This is What My One Year of Open Relationship Taught Me About Love, Relationships and Sex

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Before I begin, I would like to mention that this article is not for the faint-hearted and especially not for those who consider Love as a sacred affair that makes your attraction and infatuation with other people magically go away or for the ones who borrow their ideas of love and romance from movies and TV Series. So, if you belong to any of the above categories, please refrain from reading any further. For those of you who are still reading, congrats, you have already made a huge difference in our fight against the imposed monogamous culture of relationships. It is my humble request to you awesome folks to please read the entire article with an open and inclusive mind. 

The story begins in the July of 2018, when me and my partner decided to open up our relationship of more than 2 years. In the last one and a half years, we have went through some really tough times, had nasty fights with each other, considered breaking up the relationship countless times, experienced a lot of shaming from both the straight and queer community who repeatedly questioned our love for one another but we endured it all and in turn, made our bond and intimacy stronger. So, without wasting any more time, let us begin this journey where I’m going to share with you the things that I learned from my Open Relationship with my same-sex partner as well as the ways that it helped me become more confident myself and my body. 

1) Open Relationship is the ultimate test of the building block of any Relationship – Trust:

This is perhaps the most important thing that I’ve learned during my one year of open relationship and thus, it occupies the number one spot. Our decision to open up our relationship came from a place of mutual love and trust. We trusted each other with all our inner insecurities, jealousy and desires and above all, we had complete faith in each other to be fully honest even when that honesty would lead to broken hearts and shattered dreams. We also ensured that if one of us messed up along the way, the other one would always be there to pick him up. All of this was possible because our relationship was built on strong foundations of love, trust, respect and care. I would strongly advise all the people out there who want to get into a non-monogamous relationship (Open/polyamorous relationship) to first build and nurture solid foundations with love, care and trust. If you don’t trust your partner when they are out on solo trips or feel the urge to go through your partner’s phones and social media accounts to keep a check on them, then open relationships or for that matter, even monogamous relationships are not for you. 

If you don’t trust your partner when they are out on solo trips or feel the urge to go through your partner’s phones and social media accounts to keep a check on them, then open relationships or for that matter, even monogamous relationships are not for you. 

2) Love and Sex are not exclusive to one another:

For someone like me who grew up idolizing Shah Rukh Khan and Antonio Bendaras, it was very difficult to unlearn and let go of this completely false notion. Yes, sex with someone you love can be awesome and really fulfilling but also pretty bad and so can be the one night stand or the casual sex you have with a random Grindr Date. One of the biggest discoveries that I made about myself over the past year is that I can be sexually attracted to a lot of people without developing any romantic inclinations for them. This feeling of having sexual desires for people other than my partner without any associated feelings of guilt and shame and the complete freedom to act on them has not only sexually liberated me but it has also helped me become more vocal about my needs and boundaries and thus, an effective and empathetic communicator. 

One of the biggest discoveries that I made about myself over the past year is that I can be sexually attracted to a lot of people without developing any romantic inclinations for them.

3) Real Love lets you fly, it doesn’t chain you down:

“Have you ever experienced the nerve racking and soul crushing feeling of dread and restlessness when your partner spends more than his usual time talking with a really cute guy who also happens to share his love for a particular music band or a tourist destination?” It is much more common than you think and has been one of the biggest causes for a lot of fights and quarrels. Even us, the ‘wise and laid back non monogamous couple have been guilty of this kind of behavior in the past. And so, I made it my personal goal to unravel the secret reason behind this conflict creator.

It is, as my extensive research has discovered, drum roll, nothing more than our own insecurities and low self worth that we project onto our partners. While it is perfectly alright to have personal insecurities as a result of horrible past experiences, traumatic childhood or unhealthy relationships with parents or some other factors, it is ABSOLUTELY not OKAY to let these destructive feelings burgeon in your hearts and minds and ruin your dreams of a happily-ever-after. We realized the importance of privacy and freedom very early in our relationship and started building an environment where we could share our deepest fears, darkest times, brightest moments and even our high-school crushes with one another without the fear of any repercussions. Real Love is not possessive; instead it lets you fly freely like a Golden Eagle soaring through the blue sky. 

