I figured this would be an interesting topic for discussion, considering the wide range of ages, religious affiliations and moral standpoints in the AoM community. Maybe I'm opening a can of worms here, who knows. Run with it.
My girlfriend and I have been together since November, and I couldn't be happier with the state of our relationship. Although we haven't been dating long, we're absolutely crazy about each other, and both agree that we'd be more than comfortable spending the rest of our lives together, should everything work out. We're not exactly rushing off to Vegas to tie the knot, but it's a firm possibility a few years down the line.
Before we met, we'd both been single for a good while, and for very similar reasons. She and I both feel as though one's early 20's are a time for spontaneity, casual flings and one-night stands, all of which conflict with traditional relationships. When we decided to become "official," we both agreed that biological urges and physical excitement have absolutely nothing to do with love and commitment, and that there's no reason to sacrifice emotional connection and stability for sexual exploration or vice versa. We're 100% emotionally monogamous, but we've come to the mutual conclusion that casual hookups with other people are just fine.
Sure, we have some ground rules. I keep my hands off her friends and she doesn't touch mine. Exes and anyone else with an emotional history are off-limits as well. She has a couple of casual boy-toys back home, and I stick to strangers at bars and parties. We've both agreed that, should we have children someday, this will stop immediately.
Interestingly enough, neither of us has had sex with anyone else since we've been together; we've both stuck to drunken make-out sessions and some minor fooling around. It's not that either of us is uncomfortable or reluctant to sleep with someone else, we're just so incredibly compatible in bed that we haven't felt the need. As a result, I get to flirt and make out with the occasional fresh face, all without the fear of making a drunken mistake and regretting it come morning.
What do you guys think? Does anyone have experience, past or present, in open relationships? Am I a pervert, deviant or otherwise? Let's get some feedback in here!
What do you consider "getting burned," Carl? What specific consequences do you see emerging from this sort of thing?
Yeah Carl I have have to agree with you Mate, think they are asking to get burned in many areas. The biggest one I can think is "health Issues" such as STD's AIDs in fact the one that flashes ALERT ALERT!!!
Besides, where's the excitement when and if you decide to get married? My wife was married before me, her first husband passed away with cancer, me, never and hadn't dated any one with sexual intentions either I waited for that one some one, and I was in my mid 30's before I ever dated......went out with friends in a group to do stuff, but I chose to not give my self away like that....
Today I have a very fulfilling life with the one I waited for........
As long you both fully agree and stick to the rules and your hook-up partners know that you're only there for the sex ...
Open relationships are good in theory, but somebody in the mix is bound to get hurt, whether it is you, your girlfriend, or one of the casual sex partners. The potential for damage comes from one of you breaking the rules about being with someone else you have an emotional attachment to, the increased chance of getting or spreading a sexually transmitted disease, and unplanned pregnancy because birth control does fail.
At some point one or the other of you may get tired of the open relationship and want monogamy before the other is ready; or, after making a commitment to be exclusive to each other, one of you may miss the old open relationship and go back to it, hurting the other person.
Here's the deal John. If you want this relationship to survive, then avoid this course of action. You can not expect to make an intellectual decision about human emotions. As a family lawyer, I have seen couples decide to have an open marriage, and when one follows through on the agreement, the other becomes jealous after time. Add to that the possibility of pregnancy and complicated attachments, you have a recipe for disaster. IF you are not ready for the long term relationship, then play .
So your rational self is going to enforce a decision to keep your emotional self entirely separate from your physical/sexual self? Not gonna work. To the extent that an open relationship can work (and I would interject that they are always detrimental to full human fulfillment) they must rely on a more contractual and utilitarian view of the primary relationship, rather that your ephemeral "emotional monogamy."
I don't think emotional monogamy is necessarily ephemeral, at least not in our case. I firmly believe that love is the strongest force at work in any relationship. Yes, more is required to maintain a healthy, long-term partnership, but emotional connection outweighs sexuality, and even rationality, by a long shot.
I also don't understand why our arrangement isn't sufficiently contractual or utilitarian. To clarify, the entire arrangement is based on trust and openness, and I have the utmost faith in this woman. If either one of us breaches the agreement, we've agreed to tell the other immediately and put the brakes on the whole sleeping around thing. Chalk my unquestioning trust up to naïveté, if you will, but constantly mistrusting the person closest to you is no way to go through life. Sure, I'd be crushed if she were lying to me and going against our agreement behind my back. I'd also be quite unhappy if she bought a gun and shot me, but that doesn't mean I'm even slightly worried about that happening.
It's not an issue of trust , it's an issue of being human. Our emotions and our penises are not guided by contract. People get jealous. People get hurt. The idea that you tell the other person that your screwed up, will not make the other party just say,"Thank you very much for that information. I will now determine how I shall proceed."
Love -- when defined as 'emotional connection' -- is fleeting and fickle. This is the definition used by people who eventually say "we fell out of love" and go their own way. It is not the "strongest force" except in chick flicks and Disney movies.
Love is not an emotion, it is an action. Emotions wax and wane ... especially when you're introducing new emotions into the situation by bringing in other people. Resting a relationship on emotion is a good way to kill it off when the emotion changes.
If you aren't ready for exclusivity, that's fine. No need to pretend to be together, though. I'm with Stein. If you want this thing to last, you're making a mistake. If you don't care if it lasts, that's another story.
Love is an emotion. You wouldn't be with a person if you didn't feel love for them.