A respectful, loving one, I mean, in which both partners are enthusiastic about the arrangement and committed to each other above all; in which neither wants to escape the relationship or find a better one and openness is actually an avoidance tactic or a lame compromise; and one partner hasn’t agreed to terms she or he doesn’t like to appease the other. A relationship that just so happens to include sex with other people.
My partner and I are sitting on his floor eating Greek takeout off a flipped cardboard box — he’s just moved — discussing this. We’ve flirted with openness before. I don’t like to use the word “heteroflexible” (It sounds so trendy: “I’ll have a double cappuccino, this dress is thrifted, and by the way, I’m heteroflexible!”), but its meaning applies to me. So my partner and I had worked out that I could hook up with women if I told him beforehand. Theoretically, the same went for him and men.
I don’t like the word 'heteroflexible.' It sounds so trendy: 'I’ll have a double cappuccino, this dress is thrifted, and by the way, I’m heteroflexible!'
Our relationship is strong and I have no intention of bowing out anytime soon. But, whether by happenstance, choice, or some combination, I am a serial monogamist. (Acceptance is the first step to recovery, right?) But I’m curious about what I’m missing as a coupled (“married,” I laugh to friends) woman in New York who has hardly been single here and has hardly been single as a young adult on her own anywhere.
I just can’t imagine calling you on a Saturday night and saying, 'Hey babe, I met someone cute at this bar, we’re gonna go to his place!'
We rule out the “tell the other person first” pledge: We don’t want either of us to end up sitting at home some night watching a graphic mental reel of what the other person might be doing. We know some couples have a “don’t ask don’t tell” policy, but decide DADT would create distance between us. “How about a freebie?” my partner says. “If you want to go home with someone, you can, but tell me about it the next day and we’ll both figure out how we feel, then take it from there. Same goes for me.”
Still, I worry that maybe I’m trying to have my sex cake and eat it, too. Maybe we’re inviting disaster. But maybe, this will work. In the meantime, dear future partners, I’ve forgotten how to flirt, so you’ll have to make the first move and also, I might not call you ever again. Interested parties, please submit all inquiries via the Pony Express or whatever it is the kids are using these days. It’s been a while since I was single, okay?