Open sesame

Dear V,

I have been dating my boyfriend for almost three years with two being long distance. I love him, but I feel like I’m missing out on other experiences. I talked with him about opening our relationship, but he doesn’t understand. Any advice?


Ball and Chain

Dear Ball and Chain,

When you tell your boyfriend you want to open your relationship, the only thing he hears is that you want to open your legs for others. Your intentions are good, for harboring these feelings could lead to resentment. Explain to your boyfriend that deciding to include others into your relationship means that you can make it whatever you both want.

While sex with one person for an indefinite amount of time works for some, for others it can feel unnatural. Relationships can fall on a spectrum. Create an arrangement that provides the comfort of commitment, while still enjoying your freedoms.

Communicating in situations like these involves defining exactly what this open relationship entails. Is there permission for romantic involvement, or is it strictly sexual? Should these encounters be short-lived spontaneity or long-term situationships? How much would you feel comfortable knowing about your partner’s rendezvous? The main rule is that all releases must be done morally, safely and with consent from all parties.

Like many phenomena in our lives, it doesn’t have to be so black and white. Challenge the conventional relationship style, modifying the rules as you go.

There are sure to be instances where you or your partner feel uncomfortable, hurt, or misunderstood. It’s important to not be angry with each other if something happens that feels painful, as long as it’s not a violation of an existing rule. Learn from these mistakes. Don’t give up on each other.

Jealousy and paranoia are also important to consider. A lot of jealousy can destroy a relationship, but a little can spice it up. Let your envy fade, and remind yourself of who truly knows and loves you the most. A relationship does not equate to ownership.

Just like any romance, you must prioritize communication, honesty, collaboration, and respect. Everybody wins when everyone gets laid.