Last week I wrote a little rant about Ethical Non-Monogamy and how it is a major part of my life in response to an internet stranger. So this week I will bring it in a little closer to home. One of the most common questions I get asked in person is how do my friends and family react to me being in an open relationship? Well, with my immediate family, we typically do not discuss it. I don’t ask my parents about their sex life, and they don’t ask about mine. Many support me from a healthy distance. However, there are moments that my nearest and dearest have made comments that either shocked or made me really question things. I have been jotting these moments down for quite a few years, so here are a few of them.
When I first told my family that E and I were in an Open Relationship, prior to my blogging days, my immediate family was not impressed. I was told that I was doing this for him, and that this was not who I was. I was told that “this was a novelty and it would wear off, and then what? Where would I be?” And the one that got me blogging and cease talking to them about it was that “this is a phase you are going through, not a lifestyle. How could you possible raise a family and settle down living the way you do?”.
My friends have been a little less judgemental or at least a little broader in their reactions. One friend talked at length to me, about his experiences and warned me that “this a novelty that would wear off. That the thrill seeking is all well and good, but [wondered] if I thought what I would feel like when I was alone again.” I have been asked point blank “so what? Are you guys just full blown swingers now?” Or on the more inquisitive side of the spectrum, “I have always been really curious about that sort of lifestyle, but I would have no idea how to bring it up or even ask about it. Personally I know it is not for me. Still though, there are questions that I wish I could ask.“ And then my dear friend who remarked one evening “I am so jealous that you guys are able to do that. I could never ever open up like that, I am way to jealous.”
And last but not least, here is one of my friends responses when I told her we were starting to date couples. “This sounds really cool because it is a couple you found together, get to know together and become friends with together. It is a shared experience of friendship. Real dating but multiplied and done together.”
With this vast range of reactions and being face to face, I have learned to just let people speak. To listen, and do my best to keep my poker face on. When I was first starting out, I would get defensive and or to boast about how amazing this really was. Now I have a quiet confidence. I understand this lifestyle is not for everyone, and I have no reason to talk about my lifestyle endlessly or bring it up every chance I get. If someone wants to brings it up, they are free to talk. And as long as no one is cruel or rude, I let them react the way they see fit. Whether you like it or not, my friends and family, we are all in this journey together… kidding! Sort of…