There has been a lot of talk recently over open relationships having a Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy and whether or not that’s a recipe for disaster.  I can’t say yes or no to that, but i can offer my opinions and you can decide for yourself.  Honestly, there have been very few of these types of arrangements I would touch with a 10-ft pole. Unless I know and can verify with both partners that this is a mutual agreement, I will never…and by that I mean never be involved with someone in such a relationship for a few reasons.

I don’t condone cheating, and unless I can be assured that’s not what’s happening I won’t be involved.  I don’t need any residual drama or backlash if it turns out the person with whom I am involved is cheating.  If you have to be that sneaky you shouldn’t be with a significant other int he first place, and if you need to lie to me you don’t need to be seeing me.

I’ve discussed before that communication is the most important tool to sustain a healthy open marriage.  This DADT policy severely cuts down on that communication, if there’s any.  This breeds all sorts of problems that will eventually collapse not just the open relationship but the entire relationship at the base of it.  A lot of these situations end in the “bad experiences” and “survival stories” that give polyamory a bad reputation.

My first question will always be why this policy even needs to be instated.

If it’s because you can’t handle the detailed idea of your SO being with another person you need to re-evaluate whether or not an open relationship is for you.  Ignoring the issue won’t help whatever internal struggle is happening.  If anything it feeds the paranoia, resentment, and insecurities that spawned it in the first place.  These growing pains and feelings need to be brought out to the open and addressed together, and this kind of arrangement does not allow for that to happen.

If it’s to protect other partners you need to re-evaluate who you’ve chosen to be those other partners.  If you feel like it’s going to cause an awkward relationship between them and your SO you need to have a sit-down with all partners involved about maturity and responsible behaviour.  If you can’t trust your SO to behave in an acceptable manner, again you need to decide if this is really the relationship for you.

There are a few ways this type of situation can work, even if it’s not ideal.  If the issue is details and knowing specific people involved communication can still be kept alive, albeit with a little extra effort.  It’s important not to get snoopy and paranoid,  if you’ve decided to make this a more clandestine situation you have to accept the mystery of not knowing.  That can be scary. It can breed monsters that don’t exits and dream up all sorts of things that aren’t happening.  As humans we don’t like to think things are happening behind our back.  Permission or not, that’s exactly what’s happening here.  You’ve created a secret society to which you cannot belong.  If there’s an issue, bring it up, but be prepared for the DADT rule to be upheld, especially if you are defensive or passive aggressive about it.

In my opinion, open relationships are already complicated.  Adding mystery and stunting communication makes it unnecessarily more complicated.  I don’t advise them as a long-term situation, but merely as a stepping stone to help sort out issues and emotions on the path to a more healthy relationship.  I’m not saying it won’t work, I’m just saying it’s risky, and possibly the reason many strong poly relationships never get off the ground.  We need to not be afraid of the emotions.  We need to accept them and learn to let them go, not avoid them and let them control us.

That’s my two cents.  namaste

Go now, ask…and tell.