As the Blog Evolves :-)

We decided that J will start blogging about our day-to-day and week-to-week experiences of our open relationship. How we meet people, where we meet them, what they are like, how we move forward, and how we politely decline. K will continue blogging about specific topics and issues, like jealousy and communication and coming out.
Most of all, this is our place to process our experiences, difficult and amazing ones alike! Thanks for reading and for being part of our trusted group of family and friends!

Family & Friend Reactions: Coming Out

We decided to tell a select group of family and friends about our adventures outside of monogamy. Part of this for me (K) was about authenticity and honesty in my day-to-day life. I don’t want to feel like I am hiding any part of my identity, and my sexual identity is a major part of who I am. Another part of this for me is a little more intellectual. I feel like our society and culture has a twisted relationship to sex: we are punished for deviating outside the monogamous and married relationship, and yet every advertisement and media message we receive encourages us to dress half-naked, aim to sexually please our partner, and buy products to enhance our attractiveness and sexual appeal. Therefore, it is important to me to begin, in my own small way, to dispel the ideas that sex is “bad,” the only ways to have fulfilling sex is through a married and monogamous relationship, and that having more causal sexual encounters are also “bad.”
We began selecting individuals in our lives that we felt would be open to our new ideas and adventures. These individuals are the same ones that we initially invited to read this blog. All of these individuals had one thing in common: they would still love and accept us regardless of how we decided to create our relationship. We didn’t feel like we would be shunned or lectured; all of these people have open hearts and minds. We anticipated awkward conversations, and knew some of the people we told would be surprised or even shocked. But we decided it was important for our sense of honesty and authenticity to be able to tell people that we care about.
While the circle of people that we have talked to about all of this has grown a little bit, neither of us has talked to our parents about our decision to open up our relationship. Maybe it’s none of their business, but we would both like to. Perhaps a good way of broaching the subject would be to ask “Have you and Dad (or Mom) ever talked about or thought about having an open relationship?” I don’t know if and when I will be ready for this conversation, but it is one I think about often.

2-3 Month Recap (By K)

J and I began our search for a non-monogamous experience by going to a local swingers club, one that had excellent reviews online. It seemed like a very social and low pressure way to introduce ourselves to the scene. As it so happened, we met a fantastic couple our very first night there, and have grown quite close with them over the past two and a half months. We have all grown together through the experiences we have had, and are constantly evolving together through honest conversations, struggles creating and maintaining boundaries, challenges in being honest with ourselves and with each other, and moments of joy and friendship. We have definitely enjoyed getting to know each other inside and outside of the bedroom, and have found a deep friendship that surpasses, probably for many swingers, the stereotypical “swinging” relationship.
We have also experimented with a more casual swinging encounter, and it was just as much fun as our experiences with our more serious couple, just in different ways. There was no drama, jealousy, or insecurity issues on the part of anyone, and after everything was done, that was it. We might see them again, and we might not. We learned that we like knowing our play partners, but it is not necessary for us to know them deeply.
Now, we are beginning to explore other forms of open relationships, and I (K) just started reading Opening Up by Tristan Taormino. It has been a fascinating read so far, and has definitely opened my eyes to other potential ways for J and I to negotiate our newfound open relationship.  From partnered nonmonogamy, to swinging, polyamory, solo-polyamory, polyfidelity, and mixed relationships of these various orientations, I have begun to see the many ways that we can love others and develop meaningful relationships with others, leaving behind the confining and stunting feelings of jealousy, insecurity, dishonesty, and possessiveness. While I do not know what our relationship will look like two months from now, or five years from now, I know that we will still love each other, maintaining our trust in each other and respect for one another as a priority.

The Rough Beginning (written by K)

So J began to describe our beginning into the world of “something more than monogamy.”
After reading Sex at Dawn we began a series of conversations, lasting about a month. A lot of them were intense, many difficult to get through. I had one exceptionally difficult week in particular; I felt like my whole world was getting turned upside down and I had nowhere to turn! Since I was a little girl, I have had this irrational dream that there was one man out there for me and he was going to love only me for the rest of our lives; that only I would complete and fulfill him. I experienced anxiety and depression during this time: what if J didn’t truly love me anymore? What if he would never want to marry me? What if he fell in love with someone else and left me? What if, what if, what if? What if I wasn’t good enough? What if???
Suddenly, about three to four weeks into our day-in and day-out conversations, staying up until all hours of the night and talking constantly and only about all of this during the day, something just clicked in my brain. It was like: oh my gosh. My partner and I love each other. Deeply. We can be 100% honest with each other. We aren’t going to leave each other. We can both be attracted to other people and still love each other. Nothing changes that. Can I really imagine only having intimate experiences with him for the rest of my life? Can anyone really expect their partner to not want to experience intimacy with anyone else? Can I really expect myself or my partner to not feel attracted to other people?
I suddenly became very comfortable with these ideas. Monogamy seems so unnatural. It’s not a bad thing; I’m not here to make a judgment call. But it seems unnatural for us. Our lives would only be enriched and blessed by the experiences we would gain from meeting and interacting with other respectful and thoughtful people.
But wait: what else is there? This was my very next roadblock. This question felt like a huge cement tower in my path to sexual and emotional liberation. What the hell else is there?? There is monogamy, and then there’s…. what? I had been taught from a very young age that we (society) value honesty, commitment, and loyalty. I have an uncle that rocked my extended family when his child from an affair came to live with his family; witnessing that shaped a lot of where I had learned that “thou shall not cheat, think about cheating, think anyone but one’s partner is attractive, ever think about one’s own sexual fulfillment, etc.” I grew up during high school experiencing insanely jealous rages over boyfriends and ex-boyfriends and crushes looking and talking with other girls; this was normal, expected, and encouraged behavior. Jealousy, competition, and monogamy, at least in my experience and socialization, all go hand-in-hand. And, that meant this was the only option for experiencing relationships, romantic or otherwise.
Well, all it took was a little research. J took the lead, as it was about this time that I was still reeling a bit in shock from my world-turned-upside-down state of mind. We began reading about swinging, polyamory, etc, and the Wikipedia page on Non-monogamy got us started on our journey outside of monogamy.