Opening Up | Tristan Taormino

Summary of: Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships
By: Tristan Taormino


Are you grappling with the idea of monogamy in today’s ever-changing world? Discover the intriguing realm of open relationships in our book summary of ‘Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships’ by Tristan Taormino. Divulge the myth of finding ‘The One,’ the importance of understanding your emotions, and various forms of nonmonogamous relationships, while addressing practical challenges and the role of trust, communication, and compersion. This summary will offer you a thought-provoking perspective on the path to building relationships that suit your individual needs and desires.

The Myth of Monogamous Relationships

From childhood, we are taught to believe in the idea of finding “The One” and living happily ever after. However, this belief puts tremendous pressure on one person to fulfill all our emotional, physical and sexual needs, leading to dissatisfaction and eventually, divorce. The truth is, no one person can fulfill all our desires, and human sexuality works in complex ways. In traditional monogamous relationships, people often feel guilty or resort to cheating when they are attracted to someone else. Instead, accepting that one person cannot fulfill every need and desire could lead to realistic expectations and options in relationships, like embracing monogamy or opening up your relationship with honesty and communication. By rejecting the myth of monogamous relationships, we can appreciate what we have and actively build the kind of relationship that suits us.

Nonmonogamous Relationships

Nonmonogamous relationships allow for various forms of sexual experiences, including opening relationships up to casual sex, exploring casual sex together, or engaging in polyamorous relationships. Polyamorous relationships entail loving more than one person and can be constructed in different ways, from having non-hierarchical relationships with multiple people to forming multipartner groups. The choice of nonmonogamous relationships depends on individual preferences, and it is essential to have self-awareness and excellent communication skills for these relationships to work.

Nonmonogamy: Communication is Key

Nonmonogamous relationships require open communication and clear boundaries to succeed.

Nonmonogamy is often misunderstood as a free-for-all of casual sex and parties. In reality, successfully navigating nonmonogamous relationships requires a high level of communication, honesty, and boundary-setting. There is no one-size-fits-all template, and communication is key to making it work.

Before opening up a previously monogamous relationship, partners need to have an honest conversation and establish clear ground rules. Will they only engage in casual sex, or have full-fledged relationships? How involved will they be in each other’s lives? These conversations may be challenging, but they are essential.

Ongoing communication is also necessary. Partners need to check in regularly, renegotiate boundaries if necessary, and continuously assess the health of the relationship. This may sound like a lot of work, but it leads to strong relationships built on trust and stability.

Contrary to misconceptions, polyamorous relationships require a significant amount of dedication and self-awareness. They are not less serious or committed than monogamous relationships, despite the lack of legal means for demonstrating commitment.

In conclusion, nonmonogamous relationships are not for everyone, but for those who pursue them, open communication and clear boundaries are essential for success.

Sacred Agreements

Designing strong non-monogamous relationships involves making clear agreements that are sacred to all involved parties. Violation of these agreements can be as hurtful as cheating in monogamous relationships, and the damage caused can take time to repair. To avoid misunderstandings, it’s important to be specific about what’s permitted in your relationships. Unexpected feelings can also arise, but talking about agreements in a respectful way allows partners to navigate changes together.

Navigating Jealousy in Nonmonogamous Relationships

Jealousy is a natural human emotion that comes up in all relationships, including nonmonogamous ones. To thrive in such a relationship, learning how to cope with jealousy is vital. Insecurity lies at the heart of envious feelings, which can fuel possessiveness. Coping with jealousy can improve self-confidence and relationship strength. Allowing yourself to feel whatever you’re feeling, seeking support from friends or therapists, and analyzing your triggers are essential steps towards managing jealousy. It is essential to understand that jealousy is an important messenger that signals our needs and boundaries, pointing us towards specific actions we need to take.

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