Relationship Diversity Podcast

Opening Up (Part 2): When Your Partner Wants to Open Your Relationship and You Don't

July 27, 2023 Carrie Jeroslow Episode 58
Relationship Diversity Podcast
Opening Up (Part 2): When Your Partner Wants to Open Your Relationship and You Don't
Relationship Diversity Podcast +
Become a supporter of the show!
Starting at $3/month
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Episode 058:
Opening Up (Part 2): When Your Partner Wants to Open Your Relationship and You Don't
(or feel resistant to the idea)
Feeling lost as your partner broaches the topic of transitioning to an open relationship? Trust me, you're not alone. This proposition can bring up a multitude of feelings: insecurity, jealousy, uncertainty, anxiety, and vulnerability. 
In this episode (part 2 of Opening Up), I'll discuss ways to help you navigate this process if you find yourself on this end of the conversation. I’ll talk about prioritizing self-care, effectively communicating your feelings and boundaries, and understanding the triggers and responses that surface during this process. 
We'll create a safe space together for you to explore your emotions.
And give you the freedom to design your unique relationship experience that aligns with the unique individuals involved.
This is Relationships Reimagined.
Join me to be a part of this new paradigm of conscious, intentional and diverse relationships. 

✴️ ✴️ ✴️ ✴️ ✴️ ✴️

Get Your Free Relationship Diversity Guide

Get my Free Self-Care Made Easy Guide

Connect with me:

Email me for relationship coach and online community suggestions




Get my book, “Why Do They Always Break Up with Me? The Ultimate Guide to Overcome Heartbreak for Good”

