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The Best of Both Worlds: So You Want An Open Relationship?

By Frank Weber

There’s only one question you really have to answer for yourself…


I was out running a few errands and I decided to stop in the bar for some lunch. A good lunch and a couple beers can never hurt the writing process, so I planned on collecting my thoughts to flesh-out this article. I already had a lot of the rounded points, but I needed to find something to bring it together and make it gel.

There were two bar girls working the lunch hour, and it struck me that the random opinions of a couple young girls might help.

These two bargirls proved to be polar-opposite-sides of the same coin.

I couldn’t have planned for a better test-group if I set it up myself.

And here I just stumbled into it.

Her name was Ashley. She was on the shy side and quite reserved for working a bar.

Odd, I thought, because she was so heavily tattooed and not afraid to show off her skin through a tight, black tank-top and short-short cut-offs. She did have a reserved look to her, though. Her long hair tied in a pony tail and her eyes mostly hidden behind ‘kindergarten teacher glasses’

Prudish isn’t the right word, but she did seem a little introverted.

I explained that I was writing an article and I was hoping I could ask her one simple question.

She smiled and said, “Sure!” Of course, she thought I was just going to hit on her.

But I asked her, “What’s the first thing that pops into your mind the second you hear the words, ‘open relationship’?

Her demeanor immediately lightened and she became almost bubbly – those few words seemed to liberate her in an instant. She dropped all semblance of the guard she kept up for tending bar, and if she was a kindergarten teacher, she gave that up, too.

I never expected the answer she gave!

But just as fast, she said she never expected the question I asked!

Her thoughts were not only interesting, but a rather perfect insight, I think, and she didn’t hesitate for a second.

“The best of both worlds. It can help you find unconditional love.”

Then a quiet and thoughtful pause complete with batting eyes and smile.

“I guess I’m an ‘open’ kind of girl.”

She was so happy to talk about it…almost a kind of relief for someone else bringing it up for her.

She must be bored out of her mind tending a bar. Very interesting.

The wilder side of life

Ashley holds some enlightened opinions to say the very least.

And I must say, they are very much on the side of tolerance, fun, free-mindedness and free-open sex.

Of course, there are inherent pleasures in an ‘open relationship’…if all of the people involved are doing it willingly and understand exactly what an ‘open relationship’ entails, that is.

It’s an adventurous and exciting prospect because it’s a forbidden, taboo indulgence and hedonistic pleasure.

It’s an empowered state of mind and sex. It has the potential to build confidences and strengths that might otherwise stay dormant. Confidences that can grow wild just from living in such a bold, new world as it is.

We talked for a couple minutes more and Ashley expanded on her thoughts.

“It can grow and promote an unconditional love for your partners.”

“It can test and strengthen the trust you have in yourself and in others, from you and by you.”

But the most telling of all for me was, “An open relationship can really strengthen the love you have for yourself and your partners because it’s such a giving approach to the relationship.”

But…for the sake of laying down both sides of the coin, there are a few cautionary considerations…

Her name was Katie and she was the more outgoing and boisterous of the two bargirls. She looked to be slightly older and she was, without a doubt, the more experienced bartender.

She was dressed more on the conservative side, and her answer to my question was exactly what I had expected in the first place.

“I don’t know…jealousy, I guess…yeah, that’s the first word that comes to mind for me. But then again, I’m totally anti-relationship. I haven’t been in a relationship for over seven years! I don’t believe in relationships at all!”

She seemed to take offense to the question, although I made it clear why I was asking it. I even showed her my notes. It didn’t matter.

An automatic wall went up against ‘another asshole at the bar’

Yup, that’s me.

To be fair to Katie, her immediate negative impression of ‘open relationships’ has a long, time-proven history of causes and evidence. I’ve known couples that tried it, and they all ended up in a bad way.

There are SO many varied emotions involved that it stands to reason they’ll all get tangled-up sooner or later. Festering angers and jealousies can be deadly. Selfishness and Machiavellian attitudes are almost always lingering in the shadows, waiting for just the right moment to pounce. That’s when backtracking and truly vicious attitudes can surface…right along with the retaliations they draw.

What about feelings? Are personal feelings ever really that prominent in an ‘open relationship’?

Unfortunately, if only one person grows feelings, they’re likely to get trampled.

Then there’s the question of legalities. It might not just be illegal in your state (Haha!), but you could be tap-dancing on the line between consensual, adult sex and adultery.

And what about unwanted and unexpected pregnancies?

What about the paternity test and the fallout from a positive for one or the other?

What a nightmare-of-a-hornets’ nest that could become if the guy who’s growing the feelings is not the father and the actual father doesn’t want kids!

So many pluses and minuses. So many pros and cons.

So much to consider for an act that is supposed to be such a free-loving form of lust and expression. Much more than you’d ever think you’d have to think about just to openly bounce around in a few different beds!

Everyone’s opinions and feelings on the subject are all valid and they all hold a great deal of meaning for all the folks involved. So much to consider.

I don’t claim to have all the answers and I certainly don’t claim to be any kind of an authority, but it’s still pretty obvious to me that there is a lot more to consider beyond feeding a burning animal lust for flesh on flesh.

But, hey, I’m not here to preach to anyone.

None of us here is an altar boy, nun or a saint and everybody has their own, private kinks, so everybody should just do what makes them happy!

But like I said before, it all boils down to one simple question that only YOU can answer…


About Frank Weber: Frank Weber is a freelance writer from Erie, Pennsylvania. He has been published in several print and digital magazines, local interest books and advertising campaigns as both writer and model. His work encompasses a firm conviction, a simple honesty in written word and enough of a raw edge to make people feel what they read. Website: Twitter: @frankietatts_ Instagram: @frankietatts


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