This week we’re joined by married authors and love coaches Carl and Kenya Stevens. They can not only help you get your love life on track, but can also help you navigate creating a relationship that is uniquely your’s. What does that mean? For the next hour we’re going to open your mind to open marriage.
Link to this week’s guest(s): http://www.jujumamablog.com/
FRANK RELATIONSHIPS: OPEN MARRIAGES
Guests: Carl Stevens, Kenya Stevens
Date: December 03, 2012
Frank: This week we’re joined by married authors and love coaches, Carl and Kenya Stevens. They cannot only help you get your love life on track, but can also help you navigate creating a relationship that’s uniquely yours. What does that mean? For the next hour, we’re going to open your mind to open marriage.
Welcome to Frank relationships, where we provide a candid, fresh and frank look into relationship with goals of acceptance, respect and flexibility. I’m Frank Love and you can find me, my blog and my very social media incarnations at franklove.com. Once again, I’m joined by my co-host Dr. Gale.
Dr. Gale: What’s up? What’s up?
Frank: She’s got a doctorate in Psychology and ain’t afraid to use it. What’s up Dr. Gale?
Dr. Gale: I’m good. How are you?
Frank: I’m great. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a 100 times, getting married means different things to different people. I see three different ways we can get hitched, being married on paper, being married in front of clergy and being married, because two people say, “We’re married,” but no matter how most of us in America look at what getting married means, most of us don’t think of more than one partner as being a part of that equation and when we do, there’s usually an assumption of adultery, cheating or some other form of deception, but this not be the case. In fact there are married couples that sanction, embrace and even promote each partner having others and not just other sexual partners, but other full and loving relationships.
Enter two married authors and love coaches; they’ve written a book, Change a Man, Tame Your Woman and The Progressive Love Handbook, and also well into their second decade of parenting and marriage and theirs is—yep—open.
So, if you’re as curious as I am and want to know how the subject of an open marriage was initially broached between the two of them, how they manage multiple partners and how they prevent jealousy from rearing its ugly head, listen closely and welcome to Frank Relationships. Carl and Kenya Stevens, thanks for joining us.
Kenya: Hello, Frank.
Frank: How are you?
Carl: Oh, we’re feeling good. I feel good. How are you?
Dr. Gale: Sounds like you’re ready to get started.
Carl: Always, always.
Frank: And she is.
Kenya: *(inaudible) 03:10
Carl: Yeah, can you hear me?
Kenya: Yes. Okay.
Frank: Alright, first up, what is open marriage?
Carl: Well, open marriage is basically a marriage where you can be open and honest about and authentic in your relationship and that tends to include different things for different people. For us, what it means is that we are able to have other relationships as we see fit, that we’re able to love each other and love others unconditionally.
Frank: Now, has your relationship always been open?
Kenya: No, I wouldn’t say that. When we first got married, we were in a normal, monogamous relationship where you cannot really tell your partner everything that’s on your mind, because some of it is going to get you in trouble. We were not—yes, in one of those pseudo-type of arrangements when we first got married. We were very young, 21 and 25 and so that’s what we had.
Frank: And were you all happy or did you act all happy, lovey dovey and like everything was going just perfectly, but underneath it all, there was some undercurrent or was there clear turbulence, because it was not really open or you could not be open with one another?
Carl: Well, actually Frank with our relationship, we actually were happy. We did have the standard disagreements and arguments and going back and forth as you find in any relationship, but Kenya and I, we could basically always be open and honest with each other. We could tell the truth and that type of thing.
I think the unhappiness was in our relationship came more out of accepting a certain paradigm with relating as truth, right? So we fell under like monogamy is the way and that’s how it should go and anything else outside of that means that you’re not normal or there’s something wrong with you. And so I think it was more of a social paradigm that maybe caused a lot of issues in our relationship as opposed to the connection Kenya and I had; because we can always be open and honest with each other and that’s actually how we got into the open marriage in the beginning, was our ability to be honest. So I think that was just the difference. It wasn’t so much that we weren’t happy, we were happy, but we were just living somebody else’s dream.
Dr. Gale: I’m glad you guys brought up monogamy, because that’s been a topic that we’ve discussed several times on our show. Do you guys not believe in monogamy?
Carl: Well, it’s not about “do we believe in monogamy,” human beings are not a monogamous species. Monogamous species have several traits; first and foremost, they only have sex, for instance, during a woman’s fertile period. So, that would mean human women wouldn’t have sex beyond the two days that she’s fertile per month, like monogamous species who have sex once a year when they are fertile. Another, there are a few traits that would make us monogamous—would put us into a monogamous category like those animals that are monogamous and we just don’t have those traits. Another one, for instance, the male’s penis is retractable in monogamous species and the male doesn’t have a large penis to body ratio, because he’s not using he penis as much as human animals. So, humans are not a monogamist species, so it’s not really an argument to be had, the only argument should be—the question should be asked is, “Why are we believing and functioning as if we are monogamous when anatomically, biologically we are not?”
