Some thoughts from my partner of seven years, Matthew…

More and more people are thinking outside the confining cage of social norms these days and exploring the option of opening their relationship. While this is something that can be truly amazing and freeing, there are a number of considerations that should be made piror to, and during, the process.

What kind of door is it that you are about to open? A single or double door? Revolving door? Sliding door? A Security Door? Here is a very short list of some truly important items that you should also think about:

1. Move Slowly

There should be no reason to rush this process. If you find there is a high degree of expedition in your partner’s, or your own, eagerness to open the door, examine it. Do not go forward with the process if one of you is not happy with your current relationship. If the door you are opening is not well adjusted, balanced and oiled; it will not function properly. In other words, someone could get hurt.

Opening doors can lead to many great things.

2. Define Guidelines

It is extremely important to discuss limitations and you should certainly have some in place at the onset. These can be any number of things.  Perhaps you would only like new partners to use the front door, keeping the back door reserved for yourselves. Safer sex is a must of course.  A great way to start the guidline discussion is:  Who? What? When? Where?  (The “Why?” should have already been discussed by the time you get to setting up guidlines.)

3. Mutual Respect

It is imperative that everyone involved feels respected.  From primary partners, to new partners, to potential partners. Don’t slam the door in anyone’s face once you’ve opened it. Of course, you aren’t going open the door to anyone who you don’t think should come in, so there should be no need to slam a door. However, there may be a need to lock it sometime. People who choose not to respect your relationship with your primary should remain outside of the door, knocking.

4. Be Honest

Do not be afraid to acknowledge any feeling you have, no matter how small or silly you may think it is. Those small emotional responses can smolder and turn into a raging fire quickly if they are not placed on the table. One thing that you can be sure of in life, aside from from the fact that you’ll die someday, is that honest, mature communication is always beneficial.

5. Jealousy

Be prepared to experience being emotionaly uncomfortable at some point, no matter how many times you talk about it, no matter how strong your primary relationship is. Early on, and even sometime after you’ve opened the door, you will naturally long for your primary partner and/or even wonder about the stability of your relationship when they are with someone else. Do not feel like you are doing something wrong, or are inferior. Realize that you are in love and keep being open and honest with each other.

Remember, what you are attempting to do is what so many other people are already doing, except they are climbing through windows. It’s much better to use the door.


liamdelf 2011-10-10 08:26:15

I would like to share my story of how my wife and I opened our relationship about 17 years ago. We had been experimenting with sexual fantasies for a while that included sharing each other with other people. During sex, these fantasies can often get pretty wild as sexual stimulation tends to break down inhibitions and taboos. So, after making love we tended to discuss those fantasies and various issues of jealousy that would likely arise if we acted on them. I had previously experimented with opening a relationship it my previous marriage and the consequences had been devastating. So, the majority of the potential jealousy issues were on my part. She, understandably, had some concerns with the possibility of opening our marriage, but the biggest potential for jealousy came from my corner. Quite frankly, the idea both stimulated me sexually, and scared the shit out of my emotionally.

We had a very dear friend that was suffering terribly. For as long as we had known her she had enjoyed a very active sex life. But she ended up in a marriage to a very emotionally and psychologicallly abusive man. Luckily, she managed to escape from that situation, but serious damage had been done. Her sex life came to a screeching halt. A woman that enjoyed being sexually active more days out of the week than not suddenly found herself single for a year with no sexual activity whatsoever. It is was causing her an extreme amount of stress and anxiety. She was suffering tremendously.

One Sunday morning my wife and I woke up early. No real reason, we just both woke up, laid in bed, and had no real desire to get up and be productive. So we began talking about our friend. We were really worried about her and wanted to help her, but we didn’t know what to do. Our social circle was exactly the same as hers, we didn’t know anyone that we could introduce her to, because she already knew all of our friends. We talked about how much she just needed someone to make love to her and remind her of how beautiful and wonderful she is. She needed to feel desired again. The more I lay there talking to my wife, the more I wanted to go to our friend and make her feel better; make her feel like herself again.

