Q. My wife and I have been practicing non-monogamy for the past 5 years. We are happy with the arrangement but while I want to know more about her escapades, she refuses to listen to my dating stories. I would like this to change but not sure what to do about it.
Ans: Congratulations on achieving what many couples are dreaming of! Opening up a relationship is not easy. You have already come a great way and it’s normal to experience some bumps in the complex wild world of non-monogamy. The bumps are just different preferences in the types of non-monogamous relationship you practice.
You enjoy a ‘Disclosed’ one while your wife feels more comfortable in a ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ set up. If being able to tell your dating stories is so important to you, there must be a strong emotion associated with it. Ask yourself: What makes it so important? What does it make you feel when you tell a story to your wife? Perhaps you want to feel completely accepted. Maybe you are expecting a reaction from her. Maybe you want her to be a little jealous because you want to feel wanted.
Find out how you want to feel and speak to her about that, instead of asking her to listen. We are all receptive to the way other people feel, more likely to empathise and act upon what is asked from us, when a person is being vulnerable. Get also to know what makes her refuse. She must have a reason for not wanting to know. It must make her feel a certain way. Maybe she is jealous and doesn’t want to burden you with the green monster.
It is not easy to respond well once we get triggered with jealousy, especially when we have abandonment and rejection traumas we carry from childhood. Talking about your feelings will get you closer to your wife, not details of your adventures. Involving a professional to help you design your relationship will get an objective point of view of what is feasible and fair for both parties.
The writer is an Intimacy & Relationship Coach, Founder of The Intimacy Curator, an organisation promoting self-discovery through emotional and sexual wellbeing (www.theintimacycurator.com). (Have a query? Send it on firstname.lastname@example.org)
(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)