how our polyamorous clients build thriving relationships

Closing an Open Relationship

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When you’re exploring non-monogamy, it’s common to run into rough patches along the way. Things like jealousy, drama, and things getting out of balance.

And when that happens, you might wonder: “Should we close the relationship? Should we stop being non-monogamous? Should we go back to it just being us?”

If you (or your partner) have had that thought, you’re not alone.

Here’s the problem: 

There are some situations where going back to monogamy can save your relationship. There are others where it can cause your own relationship to implode. 

So if you’re wondering which situation YOU’RE in…

Listen to this episode!

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Josh 0:00
Alright folks. So today we're going to talk about closing a non monogamous relationship. So when you should do that, when you should avoid it, and most importantly, how to know the difference between the two times so stay tuned.

Josh 0:37
This podcast is about answering one question, how do you create loving, passionate, secure relationships outside the box? Even if nothing has ever worked before? If you want to know the answer, you're in the right place.

Cassie 0:50
All of this information is 100% free. So please subscribe to and review our podcast

Josh 1:00
Hello, everybody. So Cassie, I just realized we're in this new format now where we're also doing YouTube and we're doing this we're doing that and we haven't done a host chat for a little bit. Bad us.

Cassie 1:13
Mhmm. I'll flog you later for it.

Josh 1:16
I was waiting for something like that. You picked up what I was putting down. See this is about making your relationships work. Leverage stuff into fun. But with that being said, what's been going on for peeps?

Cassie 1:31
We just did a big family trip to the mountains, didn't we?

Josh 1:37
We did.

Cassie 1:38
Yeah.

Josh 1:38
It was awesome.

Cassie 1:39
Yeah, we took the the mancub who is getting very big and the little lion. So the toddler and the teenager and our partner Amanda and we went out there and we did a bunch of hiking. We went to a waterpark and really spent a lot of time outdoors and I feel really amazing after just being able to like connect with nature, things like that. And even while having like family time, stuff like that we got some sexy time in to. So that was awesome.

Josh 2:08
And helped our clients. It was a good mix. Like it was like a working, a little like working vacation family thing. Yeah, more family thing. I know y'all are used to hearing like super, like, crazy, ridiculous stuff from us. You know, I think last time we're talking about vacation, we're talking about like a lock in. This was not that by any stretch of the imagination. You know, that is one thing I'll say about having the little lion in the house. I love her to death. It does make family vacation so much more family vacation sometimes.

Cassie 2:39
Yeah, I mean, it's kind of hard to do, like, sexy lock in with the little lion like two bedrooms over.

Josh 2:46
Yeah.

Cassie 2:47
Yeah.

Josh 2:48
Yeah. It just is.

Cassie 2:49
And nursing. You know, like it's..

Josh 2:51
And talking.

Cassie 2:51
Yeah.

Josh 2:52
But with that being said, really good. And she's hiking now. Oh my god. She hiked so much like it is crazy. It's just like little legs go go go go go go go, go, go, go go. She's been crazy strong. She's doing like..

Cassie 3:07
Pull ups.

Josh 3:07
Well yeah, like dead hangs, "pull ups" is strong. But dead hangs now. Which is just insanity. Like, Mind blown by that

Cassie 3:17
And learning all kinds of words to so.. She picked up a whole bunch of words on vacation.

Josh 3:22
Oh, oh, yeah. Like iPad.

Cassie 3:24
Like iPad. While we were driving.

Josh 3:27
Honey.

Cassie 3:27
Yeah.

Josh 3:28
And well that was your fault, you... by saving the adults by playing music videos.

Cassie 3:35
We are not really big on like giving the kids electronics, but driving three hours with the toddler I let her have some music videos on the iPad.

Josh 3:45
Giving the baby electronics. The teenager's on electronics all the time. He's 17.

Cassie 3:49
Well, that's his decision. Um, but yeah, so she learned a couple of new words. And yeah, it was a lot of fun, had a blast. Had some really good, like dyad interactions as well as like triad interactions and family interactions.

Josh 4:09
Lots of fun. Yeah. So Alright, everybody. So that's an update on our lives right now. And with that, without further ado, I think we're gonna go ahead..

Cassie 4:20
And hop in.

Josh 4:21
And hop in.

Josh 4:28
All right, so here's a situation that we see a lot. You're in an existing relationship, you're invested, you want to protect it, and then you open that relationship up and things go sideways. Or not even necessarily I don't think all the time is that you open up and things go sideways, you know some may, and maybe it's been open for a while, but for whatever reason, things go sideways. So you're in a situation where now all of a sudden, you're arguing where maybe you weren't before or you're feeling jealous. You're at risk of losing your relationship, what are other situations like that?