Frank: So why are we believing that or many of us?
Carl: Well, there’s basically a standard narrative that’s been accepted over the past 1000, 2000 years, that basically says, that (a) women are not sexual creatures, that men are sexual creatures, that says that (b) the romantic aspects of relating is the foundation for marriage, so the Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, like the falling in love is the reason to get married—is the foundation of a relationship; that’s standard narrative, so a long story short, there are a lot of ideas that are projected about our human sexuality about men and about women that just are not true, but are supported by the church, are supported by certain organizations, male dominated organizations who really believe that this is the right thing. And then the other backdrop to it Frank is, there’s this thing called agriculture that came out about 10,000 years ago, which started the concept of ownership, which started the concept of paternity certainty, which is I need to understand and know who my children are, so I can pass my land and possessions down to them. So, with the advent agriculture with the ownership of things, it became important to men to know who their children were and therefore became important to make sure that women did not have multiple sexual partners as they have throughout time. So the combination of those two things, the standard narrative on sexuality plus the advent of agriculture which invented scarcity of everything, including love and property, etc. has put us into a framework that we have practiced, which is called monogamy.
Frank: I’m going to fast forward a whole lot. I want to backtrack at some point, back to where I was about to take the conversation, but I want to know, since you guys have sanctioned one another having different sexual partners, suppose Kenya were to get pregnant, would you want to know who the father was? Would you test in all that so that you could know where your linage was and that sort of thing?
Carl: Well, you’re asking me, Frank?
Carl: I would say that if Kenya got pregnant, just to keep it real, we would probably know who the father was, because I don’t see her having that many sexual partners, we would have to figure it out. In terms of, “Is it important?” Yeah, I mean it’s the same thing when you look at the black community today Frank, and really all communities, if I love my wife, if I love this woman, that means I accept her and all [of her children] 09:51 and I raise them as my own. So, I would expect that I’d be involved and function with that child as if he or she was my own and I would also expect that the true paternal father of that child also participates. Whether he does or not is irrelevant, I have love for my wife and for Kenya, therefore I would be there for her, regardless of what does down, but I believe as men, we should take care and love all children just like we should take care and love our wives and women.
Dr. Gale: Let’s talk about God a little bit, since you mentioned it earlier. How do you guys view this in relationship to God, to religion are you guys religious? How does that work in your relationship?
Kenya: Well, I think you know the answer to that question. We believe that God is everything, all things. We believe that God is love. We have a different understanding, we don’t necessarily participate in any of the big three traditions. In fact, we believe that the big three traditions today is in the [Islamic] 10:52 Christianity have had major *(inaudible) 10:57 in transforming our sex lives into what it looks like today, which clearly doesn’t work. You have a 70% divorce rate in the African American community.
The Christian faith, the Christian community has the largest divorce rate of any nonsecular group in this country. So, for themselves their traditions don’t work. So, it’s not as though we are against those persons, we respect those persons, we respect all people, because we actually believe in the real essence of what God would be, which is love. So, we love everyone. But I think just in a few minutes you knew that we aren’t hung up on following someone’s idea of what is law or what is tradition or what is religion.
Dr. Gale: So, then I guess my question is, why get married then? Why not just stay single and live single lives?
Carl: Well, in terms of marriage, marriage is basically—from our standpoint, me and Kenya—is a spiritual union and it basically means that you’re going to be with this person for life, that you’re going to stay committed to your collective growth and development. It also means that you accept certain things, for example, having children or combining finances or whatever may come down the road. So, to me marriage has nothing to do with sexual exclusivity or how you tend to carry your relationship; it has more to do with the connection you have with your partner.
So, you look at Kenya and I, we know for a fact and can say unequivocally that we will be together for life. So, when you have a partnership like that, when you’re with someone like that, the marriage is a logical conclusion. Is it necessary? No, you don’t have to get married, but for us we enjoy the family life, we enjoy having children, we enjoy our unit, we enjoy our life and love and growth together and so marriage makes sense for us.
Frank: Does having other partners make the commitment and the willingness to stay together for life easier?
Kenya: Well, would I have said “yes” 10 years ago, but I say “yes” now. I think what happens when young people get married, is that no one tells them what really happens with love, what really happens during the bonding period where you feel in love and then how that transitions to an unconditional love. Now, you do have the elders who go through it, but I don’t know that they transfer that information—you understand—to the youth and say, “Look, you’re not always going to feel this way about your partner.” Things change over time, people change.
Frank: They do.
Kenya: Everything changes, but yeah, I forgot the question, because I’m thinking about my grandmother and why didn’t she tell me.
