When J and I opened up a little over two years ago, it was thrilling, but I also knew we were embarking on totally uncharted territory (for me, anyway). J's uncle said to him a couple months later "You're like infants with all of it, if you've been programmed one way since birth until now. To change it all, it's like starting over." (something along those lines.) It's so true. It's like learning a new language of sex, love, and relationships, and of how control, freedom, communication, and honesty play a role in my life.
One way I like to mark sub-conscious both positive and negative changes in myself (related to overall feelings about a person or situation or area of my life) is to take note of particularly vivid dreams. You know how people say you really know a second language if you begin to dream in it? I have realized my dreams can tell me how my learning of this new language of love and relationships is working out. Last night, I had a dream, the first of its kind (that I remember at least)...
J and I were at our swingers' club, but it wasn't our swingers' club. We were flirting and socializing. I played with a couple of people at separate times, randomly, even without J there. A little later, I realized that he was with people, too. My feelings: completely neutral. I understood why, didn't feel jealous or envious or left out. I ended up going home by myself and waiting for him, and when he got home, he told me about how he had a threesome with some other friends of ours and had fun. He gave me a big hug and kiss.
The feelings I remember best: feeling neutral throughout most of it, and then later feeling slightly irritated that we didn't communicate more clearly about what we were each doing. Irritated that I went home by myself without knowing his plans.
But, really- what a difference from dreams I have had in the past. And what a difference from how I felt about things, in a global sense, from a couple of years ago. (When we first opened up, I was totally gung-ho about casual sex and desiring sexual variety, but I don't those concepts changed structurally in my brain right away. I was just on board for them to change.)
I think a large part of what has changed so markedly is that casual sex is very non-threatening for me. I don't feel control issues coming up; within the framework of casual sex, there just isn't much that I feel threatened or upset by.
Casual sex is just part of what J and I do within our open relationship. And so, obviously, I have other things I work on (related primarily to the feelings of threat I experience around J having intimate romantic relationships). But it is really refreshing to realize how ideas around sex and control and relationships do change. I think it just takes time.