Cassie 5:04
um, you and your partner just can't seem to get through making agreements, you can't seem to get on the same page, you're feeling like, the two of you are getting pulled in different directions. So in order to try to fix that you consider closing up your relationship.

Josh 5:20
And this is a really common thing, right? Because it's actually a lot of times, when you're in a relationship, especially an entwined relationship, or a relationship with some history to it. And especially, I think I see this a lot, especially in situations where maybe things were good, before you opened up, right? You get in a situation where one person or maybe even both people are tempted to close things like alright, like, this isn't worth it, right? Like, this isn't worth it, it's damaging our relationship, it's destroying our relationship, it isn't worth keeping it open, should we just close it down? And like I said, like, maybe one person who wants that, and maybe your partner is dead set against it, or maybe you both are really seriously considering it. And sometimes you might even have a veto arrangement in place, which we're going to talk about kind of as its own thing a little later. But where basically, if either one of you demands it, right, the relationship has to close up again. Right. So sometimes that can help your relationship. And sometimes it can destroy your relationship. Right?

Cassie 6:38
Yeah, I mean, it can cause a lot of resentment, you know, when you have partners or relationships, and then you, you know, end up wanting to close it up, one partner or the other. It can cause a lot of resentment between the two people in that relationship. Folks can end up being unfulfilled, they end up having lots of fights over whether or not they should be closing up their relationship. They end up in situations where they're like rehashing conversations over and over and over again.

Josh 7:09
Well and a lot of times what happens is they wind up in a situation where they agree to close things up. But they haven't really solved the problems. And they haven't really, like taken the non monogamy off the table. So really, they're just kicking that can down the road, right? Where they're going to close it up. And then maybe things will be better, maybe they won't for a period of time. Sometimes they're not, sometimes people never actually get over the initial issues that that caused, you know, the jealousy or the hurt, or the broken trust, or the breaks in communication or whatever. But either way, there's kind of kicking that can down the road, because eventually the non monogamy comes up again. And best case scenario, you're back to where you started now, right, which is, things were good before, and then you opened up, and they went poorly. And then you close up, and now they're good. And then you open up and you're right back to where you started.

Josh 8:03
But a lot of times, what happens actually is a lot of those problems like remain. So you're in a situation where maybe things were good. And then you opened up and things were bad and you closed and they never actually got good again. And now you're opening up again. Right? And really when you do that, you just wind up in like this ticking time bomb situation. So you really have to know the difference. So if you want to start with kind of like the false idea that people have that's causing the problem, Cassie?

Cassie 8:30
Yeah, so a lot of folks think, you know, if they just close the relationship, it will solve all the problems that are going on, right? Like if we close up, the problems will go away, and we won't have to face them. We won't have to deal with these things. And it'll keep us together, it'll protect our relationship. If we close up, we're going to be fine. If that's what we should, you know, if that's what we do, we should be okay.

Josh 8:57
Right? So you have that, right. And then and that's the biggest thing that's the biggest, like myth, I think that people believe is that closing up will solve the problems and protect the relationship when a lot of times it won't, actually, right. But there's a couple of other things that people kind of have in their head that I think are also untrue.

Cassie 9:21
Well the one is that you should be able to just suck it up and be monogamous for your partner. Like you should be able to do that. If you really love your partner, if you care about your partner enough. If your relationship is that important to you, you should just be able to just be monogamous.

Josh 9:42
Like it's a good thing. Like that's like a quality, right. For a lot of people, that's kind of like a... it's almost like a sign of how good their relationship is that they would be willing to do that they think

Cassie 9:57
They use it as a marker of like commitment. I'm so committed to you that I can suck this up and be monogamous. And the problem is, is that another part of these like false beliefs is that you can. That like being non monogamous is something you can just switch off like a switch. And that's not the case for a lot of people.

Josh 10:17
It's not the case for a lot of people, and I don't think it's the case for people to wind up in these situations, because the people who are in these situations, you know, it doesn't tend to be a lot of back and forth, right? Like you just give like, yeah, okay, let's close up. Like, it doesn't matter. This isn't that important to me.

Josh 10:31
And, you know, Oh, and there's one more, there's one more I don't want to forget, I love this one. A lot of times, a lot of people also have an idea that if they can just make their relationship good enough, your partner will stop wanting to be non monogamous. And this is especially true around sex, right? Like we see this all the time, where like, I'm talking to people. And it's like, well, you know, if I can just, I know she wants to be non monogamous now. But if I can just meet her needs in bed, then she'll be fine being monogamous, right, we can just close up and get rid of all these problems that we're having.