Frank: Often I think our elders believe that the reality and the truth can be too much for young people and that could be young people that are 10 years, 20 years, 30 years old, they think that it’s best to just let them experience things for themselves and come to the realities on their own. I don’t know if that’s the best way to go about it, it’s certainly not what I’m prone to do, but I think it’s how it shakes out often. Carl—
Carl: *(inaudible) 14:24
Frank: Go on.
Carl: And the way you got to call it is, we live in a culture where lying is accepted.
Carl: Say, it’s an expectant way that you’re going to function. We learn to lie as children, if somebody knocked the vase down and your mom says, “Who did it,” you’re not going to fess up, because you don’t want to be punished. The same thing happens in school and everywhere, we’re in a culture where lying is expected and that’s just how it is.
When you look at the relationships of our elders, they’re based on basically a number of things that are not true and when you look at things like the divorce rate and the infidelity rate, that just kind of shows that there’s something that’s being done that’s not up front, like if these people are not talking about the reality of their relationships. So, in order for them to bring that to us, it wouldn’t be expected, because they’re not talking about it amongst each other.
We know for a fact—I know for a fact, I can look at couples, especially the older generation and know that there’s a number of things going on in each of their heads that the other partner does not know about. It’s not about cheating and stuff like that, statistics out there that 80+ percent of women fake organisms in the bed and their husbands don’t know about this stuff. You mean, we’re not being honest about ourselves and our relationships and our sexuality. So, if you can’t talk to your husband or your wife about the truth, then it wouldn’t be expected you would to talk to your children about the truth. So that’s what we have, we have a culture that’s built upon the belief that it’s okay and accepted to lie about reality.
Kenya: But the basic question was, is it better to live in a situation like this? Does it make the marriage better? The answer is “yes” when you can be authentic, you always feel freer.
Dr. Gale: And so let me ask you this with regard to you guy’s relationship, it sounds like emotionally—you guys are connected emotionally with children and finances and things of that nature, but sexually is where you seek that outside relationship for. Is that accurate?
Kenya: No. We realized that outside relationships have everything to do with emotional support, just as much as they would sex. I need a man to go and play chess with, I need my girlfriends to go to the mall with, I need other people beyond my husband. My husband cannot provide all of my emotional needs, nor my sensual needs, nor my financial needs and he shouldn’t be expected to.
Frank: What do you guys have to say about General Petraeus and his recent situation?
Kenya: I’ll let my husband speak on that.
Carl: I mean, well first of all, we don’t know what is really going on with General Petraeus–
Frank: Here, here.
Carl: [Even at] 17:22 face value, which how he had an affair. I think it’s ridiculous that, (A) he couldn’t talk too his wife about his feelings, but I understand why he couldn’t, because he would get punished probably if he did that through a threat of divorce or mental and emotional abuse from her, but (B) I think it’s ridiculous that he would have to leave his position, because he did something that was totally and completely normal for any balanced human being to do, which is to desire and seek touch.
Now, of course he was in a place where he needed to tell the truth and not lie about the fact that he was having an affair. He needs to be able to talk to his wife about that, so let’s get that out there first, that he needs to be up front with her and say, “Look, I have feelings for another woman, let’s try to deal with this like adults,” but in terms of the way he’s castigated in society or the fact it would even be thought of for him to leave his position, because he had sex, because he put his penis in another woman is ridiculous.
Frank: I’m going to take what you said and one step further and say that, we don’t even know if he did not tell his wife, we basically, simply know that it would not have been politically accepted if he did tell his wife or acceptable, that if he did tell his wife and the world found out about it.
Carl: Exactly, exactly.
Frank: Okay, how did your relationship begin and I’m not talking about your formal marriage? How’d you guys meet?
Kenya: We met at Howard’s University, my husband was studying at the NBA and I was getting my undergraduate degree and we met on a blind date. It was love at first sight; three days later I knew he was my husband. I just felt that and we enjoyed spending everyday together after that. Literally for 17 years now.
Frank: How long did you date until you got married?
Carl: We dated—well we met on August 25th of ‘95 and we were married August 17th in ‘96.
Carl: But with Kenya and I, we were both in a place where we knew we had found the one, we connected on a very solid level and we just went straight to the altar. It was what we felt was best.
Frank: And so how did the relationship—once you got married, I don’t know whether we’ve said it so far on the show or if I read it, but you were “monogamous” for some period of time, how did the relationship turn into an open relationship?
Kenya: Well, we were monogamous for the first 11 years. However, I had an episode at year four, where I actually fell in love with another man. Now, this man never knew and we never had sex, but my husband—I did tell him, because I kept having dreams about this boy. I was like, “Oh I really like him,” so I told my husband. I told our marriage counselors and they said, “Table it; you can’t do anything about it. Let it go,” but it was really hard. I kept dreaming about him. So, I went through that very difficult episode. So, at year 11 when my husband told me, “I feel that way.” He came home from work one day and said he felt that way about someone. I understood, because I had been there and I know that it wasn’t a disrespect to my husband, I know that I didn’t do it on purpose, I know I wasn’t just searching for booty. So, I knew that it was a natural thing. So, we talked about it.
