Chris discusses consensual non-monogamy and how open relationships differ from polyamory. We talk about the necessity of communication and boundaries while navigating jealousy and other things that come with non-traditional relationships.
S3E11 Open Relationships
00:00:00 - 00:05:09
The Dateable podcast is an insider's look into modern dating that the Huffington post calls one of the top ten podcast about love and sex. On each episode, we'll talk to real daters about. From sex parties to sex droughts, date fails a diaper fetishes and first moves to first loves. I'm your host Yue Xu, former dating coach turned dating sociologists. You also hear from my co host and producer Julie Krafchick as we explored this crazy dateable world.
And i move so i loves. We are excited. You've join us for an older episode. While our earlier seasons were all about dating in san francisco we quickly realize all the themes. Learnings are universal for all daters so we shifted to covering dating from all around the world as the seasons. Progress to the fun part. Is things happen. I san francisco the tech epicenter and counterculture capital of the world. We love for you to keep tuning in to our older episodes. But there's no set order to listen in so feel free to jump to more. Recent seasons are relevant episodes for you. Enjoy the show. The database podcast is hosted by me. I'm a a former dating coach. In new york. Turned activator in san francisco on each episode. you'll hear commentary by my co host. Michael vargas fellow dating coach with a clinical psychology background. My producer craft chick and other surprise. Co co-hosts this episode of dateable is brought to you by five hundred brunches. Five hundred brunches connects like minded people with similar interests to meet in real life over brunch. You answer a questionnaire about your interests and how you spend your time. And then they'll match you. In small groups of six to eight at a brunch spot. In san francisco get a free entry into a brench now by signing up at five hundred brunches dot com and using the code date able. Hey everyone welcome to another episode of dateable. A show that opens up a candid conversation about dating in san francisco. We have a guest host in the house. His name is harvey. And i just have to give you guys. A little background on harvey harvey net during beta breakers. But we re met again later for our onesie party where harvey was came in a full bear costume and he was one of the contestants on the dating game which was such a success and that's when he announced to the world he has declared dating bankruptcy which means he's not dating at all so i figured if you're not dating then let's just talk about dating right. Perfect co host for us harvey. Do you have anything else you wanna say about you. That is interesting. Speaking of cool guests in the house with chris here. Hey chris hey how's it going. He's got his sunglasses. I'm guessing he was partying a little too hard last night. I wish i was. I was working unfortunately but Yeah so. I've been working on a pretty cool project. Recently launched a site called intrigue me a place where people can share fantasies to get inspiration to spice up their own relationships or to meet somebody to fulfil a fantasy. They've always wanted to have but there is something else we want to talk about two. We discussed absolutely start. I've been involved in non traditional relationships since college. So non monogamous no monogamous say poly-amorous. There's a sort of a bright line between those different sort of groups. But i i've been practicing and practicing is is an active word practicing monogamy for a number of years. Now yes but not poly-amorous correct you always be somewhat careful about talking about. This is something people have very very strong beliefs. The line between someone who says they're into nominal gimme versus. Someone who says amazon in my mind poly-amorous person has a deep desire to be with two or more people have serious emotional and physical connection perhaps living with them perhaps not over a long period of time but seeking meaningful relationships. Outside of two person partnership correct. So they wanna be with they wanna be with somebody they want to be with at least two or more people in a very serious way non monogamy and more broader umbrella term. The there's a less of a focus on building relationships with with a number of people as opposed to just sort of maybe more like openly going with the flow. And you're saying you've never engaged in poly-amorous relationship. I know i have dated in a serious way more than one person at the same time and do they know about each other. Yes and that's the whole point of having these non traditional relationships everyone's aware of the other part absolutely. Yeah yeah not. I think communication is the most important thing in any relationship regardless if you're monogamous if you're just hooking up with people you know not dating like you're sort of like playing the field or whatever you want to say oreo your exclusively married to somebody or you're you're in some sort of multi polly quad or something like that right.
