Live-in and Open

Here’s how this couple handles the complexity of an open relationship

He is often puzzled by the reasoning of couples who choose open relationships, but perhaps this story has the answer
open relationship

Open relationships are trending for today’s urban couples

An open relationship in India may raise many eyebrows, for it is taboo. As a culture and a society, we do not approve of polygamy. And why only India, in many countries it’s considered unconventional. But as India progresses, urban life is becoming faster. Some lovers have decided to truly experience “variety is the spice of life”.

Sonam and Zabir have been in an open relationship for the past 4 years and seem completely happy. Sonam is a 27 year old, slim and pretty Malayali Hindu girl and her boyfriend Zabir is a 29-year-old Muslim boy. A few years back they were living together, but soon after his parents moved to Pune from Aurangabad, he moved in with his parents. As Sonam could not afford the rent all by herself, she decided to move in with her mother.

Related reading: We don’t want a marriage or kids. Our live-in relationship works perfectly for us

The complexity of their relationship

Their relationship is at times extremely complex. Sonam’s mother is a very good friend of mine and I often go visit them in the evenings after work. I see Zabir most of the times at her place. After they both go to their bedroom and lock the door, I can’t help but ask Sonam’s mother, “Why is he always at your place? Has Sonam ever been to his place?” “His parents do not know about their relationship, but I am cool with it. It is Sonam’s life and she needs to decide what is best for her,” replied her mother. So I figured that his family is not as progressive and modern as hers.

A few weeks later, I asked Sonam about her love affair with Zabir and she responded, “We are in a relationship, but our boundaries and rules are defined by us. Whenever he feels like getting married to someone else he can. I do not want to get married.” I quickly asked her, “What about him straying for the lack of commitment?” “We both are open to date others, as we tell each other everything. We think it is helpful in our relationship. It is better to tell and sleep around than to cheat,” said she.

Open relationships
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At that moment, I felt that it was too much complexity to deal with. She is a Hindu and he is a Muslim. His parents do not know about them but her mother is cool. And to add to the entire mess, they do not want to get married and are seeing each other and other people for the past 4 years. I couldn’t help but wonder, do they even love each other?

I couldn’t help but wonder, do they even love each other?

The simplicity of their relationship

One day when I was at Sonam’s place, I gathered the courage to ask her, “Sonam, do you love Zabir?” “Yes, I love him and he loves me too,” she replied.

“I know that it could be difficult for many to understand, but we like it this way. We are honest, we do not need to hide our urge to be sexually active, and most importantly, we know that we will be there for one another when needed. Sex and seeing other people are just as much a part of our relationship. At least we do not lie to each other and all our discussions are more evolved than most couples in a monogamous relationship.” She explained the simplicity of their relationship to me so well that I was convinced that it was right for them. After all, who am I to decide what is right or wrong? I truly felt at ease when I spoke to her and got to know that their relationship is based on trust and love. Each person’s definition of these two terms is distinct.

Related reading: They love each other but are not sure of marriage

What about the future of their relationship then?

Sometimes, however, I wonder what could be the future to their relationship? What if his parents who seem to be the traditional types, start pestering him to get married to a Muslim girl? “Well, it will not bother me at all. He will still see me and I will still see him. In fact, he would be lying to his wife but not me. I am financially independent and I know that whenever we need each other even financially we will be there. For me, I’m not hiding anything,” she explains.

From Zabir’s perspective, I wondered if he was doing anything wrong, but to that Sonam once again helped me understand that love does not have to be confined to only one person. “He can love me and he can love his wife, if he gets married.

Relationship open

It will be his choice to tell her and it will be her choice to stay with him. It is all just the choices you make.”

“But what if he starts cutting you out, if he happens to fall in love with his wife and wants a monogamous marriage with her?” I asked. She smiled and she asked me, “What will you do if you start falling out of love? I do not know how I will react then. After all nothing is permanent.”

live in and open

I soon figured that happiness is a choice you make; it can never be incidental. With the traditional upbringing I had and for the progressive education that I received, a constant conflict in my mind forced me to understand how their “open” relationship worked. Today, when I see both of them happy, my conflicting mind stops questioning.

This is the reason why couples are getting into swinging for sex

When this couple wanted to transition from an open marriage to a traditional one

I told him I love him and he wants to end our open relationship

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6 Comments

  1. Yes. Happiness is a choice you make consciously. And when it comes to an open relationship, well, defining your own boundaries gives you the certainty that you both are the anchors of the bond, and not some dominant ideology. Being honest to each other adds expansion to the horizon of each others’ understanding and you can evolve magnificently. Keeping it that simple eases up everything.

  2. True!!! You get a lot of blank looks when you tell someone you are in an open relationship. When people know you are in an open relationship since day one and you are currently in year three, then they become really curious.

    As far as how it works – honesty is the only policy. There are no secrets in this relationship.

    I feel if there are ground rules laid out and you adhere to them, and you are with the right kind of person(you actually never know about it, but assuming), those open relationships can survive!

    1. What I prefer about open relationships is that in theory it is better than cheating.

      But these relationships should not be publicized or appreciated. It should be like “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. The reason is that it would promote social norms that relationships outside marriage would be recognized as equal to those within the traditional social norms (formal marriage etc). Such open relationships in turn would destroy the existing society as we know it. Once such errant behavior is being accepted, it would also produce a society full of bastards because no one would know who the father is. A child being raised without any family identity turns out, in most cases to be anti-social.

      The lessons of such a polyamory can be had from Mahabharata. The entire civilization was destroyed I thru’ bloodshed over lusting for a woman who was already shared by 5 people.

      So opposition to this form of relationship should continue from the “conservative” quarters of the society.

      Polyamory is just a matter of lust. If it had any real compassion, friendship or respect for human beings, then the relationship would have culminated into monogamy. People who are slaves of lust are slaves to polyamory.

      1. No mam, you’re wrong. Try to educate yourself more and talk to polyamorous people before making bland judgements based on mythologies & imaginations.

        In fact, data shows sex positive societies that are accepting of the many flavours of love & lust tend to have happier lives.
        Thank you.

        1. @SKP

          I do not need education about polyamory – which is only about consensual lust and sex.

          So, yes if men and women can have multiple partners and engage in wild sex many times a day without having to bother about anything, it would make them happy. There is nothing new about it.

          In brief it is escapism. By engaging in sex and lust, one is bound to forget the sorrows of a traditional monogamous life. So sex here provides an escape from reality. If you have a way not to brood over worries and troubles, and not have to execute social responsibilities, you will be happy. The great Indian sadhu – Rajaneesh – promoted unbirdled sex and lust as a way to get happiness and attain salvation. In other words, by leading a lusty immoral life he preached that one can attain moksha or liberation. I think polyamory is based on such teachings of Rajneesh.

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