained to her that I would never again commit to a closed relationship. At first she was quite nervous and she expressed her fear that I was just going to run out and start sleeping around. I am a very attractive man, so I knew this was coming. I broke out the book and expressed how important I felt it was that we start taking time to read a little bit seperately at our leisure and then discuss what we discovered and learned.

For about three weeks there was a nightly discussion about what we had read and pondered. Within two months, we had both had dates with other people. My date bored me for five hours and her date, after two dates and to many texts, finally got on her nerves and she ended that. We are now nine months into having an open relationship. We both joke often now that after experiencing an open relationship for so long we can not even imagine EVER going back to being in a closed relationship. And get this... we have not even had sex with anyone else... yet.

At some point, I went to the Wiki and read the definition of 'Open Relationship'. Let me tell you right now, it misses the mark by a long shot. The Wiki definition was written by people who have no idea what an Open Relationship actually is and apparently have never lived in one.

I like to ask people to tell me what an open relationship is and they generally could be quoting the Wiki without even having read it. Most answers can be siphoned down to one concept, "A relationship where one or both people have sex with other people." That tells me that most people also don't know what a swinger (or swinging) is. There are more people in closed relationships that are practicing swinging (swingers) than there are people in open relationships. Swingers are people in any kind of committed relationship that have sex with others. Most swinger couples are in very closed relationships and suffer jealousy. How do I know this? Cause my 2nd wife and I swang... some, but we were in a very closed relationship.

I like to discuss and learn and I spent a lot of time asking questions of those in closed and open relationships. Out of about 40 swingers I talked to, only 2 were in open relationships and they made it clear at the time that they didn't expect me to understand what an open relationship is. Since then, I have researched a great deal, contemplated, put into practice and experienced a genuine open relationship.

Recently I realized the friendship I have with my fiance had grown to the level of 'BEST FRIEND'. The kind of friendship you RARELY ever obtain with anyone in a life time. Then it occurred to me, that people in a closed relationship have a 'cap' on their friendships. They have to live under the scrutiny of someone else. You may think you have a great friendship in a closed relationship, but let me clear the fog for you.
Are you able to tell your partner the things you have told every friend in the past and then some? Are you able to walk around a retail store and point out attractive people just like you would with your friends? Are you then able to discuss it? Comfortably? Can you tell your partner (friend) that you are going to go do this or that and not get any grief about it? Compare your friendship in the closed marriage with the best friend you have ever had and you will know. You censor yourself to your significant other in a closed relationship. If you don't, then you don't live in a closed relationship.

Our relationship was open for months before I started to really look at her as a 'friend'. Closed relationships 'cap' friendship. Open relationships encourage each person to grow and report on exciting experiences to each other just like the relationships you have with people who are just friends. When my old Navy friend calls me up, I love to hear about his week, his family, his drama, his fears, his flirts, his sex life (or lack there of, haha), everything that is my friend. Do you feel that way about your partner? I do about mine, now, but I didn't always and that was because our friendship had reached its cap. Once we removed that cap, it began to grow. I started having an interest in her life again. She was experiencing things that grew her, like sunlight on a flowering plant. She is blossoming and our relationship is blossoming. I no longer fear seeing someone attractive and just blurting out, "Damn, look at that ***!" I can be MYSELF just like I am MYSELF with my other friends. Does she do the same? YES! It's great!

I had two female roommates I was not in a relationship with for about a year before my fiance and I moved in together. Both of them often commented that I would have to learn to hide a lot about me if I ever expected a relationship to last with a woman, because, from what they said, "It's ok to be yourself like that with friends, but you can't act like that to a girlfriend." We are talking about grown women with children telling me this!

I refused to believe that. I knew there was a way to be Loved and Cherished for just being 100% me! And let me tell you, there is! Nothing gets you loved like being 100% yourself and accepting someone else 100% for themselves.

I can be dorky, smart, smart assed, angry, emotional, complaining, loving, laughing, humorous, sexy etc... it doesn't matter, I get to be ME. I am perfect. That startle you? Well, you are perfect, too. You just don't realize it. Here is how you know if you are perfect - "Can anyone, even a divine God, be any better at being you than you are?" No one else can be perfectly you other than you. Embrace you and let no one else punish you for being you.

Am I encouraging you to go out and stir things up? Only gently. I can't stress enough how cautious we have to be where we live with the state of our relationship. We live in a very religious and closed relationship minded world and people are addicted to gossip. Just because you can run doesn't mean you should run down the center of the highway to show everyone.

