Enjoyment & Emotional Health

A question from someone on OKC:
“You are probably asked this question all the time due to your unique circumstances but what do you enjoy about being in an open relationship or with multiple partners? How do you both stay emotionally ‘Okay’ with that?” 

What I enjoy:
Personal growth: I enjoy the opportunity/ies to continually work on personal growth. When things feel uncomfortable or yucky, it is a chance to work on something of my own (insecurities, fears, and other irrational beliefs and belief systems).
My sense of self and sexuality: I am queer, and love being able to explore being with people (emotionally, sensually, sexually, romantically) of different genders. I also have a strengthened sense of who I am- physically, sexually, emotionally, and spiritually, and how those things collide to create my sexual and romantic desires. I have a bolstered body image and self-appreciation, and a higher self esteem.
Sexual adventurousness and exploration: Being in an open relationship means that I am continually exposed to new and different ways of relating sensually and sexually, and it means that J and I are constantly talking about new things that we are interested in. That can take the form of D/S encounters, rough sex, tantra/energy play, gangbangs, threesomes, anal play, prostate play, using porn or erotica or toys to add spice, exhibitionism, rope play, etc.
Sexual variety: I am able to experience being with new partners sexually and romantically. Every person is unique and every person moves differently in their sexual space.
Emotional independence: Because my long-standing pattern was to become emotionally dependent on a romantic partner, being in an open relationship has meant that I have diversified my emotional relationships. This has been fantastic for me, for the health of my friendships and other relationships, and for my relationship with J. I have also been able to experience the love and caring that I feel for other people, and feel even more happy and loving in my life because of that emotional involvement with other people.
Flirting: I love flirting. And I can do that. Yay!
Conscientious and intentional relationship choices: Moving from a monogamous to an open relationship has meant that I have had my own “awakening” the past couple of years. Each relationship in my life is there intentionally now, and I invest in each one with relish.
Honesty, Communication, Integrity: My ability to be honest with myself and others, to communicate effectively, and to live with integrity have all become increasingly better. 
Choice and Freedom: I feel like I have the freedom to choose who I am partnered with. And knowing that J feels the same way makes me feel so much more connected to him, because I know he is choosing to be with me, too.

Staying emotionally “okay”:
For me, this takes the form of self-care: blogging, journaling, manicures/pedicures, exercising, meditating, yoga, crying, talking to friends, eating good food, drinking tea, taking baths, masturbating, watching guilty pleasure TV, etc.
It also takes a lot of honesty and communication. It is necessary for me to stay emotionally connected to J even when things feel difficult, sticky, rough, or sensitive. I have to be able to talk to him honestly in order to stay connected. As long as we have open lines of communication, we can help each other (as much as we can do for each other) stay “okay.” Although ultimately, it is up to each of us to stay healthy and happy, to know what we each need and want, and to communicate and negotiate with each other.

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