Dr. Gale: So, let’s go back to you guys—you mentioned marriage counselors and I believe you guys went to counseling every year or something like that in your marriage?
Carl: And we—
Dr. Gale: Go ahead.
Carl: No I said, yeah, we had individual counselors and marriage counselors and we met with them frequently throughout the year. I would say at least maybe six to 10 times throughout the year, depending on what kind of things came up in our lives. But yeah, we’ve had counselors for about 10 years and so we firmly believe in the concept of having somebody who’s older than you, more experienced than you, who could help guide you throughout the relationship process. I think young people need that.
Dr. Gale: And so did you explain this or express this to your counselors; your open relationship or you thought of your open relationship?
Kenya: By the time that we actually opened our relationship it was year 12, so we didn’t have marriage counselors anymore, we had that for the first 10 years of our relationship.
Dr. Gale: Okay and so what was the need you guys felt like you had to have counselors at that time?
Carl: To be honest, it’s something that we believed in, that we desired, because of the people that we were around. We just saw a benefit in it, but on top of that I could also say, we were just receptive to elders in general—
Dr. Gale: Yes.
Carl: And they suggested that and believe that we should have that, so we did.
Kenya: Yes and it was great.
Dr. Gale: And so you mentioned the black community earlier and often times it this, “I believe” taboo in the black communities, so how did you guys come to the realization that, “Hey, we’re going to go ahead and do this.” Did you feel awkward explaining it to your friends? How’d you open that up to your friends, your children?
Kenya: Well, when we decided to do it, of course, it took two years to make the decision. So, that’s something that people really have to understand that we didn’t go running into this. Two years to discuss the concept and so once we decided to do it, we were clear. We had drawn up—we have a blog, we’ve written books, you understand. We had come up with a concept that we were going to promote and utilize in the world, so it was more than just, “Oh yeah, we’re going to have sex with other people.” No, “We’re going to reshape the face of America by changing and making love work for couples.” You understand?
Frank: So are you promoting open marriage or are you simply saying, “This is our story?”
Kenya: No, we promote progressive love, progressive love is something totally different than open marriage, but it allows for the authenticity. We just want people to be authentic, no matter whom they have sex with, so that marriages can last.
Dr. Gale: So, can you explain the concept of progressive marriage for us or progressive relationships and progressive love?
Carl: Yeah, progressive love basically says that, the purpose of relating is for growth, that’s the point and the purpose for getting into relationship is for growth and the benefit of being in a relationship is love and happiness.
To us too many people get into relating, because they feel this person’s going to make them happy and that’s not realistic. Nobody can make you happy, nobody’s going to make you feel any particular way, you’re going to take control of that. But what you will do if your partner, is you will grow with them and as you grow and as you get through challenges, the love and happiness and bond between you will become stronger. So, that’s the foundation of what progressive love is all about.
Frank: Let me take a quick detour. Tell us about what you do as love coaches?
Kenya: Well, we’re the best in the world. We have thousands of clients and we’ve supported millions of couples all over the world. Our fan bases are South Africa, India and the United States and Canada and Brio. We do classes online. We have a love academy online, so we’ll take 50 persons, put them on a streaming link and we’ll teach how to utilize progressive love in various courses online, and so it’s very revolutionary, it’s very fun and it’s very high tech; we enjoy it, we love coaches.
Frank: You’re listening to Frank relationships with Frank Love and Dr. Gale and we’re talking to authors and love coaches, Carl and Kenya Stevens, about their open marriage, among other things. Would you tell our guest how they can contact you?
Carl: Yeah, we have a website, jujumama.com; j-u-j-u-m-a-m-a.com. When you go there you can find our blog, you can find our phone number and our email. You can also send us and email directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll respond to you right away.
Kenya: That’s j-u-j-u-m-a-m-a, jujumama.
Frank: What are your thoughts on what some would call non-open marriages?
Kenya: Well, we don’t have a thought on non-open marriages; people can do what they want. You we love everyone, as we said, of all tradition and whatever they choose. I really don’t have a thought on non-open marriage right now.
Dr. Gale: I would think that one would have a thought on it since you guys promote progressive love, I would think you’ve have a thought on it, you guys mentioned the divorce rate in other relationships and “monogamous” relationships. So, do you believe that your idea of marriage helps relationships last longer versus monogamous relationships?
