I hear some variation of those questions just about every day:
Why would anyone be in an open relationship?
What’s the point of even being in a relationship then?
I’ve been in a relationship with my partner Peter for 10 years now and we’ve had an open relationship for just about nine of those years. Let me tell you, there are plenty of reasons. I want to share some of mine with you.
Today, I’m going to take off my coaching hat, and put on a personal hat and share with you some of the reasons why I opened up my relationship.
Our idea(l) “what a relationship is”
For us, a big reason was just this sort of like philosophical idea of what is a relationship? And how do we want to relate to each other?
A big part of that was wanting a sense of freedom and a lack of ownership. Recognizing that Peter is his own person and I am my own person and we don’t own or control each other but we come together willingly and excitedly to build a life together.
Red flags would rightfully go off if you boyfriend was controlling who you could get lunch with or where you could work or what you did with your body when it comes to fashion or exercise. I think for me there was the similar idea of like Peter still is his own person and should have total control over his own body and his relationships and his other relationships don’t necessarily impact or diminish what we have together.
We started dating young
Then there was also a practical consideration: we were both pretty young when we got together (we were both 23!). We were also each other’s first long-term boyfriends; so while we really liked what we had going on, there was no point of reference. We were interested in exploring a little bit but also didn’t want to lose this really great thing that we had going. So we just stayed together!
I know for me, part of it was also a desire for sexual variety. This is a basic human instinct that pretty much everyone who experiences sexual desire and sexual attraction also experiences a want for sexual diversity.
I know that for gay guys in particular, we’re often shamed for our sexual desires. We’re overly sexualized, so it was kinda hard for me to get in touch with it. At first, I felt some shame in thinking, “Yeah I do want to have sex with other people.” I mean, I still definitely enjoy the sex I’m having with my boyfriend —and want that keep that going! But I also want… some more. And that’s an okay desire to have.
Physical Affection + Blurring Lines With Friends
I’m also a pretty physically affectionate person. My top love language is physical touch. I like to both give and receive love through physical touch, and so I had these friend relationships in my life that from the outside you might say we’re like just friends but there was like something more brewing there. Not a romantic relationship, but also not strictly platonic relationship. I wanted the ability to explore those and let each relationship be what it wanted to be. Gay guys have a rich history of sort of blending and blurring lines between friendship and lover and relationship and there’s something really cool there that I wanted to tap into.
What about yours?
So, yep, those were some of my reasons for opening up my relationship. I would love to hear some of yours in the comments down below.
I’ve been thinking about putting together a video that explores sort of the benefits of an open relationship. If that’s something that you would like to see, let me know down in the comments on YouTube. Or if there’s something else you want to hear or learn more about, drop me a message. I always love hearing from you!