When open communication isn’t enough

Everything we read and hear about open relationships says just communicate. Have open communication with your partner and be honest and that’s all you need. For me something much more important had to come first. The potentially very difficult journey to be honest with yourself first.

I always knew I had different ideals than most people around me. What I didn’t know was how to accept them or how to articulate them. Monogamous relationships always seemed like a trap to me. But I knew of no other way of doing things so I went along with it. Always believing there was something wrong with me. Why wasn’t this working? Why is this so hard and unfulfilling?

So after enough failed relationships and finally coming to the realization that I can't be the only one who feels the way I do. There has to be more out there that I am missing. I did some investigating on the concept of open relationships. I had never knowingly met someone who was in one. So I had no idea what I would find or how big this other side of the world is.

I read some books and started joining some online polyamorous groups and swinger groups. Just trying to gain knowledge and awareness first. Sort of conceptually “trying on” different ideas. What sounded like it would work for me, what didn’t, etc. The more I talked to people and read what they had gone thru, what worked for them and what didn’t. I began to have an idea of what I wanted.

It took over a year of just observing and reading and talking and just absorbing/processing the concept of all the different options before I could even begin to think about how do I want to proceed now? How do I even find someone who wants the same thing? Or even anything remotely similar?

I dated vanilla men and women hoping to either convert them that they might have my same secret (ha!)

I dated single men who said they were polyamorous, who were in fact not.

I dated guys who were in long-term relationships.

I dated couples looking for a long-term third, as well as couples who just wanted a play situation.

I made very close friendships with polyamorous people as well as swingers.

What I learned about myself is that I am very open to lots of dynamics and am able to feel happy and fulfilled in many relationship formats and agreements. The structure itself isn’t as important to me as the open honesty. The give and take of wants and needs and fulfilling them for each other. Sometimes what he wants might make me a little jealous and vice versa, but we talk and stay connected and don’t take it too personal. Keep my love tank full and I can just about accommodate anything.

Essentially, before we can “just communicate” we have to spend a great deal of time reflecting and exploring options. Just communicate? But communicate what? There is groundwork that needs to be done before we can communicate to someone else our deepest darkest desires. Not only self-awareness and acceptance but also creating a safe place for the communication to happen. Be patient and persistent. Be vulnerable as well as compassionate. Do more than just communicate, because that alone won't be enough.