When John and I were first dating, I was working at a bank in a small town outside of Wichita, Kansas. John was living in Tampa at the time, and was traveling from Tampa to Dallas, where he was opening colette, then on to Wichita to visit me before going back home.
Whenever John wasn’t in Wichita, he would systematically call me before work, during my lunch break, and after work to talk. I looked forward with such sweet anticipation for each one of these calls. One day, as I was walking to my car after work, I noticed something on the windshield.
It was an envelope. Inside the envelope, I found the most loving and heartfelt card from my now husband. I immediately began looking around the parking lot, I just knew John must be waiting for me, but I didn’t see John or his car. I clutched the card to my chest, still wondering how the heck John was able to get someone to put this card on my car.
As I began the drive home, my cell phone rang… it was John. “How the heck did you get the card on my car?” John, being the ultimate planner, wasn’t about to give away his secrets. It was only after I was stopped at the next intersection that the mystery was solved.
As I talked to John and waited for the light to change, there was a knock on my driver’s side window. Startled, I turned to see a gorgeous bouquet of flowers and John holding them. On a whim, this guy had driven all the way from Dallas to surprise me!
This memory of mine is a wonderful example of my definition of happiness. I vividly remember feeling like I was in the middle of some movie. This kind of love doesn’t really happen in real life, does it? Yet here I was living the fantasy! Amazing!
Why am I sharing this story? Because it’s important not to lose sight of all the wondrous moments we share with our partner. All those little (and big) ways we tell our partner they mean the world to us.
This can be especially true when talking about open relationships. When I write about opening up a relationship, I can easily delve into the topic of relationship issues. I’ll post all sorts of blogs and videos discussing the growing pains couples endure when opening up their marriage to incorporate a more consensual non-monogamous platform.
Learning to communicate, manage our fears, and share our partner with others are all vital to understanding and considering this viable relationship model. And while I absolutely love baby stepping couples through the trials and tribulations that can materialize when adopting a more open mindset, I want to take a moment to touch on all the phenomenal benefits that can be derived when a couple (or single) decides to live life from a place of individual truth.
HAPPINESS: Okay, so you don’t have to be in an open relationship to be happy, but an open relationship can bring about happiness for many couples and singles. But before I get ahead of myself, what’s happiness? Happiness is defined as a state of well-being, of having a great sense of satisfaction and joy. I love well-being, satisfaction, and joy! Because a person’s individual truth might mean the incorporation of consensual non-monogamy, allowing each other the freedom to express and live this lifestyle begets the whole definition of happiness.
COMMUNICATION: Again, you don’t have to be in an open relationship to have good communication with your partner, but those in consensual non-monogamous unions do attest to deeper more transparent conversations. How much easier would it be to talk with a partner who embraces your vulnerabilities, desires, and deepest darkest thoughts as well as encourages expression. The building of allies comes when we aren’t afraid to speak our minds.
HONESTY: One of my favorite quotes comes from Tom Sawyer: “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” Knowing I can go to John with absolutely anything is a vital part of our relationship. Our love for each other within our truth is affirmed each and every time we acknowledge the beauty of being honest. Our openness never arouses discord, punishment, or retaliation. Each truth is a celebration, an applause, an encore for more truth!
BRAVERY: I love this one! Why? Because bravery is all about courage and adventure and being fearless. To me this is the open lifestyle in a nutshell. Being introduced to consensual non-monogamy put me in touch with an area of my life I’d kept hidden, especially as a woman. I mean, a woman isn’t supposed to be openly sexual. Society might crumble if we allowed women to believe their sexuality is normal. But it turns out I was normal, and thanks to the open lifestyle and its encouragement of empowered women, I was given the golden ticket to explore this area of my life. My husband’s support through this journey to bravery, this trek to admitting I liked this or that, allowed for some pretty shell shattering moments. Being brave is what gave me the strength to take the next step. I stood tall against my fears, against society, against outdated beliefs, and found the mark of a hero along the way.
Every morning I wake up in love with my life! For the first time I’m living on purpose. My life has taken on an even keel, a peace I’m still learning to accept. The highs and lows of relationships I believed for so many years were just a part of life are now replaced with consistency. My relationship with John has taught me that loving life follows loving self.
Everything I do in my relationship with John has always been met with a showering of love and acceptance. I spent years making life hard on myself. John, through his unchanging reception, taught me how easy life could be. While I’m all for working through issues and facing fears, I’m also all about throwing my head back in laughter. I’m all about the random love notes and hugs and kisses.
What truths have you learned through opening up your relationship? What ways have you learned to live your best life through consensual non monogamy? What habits of happiness do you and your partner exhibit on a daily basis? Take a few moments everyday to remind yourself of the benefits your open relationship has brought to your life and how it has strengthened the bond with your partner. I remind myself numerous times a day how very blessed I am to have found John and walk through this life with him hand in hand.
John and Jackie Melfi are married swingers and in an open relationship. They were featured in an ABC News Nightline special report “Getting ‘Naughty in N’Awlins’: Inside a New Orleans Swingers Convention” and are the force behind the industry famous colette swingers clubs in Dallas, New Orleans, Houston, and Austin and the award-winning blog Openlove101.com with over 20 years of combined experience in open relationships and coaching thousands of couples.