Q. My partner and I have been together for six-plus years and have had an amazing relationship. During the times before COVID, we started to explore opening our relationship to mingle with open-minded couples or select singles.
We started to attend parties but never had any luck on really connecting with anyone. The conversation died down once the pandemic hit, but it has been on my mind a lot recently to bring up the conversation again to my partner.
But I’m also fearful because it has been so long since we discussed doing this, and I’m not sure if there is interest anymore. How do I begin this conversation again?
A. This would be more complicated if you didn’t know there was interest. Your partner was interested. That conversation already happened.
The only way to figure out where you stand in November 2021 is to ask: “Hey, the world has opened up a little. Do we want to open up a little?”
Do not use those lines; you’ll probably say it better (my take is a little on the nose). But you get the point. “Do we resume what we were trying before?” is a very fair question.
I do wonder why you think your partner’s intentions might have changed — or fear that there might not be the same enthusiasm. It has been a very difficult year and a half, even for those who’ve had everything they’ve needed. It might be too soon to dive in again for so many reasons. But if you can’t talk about how you’re feeling — even the scary uncomfortable stuff — you shouldn’t be opening the relationship to begin with. This kind of arrangement takes a great deal of transparency, honesty, and boundary-setting. It takes the courage to ask.
Also, maybe you’re feeling a little tentative too, and that’s OK. It might be easier to suggest some casual looking, maybe on an app. Ease back into the idea. We’re all trying to adjust to whatever we used to do (or wanted to do). A slower pace and less pressure might help.
For the record, I keep thinking about how my friend and I had plans to go to the New England Carousel Museum in Connecticut before COVID. Recently, I was like, “Do you still want to go to the carousel museum?,” and she was like, “Yes.” So we went.
During some quiet time together say, “Remember how we were looking for people to open our relationship? Would you ever be interested in trying that again?” He’ll answer in a way which tells you how he feels about it.
Yes Mere, this is exactly like the carousel museum.
^I literally laughed out loud at that comparison!
^I also laughed out loud at my own comparison.
If you can’t figure out how to talk about something you already talked about and attempted, you probably shouldn’t be trying another attempt.
I don’t understand opening up this relationship ... especially if this guy is great. Do you not want a future with him? Once it is an open relationship, there is usually no going back without ultimately breaking up.
You have an amazing relationship ... so why are you looking to [mess] around with other people?
^”You have an amazing relationship ... so why are you looking to [mess] around with other people?” Valid question. Why does an awesome relationship have to be monogamous? <-- Also a valid question.
“Hun, remember we talked about opening up our relationship before the pandemic? I’ve been thinking about it again. How do you feel about it?” Basically, exactly what you told us.
Send your own relationship and dating questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Catch new episodes of Meredith Goldstein’s “Love Letters” podcast at loveletters.show or wherever you listen to podcasts. Column and comments are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters.