Let me tell you adventurers, I never would have guessed that I would be in an open relationship. This time last year, I was in a committed long-term relationship. As I began my journey as an entrepreneur, I started exploring my sense of self. Before I knew it, I felt like a caged bird in my relationship. I found myself accepting antiquated gender roles and was even guilt-tripped into putting my boyfriend’s needs ahead of my own. As I continued to feed my hungry mind and soul with philosophies of self-love, empowerment, and independence, I became more and more detached from my relationship.
After the initial shock of ending a long term relationship settled, I felt free. For the first time in my life, I made a decision based on my needs and wants even when it comprised the feelings of others. I’ve always been a people pleaser; blindly accepted the values imposed on me by my family and society. I began questioning what I truly and deeply wanted out of life.
My existential journey was fueled even further when I met him.
Why is a serial monogamist in an open relationship?
There was a gravitational pull when I first met him. Something pulled me to him, I desperately wanted to find out more about this man who so easily captured my attention. From our first interaction, I was hooked. We made it to our second date when he dropped the bomb on me- he doesn’t believe in monogamy. To be honest, I admired and appreciated his honesty. He showed me the unfiltered, raw, and ugly (by society’s standards) version of himself. I eagerly listened as he explained why he had chosen a different life path than most. The scary part wasn’t in his reasoning, but instead in my initial acceptance and understanding.
I was in the midst of opening the doors to a new phase of my life. One in which I was in search for my truth in all matters of my life. I was revisiting my predetermined values and gut-checking them with my newfound sense of self. Aside from the initial fears of jealousy, I was intrigued by what an open relationship could offer me. It was the perfect storm: the right timing, an alluring man, and an undying search for the truth- my truth.
It’s been months, and I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. Although our love brings me an abundance of happiness, for the first time in my life, my happiness is unattached from anyone other than myself. After escaping this conditional love trap, my self-love journey has reached heights I never knew were possible. With internal validation and security, the love given to me by external forces is an addition to my already full cup. This happiness is intoxicating, and I feel like I’m uncovering who I am every day.
Is it really that simple?
I know what you’re thinking, being in an open relationship can’t be that easy. You’re right. It was hard at first. Once I started to fall in love with him, my ego clawed its way back to a position of power and filled my mind and heart with feelings of doubt, insecurity, and inadequacies. I wanted to run away from the possibility of falling too hard for someone that wouldn’t “be all mine.” I tried running from love until my indecisiveness almost prematurely ended our journey. And then it hit me- “Kayla my dear, you must learn to be mindful. Not for him. Not for this relationship. But for yourself.”
What’s the connection between mindfulness and non-monogamy?
“Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now without wishing it were different; enjoying the pleasant without holding on when it changes (which it will); being with the unpleasant without fearing it will always be this way (which it won’t).” – James Baraz
Mindfulness is not a foreign concept to me. It finally clicked, however, when I realized that I still gave my ego permission to allow my emotions to run rampant. By practicing mindfulness, I began truly living in the present. I no longer allow myself to worry about what if’s.
What if he falls in love with someone else?
What if he breaks my heart?
What if I can’t control my jealousy?
My worries ceased almost immediately when I realized the power of mindfulness. The only thing that matters is the present moment, and in this present moment I am overflowing with happiness so why should I deprive my soul of this feeling because of the unpredicted future? When you unlock the keys to a mindful life, you’re able to live in the moment but also accept your feelings and emotions without judgment. Throughout this relationship, my ego tested me many times, but instead of freaking out like an emotional lunatic or suppressing my feelings, I’ve chosen mindfulness. I acknowledge my feelings in a judgment-free zone, I dissect why I’m feeling such way, I accept and acknowledge these emotions; then I let it go.
My wish for you…
Open relationships aren’t for everyone, but the life lessons I’m practicing are invaluable to everyone. I’m learning how to control my ego through mindfulness. It’s a huge feat, and this unconventional relationship has been the catalyst. Even if you’re in a monogamous relationship, I challenge you to learn how to control your ego through mindfulness. Our egos tests us across all types of relationships not just non-monogamous ones. Find your center of peace within yourself. Live in the present moment because it’s all that is and all that matters. Accept instead of suppress your emotions. Allow yourself the opportunity to explore your triggers and emotions without judgment. And learn to let go of your ego driven thoughts!