Josh 11:07
And with all of this, the problem is, is that for a lot of people, this isn't true, it isn't true that closing up will solve the problems. It might make it worse. It isn't true, that they can close it up and be okay. And that won't hurt the relationship. Right? It isn't true that their partner will just stop wanting it. So you'll wind up in these situations where they're thinking all these things, and they're making decisions about closing up based on all these things, not realizing that half of what they're thinking isn't actually the case. Right.

Josh 11:47
So here's the thing. You know, for some people, non monogamy is just fun, right? It's just something where it's like, it's awesome. Like, you know, it's great, it's great to be able to go and play with other people. That's fantastic. But, you know, if I don't have that in my life, I'm still gonna be happy, I'm still going to be fulfilled, I'm not gonna feel like I'm being inauthentic or I'm missing out on a part of who I am. I'll be good. That's just like a cool bonus to have. Right?

Cassie 12:14
It's the thing I do versus who I am.

Josh 12:16
That's the thing I do. That's fun. Not that I need, right? Because it goes even beyond that, that thing I do versus who I am. But it's the thing that I do, because it's fun, but it's not a thing that I need. Right? And you know, if you're one of those people, if this is just like fun, if being monogamous is just fun, right? And your relationship is at risk. Yeah, I mean, then close it off, by all means, close it off, at least close it off for now.

Cassie 12:42
Yeah, until things get better. And you've worked through some of the stuff and actually work through some of the stuff.

Josh 12:47
Yeah. But that's not always the case.

Cassie 12:50
No, for some folks, this is a part of who they are, it's something that they need to be happy and fulfilled in life. And it isn't something that they can just give up for, you know, because they love you enough. Or they can just stuff it away, that sort of thing. It's something that they need, and that's what they, you know, need to do to be a happy, fulfilled human.

Josh 13:14
Yeah, not everybody agrees with this example. Right. But I found that the easiest way for people to get their heads around this a lot of times who aren't polyamorous, they don't really understand what that is to people as an identity is, is to think of it like a sexual orientation. Right? So it's the same kind of idea that if you have somebody who is gay, and you're like, Well, can't you just turn that off and not be gay, right? Can't you just turn that off and be straight? Well, maybe they could do that if they were given the right motivation and incentives to do that. And in fact, a lot of people did for a very significant portion of history, and some people still do. But they aren't happy, fulfilled, healthy human beings when they're shoving that down.

Cassie 14:10
Yeah. And it's one of those things that yes, you can do that. But you're only living as a fraction of yourself. So yeah, so what happens?

Josh 14:23
Well, so there's kind of like three possible outcomes. So if this is okay, so let's say you're not one of those people, this is just fun. And this is something that it is a part of who you are, right and more importantly, the more important thing to understand. You can argue whether it's identity, whether it's for who you are, or whatever. The real important metric when I'm talking to people about this is are you able or going to be like a happy and healthy and fulfilled human without the non monogamy? That's really what we're talking about. Right?

Josh 14:48
If the answer is yes, sure. I'll be perfectly happy and perfectly healthy and perfectly fulfilled without it, and it's damaging my relationship then. Yeah, close up. But if one or both of you are in a situation where the answer to that is No, I will not be a happy healthy fulfilled human if I go back to being monogamous. You have one of three things that happens. Right? So either your partner refuses to close things up. If they're not monogamous, right, there just like, you know, no, I'm- this is a part of who I am. I'm not okay with it, I will not close up. And now you're in the situation of like do you- do you leave, do not leave, right whatever. The second part, the second thing that can happen is they agree and this this we see a lot, right where they agree to it, but it pops up again down the road worse, right? So this looks like a situation where ... you want to talk about this?

Cassie 15:00
No, you can go ahead.

Josh 15:21
Okay? This looks like a situation where like, okay, things aren't working. Right? I'm non monogamous, or you're non monogamous, or both of us are non monogamous, but things aren't working. So we're gonna close up our relationship. Cool. And this is a situation we talked about earlier, where the problem is, we're just kicking that can down the road, right? Because even if we managed to fix whatever damage going about non monogamy the wrong way has caused in our relationship, which a lot of times doesn't completely happen. Best case, we're back to square one. And we're having the exact same problems again, when we open things up down the road. And we will open things up down the road. Because again, one of us needs that to be a happy, healthy, fulfilled human being. Right, or the third option is that people agree to it. Right. But that unhappiness and that resentment builds up until it explodes.

Cassie 16:36
Yeah, and this looks like people cheating, right? This ends up being things like folks sabotaging their relationships and doing things to force a change in their relationship, maybe not even like completely, like, consciously, right? We just start being not really great people in our relationships, because of that unhappiness and resentment. And talking like, just about resentment, right? Like, folks get to the point where they end up just being so angry and upset, and, and just holding on to that against their partner. So your day to day interactions are reflected right? When I when I'm resentful of my partner, I don't treat them like I'm in love with them, like I care about them. Like, they're important to me, because it builds up, and it ends up impacting our emotional intimacy, our physical intimacy, the way we spend our time together, because I'm holding that thing. And it's not like you're intentionally holding on to resentment, it's there because you're not happy.

