I’ve been taking notice of relationships a bit closer lately (closer than normal lol) and a particular element is standing out. That element surrounds the thought of ‘doing what you like,’ ‘ doing what makes you happy,’ ‘taking the sensitivity of others out of the picture and making certain you are looking out for number one.’  Do any of these sentiments sound familiar?  I hope they do not.  Not that I have a real problem with any of them…I believe people generally operate out of what makes them happy—at least what makes them happy for the moment.  But there’s something about these thoughts that have a hovering feeling of selfishness, right?

Today’s dating scene shows us more side chicks, boyfriend #2s, and open relationships than ever before—and let’s be clear, this isn’t new—this has always happened, even back in the Bible days, we just weren’t as accustomed to seeing and accepting it so openly.  Today however, it’s very much in our faces.  Dependent upon your belief it can feel abrupt.  It can feel like a sigh of relief, or it can feel like you’ve entered an updated episode of the twilight zone. 

This element was broadcast even more with a recent movie I watched highlighting the lives of multiple couples.  One was dating, but not exclusive.  One was married, but seeing others openly. One was dating and celibate.  The final couple was dating exclusively, with one partner admitting to a bisexual past.  After the initial shock the movie accomplished with each of the couples’ scenarios being introduced to the viewers, each of the stories played out in various ways as the on-screen saga progressed.  While watching I begin to wonder how these interactions would play out in real life, until I reminded myself…they are already doing so each day. 

As I traveled through my mental rolodex, I begin to pinpoint couples I knew that fit each of the characteristics shared.  Although I am not privy to all the intimate details of those I know, in considering the similarities from the movie, I wondered if the interactions and the “RE-actions” matched.  I wondered if the glue holding them together was of super human strength, or hanging by a thread.  I wondered what types of conversations had transpired amongst the couples.  I wondered if their smiles were the evidence of triumph through treacherous times, or a mask.  See, the commonality amongst the movie couples that made for great TV and ultimately, the expected “happily ever afters,” was clear—it was open communication.  It was a key ingredient with each twosome.

It was at the forefront onscreen but in real life, is communication being taken as seriously when it comes to identifying the framework of truly successful relationships?  Could it be that couples are now talking more about their needs (or what they think they need) and by nature of these talks, opening themselves up to more options in love?  Is that type of communication really happening? Is it even realistic? 

My surface answer is “sure, why not?”  My safe answer is “I don’t know.”  My gut answer is “yes…but only to an extent.”  I believe social media, movies, books, magazines, even pornography, have opened people up to be more accepting to alternative forms of exclusive relationships.  The days of being ‘vanilla,’ or what some would consider straight-forward, less than exciting relationships—you know, one man and one woman, no kink, no variety—are quickly becoming a thing of the past.  Now don’t misunderstand, that scenario is still very prevalent (and in my opinion still very relevant).  But communication has allowed men and women to feel at ease with discussing other interests, curiosities, fleeting whims, and deep desires.  It’s opening the door to operate out of exclusivity and adding polyamory, and even same sex situations while still maintaining a ‘number one.’ 

Interesting, right?   I think so.  The only time an issue seems to arise is when someone feels they haven’t been given all the details of the situation in order to make informed decisions about how they’d like to proceed.  Well, I don’t know how I feel about that, or really this whole thing.  I can appreciate it, but I’m just not sure if I like it.  Communication is hands down one of the treasured components of successful relationships and in considering the new additions taking place between significant others, I don’t know if I’m ready to have it used against me.  Yes, against me.  Because when we open ourselves up to discuss these alternative desires in relationships, we are opening the door to the possibility that the same relationship will face its demise sooner than we may want it to do so.

Do you feel communication has turned into a double-edged sword?  Or is it still the cornerstone of happiness with couples?  I encourage you to keep talking, being honest, and hearing each other out…just be ready when the door is opened!   

Until next time,