Wednesday, 15 February 2012

To test my commitment to an open relationship, I have lunch with M

We are officially on a break from solo adventures so I do not tell Virgil that I am going to lunch with Dmitri today. It's academic. Dmitri is not in an open relationship with his girlfriend. He's off limits. Does it count as a date if you fancy someone like mad?

The last time I saw Dmitri was Christmas Eve. He watched me peel apples for braised red cabbage. He ate the peel as it came off in long strings and praised the tartness of Bramleys. We talked and drank red wine. 

Today we order and eat big messy burgers at a local bar. Dmitri pays. He just got a new job and is no longer unemployed. We high-five across the table.

We talk about our relationships more than we have done before. We have both been having problems. Dmitri says he has eternal doubts about whether his girlfriend, Isolde, is right for him. He wonders if it's a guy thing. I say, No, it's a people thing. He struggles with the idea that he'll never have the joy of falling in love with someone new without having to start again. I say, Are you and your girlfriend monogamous then? He says yes, but he's raised the idea of an open relationship. She thinks she's too jealous though.

So I tell Dmitri all about what's been going on with me and Virgil: the history of our open relationship, the jealousy, the differences between us and the break we're taking. I even tell him about therapy and my theory about my dad dying and being afraid of being left. Dmitri also thinks you can differentiate between connections that are purely sexual and emotional and those that are romantic. He says you can be really into someone, love being with them, having sex with them, just you don't think about them all the time when you're not with them. I can't take my eyes off him.

I figure if I can't have Dmitri I might at least be totally honest with him. At least then we'll have some kind of truthful connection and that might amount to something. To be honest, I'd bend the rules for Dmitri. Pretending he's off limits gives me the courage to sidle up to him. 

Dmitri said when we first met in the bike room he'd an immediate impression of a strong, distinctive energy. Someone who could do and be lots of different things, almost shamanic. I say, How amazing that you saw all that so quickly in the bike room. I had seen a striking man: tall, dark and handsome. Dmitri looks severe but he has warm brown eyes. I say, Thanks - I feel better. We agree I'd do well in a village where I could, literally, do everything. It's hard for me to know what to do in a city, I say, but culturally and socially I need the city.

I go home and immediately email Dmitri the link to the Tristan Taormino book, Opening Up. I tell him that it was good for me to have lunch with him today because when I spend time with him I know exactly why I want to be in an open relationship.


  1. I don't think your desire for him proves you want to be in an open relationship. It simply proves that you want to mate with an alpha male. It's all down to biology again.

  2. GB, I just looked up 'biological essentialism' and it says, 'Ask the japing ape.' What has monogamy got to do with biology? Humans (if not gorillas) are socially conditioned to associate romantic love with exclusivity, surely very much an invention of the late human epoch?

  3. Humans are not the only monogamous species. Most birds are socially monogamous and exhibit jealous behaviour when their partner strays. This has nothing to do with social conditioning or romantic love. Monogamy makes sense in species with highly vulnerable offspring, because both parents are needed to rear the infants.