00:05:10 - 00:10:03
So communication is arguably the most important thing and the the advantage that i believe that namananga me has puts a very high value on open candid communication about what you want what you don't want what you're afraid of and what you're curious about establishing boundaries and you see like have friends who are this couple who've been together forever and everybody knows that they shouldn't be together and everyone's like how are they still together and they're like you know they sort of are within the confines of this relationship they seek sort of a security but they may not be talking about the thing that they need to be talking about and the reality is that nominee. Jimmy can be really confronting seeing your partner of flirting with making out or hooking up with Somebody else can be very very emotionally challenging. And so it forces these sort of hard conversations and people who practice and i practice very seriously because it's sort of learning thing you're forced to sort of go through this and learn more about yourself and what you want a partner and what you're cool with and sometimes you'll find that things that you believe are going to bother you because society tells you you need to be. You need to be jealous or if you see something. You are somehow inadequate if the girl you're with his flirting with some other guy that somehow it's taking away from you it's like is Might not really matter. Maybe something that you've read in stories or whatever then it it's really ingrained in you but the reality is if you if you sort of experience this and sort of contemplated and see how it affects you. You realize it's like not really a thing and it's not really the thing that bothers you and that's one of the one of i don't like i don't believe that non monogamy is for everyone but i believe that a lot of the lessons and of the ideas within it are useful no matter if you're very happily monogamous with somebody to like to read books like opening up sex at dawn the sperm wars. Any of these books are very much about You know sex monogamy nominee excetera and they can be very useful tools and the ideas within the move very useful for maintaining your monogamous relationship or exploring anonymous. One get jealous anymore. Ooh that's a really interesting question. Sometimes i can get jealous and the reason why sort of an interesting question is like jealousy has strong negative connotation right like if someone who gets jealous can all picture that guy or that girl who was enraged jealous right and they're just pissed off because they found that their partner may flirt with somebody or cheated on them or whatever just like this sort of like green is in fire and the competition that most most western people think about chelsea but i often tell people who are like sort of like dipping. Their toes in the water is to think about so like laughter right to laughter can be positive or negative. You laugh with somebody in a happy way or you can laugh in a negative and demeaning a mocking way and a lot of it has to do with the tonality and how you've approached the moment in your frame of reference right and so there's one i think that a lot of people sort of sat in jealousy like experience the emotion as opposed to just like having the media reaction. They think they're supposed to have. They would realize that jealousy can actually be really hot The right amount of jealousy can fuel passionate relationships relationships generally die when you're not having sex when you're sitting on the couch when you're getting fat together right like everyone. Has that sort of like that. Like that. Getting into the thirties forties and older mentality or that fear And when someone who's jealous that means that they care and you want to be jealous screaming at each other all the time. That's that's not. that's not constructive way of having a relationship. But there's there's a better way of thinking about being jealous. That i think a lot of people don't approach you know into Intricacies of jor boundaries. Sure like what are your boundaries are typical boundaries that you see for other people and when they're broken you see jealousy so the the the one that i always see a sort of a red flag in my opinion is when you see people who are so interested in non nominee of some form and they have a don't ask.
00:10:03 - 00:15:01
Don't tell kind of policy. They if i encountered someone like that at a borrowed a play party or some sort of I very quickly put on the brakes and take a step back and the reason is because usually when people have that sort of policy because they don't have the the willingness or the tool set to sort of approach these challenging questions and like really have candid conversation about what they do or don't want what they can and can't have but you see it all the time it's very common and that's not to say that like if you're if you're with somebody and you're like in your open and you got on a date or your partner goes on the date they should think should tell you every gory detail about the entire night. Some people are into that. Some people aren't but when you see people who are sort of closed off and say like you don't ask don't tell it's basically the same thing as ethical nominee so you like a relationship sherpa to take someone from monogamy over to i. I have to sure so yeah. I've done it absolutely some of my partners. It was definitely their first time in like what would be considered like a real nominal arguments like an an open ethical non monogamous relationship. And like with. I'm i'm very much a part of. Actually i started my project about Intrigued me about sharing fantasies. I really care about and like creating experiences for people and letting people explore things. And that's like what i'm interested in doing. So it might be specific fantasy or specific act but just like the general overall concept of like opening doors for people to see them achieve their yes. Exactly it's very very very very very very very mad. I know but it's true. Like yeah i mean but that who sherpa do you into non monogamous. That was that was a long and rocky road. no i said i've been involved in in various forms of nominal. Gimme for probably the last eight or nine years some of it. Was you know roy. A classic sort of gateway a lot of people get into it through a long distance relationship right. So you're like you're with somebody who really care about but we were on either side of the country and so we're like yeah sure it's okay to see somebody else. I don't believe that if my partner with somebody else at diminishes me because you're a very secure. I actually think. I