Extremely nervous, and not sure how my wife was going to react, I opened my mouth and asked, “How would you feel if I made love to her?”

She looked at me, smiled and said, “Funny, I was just laying here trying to figure out how to tell you that I wanted you to go fuck the shit out of her.”

After some nervous laughter, we discussed it for a few minutes. The next thing I knew, I was in our car driving to our friend’s house. It was a wonderful morning, very passionate and loving. As it turned out, it wasn’t just something our friend needed, it was something that I needed as well. That act of love toward our friend helped to break the fears and jealousies that I had been experiencing. The world did not end because I had sex with someone other than my wife. My wife did not get jealous because I had been with someone else. In fact, my wife and I actually became closer than ever.

As time went on, I eventually healed from the pain of my previous experience with an open relationship. My wife and I began to find ourselves in situations with very close friends that became sexual. The more of these situations we were involved with the deeper our love and respect for each other became. And just as important, our level of trust ended up stronger with each experience.

Today, there is no jealousy between us. My greatest sexual joy is seeing my wife experience pleasure, whether it is at my hands or the hands of others. Yes, our relationship is open and has been for many years. It has become some much stronger for it. Most of our sexual adventures with other people, we have shared. Both of us involved in the same sexual activity. But there are other times when we are not together. In all cases, we have grown to love and respect each other far more than I would have ever dreamed 20 years ago.

When I look back to those days when we were first opening our relationship, I know that if we had just jumped into it and started having sex with other people, it would have been a nightmare. My jealousy alone would have totally decimated the situation. But the fact that we spent the first couple of years of our marriage exploring our fantasies and talking to each other is what made opening our relationship so wonderful. Most of our fears and anxieties were taken care of before either of us ever touched another person. So, yeah, take all of the time in the world. Your love for each other is paramount. Feed that love everything that it needs to thrive. And if both partners desire it, slowly let that love expand to other people.

Opening a relationship can be the most wonderful thing in the world, but it can also be the most destructive. Take you time, do it right, and revel in the love of your partner the entire time.


    Kendra 2011-10-10 18:11:00

    What an amazing love story! Thank you so much for sharing. Just think, if you hadn’t uttered that thought out loud for fear of freaking out your wife, it would have remained an ordinary day. Instead, your open honesty shared turned it into an extraordinary day that led to a whole new world to explore!


AngelofHarlots 2011-10-10 21:09:25

Wolf and I were in an open relationship from the beginning; in fact, I don’t think either of us really expected to become such serious partners as we have. So the “how to open up the relationship” was not an issue for us.

The two parts of this piece that ring very true for me are “Be Honest” and “Jealousy.” Oddly, I have a strong tendency towards jealousy. The key to being in an open relationship as a naturally jealous person is understanding that jealousy is merely another emotion; just like happiness, anger, fear, sadness…it isn’t something that has to end something. It’s merely another emotion to share and support each other through.

The “Be Honest” section, though, is the most important, I think. Recently I had a bit of a falling out with one of Wolf’s friends with benefits. At first, I was terrified to say anything about it to Wolf, because I didn’t want him to get the impression that I was giving him an it’s-her-or-me ultimatum. But it was important to me for him to know what was going on. And it was important for our relationship that I be honest with him. So I explained the situation, and everything is turning out fine.

That is how you know a relationship is strong. When you can be honest, even when you are afraid it will make you look like a dick.


Kitty Calhoun 2011-10-11 00:40:53

You hit all the key points, of course. But one thing I think I’d tack on is forgiveness.
I feel like people are willing to work to reconcile or understand or forgive so long as it has nothing to do with awesome sex.

Chompo and i have rules about our open relationship, but if either of us flubbed one, I think we could find it in our hearts to forgive and move on.
I think a lot of couples, monogamous, poly, everybody, could benefit from some serious good ole fashioned forgiveness.

Nobody’s perfect! :heart:


    Belladonna 2011-10-13 22:09:59

    Hear hear!


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