Now, this is probably the scariest post I've ever written. Although I was the one who compiled all these questions and the first one to read and lightly edited them, there is a type of fear to put down thoughts that still evolve.
But then, I've written posts that, later on, I changed my mind on. But I still kept them on questionmark. My message isn't that we all should have the same opinions, but that we all should care about the views and realities of each other.
Here are my thoughts on my Open Relationship.
By the way, I've designed the following tees to help me with the costs of promoting and maintaining Questionmark. Have a look
Q1. How have your previous relationships impacted your decision to be in an open relationship?
Significantly. In general, I felt that I couldn't be totally honest with myself or my partners in the past.
When my relationships were monogamous, I was constantly pushing myself to believe that I enjoyed that, as if this was my choice. Strangers were turning me on much more than what they do now, and it was all a roller coaster of emotions. Meeting new people was very hard. I was constantly in fear that my partners would be jealous.
Now everything is much easier as I feel there are no honesty boundaries. There is no reason for me to lie as there are no rules I could break. But I still do care about how I will serve the truth. As everyone I hope, I care how my actions will impact my relationship and my partner even if that's a gay with a few rules.
Q2. How did you decide to be open?
After my last relationship, I decided that I didn't want another one. When I found someone who could fit in my reality, I decided to be honest and talk about everything I think and what I believe about relationships before committing to anything.
I tried to make it clear that no matter how certain I was for what I wanted, it was a path I wasn't very familiar with, and I could sidetrack or change my mind in the future. I somehow tried to withhold my right to change my mind or fail.
I told my soon-to-be-boyfriend that if a good friend of mine can pass the challenges of living with me, tuning in with my way of life and fitting harmonically in my value system and life goals, I would be happy to call them my partner.
Q3. Was there an initial agreement? What was that? For how much time?
There wasn't an initial agreement. We both mostly tried to do baby steps. I'm not sure if our baby steps were of similar size or happened simultaneously, but we both took or are still taking the steps we feel comfortable with.
The unspoken agreement was, "Don't be c#nt!"
Q4. What are the rules of your relationship?
We don't have clear rules. I am mostly driven by feelings. I try not to say how I want things to be but mostly how I feel about how things happen.
We both like different things, and although I have drawn my line and added boundaries with some friends or specific people, our most important rule is that rules can be bent, but we should take care, so we don't break what we have.
Q6. Is romance with third people allowed? How?
I cannot personally be romantic with more than one person. The idea is too progressive for my head. I think I'm young, though, and I may still have time, so I won't say I'm not open to it for the future. And although I can't see it happening anytime soon, I love when life surprises me.
I still though believe that romance is part of everyone's life. We may experience it in different forms and shapes. Under specific situations, a bit of romance wouldn't be an issue for me. I wouldn't be mad if he had a holiday fling or romance with a school lover.
Q7. Are you equally open in the relationship?
My partner is using Grindr much less than I, so I feel as if I'm more open. I still like to think that we are both as open as we want.
Q8. Are there problems created at periods when one takes more advantage of the openness of the situation? How do you manage that?
I haven't any problems with the both of us. On the other side, we are all people, and openness isn't always the easiest path. We all have feelings and expectations, and any relationship can test them.
I manage it by reminding myself of the values I want to live by and communicating my feelings as effectively as possible, first to myself and then to my partner.
It can happen that some feelings don't match with the format of our relationships. And even though "Party girls don't get hurt", I think it is healthy to communicate our feelings and understand ourselves even more.
Q9. How do you deal with jealousy and trust?
I think I talked about it a bit before, but I will get more specific. Jealousy can come on your way. Noone needs an open relationship to feel it. The feeling is horrible, and in the past, I was suffering a lot about it, but I have come to the following steps to overcome it when it comes now.
Step 1. Self-reflection. I try to think about what made me feel like that. Was it confidence? Was it complex? Was it a specific behaviour? Maybe the timing?
Step 2. I communicate my feelings with my partner at the first possible opportunity. I try to start with the phrase, "I know you mean the best for me, so I can't understand why..." In that way, I remind myself that my partner had the right intentions, but I probably translated something wrong in my head.
Step 3. I try not to end the discussion with my partner feeling guilty or sad. Making it a learning opportunity for both is the best way I like to close such a situation.
Q10. How does it personally affect you when one is more open and on the lookout? Has it been different from closed relationships you might have had?
Due to my Grindr, that someone must be me, but I'd say it makes me feel guilty. I can look as if "I'm on the lookout" even if I'm not.
In the past, even being more sociable could look as if I'm looking around, so now things are much more relaxed. I don't mind when he is on the lookout. If I'm not in a very sexual mood, I encourage it.
In the past, things had been very different. Talking to a stranger in a club was perceived as flirting, and if my exes are reading this, I want to say they were right; probably it was.
Q11. What is the best of your open relationship?
I can be my true self in so much more ways.
It would be hard to introduce a hot guy I met in previous relationships, even if there was no romantic/sexual intention. I would feel guilty to start having a new best friend or visit them in their apartment.
At times, I would have to choose between making my partner jealous, sad or suspicious or meeting casually new people. Then I would turn down invites, hide things that had no reason to be hidden and just create a mess I don't have to hide anymore.
Now I'm the most relaxed I've ever been. I think I'm in a relationship because of who I truly am, making my relationship feel stronger. I also love talking to strangers on Grindr, meeting people that just moved in here or others that read questionmark and have questions.
Q12. What is the recipe for a good open relationship?
I believe that there is no recipe. But I know ingredients that can kill any relationship (and an open relationship faster).
The nasty ingredients are Poor communication, Difficulty expressing your feelings, Lack of self-confidence, Lack of trust in your partner, Difficulty to Forgive, and probably more.
Q13. Do friends and family know? How much do they know?
It's not something I hide (hahaha). I'm quite a public person.
Colleagues have asked me as I'm talking about Questionmark a lot, and I replied honestly. I had to lie about my sexuality and who I am for a long time, so now it's tiring not to be myself wherever I am.
I don't worry about being judged or misunderstood. I've been getting these all my life, and I feel like I'm still doing pretty well.
Q14. What is the most annoying question you get about the openness of your relationship?
"Have you considered getting a serious relationship?" My answer is "Yes, but then I saw what it did to you, so I thought to postpone".
I shouldn't be catty, though. I believe that every annoying and judgemental question hides a genuine element of wanting to learn and change.
Q15. What would it take for you to change your relationship into a closed one?
Temporarily anything related to health (mental or physical). In the long run, I can't see a reason. Anyone trying to imprison me in a closed relationship doesn't want me for who I am or enjoys a depressed version of me.
Q16. What else would you like to share with Questionmark's readers?
I wish I could share everything with Questionmark readers. So, I plan to arrange a Q&A on Instagram. Follow me and stay tuned with my stories for date and time.
PS. Thank you Alex for letting me post this