“So I want to run something by you,” she says.
“Oh?” I say.
This is years before I start posting daily for Poly Land. Before I have multiple books out about non-monogamy. Before I get known as a relationship expert.
It’s years before any of that.
At the time, we’re just two friends having dinner. And she’s asking for my help. It’s something that I get a lot. Something that even at this point I’m frankly used to — the Advice Friend for most of the Cleveland kink community. I know by the tone of her voice that it’s going to be a relationship issue.
And it is. But it’s one that sticks with me. There’s a reason I’m writing about it now, all of these years later. It’s one that doesn’t disappear into the blur of hundreds of similar conversations I will have around that time.
She wants to get my advice on getting her wife to open up their relationship, which is exclusive. Monogamous. Again, nothing I haven’t heard before.
But this time, she’s already discussed it with her wife. And her wife is opposed. Says absolutely not.
For me, in her situation, that would probably be the end of the road. I’d conclude that I either had to accept the closed relationship or — if I couldn’t accept that — end the relationship.
But not my friend. She wants tricks. She wants hacks. Thinks there are magic words, magical approaches, that I must know. Ones that will get her wife to agree to this arrangement that she wants nothing to do with.
I tell my friend that this is not how it works. I can tell she’s not happy with this answer. But opening up a closed relationship can be difficult even when both parties are on board… if one person doesn’t want it? Oooh boy. Hold on.
What Happened Many Years Later
Interestingly enough, this couple did after many years end up opening up. It was a surprising development to me, given how dead-set against it that her wife had been.
I was frankly amazed.
And then I saw what happened next. Her wife dated other people. Found someone else. Left the friend who had been pressuring her to have an open relationship when she didn’t want to.
I know tons of people who have opened up from a closed relationship and thrived. But usually they’re both on board with the decision.
It’s a bad sign when one person pressures the other person to open up. Particularly after their partner says no once, twice, or a thousand times when asked.
I’m sure it can work out well sometimes — due to the law of large numbers and outliers and all that.
But I’ve seen more trajectories like this one. More of the “OKAY, FINE” and that person leaving the moment they find someone else they connect with.