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What I Learned from the Guy Who Wanted an Open Relationship

What I Learned from the Guy Who Wanted an Open Relationship


People come into your life as a blessing or to teach you a lesson. The guy who told me we could stay together so long as we were in an open relationship changed me – for good.

I met James when we were working together. I had a boyfriend at the time but he was a flirt. I had a boyfriend but even if I didn’t I wouldn’t have been interested. He had a notorious reputation for being a slacker at work anyway – a bit off putting for someone who’s all in when it comes to work. We had one flirtatious encounter at a Christmas party and not long after that, he was made redundant. Gone.

Fast forward 8 months and a break up later, I found myself living down the block from him so I called him up. We were friends first. When he tried to cross the friendzone, I called him out on it and said we were just friends. I didn’t have ‘those’ kind of feelings for him and made it very clear. From time to time, he’d put our friendship to the test – pushing the boundaries. It was when he stopped trying that I actually got to know and appreciate him. And one day during a drive to the beach, he kissed me. I let him.

I thought he was the promiscuous type (which later I learned, he was) and so treated our ‘thing’ as a fling. We never had the ‘What is this’ talk but what we had resembled a lot like a relationship – so I treated it as such.

As you get older you learn to listen to your gut and mine was telling me that this guy wasn’t quite right for me – not long term. So I asked him what he wanted out of our ‘relationship’. I caught him off guard but he was honest. He told me that he really cared for me but couldn’t see himself in a relationship with one person for the rest of his life. He told me that humans weren’t programmed like that and suggested an open relationship. Shocked that he thought I would even consider it, I rejected the idea. To which he then told me that everyone was doing it these days and that I was a prude. That ‘relationship’ was the easiest one for me to leave. I knew exactly what he and I wanted. Not only were we on totally different pages, we were reading different books. I quickly moved on that but am so thankful he came into my life because he taught me some very valuable lessons:

1.The Right Guy Will Want to Have the ‘What are we’ Discussion

It’s an awkward conversation to have but the right guy won’t freak out if you bring it up (maybe just hold off doing it for the first few dates). It’s better to get it out of the way early, so you know where you stand.

2. Listen to Your Intuition

If you listen to your gut, you’ll know when it’s time to stay or leave a relationship. Some guys are great to date for the time being but most flings/light relationships have an expiration date – especially if you want different things. 

3. Don’t Let the ‘Norm’ Influence You

Compromising my values would have been a great short term solution but I wouldn’t have been happy in the long run. I did a mini survey and according to my network, open relationships aren’t as common as I thought. Who cares what everyone else or one person thinks!? 

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4. Look Beyond Looks

A guy who always compliments you on the way you look – will base your relationship around the way you look. Relationships that have staying power go beyond the physical.

5. Pay Attention to How He Relates to His Friends and Family…especially his Family

You may be his girlfriend or girlfriend to-be but a few years down the track, you’ll be family. If you pay attention to how he treats his family now, it’ll give you an idea of how he’ll treat you.

Photo Credit: Jessica Polar 

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