The Rules To Being In An Open Relationship [Free Agents]

People talk about being in open relationships like it’s the cool thing to do these days…

Lindsey Chen - LIndz

Lindsey ChenBill Cammack
Lindsey Chen [Facebook | Twitter | Web] & Bill Cammack [Facebook | Twitter | Web]

Lindsey: People talk about being in open relationships like it’s the cool thing to do these days. I don’t know, maybe it is. It’s never worked for me no matter how many times I’ve tried it.

Maybe non-relationship relationships are the new black. I just know that when you commit to an open relationship (that sounds like such an oxymoron), you walk a fine gray line.

Unless, of course, you follow these wise wise rules.

But, the catch is, you must follow them to a T or else you will fall off that gray line into the black or white. (whatever that means).

Bill: Most people confuse “open relationships” with being a Free Agent.

Lindsey: Fine, I can agree with this title. Open relationship is actually very contradictory.

Bill: Free Agents do whatever the **** they feel like doing, whenever they feel like doing it. You can get down with that or kick rocks.

People who agree to “open relationships” are still promising the other person something that has to do with their individual rights.

In fact, the entire premise is dependent upon the people involved believing in “relationships” at all.. meaning romantic ‘relationships’.

EVERYBODY has a relationship to everybody else, by definition.

Bus Driver <-> Passenger is a relationship.

Just because you’re messing with somebody doesn’t mean y’all are in a “relationship”, which is where a lot of people become confused.

If you’re on a Free Agent’s roster to get some, today’s your lucky day! 😀 If you’ve agreed to some sort of “relationship” with someone, which includes both of y’all simultaneously dating, seeing, messing with, screwing, whatever other people, that’s a totally different situation, which requires both discussion and introspection.

The Rules:

Rule #1: Don’t get attached.

Lindsey: Easier said than done, I know, because I’m just saying it, not actually doing it.

This is the cardinal rule and this is a fine line. You can like the person but you can’t like them more than you like anyone else. Because once you do, you become partial to them and that is when someone becomes attached.

If you go out and all you can think of is said person, you are not in an open relationship. If you have ever thought of his last name on yours or your last name with her first name, that’s not open. That is the sign of getting attached.

Bill: As I said above.. Free Agents do what the **** they want, when they want to do it. That includes “becoming” attached to people. In fact, I don’t know what super-power someone would use to *NOT* become attached to someone that their body and/or mind is naturally responding favorably to.

Lindsey: This is absolutely the hardest part about open relationships… they’ve never worked for me because I get attached.

What you have to do is work very hard to NOT get attached though. If you find yourself thinking about them too much, maybe you need to spend time apart, etc.

Bill: There are women that I’m attached to that I. WISH. TO. ****. I WASN’T attached to, and I’ve tried to shake them, mentally as well as physically, but I can’t.

Which brings us back to Lindz’s point about attachment… People *think* they can avoid attachment, but they can’t.

Lindsey: And those people shouldn’t be in open relationships or try to be a FA.

Bill: It’s like when that chick fronts, and you know damned well she wants to give you some. She knows what *SHE* wants to do, but she’s attempting to avoid “falling for you” or letting you feel like you have her in Deep Check or trying to look like a “good girl” (at age 37…), or whatever she’s thinking, but in fact, she wouldn’t have to avoid trying to hook up with you if she didn’t FEEL LIKE hooking up with you.

Therefore, to the point of this article, people who naturally become attached to people they’re in “relationships” with, or mess with at all, should be fully aware that it’s gonna be all good in the hood until you realize the other person actually DOES ‘see’ other people, so you might want to consider not agreeing to an “open relationship” in the first place.

However.. Again.. Free Agents aren’t concerned with these issues. Attachment is part of the game. If you enjoy someone’s company, you’re going to become attached to them. How you handle that determines your value as a friend/lover/whatever.

People that run away from people they start feeling attached to doom themselves to the cycle of never spending time with people they’re attached to.

Rule #2. Always have a back up.

Lindsey: If you only have one person then that’s not really an open relationship – that’s a relationship, but you don’t really like the person all that much.

If you have a back up, you can never get too attached.