Real Love is not possessive; instead it lets you fly freely like a Golden Eagle soaring through the blue sky.

4) Open Relationship is not the result of a Dead Bedroom:

When we share our relationship details with other people, the first and the most common question that we get bombarded with is, “Are you not sexually satisfied with your partner?” No Rahul, my libido is thoroughly satisfied and we enjoy mind-blowing sex with each other regularly. However, I want to have my cake and eat it too and so, partake in consensual sex with other people after informing my ever-so loving partner about my new bedroom shaking adventure. Furthermore, I know what your next question is going to be and so I’m going to answer it as clearly and honestly as possible. “Yes Rahul, you can definitely be better than my partner in bed and no that does not mean that I will fall in love with you the moment we shed our clothes.”

5) Love is not a finite quantity:

When we get into a relationship with someone, we promise that person our unconditional love and also expect that unconditional love in return. So far so good. However, the problem arises when we start to dissect the meaning of this ‘unconditional love’. From ‘loving only one person’ to ‘having sex with only your partner’ and ‘confiding in only one soul’, this unconditional love is ironically sadly full of conditions. Most of these restrictions arise from the falsely propagated theory that ‘love is finite’ and that ‘it cannot be shared’. Instead, Love is an endless emotion that binds people together and gives them hope and a feeling of belongingness. I can love my partner to the moon and back and simultaneously, I can also love my Best Friend very passionately. I can fall head over heels for someone that I met during a vacation and yet, come back and cuddle with my partner the same way we did on our first night together. Love doesn’t necessarily have to be a finite commodity to be shared with only person. It can also be an endless stream of dopamine rush and excitement that would leave your hearts wholly content and enriched. 

Love doesn’t necessarily have to be a finite commodity to be shared with only person. It can also be an endless stream of dopamine rush and excitement that would leave your hearts wholly content and enriched. 

6) Open Relationship has given me the freedom to enjoy my hobbies without any compromises

I will try to explain this point in a very short and concise manner. There are a lot of things that I love passionately, like, football but my partner absolutely loathes it. On the other hand, he really likes classical music but I find it extremely boring. Now, the conventional idea of Monogamy dictates that we have to compromise on our hobbies that are not liked by the both of us in order to have a successful romantic relationship. However, it is also possible that I find and meet other people who share my interests and hobbies that my partner doesn’t find appealing and offer me an enriching and holistic experience without taking anything away from the lovely relationship that I have with my partner. It is that simple. Really!

7) Open Relationship does not give you the permission to Lie and Cheat

I have read a lot of books on relationships and talked to a lot of couples during the last one year and the one thing that I’ve learned is that a lot of relationships and marriages fail because one of the partners are caught cheating. The last two words are especially important because the thing that hurt people the most is not the actual cheating or having an affair part, rather it is the feeling that they have been lied to. This is the most unkind and cruel thing that you can do to your partner. It also goes against the basic philosophy of ethical non-monogamy. Lying and cheating to your partner are completely wrong, cruel and unjustifiable. Period.

The thing that hurt people the most is not the actual cheating or having an affair part, rather it is the feeling that they have been lied to.

8) There are Conflicts in an Open Relationship

An Open Relationship is still a Relationship and so, it will undoubtedly have some Conflicts just like a Monogamous Relationship. When we began this journey, we were terrified that it would break the bond that we have nurtured and developed over the last two years. But, we also knew that we would be able to navigate through it if we had each other’s backs. And that we did. We also failed spectacularly in keeping some of our promises to each other and broke each other’s hearts frequently. That did not mean that our relationship was failing or that it was doomed to fail (How can one pass or fail a relationship anyway?) like most of the people assumed at that time or still assume, judging by the questions they ask us. It just meant that our relationship was going through all the problems that a relationship between two independent and adult human beings was supposed to experience and endure. 

Dipyaman Sengupta

Dipyaman is a 25 year old bisexual man from Delhi NCR. An independent writer, he creates fun and engaging travel and food content for different organisations. He also uses his writing expertise to write thought provoking and informative pieces on ethical non-monogamy, bi-visibility, male privilege, queer mental health and a host of other LGBTQ issues.
Dipyaman Sengupta