Dr. Umesh Jain
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Dr. Umesh Jain is now exclusively responsible for TotallyADD.com and its content

The Forums Forums Emotional Journey Is It Just Me? Open Relationships

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    #89218 |

    Wasnt sure where else to post this one. I was wondering if anyone else was involved in an open relationship. I’ve been seeing this girl for about a year now and we have a strange relationship. We go out to eat, pay for each others things, spend time together alone, all the normal serious relationship type things, holding hands in public stuff like that. We actually just adopted a dog together over the weekend. One thing that i’m not sure how to handle with my overactive brain is that we are still in a open relationship where we are both free to date other people. I think I should just talk to her about it, we have good comunication but I dont want to rock the boat. i’ve been pretty cool about it for the past few months but after the dog adoption it just makes things seem more serious to me. Its not fair to the dogs in a way and thats my biggest concern.


    rock the boat now. If it’s on your mind right now, it’s not going to go away but will get worse.

    Humans as a race are not wired for such things. There are exceptions – but they are just that. Ordinary folk, ADD or not, are not wired for open relationships. What do you think started so many wars hundreds of years ago? LOL

    Seriously, we are like certain other animals, pigeons, for example. Mate for life is normal, kill anyone who tries to horn in.

    It’s like the abused person who says “oh, it will get better once we are married” or “having a child will settle them down”.

    BULL HOCKEY! It will only get WORSE once married as then they’ll feel they can let loose and don’t have to behave.

    If it’s an issue now, it will be a bigger issue later.

    Talk about it NOW, and if you aren’t totally satisfied, move on.


    I’ve been in an open relationship, and, like every other relationship, you have to communicate. If you are feeling insecure, then you need to talk about it with your partner. I don’t think it has anything to do with ADHD, though. :-)

    And billd… It’s really not cool that you berated someone who came out as being involved in a different relationship style, in a safe environment.

    Patte Rosebank

    Based on most anthropological research, humans are not wired to mate for life. A very tiny percentage of mammals mate for life, and it appears that humans aren’t one of them. The whole concept of humans mating for life seems to have been imposed by moralists, in an attempt to create order, and formally declare the wife to be the husband’s property. Hence vows in which the groom promises to “love, honour, and *cherish* “, while the bride promises to “love, honour, and *obey* “.

    Until recently (and STILL, in many parts of the world), women were considered property, not partners. Men went to war over them, because they wanted to snag the best (prettiest, most fertile, hardest-working) property, and then prevent others from taking it. The ultimate insult to a man would be to take (sexually) his most prized possession: his wife.

    With the divorce rates so high (not to mention the endless parade of cheaters being exposed on trashy TV shows), it’s very clear that millions of people go into marriage, expecting to mate for life, but not fully understanding just what that involves, or being willing to completely abandon the freedoms & behaviours of singlehood.

    A vow to stay together until death is a huge commitment and a *nearly* impossible ideal, because people change over time. Now, we’re even seeing marriages that lasted for 20 years or more, ending in divorce, because one or both partners realized that it was time to move on. Or, worse, 40-year marriages that descended into hatred around the 20-year mark, and are only “until death” because one partner is so financially dependent on the other, that they could never survive on their own.

    (NOTE: I’m not talking about marriages in which one or both partner has ADHD or some other disorder that impacts the relationship. I’m talking about people who go into marriage without really thinking seriously about it.)

    It’s sad, really, that as society places so much importance on having the biggest & best wedding—to the point where the major issue facing a bride is finding the perfect dress—it places so little importance on what really matters: the marriage itself.


    Billd, I disagree. I know a lot of people in open relationships and oply relationships who are committed and happy. The key, as giastorm said, is communication and openness about how they are feeling.

    I wouldn’t be able to cope with one myself, but that is why I don’t get into them. None the less, it is not my place to judge what makes others happy and doesn’t harm anyone.

    As to the wiring comment, how about you give us a source for that claim? Preferably something from a peer-reviewed anthropological journal.

    And what does “once married as then they’ll feel they can let loose and don’t have to behave.” mean, anyway? If they’ve already set the boundaries of their relationship, be it open or otherwise, then they’ve set those boundaries mutually and it will continue to work as it has done so far.


    kyle- you’re right that structure is gonna be important now that you have a dog in your life- just like it would be if you shared parentage of a child. as you’re responsible for your little 4-legged persons wellbeing and safety through their entire life, you two need to work through some basic stuff and get on the same page with it NOW, to avoid encountering huge problems that need resolving very quickly, or which left unresolved could cause massive issues later.

    for example, you might want to look at:

    -where does the dog live, and when? -50% of the time at your home and 50% at hers? yours at the weekend, hers during the week?- is it structured so that the dog knows whether he’s coming or going, is he receiving the same food at different homes so that his tummy doesn’t get screwed up, etc?