Josh 17:49
Well, and you know, a lot of people, we talked about this and other places, but a lot of people kind of view resentment as like a dirty word. But it shouldn't be, right, because resentment is just kind of like that natural thing that happens when I feel like I'm continually missing out on something in my life because of you. That's really all that it is when we talk about resentment, right? It's that anger, that irritation, that wondering if I'd be better off without you, right? That unhappiness, and you know, and that comes from like, knowing that I could be happier, I could be better, I could be more fulfilled. And I'm not because you're standing in the way of that. Right? It isn't about emotion. It's it's a natural thing that happens for everybody at certain points.

Josh 18:35
So like I said, so you kind of have the three things, right? Either you go and you're like, Hey, we're open. This is part of who one of us is, but we want to close it up. Either your partner refuses to close it up. They agree, but it pops up again down the road, right? And usually it pops up worse, because a lot of times those problems haven't healed from before, or just you get into it. You're both like, Oh my God, this again, right? So if it was jealousy, if it was arguing, if it was resentment, if it was whatever, that comes up worse, or you both agree to it, and you do it, but that unhappiness and resentment builds until something gives, and maybe it takes a long time, maybe it doesn't. Right.

Josh 19:15
But those are kind of the three options. And so, I want to take a second here and talk about veto. Right And like I said, most people probably know this, but for those who don't. A veto is just where we have an agreement and you know, it's like an established couple usually who's going into non monogamy. Right? Who has an agreement that if we get into this and one of us, you know for whatever reason decides we don't want to do this anymore. We will stop right?

Josh 19:47
Now, here is the problem with that though. And you know, there's a lot of discussion about whether veto is immoral and things like that, and I'm not even gonna go into that because at the end of the day, it really doesn't matter wether or not or how moral they are, because it doesn't work, right. So you shouldn't be doing it anyways, regardless of any conversation around the morality of it, and doesn't work precisely because of what we just talked about, right? If, if this is just something that is fun, right, you're not going to probably need a veto. Like if your partner loves you, and cares about you. And this is just something that's cool to have, and fun and nice. And you're suffering, they're gonna stop. Right?

Josh 20:32
On the other hand, if it's a part of who they are, a veto isn't gonna work. Because they'll either refuse, or they'll agree, but it'll pop up again, or they'll agree and maybe even stick to it. But that resentment and unhappiness will build until it explodes. Right? So a veto is just kind of like an option where nobody wins. Because here's the problem with that, right? If we have a veto, and Cassie is in love with somebody, and now I'm going to and saying, Hey, I'm invoking this veto, right? Not only is it not going to work, but it's not going to work and one of us now is going to be in a really shit situation. Because either Well, I mean, I'm gonna be in a really shit situation, you're- we're both gonna be in a real shit situation, because either Cassie is going to refuse and now she's broken an agreement. Or she's going to agree and then get to blame me and be pissed off at me for breaking off whatever she had going. Either way. It's, it's, it's like a mutually assured destruction option, right? So vetoes just don't work in situations where you would need them. And in the situations where they would work, you don't need a veto. Is there anything you want to throw in there with that.

Cassie 21:50
Um, just, you know, it's just to elaborate on what you're saying, like, at any point where you're in a situation where really the decision comes down to now either A, I have to break an agreement or B, I have to do something that I am going to be resentful and angry with you over and over again, it's usually not a good arrangement, and veto just solidifies that, like, there's going to be either resentment, or there's going to be a broken agreement. And it's just going to put you and your partner in a horrible, horrible position.

Josh 22:26
Okay, so we can shelve the whole moral, immoral discussion on vetos, they don't work. So don't do them. Right. Okay, so this is the important piece to understand. Because, you know, as we kind of started this off with you know, so that's a whole list of potential problems that you can run into, right. And, as we said, there are situations where closing up when you're running into problems can actually be beneficial. And there's situations where you can run in to all those problems that we just listed, right?

Josh 23:01
So what I want to spend a chunk of time here talking about for people, because I think this is a really important piece is how do you tell the difference between those two times? Right? You want to start or do you want me to start?

Cassie 23:18
You can go ahead and start.

Josh 23:19
Okay, number one, are they willing to. I mean, that would just be the first thing to figure out like, is your partner willing to go back, because if not, there's gonna be problems if you try and go back. And also, as I said, if they're not, right, more importantly, this is typically a need for them. Because again, somebody who really loves you and this isn't a really important thing to them is going to let it go when they're seeing you suffering and asking for it for the most part. So are they willing to go back?

