I’ve seen a lot of people make bad decisions in the name of relationship preservation.
A monogamous partner agreeing to open a relationship
Those first three seem pretty logical. A relationship with problems isn’t going to improve by adding the stressors of a new pet or an infant and sleepless nights leading to shorter tempers. While I have never personally tried procreation as method of holding onto someone else, having children certainly hasn’t stopped anyone from having terrible relationships, they just tend to hold people in bad situations for longer than they should have. This seems to be a general human problem, as I’ve seen its unfortunate side effects in both kinky and vanilla partnerships.
The one I really want to talk about, though, is opening up a relationship.
It seems to be a common misconception that if monogamy isn’t working, attempting an open relationship or some other form of polyamory is a potential solution.
Seriously, stop it right there.
Have you ever seen a repairman work on a car or washing machine or a.c. unit?
Generally, when a part breaks, they suggest replacing it or repairing it.
I have never once heard one suggest rerouting the system and adding some new pieces to get around the broken one. Not ever.
Oddly enough, I have often heard people suggest opening a relationship to fix the problems, instead of just repairing the broken pieces.
However we each may choose to fashion our polyamory within our own groupings, there are one or two things most can agree must be part of it. Above all, I would argue that the million dollar word is communication, followed closely by trust. Generally speaking, failing relationships often lack either one or both of those important elements.
Furthermore, if the relationship is deteriorating, what is the motivation for attempting a last ditch save? Is it a matter of how much time has been expended in pursuit of happiness with this person already or shared possessions or finances? Better to walk away while those conversations can happen in a more positive manner.
Now, I certainly don’t want to be judgy. There is one situation in which the act of opening up a relationship which had been monogamous may help, but only if the issue is that one or both partners is polyamorous and monogamy has become the problem. Even then, this is going to require a lot of communication and reassurance if you plan to move forward with a mono / poly situation. There are, however, support groups for monogamous people with polyamorous partners, both on Fetlife and Facebook, who genuinely desire to help each other find peace with what can be a challenging pairing.
Don’t forget the communication.
It’s the rest of you I’m talking to. It’s the ones who made it until the kids left home and discovered you no longer know your partner and aren’t sure you like what you see. It’s the ones who have a serial cheater and think an open relationship will stop the cheating. It’s for the ones who have had a steadily declining sex life who think adding other sexual partners may be the solution.
Okay, well, for that last one, it may actually be the solution- if it is solely a case of vastly different sex drives. However, if the diminishing frequency of sex is indicative of problems other than unequal drives, the likelihood of an open relationship being the solution to the problem is low.
Where was I? Oh, yes. Serial cheaters and general incompatibilities.
To preface this, I am not a psychologist. With that being said, my reading and personal experience has indicated that serial cheating can possibly be the manifestation of someone struggling to come to grips with being non-monogamous. For others, it can be akin to a fetish because there is nothing quite like that thrill of sneaking around and having something forbidden.
Either way, opening a relationship with this person will lack trust. Best case scenario, the serial cheater becomes happily polyamorous and has all of the variety and companionship their heart desires. The partner who stayed with them, however, will still have some serious problems trusting them. Sure, now they are seeing other people openly, but what other rules might that person be breaking? Trust, once broken, is the hardest thing to regain.
For the serial cheater who gets off on the thrill of it, well, they will just find new ways to get that thrill. Maybe, it will be bringing a lover home to cavort in a shared bed. Maybe, it will be unprotected sex, or something that puts everyone at risk. It could just be something minor like taking dates to the restaurant only you two go to. That person will find their thrill somehow.
I would argue that there is one more big reason serial cheaters do what they do. I believe some people lack self-awareness. They understand they aren’t happy with a partner, but lack the capacity to express it or even understand why. Perhaps they’ve been together a long time and it seems as if they should be happy. These cheaters aren’t going to change their ways when a relationship opens up. They still subconsciously want out and will find a way to sabotage things the same way they’ve been trying to do all along. They only question is how they finally succeed.
When it comes to attempting to fix general dissatisfaction or incompatibility with a partner, adding more partners isn’t going to change those things. If this is a relationship you both believe is worth saving, see a counselor or do some serious work and make it a priority. These things didn’t get that way overnight, and they aren’t going to be fixed that way, either.
For the rest of you who want to open your relationship because you want to have new experiences, or you have so much love to give one person can’t contain it all, or for those who just cannot comprehend monogamy because you feel we are not biologically programmed for it, or because you just don’t want to settle down, I hope you find the happiness that is possible for any type of relationship you desire.
This can happen with two things, of course.
Because I will always advocate for prioritizing those things in any relationship.
About the Author
Christmas bunny has been exploring kink since she was legal to do so. Her serious writing started in college, where she accidently got some of her papers published in educational journals. She has recently expanded her writing to include her kink journey. She began writing in the physical realm, but shed some of her inhibitions and began sharing those entries with others. She now keeps an active blog of her personal growth and her relationship with her Master / Daddy Dominant and writes helpful educational posts on a variety of subjects.