Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Open Relationships Don’t Effing Work

Have you ever listened to a couple in an open relationship explain it to people? Your face is always screwed up. I’ll be flat out honest with you, I’ve never believed both people when they explain it. Will and Jada have been explaining their relationship to people for years. Black folk pushed back in their seats trying to figure out if that’s something they could ever do, make it easy on yourself, you can’t. But since like Day 1, I’ve always thought, does anybody remember that Jada is a lesbian? Remember that episode when Tupac came to visit Jada on Different World? As soon as he appeared on the screen just about everybody watching busted out laughing. They knew wasn’t no way that little girl was dating Tupac, she wasn’t into men like “that”.

Anyway, here’s the gist behind open relationships; basically since you never stop being attracted to other people there’s no reason to suppress your inner desires. There’s a chance they’ll come out at any moment, so rather than running from your feelings, you just manage them in a mature manner. Now this was best explained to me by my boy Columbus, “That’s like those guys who swear up and down they not gay, but then his wife come home and catch him with his ass up in the air. No reason for him to be trapped in the closet, just bring your ass out so we can all see you. Not ass first though.” A few things, we call him Columbus because he’s horrible with directions even when holding the GPS. Two, it wasn’t until we had this conversation that I realized that Trapped in the Closet was about more than R. Kelly being trapped in a closet. Point is, when you suppress your real feelings ain’t no telling when they will show their face.

You should try it. ;)
But let’s be honest, nobody starts out looking for an open relationship. If you in your heart of hearts tell yourself from jump, “I’m going to be in an open relationship” you’re full of shit. It goes down three ways, and only three ways. You are with a person and they keep cheating so you say, f*ck it, let’s open it up. You was with a person and you cheated on them and couldn’t stop and said, the next relationship I’m in, open it up. You want to be with someone so much that you are willing to do whatever you have to do to be with that person. When you want a relationship with them, they say, “I’m only looking for an open relationship” and you go for it because it’s your only chance. You have never in your life heard of someone who was born with the desire to be in an open relationship, a legitimate open relationship, if such thing really exists.

Real talk, the best thing I can tell you is that you can never really have trust in an open relationship. It’s a pseudo way of approaching the problem. You continuously tell yourself that you can do it, but in reality, you can’t. You create what we like to call a “false sense of security.” “I feel like since you’ll tell me the truth about something that makes you a trustworthy person.” Do you know how ambiguous the phrase, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman” was? Hella ambiguous, enough to keep the President of the most powerful country in the world employed. Trust, your best case scenario is that you don’t trust each other. I tried that with women for a while and that worked as long as I didn’t care about them all that much. I told myself and the women I dated, “I don’t trust you, I don’t have a need to. When you aren’t here, I don’t believe sh*t you say and I operate under that.” It worked until I actually had feelings for a girl and then I really did care about her when she wasn’t around me. Then you have a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in your relationship perhaps. DUMB AS HELL. Do you know what it’s like to be in the Garden of Eden and it’s a peach tree in the middle and you stuck picking berries and figs? It’s torture! That’s what “don’t ask, don’t tell” is, it’s the Tree of Life. The only worked for the US military; it would never work for regular people like us. In the military they give young Black men guns and tell them to go shoot up a village in Africa and that’s what happens. In Compton they give young Black men guns and tell them to go shoot up HSBC and they say, “Wait, why?” Monique probably has never asked her husband about the women he sleeps with on the side, but it creeps in her mind every now and then. That’s basically what happens, it keeps creeping in your mind, over and over again until finally one day, “BAM, you’re drunk and you think, hell why not go through that phone on the coffee table?” That’s the damn Tree of Life right there.

An open relationship is like Pandora’s Box, or more accurately described as a capitalistic relationship. And we all know that you can’t regulate Capitalism, there’s no way to control chaos. You just have to let it go. One you open your relationship up and you agree not to be monogamous, then you can’t try and regulate free trade. That’s nonsensical. I can see it now, “oh because you dipped out on the relationship on Wednesdays and that’s supposed to be our day, I’m setting up a P*ssy embargo.” Do you logically think that’s going to work? It’s a damn open relationship, the man will just go eff another chick. And you can’t be mad about that? You know why, because he’s allowed to! And please don’t think I haven’t thought about men in this situation who think it’s a good idea to open their relationship up. It’s all fun and games until you slip in a little too easily one time. Yeah, I said that shit. Men need to stop acting like we are not territorial as all hell. The only way someone like Will Smith agrees to let Jada go outside of their relationship is because it’s supposed to be so she can sleep with other women. The second he found out that Marc Anthony was not another woman, he went bat shit. No man wants anyone parking in his garage. None. Not me, not you, not any of us. You ever have a FWB that you keep around for years. (If you are a man, that means a chick that you mess with but you know in your head she really want to be with you. She willing to take a piece of you, rather than nothing at all, so you just give her FWB.) What happens to your ego when you find out she had a man for the last six months that you decided not to talk to her because you were banging some other broad? It shrivels and then all of a sudden she ain’t all that attractive no more. You cannot regulate chaos. Women and men are not able to deal with open relationships like that.

