More Than Friends With Benefits

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
I love a good story. I love to read and watch movies because they deliver good stories- most of the time. But lately, as I browse the young adult or romance section, I've been beginning to lose connection with some of my favorite authors and particularly their stories. After exploring an open relationship with my long-time partner, I’ve become more aware of what it means to be “in love” and in a relationship. So after reading years of stories where the guy falls in love with the girl and vice versa, I had trouble connecting with them after being in a relationship that felt true rather than fairy-tale. In my journal/essay style of writing, I explore the mind of young woman who begins their journey in an open relationship as she experiences feelings of jealousy, insecurity, new love and growth with her partner. All that entails a love greater than the ones promised in the romance sections of Barnes and Nobel.

Submitted: June 05, 2019

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Submitted: June 05, 2019

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So this week Theo and I decided to pursue an open relationship. 

It was definitely all of a sudden but it felt right.  What were we talking about that lead to this?  Okay well let’s see, the other day, we were talking about me wanting to travel more and explore like I used to.  I mean I moved halfway across the country to be with him so is it wrong of me to want to go back, get out and travel more?  Even if it’s without him?  Does that make me a bad girlfriend?  And as we were talking about this, he asked the question, are you okay with only ever being with one person your whole life?  Having only one experience your whole life?  One person.

I think that hit me. 

I never actually reflected on it until then.  I always imagined myself maybe having dated a few guys but always settling down with “the one”, you know like you see in movies and read in books?What seemed like a natural progression of relationships to me at the time turned out to be so confining after I gave it some thought.  Now that’s not to say that this progression is wrong and denying us of our human instincts but have you ever wondered what it would like to be with another person while you’re in a relationship?  Maybe not.  Maybe you don’t let yourself go there or perhaps the thought doesn’t pop in your head.  But let’s say it has.  For those of you out there like me, what do you do when you fantasize being with someone else?  What do you say to your partner if anything when you let yourself imagine what sex or cuddling would be like with someone else you know?  Now some may consider this cheating but hear me out, there’s a lot more to this than thinking it’s infidelity or going on a “sexscapade”.  I mean there are so many experiences we could have but end up denying to preserve ourselves for “our person”. 

Although I envisioned myself finding “the one”, I didn’t know it so happened to be that the first person I fell in love with.  He’s my rock.  My home.

And I am SO grateful for him and our relationship.  I feel that I can be most vulnerable around him.  I can trust him and have mutual respect for each other.  We see the best in the other and know/have the desire to work through all of our differences.  From the easy things to the hardest of the distance between us.  I know it’s only been a year and half but living with each other has definitely helped!  But being in a monogamous relationship, he kind of is the only relationship I will have.  My only sexual experience.  Part of me is okay with that but I definitely got more curious as the semester went on.  For instance, at the beginning of the fall semester, I never saw myself with one else, I focused on us.  But during this new semester, I started imagining myself with other people.  How nice it would feel to share a deeper bond whether it be becoming more vulnerable or sexual with others.  I was curious.  Very curious.  But I respect Theo enough not to act on those feelings.  But then I started feeling guilty for letting myself have these feelings.  I felt that I was being infidel to us.  But that’s the problem.  Should I be feeling this way if the feeling is mutual?  Should Theo and I both feel guilty or feel bad that we imagine ourselves doing things with other people? 

It’s natural.  It’s part of human nature to want to be with others.  What’s not natural is being tied down to one person, it’s a societal expectation and social construction.  That doesn’t make it bad though!  But what’s worse is criticizing those who deviate from the standard monogamous relationship and consider it “cheating” without understanding the complexity within it.So when I found myself talking about an open-relationship, Theo thought it would be a good idea and next thing you know… BOOM!  We decided to have an open relationship. 