Podcast Music by Zachariah Hickman

Book Ad Music by Madirfan

Support the show

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.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Welcome to the Relationship Diversity Podcast, where we celebrate, question and explore all aspects of relationship structure diversity, from soloramory 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 well, it explains a lot about what I felt in the past. And well, this is hard for me to say, but I want it to be honest and I know this may be new to you, but I want to talk about trying something like this. Imagine yourself being on the receiving end of your partners expressing their desire to open your relationship. Imagine, before hearing this, feeling content, fulfilled and secure in your monogamous relationship. In part one of opening up episode 56, I talk about this from the perspective of the person who initiates the discussion, the person with the desire to change the relationship structure. In this episode. I'm going to explore this scenario from the other perspective, from the person who's on the receiving end of this kind of discussion. When your partner first tells you that they want to open your intimate relationship to other people, it can bring up a wide range of feelings and fears. Each person's response may vary, but here's what I found as some common ones. You might feel insecure. You might feel insecure about your place in the relationship, wondering if you're enough for your partner or fearing that someone else might replace you. You could experience jealousy. The idea of your partner being intimate with someone else can trigger feelings of jealousy and possessiveness, leading to a fear of losing the exclusive connection you once had. You might fear abandonment. Opening up a relationship could create fears of your partner drifting away or choosing someone else over you. You could feel a sense of inadequacy. You might worry that your partner's desire for openness is due to something lacking in you or your relationship. You might feel uncertain about your future. You might have felt certain about what you thought your future may look like and this may have completely thrown a wrench in what you thought your united vision was, and the unknown can be scary. You might feel anxious about how this change will impact your relationship dynamics and future goals or visions. You might have concerns about how you communicate with your partner, so fear may arise around not being able to effectively communicate your emotions, needs and boundaries during this transition. You may also fear being vulnerable, expressing your concerns and then not being hurt or acknowledged by your partner. You might get into comparison mode and compare yourself to potential new partners and fear that you won't measure up or that your partner might find someone better. You might feel unstable emotionally. The idea of navigating new emotions and relationships can be really overwhelming, leading to a fear of emotional instability for both you and your partner. You may feel like you don't have the capacity to handle all the emotion and anxiety that this idea is bringing up. This could bring up trust issues, either new ones or highlight unresolved ones between you and your partner. There could be concerns about maintaining trust and ensuring that both partners are honest and respectful throughout the process, especially when one or both of you don't feel heard or acknowledged. You might start to feel like you need to withhold your true feelings and wonder if your partner is doing the same. And, lastly, you might feel pressured to agree to the open relationship even if you're unsure or uncomfortable with the idea because you fear that if you said no to it, it could lead to the end of your relationship. It's important to remember that these feelings and fears are valid and natural responses to a significant relationship shift. I want you to hear this again your feelings are valid and important. Acknowledging them and then communicating them to your partner will help you feel a part of the process and not a victim of it. If this is a challenge for you or them, keep listening. There are supportive and effective ways to navigate this process if you're feeling resistant to opening up your relationship. First, it's essential for both of you to approach this journey with warmth, compassion and a commitment to open communication. For most people, this is easier said than done. It's almost certain that both of you will get triggered by this exploration for different reasons and at different moments. Exploring your triggers and then your trigger responses will give you more awareness about yourself. For example, this is personally speaking when I feel hurt, I tend to pull away, disconnect and isolate. In my most challenged moments, I tend to say passive, aggressive words and withhold communication. This is helpful for me to be aware of, because when I feel the need to pull away. I can make a choice Do I want to respond in the old way of disconnection or do I want to push myself through the fear to reach out and connect with my partner? Sometimes I just can't help it. I go right back to the disconnect. But at least I have an awareness and it's really helped me in my relationships. So knowing yourself is helpful, definitely. But in the beginning of the whole exploration I know that with a lot of my clients I've had the experience of this it's kind of like your entire nervous system may be thrown out of whack. You're most likely taken off guard, possibly scared, anxious and really resistant to the shift, and your mind is always going to the worst that could happen. So in the very beginning, creating the safest container to explore all your emotions is essential. But if you can't get there and are overwhelmed with emotions and confusions, it's completely understandable. I see you. I'm here for you. So I wanted to offer four important steps to help you find more clarity and groundiness through this process. Step one is to prioritize self-care and reflection. In times of uncertainty, it's vital to prioritize self-care and tend to your emotional well-being. Take time to reflect on your own needs, desires and boundaries within the relationship and really take that time. Say no to other things around you, other responsibilities that have space for you to pull yourself out of and put yourself first. Remember it's okay to say to your partner I need some time to think about this because a lot is coming up for me. So if you can't engage in the conversation right away, it is okay to take a break. When your partner communicates their desires, it could bring up so many questions and doubts about what you thought your relationship was. Write these down, document them and take time to understand your thoughts, feelings and emotions. Do your best to get these thoughts out of you and onto paper. Journaling or meditation can help to provide this clarity to help you understand your emotions better. When you hold all your emotions inside without expressing them, they can get more overwhelming, jumbled and tangled up so tightly that you can get confused and become unable to express what you truly feel. Now, as you begin to understand what feelings and thoughts are activated, see if you can search back in your life to understand the root of the fear. Is there any way this new structure could possibly work for you? What if you could design your own experience? What boundaries are important to you. While doing this exploration, engage in self-care activities that bring you joy, nurture your passions and cultivate self-love. What do you love to do? What brings you joy? What can you do that helps you cultivate self-love and self-worth? Maybe it's exploring new interests, or moving your body, hiking, dancing, whatever feels good to you. Remember, honoring your own needs is a