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Or: Why I don’t need your sympathy for my open relationship

There’s a good reason my spouse and I don’t tell others about our open relationship, and that’s because we hate being judged. Go figure. Even if someone eventually comes around to the idea that we occasionally have sex with other people (alone; not together), the first response is usually some kind of smirk or — at best — a lame attempt at pretending they think that’s “so cool” … after the smirk.

But that’s not to say it’s always that way. We’ve met other couples who partake in the slightly contradictory “openness of union.” We’ve met singles who were genuinely fascinated by the idea. Bless them one and all. I’m writing, however, to preach the gospel on why it’s worked out so well for me and my partner of nearly a decade.

It’s Nearly Impossible to Cheat

We have some pretty light but straightforward rules: be safe, don’t sleep with friends and family, don’t schedule dates on important events or prioritize the outside lover over each other, come home at night, and let the other know if there’s a possibility of “catching feelings” for the new hookup. Some of these were learned the hard way, but if you’re really wanting this to work, you just update the list. Thus far, these are what we’ve got.

What Jealousy?

Throughout my teens and early 20s, I was admittedly an insecure little sh*t. I constantly thought whomever I was seeing at the time was sneaking around on me, because I wasn’t sure how to trust someone when so many hot people exist in this world. Then I met my current love, who began encouraging me to go out with my girl-crushes and “do whatever.” At first, it was weird. I felt insulted and unwanted, but that wasn’t the case at all. Eventually, my spouse opened up that they didn’t want me to be limited in my sexuality. As it turns out, we were both very much bisexual and had … itches, we’ll say, that only another gender could scratch. We brokered a deal while we were dating, and realized that what we were proposing was pretty amazing. I never felt jealous a day after that. Things turned out so well, we married.

The Trust is Off the Chain

I have to admit, we spare all the sexual details of our outside dalliances. I can’t rightly say that it’s out of jealousy, but I can’t rightly say it isn’t. All I know is that we somehow just understood that there was an unspoken line in the sand, unofficial as it may be. We do, however, tell one another when something’s planned and make sure it’s a date that doesn’t interfere with our own personal relationship. Apart from that, it’s, “Ok, babe. Have fun. I might go to Sam’s #3 for dinner. Call me if you need a ride later.”

It Actually Improved Our Sex Life

Because it’s true that there are hundreds upon hundreds of hotties in Denver and surrounding, there’s still a playful element of competition. Though we never ask questions like, “Was he/she better than me?”, it’s assumed (in the good way) that we have to remind one another just how good sex is inside our relationship. So it leads to incredibly sexy, up-the-ante games and dirty-talk that we’re certain will leave a bigger impression than the last hookup ever could. It actually keeps things white-hot between us.

So honestly: Before you “feel sorry” for those in an open relationship/marriage because “clearly they’re missing something in their own bedrooms,” readjust the way you look at it. Who knows? You might find out the same thing we did — we’re rock-solid because of it.