For the few of you who've wandered here from my guest-spot on The Swingset, welcome.
It's Now-hubby's birthday weekend, and it also happened to be his Friday. Which meant he and I went out to a delicious sushi dinner Friday night once I got home from having an after-work drink with Frisbee. After dinner, Now-hubby and I walked to one of the local, small liquor stores that seems as if all its employees have a dress code including beards and zip-up hoodies over flannel button-downs. If it's not an IPA, they probably aren't able to give you any recommendations.
Yesterday during the day, Now-hubby went to the arcade with friends while I had Ultimate club team tryouts. Then, in the evening, Frisbee and I went to ye ol' gang bang and Now-hubby had the house to himself to do...whatever it is he does when he's on his own.
I offer this brief account of our weekend plans to help illustrate an aspect of nonmonogamy that I think tends to get overlooked, especially by those taking their first tentative steps into it. It's one of those things that's always in the periphery when I hear other people talk about their relationships, but a few isolated cases during the week put it back center.
Being in an open relationship is fundamentally different than being monogamous, but there are basic tenets of healthy relationships that should be present regardless of format.
It's difficult to elucidate without getting too long winded and cyclical. To briefly describe the pattern I've noticed that frequently leads to a stumbling block: Single person begins dating other single person. Either (or both) single people decide to make the relationship "exclusive," which means the establishment of the "couple" entity. It's weird, because the individual people are still there; you can see them; when you can get them away from their significant other it's even almost like they're sort of the same person still. But there's also this new "couple" amalgamation, and everything starts to be stupidly different because of that attachment.
It's the loss of autonomy within a relationship. Annoying within the monogamous structure, but a complete and utter obstacle when it comes to being open. Beyond the utter repugnance that is unicorn hunters, it is incredibly difficult to be open and conduct the entire relationship as a twosome. I feel as though couples get into that monogamous headspace and then decide to open up, but are unprepared for the amount of change that their relationship structure needs to undergo. (Disclaimer: Fine. I'm sure some of you are making it work as a twosome. Kudos. Congratulations on all the extra work you have to put in to maintain the blissful deceit that you're not like those other couples.)
Something as basic as going on a date with another person becomes needlessly complex. Arguments arise because the individual tastes of both partners need to be considered. They've been romantically operating so long as "we" it's almost impossible to retroactively change and have individual opinions again.
I'm not saying this one weekend should be a guidepost for everybody considering nonmonogamy. Club tryouts and arcade games do not a perfect relationship make. We still struggle through our own bullshit. I do think it's important to maintain oneself as well as one's relationship. Keep your own interests and opinions. Preach it, mama.