Carl: Well, remember progressive love is different than a marriage structure, so we felt that monogamy or polygamy are open-related or polyamory, aggressive love is kind of an umbrella that sits on top of all that, right? And so the idea of progressive love can sit in any situation. It could work for friendships or business partnerships. We have tenets within progressive love that say there’s no such thing as shaming and blaming, there’s no such thing as victim or villain in a relationship. There’s no coping out, there’s no dropping out, so we have tenets around progressive love, but it’s got nothing to do with your your relationship structure. So, in terms of however you relate it—if you open relate, but you’re not a mature adult and you’re not looking at relating in the proper way, then you’re going to fail plenty at monogamy or polygamy, so the structure is irrelevant.
You know what I’m saying? The only thing that we’re saying is “Look don’t lie to yourself.” If you’re a woman, for example, you might just have suppressing your sexuality all your life, because of a traumatic experience. Don’t lie to yourself and say you’re not a sexual being, just because society doesn’t accept it. And if you’re a man, don’t lie to your wife and just have other relationships on the side and damage the essence of the union. It’s about our mentality around relating, not the structure. The structure can’t fix anything.
Frank: Got it.
Carl: And if you’re monogamous or anything else it’s your mentality going into relating.
Frank: You noted that you all in between year one and year 10 had older counselors, that worked with you from your community, as you look back at the advice that they gave you and you merge that with what we were saying earlier, much earlier in the show, about why our elders may have lied to us or not been up front, how do you look at the older counselors that worked with you from year one to year 10, given that they may not have been telling you the truth or may not have been as open as they could have been with the reality of what goes on in marriages?
Kenya: Well, we believed in the “ritual” of going to the elders. Now, we know that in this current society the elders may have limited knowledge, limited information, limited ability to be authentic, limited training in being authentic. That’s okay. We just as young people wanted to make sure that we were checking in with those who were older than ourselves. We did it with our parents and we did it with our counselors, because we just believed in the “ritual” of going to those who are elders. We have our own minds, so we created a system called progressive love but we still respect and want to go to those who are older, because it’s a process, it’s a ceremony, exercise that supports the energy of your relationship.
Frank: Got it. Carl you noted that there’s no victim or villain in a relationship and there’s an ongoing conversation between Dr. Gale and I around just that; victim, villain, abuse, that sort of thing. How do you justify there not being a victim in a relationship when there is what many people call “abuse” going on?
Carl: Okay, first we have to understand one thing, one thing is that we live in a society where we don’t fully understand the masculine or feminine principle, right? So when you say, “abuse in relationships,” your mind automatically goes to physical abuse, which is a masculine form of abuse, but there’s also—but the masculine and feminine are equal. Men and women are equal, so yes a man’s power has to be more on the physical side, where a woman’s has to be on the mental, emotional side. So, what we’re seeing nowadays is just now coming out, is that mental abuse is just as damaging as physical abuse and I say they’re the same, okay?
So the first conversation that needs to be had is, “What is abuse?” For example there was a saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.” See that to me, that’s an ignorant masculine statement that says that can tease somebody and call them names, but that’s not going to have any affect on them, but now we know through bullying and to what’s been coming out in the news, that people have been driven to suicide or to insanity through mental abuse, okay?
So mental and emotional abuse takes place in our relationships, that’s number one. Number two is that you create your life, okay? And if you’re in a situation where you’re “being abused” then you can look at (a) do I expect that to happen in my life? Because maybe I was abused or I saw it on television or I saw my mom do it to my dad or whatever. “Where is my mental fear around abuse? Am I picking people—am I as powerful person, picking people who are reflecting my belief pattern, my subconscious belief pattern?”
Frank: He said powerful person. Let me just—I just, excuse me, go on.
Carl: What’s that?
Frank: Powerful person. I love it. Go on.
Carl: Oh yeah, number two, we have to understand that there’s and there’s—and this is, I believe in the Law of Duality, there’s always two sides to every coin and oftentimes in a relationship we allow people to show up in a certain way and we do that because either we’re trying to gain power in a different way or we’re doing it because we haven’t recognized our power. For example, some people will get into a relationship and they’ll just act very meek, like they have no voice, because they’re trying to really get something out of it in the long run, like more love or whatever.
Carl: So, it’s a very slippery slope and but the bottom line, the Law of Duality says, “If you are receiving abuse then somehow you have an abusive mentality.”
Kenya: Or you expect it, so you’re creating, you’re creating, you’re the center of the creation or the manifestation of that thing, so therefore you’re never a villain and you’re never a victim.
Carl: Right, because you can change your thought pattern, you can change your expectations, you can change how you function and immediately change the situation. And it’s not even about divorcing your partner or whatever; that’s not how you escape abuse.
Carl: Because when you look at abused “victims,” they have a serial issue around abuse, just like people who can’t relate properly, they go from one relationship to the next, to the next, to the next and it’s the same basic circumstance.
