Thanks a lot for the quality time you are giving me. Let me try to answer the first question - "Well, what did you think it (an open relationship )was at the time?" which I am asking to myself now, and which I find difficult to answer - for that you need to know my history.
I do not and did not know what I wanted, but, I kind of knew what I didnt want - that was an non-communicative (which is "closed") relationship with its doors securely shut. I saw a lot of marriages descending inot this. And, I also sensed, it was the issue of sexuality which was making it "closed."
So, before I had any relationship in my life, I thought, what I wanted was a communicative open relationship. But, the two introductions in my life to situations which might be termed "multiple", had turned out to be disastrous.
The first happened when I was a virgin. My friend's husband seduced me with the assuarance that they were in an open relationship. I respected her deeply and through her, I had also come to know him and respect him. But, after the "act," which was my first introduction to adult sexuality, he confessed that he did not want to tell his wife because she would get upset. I was very upset and felt shitty for betraying my friend. Yet, the introduction to sexuality was something significant in my own life and we had contact two more times. Through me, he had heard about two of my friends and surprising me, and hurting me, he made advances to both of them. One rejected him totally because she felt I was involved with him vaguely by then. The other encouraged him, played with him for sometime, and then did not allow him to take it to a physical level. I felt totally used and also guilty in the whole process. Later, i understood that the couple were having serious problems in their relationship and he was on a hunting mood. I withdrew anyway, and healed by myself.
The other introduction happened when I was a bit more experienced. I had a friend with whom I was not totally emotionally involved but it was a safe and nice relationship. I suspect he was more intensely involved in the relationship than me. We did not live in the same city, so he visited me once in a while and we continue to be friends, though not lovers. After an intense period of letter writing for some months, it fizzled off for me, though he was vaguely there. At the same time, I fell in love with a bisexual man who was studying with me. He was involved with many women at the same time, and I was one of them. I also did not present myself as solely his, because this former friend was still in my life, though distant. and, neither of us actually spoke of "love." While all these things were going on, this person suddenly started cutting off from me and we did break off, without words. Almost immediately, my best friend started seeing him and they established themselves as a couple. This, broke my heart. It took me years and years to heal.
I have always felt that monogamy can only lead towards dishonesty. Yet, these two experiences did shake my belief in my own capability to take a multiple partner situation which might not leave me shattered.
After these experiences, I settled into what can be termed "settled monogamy." That turned out worse. the person was so possessive and we both destroyed our relationship with mutual misunderstandings. After five years, I walked out of an emotionally abusive relationship into the vaccum of freedom. I did not know what I wanted, by then. I wanted belonging. Yet, I did not want to compromise my mobility, my friendships and my time completely to anyone.
When I began my relationship with my current partner, I did use the words, "open relationship." I was doubtfully asking, maybe we must have an open relationship? He replied, he is not the kind who theorizes endlessly on relationships, and when some situation like that arises, we will cross the bridge when we come to it.
But, I must add that I soon felt safe with him, and the sexual exclusivity also became comfortable for me. We never ever talked about "opening" our relationship though we moved in circles where many of our friends were experimenting with primary partners but, having romantic/sexual partners outside the primary relationship. I could sense vague dissatisfactions in these arrangements, though it seemed to be allright. Most of these were "settled" marriages of decades with their own baggages of mutual trust and grievances. Our own relationship is relatively new. just three years.
I do not know if I want him back "monogamous" now. (though, even the words that he might break off from her does give me a feeling of being important enough in his life). Why am I saying this? Because, I know that with that coming back, all communication between us might actually stop. All our playful teasing of each other might end. and, do i just want to continue in a relationship like that,the answer is a definite "no."
Yet, can I take him being equally, or more, emotionally involved with another person? I was not able to take it, the pace with whcih it happened, the way in whcih it happened, the silence with which it happened (though, according to him, he communicated).
I do feel, if I can form emotionally sustaining relationships which might be erotic, I might be able to take him being involved with another person. I do fear this would change our relationship, though. I already have very close friendships with both men and women, though none of them are erotic. (some of them are ex lovers and I keep in touch with them, but, dont sleep with them, after the intense relationship with my husband began). I do not want to revive these relationships anyway, now. But, maybe...who know? In future, I might be able to form other relationships. I want the door open, though, i might never use it. (I wanted that possibility rather than the actual experience, I suspect!)
Does this sound confusing? And, can i blame my husband for being confused and blaming me for having "created" this situation? since I never expressed these things so clearly to myself?
But, what ever it is, as you said, only a "confession" happened, now, I am sure. it was not a process of both of us growing into it...but, a forced circumstance, for me...