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I believe everyone has been in love, in some form or the other, by the time they hit their late twenties. A lot of people I know have been in relationships. Most of them are even married and into that all-consuming activity of baby-making & rearing. Few people I know have been in an ‘open relationship’. At least…very few seem to admit to it. Or perhaps they don’t like the phrase. Well…..

It is just a name after all. And how do I define an open relationship? That is the best part. You don’t define an open relationship. You don’t need to. And if you do, then it defines itself. Because if you do need to legitimize it with a tag, it doesn’t stay an open relationship any more.

Now I have nothing against conventional, well-defined relationships. Indeed most of my efforts in the past have been in ensuring that my relationships move into that domain. But once I didn’t do that. And it was a worthwhile experience.

I think everyone should experience an open relationship at least once in their lives. Especially people who have been hurt by others…which encompasses most of the human race, I suppose. It can be the balm to all those wounds, the eraser to remove all the prejudices one tends to accumluate from bad experiences…the panacea to all relationship evils.

Well, perhaps I was very lucky. Yes I was. I was lucky because it started and ended in a way that both of us wanted. We had our similarities which never became our bonds and our differences that never turned into hostilities. Neither of us fell in love with each other or even into the traps of trying to cling on to the other person. We had our seperate social circles as well as common friends. I used to think that a perfect relationship ended in “..and they lived happily ever after”. That didn’t exactly happen here but I can’t think of a better way it could have closed. Almost in perfect synchronisation, both of us moved on to other people and other things.

A lot of us grow up with primitive, fairytale notions on how other people should be, what our partner should be like, how relationships ‘should’ run and how life should be. It never happens that way as age teaches us and experience after experience keeps on reminding us. I guess most people somewhere make a transition into either resentful resignation or acceptance of reality. I don’t know which of the two I fall into. But I know it certainly was an eye-opener to not have a safe (and restrictive) set of rules on how things should be.

There are things that are difficult to accept of course. If the great part about an open relationship is that the other person doesn’t own you, then the irritating part is that you don’t own the other person either. Well, fair is fair. Clinging isn’t good but it isn’t an easy habit to get rid of. But, ah, what a release once you do!

I think such a relationship also teaches you the value of time with yourself and gives you a great sense of self-worth. I mean….what can be more delightful than the understanding that other person is spending time with you not because he has to or because he doesn’t have better things to do…but simply because he wants to. For a lesson on how to live in the present and not worry about the future, it doesn’t get better than this. Equally sweet is the knowledge that if the other person isn’t there, you still have your interests, friends, family, work…and a life. Since you already live quite a bit of it without him and without any knowledge of when he’ll be a part of it, you know he isn’t indispensible. It made me realise that no one really is.

It is also about giving up responsibility for other people’s lives and letting them live their own. It is literally and figuratively taking the world off your shoulders. Catharsis is such a nasty word and I don’t like the fact that a near-mad woman said it better but she did….’Atlas shrugged’.

So many of life’s most important desicions are driven by what other people think of us. I wasn’t sure how people would judge me for being a part of a relationship that didn’t have a ‘social sanction’. I still don’t. But you know something? It doesn’t matter all that much any more. I stopped needing to have a man in my life at all times. And I shared a part of my life with someone I did and still do respect and like a lot. It made it worth it all.

I’d say if you haven’t given yourself permission to not need permission any more…well, just do it.

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About IdeaSmith

IdeaSmith is the digital doppelganger of Ramya Pandyan (intrepid train-traveller and frequent spouter of post-midnight rhymes and rants). As IdeaSmith she battles obscurity and slays boredom with her stories about men, books, digitalia and Mumbai. She performs live and also blogs, tweets, Instagrams, Facebooks, +G’s, Youtubes and Goodreads all as IdeaSmith. Ramya is a blogger, digital storyteller and spoken word performer. She also runs a forum for aspiring writers called Alphabet Sambar. Tweet-bomb her at @ideasmithy.

Posted on May 13, 2006, in Relationships, Seriously speaking, Times, they are a-changing. Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. I’d give anything to be in an ‘open’ relationship right about now.

    sigh.

  2. demi: Thenk yew! 🙂

    Wannabe punkster: One tip…don’t go looking for it. If you’re open to the idea, well…it just might happen to you and you’ll wake up one day and realise it.

  3. how about ‘current’ relationships that earn no interest… or ‘savings’ relationship where very little interest is involved… or even ‘market’ relationship where the returns are very high but at the same time is very risky and volatile… ?

    baah… all this ET reading has seriously gone into my head… just doin some TP around early morning

  4. thanks for the tip..:)

    as for the looking part…its pretty much non-existent.

    I never do(look).

    😛

  5. “Yeah, try explaining that to my girlfriend’s husband. Idiot keeps cribbing about us.” – Overheard somebody say this, after reading your post!

  6. This makes so much sense. Clinging never was a solution to anything. True!

  7. Brad: Who is this super-brain?

    Blue athena: It isn’t a solution but a hard habit to break anyway, isn’t it?

  8. I’d say you were just plain lucky… lucky none of you fell in love with the other..Lucky you found someone .. who wanted the same thing as you… lucky you both stayed that way till the end …

    I guess by “definition”.. an open relationship doesn’t last forever… actually I dunno..coz you said.. if its an open relationship..then it doesn’t have a definition…

    No actually… I’d say an open relationship.. NEVER ends.. coz how can it end really… you can just run into each other again.. and yer back in.. I guess ?!

    I dunno what Im saying really…
    g’nite !!

    -anon1

  9. :), its funny, I wrote kinda an anti open relationship funda on my blog, just yesterday! its great to read another perspective !!

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