Frank: Dr. Gale, you going to let them get away with this?
Dr. Gale: No, I’m listening to what he has to say.
Kenya: Well, I want to know what it is that you are—what is it that—why would a person believe that they could be a victim? Why would you want to claim that we were a victim when that stance alone says that somebody else has more power than you? I have never, since I was three or four or five years old, accepted that somebody in the world has more power than me.
Dr. Gale: No, it’s not accepting that someone has more power than you, it’s just that certain people play certain roles and consciously at times, yes people—you know if you are accustomed to being abused or if you were raised in an abusive type of situation or an abusive household then that is your cognitive belief and you learn how to play those roles and you have this belief system that, “I should be an abused person. I’m not good enough, I’m not well enough, nobody loves me,” so you learn to have these cognitive distortions and you learn to play that role as a victim.
Now, not to say that, what you just stated Kenya, not to say that I like to be a victim or I want to have a lack of control, because everyone wants control in their lives, it’s just that certain people will play certain roles; certain people are victims, certain people are victors or what have you.
Kenya: What your stance is, doesn’t match what you said prior to that. You said that these are distortions, you said that this person is creating their life based on the extortions that they have within, so then how does that make them a victim? But then you changed it in the end sentence and just said, “But they’re victims and this one’s a villain.” How? If this person is creating based on the distortion? And they can actually diagnose that and change the prospective in order to change the distortion in the—
Dr. Gale: Well, you can only change it, once you have insight, so once you have insight, then yes you can change it.
Dr. Gale: Absolutely.
Kenya: But they had that power all along and when they come across the insight and they change it, then are they still a victim?
Dr. Gale: Well, if they continue in that role even if you have the insight and you continue in that victim role, then you continue to be the victim, but if you have that insight and you say, “Okay, I’m cognitively and I’m actively and I’m aware and I’m going to change my behaviors then, no you don’t remain in that role any longer.
Frank: Well, let’s keep in mind also that being the victim is some people’s way of being in control. Ouch.
Dr. Gale: What you would call manipulation, right?
Kenya: Yes, absolutely.
Kenya: They’re well aware of it, which is okay as well.
Frank: It is okay, absolutely.
Dr. Gale: Right, some people, that’s how they relate in the world and that’s how they go along in the world and that’s how they move and manifest—in a victim role. So you guys are saying, no one is a victim, but as Frank just stated some people in a weird sense have control by being a victim.
Frank: But that’s not being a victim, that’s actually being in control. We’re going—
Carl: [It’s a stretch of power] 37:06
Kenya: I think it’s just a semantics thing, I think that the good uhh—I’m sorry your name slips me right at this moment. I think all you’re saying is that—she’s talking about it in the terms of noun and we’re talking about it in terms of being verb—a victim. We don’t believe that it’s a thing. A victim is not a thing, it’s not real, we’re saying that it’s a way—you’re saying that it’s a way of looking at a scenario and so we’re just talking about apples and oranges, do you understand?
Dr. Gale: Got it.
Frank: Alright, back to open marriage, how do you deal with the jealously in your relationship?
Dr. Gale: Especially—and I wanted to know that too. Can you like, you know as women we’re very emotional, so how do you / handle that?
Frank: / Oh God, I don’t want to hear that. The women—
Dr. Gale: It’s real.
Frank: Women are more “emotional” than men, but I’m the first and the last to say, men commit crimes of passion everyday. We knock each other over the head, we shoot each other, because of what our partners might be doing. We got emotional stuff going on too.
Dr. Gale: You have emotional stuff going on but at times I believe that women are more emotional than men.
Frank: At times men are more emotional than women. Alright, so how do you deal with jealousy in your relationship? Oh, I’m sorry, I’m talking to Carl and Kenya, not you. Let’s include you guys back in the conversation.
Carl: Yeah, no problem. You know, jealousy is real. Jealousy is more a product from the kind of society we live in. Jealousy is something that’s based on scarcity. Period. It’s based on the concept of scarcity, so if you live in a capitalist society, you’re going to have feelings of jealousy, because there’s going to be only so much of certain things, only so much money, only so much food, only so much love, only so much intimacy, only so much of people provide me x,y and z. So, the feeling that comes up when you have something or somebody has something that you don’t have, is what we call jealousy; it manifests in different forms, so that’s the basis of it.
So what has to happen is, when we entered our open relationship, we had to deal with that engrained jealousy that we learned as culture for real. I’ve always been a jealous person, it’s affected my relationships in the past, but it was kind of subtle, where it wasn’t like a major thing. When we opened our marriage it became a major thing for both of us to deal with and we had to understand why we felt the way we did, Number one, unless we understood why we felt the way we did, we can begin to transform ourselves to come out of that; it’s a deep engrained conditioning, it’s a deep engrained way of looking at life and looking at love and that kind of thing that brings out jealousy, but we were able to get past it and we’re still working through it. It’s not like you just get past it in a year or two years. You progressively get better with it.
