Afro Sexual Wisdom

How to absolutely and completely #win at open relationships Pt II: Getting it right (enough)

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On Mar 26, 2015

By That Other Dyke / @ThatOtherDyke

So, in the last post How to absolutely and completely #win at open relationships Pt I: In the Beginning there was Me, Myself and I , I exposed the background to my relationship tendencies and now in this one we shall do a list on how to (possibly) win at it.

But that’s boring. Let’s do a list instead.

I know we love lists.

The non expert/No GPS on how to navigate your way around an open relationship.

 Be honest: first and foremost with yourself.

Always with yourself.

It’s okay if you’re getting into an open relationship as a last resort, it really is okay. But, that too, has it’s own consequences. Know the ‘why’ of the open relationship. But also be honest with your person. Things will come up for you (hard shit-jealousy being the hardest) talk about that.

Often. Until you get over it.

If you cannot get over the thought of the woman you love moaning out someone else’s name,tumblr_n5yyugx9pa1s7mgnxo1_500

even though she last did that 2 months ago, then maybe an open relationship isn’t for you.

Also be honest with the random hook-ups-don’t, for goodness sake, say you’re in an open relationship when you really are not. We know how small the world gets, can we please stop contributing to just how messy lesbian relationships can be sometimes?

  1. Make rules: So the thing with open relationships is that there are rules. It’s not an open invitation to fuck left, right and centre.

BUT I could be wrong about this, maybe it is for other relationships. It’s not for mine. There are some hard and fast rules about who we can and cannot fuck. These rules can change too. But it’s a conversation. There has to be a conversation.

Make rules about everything you can. How much do you want to know about the other person/people? Should it be the same person? Are they allowed to wear woolen sweaters? [I’m saying this as a joke, but you’d be surprised where some people’s boundaries lie].

Maybe you are okay with your person sleeping with other people as long as you don’t know the people and never know the when and how of the other. As long as your everyday with this person remains the same. Are they allowed to have some kind of emotional relationships with the other lovers or no? Details-think through anything and everything that you think will cause you anxiety.

  1. Know that they may cheat: Opening up a relationship does not mean that your person will not cheat on you.

Just know this.

And cheating is defined as you define it. But also be clear with your person around what you would consider to be cheating so that there is clarity. Talk about things. Often and always.

Still, you might do all this and they, or you, will still cheat. There are zero guarantees here guys-sorry. You cannot ever be responsible for other people’s actions. Usually, when people cheat, it’s really not about you.


  1. Trust: This is cliché, but open relationships only work when you trust your person will tell you what’s up, or what’s going down.

There are no guarantees that they will tell you. But then again, are no guarantees about anything. Trust your own agency and the agency of your partner to communicate their feelings.

  1. Investigate where your jealousy lies:This I found out in a recent conversation with friends

We have different kinds of jealousy and we are jealous differently. My one friend is emotionally jealous.

Her person can fuck the rest of the world, but she has to be her person’s emotional rock. To her the unforgivable would be for her partner to share intimate information with other people. Most of us are sexually jealous. We are raised that way. We don’t understand how our awesome sexiness isn’t ‘enough’ for someone who says they love us.

Or how we love someone more than life itself but when that poet at the conference leaned in we could not pull away.

Jah knows we tried.

How much of your jealousy is you and how much is them. We are taught that jealousy is natural and inevitable and it’s firmly attached to how we love. That it’s some kind of protective reflex for your heart. Interrogate that thinking to the end. And jealousy will show up like Cape Town (lesbians in Cape Town) weather-so out of the blue it might blow you away. Your person might hear that you, Kerry Washington/ Jada Pinkett-Smith/ Gabrielle Union/ Boity Thulo and Vera Sidika had an orgy, and she will laugh, and ask for details about what sounds Kerry Washington made.

The she hears that you made out, just made out, with Naledi who lives five houses down, and she will go ballistic.

It won’t make sense. But it’s important, no it’s imperative that you talk about that.

In the next post How to absolutely and completely #win at open relationships Pt III: Looking at it in practice, we shall look at what it all means once you get outside your head and the rules and get into the real workings of it.

There is also a Pt I

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