You see, too many options presents distractions. Not having a distraction allows you to focus on that said person and hence again, get attached. Refer to rule #1.

Bill: I see what’s going on here. 🙂 This is actually a guide to “Trying out open relationships when you REALLY REALLY REALLY don’t want to be in one, and you want a traditional relationship”.

Lindsey: Am I that transparant? Damn.

Bill: Everything I have to say is based on Free Agents who make choices about what to do, with whom, at what time, how often, how many times, and in what location (apartment building staircases…), and are actually living this life for real.

I think this is one of the main problems people have when they try something they weren’t initially programmed to try.

What happens is that you’re used to swimming in the pool and watching the sharks on television, but then you think you can jump in the ocean and swim *WITH* the sharks, and nothing ill’s going to happen to you.

I never thought about this before, but I think this is a major reason why people have poor experiences with “open relationships” or anything else that’s considered fringe, kinky, or deviant.. They think they’re hopping into the kiddie pool with other experimenters, when they’re actually exposing themselves to the real deal.

In fact, Free Agency offers you the right to be entirely LONELY, briefly, or for very long periods of time, because you’d rather be by yourself than have to babysit a grown-ass woman that doesn’t actually want to be down with the program.

Whether you’re dating six chicks, two chicks, or NO CHICKS, you’re still a Free Agent, because that’s your actual life. It’s not a game you’re playing or a fetish you’re trying out.

However.. For the ‘traditional relationship’ people looking for tips on how to try out ‘open relationships’, Lindz has an excellent point… There’s no such thing as an OPEN relationship without the OPEN part. So, if you’re used to (and you enjoy) 1-on-1 relationships, yet you agree to be in an ‘open relationship’ with someone, all you’re really doing is giving them carte blanche to mess around and not be penalized by you when they get caught.

Lindsey: And then you have no right to be in a relationship. Shame on you!

Bill: If that’s the case, I suggest that you make these terms clear from the giddyap, that you’re considering yourself in a traditional relationship with the other person, but they’re free to be whomever they were when you met them.

The reason I suggest this is because that way, they know that you’ve sanctioned their extracurricular activities from your own personal power. That’s better for you than if they think you’re a sucker for agreeing to a non-relationship, and you’re sitting at home waiting for them while they’re seeing if they can get laid at the bar, then if they strike out, they can still call you up in the middle of the night and get some from you, and then try their luck at random sex again tomorrow.

Rule # 3. Don’t hang out with them more than 2x a week.

Lindsey: Ok you can hang out with them more than that if it’s after hours aka after 10pm on weekdays and 11pm on weekends.

Hanging out with them leads to dinners, dates, movies and then before you know it, you’ve been hit by the relationship bus.

Prevent this at all cost, because you’ll start getting into the hang of these “relationship-y” type things and you’ll be attached. Sigh. Don’t you ever listen?

Bill: Again, This is good advice for people who don’t actually want to be in open relationships.

In reality, this doesn’t make any sense at all.. Or, rather.. The sense it makes isn’t good FOR YOU.

Let’s be clear about this, ladies… >:D There is *NO*. *POINT*. in a dude calling himself “in a relationship” with a chick unless he’s trying to climb up on her at all times.

Period.

None.

That’s the *entire* point of dating. If you’re not hooking up with her, what’s the difference between her and any of your other female friends? o_O

Nothing.

So, Yeah.. If you’re trying to jump into the kiddie pool with your life jacket on, and those bubble-things they put around kids’ arms to help them float, go ahead and claim to be in a relationship with someone that you’ve decreed that you’re not going to see more than twice every seven days.

See.. That might work for bootie-call relationships. If the only reason you’re getting together is to hook up, you might be able to slide with, like, a Wednesday and Sunday relationship. This also assumes that you don’t actually CRAVE being around the other person.

This is another reason you shouldn’t consider yourself in a relationship with someone just because both of you SAID you were in a relationship.. of *ANY* kind.
What kind of relationship is it when you can say “Meh… Maybe I’ll see you this week, and maybe I won’t.” \o/

Lindsey: To my point again, that’s why relationships that are open are VERY hard to do. You want to see the person all the time? Then get into a real relationship and try to date them. Things may or may not work out but at least you tried.

