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So open relationships are all they are cracked up to be?
#1
A study finds that Open Relationships are the key to better happiness in a couple. Here's the article, if you want to see how that's supposed to work.
http://www.towleroad.com/2016/07/new-stu...ter-bonds/
#2
Eh, I'm inclined to make a blanket statement about open relationships and say they aren't good but I'll refrain from that. I can just say they definitely are not for me. I'm a jealous person, I'll admit it. If my partner talks to an ex (even though there is 0 interest between either of them anymore) I still feel a tad jealous/defensive. So if we were to open the relationship up? Yeah, I'd have a breakdown. I can't do it, they aren't for me. Glad they work for others though, whatever makes them happy.
#3
Quote:".... and it may even be that their communication is better than among monogamous couples because they’ve had to negotiate specific details."

IMO, these negotiations need to be discussed whether in an open or closed relationship. It's on the two people in any relationship to establish and maintain open communication, and be sure to cover the basic "bases" of their relationship dynamic in that conversation.

Using the "open relationship" as an excuse to have that conversation is a cop-out, in my opinion.

That said, I'm sure that for some people open relationships work. For [MENTION=20938]Gideon[/MENTION] and I, it would be the end of our relationship, because we are both "fed" within the relationship by the exclusivity we enjoy and the extra depth of intimacy it allows on an emotional level.
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#4
TwisttheLeaf Wrote:IMO, these negotiations need to be discussed whether in an open or closed relationship. It's on the two people in any relationship to establish and maintain open communication, and be sure to cover the basic "bases" of their relationship dynamic in that conversation.

Using the "open relationship" as an excuse to have that conversation is a cop-out, in my opinion.

That said, I'm sure that for some people open relationships work. For [MENTION=20938]Gideon[/MENTION] and I, it would be the end of our relationship, because we are both "fed" within the relationship by the exclusivity we enjoy and the extra depth of intimacy it allows on an emotional level.
You make some excellent points. The first one in particular, open relationship or not, couples need to communicate openly. Understanding a "relationship dynamic" needs to be an on-going discussion, too.

Being fed by the exclusivity within a monogamous relationship is another good point. In your case with [MENTION=20938]Gideon[/MENTION], I get the impression you feel completely satisfied with one another, not the least bit interested in or drawn to having sexual experiences with anyone else.

The thing is, in my experience at least, that's rare in a relationship; especially after many years of being together. If we hold that up as some sort of "ideal model" of what a relationship should look like, then the consequences are going to be sexual frustration and, worse, first of all "cheating" and secondly a lot of lonely gay men who can't find The One And Only Mr. Right.

I've been in two LTRs (with men). The first was defined as monogamous from the start while the second was defined as open from the start.

The first relationship worked fine for me in the beginning... for the first five years or so. After that, though, I began to feel sexually frustrated. Perhaps "sexually limited" might be a better way to put it. As I've said many times, I've never been an overly promiscuous gay man. Anonymous sex, hook-ups, even picking up someone in a bar, was not apart of my sexual history. So it wasn't like I felt I was denying myself something I'd had. Rather the opposite, I was denying myself something I hadn't had.

Moreover there were sexual incompatibilities in the relationship. My partner, David, was a total bottom. I'm not a total top. I'm versatile and, in fact, probably more bottom than top. David and I enjoyed the sex we had together but he never initiated sex play. This left me feeling frustrated and undesired.

David and I talked a lot about our feelings and so this difficulty was very much out in the open. At the time, and through most of our relationship, we were apart of an on-going gay-men's couples group (9 couples in all) that met every three weeks for peer-counseling purposes. Although we talked about it, David was never really able to bring himself to initiate sex between us. He did make a few feeble attempts but they always felt awkward. Even getting a simple hug or a kiss was something that I had to initiate.

So it was at this point that I told David that I needed to begin having other sexual encounters. I wasn't sure how that was going to shape up but I began looking into ways that could happen. David's statement was he couldn't live without me. Well, it wasn't my intention to *leave* him, but he was indicating that he couldn't live WITH me having sexual encounters outside the relationship.

I heard what he said but, well, where did that leave me? My needs? He was getting his needs met but I wasn't. Imbalance. I attended a Body Electric weekend workshop and met a man there that I slept with a week or so later. None of that was kept secret from David. In fact, I'd wanted him to attend the workshop with me but he'd refused.

It was within this context (literally two months after his this) that David was diagnosed with a brain tumor that turned out to be inoperable. Two weeks later he was dead.

I was in such a state of shock I hardly knew WHAT to think. I have one sexual encounter outside the relationship (and a not very satisfactory one, either, TBH) and my partner up and DIES on me. Leaving would have been bad enough but this? I was stunned.