think i'm actually a very average guy. I think All respects. i'm about average height about average attractiveness of link average beard length. I'm no. I'm no brad pitt and i you know there's sort of this idea that if you're involved in these sort of crazy parties or your with lots of women or whatever that you have to be like brad pitt or something and i think that's not at all not especially in san francisco. I'm so curious weird this come from. What are your parents. Like what their relationship like. Oh that's very interesting They're never gonna get to your dating story. We'll they'll have to have me back if you want to hear this story so actually come from a fairly Conservative family From a small town on the on the on the east coast And i think i had like a classic upbringing And then i went to a tech school and came out to san francisco. A pretty classic. Sort of story arc I think like. I always had a strong interest in psychology and connection and people. I think that's what sort of getting me reading about. Like nominee me and other forms of relationships and i had a series of of regular relationships. And i've had within the last two years i've had Monogamous relationships and open relationship and so forth and just always like interested in trying different experiences and seeing wheel relationships be nontraditional. Dan you started reading in on. It became a way of life or were you reading. I meeting i. I think at a younger age like sometime in my teenage years. I got Is reading a lot of fantasy and that those sort of stories like touch on a lot of the stuff. Until i got interested in it. Do you remember the first book that sparked your. And i have no. No i read online all ethical slows a classical an But i i. I don't remember what the first one it was like harry potter lou. How old are you. I'm twenty nine. How many times have you been in. Love dots are really hard question. And have you been in love two people at once.
00:15:02 - 00:20:01
I've never been in love with two people at once. I would say been in love three times. And we're all three of those in non monogamous relationships. Yes i've you come out of the closet to your parents about you know. Do you plan on coming out my My mother learned actually of the project that i made about the fantasy site and she. She did not approve so they're very very traditional. And so there's just like conversations. I can have in conversations i can so i can just hear some of our listeners screaming going if you were in love someone. Shouldn't they be enough for you. Why do you have to seek out other people. Sure sure. I mean there's so many different philosophical going about talking about that. What about just for you for me. The what i would say is that there's no one can be all things to somebody else. All the time and relationships grow an abn fade and strengthen naturally over time. I've been in like multiyear open relationships and with the one of the things that i was sort of an advantage and a good like a couple. Who's in a monogamous relationship. Like the idea that you know. It's pretty much a fairy tale that if you're in a monogamous relationship or your relationship with anybody right that you're not going to find any other persons tractive. I'd like now whether or not you act on your attraction to other people whether it's slider strong as a whole another question and it's a question of self control question of availability and serendipity but the like often times when when people cheat they statistically actually cheat with someone who's less attractive less quote unquote desirable than their primary partner and the reason often is because we you know the classic thing is to want what you cannot have. And because they're in the structure of this this monogamous relationship in society. Says you're with this person you're married or you're engaged or you're very serious and you can't see this other person that person becomes far more attractive to you and then you might stray out of your relationship. And maybe you're very very happy with this person that you're you're in the relationship with but whatever series of events late night at the office happened to spill over into an affair will often like destroy our interactivity damage the trust on the basis of a traditional monogamous relationship And i often charge people as if you if you had flexibility and now i'm not saying that you need to be dating five people or three people or whatever but if you have an understanding you can enjoy the company of somebody else that maybe you just want to have a drink with him. Maybe you just want to flirt with them. Maybe make out with them. That might be enough and you might learn what you wanted from that person and have that experience and it would actually strengthen your primary relationship in that that relationship would survive whereas in a more traditional setting because you cheated because he stepped out. The person might not forgive. You might follow also had the not just physical attraction like you just mentioned it could be psychologically totally totally until like you said not. Everybody can be everything all the time. Maybe there's different voids being juggled until some of this could be same gender relationships to right are you. I am multiple actually. I've spent some time contemplating. I'm quite straight but i'm very open minded and appreciate like all like forms of sexuality and what people want to have and to the degree in which i'm not attracted to minutes. Actually a curiosity of to myself attracted to harvey. No no. I don't want his harvey started through. Which guys do. Yeah yeah i do. I do very much believe that sexuality is a continuum and we're all like people are on different spaces on it. But i'm very much to the hetero side so i mean a lot of people say a lot of people right in to our podcast and say you know. How do people get into relationships. And they're just talking about one person and here. You are talking about having one relationship and then having multiple other sort of relationships. I mean variations of relationships. How do you even keep track. How do you have time. How do you have energy. What drugs are you on this. What's your secret. what's your google calendar. Like sure no that was actually. That's a running jokes about police. Marie right is that most of it is a calendering problem Seriously no there are believe me they. They exist Know if they're the people who have a number of serious partners. They've been with for a while. We'll maintain calendars and schedules about who's seeing whom and when when someone's sleeping wear and it gets even more like i'm i'm so far.
