In this round of #SpillSesh, I reached out to some of my followers who are currently or have been in open relationships. I wanted to get a variety of perspectives on how these relationships work in practice. We often see so much stigma and heated debate about being open – so why not hear it from the people who actually have tried it? Our first interview was with a follower who wanted to remain anonymous and discusses an open relationship from his past that failed.
- How long ago was your open relationship and how long did it last?
It was probably 6 years ago and lasted about 3 years in total.
- How did you meet the person?
We met online.
- Was the relationship open from the start or later? Did you have to be convinced or was it something you always wanted?
It sort of developed confusingly. I travel a lot for work and I tend to get obsessed with my work. So, I think at some point I’d found out he’d installed an app on his phone to chat with guys. I don’t know if he cheated on me, he may have but, basically we talked and he said he was lonely, he wanted to feel loved.
At first he just wanted to chat with guys but as we talked it was just like “well that seems stupid,” so we talked it out. I was always super against open relationships but I understand it would suck to have someone gone all the time and I really loved the fucker so I did my best to be open minded. We set some boundaries and rules about it. In the end, I found It didn’t really bother me and it seemed to ease his anxiety/loneliness so I figured there was no harm to it.
- What was the best part of the open relationship?
He seemed happier which was cool. Not that I wasn’t but honestly I was quite busy traveling so I didn’t have a ton of time to explore the option. It was kind of fun when I could though, and it felt weirdly like we were developing a better friendship. It was strange, but it worked for a bit, and I got it, and it was sort of hot sometimes. Sometimes there would be a threesome which would end up being really cool like one time this guy gave us both massages and that was awesome.
- What was the most challenging part of the open relationship?
That you never know how things will end up until you try, but once you try you can’t un-try it. Like you can’t un-hear your boyfriend talking about having sex with someone else, so it’s confusing in that you said it was ok but now it doesn’t feel ok and it feels silly and weird and confusing. And it’s hard to communicate what your even feeling because your not even sure what you are feeling – if that makes sense.
- Did you hook up with others together or separately? Did you feel jealous ever and how did you deal with that?
We did both. Mostly was together and mostly was when I was on the road because we were pretty close when I was home. We maybe had one time back home and it just happened. I don’t remember if I felt jealous, I don’t think I ever did because I knew that would get toxic and it didn’t bother me. Honestly, spoiler alert, where it started to fail was when he started miscommunicating.
- Did you feel pressure that if you changed your mind about the open relationship it would be over?
Not really, to be honest.
- Did you feel that the person who wanted the relationship to be open was in control?
It was pretty split down the middle – it wasn’t skewed on one end or the other.
- Did you see being open as a permanent relationship structure or just doing it as a phase or to help a problem and that it would eventually go back to monogamy?
I guess looking back it felt like a patch, that I was gone a lot and that he wasn’t happy. I didn’t think about it past that which wasn’t maybe the best way to look at it because I guess, looking back, I didn’t see us going back to full monogamy. I didn’t envision us being open forever. I didn’t know what I envisioned which was maybe more a sign than anything.
- Did you share the fact that you were open with friends or family? Were you proud or ashamed of it?
Friends, sure, family I don’t really talk with about sex stuff much. I’m not ashamed, I’m not necessarily proud either. I think it can be healthy and I have straight friends ask me all the time about it because you can tell they want to experiment with it but it’s very taboo in the straight world it seems.
- Did the open relationship come out of one person cheating without the others knowledge?
Looking back I think that’s what happened and maybe I didn’t want to admit it. But, basically yes.
- What are your tips for someone considering an open relationship?
I think you have to be brutally brutally honest with each other. I think you can have an open relationship, and it can even be healthy but it’s a very slippery slope and any cracks in the relationship are going to get exposed. Be patient, don’t be selfish and actually listen to what the other person has to say. Also, think about what you are going to do if your partner doesn’t want to have an open relationship, I think that helps. Just have a game plan and communicate a lot. For example, are you going to get tested after each hook up? Because it feels weird. There was a time we weren’t using condoms and then my ex had sex with a few guys and I hadn’t and it was just a weird feeling like, ok, can you go get tested?
13 . Any other thoughts, comments, advice, tips, regrets?
I think my biggest advice is communicate. Just be super honest about everything and you should be able to avoid some potential drama. Also, what I always say to people is just wait. Most gays have had a lot of sex so it’s like, just wait a few years. There’s studies that say it takes 2-4 years to get to completely know someone. Wait it out, enjoy the time. If you are with someone you and don’t want to wait 2-4 years to have an open relationship, maybe just be honest with yourself and get out now. Wait, get to know someone, get comfortable, get to be in love and good friends and then see if you still want it.