The reason why this is such a fine gray line is because it’s very hard to not get attached and want to be with them more. If you are finding that sticking by these rules are torturing you, stop reading now.

Rule #4. Don’t refer to them as your boyfriend/girlfriend.

Lindsey: I’m not sure why I have to explain this one.. But if you have to ask then you should not be in an open relationship.

If you slip up and call them your boyfriend/girlfriend or significant other, then you know that subconsciously you want more and by then, you’ve already crossed the line.

Bill: This one is most definitely a sticky wicket. >:D

For the experimenters, follow Lindsey’s advice here, at all times. If you let that BF/GF slip out of your mouth, they’re gonna swear they’ve got it like that, and your relationship might immediately change.. In their favor, not yours.

For Free Agents, I suggest that you only use terms that the other person can understand, handle, fathom, and cope with.

Back in the day…. At one point, I had three simultaneous actual girlfriends.

Interestingly enough, I was able to do this because I was following Lindz’s rules! 😛

Each one was the backup for the other ones. I would contact them in the order in which I felt like seeing them, and whichever one agreed to hang out, I’d make the date and not contact any more chicks down the totem pole.

I didn’t generally see any of them more than once a week, which makes 3 days out of 7.

None of them got any Prime Time (Friday night or Saturday night before the wee hours of the AM), because that’s when you want to MEET women, not hang out with women you already know.

The point being that even in situations where women understand what time it is, if you use titles and terms that they’ve been brainwashed to believe come along with extra features (monogamy… not checking out other chicks’ asses…), they start emotionally expecting things from you that they logically understand full well that they aren’t going to get, and your relationship necessarily deteriorates as she compares you to a fictitious ideal.

This doesn’t mean that she *ISN’T* your girlfriend, or one of them. It means that you can/should give her all the girlfriend benefits without triggering her brainwashing by giving your relationship to her a name.

Rule #5. Don’t let them whip you around.

Lindsey: Ok, not in that kind of way. You know what I mean. Open relationships also equate to freedom. If you have to check in with someone or ask permission, you’ve lost that freedom.

That’s the beauty of being in a open relationship – you report to no one. You do what you want and they are there at the end of the day if you both mutually agree that you want each other there. No need to put ties on each other because then you become attached and you should refer to rule #1.

Bill: Another entirely fascinating point! o_O

“Open” relationships are still ‘relationships’. You’ve still agreed to something.

You can’t disappear for four days with no contact and then show up talking about “I was sick”, when sick people are able to send and receive texts and emails.

Bootie-Call relationships are different… Sixteen days later, you can contact them like “Yo.. Can I get some, in about 20 minutes? o_O .. Nah?.. Aiite. Peace. [click]” and try again a couple of weeks from now.

Lindsey: I’m not saying you never need to “check in”. You just don’t have to assume that they will be your date to your grandmother’s 80th birthday party.

Communiction is KEY and having that is very important to having an open relationship. Checking in with someone to know how they are feeling and make sure you are always on the same page. Once someone falls off that page, you really can’t continue to do this anymore.

Bill: I think what the relationship-experimenter needs to know is that having several simultaneous relationships is natural for some people and UNNATURAL for other people. This is exacerbated by television and the media telling you that every relationship works exactly the same way, when everybody knows that 50% of relationships, marriages, whatever, break up.

There are more people in “open relationships” than you realize, because they don’t want to admit it.

There are lots of women who are sharing men, because they want to spend time with this particular guy, not just any random guy that will have them, so that’s their choice.. Get down with the program, or bounce, and they choose to get their happiness where they can get it.

There are lots of men sharing women, but that’s an entirely different article. 😉

Ultimately, the reason you want to have any sort of romantic involvement AT ALL with someone is because you like something about them. If you like it on Tuesday, you might like it on Wednesday, and you might like it on Thursday, and you might like it with Green Eggs & Ham.

If you’re sweating somebody, you’re sweating them. Enjoy that. It’s one of the prime spices of life to actually WANT SOMETHING for yourself.

If you aren’t willing to take the chance that you’ll get attached or addicted or stalkerish or whatever happens to you when you really like someone, all you’re going to succeed in doing is avoiding some of the most potentially intense experiences of the one life you’re ever going to have to live.

