Opening Up (Part 1): When YOU want to Open Your Relationship and Your Partner Doesn't
Have you ever wondered how to navigate the tricky terrain of open relationships, or how to handle resistance when you're the one ready to open up, but your partner isn't?
I'll give you 5 steps to help you move from disconnection to connection and from confusion to clarity.
In this episode, I'll explore the importance of open and honest communication, and I'll share insights on the essential role of self-reflection and education in this crucial relationship shift. Honoring your individual paths while nurturing your connection is key. This takes intention, awareness, and a willingness to seek compromise.
This is Relationships Reimagined.
Join me to be a part of this new paradigm of conscious, intentional and diverse relationships.
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Please note: I am not a doctor, psychiatrist, psychologist, therapist, counselor, or social worker. I am not attempting to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any physical, mental, or emotional issue, disease, or condition. The information provided in or through my podcast is not intended to be a substitute for the professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment provided by your own Medical Provider or Mental Health Provider. Always seek the advice of your own Medical Provider and/or Mental Health Provider regarding any questions or concerns you have about your specific circumstance.
Welcome to the Relationship Diversity Podcast, where we celebrate, question and explore all aspects of relationship structure diversity, from soloamory to monogamy to polyamory and everything in between, because every relationship is as unique as you are. We'll bust through societal programming to break open and dissect everything we thought we knew about relationships, to ask the challenging but transformational questions who am I and what do I really want in my relationships? I'm your guide, Ca Jarislow, bestselling author, speaker, intuitive and coach. Join me as we reimagine all that our most intimate relationships can become. I've been wanting to talk to you about something I've been reading about open relationships and polyamory, and it explains a lot about what I felt in the past. This is hard for me to say, but I wanted to be honest and I know this may be new to you, but I want to talk about trying something like this. Expressing this to your partner takes a lot of courage and vulnerability on your part. You've probably been thinking about it for a while and have played it out in your mind in many different ways. You've also had time to process your initial emotions around it. Your partner, on the other hand, may be hearing this from you for the first time and may even be hearing about polyamory or open relationships for the very first time. Even if it's said as gently as possible, it can elicit a whole slew of responses. They could react with all of their own preconceived ideas about these kinds of relationship structures, mixed in with their own fears and past relationship experiences. Odds are that your partner will be surprised and potentially triggered by the idea, possibly feeling threatened and feeling like your relationship is in jeopardy. If you're thinking about having this conversation with your partner but haven't done it yet, be sure to listen to episode 24, which is titled Do These Three Things Before Opening Up a Monogamous Relationship. In that episode, i give you tips to prepare yourself in the best way possible before the initial conversation. This episode picks up where that one left off. With this added circumstance, you want to shift your relationship structure. You've brought it up to your partner and your partner does not want to or is resistant. There's also the other side of the coin, or the point of view of you being the one that doesn't want to change the relationship structure. So from your point of view, which is just as important to explore. So if you found yourself in that part of the equation, I've got you covered in a future episode where I will talk about the same scenario, but from your point of view. Relationships at least those that are rooted in consciousness, respect and expansiveness require some level of compromise, of finding that important space where people feel like they're able to be their true selves, follow their desires while also honoring their partner's true selves and desires. This sometimes tricky place to locate in quotes can make all the difference in a relationship's future. It can determine if everyone will feel secure in the relationship, if thoughts, feelings and emotions will be heard and honored, or if thoughts, feelings and emotions will be withheld, stuffed down, hidden and turned into unresolved resentment. The desire to explore an open relationship is understandably filled with complexities, because your relationship is unique and you are unique, meaning you will have your own past wounds and experiences that will potentially get triggered. So here's an example of how these complexities can show up in this scenario of you being the one who is initiating the relationship structure change. Let's say that you get introduced to polyamory through a podcast. As you learn more, you find that polyamory explains a part of your identity. You realize that you have always felt capable of intimately loving more than one person at a time and you have a massive ah-ha identity moment. You're excited to talk to your partner about it, but when you do, your partner doesn't share your excitement and is instead shocked and fearful. Because you have finally found this big part of yourself that feels so resonant, you might see this as a threat to you living your truth. So when your partner tries to tell you that they feel uncomfortable or are scared about this new possibility, you instantly take it as a no, an opposition that puts you on the defensive. When we feel we must defend ourselves, finding a creative solution becomes tricky. I've seen this happen time and time again, and this is why going into the initial conversation thoughtfully and intentionally is ideal. But if that ship has sailed, there's still an opportunity to have intentional and thoughtful follow up conversations And for this to have the best chance to enhance your relationship instead of hurt your relationship, open communication, understanding and a willingness to navigate the desires and boundaries of both partners are imperative. I do believe that by approaching this situation with warmth, compassion and education, couples can find a way to honor their individual paths while nurturing their connection. It isn't always easy. Personal growth and healing requires a degree of desire, courage, strength and resiliency. They don't call it growing pains for nothing, but these moments are opportunities for us to learn to push the edges of what we thought was possible and is possible in our relationships. So to help you, if you're the one who wants to open your relationship and yet your partner is resistant, here are five steps to help you navigate the process. Step one is to cultivate open and honest communication. I know we talk about communication so much, but it is that important And although this is potentially the most difficult step because it will weave into all the other ones, it is important to start here. Effective communication is the foundation of every healthy relationship, especially when discussing challenging topics such as opening a relationship. If this is not a part of your relationship already, then this is the place to start, because I assure you that if you open your relationship without this foundation, the experience won't be a good one. When people have a bad experience with opening up their relationship I hear a lot of this Polyamory and open relationships don't work, when, in actuality, the deeper problem existed before they even tried it And, upon further investigation, the problem is found in the way that