It’s the new millennium that means out with the old and in with the new! As a counselor I generally encourage trying new things since trying new things is what helps shapes who we are as human beings.This case is different though….I strongly advise my clients that open relationships don’t work and here’s why..,.
(by the way morality and religion have nothing to do with it)
Every time I’ve had a couple come into my office saying they’re in an open relationship it’s almost always just one person’s idea and the other goes along with it.
They may say its both of their ideas but when I meet with them individually one person (usually the woman) confesses they hate that their partner is fucking somebody else but they will do anything to make them happy.
I’ll never forget one of my clients (we’ll call her Sarah) and her fiancée came into my office. They were both smiling saying that they were a new age ‘hip’ couple and didn’t need to follow ‘old christian bs lifestyles’.
They genuinely looked happy as well which begged the question ‘why are you in my office?’. They just said they wanted to meet with me prior to getting married.
When I met with Sarah I asked her how she felt about being in an open relationship. She forced a smile and said “oh its great. I’m confident in myself as a woman so I don’t care what he does so long as he comes home to me”.
To which I replied: uh-huh and how do you really feel about being in an open relationship?
She just broke down in tears and said “I fuckin hate it!” “Why does he need to fuck other girls when he’s with me?!”
She then described one night where she said she actually smelled one of her fiancee’s other girls on him. She told him he had agreed to always shower afterwards and he just told her ‘my bad’ and didn’t even care about how upset she was.
“I hate having him inside me knowing he was just inside another bitch!” is what she told me. The truth is there are several ways for anyone to get a good partner that don’t involve being a doormat. They just have to learn them.
No, It’s not just women that don’t like open relationships
One day I had a gay couple and they mentioned being in an open relationship. I asked how long they had been together and they said over 15 years and began to hold hands and smile. Turns out those smiles were hiding a lot of pain and deceit. When I talked to the bottom he told me echoed the sentiments of Sarah. He hated that his partner was screwing other guys and it made him feel like less of a man.
My conversation with the top was also no surprise. When I asked him why he requested an open relationship he said he wasn’t attracted to his partner anymore and needed a release. He told me he ‘liked ’em young’ referring to the early 20 somethings.
He went further to reveal the he had emptied their joint account spending money to keep the 20 somethings interested in him and that his partner had no idea they were broke.
Open relationships don’t even work for straight men
A married couple, Sean and Lindsey, came into my office and said the spark had gone out of their relationship. They decided to try polyamory as that’s the new hip thing in the bay area apparently.
‘They decided’ refers to ‘Lindsey was the one who wanted it”.
You see Sean is a Afghanistan war vet and had gotten hurt while serving our country. The injury affected Sean’s mobility. Lindsey reported that ‘he just doesn’t do it like he used to and plus he’s fat now’. She described an affair she was having with her personal trainer.
Apparently Sean caught her and they decided to go ‘open’ to save their marriage. In my opinion this wasn’t a marriage worth saving (but counselors are never supposed to advise divorce).There was absolutely no regret whatsoever in Lindsey’s eyes for what she was doing. She knew her husband hated her sleeping with another guy but that was of no concern to her.
She just kept saying ‘omg he’s so hunky and he knows what he’s doing!’. In truth she was just stringing Sean along until everything was secure with her true lover. When I met with Sean of course he told me how sad he was. He knew what a horrible person his wife was but he figured with his injuries she was the best he could do. I told him that there are ways to make himself more desirable again.
He thanked me and later on when I saw him he had told me he divorced his wife and is now talking to a very nice girl that is so turned on by his military service. She can’t wait to move in apparently but he’s taking it slow.
Open Relationships and the LGBT Community
My LGBT readers will have head the phrase ‘we don’t need to follow the ‘heteronormative’ relationship model’.This phrase I have heard often in support of open relationships. One of my dearest friends came to visit me on a Friday and we just chilled out in my place and had some Mikes Hard Lemonade.
After about 4 lemonades we started really having deep conversations. I asked him how long he’s been with his boyfriend. He told me “10 years”. I asked him what his secret was to keep the relationship interesting and he told me “We do the open thing”. I asked him why he wanted an open relationship. He leaned in my ear and whispered “Because I think I can do better but I want like keeping my options open”.
Open Relationships Don’t Work
Open relationships are relationships of convenience and nothing more. It’s a way for people (not just men) to have their cake and eat it too. If your partner is cheating….I mean requesting an open relationship…it’s because they’re not getting something they want/need from you,
If you’ve tried to work on it with them and they’re still insisting on an open relationship I’m sorry to say but based on my experience in 10+ years of counseling that means they’re no longer in love with you and are just biding their time until they can find someone better.
In short. Don’t be someone’s fallback person. You’re too beautiful to be someone’s plan B. I’ll never forget what a friend told me. A zero is better than a negative”.