We both seemed really excited!!  We were talking about the different kind of people and what we wanted to learn from it.  I wanted to get to know different people and deepen connection with others.  Theo mentioned how he wanted to understand hook-up culture and experiment sexually.  So cool things either way!  At first as he was talking other women or men, I felt a little ping of jealousy.  It was like, wait... you’re mine and I’m letting you go do these things that only we do, with someone else.  You’re going to share that special bond we have with someone else.  But after time reflecting on it all, the jealousy started to fade away.  And today I feel a little at peace.  I think starting this has taught me to learn to let go and find happiness in his own happiness.  If he’s having a great experience and so am I, then I think we’re both growing and thriving, so what’s there not to be happy about? 

 

Jealously ultimately stems from being insecure.  What are you insecure about?  That’s what I had to ask myself and tell Theo.  Part of me was scared that there are a lot of other women out there who are better than me sexually.  More appealing and share a lot more qualities with Theo like video games, Pokémon or anime which he knows I don’t take too too much interest in, although I try.  I felt like if he shared that with someone else, it would make me seem less appealing.  I also felt a sense of owning, like I owned Theo.  And I don’t think that’s right.  That’s how I felt at first.  But now it’s changed and I’m starting to understand what our relationship means to me.  I feel like I’ve gained a lot of respect for him and trust.  Knowing that we’re both willing to let each other go and be happy that the other can experience what they want is such a liberating feeling and to have that in a relationship makes it feel like I will always have Theo to be my home.  I don’t think wanting to experience all there is and being in a relationship should be mutually exclusive.  If anything it’s made me feel more confident and excited to pursue what was originally not an option to me being exclusive with him.  But by no means does it signify that Theo was never enough for me.  That’s not true.  That’s far from it.  Yes, there are some things that I wish we had more in common or things that we could do but it’s okay.  We’re human and despite those things I wish for, the things we do share together trump that feeling.  The things we share together have moved me so much that I feel like I can take on the world with him.  I feel that so happy so so so so happy with him.  Nobody can ever take away or replace what we have.  I know that.  I’ve grounded myself with Theo, not tied down to Theo.  I think that’s the difference.  We know each other so well that we understand the other person.  We respect and love the person so much that we’re willing to let go and let them experience happiness in a new way.  I think it’ll be weird at first when he does find someone and if he does have a sexual relationship with other people but I want to push myself to try and grow from it.  I’m excited to hear about his experiences and who he meets.  I think that it will improve us as individuals which in turn will improve us as a couple.  That’s the goal. 

 

Through this experience, I want to gain more understanding of other people, explore what I find curious with others and apply to my current relationship.  I don’t want that curiosity to catch to me when I’m older and I don’t want to feel like I will never be able to.  It’s a leap of faith but it’s a testament to our love, trust, and respect for the other and that’s the deepest form of unconditional love I have ever felt with anyone.  I love him so much.  It’s so cliché to say “If you love something, let it go”.  My mom used to say that to me whenever I catch bugs and keep them as pets but it’s so profound actually.  If I love Theo, I need to let go of the fact that we’re bound to each other.  I need to let him go experience happiness with others whether it’s sexually, emotionally or whatever.  But it’s nice to know that in my heart, we are each other’s home base.  I hope it goes well and we enjoy this.  And whatever challenges come our way, we will totally overcome it whether we decide to continue pursuing this or stopping, I know that we’re going to grow from it.  Just taking things day by day and be true to your intentions

So far we haven’t done anything with anyone yet but we did start looking around on a dating app called Bumble, which I have NEVER used before!  I’ve never swiped for people so it’s all kinda weird.  But recently  I started talking to someone and I might go on a date on Saturday.  I’m a little nervous but excited too.  This is kind of my first planned date with a guy.  Is that crazy for me to say?  I’m 20 and this is my first date.  When I started dating my boyfriend, we never went on dates and then started a relationship.  We kinda skipped the entire first part since we were friends and next thing you know, BOOM, we’re dating!  So yeah.  This is a first date and I have no idea what to do.  Oh Lord.


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