00:20:01 - 00:25:06
Removed this someone in their their late. Twenty s With no kids there are people who are in their mid thirties late thirties. Who have two kids. And they're with a number of couples also have kids. I can't even imagine the logistical nightmare. That is but people are doing it so finding time like if for people doing that. It's it's it's really complex. Myself like i i am with somebody right now. And the she's my primary partner and you guys live together and we live together. Yes actively dating anybody else. I might grab a drink with somebody. Meet someone up at a party. Something like that. But i'm not like arranging my schedule really complex question if you you met someone else and you started dating them you what would you call them. Not your primary partner but some house sure. There are people who very seriously the of sorts of terms i would say a partner or a lover or a friend or some sort of like know. Colloquial term kind of thing. Some some sort of implication i again more as it. I'm less focused on like structures of relationships and primary tertiary and that sort of thing There's you know there's somebody who Her very much. she's definitely The person i am with the person I live with but other than that awesome people in my life how to sleep over his work. Oh that's a great question. In past relationships we've had sleepovers. We haven't that's not currently part of our relationship so you guys do not sleep over other caress places and you don't bring people over to your place Correct so our esteemed producer. Julie is also in the room and she will interject every once in a while. You have something to ask question. Have you ever dated someone that is not open or would that be dealbreaker to you. Know people who are not open. As i said in some ways i'm sort of like a hopeless romantic kind of person where i was like i. I'm more into like the the happenstance. And the serendipity. I if i'm outta bar and i meet somebody and there's like connection and i wanted to sort of like experienced that and see where it goes and so i'm hoping with that person or we may go out a later or something like that And i wouldn't say oh like you're not into nominate nine to this and so we can't. We can't discriminate. I wouldn't discriminate. No i think. I mean i think everyone is going to figure out for themselves what they want in life and would you tell them right away. depends on the context. Depends on if if i if. I thought that the person was into me because they were like looking for a serious relationship. Then i would have a more candid conversation with them. If it was somebody who i am we met at a bar and drinks. And it's a one night stand kind of thing that i probably wouldn't bring it up because it just it doesn't really matter right. I want to go back to harvey with the primary secondary. Tertiary if you think about it. It's not really unique to open relationships. Because that's just casual dating when you go on a date with some. You have no idea where you are in that lineup. You could have been their third date. They could have been on like five days with someone else right before you. So you're secondary already in that situation. We as monogamous daters. Just don't openly talk about it. I really are in that sort of lineup. Just don't absolutely true and it's about being able to have that sort of candid conversation right. If you're a dateable person in san francisco the the odds that you're in your casually seeing one or more people is fairly high unless you're choosing to be dating bankrupt on back office there you go back on the No but i mean point is like most available twenty thirty forty. Somethings are actively hooking up with One or more people and then like there's the concerns are is all about sort of communication and safety right. And that's why they one of the classic. We haven't actually discussed it yet. But like one of the classic concerns people bring up when you start discussing relationships as like std's and diseases and catching things right exactly and actually. It's it's renew. it's absolutely safe right like so. The people i know who are who are committed to nominate. Gimme you get tested monthly. They get tested re like very serious about. They're very serious about disclosing. Things are very serious about using condoms. And there's a huge amount of shame around around traditional monogamy and around hooking up with other people and they sort of like you know people tend to get very drunk and they they get blotto drunk in a bar and then go home with somebody and then they may or may not use a condom and then it just causes all sorts of problems.
