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Sunday 12 April 2015

The ten rules for managing open relationships

Posted in: True Stories, Safe Sex
By David Herkt - 15th April 2007

I am curious about the rules that people use in managing open relationships. And in one of the list-making exercises to which I am prone, I am interested in gathering knowledge about this subject. It is always one of the first things people ask about open relationships. They are not interested in whom - they are interested in how.

Open relationship - Justin and Brian from 'Queer as Folk'
If anyone else has tried and tested experiential rules to offer, I would really appreciate them so I can write a book called 'Some Men are from Venus, Some Men are from Mars and Some Men Just Lust After Uranus' and make millions of dollars and go on globetrotting lecture tours.

1. 'Don't Ask Don't Tell'
There are some things your partner does not really want to know. No matter how excited or interested you might be in someone else, no matter how curious your partner is, no matter how much they might like the person you are having an affair with, they do not need to know ALL the details. No matter how much you share, no matter how honest your relationship is, there are things it is better to leave unsaid.

2: Schedules
You better be good at scheduling and knowing others' schedules because you will find yourself often being in a position where you have to know four people's schedules on an intimate basis: yours, his, your partner's and his partner's. I actually know someone who had to know six individual schedules in order to snatch private moments with his affairee because of the complex relationships involved.

3: Timing
Never leave your partner to go to your affairee. You can manage it better than this. If you say to your partner “I am going out with X now” and do so, leaving your partner alone at home on a Monday night when there is nothing on TV and a full bottle of vodka in the house, well you won't get a particularly good welcome when you do return home.

4: The Pre-emptive strike
In the lead-up to an affair, tell your partner most everything so they know it is coming, like you are interested, like there is a possibility, like it is on the cards. You can then get any of the arguments you might have over and done with in the abstract before you have even done anything.

5: The polite silence
Casual sex doesn't really count for much, especially when you can go home afterwards and experience intimacy and love. It is practically not worth talking about. I wouldn't really bother. It is not being dishonest it is just being polite. You do not generally describe your bowel movements to your partner and casual sex is the same sort of thing. It might come up in three or four years as a topic of conversation and then a botched circumcision job, an interesting scar, or something may be worthy of comment and because it was so long ago no-one will really care. But generally you can't go wrong if you treat casual sex the same way as you treat a bowel movement.

6: It's hard work
You do have to work harder if you are having an affair because you have two people to care for. This is generally easy because the affair has galvanised you into overdrive thus you will find renewed interest in your partner as well as the new interest in the other one.

7: Respect
Treat your affairee's partner with respect. Always return their partner in good condition. Send them home if you have to at an appropriate time. Also clearly signal your intentions, like you are not there to take anyone from anyone else, you are there to give everyone MORE. You just want to make life better, more interesting and much much more fulfilling.

8: Commitment
Clearly state at some stage, preferably in the lead-up that your partner is your partner and you wouldn't leave him for anyone.

9: Shit happens
You will never manage the situation. There will always be brinks. There will always be dizzinesses. There will always be contradictions. You will handle the situation, rather than dominating it. If you are going for philosophies check out Chinese works on Change rather than Nietzsche's Will To Power. There will be bad moments but last them out. If your intentions are honest and explicit, everyone will survive.

10: Zen and the art...
Relax... it's only life...

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David Herkt - 15th April 2007