Surveying My Open Community

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I am also keeping everyone’s responses anonymous. This is a (relatively) anonymous blog, and I wanted people to feel safe in expressing their experiences, lessons, and feelings. Thank you to everyone who was willing to share with me and my readers! I will post one survey per blog post 🙂 Here is the first one. Enjoy!

Where did you start in your open journey and where are you now? (Interpret and answer however you like!) 
For me, this question is a little difficult to answer. I was introduced to the idea of [an] “open relationship” in March of 2012 but knowing nothing of it, held deep and, regrettably, harsh feeling towards the idea and to my partner. The idea was then dropped, or so I thought. I was thrashed violently into it again in July when I found out my partner was emotionally involved with his ex who was “poly”. They wanted me to be understanding of their feelings and made decisions for me which made me feel like a child. It was done behind my back and in a way that made me resent not only the parties involved, but also the idea of openness. After the initial shock wore off and I ran out of chocolate and ice cream to ease my suffering, I finally thought to myself, “how hard could it be? How hard is it to let my partner be honest and forthcoming to me about being attracted to others but at the same time still want to be with me?” I decided then and there that this was something I could work through and get to understand better. Since then my partner and I have been open and loving where it’s taking us. We both have changed our ideas about it drastically since March and are still learning and finding out new things about ourselves we didn’t even know exists. Though it is unknown terrain, we like it that way. 

What are your motivations and reasons for having an open/poly/ethically nonmonogamous relationship? 

Since my father’s infidelity, I knew that monogamy didn’t exist in my life. I knew that it wasn’t for me, but because of how I was raised and what I thought I had to abide to, I just gave in and tried finding “the one.” I just didn’t have the information or the knowledge to know there was something else out there. I’ve always dated multiple people at the same time with them knowing I was, but didn’t find out until recent[ly] that I was already practicing a form of openness. It wasn’t until I met my current partner that I actually started using terms and meeting people of this community. My motivation is simple; I want to meet like-minded individuals who share the same ideals that my partner and I do and have fun while loving, living, and exploring life. Love is all you need! 

If you had to label your relationship (swinger, poly, ethically nonmonogamous, open, etc), what would you choose and why? 

I’m still trying to figure out all the lingo used in this community! My partner and I have changed our ideas and thoughts about our relationship dramatically since we started. We initially started seeing individuals, then tried meeting couples online, then back to individuals, then just us, then couples. It’s never ending, but I wouldn’t change anything. Sometimes you have to force yourself into uncomfortable situations to see how your mind, body, and soul might react. I wouldn’t [have] found out how much I liked actually viewing my partner with another woman if I didn’t put myself in the situation. So long story short, if I had to pick a title to fit us, I would say ethical swingers; we love seeing and being with other loving couples, but want more from the relationship than just pure sex. 

Do you currently have a partner or partners? What do the boundaries in your relationships look like? 

I have a boyfriend and as of right now we are just focusing on building our relationship but do have a couple that we enjoy seeing and playing with from time to time. When we are with them we are always checking in with each other to make sure the comfort level is still at level with the fun. 

How do you practice safer sex? 

I am on the pill and when we’re with others we use a condom. 

How do you define love? 

I have to quote Shakespeare because it is by far the best definition of love that I have heard and connected with. “Love- it will not betray, dismay, or enslave you. It will set you free.” 

How you define jealousy? What do you do when you feel jealous? What are some ways you manage jealousy? 

Jealousy is a nagging itch that I can’t reach at times. Especially when I’m being extra hard on myself. No matter how hard I twist and turn, how far back I reach my hands, or even try to ignore it, it wouldn’t disappear. It wasn’t until I realized there are tools I can put into effect to rid myself of this itch. I consulted with open friends, I talked through my struggle with my partner, I bought books to enlighten myself that I’m not alone and I’m not crazy. You sometimes just need someone to itch that stratch for you. Surrounding myself with loving friends and tools to aid me in my compersion journey has been the best medicine. 

What has been one of your biggest “ah-ha” moments since being open?

The biggest moment for me was when I actually opened up and met people of the open community. The only experience I had with an open relationship was the one I experienced that unfortunately happened behind my back with two people making all the decisions for me. I had negative thoughts on it for a long time until I finally reached out to a young women I only knew from her blog. I was miserable and lost, not knowing if this was something I could do, or if I could, where to turn to for advice or even vent to. I reached out with hesitation and emailed her, not knowing what kind of response I’d get. I’m so happy that I did, because ever since that first email I have finally begun to see the positives of being open. Because of her, I learned that there are in fact very loving, warm, enriching, and very good looking open people in this city that not only want to make my partner feel loved, but to make sure I feel comfortable and loved, as well. She made me have my first “ah-ha” moment by letting me know that I never have to feel alone in this community and I love her for that. Thank you. 

What has been one of your biggest struggles since being open? 

My biggest struggle is getting over the initial shock of hearing and sometimes viewing [my] partner’s attraction to another woman. It has gotten better since the beginning, but sometimes it stings for a bit. I am better at communicating my feelings to my partner and have worked on compersion methods to further help rid myself of jealousy. 

What has been one of your biggest joys since being open?

My biggest joy thus far is meeting all the wonderful people of the community. I also would have to say that since being open, my partner and I have experienced how much being open has brought us closer together. Seeing my partner happy and loving others has given me a better understanding of him and his needs. It’s a joy that I don’t think I could [have] seen if we weren’t open. It’s as if a whole new door has opened in our world that we are able to go through and discover together. That’s the best part- exploring love together as an open couple.

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