I have a good friend who lives apart from her boyfriend; she has several regular male and female lovers, while he travels the world, finding spontaneous sexual encounters along the way.

I get that it can be hard for a lot of people to understand.

But it works for us, and it’s not as unusual as it seems. An open relationship is a form of non-monogamy, which is an umbrella term for any physical or romantic partnership that is not predicated on exclusivity. In this article I’m focusing on what Adam and I are and do: a committed couple that takes lovers.

It wasn’t until Adam and I created our arrangement that I realized I could actually have it all: commitment and freedom. I know lots of people who have very successful monogamous relationships and are really happy together.

But a lot of people are challenging the conventional relationship style, and it’s working for them—just like it’s working for me.

Once, I saw a Facebook profile of someone he ended up sleeping with, and she was absolutely stunning.

That was hard for me because I couldn’t help but compare myself to how I perceived her online (most of which was just illusions filled in by my very own brain, of course). Just because he was the cause of my hurt, it didn’t mean I couldn’t wait to run into his arms and have him comfort me. In monogamous relationships in the past, I was incredibly jealous all the time.

We made a new rule then: No sleeping with Facebook friends, no friending lovers. Every attractive woman was a potential threat in my mind, and I was paranoid about my boyfriends’ connections with other people.

Rule 5: Two different lovers in one week is a little much, so we try to avoid that. Since our communication never allowed for a simple conversation about how beautiful some woman was, or how cute a guy I saw was, any amount of flirting was catastrophic. Besides, a little jealousy can be healthy, and it usually fades after a few hours to a few days.

Adam and I enjoy variety, and we know firsthand that the presence of other lovers doesn’t diminish the feelings we have for each other.

We talk to each other as friends, and nothing is restricted from conversation, which means sometimes I ask him dumb questions I already know the answer to—like, “Do you still love me? ” (obviously yes, and obviously no, in that order)—just to hear it come from him.

When I really stop to think about it, I know that there’s very little chance that he’s seeing anyone who is going to be better for him than I am.