Help for open/polyamorous relationships
”If you love someone, set them free.” -Sting
For many people, an open relationship can be the most anxiety-provoking thing in the world. For many others it is an alluring thought. For the last 6 years, I have counselled people in various open relationship constellations from swingers to polyamarous people. As the sex and relationships columnist for Denmark’s largest swinger site, www.swingeren.dk, I have replied to many mails about difficult dilemmas about life in open and polyamarous relationships.
Not for everybody
Open and polyamarous relationships are not for everybody. Not everybody is able to live this way. Regardless of what you choose – a monogamous, a polyamorous, a swinger or a monogamish relationship – you should always make this choice consciously and without being afraid to hear your partner’s wishes and dreams. These are not “once-and-for-all” choices, but choices that are ongoing as your relationship grows and develops. Romantic relationships, regardless of type, demand that we regularly check in with each other about our dreams and desires, so that we can adapt to the new circumstances where necessary and if possible. The conversations we need to have about these matters can be difficult and they make us feel vulnerable, and a therapist can help with this process.
”Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others, unfold your
(Jalaluddin Rumi 1207-1273)
Jealousy is natural
Jealousy is a natural feeling in any romantic relationship and shouldn’t be hidden away. However, jealousy isn’t just jealousy. It is a feeling that together, in a safe space, we can work to minimise. It is often the case that where our confidence and trust in our partner increases, our feelings of jealousy decrease. A little jealousy is completely normal in any relationship, but if it goes unchecked, it can grow and become destructive. Therefore, working on trust is the most effective cure for jealousy. Identifying what exactly causes the distrust in the relationship can be a longer process. It requires honest and open communication, but it is a process that brings you closer to each other and strengthens the relationship. When we work on our self-esteem and self-worth in other areas of our lives, jealousy tends to decrease. Even in the most well-functioning relationship, a little jealousy can exist, but it need not be threatening once you have the tools to deal with it.
Trust and Honesty
How do we ensure that an open relationship thrives? Most people in open/poly relationships would agree that the statement “out of sight, out of mind” does not work. Our imaginations are often busy working on filling in the holes with all kinds of unhelpful imaginings unless we talk about what is going on. What we imagine is going on is often much less scary than the reality. That is why working on an open relationship is an ongoing process to create honesty between you and transparency in the relationship. Choosing honesty and transparency is a choice that can initially feel painful and far too confrontational. However, it can be deeply rewarding for the relationship in the long run, even it takes some time to arrive at that point.
Where do you start?
Do you share the same dreams? And where do you start? Do you just jump straight into the deep end or do you ease yourself into it with small, gradual steps? Where do you find partners (if you have not found one already)? Should you perhaps start by sharing each other instead of going to your own separate partners? Starting with a dialogue about one’s desires, and the practicalities and logistics of achieving those, is the best starting point for creating a strong foundation.
Watch the video on open relationships here: (forthcoming)
The established open relationship that has hit a rock
Perhaps you are already established in an open/polyamorous relationship, you’re your best laid plans have hit a rock and you find yourselves in a painful situation. Maybe one of you is enjoying your new “open” status and the other is finding it very difficult. Perhaps one of you has a lot of partners and the other has none. What do you do? Maybe the one of you has developed feelings for their lover while the other just isn’t ready for that. I have a wealth of experience in getting couples back on track, and to a place of safety and trust, so that the relationship does not have to end. Often it is relatively small adjustments that have to be made in order to re-establish trust and safety in your relationship. I can help you find out what those adjustments are for you.
Many people in open relationships also experiment with so-called alternative sexual practices. I often counsel people and couples in the areas of kink and BDSM, particularly in terms of agreements, communication, boundaries/limits, consent etc.
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SMS: +45 28937410