How I Learned The Value Of An Open Relationship

The call came in early on a Sunday. She wasn’t much of a morning person, so when she jumped out of bed, I knew what was happening. It was him.

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We had been together for almost five years.

Before me, only one other person had ever held a place in her heart — him. But he was sent to prison at the height of their relationship, so they broke up.

We had many conversations about him. And I always knew that, someday, his release would be the ultimate test of our relationship.

I thought I was prepared. But with one phone call, someday all of a sudden became right now!

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We were in an open relationship, though we didn’t define “open” as being able to have sex with other people.

It was more about cultivating intimate emotional connections that felt more profound than just friendships. We shared everything with each other, including our fantasies. Even fantasies we had about other people.

One of the fantasies she shared was what about the sex she wanted to have with him when he was released. But all the role playing and conjecture didn’t prepare me for the moment of truth.

“He told me he wants to do all the things guys want to do when they get out of prison,” she said, as I laid in bed — contemplating the nightmare before me. “How would you would feel if went to see him?”

I reacted quickly. “I’d be disappointed.”

She stood silently for a moment. It was intense.

I knew that she loved me. But I also knew that she loved him, and had they not been pulled apart, they may still be together.

I thought to myself, what’s the point of keeping her here if she really wants to be with him?

After a few minutes, I held her hand, and said, “I think you should go.”

WHAT DID I JUST DO? I thought.

I couldn’t believe the words came out of my mouth, but it felt better than forcing her to stick around and wonder what might have been.

As she got ready, I listened as she shared her hopes and fears about their reconnection. She asked for my advice on what to wear. I helped her get dressed. My heart raced.

Within an hour, she was gone.

I spent the afternoon drinking myself silly (and sleepy) as I tried to make sense of what the hell I had just done, what it all meant, and how it would all play out.

Many hours later, she returned. I was passed out on the couch. She woke me with a kiss.

“I love you,” she said.

I jumped up. “How did it go?”

“He never showed up.”

She went to the location he suggested. She waited for over two hours. She texted and called him. But he never responded.

We held each other for what felt like a lifetime that afternoon.

“Thank you for loving me,” she said.

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The whole experience taught me that when facing an uncomfortable situation or a seemingly insurmountable challenge, supporting your partner selflessly and without expectation is the purest way to love.

I dared myself to think differently — to love the way I wanted to be loved, and it all worked out. The universe aligned. And the openness brought us closer than ever before.