So the first thing I want to do before continuing to explain what this title actually means is share that I was raised Baptist, and was very involved in my church — from serving as an Usher, to singing in the choir, going to Sunday school religiously (pun intended), but…
To be honest, I never felt strongly connected to the [practice] of religion. But there was no way I would have EVER been able voice my true concerns. Yes, there were times I went to church because I thought that was what I had to do. My spiritual truth likely lies somewhere in-between the lines. I have always been able to trust this intuitive feeling (God, The Source, The Universe) which led me to certain people and opportunities in life, and I have always valued the way others chose to live even if it isn’t a philosophy I personally subscribe to.
Moreover, I was never the Cinderella girl. I cannot recall ever being fascinated with the idea of wearing a big white dress, or having a fancy wedding — kids, maybe. But the idea of “marriage” never really mattered to me. That doesn't mean I don't want my own version of “happily ever after,” I'm just not sold on what exact shape that will take.
I felt for a long time (especially as a young adult) that I should not voice this perspective. It wasn't really a "safe" opinion to have as everyone around me — mostly other women — seemed to have more traditional views on the subject.
Fast forward to now — in my role as a Matchmaker, I’ve encountered some very different belief-systems about relationships. Though one theme seems to be consistent...
We all have our own way to share and practice love.
Relationship beliefs are personal, varying and not always in line with society's prescribed method, or even in total agreement with our chosen partner's views!
These different belief systems can actually create connection. Difference isn't synonymous with distance. Even though we might naturally feel distant from people who don’t feel, look, or sound the way we're accustomed to, doesn't mean we can't find common ground.
A "relationship" is defined as:
“The way in which two or more concepts, objects, or people are connected, or the state of being connected. Bond; alliance."
Through conversations with clients, their potential matches, colleagues, and even via checking in with my own “Internal GPS,” I began to realize that the idea of love and relationships has been reduced to exist only in the form of monogamy for the masses. As I began to have my own epiphanies and interest in learning about “what else was out there,” I found myself having more and more encounters with people who were engaged in or considering open relationships.
This was sincerely fascinating! Or should I say, this IS fascinating. Not because I myself have agreed to participate, but because I appreciate people who take the time (and have the courage) to go out and pursue what works for them — regardless of whether it's conventional or not.
My exploration into this topic (by working with and speaking to people pursuing and/or engaged in open relationships) has revealed a host of learnings, and I'm sharing the five main takeaways I've gleaned today:
- There’s no one right way to be in a relationship. You can create your own agreements as a couple.
- Sex is really not even all that it’s about, contrary to what many assume.
- It’s not "infidelity" if both parties consent to the relationship style.
- Jealously and other emotions aren’t excluded just because you’re in an open relationship.
- The desire to have and raise a family doesn’t have to be abandoned because of this relationship style. Though, the couple would obviously need to do their fair share of research and planning to secure and nurture a healthy family dynamic.
It might seem strange for a “Matchmaker” to not be in total opposition of open relationships. But, it's not my job to be in judgment of anyone's relationship beliefs. It's my job to listen, learn, advise, and work toward happy endings.
Matchmaker + Executive Coach