This is what Babyface was talking about in "Our Feelings"
Here’s a moment of real talk. ALL and I mean ALL open relationships are inherently fucked up. Excuse my French. (I never knew why they said that phrase until I realize how disrespectful the French are.) Let’s review, Scenario 1: It’s two people who are very attractive and can’t control themselves. For example, Will Smith and Jada. Will Smith has been married to Jada for how many years and each time he comes out with a movie, women want to sleep with him a little more. Will Smith hadn’t even gotten his trailer setup before Charlize was like, “I’m gon’ get me some of that chocolate pie.” Jada Pinkett is on TNT and people don’t even care about Southland, or Southside, or Southeast, whatever the hell that show with Regina King’s single as a last cigarette ass. Soon as Marc Anthony walked on set he was like, “I’m going get me some of that chocolate pie.” Scenario 2: One person is a whole lot more attractive than the other and has the option of having multiple partners. Mo’nique wanted to be married and she didn’t want to be married to a man that was wack. For as much shit she talks on stage, if her man was a hobbit, it would reflect badly on her. So she went and got a man who was willing to be with her, but basically said, I still need to be with other women because this cool and all, I appreciate you letting me live here and spend your money. However, there’s a whole lot of living I could be doing right now if I wasn’t with you. Scenario 2 is just like Scenario 3, except it’s for people like Mo’Nique who just want the marriage more than the fidelity. And we all know some pathetic ass women who want to be married so much they see past all of their man’s faults. They tell themselves they are focused on the war and not the battle, but really what they are saying is, “please don’t leave me.” Listen, when you were 4 years old and your mother dropped you off at day care, you held onto her leg for dear life. You knew that it wasn’t ever going to be as good as it was right here. You ain’t have no homework, you could speak a different language when you wanted to cuss out your moms about something, you didn’t have to piss where they told you, you basically was above the law. But you held onto momma because you didn’t think it could be any better than it was right then and there. Never mind the fact that the person who causes you the most pain is your mother who keeps making you take naps and sleep when you want to go see new shit. Think about that for a second.

So glad I found this exact picture to put it in perspective.
Are you starting to see why I say there’s no way an open relationship works? I hope so. Here’s my suggestion, this is my unadulterated suggestion for people who are interested in open relationships: Just cheat. People cheat every damn day and they get away with it. Men cheat on their wives and the wives know about it and don’t say nothing about it. I know a woman who grew up watching her dad screw the whole township, when she got old enough that she felt she could take a solid jab from her mother, you know what she did? She asked her, “Ma, do you know that Daddy is cheating on you?” Her mother told her, “Yes I know he been f*cking that lady for years.” See, now that’s a functional ass open relationship. Wives cheat on their husband ALL the time and nothing happens. I know a guy who was arguing with his wife at a gala. I’m like, “Dog you making a scene and shit.” His response was, “No I’m not. You see that guy over there that my wife is hugging all over? That’s the dude she’s f*cking. I mean give me a break, don’t have me out here looking like a fool.” Perfect ass open relationship. Or… just maybe you can cheat and not get caught. Heaven forbid that happens. But in reality, people get messy. You know why they get messy because they get lazy. I thought about this over the weekend; you can have a side piece, you can do that. It’s the fact that you don’t want to do all that you have to do to maintain on TWO relationships. A woman told me the only reason why she didn’t cheat on her husband was because she had to put up with his shit and she didn’t want to do it twice. She cheated once with a younger guy and that little immature brat started hitting her up all the time and that wasn’t part of the deal. I was like, “maybe you should have told him that up front so you didn’t have that problem.” But just to bring it back full circle, if you want an open relationship, since that makes no sense, just freaking cheat like an adult. You do what you gotta do to not get caught and you move on from there. In the end, your relationship won’t be as volatile as Pam & Tommy, and you can deal with cheating on an ad-hoc basis as needed.