Frank: If you have a take home message for someone, male, female, whatever have you, dealing with jealousy, rage and rage as a result of jealousy, what would it be?
Kenya: If we had to counsel someone who was dealing with rage?
Frank: Absolutely or jealousy that has resulted in rage?
Kenya: Jealousy that has resulted in rage, we’ve dealt with that many times. We’ve dealt with that ourselves. You know, we have developed tools and techniques and processes that support individuals in changing their behavior based on emotions, so jealousy is an emotion. How you respond to it, is the concern that we can support you with.
Jealousy want go away. You’re going to feel it, but the point is how you’re going to respond to it and that’s the point at which we take our clients through processes, meditations, support groups and everything that we offer Jujumama.
Frank: Nice. What about jealousy as it pertains to your partner? So Kenya, if you’re dating a guy, how do you deal with his jealousy or Carl, if you’re dating a woman, how do you deal with her jealousy? And it’s affect on your core relationship?
Carl: Well, you know in terms of Kenya and I, when we deal with other people, we just basically try to bring what we know and let them know that they may feel a certain way or why they’re feeling the way they’re feeling and just try to support them through it. I mean look as human beings we go through things: we get mad, we get upset, we, we get down on ourselves and jealousy is the same thing. So, when you see your partner going through something, you just support them the best way you can. So, I would say to a girlfriend, “I understand how you’re feeling. Let’s talk about this. Let’s work through this,” and just as the best I can take my time and assist them and support them.
Dr. Gale: So, do you guys feel like this is going to be your lifestyle forever, do you think that—
Kenya: [I want to get sane again and get back to you on that.] 42:13
Dr. Gale: Well not even sane, but do you feel like, you know, “Hey, I just want to get back to our nuclear unit and this is going to be it for us,” or do you feel like you’ll have an open progressive relationship for the rest of your lives?
Kenya: But let’s really answer your question, what you’re asking is, “Are we going to re-embrace the western paradigm again, are we going to ever get back into the box where we are not allowed?”
Dr. Gale: Well, not even get back into a—no, no, no, not even get back into a—
Kenya: Face it girl, you have to understand what we’re talking about when we say a nuclear family, a nuclear family is construct, it’s not real, it’s not sustainable, that’s how I can tell you it’s not real. A man, a woman and three children are not sustainable in the wild, never have been.
Dr. Gale: Okay, Kenya, well let me reframe my statement. Do you think that you and Carl will ever get out of—not get out of— but just be you and Carl? Do you feel like you will embrace this and this will be your lifestyle until—
Frank: She said no.
Dr. Gale: Okay.
Kenya: I don’t think that me and Carl will vanish, because we actually believe in community now. I think that me and Carlness is always going to be there. [It’s both-and.] 43:32
Frank: Any rules or agreements that you guys have when you’re dating? When you’re dating other people? So, do you require or have, do you place rules that where Carl will wear a condom if he has sex with another woman? Anything like that?
Carl: We used to have rules when we first started out, be home by six or you know, things that help you stay in this paradigm where you think you control a person. Deal with the securities and that kind of stuff. At this point in our relationship, we do not have rules, because the bottom line is, the only rule that need to be instituted are the rules of common sense, that are going to be there in a loving relationship anyway. Like if Kenya wants to go out, then I know that I’m going to stay home and watch the kids and I’m going to take care of certain things. I don’t need a rule to tell me that. If she wants to stay out a certain amount of time per month, then she knows off the bat that I might want that same amount of time for myself. Maybe in the next month or whatever thing just when you care for your partner and that kind of thing, things automatically fall in place.
So right now we don’t have rules. In terms of protection and sexuality, it’s the same thing. I trust Kenya to make decisions, that’s why I’m with her. She trust me to make certain decisions, that’s why she’s with me. So, yes she needs to have faith. We have communication. We talk about things. We talk about essential elements of our other relationships with each other, so—
Kenya: Yeah, but more and more I just trust. I don’t—because I’m not a victim, nobody is doing anything to me. I don’t need the rules, if I’m cool the universe has back.
Frank: I love it.
Kenya: It ain’t my life, so what do I need a rule for?
Frank: Let’s bring in your kids. Okay, you have three children?
Frank: How do you manage parenting? How do you manage co-parenting? What do your children think of your relationship structure, the spirit of your relationship? Tell us about that.
Dr. Gale: And also would you guys introduce this and suggest this to your own kids for their future relationships?
Kenya: Well, our children are 14, 12 and 8 and they have been thoroughly introduced to this lifestyle, because we live it in front of them and beside them and we share with them what is going on with us and they meet our partners and it’s community. We’re not swingers, we’re actually building communities. So what we do is, we would absolutely answer any of their questions about this kind of lifestyle. We think it’s way more authentic than just doing what the previous generations did and lie to it.
