Dating mating and cheating
"There was a side of me that was ecstatic – the teenage boy in me that wants to fuck everything I see," reveals Ryan, a millennial in an open relationship."But the other side of me was concerned about what this means in terms of intimacy and how the dynamics would work." When Leah and Ryan met at a wedding four years ago, they didn’t expect to develop this type of arrangement.Neither of them had had an open relationship before, though it was something that Leah had contemplated.“I remember the first night, I was telling him about my difficulty with monogamy,” she says.They ask: If novelty is the key to hot sex, doesn't monogamy kill it? Especially men: You let her sleep late, you take the kids to the park, and all that time you're thinking, "Tonight I'll get some." That doesn't work. How does a soccer mom change from a drudge in an apron to a hottie? Can a mom who starts her day packing Cheerios in a lunchbox become a vixen at night? Then come the surprises, for Perel's approach to couples therapy is light years from Dr. Jesse Kornbluth asked Esther Perel the questions that a new client might. “There’s this huge group of younger people that are involved in these things,” says Ryan – an observation that seemed borne out of a monthly event called “Poly Cocktails,” held at an upstairs bar on the Lower East Side a few weeks later, in which one would have been hard-pressed to realize that this wasn’t your run-of-the-mill mixer (a guy who’d wandered in accidentally must have eventually figured it out; he was later seen by the bar grinning widely as he chatted up two women).In fact, Leah and Ryan are noticing a trend that’s been on the radar of therapists and psychologists for several years now.
Tonight is one of those nights, and soon Leah will head to Jim’s penthouse apartment, where the rest of the evening, she says, will probably entail “hanging out, watching something, having sex.” “She’ll usually spend the night,” Ryan adds nonchalantly, which gives him a chance to enjoy some time alone or even invite another woman over.“I don’t know why I felt the need, but it must have been on my mind a lot.” In almost every relationship she’d had, she’d found herself cheating, though she didn’t know if this was a character flaw or a problem with the conventional system. “I was just trying to get into your panties,” he says to her, laughing.Because they started off dating long-distance (Ryan was living in Colorado at the time), it was understood that they would not be exclusive: They initiated a policy Leah describes as “don’t ask, don’t tell.” But when Ryan moved to New York and began living with Leah a year and a half later, he assumed they would transition immediately into monogamy.In Part One of a two-part series, Rolling Stone goes under the covers in search of new approaches to intimacy, commitment and hooking up.By the end of their dinner at a small Italian restaurant in New York’s West Village, Leah is getting antsy to part ways with her boyfriend Ryan, so that she can go meet up with her boyfriend Jim.
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Even the term “open relationship” seems like a throwback, uncomfortably reminiscent of free-love hippies, greasy swingers and a general loucheness so overt as to seem almost kitsch.