Friday, January 7, 2011

Open Relationships and the Four Types

I used to date this awesome guy, we were good friends, able to communicate smoothly about anything, had amazing conversation and the physical chemistry was outstanding. This went on for two-three weeks, until the obviously inevitable question came up: where was all that leading to? So we took a few days to think it over and then this one night, as he was walking me home, he broke the ice and said he wanted an open relationship.

Hmm… Open relationship, I thought to myself. A pseudo-sexual ‘thing’ between two people in which they are allowed to sleep around with others, share their affection in multiple places and occasionally collect STDs and spread them around like Christmas presents or rotten Easter eggs. Who invented this milestone of compromise anyway, and why? So I thought I’d tap into that idea for a short while and figure out why certain people don’t find one partner as being enough. I agree that a relationship can become boring after a while and partners lose interest, but that’s basically because they take each other for granted. They think that if in the beginning everything was all rainbows and Twilight glitter, it would be only normal to assume that things would go on like that effortlessly! They either don’t get that a relationship needs constant building and partners should always offer each other constant feedback to be able to keep constructing new and fresh ways of maintaining the spark alive, or they’re too lazy or uninterested to actually do it. These days it’s a lot easier to get an easy fuck than actually put some real effort in making a relationship work.

I had tea with a good female friend of mine today and we had a nice talk about break-ups and the feeling they leave you afterwards. I was going on about the immediate frustration one feels after breaking up when you suddenly have a strong  urge and need… and then she interrupted me and told me that even as a fabulous, single chick, she never had a sexual need she didn’t manage to fix and that with great male specimens. I then told her that I was meaning to say “the need of being held and just know that there’s someone around whenever you want him”. All of those great guys she had mentioned, they were all “emotionally retarded”, unable to commit, but probably into the whole idea of open relationships. I understand that some guys are out there to score and collect a nice list of what and who they scored… but what about the chicks? We often joke about how when men have multiple sex partners, they become studs, while when women do the same, they are viewed as cheap sluts. Whether we like it or not, society as it still is today is promoting that idea. And it’s not only guys who encourage it, but it’s the women as well, pointing out fingers at each other, saying “She is such a slut!” just to be able to mask their own flaws or dysfunctional sexual issues. Unless that changes, women will always have it harder than men in the world of “open relationships”.

In this regard, I think there are four kinds of people out there. The Overly-Possessive, who will explode in jealousy every time the partner does or says anything that leaves even the tiniest room for interpretation, the Territorial, who has a great sense of protection towards friends, family and partner and who is strict in his or her rules but not absurd, the Open, also previously labeled as “emotionally retarded” or unable to commit, who is out there for various experiences but never manages to put enough soul into one of them to actually move it forward, and there’s the Nympho, for whom sex is like a smoking addiction: as many cigarettes as possible, from whatever pack or brand there is and regardless of the means to achieve it. These four types mix into all sorts of interesting or strange combinations. A Nympho will always go well with another Nympho, an Open with another Open and a Territorial would generally go well with another Territorial if they are lucky enough to have a similar view point on the rules and standards they so much enjoy implying on themselves and others. Unfortunately, Overly-Possessives go well with therapy, because their behavior ends up hurting themselves and those around, usually the closest people they’d have. If you put two Over-Posessives together, they’ll end up lashing out at each other with all the frustration that they both have and will eventually end up having more than they bargained for, either in a cell or in a hospital.

It’s hard to get a Territorial to want to change their mind frame to be able to ‘commit’ to an open relationship since it goes against the very idea of stability and knowing there’s someone there for you whenever you need him or her. So when the guy I wrote about in the beginning told me to think of it, as he left, it took me less than 20 seconds to accept the answer: no, an open relationship wouldn’t work for me. As a matter of fact, I wondered if, at that point, any type of relationship would’ve done the trick since I felt so in love with life and all the experiences it had to offer, I almost felt like a cross-over Open-type, with the background of a Territorial. But if I had gone with the idea of an open relationship, things would have been great since we used to hang out all the time, had common friends, common activities… until I would have seen him with another woman, and probably right there and then, my Territorial side would have emerged and put ice-cold distance in all of those great domains me and him used to share. So I decided that I didn’t want to sacrifice all that, just to pretend to have accepted something that my system would naturally reject.

If it’s anything at all that I have learned from that experience, it’s that it is our own personal duty to respect ourselves. We cannot demand respect from others or consider ourselves able to respect others unless we know how to best respect ourselves and for that, we must know ourselves, even if that means sticking a ten-page-label on our foreheads, which may be subject to change. We must be able to know ourselves so that when it happens that somebody makes us chose between their perception and our being, we can easily say “This is me, I can totally do this” or “This goes against who I am” and stick to it. I’m not saying we should be rigid sticks since change is all around us and we change as well, but it is our duty to know when and how we do.

So whether you’re an Overly-Possesive, Territorial, Open or Nympho, always try to better yourself, always take a good look inwards and ask “Is this who I am? Is this what I want?” because we have the most amazing ability to surprise ourselves when least expected.


  1. Outstanding expression of the deep understanding of the human psyche, towards true or compromised relationships. As I said: you are amazingly good and a wonderful being :) I would like to know you more and better, is that ok for you? :)

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