When you are 100% yourself, you attract others who are attracted to people like you. If you act like someone else, try to be something you are not, then you attract people that are attracted to people who you are imitating, but the problem is... after a while, who you truely are begins to show and people end up feeling disappointed. BE YOURSELF and attract people who are attracted to YOU.

i.e... In my past two marriages, neither wife liked long hair on men. In an effort to please them, I kept my hair short and well trimmed, always ignoring my own desire to have long hair and fearing that if I grew it long that they'd lose sexual interest. After my 2nd divorce, I started growing my hair out. Suddenly I was attracting women that liked long hair. Their attraction to me supported me being me. It was an ever growing chain reaction. It doesn't matter what I do with my appearance if I like it, my partner respects it, but she knows if she doesn't like something, she is FREE to express it and as her friend/partner/lover I can do with the information whatever I like. I can change or wear what I want. I am not obligated to please her and she doesn't make me feel like I am. Vice versa.

As time has gone by, we had to evaluate what 'marriage' meant to us, because all of our past conceptions were born of religious fallout and fairy tale teachings. We had inherited the Victorian concept of marriage and relationships. We had ended our engagement and were content with just living a happy open relationship, but after a time... a more profound and meaningful definition of marriage began to unfold for us. We are engaged again, but we don't like going around using labels like 'My girlfriend', 'My fiance', 'My significant other', 'My better half', etc... Marriage is three things growing in a relationship - Friendship, Lovers, Partners.

All relationships begin with and hinge on one, two or all three of those factors.

Deciet kills BOTH closed & open relationships equally. Neither relationship can blossom in its own way if one or more in the relationship are practicing deciet in any way. Closed relationships cultivate deciet. Open relationships cultivate honesty. There are still people, a lot of them, who actually enjoy and partake in decietful and manipulative actions in relationships. Beware those.

Stop trying to be everything someone else desires and stop expecting them to be everything for you.

Something else to learn to do that we are not taught is how to 'reward honesty' in other people. So your wife/husband/etc... just told you something honest you don't like? Reward them. Reward the honesty. Don't punish them. Every time you make someone feel bad or punish them in some way for being honest with you, you are teaching them that you prefer deciet. You want your partner to be honest? Reward them for it. If your child tells the truth, let them know how important that is to you and let them know that the truth protected them from punishment, but that if they repeat the offense, they will be disciplined. You will gain more trust from your children and they will grow to know they can tell you truth. Works the same with adults.

You have open relationships with friends, why can't you do that with your partner? When your friend tells you about something they did, isn't it great to be happy for them?
One of the greatest feelings I have discovered in my wonderful open relationship is that I KNOW she is with me by choice every day. She isn't here because of some 'vow' or because she made a promise or because it is expected of her. She is where she is because she wants to be and often she is not where I am because she is doing what she wants and that isn't always in site of me.

Privacy is another issue we lose in closed marriages. We are constantly feeling like we have no privacy and that it's 'bad' if we want just that, but in open relationships, you respect each others' privacy. When you are at your friend's house and he/she has to take a dump, are you all up in that business? Can your friend go to another room to have a private phone conversation when are you are there? Can your partner?

I could go on and on, but I've scribbled enough. Message me if you have any questions.

I just came across this post and found it incredibly relatable, If you're willing to share I'd love to know how your relationship has evolved since then...

I will take the time to share as soon as possible. I just reread the post myself and I need to reflect on how things have evolved in two years. Please, share with me anything you wish to share about what you may have learned from your experience(s) as well.

My fiancee and I have been together for six years and about 9 months ago we started talking about alternative lifestyles, like swinging and being open, for the first time. It was very difficult and painful at first to break through the notion that monogamy is the "right" way, kind of a grieving for the life we thought we would have and were supposed to have. But, it was also incredibly healing. We were able to talk about attractions we have felt towards others in the past, and close calls that we had kept secret, not wanting to hurt each other because we never did cheat.
Since we first started talking about it we have both gotten a lot more comfortable with the idea of being open, and like you talked about in your post, we have gotten closer than ever (and we were really close to begin with). We truly are best friends and partners in life, and we believe that we don't own each other. I also like that you talked about what it really means to be in an open relationship and making the distinction that swingers can be in closed relationships too. That couples, open or closed, can and do go through all of the same types of problems.
However, thus far, we haven't been with other people and for various reasons. There haven't necessarily been opportunities but we haven't actively sought them out either. I'm also not 100% confident in myself although that it changing too. More than anything we are learning to accept each other and ourselves exactly as we are and that process has led to a lot of growth. We are trying not to put rules and limitations on how we go about things, just to communicate openly and honestly about our feelings and take things one step at a time since this is such uncharted territory for us.
I am scared though, and thats the reason I asked how things have evolved for you because while it feels natural and normal to open my mind and my heart, I worry that if and when we actually start to have relationships with other people, things could change and it might not be the experience I anticipate it to be.

Ok awesome! Thanks for the advice! I will try that :))

Hey, you don't have to write the *whole* truth in your dating site profile. Say you are looking for friends and short-term dating, and actually get to know the guys who seem like they might be worthwhile (there should be at least some), make sure they are interested in you, not just the sex. I'd recommend OKCupid, and buy an A-list rating so guys don't always know when you visit their profile - and good luck!