Now that OKCupid, one of the most popular dating sites, has added a feature for polyamorous people, the debate is on once again to decide whether an open relationship is a real relationship. While most people have been conditioned to believe that the only way to define success in a relationship is monogamy, the truth is monogamy is a socially constructed idea introduced to give the common man an opportunity to secure a wife because the elite men were taking them all for themselves.
There are other theories as to why monogamy became a common expectation in society but we don’t have to examine the theories to understand that there are really no divine rules for how we should love each other. Every social rule we believe is ‘right’ was created by a human being with no better intellect than ours. We tend to hold tradition as a sacred method of living life ‘right’ when we can create our own traditions.
But, it’s difficult to create your own tradition when you are more interested in living a life that is pleasing to others rather than living a life that is pleasing to you. You want acceptance. You want approval. This is why you follow social rules of conduct.
Are open relationships a bad idea?
Only if the people involved are doing it out of fear of losing their partner. If you are participating in an open relationship because you are afraid that if you don’t allow your partner to have complete freedom to date others they will leave you, you are not doing it for the right reasons. You won’t be able to enjoy the benefits of an open relationship this way.
What are the right reasons for participating in an open relationship? Each person can create their own reasons, but here are my favorites.
1. You love connecting with people. You don’t want to limit your ability to connect with someone awesome simply because you already have someone awesome in your life.
2. You love your partner and you want to see them happy, even if someone else is the cause of it. You don’t believe that you have to be your partner’s entire source of happiness and you are delighted to see them excited and fulfilled. You truly want the best for them.
3. You don’t think of love as a competition. You don’t feel as though you can lose out on love by sharing your partner. You are aware that your partner may favor someone else over you at some point in life and the idea doesn’t devastate you because you have a fulfilling life without them. You aren’t dependent on having all of their attention to be happy.
Open relationships are not a bad idea if you don’t look at love as a competition. It takes two mentally open and honest people to make it work. It can happen.