Unexpectedly, the summer slump has hit me harder than I could have imagined. I haven’t posted anything on my blog for almost 2 months now, so much has happened! The baby plans are making great strides, the first move-in and move-out plans are in the implementation phase, I will soon open my first “relationships – where do I start? workshops and next Thursday the blog Sextapes-podcast will do an interview with me. Super exciting all this and I will tell you more about it in the near future.
One thing at a time.
Today my contribution is about exclusivity. In preparation for the open relationship workshop, I intensively reviewed my first years and experiences with non-monogamous relationships. I often got stuck on the subject of exclusivity because I remembered that it was particularly hard for me to lose the field of sexual exclusivity (at that time it was all about having sexual encounters with other people, there was no talk of emotions yet; )). My first feeling back then was “if my relationship person wants to have sex with others, then something is wrong with our relationship. At first I was very sceptical and hurt and sad, at that time I had not yet admitted to myself that I was super curious myself and had just not dared to take the same step as my relationship person: to address the subject of open relationships.
I found it a great challenge to loosen up this understanding of exclusivity, because above all this the question was: Can there be only one exclusivity?
For me it was totally important to take a close look at my relationship(s) and to personally define what I want to understand as exclusive and what exclusivity I am prepared to “give up”. I have noticed that I experience a great deal of certainty about shared memories and shared lifetimes. This is something very exclusive for me and I experience this feeling in the intensity only with my relationship persons. That’s why I never wanted to have a “don’t ask, don’t tell” relationship, for example, because it would give me the feeling of not being able to share an important part of the life of my partners.
Exclusive can also be intimacy for me. That doesn’t necessarily have to be sexual intimacy, because intimacy encompasses so much more than that. Intimate can be a hug for me when I feel particularly bad and I resist admitting it to myself. Hugging me and supporting my feelings can be something very special and possibly very exclusive. I feel this kind of exclusivity in some respects also with friendships. I don’t open up a hierarchy there, exclusivity doesn’t necessarily say anything about the meaning of the respective person for me. I think that the crux of the matter is that exclusivity conveys stability, which in turn creates a feeling of security, which in turn gives me a feeling of security. And security is an important aspect for me so that I can get involved with people. I want to be able to trust that people I get involved with will not disappear from my life immediately. I want to be able to trust that I am important to them as a person because they value (and love) me as a person – regardless of our form of relationship.
And that is the most important exclusivity for me.
Following the principle of “trial and error” I threw myself into the cold water of non-monogamy. No one could tell me at that time whether my fear that my relationship person would be a “better, more exciting, more fun…” person finds and in consequence leaves me, will confirm or not. Today I would say that my fear could only have been confirmed if one or both of us had not been interested in an open relationship and had only used it as a means to an end to save our relationship. I couldn’t know then, I didn’t yet have the pleasant feeling of experience. What I could rely on, however, was our interpersonal bond. I knew that no matter what happened, no one could take this intense and exclusive bond away from me.
The experience made things a lot easier. By realizing that my relationship person doesn’t love me less or wants to be a less important person in my life, I was in many ways increasingly enthusiastic about open relationships. I think that relationships matter so much more than just sex, simply because some people don’t want to have sex or eventually stop having sex in the course of their relationship. In my opinion, limiting relationships to sex would make them appear very one-dimensional, because relationships would be reduced to our sexuality. Every relationship is exclusive and special in its own way, even beyond sex.