    -who has custody of the dog should a breakup occur (realistically it is something that might happen in the next 10 years or so) and does the other party get visitation? what if heaven forbid the party caring for the dog post-breakup gets sick or dies- does the other party automatically take the dog, or is his wellbeing and continued existance left in the hands of their current partner/friends/family?

    -who can make medical decisions for the dog (emergency vet care, medication decisions for longterm health complaints, arrange euthinisation should the dog become terminally ill, etc) and do they need consent of other parties- or even to inform them before proceeding?

    -who pays for dog food, insurance, vet care, and general dog-related expenses? what happens should they become unable to do so, either pre- or post- breakup?

    -is any money being put in trust, or are wishes about the dogs care made clear in a will, AND to friends and family- incase something unfortunate happens to both of you guys? have dog-rescue-parents been lined up and agreed to take on the role if you need it? do they know the address of your dogs vet, understand his health needs, know about his favourite toy, where he likes to sleep at night, etc?

    what if someone wants to go on vacation with a friend or another ‘partner’? -can they take the dog without letting the other dog-parent know, or without getting their express ok that they’re comfortable with the dog spending an unknown amount of time under the care of someone you don’t perhaps know very well, if at all?

    this sort of stuff might seem like overkill now, but getting it all sorted out and on paper BEFORE there is a problem will seriously avoid a lot of heartache and pain for all 3 of you further down the road- it’ll also be a huge plus legally should everything go wrong and someone lose their marbles and decide to storm off across the country with the dog in tow.

    whether co-parenting a pup means you two have to be exclusive or not is really upto the two of you to work out in your own time and way, but the other stuff… i wouldn’t stall on it- talk to her. i’d express very clearly that your concern is about knowing that the dog is gonna be safe, happy, and cared for during its entire life, not about controlling anyone, or trapping them, and see what comes about.

    maybe she’s thinking in the same direction as you are, and wishes you’d rock the boat just a little, maybe she’s not, and runs like hell- but at least the day to day welfare of the little furry person who relys on you for absolutely everything will have been looked at on both a practical and emotional level, and some realistic thinking might have been poked into happening.

    my post might seem dramatic, but i volunteer for a cat rescue charity, and for every middle-aged cat that is given over to our care with money in trust to ensure her happy adoption by a new family, and lifelong well-being following their owners death, we rescue a good 10 cats who have been dumped by family-members or partners into high-kill shelters following a death, breakup, or change of circumstances- sweet and gentle little kitties who are in great health, but who through no fault of their own find themselves bundled absolutely petrified into a strange, loud and smelly place, separated forever from their feline and canine family members and human family, – much less than 72 hours away from being euthanised. i don’t even wanna think about the hundreds that we don’t manage to pull out of those places because we just can’t practically or financially do so- i don’t want your pup to be added to the ‘didn’t make it’ statistics list either. :(


    wow, where to start. when two people want a open relasonship that tells me that the plan is that there are going to be other people invoulved. having said that people still chose to have kidsor pets togeather. the only way a couple is not in a open relationship is if both people don,t spend time with anyone else. my point is wheather you are married single or just friends, it dosen’t matter if there is a ring or not if one chooses to stray soner or latter someone will get hurt and it will fall apart. the human brain might think its ok to share, but the hart soner or latter will be jellous just because people then seeing someone with some one else will go why do they not get what they need from me. and what does that person offer that i don’t . sooner or latter someone will end up with a broken heart. and thats a fact.

    It’s true humans don’t mate for life. At some point we have to take a break and eat something. Hopefully so we have enough energy to get right back to it. :-)


    Hi Kylep,

    I don’t know what you should or should not do, but I can share my experience. I have had a tendency to do the same thing. To avoid asking questions that might “rock the boat”. I think that when I feel that way, I really know the answers anyway. We, as a group, are fairly intuitive, right? But either way, going forward, I think (hope) that this will be a red flag for me — a relationship should be able to take having frank discussions, and better to know what the status is than not. Most recently, in hindsight, I think it would have been much easier to push the questions that would likely have ended the relationship 8-10 months earlier. But, on the other hand, it is not easy to be alone sometimes.