Cassie 23:55
Um you can go on with the next couple.

Josh 23:58
Okay. So, and we were kind of talking about this with the identity but like if you feel like this is who you are versus something that you do. Right? You know, these are just kind of indicators that maybe you fall into that like this is more of a identity orientation, whatever you want to call it category than it is just like a fun thing that you're doing. Do you feel like this is a part of who you are, you know, a lot of times when I'm talking to people, they'll say like, I've always known this is who I am or this is who I have been for a long time or it would feel inauthentic of me, or like I was missing out on a piece of myself, or I wasn't being who I really am to go back to being monogamous if those things resonate with you, most likely you fall more in that category of like going to not be happy, going to not be fulfilled if you go back to being monogamous

Cassie 24:56
Yeah, and we don't ever like condone cheating but like, have you struggled with staying faithful to your partner in the past? Like is this something that you really have a hard time doing and you could find yourself getting pulled in that direction over and over again.

Josh 25:12
This is one of those like a good indication of like current behaviors, past behaviors kind of a thing. Like if you've always had trouble staying faithful, chances are you're not very well suited to monogamy. And again, I'm not saying that to excuse- anybody who watches our stuff, you know how we feel like you can still cheat in a non monogamous relationship. Not good at all. But let's be realistic. Like if you've in the past had trouble staying faithful, chances are you're not very well cut out for monogamy just doesn't seem like that works well for you. Okay.

Cassie 25:44
Also, this is something that you've been wanting for a long time, you know, you mentioned you know, folks saying things like, I've always known that this is something that has been a part of me, but also like, this is something I've been wanting for as long as I can remember, or years and years back. Anything else want to add to that?

Josh 26:04
No, not to that. I think another important thing, though, and this is the place a lot of people miss, I want to just like bold, star, highlight this one. What do your other relationships look like? You know, there's a big difference between we're going back to being monogamous, and Okay, Cassie comes to me, and she's like, hey, Josh, let's be monogamous, because Cassie is, you know that that's Cassie. She's the one who would come and have that discussion with me. Right? So she comes back to me and says that. There's a big difference between me considering this, and I've got a couple of play partners that I meet up with and do awful things to an events twice a year. Versus, I have someone who's a part of my life who I'm in love with and I've been with for three years. Four years, five years? A year. Right? There's a there's a big range there. And a lot of people don't take that into consideration. Yeah, like, you want to talk about a way to cause resentment.

Cassie 27:12
Yeah, that's making someone cut off a relationship that they've built with someone else.

Josh 27:16
Making them remove somebody that they love from their lives, that doesn't tend to go well. And it's important understand, this is where we're talking about resentment being a natural emotion. If I have somebody that I love, and I want to be with, and I'm giving them up for you. Resentment is probably going to come with that. And that- this is one reason why when we're working with people, one thing that we always consider because we will sometimes when we're working with people, tell them not to stop doing it. But to put things on hold for a brief while while we get things stable.

Cassie 27:55
Especially if like they're having a lot of problems and say, the couple who are coming to us are just dating, right? Like we're we're just kind of seeing people we don't really have anybody who like we're actually like seeing seeing we've gone on a couple dates, things are going really poorly. You might say okay, well don't go on a couple dates for a while, like it might be time to just focus on fixing what's going on here before continuing to date other people.

Josh 28:20
Well, yeah, and that's the point that I was making, right? Like cuz we will tell people sometimes put things on hold for a brief period of time. But one of the things we always consider with that is what relationships are already at play. Because again, it's one thing I mean, especially if, like neither of us have any other partners currently, and we're having a lot of suffering around the non monogamy. It's one thing to talk about putting things on pause for a few weeks, until we get us stable, right? Versus again, like if I have somebody who's deeply involved in my life who I'm gonna be cutting out, right that's a very different dynamic, and it's one a lot of people don't take into account.

Cassie 28:54
Yeah. And just speaking of resentment, you know, I want to, you know, this is a huge thing, right? The resentment from, you know, losing a partner things like that. But also like, one of the things you want to ask yourself is like, is closing this relationship going to cause a lot of regret and resentment towards my partner? Am I going to regret this and am I going to end up resenting you for this decision? And then if the answer is yes, it's probably not a good idea.

Josh 29:25
Well and then the last piece is well, I'll throw two things in here actually. Right. So one is does it feel like you'll be settling or something will be missing? If you're thinking like I will be settling for this, that's generally not good. That's generally again, a sign that like this is not something you're going to be totally happy with and fulfilled with. And, you know, I really think if I had to boil all of this down, right, like I said, like to one question, I kind of mentioned this before, like... Can I be a happy fulfilled, healthy, non resentful human being monogamous? If the answer to that is no, you know, that's a really important piece, right? The rest of these are like markers. But that's really the important piece this because the real question is, is this something you can put down without problems? Right.