As I close, I just want to say, I don’t think that cheating is a wise thing. I just think that if you’re going to cheat, do it like all the rest of us. It’s like when someone drops a mixtape. I can’t respect a hot mixtape like I can a hot album. I want to see that you can do it like all the rest of the people you compete with. Anybody can get someone to listen if it’s free. Anyone can find multiple people to sleep with if it’s allowed. I respect that woman who can get away with it even though it takes hard work and determination. Prison Break would have been a wack TV show if the front gate to the jail was open. It was the fact that it was closed and it wasn’t allowed that made it a great show. Open relationships are like halfway houses, they don’t have any real purpose. Just let the man go, or keep him locked down, you can’t have it both ways.

And then there were three...


max said...

My God I actually disagree with you vehemently. This is unprecedented.

Mrs Star Status said...

I agree with every word.

TellyLongLegs said...

You see Jay, this is why I like you. I've been hearing guys say that all men can't stay faithful and want to be in an open relationship and blah blah blah....

My whole thing with open relationships is why be in a relationship in the first place? If you can't be with one person then just stay single.

Krystllyght said...

I think some people can pull it off, J. It's just not for you. Think it depends on your attitude about sex not the other person.

niecieray said...

I co-sign 100% on this one. I may be old fashion but why be married if you are going take vows and sleep with other people????

Mika's Thought's... said...

Yeah, open relationships are a huge joke. Absolutely, No one wants to allow their significant other to openly cheat. There needs to be boundaries & accountability, otherwise whats the point of commitment?
Marriage is supposed to keep us orderly & civilized...an open relationship is the exact opposite.
Even polygamy is against the law in most countries that use to allow it.
My thing is both parties should try not to cheat but if it does happen its not always equivalent to the end of the relationship...
However, making the relationship an open one should never ever be a solution.
If you are committed/married to someone you are expected not to have sex with others. No exceptions.

Najeema said...

Open relationships may work for some, perhaps like in Will & Jada's situation, the female is gay. But wait, does this mean Will isn't? Too much speculation.
As far as open, I wouldn't do it. What did we take the vows for if we're just gonna act like 20somethings. The whole point of commitment is to be with one person. For ever, for all times. Otherwise, keep packing your magnums.

GDB said...

Loyal reader delurking -- to say I disagree. You make a strong case, a hilarious one...and on the surface I can co-sign that I hate the term "open relationship" -- very wack label.

But the confines of monogamy is what kills most relationships, as people equate monogamy with being loyal.

Anonymous said...

Your assessment on this is everything.


Enigma said...

@ the idiot who said monogamy wasn't loyalty, what is it then? Open relationships are pointless. Why say you'll be with someone then just be with someone else whenever you want? Monogamy doesn't destroy relationships. How could it be the cause? To only be with one person and not cheat on them destroys relationships? I think not. Only idiots think that they need to be with others while in a relationship. And no, I don't get that from religion, or how I was brought up, it's just what is morally right to do. If you can't be monogamous, then you don't deserve a relationship with someone. It's cruel, unfair, and just flat out disgusting. How often do you see couples in open relationships and BOTH people cheat all the time? Rarely if at all. In a relationship means off the market, taken, no longer available. How is that such a hard concept to grasp? I know not everyone connects love and sex, but come on. If you love someone at least respect that THEY do. It's not hard to be monogamous. And if it is for you, than you're fucking pathetic. Don't try saying I'm a prude, because trust me, I'm not. If you love someone, it is expected of you to not want to fuck others all the time. And even if you do, you aren't supposed to. It's part of being in a relationship with someone, only kids are supposed to be so stupid that they can't connect love and sex. Some people can't help it because they were molested at young ages, but at some point you have to take responsibility. And I mean for their own actions with cheating, not the molestation. That's not their fault. My point is this, if you're in a relationship with someone, you have to respect their feelings as well as your own. I mean is it hard to simply ask "Hey would you want to bring someone else in bed sometime?" It's not a difficult thing to ask. Monogamy is not hard, and if you can't do it, simply because you're a horny idiot, you don't deserve love.

Anonymous said...

Open relationship can and do work. I have been in one for over five years, together for eleven. I know many people in them for all different reasons. What is the reference for that table?

