Life, Living and Loving: The Alternatives

06 Jun

More and more people are turning away from traditional relationships in favor of alternative ones that are a strange mix of the traditional and the heady feeling of not truly being bound by those traditions and it is one hell of a learning experience and one that impacts damned near everything in your life.

As I’ve written in those moments I’ve had reason to write about them, it’s not as easy as it sounds… and it sure as hell doesn’t sound all that easy since you have to (as I always say) unlearn everything you thought you knew about love, sex, and relationships so you can learn a very different way to do these things.

As Mike Tyson famously said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face…” and, wow, he nailed it. It’s not easy to sit down and put this conversation on the table and if you manage to get past this part – and many people don’t – it gets even harder to do everything that’s needed to formulate a plan and more so when what you’re really talking and planning for is a future that cannot be seen or predicted…

And then, if you manage to get through this part, then you get punched in the face with a reality that isn’t going to pull any punches; the “funny” thing about this is that when you know you’re gonna get punched in the face, you know it’s gonna hurt but you don’t know how much it’s gonna hurt until you get punched; maybe it’s a tap that’ll get your attention or you wind up “waking up” and asking, “What happened?”

Breaking tradition is wonderfully and excitingly scary as fuck; it’s most certainly the scariest thing I’ve ever done and I don’t scare easily and the scariest thing isn’t what you do with this new-found “freedom” – it’s what you learn about yourself and, then, what you learn about your “partner in crime” as they travel this path at your side.

Tradition says that no one should ever have a reason to do something like this – you know, those “for better or worse” and “keeping only unto yourself” things that even unmarried couples are held to. Tradition is all well and good… right up to the moment when it’s realized that it’s not working as “promised” or expected and now you’re truly into the “worse” part of “for better or worse” and trying to figure out what to do and what most people do when faced with “worse” is to break up.

But what if you didn’t have to? A lot of people say that they could never do such a thing even when it does, in fact, dawn on them that if they were to do this or that, their relationship could be made better for it. Such a thought is, for another fact, one of those answers to the question, “What can we do to spice things up or otherwise make our lives together better than what it is at this moment?”

Another question is a lot more personal: What do I need to make me a better person for myself and my partner? And as strange as it sounds, sometimes you need an “outsider” to be able to answer that particular question as well as the “what can we do” question… but how do you do this and not fuck up everything in the process?

Did I mention that it’s not easy? Some believe that it’s impossible and I’ve known couples who’ve said this but have also allowed that, even as individuals, they’ve started working on how to make the impossible possible and more so when breaking up in any form isn’t a viable option.

“Well, if being together ain’t working for them, then something must be wrong and they need to break up!” This is what I’d call a typical sentiment and I’d say, “You’re right – there is something wrong but what’s wrong isn’t the two of them: It’s the institution they’ve “slaved” themselves to because it doesn’t allow anyone to be able to express themselves as may be needed and it sure as hell doesn’t allow for the personal growth everyone must experience.”

And it still begs the question: “What if breaking up isn’t the answer?” And many are discovering that there is another solution and one that takes all of the rules and just breaks the shit out of them. Even when I got faced with this, I was reminded of something my mother told me the day I told her I was getting married:

“Your marriage is only going to be a good as the two of you can make it…” – then she said, “I hope you know what you’re doing!”

Begs another question: What are you willing to do to make your relationship the best it can be? Today, and as mentioned, a lot of people are answering that question and even reshaping the question to read as, “What can we do to make our lives together better, happy and satisfying?”

It is said and accepted that you can’t have your cake and eat it, too; we accept that it can’t be and shouldn’t be done. We also tend to ask our partners, “What do you need? What do you want? What’s gonna make you happy being with me and happy with yourself?”

And we sometimes, ah, “foolishly” go about these things with the premise that if you’re with me, I’m all you’re ever going to need; we assume it and even swear before God and company that this is the whole truth of things… right up until you find out that it isn’t and since you’re not allowed to do a whole lot to change this, the only acceptable answer is to cut your losses and dissolve the relationship and hope that the next one will be better, well, until you realize that all you’re really doing is doing the same thing over again and expecting a different result.