00:25:06 - 00:30:06
So it's like the reality on the ground is that You're actually in my. And i think the data would probably back it up a lot. I don't have the research Would be that. The people who are like series about non monogamy are generally much safer about their sex because they spend more time thinking about it more time talking about it's conscious conscience exactly so if you go to a play party there will be people drinking there will be people like fucked up on various things but actually it's going to be far People are generally in better can say it's a mind better sense of control because frankly you can't perform if you're really really fucked up. Let's do some takeaways. Because what i'm hearing from you is. Communication is so key and we keep saying this on every episode. But it's so key. Because i think about the times when i've been upset with a partner and it's because i didn't communicate my needs. Yeah consider the example your previous podcast about the girl with the guy and when she she fingered him right like she felt weird because he didn't communicate his needs to her He was embarrassed about an unable to have a real conversation about it. She was embarrassed about it and like sort of unwilling to to to say express herself in that situation And so you have two people who might have had a great experience. They might have enjoyed each other way more than maybe they might have been dating right now if they just been willing to sort of like own up at like talk about it. And that's something that you classically see. In those relationships harvey take away. My takeaway is classic. Daters and non traditionalist are very similar but they define the relationship of differently the end but potentially the non traditionalist more happy because they communicate better and also is just that we can't judge other couples now. This is proof right. society can't say this is right. This is wrong in a relationship. What you consider cheating could be totally different for you and your partner versus someone else right. So stop judging other partners and communicate your needs in your own partnership do's and don'ts of people who are beginners in non monogamous relationships. Let's do twos and don'ts all right Again i strongly suggest Like reading something like opening up ethical slowed is very popular opening. Up is actually better There's also people who've spent a lot of time thinking about these things and it's just worth your time just to like live. Learn from them learn from their mistakes. Because it's definitely not easy you will. You will be confronted by emotions and like you have to be ready for that one. Strong do don't i said like don't get into the sort of relationship which which is like the don't ask don't tell Nominee gimme which is just sort of like. Oh were sort of but not telling each other about it. Like that's just ultimately going to be really sort of painful for everyone involved Another sort of do. I would say you. I think do go to a play party I think that I think i think tv. I know like there's something really interesting. And freeing and different about that experience that it's something that's sort of like we don't like until you've gone to one you don't really think too that thing. That sort of experience exists googling. Play party yeah yeah And like you know. There's one every weekend in san francisco so there's You know it's it's totally possible. And i think and i think that people will have healthier relationships with their partners. Once you have the free or something like all of these options are on your table. You you get less whole Held up on things right. You think about some really Another sort of within that they don't ask don't tell the people who get into Non monogamous relationships because their partner really wants to partner with other people and their partner. Basically says i want to see with other people You need to be non. We need to be open. I we can't. We can't be be closed. And if you're not okay with that you don't have to be okay with that You may be okay with at some point later in your life with somebody else or you may never be okay with it but you should not feel like you need to go in without busy. Won't it won't go well if that person wants to be with you be together want a relationship you want to be in. But don't be held hostage into a relationship you don't want to be conscious. A couple of another do is share your fantasy on intrigue me dot com. That's intrigues intrigue with an e. Like edward thank you so much chris for being with us guys at home. If you have your own fantasy stories your non monogamous nontraditional stories. We want to hear from you. Maybe you've been to a play party and you want to share that story. We want to hear that as well. So find us at dateable. Podcasts dot com last but not least state in this episode. Chris mentions the book opening up a guide to creating and sustaining open relationships by tristan.
00:30:06 - 00:31:40
Tarnaud so the action item for this week is for anybody flirting with the idea of namananga gimme or currently in a non monogamous relationship. There's a great excerpt from the book. That i want to read to you and i just want you to think about it quote it would be unwise to agree to nominate me for the following reasons or with these hidden motives one. You're so in love with that person that log your gut is telling you know you decide to say yes. And we'll deal with leader to you. Believe your partner likes the idea as an abstract concept but it won't actually happen three. You agree to it but secretly know you'll be enough for your partner and she won't ever want anyone else for although your partner has said. He is non monogamous. my nature. you know you can change him and five you think is just a phase as she'll get over it so any of the above applies to you. It doesn't mean that you shouldn't pursue non monogamous relationships. It probably means you and your partner are not on the same page. The most efficient way to meet new people is a combination of all in an offline. Five hundred wrenches has your offline covered. Connect over brunch with new friends. Come alone or bring a buddy. There's always a table full of friendly faces. Most says an eggs benedict sign up at five hundred branches dot com and use the code date able for free entry to connect with us visit. Podcast dot com. You can also find us on facebook twitter and instagram. All under dateable podcasts.