David died on Valentine's and just a few months later, the end of May, I met my next partner, Thomas. At the time I was still mourning David's loss and really wasn't LOOKING to meet anyone. I'd gone to a garden party and he was there ... and the spark that arched between us across the lawn was palpable. Freaky. We both felt it but I tried to play it cool. Thomas would have none of that... next thing I knew we were both naked together in the hot tub. I told him my story and that I wasn't ready to date. He said he'd give me a month... which he did. After that he wanted to date and three months later we were living together.

Thomas was a completely different person from David. Initiating sex (or anything else he wanted) was no problem for him at all. Thomas was a VERY sexual gay man and, in our talking before we moved in together, we'd both made it clear that we wanted to have an "open" relationship. This meant playing both together and separately with other men. We didn't begin doing that *immediately* after living together but within a year or so we both felt it was time. This wasn't because we felt "bored" or dissatisfied with our private sex life but, on the contrary, we were having so much fun we wanted to share it with others.

The problem point between us was our attitudes toward sex. Thomas had no difficulty having sex play with total strangers, with no desire or intention to know much of anything about the guy he was with. I'm an empath so, to me, sex could never be "just sex". So this was an on-going issue between us. I needed to (in some sense) "get to know" who we were playing with. Or, put differently, I could very easily develop "caring feelings" for the other guy.

I'll not go any further here as it gets increasingly complicated and this is already overly long. The bottom line, for me, is that it isn't that monogamous nor non-monogamous relationships are either "easier" or "better" than the other. Relationships require a LOT of communication and a willingness to be open with one another about what is felt and needed. It can take a lot of work to iron out or find some way to balance out differences. For the most part Thomas and I were able to do that... but it wasn't always easy. Ultimately what broke us apart had nothing directly to do with our "open" relationship; it had to do with deep, unresolved psychological wounds coupled with his HIV+ status and how that was affecting his mental health. We were together for five years.. and it was THE most sexually intense and passionate period of my life.
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#5
Hey [MENTION=20947]MikeW[/MENTION]! I'm glad you pitched in. Smile

One of the things I found interesting in reading your post was that I can sort of see myself in both Thomas and David.

Pre-Gideon.... I was a total Thomas, except I would have never allowed myself to enter into a relationship, even an open one. Although, should I have continued on that path for a number of years longer, it's possible I might have gone for an open relationship scenario.

Post-Gideon.... I turned into a David. I just... have become -too- emotionally invested to be able to share him with any level of comfort. Fortunately, he and I are on the same page on this. In fact, he was on the page from the beginning back when I was still trying to convince him if he wanted to fuck around it would be okay.

Quote:Being fed by the exclusivity within a monogamous relationship is another good point. In your case with @Gideon, I get the impression you feel completely satisfied with one another, not the least bit interested in or drawn to having sexual experiences with anyone else.

The thing is, in my experience at least, that's rare in a relationship; especially after many years of being together. If we hold that up as some sort of "ideal model" of what a relationship should look like, then the consequences are going to be sexual frustration and, worse, first of all "cheating" and secondly a lot of lonely gay men who can't find The One And Only Mr. Right.

I agree with what you're saying here. But I think this is one of those things where there can be a detrimental break in compatibility as well (much like you and David). Some people are simply wired to be monogamous. No amount of needs from their partner is going to change this, and thus stepping out on them is emotionally (and possibly psychologically) damaging to these people. On the other hand, some people are more comfortably wired for open relationships, and that's okay IMO, as long as they are choosing a partner that can -handle- that type of relationship with them.

If two people are incompatible in this area, though? I think that when the urge to stray strikes, the right and responsible thing to do is break up with the monogamous-minded person. Just my opinion, of course.
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#6
this is based on 10 gay couples? on a 45-minute interview?

psychotherapists tend to disagree with the conclusion of this study. some of their rationale with this is that in an open relationship a man has less motivation to seek intimacy and affection from his partner (whereas in a monogamous one there is more of a need to do so). less is needed from the partner in general, and that's supposedly less conducive to the health and integrity of the relationship.

i'm sure there are open relationships out there that are happy ones. but i don't think they can be qualified as some key to happiness or a direct factor for it. people are happy when they are doing what they want to be doing and when they are with whom they want to be.
''Do I look civilized to you?''
#7
Well, first things first, how did they draw the conclusion that open relationships are more prevalent amongst the gays? Is that really true? (Not that I care all that much either way. I mean, yay for the gays.)
#8
Another "study" huh?

Remember in the early 90's..
The studies that "proved" coffee causes cancer?
Look at the data 20 years later..

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articl...offee.aspx

Anyway.. Imo
A forty five minute interview with >Ten Gay couples < couldn't possibly unlock the mysteries of open relationships..

Why didn't they interview heterosexual couples in open relationships?

It would have been interesting to see a parallel comparison.


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