8 November 2012

Kenya: Do Open Relationships Work?


Every other day we hear about a relationship where one partner cheats. It's been happening since time immemorial. Hapo zamani za kale it would be brushed under the rug and the person cheated on would have to suck it up and keep things moving. These days we have the option of divorce and I think my generation will be Generation D for Divorce. I hope I'm not scaring anyone. That is truly not my intention. I'm just saying, with all the failing relationships we see, maybe it's time we think outside the box. Not that I'm advocating for open relationships. I'm very much a monogamist. I'm just open to looking at new ways of tackling issues. Erykah Badu said "I have friends who are in polygamous relationships - they're no more happy or sad than we are. But at least the b*tches know what's comin' next!"

According to wiki, an open relationship is a committed relationship in which the partners are free to have emotional and/or physical relationships with other partners, often within mutually agreed limits. Just let that sink in for a sec. You are actually allowed to see other people. I know most men would be ecstatic about this. Hell our fathers have been having multiple partners for years. Only issue is that the women were not allowed the same privilege (for lack of a better word). Try proposing to your husband or boyfriend that you BOTH can see other people. I can guarantee that most would have a huge issue. Men have egos and to be quite honest, that would be an enormous hurdle to cross.

You will probably also deal with jealousy. As a woman, I can tell you that this would be almost impossible for me to deal with. Most women want a one-on-one relationship. They want to be the focus point of all your attention. No woman can ever tell me otherwise unless you are a clande who has perfected the art of staying in your lane. Even when men cheat, they know enough to try and make the wife think she is the only one. And while we're at it, men are jealous creatures too. In fact, if a man finds his wife with another man, the consequences are usually tragic with someone likely to lose their life.

Then there's the issue of who brings the topic up and how it comes about. I'm thinking if my boyfriend walked up to me and said, "Honey, wouldn't it be great if we could both see other people?", I'd knock the living daylights out of him. Just because, naturally, I would take it as a sign of disrespect. How do you mutually agree on something like that? Unless you're telling me there are clubs for open relationships where everyone knows from the get-go what the deal is. I would hate to be with someone for some time, only to find out later that he has no objection, or has been in an open relationship in the past.

One plus I see with open relationships is the degree of honesty. Once you're in an open relationship, there's no need to lie about anything, is there? No trying to sneak phone calls. No lying about where you've been. No lying about what you've spent your bonus on. No lying about where you slept the previous night. Okay, thinking about it, too much honesty may not be so great. But if you're not afraid of hearing all the intimate details, I guess it won't be a problem. Unless you have an agreement that you won't share those details. Arrrrgh!!! So confusing. I'm beginning to think it's more complicated than a plain old monogamous relationship.

And just in case you are wondering, I haven't talked about STDs here because I think you should be using protection whether you're in a monogamous relationship or an open one.

Then there are all the "logistical" questions. Are there restrictions on where these encounters with other people will take place e.g. your shared bedroom? Are there certain things you mutually agree not to do with certain people? Will your relationship be the primary one? If so, are you entitled to more time than other partners? Exactly how much more time? Are there specific people that are off limits like exes?

After thinking about all the issues involved, I have come to the conclusion that I am lazy. I simply do not have the energy to think about all these factors. It's like trying to pass the draft constitution! I would have too many rules. I'd rather my boyfriend know that it's him and me, fullstop. Any other extra curricular activity is forbidden. That's the only rule he needs to know. I'm very happy for those who can actually make it work. It's just not for me. Sorry Erykah, I think I'd rather take my chances.

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