Dating question- is an "open relationship" really possible? - Mothering Forums
Single Parenting > Dating question- is an "open relationship" really possible?
Moochie Mamma's Avatar Moochie Mamma 08:10 PM 02-20-2011

Sorry this is so long...  Separated from husb last Oct, filing for divorce, still good friends...

 

Started seeing a new guy in early Dec.  He's quite a bit younger than me.  I've known him for a while bc we used to work together.  He had just ended a 2-1/2 year relationship and we both talked about not wanting anything serious because at the time neither of us did.  I was also clear that I don't play games and that my only expectations from him were respect and honesty.  Right away we were seeing each other a couple times a week, texting and talking pretty much daily.  In early Jan he said "I love you" to me (granted it was right after sex and we weren't sober but still it came out of his mouth).  About a month ago I told him I thought I was falling in love with him.  

 

Nothing else changed until about 2 weeks ago when he started getting distant, didn't return texts or his responses were short/ not the usual tone.  I called him on it and said if you're blowing me off and don't want to see me then tell me but I don't play these games and want honesty.  He said he's scared by what I said, needs some space to figure out what he wants, didn't intend to end up in a serious relationship.  I was too upset to really respond coherently so wrote him an email next day explaining I thought he was under the impression I wanted more than I did, that he had given me every indication that he felt the same way, and that I wanted to keep things open, etc.  He responded right away, we've talked a few times.  

 

We finally hung out last night and I thought I was going to be OK with keeping things open and casual but then I saw evidence in his bathroom that he'd been with someone else recently.  I came out and told him I know what he doesn't want but I needed him to think about what he does want- what I am to him, etc.  He said he doesn't know...  he's really into me but doesn't want anything serious.  He acknowledged that that even though we started as "friends with benefits" it has turned into a relationship, although an open one since we've never talked about not seeing other people.  I told him I don't think I can do the casual thing anymore and that if he was interested in something serious I would be willing to give it a try but otherwise we need to just be friends for now.  He hugged me for about 20 minutes, we kissed a little then I left.  

 

This morning I've realized that it would not be fair of me to ask that of him since we are in such different places in our lives and told him that.  (He's only 23, about to start nursing school, doesn't want kids as far as he knows, I'm (ahem) older, have a career established, have 2 kiddos, not looking for a stepdad for them but they are still the #1 priority in my life.)  He responded that he's glad we talked, he'd rather keep me as a good friend than risk having sex ruin our friendship.  

 

So now that I've come to terms with the fact that this would not work as a serious relationship, and I'm OK with that, I'm starting to think maybe having an open relationship might work.  We have an incredible connection, have great sex, etc.  I also realized that until a couple weeks ago I had no problem with the idea of him seeing other women.  I haven't been with anyone else but came close one night and didn't feel bad or guilty about it.  Anyway I'm confused as to how to proceed- just be friends or go back to an open relationship like we had before.  Neither of us wants to just end things and walk away.

 

So do you think an open relationship in this case (or any case) is possible?  Is it possible to truly be ok with him seeing other people and me being free to do the same?  I know that guys can separate physical and emotional feelings and that sex can be purely physical but can we?

 

Need advice and tales of your experiences from all you wise women please!!!!



fawnanddoe's Avatar fawnanddoe 12:37 AM 02-21-2011

I used to be a firm believer in never having an open relationship, but I've switched sides.

 

You need to think about your feelings for him first. If you truly do love him, will knowing that he's seeing other people upset you? If it will upset you then I'm not entirely sure an open relationship would work.

 

Open relationships are really hard sometimes, especially when you love the person in question, but I think they can also be great too. I have had open "relationships" with friends and it's been awesome. Everyone needs some action sometime, so what better way to get it than with a friend that you love and trust.


Phoenix~Mama's Avatar Phoenix~Mama 06:07 AM 02-21-2011

It depends on the person.  Only you can truly know yourself and what your emotional needs are.  There are a lot of really good resources out there to read up on open relationships and the varying dynamics of them.  Only you will be able to decide for yourself what would fit the best for you.  I think in order to have an open relationship of any kind you have to really, really know yourself and your own boundaries and what you can realisitcally handle emotionally.

