I often receive messages on OKC about our open relationship. This one in particular got my attention:
“i’m really curious about what you’ve found, for you, to be the most surprisingly poignant aspects of being in an open relationship if you wouldn’t mind sharing!”
This one feels hard to answer. The most poignant aspects of being in an open relationship…
Let’s define “poignant” first (I needed to remind myself of the specific meaning of the word!):
evoking a keen sense of sadness or regret : a poignant reminder of the passing of time.
• keenly felt : the sensation of being back at home was most poignant in the winter.
• archaic sharp or pungent in taste or smell.
A keen sense of sadness or regret? Not really an experience of mine. Sometimes when I am going through something really challenging, I miss the ignorance and naivety of being monogamous. But I am not sad or regretful about opening up our relationship. Not at all.
Keenly felt? I was talking with J about this a few days ago: I feel like since we opened up our relationship, I feel all of my feelings in this heightened state. Call it my own Awakening, but when I feel sad I feel sad and I when I feel joyful I feel really, really joyful. I feel my feelings very deeply in my body (which I think I always have) but I can now also really articulate them and communicate them, which I think adds to their sensation. Also, I have started to become aware of the fact that different feelings have different sounds to me (strange?). One in particular has this very deep, bass like sound in my chest and head… The love I feel for J is so deep. I feel so committed and happy in our relationship, even when it is rough. When I am with other partners, I feel my love for J so deeply, and when I am back with J, I feel so in love with him. Perhaps that has been one of the most poignant aspects for me: realizing how much I love J, and realizing how much room for experience and love and pain our relationship allows.
I think, too, another poignant aspect is simply my own self awareness and self growth. It takes tolerance of a certain amount of pain to cast light on my own shadows. And that process has certainly been filled with some sadness, but also strength. My process has included learning to give up control, replacing the idea that control is love and vice versa with the idea that love is freedom and vice versa, learning to let go of fears that I will be replaced, remembering that I can only be responsible for myself, and learning to appreciate/enjoy/crave alone time. This entire internal process feels poignant because of how in touch with my feelings I have to be, as well as because of the complete shift in paradigm that I have been working on. Learning to totally give up old thoughts and replace them with new ones is a poignant process.