Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Open Relationship

The longer I'm part of the open gay community I learn that it's very common for gay couples to have an open relationship.  There are varying degrees of openness... from completely open, to vacation open to third party open.  Now those aren't official titles to the types of relationships gay men can share, but more my own spin on things.

Completely open is where both men in the relationship allow each partner to have sexual encounters with whomever they choose.  Vacation open is where a couple (at least claims) to be monogamous except when on vacation out of their home town.  When on vacation the will either seek sexual rendezvous separately or together with complete strangers in a new pool of gay men.  And third party open is when a couple will welcome a third into their bedroom on a regular basis, but won't fool around with anyone else without the partner being present.  They don't consider any of these experiences as cheating.

The fact that it's so common worries me.  I'm not sure that I can be in a committed relationship when a third party would be involved to any degree.  I know my therapist told me that I need to accept the distinction between love and sex... and in the big picture I can easily do that.  I know that we don't love everyone we have sex with, but when I'm in a relationship I don't know that I could watch someone I love being so into someone else.  Surely, somewhere deep in the recesses of my mind a part of me will become jealous.  Jealous that I cannot provide whatever is lacking in my relationship or sex-life that is being fulfilled by this third person.

Maybe I'm completely wrong.  Maybe these men who partake in such relationships are light-years ahead socially and are able to compartmentalize experiences and just enjoy the excitement of the moment.  And this could be the secret to their success in maintaining a relationship in the long term... because it really is just sex.

I clearly have a lot to learn... but I've got lots of time to dig into my thoughts on it since I haven't even been on a date in ... I don't even remember how long.  But that is by choice... I've gotten a few offers.

1 comment:

Aaron said...

For the longest time I held the same view as you did about open relationships. Often I think the me from even a few years ago would be blown away by the fact that I am in a very happy semi-open relationship right now.

I don't think being gay means that you have to force yourself to be happy about being non-monogamous. I know many guys who don't play and many that do with all varying degrees of success. I think it always comes down to the relationship you have with your partner and coming to an agreement together about monogamy and less about open relationships being some predetermined end point that you two have to get to because your gay.