 

There is a really great Poly Family thread in the Queer Parenting forum which is very warm and welcoming.  I don't know if poly is the type of open relationship you are referring to, but it is an option in the open relationship realm, and it may be a good place to start to help you decide for yourself what kind of a relationship you'd like to have. (especially since it seems you'd much rather be free to have feelings)

 

For me personally, when I have been in open relationship, I do much much better in a polyamory relationship, and not just an open for sex kind of deal. That said, I have also done quite well in a strictly FWB (friends with benefits) type of situation too.  But it all goes back to it's very, very individual.  Each person has their own emotional and phyiscal needs, and you need to take stock of what yours are.  I know lots of other people that cannot do open at all.  I do not believe there is a right or wrong to this answer, there is just a right and wrong per person, and what works for you.

 

The big thing is to be true and honest with yourself, and each of your relationships. Another good point to remember... not everything has to be labeled.  If you are happy and it's working for you... that's the important thing.  What it's called or what others think about it... not important.  Just be true to yourself and your own feelings.


sparklefairy's Avatar sparklefairy 07:07 AM 02-21-2011

How will it be for you if he decides to end things because he's started a serious, exclusive relationship with someone else?

 

And I do think it's fair for you to ask of him the relationship that you want to be in. To assume, expect, or demand -- not so cool. But it's not unfair to say, "here's my ultimate goal in a relationship. Do you think that fits with what you want?"

 

Are you settling, or have you discovered a way of meeting your needs that will truly meet them that you hadn't considered before?

 

(And no, none of this would work for me. Some of the questions I'm asking because I would have saved myself a lot of grief if I'd answered them honestly myself winky.gif)


mexicali mami's Avatar mexicali mami 12:37 PM 02-22-2011

I was in a similar situation and I really wanted it to work because we were best friends too.  I thought I could handle it and I told my sister that I was trying to be OK with the whole situation.  She said her resolution for 2011 was to not try and be OK with things that were not OK with her.  I think that's great advice.  If you are truly OK with it, maybe you wouldn't have had to ask.  I wouldn't work towards accepting something that for you is unacceptable.  In my humble opinion as always...


zoeyzoo's Avatar zoeyzoo 03:06 PM 02-22-2011

I honestly would let it go and just be friends. He is not willing to have an exclusive relationship with you and is seeing other people. This is a red flag to me that he is looking for nothing more than a FWB scenario and if you are developing feelings for him it will just lead to you getting hurt. I believe if he was totally in love with you he would have no problem making sure you were taken off the market (so to speak), not wanting to see other people, and just take things slow.


Sharlla's Avatar Sharlla 03:56 PM 02-22-2011

well it sounds like you are "dating" not in a committed relationship so if both of you are ok with it being casual and dating other people then it's great.  And yes there is always the risk that one of you will meet someone else that you want to commit to but in the meantime why not have fun and not worry about it. 


hjdmom24's Avatar hjdmom24 04:16 PM 02-22-2011


Quote:
Originally Posted by ZoeyZoo View Post

I honestly would let it go and just be friends. He is not willing to have an exclusive relationship with you and is seeing other people. This is a red flag to me that he is looking for nothing more than a FWB scenario and if you are developing feelings for him it will just lead to you getting hurt. I believe if he was totally in love with you he would have no problem making sure you were taken off the market (so to speak), not wanting to see other people, and just take things slow.


yeahthat.gif

 

I think FWB works when you don't spend alot of out of the bedroom time together...once one of you starts getting feelings for the other it really complicates things. I have had an FWB for 3 years that would spend the night like once a week and we would text in between but we didn't spend enough time together to catch feelings.. it worked really well. Recently he wanted to try dating and I really thought I wanted that until I started spending time with him and realized I don't really like him and wanted to go back to FWB, but he did like me..and now we haven't talked in over two months.


Sol_y_Paz's Avatar Sol_y_Paz 04:26 PM 02-22-2011

It sounds like in your situation I would leave this guy alone.  

 

To those who are open to FWB's, etc. doesn't the possibility of sexual diseases of such an arrangement freak you out?

