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I was just reading about a movie that came out last year called Breaking Upwards about a couple who decided to break up, BUT not really. The story is partly based on actual events between director/actor Daryl Wein and actress Zoe Lister-Jones, which definitely makes the storyline something to think about. The premise is that they decide that after four years of being together, it just wasn’t working as monogamous and they decide to slowly start to see other people while not actually “breaking up.” This intrigues me – even though my lack of relationship experience precedes me, the whole idea of being “in a relationship” means being loyal to each other, so I can’t imagine just going with the flow and having such an ambiguous relationship. Can “making the rules” to your own personal relationship actually work in real life?

Some things to consider about this type of relationship are:

1. Will you get jealous if your partner starts seeing someone else?

2. Does the “openness” or ambiguity make you uncomfortable?

3. Are you prepared to become monogamous or break-up if this situation goes in either direction?

While I don’t have the answers or examples to share of real-life application of this type of relationship, let’s consider the character Carrie Bradshaw in the movie that recently came out, Sex & The City 2. Carrie is a column writer for a living and actually writes about this exact topic in the movie, since her and her husband have decided to try something new in their relationship. At the beginning of this movie, her and her husband of two years, Big have been having some trouble accepting that it’s “just the two of us” with no baby in their future, although that’s by choice. While Carrie wants to go out and have fun, Big just wants to stay in and watch TV after coming home from work. With these conflicting lifestyles, Big suggests that they “make their own rules” in the relationship and have two nights a week where they stay in separate apartments and do what they want. While Carrie is hesitant at first, she decides that they should give it a try and at first it seems to work out. However, once they’ve done it once, Carrie starts to wonder if this is how their marriage will always be and panics. However, in the end, once they start to appreciate and miss each other, they decide to go back to living together and getting the “sparkle” back in their marriage.

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Despite “Breaking Upwards” being semi-fictional and Carrie Bradshaw’s situation being from a movie script, these same types of situations do happen in real life. I have a friend who was going out a guy for about two years before they decided to try “free love” and have an open relationship. Her boyfriend started seeing her friend on the side for a while, but in the end, they eventually became monogamous again. Since there was an understanding and limited jealousy, this situation worked for that moment in time (although they’ll no longer together today). What I’m trying to say is, it’s about the individual, the situation at hand, and the chemistry/trust in the relationship to begin with. It’s always possible for “making up the rules” to work, as long as both people are willing to try it and still put the same effort in the relationship to make it work. That’s what all relationships are about: always keep the communication open and anything is possible!

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