That said…. Open Relationship or Free Agent?
 
~Lindz [Facebook | Twitter | Web]
~Bill [Facebook | Twitter | Web]

10 thoughts on “The Rules To Being In An Open Relationship [Free Agents]”

  1. My name is Edie and I’m a Free Agent!
    What is funny about that is people look at women who are free agents, with a mix of awe and pity. On the one hand, you are strong, intelligent, beautiful and calling shots, on the other,they think you are “fronting” in that you really want the, Boyfriend/husband/ SO, or you have been hurt so bad ,when that is just not the case. Some women, who have never been married feel as though they are missing out on something. I cannot knock them. I don’t know what they are feeling inside. Everyone wants to be “loved” and give “love”,they just have not realized exactly how. There are few working models out there. I think it’s time for the ladies to give free agency a try.

    1. Yes, Edie.. It’s strange how people respond to Free Agents.

      If it’s a guy, they label him a “player”, even though he’s not playing about anything. He’s just being himself and has no interest in or use for committing his time, attention, finances, and energy to only one woman.

      Lots of guys would do that if they could get away with it, but since they can’t, they pretend to agree, then sneak around behind the chick’s back until they get caught.

      When they get caught, it doesn’t matter, because they got caught with… wait for it…. ANOTHER CHICK, so he only goes -1, not down to 0 women.

      So this deception makes it seem like there are fewer Free Agents than there actually are.

      And, like you said, if it’s a female that declares Free Agency, people think she’s mentally trippin’, jaded, lying to herself, or all three of those.

  2. Nothin but love for you Bill, but dag yo. You are doing the men and the ladies a disservice in a serious way by equating open relationships with free agency and Lindz is hurting everyone by putting “open” relationships in an opposition to “real” relationships.

    Bill: If that’s the case, I suggest that you make these terms clear from the giddyap, that you’re considering yourself in a traditional relationship with the other person, but they’re free to be whomever they were when you met them.

    I mean, if I don’t want them to be who they were when I met them, who the **** do I want to be dating? o_O

    What it sounds like you mean is tell them you wanna date, potentially seriously, but not exclusively which is great. Maybe we’re quibbling about terms here, but at the same time, deciding to be monogamous? that’s a behavior and it’s not IMO something that when you ask for that it’s on the level of “changing who that person is.” You can ask for it, but you can also get told no. I take issue with the implication that it’s on the level of asking someone to change their job or their hair or their sense of humor.

    That being said, ’nuff defending monogamy. My major point is that you can have a lot of the trappings of the conventional type relationship if you wanna, but still get your openness.

    I am LIVING with a lady right now, she is FINE and 70 kinds of wonderful. She’s met my parents and I’ve met hers. We’ve done some of the family vacation type shit together.

    Tonight we both have dates with other people. I knew about hers in advance, she knew about mine in advance, we figured out where we were gonna be and have a plan to keep the apartment quiet after a certain time.

    Theres’ a lot of agreements and what some might say are rules that have got this working how it’s working, but none of them involve not getting attached or not using words like boyfriend.

    A man/woman who makes a boatload of assumptions s/he doesn’t bother to verify and starts investing emotionally in them the instant the word “boy/girlfriend” comes out–does NOT have the communication skills/emotional maturity for an open relationship based on free agency or anything else. Fact.

    There are open relationship models that work, wherein people a lot more of what they want out of the traditional relationship schtick, without cutting off the myriad avenues for happy funtimes. That’s something it’s in all of our best interests to raise awareness of. That’s part of what sexual freedom is about.

    Lindsey: To my point again, that’s why relationships that are open are VERY hard to do. You want to see the person all the time? Then get into a real relationship and try to date them. Things may or may not work out but at least you tried….If you are finding that sticking by these rules are torturing you, stop reading now.

    #1 Open relationships are real, and I’d like to append, “And write your own rules with the effing gorgeous person you want to spend your time with that work for the 2 (OR MORE) of you. ”

    Just don’t agree to any shit you really don’t want, and you’ll be fine. Bam

    1. Good points, Dave 🙂

      You do not want someone that you start dating to be the same person they were before they started dating you, meaning that before they started dating you, they had no incentive not to randomly hook up with people, assuming that you proposed a traditional relationship and they agreed.