    From my perspective, anyway, whether or not an open relationship is right, or something you should be in, is entirely up to you, your values, and what works for you. But that feeling of limbo/uncertainty…. yikes… what a terrible place to be in, and I allowed myself to be there far too long. I hope you get some resolution.

    I may be projecting, based on the recentness of my experience, but I hope this is somewhat helpful.


    please note I didn’t “belittle” anyone – and only said if the poster is uncomfortable with it, then they need to talk about it.

    it’s not for everyone.

    If it’s for you and all involved agree, great.

    But if there is discomfort now, and “talk” doesn’t help, then why stick with it?

    It’s not for everyone is all I’m saying – some can’t deal with it. Some can. Those that can’t are asking for trouble if they force themselves to say “it’s ok, it’ll be fine” but have doubts.

    Like all other things, if there is doubt, there’s a reason, and hiding it doesn’t fix it.

    It would appear from the first post that there are doubts.

    It’s like marriage with a non-open relationship. If there are doubts, then get them resolved.

    No one in any relationship should take on a pet, child, whatever, in such cases where there is doubt as to the long-term stability of the relationship. The stress of such responsibility won’t make it better, and often leads to decay of the relationship instead.

    What I read in the first post appears to me to be doubts…… and a certain uneasiness. Get that checked out, resolved, or ended before any joint commitments.

    Psychology classes roughly 30 years ago is where I read my info. Things have probably changed. It was comparing humans and animals.

    I know a lot has changed sine then, including the recent discovery of other primates that actually normally practice incest and sex with the immature offspring.

    Scientists in Europe have also since then published studies that support a theory that the human brain is hard-wired to believe in a god or gods. I know that sure goes against the grain, but it’s in a recent scientific paper with the supporting studies.

    trashman has some good points (again)


    Well I just want to first off start by saying thank you to everyone, whether you feel you are of any help or not your responses are apreciated.

    She and I have discussed out “status” before several times. The most recent time was just a couple of weeks ago, and I dont know if that is something to share or not; regardless it doesnt change the way things are to date. I guess you could say that we have always agreed that we were just friends. Time and time again we start off that way, then after a few weeks we start to get back into the same routine of going out starts up. The amount of time that we spend together starts to increase again, the feelings come back and then before you know it, we’re buying a dog together trying to figure out what to name him. (just an example, we dont go out and buy dogs on a regular basis. By the way his name is Mowgli and he is half black lab, and half golden retriever ( a super water dog) He’s 6 months old and is one of the sweetest puppies ever. Back on topic.

    jeneticallymodified:: Yes the dogs are my biggest concern. Dug the first dog was obtained before things started getting the way they are. Over time we’ve gotten really close (he and I) and I think things might be ok for him if I wasn’t around so much. Mowgli on the other hand is still so young, I dont want him to get attached to me. Its too late for me. He’s a cuddle bug.

    Nimthiriel: thanks for the defense, i’m not so used to that but yeah thanks! way appreciated.

    Paul: Its good to know i’m not the only person who does this kind of thing. I’ve been in this situation before with other girls in the past. Non of them have ever been quite like this though. Usually “we” (not the current girl but me and girls in the past) come to the point where something happens between the two of us (usually me rocking the boat) and we both get mad, get in a fight and its over within a week or two. She (the current she) and I have gotten into some tiffs, but never a full on fight. Its usually me being mad at her or her mad at me. We take a day to let it pass and the next day we are fine like nothing ever happend. We talk about it later and its resolved. I always say i’m not a jelous kind of guy but no matter what I do, no matter what I eventually start to feel that way at some point in time. I’m pretty good about it though and it passes with time.

    Open or not, no matter what you call us I guess the thing I need most I cant find here. I can only look for comfort, and advice until the time comes. Maybe one day it will work out between her and I.

    I’ve alwasys told her I”‘d rather be misserable with you in my life than happy and alone” She’s very important to me, and I’m not sure how i’d take it if she suddenly taken away from me….. not that she’s mine or anything.

    I’m not so good in the relationship department and I know I allow myself to be in this situation. At some point in time i need to mature up and just face it head on.

    The real question was how do other ADDer’s handle open relationships, not if they are right or wrong. Not if we are predispositioned to do such things. Like if anyojne knows about a secret button behind their ear that is behind my ear but I dont know its there that can turn off my brain or the part that makes me think. Oh, thats the whole brain; crap.

