Hello lovers! (Ick!) I write to you on this sunshiney Chicago Sunday from the ruptured cocoon of a cloistered caterpillar turned social butterfly. I’m back, baby! And it feels good!
But while I was hiding, I seem to have missed the rampant spread of an au courant phenomenon: the open relationship. On the Rosie Glow scale of incomprehensible fads, this ranks just below going paleo. I’m not talking about dating around and not committing to anyone – I fully support that (apparently old hat) song and dance. I’m talking about committing to your partner with the knowledge and expectation that the two of you will have other partners. …Huh?
It’d be easy enough to brush the open relationship off as a passing fancy a la “Call me Maybe” or this video if I were further removed from it, but everyone and her mom is in one! Polyamorous friends of mine who love each other but want to keep their options open. Friends who don’t have themselves figured out yet (a gentle mental keepsake: no one does and that’s just fine!) and think they’ll find answers by exploring new romantic connections. Friends who have been in stable relationships forever and want to ward off boredom. Friends who I love and respect and most certainly don’t want to offend.
But can I be real, here? I don’t get it.
I’m not one to trash any lifestyle, and as sharing your boo must require an enormous amount of emotional stamina and a fair amount of planning, I would, indeed, call open relationship-ing a lifestyle. Furthermore, I have obviously never been in an open relationship, so take my ramblings on this subject with a grain of lost at sea-salt. That said, I do know that we mid-twenty somethings are collectively confused. (Proof.) Back in the day, before these new fangled, love-bonds were a thing (get off my lawn!), we’d all be married and poppin’ out babies by now. We’re privileged to live in an age where self-exploration is encouraged and finding a mate is no longer mandatory. So if you’re looking to embark on an open relationship as means of soul searching, I ask, simply, why don’t you look inward instead? You’re already you! It’s true that we learn through experience: our interactions with the universe give us the tools to chip away at the dull rock shrouding our true, sparkly selves, and partaking in an open relationship is… an experience. But so is reading a book, learning French, discovering you like to roller skate in rainbow hot-pants while listening to the Beegees! It’s our responsibility to know ourselves. I can’t personally fathom how one could possibly put effort into figuring her sh*t out while navigating multiple relationships. And how can anyone else love the real you if you can’t put in the time and effort required to build a solid relationship with yourself?
I suppose it’s all a matter of timing. Maybe you feel you’ve done enough soul searching and you want to see what’s out there. You don’t want to fully abandon your beau but you’re curious. Has this worked for anybody out there? Say, hypothetically, jealousy and manipulation weren’t even factors to consider… just like your relationship with yourself, a romantic relationship takes work. It takes energy. Can you truly nourish multifarious affairs while nourishing your spirit?
Kudos to you, girl… I can’t even keep my basil plant alive.
Who has thoughts? Are any of you hot toddies in open relationships? What am I missing, here? And if I may be so bold; what is your goal? What do you hope to discover by having more than one girl/boyfriend? We’re friends, right?
Please don’t mistake my bewilderment for criticism. I mean it when I say I think you’re the tops.