Josh 30:17
Now, this is interesting. So the other piece of this too, though, that I want to talk a little more about, though, is this thing of closing down, and a lot of times it's mismatched and expectations that people have of, Oh, it's it's closed down, and we're done with this versus not. I know, we have a couple clients who have have fit into that you want to talk about that for a minute, because I think a lot of people here when they do make the decision, like, Hey, we're gonna put things on hold, don't really understand this is that kicking the can down the road thing we were talking about earlier?

Cassie 30:52
Yeah. We actually had, you know, two clients of ours that we have an interview with, who are doing fabulous now, but one of the places where they really got stuck was, you know, they had put things on hold, right, they were at a good place to put things on hold. Neither one of them had partners, things like that. And the one person thought, you know, hey, like, this is on hold indefinitely.

Josh 31:20
We're done.

Cassie 31:21
We're done.

Josh 31:22
He really thought they were done.

Cassie 31:23
Yeah, like, this is over

Josh 31:24
It's been on hold for a while we're done with this.

Cassie 31:26
It's been on hold for a while, haven't talked about it. And she went out and she, like, kind of came across somebody and was like, you know, like, the whole time was not very happy with things staying on hold. And then finally it came up, that she had somebody that she was possibly interested in, like, she was like, okay, like, hey, we've had this thing on hold for a long time. Let's open things up now. We've been in a pretty good spot. And that was one of those situations where their relationship did get better while it was closed. But then they started talking about opening up, those conversations started getting rehashed.

Josh 32:05
That isn't what happened, they thought it was closed. And then he thought it was closed and she met somebody.

Cassie 32:09
Yeah.

Josh 32:10
It wasn't just it didn't start coming up again, she met somebody. So that's what happened.

Cassie 32:15
Yeah. And what I'm saying is, is they started having the conversation about..

Josh 32:18
Oh yeah, same things again.

Cassie 32:19
Yeah, what they, they, you know, we're gonna do their agreements, things like that, um, you know, and he was like, Whoa, like, I thought this thing was like, indefinitely on hold. And her perspective was no, like, hold was a hold for a little while. So we see this a lot with folks where, you know, one partner has a very different expectation of what the length of hold is. And sometimes even you, the person who's like, yeah, I can hold out for a while, I really don't have a good idea of how long that is something that you're willing to tolerate. Because it is something where you are missing out on who you really are.

Josh 33:00
So here's what's important to understand. Right? So, you know, basically, the important thing to know, for yourself, is that, like I said, like, there's, you know, if you're in the spot where you're wondering, like, hey, like, is closing up good for our relationship? Is closing up bad for a relationship? Like, should I close my relationship? You know, the answer is, it really depends, right? It's important to know, which is which. And I want to actually do this, because when you realize what is really here, right, you wind up being able to set yourself on an educated course, that's actually going to serve your relationship well versus one that's inadvertently going to make things worse, right?

Josh 33:42
So there's basically kind of three, you know, you're in a relationship, you're asking yourself this question, should we close things up? There's actually kind of three outcomes, and I want to pull this because I think this is gonna be really important for people, right? Because it actually isn't just break up or not break up, or close up or not close up, right? Cuz there's kind of a middle ground there too. So I think it's important to really break down for people.

Josh 34:08
Okay, so really, the question is, do we close up? Do we close up on a brief hold? And I want to talk more about that, because that's a really specific thing, right? Or do we stay open? I'm going to spit ball here, right? But basically, this is how I want you to think about this, right? If the answer is if you're in a situation, your relationship suffering and you're wondering, should I close up? Should we take a pause? Should we do whatever. If the answer is this is just something that's fun. I'm gonna be totally fine with it. we'll both be happy, fulfilled satisfied humans without the non monogamy. Then the answer is yes, you can put things on hold. Or sorry, you can stop doing this. You can close the relationship up. You don't have to reopen it. You can close it up and that's fine. And I really, I really think that's the only situation in which it's, you're going to be safe to say, close it up, right is where both you and your partner are in a spot, and this is a nice to have, it's not who you are, you're gonna be happier and be healthier and you're gonna be fine.

Josh 35:15
Oh, and this is kind of a part of that, but like you don't have any deep relationships that people are gonna be resentful for breaking off, because then you won't be a happy healthy, not resentful human. Okay? If the answer is no, like, this is part of who we are, it's something we're going to need, or at least one of us is going to need to be happy and healthy and fulfilled, then you're just causing more problems than you're solving by trying to close it.

Cassie 35:39
Mhmm.