Open relationship are like all things; scary and werid when you are unfamiliar with it and your only source of information regarding them is the media. Like how the media has portrayed black people, gay people, people with a disability, or anyone who is a bit different the media applies very negative connotations to these groups of people thus people like yourself feel you can judge them without even knowing them.
Many people site failed open relationships as evidence that open relationships can not work, but that us like saying that because someone was in a monogamous relationship and it failed then monogamy does not work. No those relationships did not work not the concept.

I can't not speak for every one in an open relationship but but my works because we know that although we want to be with each other forever we know that forever is a really long time when you get married in your early 20's to only have sex with the one person. Our open marriage has made us stronger as a couple.

Just because you don't think you could be in an open relationship does not mean it is not great for those who can. In my experience those people who make it work are well educated, honest, trustworthy, and good communicators.

Anonymous said...

Being a very attractive widowed single mother, I despise every last couple who are in open relationships. I am so tired of people in open relationships that "work." The men go after me like I have so little to offer that I should consider attaching myself to someone who already has a partner. Sex makes babies. Babies need support. Deal with reality and stay away from all those singles who you don't have anything to offer. Buying diapers? No. Paying bills? No. Wiping away my tears when I need someone? No.

I agree with the author. Maybe one time or another we might cheat during our relationships, but at least our kids don't have to be afraid, not knowing which way is up, and suffer from our parents' insufferable selfishness.

But again, don't just ask the couples, ask the would-be other women. It doesn't work. Half a dozen men in the last year with their wife smiling in the back ground, because I'm rejecting their partners... I don't respect any of them. Who can I trust?

african woman said...

For me, I'm not really in favor of open marriage because I am a type of person who loves to have a one woman guy. My own point of view about open marriage is that if you're not ready for commitment then don't dare to get married better be single and enjoy it till you decide to settle down.

Anonymous said...

As someone who has several friends who are in open relationships, has been a lover of people in open relationships when I was younger and single, and now in a relationship with another person and was recently asked if I would consider it, I have many thoughts on the matter. The first is that we have to interrogate the fact that open relationships work differently based on if we are talking about heterosexual versus LGBT contexts for these groups have different and overlapping historical relationships to sex, monogamy, and familial relationships. Second, there is the issue, as someone raised earlier, about how individual attitudes towards sex get started and what their basis are, with much of this being rooted in cultural, racial, class and gendered backgrounds. This has led me to think that, for many people who are considering open relationships with the person they are with, talking with a trained counselor on these issues may be a huge step that needs to happen in order to see if there is a way to attain that same sexual excitement without having an open relationship and if both are psychologically ready for both the rewards and challenges. Many times, people go to their friends already in an open relationship or not in order to look for confirmation, as opposed to a true interest in having a critical discussion that is able to address all sides and raise possible/actual scenarios. Having an impartial listener may be able to help people decide if an open relationship would be detrimental or beneficial to both their relationship and individual growth. Third, for me, it’s important to consider many of the health risks that can also be associated with open relationships, which vary depending on the demographic one is in. Not everyone is as forthcoming about their health status as we would like and slip-ups, as careful as we would like to be, can and do happen in the heat of the moment, especially if recreational and illegal drugs are involved and memory is impaired. If an open relationship were to happen, I know that, for me, I would not feel comfortable having sex with my partner without a condom anytime soon, if not ever. The other persons not directly in our relationship have no reason to look out for my protection, so I can’t expect that they necessarily will (especially if they may not be looking out for their own). And that is only the physical health risks. Emotionally, just because two people are in an agreement, the other person (or people not directly in the relationship) have no such agreement and, thus, have no obligation to be emotionally detached and, in fact, an open relationship can lead to overattachment. One can’t control another person’s feelings, and so the outside party has every right to fall in love with my partner, which could lead to more complications. I would also be concerned for the physical safety of my partner, for there are also many weirdos and psychos out there who also have no respect for human life. If anything were to happen to him, I would also feel partly responsible because I was the person who said “yes” to an open relationship and thus enabled those circumstances. Now, if he cheated, I would then say he put himself in that place because I had no way of knowing and, thus, condoning his behavior. In short, I guess for me open relationships rely on a particularly limited understanding of control and boundaries without taking into account the factors and experiences for which we have no control and accepting those consequences. For me, it’s a matter of, if I can’t take all the heat (especially the heat that spills out into other rooms of the house because the door is open), then I don’t want to walk into the kitchen.

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Anonymous said...

I love it...monogamy is not the problem..lack of communication and lack of adventure and excitement is the problem...if you love someone, you don't want to sleep with anyone else.