This is the text of the note that Dave sent to our friend regarding the term "open relationship" -  although it addresses the concept of gay relationships I do believe that the tenants we hold  translate very well to ANY relationship.  The "open" aspect goes a lot further than "sex", although that is what is addressed here.  The term "open" also can refer to the way in which you  handle other aspects of a relationship.  It has been edited only for privacy and clarity.



Dear XXX,

Robby and I are very different people, and that includes our sex drives.  If sex were the basis for our relationship there would be potentials for problems.   My motto is "once a night is not  enough" while he believes that once a week is more than sufficient.  (I beat off a lot!)  But our relationship is based on much more. 

From the very beginning it was apparent that we needed OUR own definition of an "open relationship" - That was not an exclusive relationship.

He had never been in a relationship before - lots of roommates, dates, lovers, tricks, and great close friends - but not a "relationship" as such.  I had been through several - always with things  going on on the side.

We sort of started off with sex as a recreational activity - for me somewhat apart from the relationship itself, although I am not sure about his perception.  The day he moved in to my house in South  Carolina I had a friend from Utah spending the night and the following night we had a three-way with him.

We sometimes involve others in bed - and three-ways work if it really is a THREE way and not a one plus two way.  This sometimes happens when we have company - and when it is a couple it might be a  four-way.  We try NOT to have expectations, but rather take it as it comes.  This prevents anticipation becoming disappointment.  We have each been known to have fooled around with a guest (distant or local)  while the other was puttering around the house doing something else. 

Therefore we don't have expectations about people who visit us - or requirements (other than that they be respectable house guests).  We once had an email that said "I'd love to come visit and ski, but do I  have to have sex also?"  I am not quite sure what prompted that....

For a short time last fall we had a local who had become a rather regular "sleep over".  It was to the point where we wondered if he should just move in, but a number of circumstances were just not  right for that to happen.  He now has a boyfriend so that activity has ended.

For years Robby did massage, and on occasion I know things went on with certain clients.  I travel a lot, and have certainly had my hotel tricks.  A few weeks ago in Toronto I arranged to spend the  weekend with a guy we had met on our cruise last fall (that we both thought was so cute).  It was not "decided" in advance (by me anyway) that we were going to have sex, although I was hopeful and  UN-characteristicaly non-aggressive.  As it turned out we did get involved.  When I got home we talked about it briefly - as Robby KNEW something had to have happened.  His comment was something to the effect of  "I could not possibly imagine that you and XXX would be together and nothing would happen...."

In general however, we have a "don't ask, don't tell" policy.  I will always be truthful with him if he asks - but I sort of consider it "rude" to point it out.  I don't  ask him if anything ever happens with him, but sort of hope it does on occassion.  If he should come to visit you I would sort of hope that something happens if you both want it.  It is important never to see sex as  competition or an invasion of our space.  That is what leads to a jealous or negative image that could upset things.  In fact, I take it as a compliment that someone else would find him attractive.  I also think  it builds HIS self-confidence.  It is one thing to have your lover tell you how great you are - and quite another to hear it somewhat unsolicited.

We do have a few ground rules - more for others than ourselves.  We don't advertise any availablity- especially around town.  It is not that we really care what others think, but we do not want  people creating impressions about us that might lead to their expectations.  We don't want to be known as the couple who is always looking for a third and we also don't want any "fatal attractions" around  town. 

In our case, although we might go out for the evening individually or with another friend, it is not to have sex.   The concept of "I am going out to fuck someone, see you later" is not part  of how we live.  That sort of addresses your issue of "permission when the need arises"....

I suppose there are long term couples with an exclusive relationship - but many male couples spend too much time in lies about how they are being faithful instead of developing their real emotional  relationship.  Most of the long-term couples I know don't pretend, they just deal with it. 

Your comment from above " I am having a hard time adjusting to this agreement and hope that, in time, I will be okay with it." is a signal that you both need to talk about expectations and  motivations.  This only works when you are BOTH in some sort of agreement.  Remember that open communications is the most important part of what makes a relationship.

Maybe this is longer than you expected.  I hope it is helpful.  If you want, please continue the dialog.  I am thinking of expanding upon what I said above and adding it to the web site.  Give  me your thoughts.