Josh 35:39
Right? So then the question becomes, do you keep going? Or do you put things on hold? So when you're thinking about talking to clients about closing completley isn't an option, so do you keep going versus putting things on hold? What are the things that you look at? And that you tell people?

Cassie 35:56
So when determining whether or not you should open up or not, like I'll talk with folks about, you know, first off, what is the current state of their relationships? Are we you know, with anybody? Is there any other relationships going on, you know, to determine whether or not they shouldn't close? If I'm actually going to be able to stick to it? Is this something where I'm going to say yes, but like, in two weeks, you know, I'm going to be like running back to an old partner or cheating, etc, is this something that I can actually do, we also look at, you know, are the problems that you're trying to solve, actually going to be impacted by being closed?

Cassie 36:43
So what I mean by this is, maybe some of the issues are like things like time management between us, that's something that we can actually work on, and get set up. So that way, when we reopen, we're in a better spot. Or the connection or things like that. Now, if it's, I get really jealous, when you're out on dates, well, maybe we don't maybe closing up isn't really what we need to do right now.

Josh 37:04
Because they're not gonna be able to work on it.

Cassie 37:05
Well, I'm not gonna be able to work on that, right, like, closing up isn't gonna make any sense. So it's really those three things is is the first like, you know, what are the state of the relationships? And you know, from there really taking a deep dive into what exactly is going on? And does it make sense? Does it actually make sense to close things up? So that way you can work on specific things or not?

Josh 37:27
Well, and this is what's interesting that you said right is, and I want to, well, everything you said is interesting, but I want to pull up like the one thing again, I really want to pull out here because I think it's the place so I think it's a place people really fall on this is the other relationship. So often people ignore that. And, and they think that it's good to put things on hold no matter what, what people's other relationships look like. And like I said, like and that, that a lot of times does lead to broken agreements, that leads to resentment, that leads to more hard feelings, that now you're having to work over. Because I've actually made it harder, we've actually made it harder now to work through the challenges that we're having. Because not only are we arguing and whatever, and still have to fix all that. But on top of that I'm now pissed off that this person that I like love deeply and I've talked to every day for three months, now I can't talk to you for the next like, six, eight weeks because of you. Right. You can't forget that piece. I went through it, because I think so often people do. Completely.

Cassie 38:25
Yeah. And it builds just so much negative interactions and energy between the people you know, like when we're trying to work on our relationship, it's very hard to work on those things. When you're angry, when you're upset, when you're resentful, those things like connection or intimacy or time, it makes it even harder to work on any of that when you're angry and upset. Because you're in that mode of like, screw you, why do I want to give you more time, right? Like you end up being in that spot where you're not cooperative, where you're not a team player with your partner.

Josh 39:01
Well, and, here's the other really important piece too, that I want people to understand. A hold is a hold, right? What we typically see happen a lot of times is we're putting things on pause. But that pause is basically a de facto how the relationship is from here out. Because we don't, we don't have any planned process in place to work on it right? By definition, if we're putting things on hold to work on our relationship, right, we have to actually have a plan and a timeframe to fix the things that are going on and to reopen our relationship. Because otherwise we're not really on pause. We're really choosing to close our relationship and then all those problems come in where people are resentful, and they are upset and you know, things do wind up blowing up and all of those things. So I can't stress this enough. Right? When we're talking about putting things on hold. This is very different from how most of you are thinking about putting things on hold. When we're putting things on hold with our clients, we're like for a period of blank number of weeks, we're putting things on hold while we do intensive work on our relationship. But our clients actually have a plan to A fix their relationship and B of how and when they're going to reopen things. So there isn't this feeling of being stuck in limbo or this feeling of, well, we're saying we're on hold, and you're saying we're on hold, but really, you're closing the relationship up. And now I'm going to be stuck here. Right?

Josh 40:28
Because it basically is just closing things up and giving it a pretty name. It's calling it putting it on hold. But if you don't know when you're coming off, hold and you don't have a process to get there, you're not actually putting things on hold. You're closing things up at that point.

Cassie 40:43
Mhmm. Not intentionally.

Josh 40:48
without the stated intention of it, sometimes it is intentional, right? Like, so there's that as well.

Cassie 40:55
Well, I was saying you're closing it up without actually intentionally doing that with your partner and making that a decision that the two of you made together.

Josh 41:03
Right. So here's, here's what's so awesome about this, right? When you understand which of these categories that you fall into, you're much better equipped to move through challenges in your non monogamous relationships, because most of the time for people, like I said, they don't know which of those things that they fall into. So they close up, when that's going to make things explode, or they stay open, when it actually would have been better to put things briefly on pause, or maybe to completely close things up completely, because that's just the kind of relationship that they're in, is one where that's not really that important, right.

