A Sweet Truth About Open Relationships
One reason people hire me is to help them open up their relationships.
“Opening up a relationship” involves creating a set of agreements and strong container within a relationship that allows each person feel safe to cultivate varying degrees of intimacy with other people in their lives.
Vary depths of intimacy can be emotional, intellectual, sensual, sexual , energetic, phsycial — or a combination of each of these in some degree.
Some of the most commons fears and/or judgments I hear from people about open relationships is the belief that people who engage in this lifestyle are untrustworthy, manipulative, avoiding intimacy, taking the easy way out, or playing the field.
Don’t get me wrong — this *does* happen, which is why I am so passionate about supporting couples who have already expressed a desire to explore open relationship in doing so from a place of integrity and connection.
Exploring open relationship for a period of time can be a profound and powerful way to dial in conscious connected communication and intimacy within a marriage or primary relationship.
In my personal experience, consciously navigating open relating (or as I prefer to call it, “non-monogamy”, has been one of my most rigorous practices in personal integrity and spiritual growth:
Why, you might ask? Well, it has required me to:
- be impeccable with my word
- advocate for my desires
- be clear in my boundaries
- stay grounded in my own reality
- stay connected to the feelings and needs of my partners
- take responsibility for the places I avoid intimacy
The practice invites me to show up in their full integrity. And it allows me a life and relationships that are so deeply rich, meaningful and magical that people literally pay thousands of dollars to experience the type of freedom in connection, in relationship, and in life that I do.
What are the long-term benefits of practicing open-relating?
The practice of engaging in open-hearted connection with other people in our lives, while simultaneously staying emotionally connected and committed to a primary partner or spouse can help to release the shame, guilt and fear society has place upon us in terms of how “can and cannot” give and receive love.
The common misconception about open relationship is that causes people to act in untrustworthy, manipulative or avoidant ways…
That’s not actually the truth.
…What does catalyze these behaviors is the shame, guilt and fear placed upon us by society for having desires that challenge the status quo of what love is meant to be — and right now, the status quo is monogamy.
And here’s the thing, monogamy is great…and so is non-monogamy.
One isn’t better than the other. There’s no right way to “do” relationship.
The important pieces is to check in and ask whether we are consciously choosing how we engage in relationship, or are we just doing it because “that’s what everybody else is doing”?
Are we engaging in relationship by design, or by default?
I work with plenty of couples who prefer monogamous relationships, and within the clarity of that desire we find ways to cultivate depths of intimacy, pleasure and arousal within the relationships that were previously blockaded the same dead-end arguments that manifest over and over again.
Relationship is not static. It is fluid. And the form of relationship ideally will continue to evolve just as each individual within the couple does.
If we can look at relationship (and life), as an experiment where we consciously and constantly engage from a place of connection, curiosity, compassion and desire, there is limitless possibility to what we can create.
The sweet truth about open relationship is that if we engage from a place of curiosity, integrity, and connection, we can come away with deeper insights into who we are, what we want, and what we actually need in relationship —
— whether that is monogamy, non-monogamy, or anything you can imagine.
About the Author
Arielle Brown is an Intimacy Coach based out of Marin County, California. She supports singles and couples in creating deeply satisfying relationships and sex lives through reconnecting to the purity of their desire and the clarity of their personal boundaries. She works with clients in-person and virtually.
Arielle also facilitates groups and workshops through Northern California that explore and work with emotional, verbal, energetic and physical ways that we create intimacy in our relationships and greater communities.
To receive a Free Gift audio recording from Arielle that teaches the “101” behind setting clear boundaries in your relationships, click here.