Are alternative relationships for everyone? Not only no but hell no. It’s not the doing that makes it unthinkable – the roadblock is, in fact, that which we’ve all been made to believe; it’s the thing where you can sit down and have an intelligent and even logical conversation about this and even faced with stuff, the answer is usually, “Nope – not gonna do that!” even when it becomes clear that not doing that is leading to a place that neither person wants to visit.

You just get sick and tired of always breaking up with someone and hoping that by doing so, things will be better and it’s a lot worse when, as mentioned, breaking up with them just isn’t really an option; it’s not so much broken but it could be better, not only for us as a couple but as individuals.

Or, as I asked a couple once, “Why continue to suffer with being stagnant and stuck in a place that neither of you want to be in, both as a couple and as individuals? Are you really that selfish that you’re willing to let your partner go through a lot of really depressing shit just to satisfy your need to stick with tradition and if you are, Jesus, do you really love them as much as you say you do?”

They both said, “We don’t want to break up!” and I said, “Then don’t – figure it out and you’ll see what you need to do and once you both see it, work together to figure out how to make it work.”

They figured it out and made it work but as I also pointed out to them, the reason why it doesn’t work – outside of our belief that it can’t – is we don’t know how to “multitask,” for lack of a better word. Today you can go on the Internet and find a plethora of information that’ll give good hints and tips on how to do the impossible and even tell you why you should kick tradition to the curb.

Worried about your partner cheating on you? Well, would removing as many causes for cheating be of interest to you? Truth is, for many people, it’s not… because tradition says it shouldn’t be and that should tell you something. Then there’s this question: How much happier would you be as a person and as a couple if you could, indeed, have your cake and eat it, too?

Sound daunting? It should… because it is. Is it the “perfect solution?” Not always but that’s not so much a problem of execution as it is a problem in planning. I’ve heard people say that they could never be intimate with someone else while they’re with someone… and when every fiber of their being is screaming at them that this is what they need and/or what their partner needs so they can continue to be happy together. Doesn’t always mean sex; there is an emotional component at work as well… but we’re told to never try to love more than one person at a time and we pretty much believe this to be true; it’s said that if you try to do this, bad things will happen and it becomes a self-fulling prophesy or, if you think you’re gonna fuck it up, you’re gonna fuck it up even if you’re not consciously trying to fuck it up.

Now imagine yourself trying to think all of this out and trying to explain it to your partner and if it’s giving you a headache, you now understand why it’s even harder than it sounds. Some folks frown at those who embrace alternative relationships and they can’t appreciate what it takes for two people to jointly come to the conclusion and the decision to forego tradition and take a slightly different path. All those folks see are a bunch of soulless, immoral heathens and they don’t see a couple who, instead of letting tradition dictate their happiness, took matters into their own hands to create the best possible environment for themselves.

I’ve often wondered how many people get divorced or otherwise break up then it hits them that it didn’t have to happen like that and more so when all they had to do was ask a question and then put some answers on the table for consideration? Why don’t more people do this? Because, usually, they “know” the answer is going to be, “You gotta be out of your fucking mind!”

But if you don’t ask, you won’t really know and many of us are afraid to ask out of fear of reprisal and, yeah, that’s a real thing. Still, lots of couples (in particular) are asking; they’re putting it out there for consideration and finding ways to make it work and if you wanna see a real live example, go check out DDJennifer’s blog at (and to give Jennifer a shout-out).

The Temptation sang, “You make your own heaven and hell right here on earth…” and what would you prefer to do? Live in a heaven the two of you have created for yourselves, or continue to live in a hell that tradition has created for you?

That’s up to you to decide and, no, you don’t have to but if you’re unhappy with the way shit is going in your relationship and breaking up just ain’t gonna work for you, hmm, maybe it’s time to, at the least, talk about some shit, eh?

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Posted by on 6 June 2019 in Life, Living and Loving


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