Dealing with open LDRs (long-distance relationships)

21 Mar

Dealing with an LDR (Long Distance Relationship), especially an open LDR isn’t something for everyone nor is it a very easy thing. Just like any relationship it takes work and commitment, yes commitment. You may be in an open relationship but that does not mean you can violate the bonds of honesty and trust or your open LDR is going to fail. The reason I know this is my relationship began this way.

My relationship like countless others began in the military which meant regular and often long unexpected separations which are no dream scenario to deal with. We were both reasonable enough to understand that we were still going to have certain physical needs that were going to need to be met and as such came to the agreement we would try an open LDR in the case we were apart. As such I’ve gained more than often enough perspective on how this can work successfully as well as the good and potentially bad aspects of it all.

What was good is that when we gave each other permission to have an open relationship there was no need for secrets, there was no cheating, there was no taboo factor to make being with someone else more attractive. It was simply the ability to do what had to be done to keep each others needs in check. Granted the first couple of encounters were awkward in the sense that it did feel a little dirty, but luckily I spoke up and said what had transpired. While this wasn’t met with the same cheer as a ticker tape parade, it was taken in stride and met with a similar story. Once that was out in the open everything fell in place.

While we were together geographically we were only with each other, for the first several years at least, but while we were apart we were still together in a sense, in fact even closer than many people in a similar situation because we allowed an open relationship. There was no need to lie or sneak around or get involved in any form of deceit. It actually enhanced our trust because we knew if we could be honest about intimacy with others (While not going into great detail which wasn’t necessary) we could be open and honest about anything with each other regardless of what it was.

It wasn’t always easy, there were times when jealousy entered into the picture, or at least something that felt like jealousy. It was more a matter of missing each other, wanting to be together, and that just not being possible. We weren’t jealous of each other as we knew exactly what the other was involved in at all times and that when possible we would be together. Jealousy is the type of thing that can easily spiral out of control when initially entering into an open LDR, but through regular communication issues were kept in check and soon weren’t even an afterthought. We knew what we meant to each other and that no other person could ever take our place in each others life or heart.

Even with the best laid plans sometimes things arise that test what your relationship is made of. While we had an open relationship that didn’t mean we slept with everyone we met, if in fact we were intimate physically with anyone at all. Having permission to see other people doesn’t mean we always did. As such the person we chose to spend our time with during these separations generally became viewed as more than a friend, but not someone we considered as a long term partner for lack of a better phrase. As cold as that may seem to some that was our viewpoint on this. With that said it does not mean we didn’t become close with some of these people and want them to remain in our lives in some manner which is where things got tricky.

While we were always honest from the start as to what we were and weren’t looking for with the people we became involved with there were some that couldn’t accept that when it was time to end or seriously curtail our relationship as it functioned during these separations. The potential for someone to hurt is always there as in any form of relationship. Likewise it wasn’t always easy on us to end the relationships we had formed. We are after all humans and we feel. There were attachments made that we didn’t always want to break completely. Now this doesn’t mean we wanted them to remain the same, but that we wanted these people in our lives still in some way which wasn’t always possible or desired by everyone involved.

An open long distance relationship takes work, honesty, and trust. It is a matter of realizing you love the person you are separated from and that as human beings there are certain physical and emotional needs which can only be met by a person that is there physically. Accepting and understanding that concept is what leads to the ability to have a good open LDR. It isn’t about sacrificing anything, nor is there any cheating as it is an agreed upon situation. It is about giving a person you love the ability to satisfy basic human needs free from guilt. Some may argue that’s no gift, but if you’ve ever been in a situation which separated you from someone you love for long periods of time you understand how generous and loving that really is.

%d bloggers like this: