What happens when you find yourself in a position where your partner(s) wants to either open the relationship sexually or change the format from monogamy unexpectedly? What if he or she wants to share their heart and capacity for love with other partners in addition to their bed, in addition to you? For many people these partner realizations or needs can rock their world, leave them bewildered, or put them in a state of grieving or mourning the loss of what they believed their relationship to be. For others, it’s right up their alley.
If you’re either someone who prefers monogamy, or someone who prefers polyamory, or prefers a monogamous emotionally intimate relationship, but sexually open, hope is not lost if your partner(s) doesn’t feel the same. Different expectations don’t necessarily mean incompatibility. I commonly see many couples and partnerships where each member possesses differing expectations about the nature of the relationship based on individual needs, hopes, and desires for their romantic and sexual lives.
Ultimately, everyone I see desires to be authentic and genuine. Advocating for what would facilitate these qualities with your partner(s) or in your relationship can be challenging if the relationship structure you require (to feel alive) is not what the other(s) prefers (or believes to be correct/true).
Indecently, as discrepancies in structure, preference, and expectation can take place in many arenas of all relationships, creating a new narrative for the couple or partnership can be a successful and useful intervention for reshaping the future of what each person will share with the other. You do not need to become overwhelmed or consumed with the feeling of chaos if your partner(s) wants to change the relationship structure out of the blue.
While this can certainly be challenging, requiring a processing of the loss of prior hopes and expectations, it does not mean you and your partner(s) are doomed to divorce/relationship dissolution. Many people have found ways to co-create a new and novel story for themselves that is preferable (and often initially unexpected), that facilitates the hopes and authenticity of each member of the relationship.
Remember, no matter how devastating the disclosure in a relationship, there is always more than one way to skin a cat (and find a new or novel solution to the problem…if you have the desire to do so).