fundamental part of any healthy relationship. And if self-care or the kind of self-care that I talk about, which goes so much further than just a massage or a nice meal, so if this is a new concept for you, check out Episode 20, self-care is Not a Luxury. Trust me, I make it super easy to start a self-care practice, which I refer to as time every day to connect to yourself and to really ask yourself how you're doing. I even have a simple guide to starting a daily self-care practice. You'll find the link in the show notes and I can email it right to you. Step two is to communicate your boundaries clearly. Once you've spent some time in self-reflection, have gathered your thoughts and feelings on your relationship and what comes up when you think about shifting your structure, and have identified boundaries that are important to you, the next step is to communicate these to your partner. Open and honest communication is so important when addressing the desire for openness in a relationship. If you withhold your true feelings, resentment will grow, creating more issues in the end. So, as clearly as possible, express your boundaries and concerns to your partner. Share your emotions and fears with as much compassion as you can muster up. Ensure that your partner understands the depth of your feelings and the importance of your boundaries. Ask them directly if they understand where you're coming from and do your best to give that back. Mutual respect and understanding are essential for finding a resolution that honors both individual's needs. It also helps you both feel safe, which will help you think outside the box to come up with creative solutions that can feel affirming to both of you. Step three is to foster empathy and mutual understanding. While it may be challenging to understand your partner's desire for openness, empathy and mutual understanding is crucial to maintaining a healthy connection. Intentionally engage in open and non-judgmental conversations as much as possible to gain insight into your partner's motivations and emotions. Ask questions, really specific questions, and listen attentively to their perspective. Use your self-care and reflection time to come up with questions about your partner and your relationship that you're really wanting to understand. It's human nature to fill the gaps in a story we don't understand, asking direct questions from a space of really wanting to get it understand it as deeply as possible. Understand what your partner feels and thinks could help you uncover things that you otherwise would have made assumptions about. This could possibly deepen your connection and potentially uncover ways to meet each other's needs without compromising your own boundaries. It could take your relationship to the next level and deepen your intimacy. It can also open the door for your partner to ask you questions to better understand you, instead of making assumptions or coming to conclusions that are based in their own thoughts, past illusions and not really in the truth of what's going on with you. And lastly, step four is to seek supportive resources and professional help. Navigating this situation can be really challenging, especially if you and your partner's fears and wounds are intertwined and triggering each other. Many times, both people are so hurt that they're unable to see what is going on and can't even envision a possible scenario where both needs can be met, or even maybe a stepping stone where the process is slow but steady. In these cases, you both may benefit from external guidance and support, and this can be found on your own in the form of outside resources such as books, articles or podcasts, like the Relationship Diversity Podcast, and there are so many others that explore the topic of open relationships from various perspectives. If you're still struggling, then engaging in couples therapy or seeking the assistance of a relationship coach can provide a safe space to explore your feelings, facilitate constructive conversations and help you navigate this process with clarity and understanding. Now, one note here is that I feel it's important to find a therapist or coach who will objectively listen and guide without judgment. This is typically a coach who specializes in diverse relationships and who will objectively listen to both people, explore the fears and help foster an open conversation where both of you feel heard and honored for your desires. I've interviewed so many great coaches on this podcast, so connect with me through my website if you're needing some suggestions of who might work best for you. Okay, I've got one bonus step for you that I wanted to offer, and that is to find community. You might be in a place where you have no one to talk to. You might feel embarrassed to talk with your friends or family about what's going on. This will contribute to feelings of isolation and loneliness during this deep soul searching time by seeking out accepting communities where this is not out of the ordinary, you can find a safe space where you can question and explore your feelings. At this moment, I don't have my own live community, but I am here as a resource. Please reach out to me through the link in the show notes and I can connect you with wonderful online communities that are facilitated by great coaches who specialize in relationship structure exploration and all that comes with it. Navigating a situation where one partner desires an open relationship while the other does not requires compassion, open communication and a commitment to self-care. By prioritizing self-reflection, setting your clear boundaries, seeking support if needed and finding community, you can navigate this challenging journey with your partner and possibly grow and evolve in the process. Remember your feelings and needs matter, and honoring them is so important for nurturing healthy and fulfilling relationships. Stay curious. Thanks so much for listening to the Relationship Diversity podcast. Want to learn more about relationship diversity? I've got a free guide I'd love to send you. Go to wwwrelationshipdiversitypodcastcom to get your scent right to you. If you liked what you heard, please subscribe to the podcast. You being here and participating in the conversation about relationship diversity is what helps us create a space of inclusivity and acceptance together. The more comfortable and normal it is to acknowledge the vast and varied relating we all do, the faster we'll shift to a paradigm of conscious, intentional and diverse relationships. New episodes are released every Thursday. Stay connected with me through my website, carriejeroslow com com com. com, instagram or TikTok. Stay curious. Every relationship is as unique as you are. Are you wondering why you never seem to find lasting fulfillment in your relationships, or do you create the same kinds of relationship experiences over and over again? Can you never seem to find even one person who you want to explore a relationship with? Have you just given up hope all together? If this sounds like you, my recent book why Do they Always Break Up With Me is the perfect place to start. The foundation of any relationship, whether intimate or not, is the relationship we have with ourselves. In the book, I lead you through eight clear steps to start or continue your self-exploration journey. You'll learn about the importance of self-acceptance, gratitude, belief, shifting and forgiveness, and given exercises to experience these life-changing concepts. This is the process I use to shift my relationships from continual heartbreak to what they are now fulfilling, soul-nourishing, compassionate and loving. It is possible for you. This book can set you on a path to get there, currently available through Amazon or through the link in the show notes.

Navigating an Open Relationship Transition
Finding Lasting Fulfillment in Relationships