 

FWB would never work for me personally and I am totally against it. 


hillymum's Avatar hillymum 09:28 AM 02-24-2011


Quote:
Originally Posted by mexicali mami View Post

I was in a similar situation and I really wanted it to work because we were best friends too.  I thought I could handle it and I told my sister that I was trying to be OK with the whole situation.  She said her resolution for 2011 was to not try and be OK with things that were not OK with her.  I think that's great advice.  If you are truly OK with it, maybe you wouldn't have had to ask.  I wouldn't work towards accepting something that for you is unacceptable.  In my humble opinion as always...



clap.gif  Very well said. You can't bury your feelings because then it just isn't working for you. I'm in an open relationship now because I just don't want to get attached. I've been hurt too much and do not trust men withmy heart. Being in a relationship where emotions aren't involved suits me right now, but if either one of us starts getting involved then it's going to change the whole dynamics which may end the agreement.I just want to have fun, sex and more fun right now. What do you want? 


VisionaryMom's Avatar VisionaryMom 09:35 AM 02-24-2011

"Friends with benefits" isn't the same as an open relationship. My marriage is open and has been since DH & I were dating. It requires work and honesty on both sides, but it's definitely doable. We've lived this way for over a decade, and it's perfectly fine for us. That said, I think in our culture that the people who could pull it off are few & far between. In another culture, I imagine it would be easier because of differing beliefs in general about how relationships work. 


Moochie Mamma's Avatar Moochie Mamma 10:58 AM 02-24-2011

Thank you for the responses... for those of you in an open relationship (especially the marriage) what exactly does that mean?  Are you allowed to sleep with other people?  Do you tell your partner or keep it quiet?  I assume condoms are a must when with others to protect you and your partner.  

 

I've been asked what I want... I want what we had up till a couple weeks ago- seeing each other 1-2 times a week, texting and flirting on fb the rest of the week, basically dating with no commitment or labels.

 

I've realized that the reason I'm struggling right now is that I do really like this guy- we have a great connection and have a lot in common despite our age difference.  Neither of us wants to just walk away from the friendship but I also don't want to get involved in something that most likely has no chance- then again I keep reminding myself that who knows how long I will be on the planet this time and why not enjoy what I've got for today and not worry about tomorrow since there may not be one.  A good friend of mine thinks I just need to get a good flirt on (and maybe hookup) with someone else to snap me out of it. winky.gif

 

I've just realized that since we've talked about this stuff I've initiated most of the contact.  He's responded right away and positively but I'm gonna back off for a bit and see what happens.  Last time we hung out he said something that made me realize he's having a hard time with this too.  But he knows how to reach me, he can see when I'm available for chat on fb, I'm gonna stop torturing myself and let go.  If he really wants a friendship he will contact me eventually.  Then I'll decide what I want.  


mexicali mami's Avatar mexicali mami 11:01 AM 02-25-2011


Quote:
Originally Posted by Moochie Mamma View Post.  A good friend of mine thinks I just need to get a good flirt on (and maybe hookup) with someone else to snap me out of it. 
 
That's what my friend said too! So funny.. Easier said than done I think.  A wiser person told me that time is the best cure.  Any time you are angry, hurt, depressed, or needy time will relieve you of those feelings.  What you do in the meantime is up to you.  Enjoy that meantime as much as possible, whatever that means to you.  If it's being with someone else..great.  If it's not, than just know that eventually you will feel better regardless. 

justmama's Avatar justmama 05:37 AM 02-26-2011

As long as everyone goes into the situation with their eyes open, I don't see a problem with it.  To be truthful, I'm coming out of a painful divorce.  I don't want to be in a committed relationship.  I would love to have an open relationship with someone where the expectations on me are low and I can just have fun with someone.  I'm not actively looking and i don't plan to but I think an open relationship would be what I'm interested in when i do venture back out there.  As long as there are ground rules and everyone follows them, you should be fine.


SaturnGreed 09:52 PM 07-15-2014
Exactly my thoughts. After a divorce, i would want to stay far away from anything such as a committed relationship. Ive never tried an open relationship before, but i dont see the negative of it as long as both side agrees.
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