One day early in our relationship, I decided I was freaking out about being in an open relationship and my mind was thinking up all the worse case scenarios. I’m a very practical person so writing out my thoughts and rationalizing really helps calm me down. I asked my boyfriend if he would join me in this little activity and it turned out to be very useful and comforting. We both wrote down:

Our intentions for wanting to be in an open relationship

Fears about being polyamorous

Our boundaries and bottom line rules

What we need to feel safe and secure

Here is my writing piece:

Intentions- what do I want to get out of being open?

  • have fun, new experiences
  • do some personal work
  • reallly connect with people on deep levels
  • question my beliefs and conditioned habits
  • improve my relationship with you
  • feel fully satisfied and true to myself, no longer feel like i’m holding back or stifling something about myself in a relationship
  • practice setting and respecting boundaries
  • improve communication skills and emotional honesty
  • learn to allow myself or give my self permission to have pleasure

Fears about opening up (writing freely- aka irrationally)

  • you might be more into it than I am
  • we won’t be compatible and ideas about ideal situation may not match up
  • that I’ll be uncomfy and run away from it all
  • that maybe it’s too soon- shouldn’t be happening til we are bored with each other
  • abandonment
  • not being considered in decisions/actions
  • uncomfortable emotions (jealousy, inadequacy, envy, left out, undesirable etc)
  • embarrassment for even having fears and negative emotions come up
  • that you won’t have any fears or negative emotions and I’ll look crazy
  • forced reflection into aspects of myself I might be not ready to explore
  • that i might not end up being as open as I like to think I am
  • I’ll start to mistrust your motives and therefore you
  • that we’ll ruin it before we could take the time to build it up solid
  • that I won’t be able to keep up with the changes in boundaries we set or that i’ll try to be too rigid (ex- we kind of said we weren’t that comfy with the other being with people on their own and couple days later you had a date set with Jamie and Paul and were encouraging me to go hang out with Chris on my own)

Things I’m not comfy with/boundary (for now)

  • i kinda want to say being with others when I’m not there, but i might be ok with it depends- we need to talk about it more
  • not talking about it with me first

Bottom line rules

  • safe sex (obviously)
  • talk about everything
  • be totally honest about intentions even if we are kind of embarrassed or think the other might get upset

What do I need when I’m not comfortable?

  • reminder that you’ll respect my/our boundaries
  • listen to my irrational fears in a nonjudgemental way
  • validation that it’s ok to have fears as long as I don’t get caught up or buy into them
  • reassurance that you’re still attracted to me
  • be patient with my questions that i need to ask to make myself feel comfy

Here is his writing piece (he’s a better writer than me):

My Intentions For Being in an Open Relationship:

• To experience spiritual, sexual, intellectual, and emotional freedom while in a committed

relationship

• To understand my wounds around relationships, my perceived (unnecessary) needs and how to

heal from them

• To live authentically without fear of loss

• To experience a partner who values trust and honesty above all else and is willing to state her

needs and desires to me

• For my partner and I to remain available to intimate connections with others, as I believe it is

every person’s birthright to love who he/she wants exactly how he/she sees fit

• To enjoy sexual pleasure with others for its own sake and push my own personal limits sexually

to expand myself in new ways

• To further understand love as sharing – not as giving or getting

My Fears in Regards to Being in an Open Relationship:

• That my partner may love somebody who I do not care for and I may see as destructive to her

• That I will “jump ship” after finding a new, more attractive mate and my partner will be hurt

and sad

• That people will misunderstand the nature of my relationship and it will create divisiveness in

my social circle

• That I will discover it isn’t possible to love more than one person without loving my partner

differently or “less”

• That I will not experience a deeper bond with my partner due to “dilution” from be involved

with other people

• That old wounds will come to the surface that may frighten myself or my partner

• That my partner will never look at me in a negative or distrustful way after I sleep with

somebody else

• That I will experience “stage fright” in group sex situations and be unable to get aroused

Boundaries for Me in an Open Relationship:

• The relationship should take priority over individual needs and communication should always

be foremost, but I will not allow my partner’s fears to control my actions. Rather, I will choose

to slow down on acting on my desires and work with my partner to understand her feelings

before progressing

• I will not accept my partner keeping me emotionally hostage and would rather she take

responsibility for her emotions

• It is not acceptable for my partner to sleep with other sexual partners without protection

• Because I am open does not mean that I will accept my partner sleeping around carelessly and

without intention.

• I want to know details of other intimate relationships as they occur

What I Need to Feel Safe in an Open Relationship When I’m Uncomfortable:

• Validation of my emotions – not telling me I’m wrong for feeling any particular way

• Willingness to compromise in regards to the time-frame of another intimate connection, but I do

not wish to keep my partner from experiencing anyone she desires

• Physical touch – holding hands, kissing, cuddling, fucking

• Constant communication, genuine concern for my feelings

• Light-heartedness and joy from my partner – do not fall into sadness/hurt with me; stay strong

• Clarity of desires – even if it means my partner saying, “I don’t know why, I just know that I

need to …”

• Time and energy given to the relationship as needed; no walking away when there is struggle

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