Most of us have grown up under the shade of monogamous relationships. But as unconventional relationships are coming into the mainstream, people start practicing them. And, sometimes have to go through an emotional turmoil that they may not have calculated beforehand.
Let’s dig deeper into the aftermath of indulging in unconventional relationships like an open relationship, polygamy, or couple swapping.
What challenges does a couple have to face in an unconventional relationship?
Every relationship has challenges, whether it is conventional or unconventional. The biggest challenge is not knowing or using respectful communication methods. Or knowing how to vent anger or hurt in a constructive way. Most people try to let their anger out in an attacking way toward their partner. If you want a healthy relationship, you need to learn to get rid of the energy of anger in a healthier way.
Other than that, the couple indulging in these sorts of relationships have to face jealousy, trust issues, lost emotional intimacy, and insecurities caused by comparing themselves to their partner’s lovers.
How to deal with these problems?
Jealousy is somewhat inevitable if you see the person you love in someone else’s embrace. Your partner might go on a date, and you stay back at home thinking about how the date is going or what they are doing at the moment. The image of them having and enjoying sex with someone else, sharing the intimacy, might churn your stomach.
Or you might see a picture of your partner’s lover on social media, start comparing yourself to them, and experience inferiority syndrome. Or, when you observe your partner spending more time in these secondary relationships, you might feel unloved and lonely. These are a few problems that are given in an unconventional relationship. Regardless of how prepared you feel to be in such a relationship, you can’t avoid such issues. So how can you deal with them?
Starting with the jealousy part. When you watch your partner getting ready for their date, applying the perfume, fixing their hair in front of the mirror, instead of constantly thinking that they are going to meet someone else, know that they will come back home to you. That they love you and their priority still lies with you.
When it comes to comparison, make a ground rule that none of you will befriend any of your lovers on social media and try to avoid bringing them in front of your primary partner. Because no matter how much you try to resist, once you see the lover, you’ll start comparing. That’s human nature. You can also make it a rule not to spend more time with your lovers than with your primary partner. It will prevent feeling unloved or abandoned by the partner.
How do these relationships affect the kids?
The effects of polygamy and open relationships are different for kids. In a polygamous relationship, children recognize all members of the relationship as their parents, and in turn, all members take the responsibility of being parents. They get many role models, and more affection and attention than a child of monogamous marriage would receive.
Open relationship, on the other hand, is not that simple. In their developing years, children require consistency in love from their primary caregivers. But if these significant adult figures in their life keep coming and going due to adult breakups, children no longer feel loved, stable, or at peace.
Instead, they feel abandoned and rejected. They can’t comprehend the departure of these people from their life and think that people leave because of them, and maybe they are at fault here. They start feeling unworthy of love and develop a poor sense of self, low self-worth, and low self-confidence. Some children also experience anxiety due to fear of rejection.
In addition, parents’ response also affects the children. Suppose the child is grieving over the loss of this important person in their life. But the adults are completely fine with the breakup. The child may feel like they have no say about who they get to love and who they get to be loved by in their life. These are children who experience that the people they trust to keep them emotionally safe are the people who have chosen to take a person who loves them out of their lives.
Sometimes parents’ reaction also causes confusion for the kid. For example, if the father is grieving over the breakup, but the mother is not, or vice versa, the child wouldn’t understand where their loyalty should lie. This creates emotional strain on the child. Parental emotional reaction inconsistency, for some children, creates physical symptoms instead of or in addition to mental ailments such as; headaches, stomach aches, and eye twitches.
Sometimes, in unconventional relationships, the couple starts taking each other for granted or doesn’t give each other the same importance they give to their lovers. This could also be a source of emotional stress for the children. Anytime the parenting couple is treating each other disrespectfully, it is going to hurt the children. The children feel more secure when the caregivers in their life treat each other with respect and in a loving way.
If you plan to get involved in an unconventional relationship, work out all the potential emotional problems in advance. Also, if you have kids or are planning on having kids, make sure not to expose them to your temporary lovers. It will cause more harm than good.