Josh 41:48
So knowing which of those categories you fall into, can give you a massive head start on fixing things in your relationship, right? Now, and that really sets you up to be able to find a path forward out of the arguing, out of the jealousy, out of the the drama, and the conflict, and the time management issues and whatever challenges you're facing, right, and to actually come out the other side of that with like happy, loving, thriving relationships.

Josh 42:25
Now, if you're still not sure, which of those categories that you fall into, we can help, right, like we help people sort that out all the time. And the other piece I'd throw in too is, even if you were in the category, where you think that you might be better off, putting things on hold for a little bit, and you're listening, and you're actually pretty sure that that's the category that you fall into. Right. The second piece of that, like I said, that's really important is that in order for it to actually be a pause, or a hold, you have to actually have a path out the other side, right, to solving the problems, and to actually reopening the relationship so that this doesn't become a hold that's actually like a de facto, closing things up until things do blow up. Right.

Josh 43:12
So if you're in either of those situations, either you don't know which of those categories you fall into, or you're pretty sure you fall into the needing a hold category, but you need a plan to come out the other side of that, like, here's what I want you to do, right? Go to atouchofflavor.com/call that will take you to our calendar, you can pick a time on there, you can book a free breakthrough call, right? Pick a time, we'll hop on with you at the time that you picked, right. Really dive into these things like go through step by step by step, it'll be the best hour that you've ever spent on your relationships, and will really nail down for you if you should be putting things on hold, if you should be closing things up. And at any rate, like from there, how you're going to repair, the damage that has been done, and actually move forward in a plan to make progress to get to a point of opening things again, so that it is actually a hold versus a closing up. Anything you wanna throw in there.

Cassie 44:07
No, you summarized it very well.

Josh 44:09
All right, so everybody, with that being the case, I'm just gonna sum this up real quick, right? A lot of times we get in a situation where we're in a non monogamous relationship, we're having problems, maybe it was even good before we opened things up. And one of us gets tempted to close things up. And sometimes that's great. And sometimes that's disastrous, right?

Josh 44:32
There's really three options at that point. Either you close things up entirely. You put a temporary hold in place with a plan and a path back to opening things up, or you leave things open. What's going to determine where you fall on those things? Well, number one, if this is something you need, if you can be a happy functional, both of you, actually both of you in the relationship can be happy, functional, healthy, non resentful human beings with closing things up? And if the answer to that is yes, and if being open is causing a lot of drama and strife and suffering, then close things up, that's fine. Maybe you try again down the road, maybe you don't, but feel free to close things up.

Josh 45:15
If the answer to that is no and one of you will not be able to be happy and fulfilled and complete, then closing that up is a path that is disastrous. So at that point, you can look and if you have problems that you can address, in a realm where you're not monogamous, right, like where you can work on things between you two, and also like your current relationships are amenable to where people are going to get resentful about putting a pause on their current relationships. And there was one other thing that you said. What was the third criteria?

Cassie 45:52
The third criteria as in, you know, actually having..

Josh 45:55
Put things on hold.

Cassie 45:56
As far as you know, so it was, you know, making sure that you actually have a plan for when it's being opened.

Josh 46:03
And you actually have a plan for when it's being opened. Right, then you can put things on pause for a bit, but putting things on pause looks like actually having a plan. And, you know, if you're in a situation where you know, the problems are things that are specifically you're going to have to solve while be non monogamous, or you have people involved in your life or your partner does where it's going to hurt and make people more resentful and make it harder to work through things with breaking things off, then you work through them open. But knowing which of those categories that you fall into, is critically important. And just as important, is if you are putting things on hold, making sure it is an actual hold, instead of really closing things up. Anything else?

Cassie 46:46
No.

Josh 46:46
All right, everybody. So great talking to you. And we will see you next time.

Josh 46:57
Thanks for tuning into today's show. We release new episodes every week. So make sure to subscribe.

Cassie 47:03
If you're ready to transform your relationship and you'd like to see if you're a fit to work with us, here's what I want you to do next. Head over to atouchofflavor.com/talk and book an appointment to speak with our team. We'll get on the phone with you for about an hour. And we'll get you crystal clear on three things. What's really not working in your relationships, what your dream relationships would look like and a step by step plan to close the gap and save your family. Even if nothing has worked before.

Josh 47:31
We talk with hundreds of non monogamous folks like you every year. And here's the truth, building loving, thriving relationships that doesn't happen on its own. You need expert guidance to make that happen. And unfortunately, when you're building relationships outside the box, that's impossible to find and we get it. But that's exactly what we do. We've helped clients all over the world, save their families, get the passion back and become best friends again.

Cassie 47:55
So if you want to see if we can help you do the same, head over to atouchofflavor.com/talk. I'm Cassie.

Josh 48:03
And I'm Josh. Let's talk soon.