    For serious now, thank you all so much



    i don’t think the secret button is behind your ear, dude. :P

    i guess no relationship really works- professional, family, doctor-patient, etc- if there aren’t clear – perhaps unspoken but definately understood- boundaries, and expectations, and needs are met- plus you can talk about it honestly and openly, and respect the other person even when you disagree.

    at work you know what you’re meant to do, and whats not ok, and that they better pay you and give you a little respect/appreciation/positive feedback, or it’s gonna fall apart. same with family- you know that calling your mum a name you might call a mate in the pub wouldn’t go down well at all, that you can’t snog her- but a hug is good- that you’ll listen and support each other, etc, yeah? boundaries, expectations, needs, communication, respect. yada yada..

    thinking about friends who have been in open relationships (cos honestly, i’m WAY too selfish, demanding, and generally challenging myself- i struggle with one partner- never mind adding in all sorts of good or bad complications) the main problem i’ve seen them struggle with, unsuprisingly, is those -boundaries, expectations, needs, respect and communication.

    if you’ve got all of those down, and everybody is confident and happy with the group dynamic and where they fit into it, i can see how an open relationship could thrive. but if they aint … its destined to fail as much as a 2 person relationship of any kind is.

    so i’m incredibly nosey and unsubtle- what makes you ‘not so good in the relationship dept? is it stuff that you could work on- with a therapist, or just using good old fashioned self-awareness and practice? is it about control, trust, emotional intimacy, and self-esteem? cos i reckon it usually is. :D it bloody well is with me, anyway!

    is she maybe a little keen to keep an emotional distance cos of her own ‘relationship dept’ issues?

    i doubt that the button is the perfect solution, (and the only button i’ve ever seen used is alcohol- and that didn’t work well long term cos the thinking just got really bloody dire and the relationship completely unmanagable) but i bet there are quite a lot of ways you could work on the inevitable bumps and brickwalls you’re gnna hit in this- and any other- relationship. :D

    *hugs* btw. this must be hard- us women are incredibly complicated creatures- just like you men. :D


    Jenet, your absolutely right, and i guess an important piece of information would be that we work in the same department too, so we see each other at work the work relationship has to be different of course, that makes it hard but understandable since we’re at work.

    Well last night I we hung out and had a great time, had dinner, and watched a couple movies while playing with the dogs. We took them out together earlier in the night and at the end of the night so neither of us would have to get tangled up between two puppies. She took me home late, and when i asked her if she was up for a conversation she said she was too tired. For the most part i’m fine not rocking the boat. I have hopes that eventually we’ll transition to something more serious despite it seeming that way already. I just hate feeling like i’m more into her than she is into me. I dont think its the actual case but I feel that way sometimes.


    Larynxa, well said…I hope you don’t mind… I’ll be using some of your material : )

    I’m a fortunate ADDer who’s gal has stayed with him for over 30 years. It’s been a rock n roll experience but we’ve pulled it off in style. It feels like we’re now entering into the most rewarding chapter of our relationship. Sure, we can focus on regrets, but many of the best rewards in life require hard work. I’m pretty sure she stayed with me because she bought into the moral aspects of fulfilling an oath made. She laughs about how lucky I am that she had a naive streak. She wouldn’t put up with $&!T now LOL : D

    One observation. When you go through life holding another’s hand, you actually live two lives. No one needs another holding them back, or holding them down, but if there’s a sense of fairness in the relationship it can be richly rewarding.

    Staying together; It’s not for everyone, it’s certainly not easy, and it often won’t be a realistic option, but I wish it for anyone who wants it.

    Kylep, good luck with your situation. sounds a little heart-wrenching. I think you’re going to have to tell her what you just posted, “I just hate feeling like i’m more into her than she is into me. I dont think its the actual case but I feel that way sometimes.” Sounds like you’d like some commitment.

    Take care everyone and have a nice weekend!

    We focus on the wedding and not on the marriage.

    We attend ‘birth classes’ even though the baby is coming whether you understand it all or know the proper breathing, and yet don’t deal with parenting.

    My mother-in-law and father-in-law were married for 63 years. And on his last day on earth they played cards with friends, shopped, made some meals, took care of each other and were as happy as they were the day they married.

    They had ups and downs… but they were happy.

    It can be done. But it takes something. It’s not magic. It’s not about being a perfect match. It’s about being there and showing up.

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