This is from January 23, 2011, an old post I never finished writing.

Today, a heated argument spontaneously combusted on my Facebook page.  It started with a simple, unintended slight–the sort where the person doesn’t really know that what they said was offensive.  It continued with myself and a few others trying to talk reasonably, but the unintentional pyro just didn’t get it.  Then it exploded into the (quite creative) insult of “your opinion is the equivalent of a fart in a tornado”.  (I may have changed the wording just a little so it would make sense out of context, but that’s what it said!)  At the risk of becoming that bit of flatulence, I’m going to delve a bit into my own thoughts on relationships.

You may be wondering what sort of juicy gossip I’m about to unleash.  I will say only that the original insult was the ridicule of polygamy and similar lifestyles.  So what if Facebook allows people to set their relationship status to “open relationship”?  Would you rather them lie?  But she thought it was gross, and that it was the same as stating that you’re looking for a threesome partner.  I happen to be friends with quite a few people who are in open relationships, and they are quite content with their arrangements.  I felt that her comment was insensitive and so I tried to help her see it, but she pushed on with it.  The final argument (and insult) was delivered by one of my friends who is in an open relationship.

Now I’ve started thinking about it though.  I don’t have any problem at all with open relationships.  Whenever a couple enters in to that sort of thing, they talk about it first, they decide what’s right for them, they agree to this.  It’s rare for someone to agree to an open relationship if they’re not comfortable with it.  The only time I’ve seen it go bad is if it’s more of a friends-with-benefits situation and the ‘couple’ in question never actually talks about it.  The key to a successful open relationship–or any type of relationship–is communication.  Some “open” couples separate love and lust, and save the love for their committed partners.  Others believe in a larger capacity for love than most people can wrap their heads around.  The important thing is that it’s consensual, and the partners are open and honest.

That’s not to say that open relationships are great for everyone, not by any means.  I personally can’t handle the thought of myself in one, but of course, I’m going to be clear from the beginning about what I want.  If a guy doesn’t like that, he can find someone else or lie to me.  Lying to me is not recommended.  Just ask my ex husband.  My point is, everyone has their deal breakers.  It’s best to get it all out in the open from the beginning, so that you and your partner know what to expect, and you don’t get too involved with someone you’re not compatible with.

So what’s the big taboo about open relationships anyway?  With all the stories you hear, you’d think cheating was just rampant.  So why not make it not taboo to have more than one lover?  Why do people so adamantly argue for only one lover?  Many people see marriage as something sacred, God’s plan for one man and one woman.  Yet we have many instances of polygamy in the Bible.  And of course, not everyone is Christian.  It seems obvious that this whole thing comes down to social norms.  Social norms serve an important role in regulation our society, you know, like when they keep us from killing each other or eating people.  Others are just plain dumb and don’t really serve any greater purpose.  When it comes to relationships, I think most of the social norms are just plain dumb.  Society wants to tell people who to love–and that had better be ONE person, of the opposite gender, same race, and within a specific age range.  They want to restrict what CONSENTING ADULTS do together.  (Note:  The emphasis implies that pedophilia is still ruled out.  And by adults, I meant humans.  It is generally understood that children and animals are not truly capable of giving consent.)

What’s so awesome about a relationship with just one person anyway?  But as I ask myself this, I know I could only be with one person at a time.  So what makes me only want to be with one person?  I know I would be jealous if my partner was with someone else, but it’s more than that.  I would not be comfortable with myself being with another person, even if my partner only wanted me.  And in a successful open relationship, I’d assume that jealousy isn’t there.  And isn’t jealousy a little selfish anyway?  I mean, when you think in a jealous way, you start to think of your partner in a possessive way.  For me, jealousy is a little different than most people.  If my partner wants to cheat, that’s his choice. I’m not going to be jealous and worrying about him looking at other people.  But, should he actually flirt with someone, then I will feel jealous.  (Or at least, I guess that’s what you would call it.  Betrayed?  Angry?)  For me, it’s not about the ability to cheat, as the willingness.  So I have no idea how someone in an open relationship would get past that.  It’s not something I think anyone could understand unless they were actually living it.