they communicate with each other. If this sounds like you all is not lost, keep listening. I'll address this in the last step. If you feel good about how you and your partner communicate, then set out to create a safe and non-judgmental space to express your desires openly and honestly. Communication is not just about speaking your thoughts. Remember that effective communication is a two-way street. It's as important to listen attentively, actively and with empathy to your partner's concerns and fears, seek to understand their perspective and validate their emotions. Okay, step two is to seek supportive resources in education. Educating yourself on open relationships can provide valuable insights and guidance during the process. Read books, articles or attend workshops together to explore different relationship styles, ethical, non-monogamy and communication strategies. Engaging in shared learning can help both partners understand the motivations, challenges and benefits of open relationships. Here is where empathetic communication comes in. Yes, shared learning can be a great experience if your partner processes in this way. Instead of assuming what would be most helpful, ask them what would be most helpful. Share your desires of wanting to learn and explore together, yet honor their need to do it in their way. Ask them if they'd be open to you sharing some of the resources you found. Invite them into the education process and then find a way to honor their needs while honoring yours. Maybe they have structures they're intrigued to learn more about. Maybe they would be open to listening to a podcast episode together, but would prefer to read articles or books on their own. Asking and inviting, listening and honoring their needs will go a long way in the process. Step three is prioritize self-reflection and understanding. Before even pursuing an open relationship, it is essential to reflect on your own motivations and needs. If you haven't done so already, ask yourself why you desire openness and what it means to you. Understanding your own desires and boundaries will allow you to communicate more effectively with your partner. It's equally important to acknowledge and respect your partner's feelings and concerns, so validate their emotions, reassure them that your love and commitment remain intact, and ask them what they need to feel secure. Once you and your partner have a deeper understanding about desires, needs, boundaries, as well as fears and triggers, come together to speak and listen lovingly and openly Again, open-hearted communication can go a long way to feeling connected. Through this process, committing to doing your own internal reflection and healing will also serve you when you actually shift your structure, because I assure you that, even if you're the one who initiated the restructure, your stuff will come up If your partner decides to try it out and they meet someone and experience NRE, which is New Relationship Energy. It's our. You will have some feeling about it that you may need to process, which leads to step four find creative solutions and compromises. In situations where partners have differing desires regarding openness, finding creative solutions and compromises can be instrumental in maintaining a strong bond. Many times, we go into situations like this with an all or nothing mentality, but there are limitless possibilities when you open yourself up to creative solutions. This is why step three self-reflection is important. When you understand the nuances of your desires more than just I want to open up the relationship You can find ways to move forward that honors both of you. You can design your unique scenario and have it be the next step in your relationship story Not the ultimate end, but the next step. This podcast is all about taking what works for you and the people involved and leaving the rest behind. What's one small step you could both take that feels manageable and that aligns with both partners comfort levels? perhaps establishing clear boundaries, creating a trial period or agreeing on specific guidelines for openness can help ease concerns and build trust. Remember, the goal is to find a middle ground that honors the needs and values of both individuals within the relationship. Okay, the last step, step five, is seek support When opening a relationship. Past relationship wounds, especially those that were swept under the rug, will surface When we are in the relationship. Many times it's hard to gain perspective, especially when we get into the dynamic of I'm right and they're wrong, which can happen to the best of us. Seeking guidance from a relationship therapist or coach who specializes in open relationships can provide a neutral perspective and facilitate constructive conversations. It can help unravel old relationship wounds and find the places where thoughts and feelings weren't communicated and seek to find out why. It can help develop healthy communication skills, which will help your relationship, regardless of what you eventually decide to do. It can help repair a cracked foundation, making it stronger to weather all the emotions that will surface if you do decide to move forward with a different structure. A skilled coach or therapist can set you on the path for feeling heard, seen, honored and supported through your process. Navigating the desire for an open relationship when your partner does not share the same inclination requires patience, empathy and open-mindedness. By cultivating open communication, seeking education, engaging in self-reflection, finding creative solutions and, if needed, finding supportive, non-judgmental relationship support through a therapist or coach, you can create a pathway for understanding and growth within your relationship. Remember, the journey may have its challenges, but by fostering love, respect and a commitment to each other's well-being, you can navigate this experience with awareness and intention and come through with a stronger union for yourself and your partner. Stay curious. New episodes are released every Thursday. Stay connected with me through my website, carriejeroslowcom com. com. com, instagram or TikTok. Stay curious. Every relationship is as unique as you are. Are you feeling stuck or unfulfilled in your intimate relationship? Do all your relationships end in the same way? Do you feel like you've lost the spark in your current relationship? Can you never even find one person who you want to explore a relationship with? If you answered yes to any of those questions, or sick and tired of feeling like a failure in your relationships and desperately desire different experience, then my 8-week deep reprogramming intensive may be the answer for you. In this program, i work individually with you for 8 transformative weeks. We'll identify the subconscious programming that's keeping you stuck and shift it to a new affirming belief systems. We go deep, we get real, we get results. This is healing unlike anything you've ever experienced before. Here's what people are saying. Jordan, from North Carolina, said more has shifted in 8 weeks of working with Kary than 10 years of psychotherapy. Jane from Sanford, north Carolina, said it's honestly changed my life And Cassie from Santa Barbara, california, said Kary's laser precision in helping me diagnose where the stuck energy was helped me make positive movement in our first session alone absolutely transformational. I love being a guide and witness to these courageous people who claim that they were done with their past experiences and ready for something different. I'm opening a limited number of spots for 2023 and would love to help you permanently transform your relationship experience to set up a free 30 minute clarity call where I'll help you uncover your number one block to fulfilling relationships. Connect with me through the link in the show notes. You are worthy of experiencing deep fulfillment and love in your relationships. This intensive work will help you get there.