When we agreed to enter into an open relationship we tried to do it with as few changes in our friendship as possible. Meaning we essentially tried to continue being friends with benefits while also acknowledging that our feelings for each other were stronger than our feelings for anyone else. To say it backfired was an understatement. Through some ground rules and a little bit of negotiating we are starting to settle into what we believe will ultimately lead us to a happy ending. Some of the rules are permanent, others are aimed at being temporary. Regardless they are the rules we hope will lead to defining our gray space into something a little more comfortably black and white.
Even though we were roommates and I had my own room by the time we agreed to give things a shot I had already been sleeping in his bed almost every night. The nights I wasn’t in his bed typically resulted in me sleeping on the couch instead of in my room, partially because we liked to throw parties in which several of our close friends stayed the night (and needed more sleeping room than I did) or because my PTSD was soothed by sleeping on the first floor with a gun within reach. Living with your significant other eventually leads to a longing to sleep in their bed, and even before we began telling our friends what was going on between us they had begun referring to his room as belonging to both of us. There are still exceptions to this rule, and the exceptions are what are hardest for me to work out, but it is working relatively well for something so new.
One of the biggest challenges of transitioning a FWB relationship into a relationship is determining what “couples” actions will and won’t be acceptable. As friends handholding was almost entirely off limits with the exception of helping someone feel better in an extreme circumstance. For me hand holding was something I wanted, for him it took some warming up to. At this point we have pretty much reached an agreement that as long as I’m not physically on top of him 100% of the time holding hands while in the car or watching a movie is definitely allowed.
Joining each other for a meal at a restaurant was something we did almost every time we ate out, and it still is. However this time we put more emphasis on it being just for us. Our apartment has a very open door policy amongst our friends and it leads to quite nights at home not being so quiet. As much as we love the close friends we allow into our home on a daily basis it is sometimes nice to come home to work to just another person. As a result we have started planning ‘date night’ around 11am on any day that has begun to get stressful and we feel like we need something to look forward to. Sometimes its casual dinning, sometimes it’s having a sit down dinner at a fast food restaurant, sometimes its going to the cheep night at the movies, sometimes its getting in the car for a 1-2 hour drive just because we can. Regardless it’s spending time together in a setting that reminds us that the other one is the most important person and the reason we want things to work.
The topic of most of our debates is overnight guests. We haven’t really reached a conclusion on this one mostly because I am hoping my views on it will eventually change. While I have found myself getting happy and excited for him when he has a girl over during the day time or when he goes to visit her, I have found myself crippled with jealousy when a girl comes over and spends the night. I know that the purpose of our relationship is because I come before any other girl he hooks up with, but my heart occasionally likes let jealously slip in. I’m hoping that I can get to a point of overcoming this fear/threat because I really do believe it is unfair for me to expect him to limit his interactions with others when he doesn’t do so with me (any suggestions in the comments about how others have dealt with such jealousy would be greatly appreciated).