      That was my main point about Free Agency. Free Agents aren’t going to promise you jack ****, unless they’re lying to you in order to expedite the hookup. You can either accept the amount of time and energy they’re willing to spend on you, with no guarantees of fidelity, or you can kick rocks.

      In order for someone to authentically enter a traditional relationship with you, they have to, by definition, become someone other than who they were before they made that agreement to give away some of their personal rights to you.

      Very interesting.. Your point about requesting monogamy is not requesting a change in who they are. 🙂

      I suppose that if one were dating a serial monogamist, it wouldn’t be requesting a change, but instead merely applying to be the current focus of that person’s sporadic monogamy. >:D

      hear, hear, for “FINE and 70 kinds of wonderful”!!! 😀

      As far as the rest of your description, that sounds great, because y’all are on the same page, and communication is one of the most important components of a relationship (“trust” being the other one).

      Kudos. 🙂

      What you’re talking about reminds me of the reason I abandoned the term “Polyamorous” -> http://billcammack.com/2010/06/19/who-do-you-love/ I was talking about the literal breakdown of that word, and other people utilize it to describe simultaneous committed relationships.

      In reality, “fidelity” shouldn’t be a part of any relationship unless both people explicitly agree to it, but since everyone figures out how to date from movies and television, they automatically feel like that’s a required component.

      People also think that jealousy should be involved if someone you’re hooking up with hooks up with someone else. Or maybe there should be some kind of sanctions levied against the ‘violator’, like a sex embargo or “sleeping on the couch” or some other nonsense.

      Laissez-Faire is how you stay in the pocket.

      Your goal in being in a relationship with someone should be to support them in making their dreams come true, fulfill their fantasies, etc. If that fantasy doesn’t involve *YOU*, then you have to decide whether that fits the description of what you signed up for or not.

  3. Hi, I’ve seen open relationships work and I believe the determining factor is jealousy. If any of the parties involved is likely to become jealous then an open relationship won’t work. If both people are confident in their position as the primary partner and enjoy seeing their mate happy (even if that means with another person) then everything should work out.

    1. I agree with your assessment, Sally 🙂

      I would add that Jealousy is fine, so long as you know how to handle it.

      I get jealous all the time, that some dude tagged up on a chick I wanted. 🙂 haha C’est La Vie! 😀

      I feel what I feel about it, I get over it, then I move forward.

      Better Luck TO ME, next time!!! >:D

  4. The beauty of an open relationship is it hopefully begets honesty. Neither party is lying to the other. How many supposedly faithful relationships really have that?

    The problem; as stated above, honesty can bring out feelings of closeness. As Bill points out… People think they can swim with the sharks and are shocked when they get bitten. If everyone was in control of who they are attracted to and could cut it off the minute “Feelings” (ha, I’m thinking of the song) came into play; sites like this wouldn’t be here.

    1. Agreed, Kay. 🙂

      In the format that you, Dave, and Sally propose, what you achieve is two people who lay their cards on the table and then do whatever is mutually beneficial, which is, IMO, how *ALL* relationships should work. 🙂

  5. I definitely agree with Bill & Kay, open relationships have a higher degree of honesty as long as you have a handle on jealousy & emotions. This is not for amateurs! I find the best policy is: don’t ask questions you can’t handle the answers to! There are times in an open-relationship it is preferable to lie about what you are doing in order to spare the other person’s feelings. Technically, they SHOULDN’T have a claim on where you are or what you are doing, but that doesn’t mean you have to throw it in their face that you are dating someone else. Discretion and kindness are paramount. One time I was over at this guy’s apartment and he suddenly had cat litter in one of his bathrooms. I’m not an idiot, I know he doesn’t have a cat and it probably means some other girl was staying over but if he isn’t offering an explanation then I’m not going to inquire. Likewise, if you see a box of tampons or a hair-dryer in a man’s bathroom, these items mean you aren’t the only woman he is with. As long as that isn’t your arrangement then it isn’t any of your business.

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