Original article by Tamara Schempp and Jenny Zimmermann (translated from German into English by Mariah Freya).
Sex Coach Mariah Freya introduces an open relationship and tells us the advantages and disadvantages of this relationship model. Is monogamy an outdated concept?
“I still have to live life fully”, this standard Gen-Y phrase can turn relationships, especially amongst young people, into break-ups with bitter endings. Sex with strangers as a symbol of freedom and as an alternative to the norm.
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Relationships fail because people “still want to experience something else”, even as early as puberty. It’s like when you are in a restaurant and there is something predictable on the menu, but you always want the thing that you don’t have. The grass always seems to be a bit greener on the other side.
Mariah Freya, Sex Coach and Blogger, says there is an alternative. The solution: an Open Relationship. Isn’t this just something for extrovert sex adventurers or people who don’t love themselves one hundred percent? In particular: is such a relationship model really better and more fulfilling?
Mariah Freya’s main occupation is working as a sex coach and she also has an open relationship and has experimented with polyamory in the past. Many of her friends are also convinced that this alternative relationship concept can work.
The ingredients of an open relationship are a bitter-sweet mixture of freedom and the right amount of feeling secure. You have a permanent partner, but you can still indulge in sexual freedom. And this is allowed, even desired! Sounds like a dream relationship, or does it?
“Openness does not mean that one can do what one wants.”
An open relationship is usually hedonistic and is built on the self-indulgent desire to be intimate not only with one’s partner but also with others.
According to Mariah, it’s the beginner’s level and therefore the entry point of Polyamory.
Polyamory, on the other hand, means a relationship form in which we love not only one person, but several people at the same time: “I believe that the open relationship is the first step to Polyamory […] Polyamory is a more advanced form of an open relationship“.
“Pursuing physical needs doesn’t mean that anyone can do anything he wants with no regard for the feelings of the other person”, says Mariah. “Openness does not mean that you do what you want for selfish reasons, but rather that together you explore the degree of comfort to which all parties agree”.
Signs of jealousy should immediately be shared with one’s partner. Instead of putting the partner on a love diet, one must be honest and allowed to speak openly about their feelings. The problems often lie within ourselves, that’s why transparency towards our partner(s) is particularly important to prevent a breeding ground for jealousy, Mariah tells us.
“The concept of monogamy is outdated”
A lifelong oath, celebrated by a wedding, followed by house and children, is nowadays almost out and is dismissed as bourgeois. Or is our oh-so-advanced Gen-Y, which is juggling Tinder one-night-stands, singles and friends with benefits, not as tolerant as it seems? The open relationship still tends to be more of a taboo topic.
Mariah, therefore, calls for an open debate: “I think it’s an exciting topic in our generation today in any case, and because the concept of monogamy is outdated. […] It’s no longer the central point of our young generation. I believe that many people are searching for new concepts that work for them.”
In the case of a relationship that lacks the infamous sparks, Mariah would, however, recommend that one accepts such a relationship form only under certain conditions. When there is a lack of desire and attraction, then such a concept can be interesting, but if you are in the middle of a communication crisis for some reason, an open relationship is not recommended. The foundation of all healthy open relationships should be love, trust and honesty; successful communication is the A & O.
We have listed 13 of Mariah’s findings; these are drawn from personal experience and describe what you can learn about your partner and yourself from an open relationship.
1. You enjoy free space
An open relationship suggests a kind of sense of freedom. Thanks to the possibility of being able to see other partners, you do not feel restricted or limited. You don’t do anything forbidden and you decide for yourself with whom and when and how often you go to bed.
2. You avoid the danger of boredom
Within a long-standing relationship stagnation can easily sneak in. If the core of the relationship turns into a routine, it will quickly get boring, but this is not necessarily so in an open relationship. New impulses and topics of conversation with new people will bring a new momentum and spark to the relationship.
3. You have a superficial relationship
Side effects can also pop up within the open relationship. The danger of having more than one lover is that you run into superficiality and emotional distance because you invest time and attention not only in one person but in many. The disadvantage is that the important aspect of responsibility for those relationships might get lost. This could have the result that the individuals have trouble feeling intimate and close to their partner(s).
4. Your partner will become more attractive
The awareness that your better half is on a date can put you into a rage, but can also provide new stimulus. If you see your partner dating others and if you see others wanting and desiring him or her, the funny thing is, the more you want him or her too. Suddenly the sparks fly again, the fire is reignited and the attraction is back.
5. You experience negative emotions
Open relationships can reveal deeply hidden fears and deficits due to a lack of a feeling of security. A lack of transparency can lead to jealousy, anger, feeling abandoned or even hatred. These feelings may be experienced more frequently and more extremely in this relationship model.
6. You remove yourself within the relationship
Often individuals within an open relationship stay silent around their “bit on the side”. The reason is often to avoid fighting and to protect the other from an emotional rollercoaster.
But secrets and lies will remove partners emotionally from each other.
7. You learn to communicate feelings
An open relationship also offers the opportunity to be clear and find out about feelings and how to communicate them. This is important for a functioning free relationship because emotions such as fears of loss must be discussed so that you can work with them and handle them.
8. You can fall in love with several people
An unprecedented feeling is suddenly no longer impossible: Polyamory. The idea of loving more people is usually a no-go in the concept of open relationships. But for whoever is open to the next level, this offers a whole new experience and a new kind of freedom.
9. You improve your relationship’s sex life
Being free to develop also affects your sex life. Experiences in other beds bring inspiration and new impetus with your partner. Exciting stories and newly learned skills bring variety and new ideas.
10. You grow in your personality
To express needs and implement them boosts self-confidence. You learn about yourself and know your own limits. You work actively on yourself and are reflected by your partner on a regular basis. Constructive criticism in conflict situations takes you further.
11. You learn how to arrange yourselves
The freedom of open relationships also needs rules in order not to hurt or even to injure the other party. An example: Do not have sleep-overs at your fresh Tinder date. You can learn to come to terms with each other and make compromises, creating a balance between freedom and constraint.
12. You will be even better in bed
Being in a stable relationship and having the freedom to satisfy your needs has the effect of partners becoming more experienced. Anyone who lets off steam in the playground of possibilities and experimenting knows what he wants and what he doesn’t. This also benefits the relationship.
13. It can also go wrong
To fail is an experience that can only be had if you try something new. This also applies to new relationship models. If the relationship is falling apart despite new impulses and possibilities, at least one point will be clear: the end was inevitable.