Frank: Give me a question that one of your children have asked and your answer?
Kenya: My son has asked, what is the G-spot? And where is it? And we teach them about sex, we teach them about contra, we answer any question that they have. They’ve asked us after my partner and I slept in my room, “Why is the bed wet?” We tell them about female ejaculation, what sex is; sex has two purposes, healing and manifestation. Daddy and mommy are having sex or when mommy and another one of her partners are having sex; it’s about healing, it’s about love, it’s about manifestation.
Dr. Gale: So how many partners do you have at a time or is it just one person? Do the partners live at your house? How does that work? When you say “community led,” what does that mean?
Carl: Well, in terms of number of partners, there’s no set number. It might be one or zero or five. For me I don’t look for set number of partners, I don’t try to restrict myself to partners or I don’t try to have at least so many. I’m more organic with how I relate with women. So, I can’t speak to a particular number.
Dr. Gale: What does that mean? You’re more organic how you relate to women, what does that mean?
Carl: If I meet a young lady and I’m attracted to her, then I’m going to connect with that woman. If I don’t meet anybody or if I’m not in a relationship, I don’t feel like I have to be in one, like I need to search for it, so as it happens it happens for me. I’m not really—I don’t consider myself the kind of person who feels like he needs to have certain parties at a certain time. It’s more about me just meeting people along the way.
Frank: Tell me about some of the conversations that have come up between you and your family members, as it pertains to having an open relationship—both of your families?
Carl: Well, from my family it’s been—the bottom line is, they feel that what we do is not in line with what they taught us. As for my mom and dad, “They’re like this is not what we support.” They’re fine with us doing it, because we’re adults. Their only certain is the children. They think the children somehow are adversely the affected by this type of thing and we happen to disagree with them on that. So, that’s the kind talks I have with my parents.
Dr. Gale: I believe I asked this earlier, but Kenya what about emotionally being connected, are you just connected to Carl emotionally or do you utilize your other relationships for emotional connection as well?
Kenya: And I answered that earlier, by saying that *(inaudible) 49:15—
Frank: I heard her.
Kenya: Everything that a person needs. No one person can provide everything you need emotionally. I’m very emotionally connected to other men and to my lovers and to other people, my family and my female friends, I’ve had an emotional connection. I try to build emotional connection with everyone.
Frank: Is there ever a time when you miss what Dr. Gale has called or what many people call monogamy and you pretty much have answered this, but I’m a go with it one more time?
Kenya: Well, if it’s my turn to be up I don’t understand how I could miss monogamy. It’s almost like once you go to college and you, you’re coming from high school, maybe some people do miss being at home, when they’re out in the world, because it’s more treacherous. I don’t know but it’s something like that. It’s almost like you’ve always lived in the projects and now you’ve moved to Beverly Hills. I don’t know if people miss the projects if they’re a rapper and now they live in Beverly Hills, but maybe they do.
Frank: Very nice.
Kenya: It’s that much bigger, it’s that much bigger. It’s like having more money or having more time, if you can imagine that. Or having more sight, you can see colors better. It’s being a real person as opposed to who I used to be—having to hide parts of myself.
Carl: Yeah, Frank it’s kind of like saying, ”Look for the past 30 years you’ve only eaten at McDonald’s everyday for breakfast, lunch and dinner, how do you feel about being able to eat at any restaurant, as opposed to just one?” One thing about open relating and humans is there’s no one thing that we do. Human beings are complex species. We don’t eat the same food everyday, we don’t go to the same places everyday, we don’t watch the same television shows, we need, as a human species, we need inspiration.
Dr. Gale: I don’t disagree with you guys in needing and relating and having emotional connections, because Kenya, you’re absolutely right, we utilize our friends, we utilize our family members, we have other relationships that outside of our—I’m going to say nuclear and durable relationships, because that’s my term, so we do have other relationships outside of those that help us relate and be connected to the world and be connected to people. So, that’s just my thought and my worldview.
Kenya: Uh-huh. I understand.
Frank: That is one of the few times I’ve heard Kenya just say, “Okay.” Just let it ride. Any final thoughts from you, Dr. Gale?
Dr. Gale: Nope. I believe we put it all out there.
Frank: You’ve been listening to “Frank Relationships” with Frank Love and Dr. Gale. We’ve been talking to authors and love coaches, Carl and Kenya Stevens about their open marriage amongst other things. Once more would you tell our guests how they can contact you and find your books?
Kenya: They can come around to jujumama.com, j-u-j-u-m-a-m-a and there is a blog with over 500 beautiful articles on progressive love. We have *(inaudible) 52:39 that you can get from there. We have everything you get from jujumama.com. You can get to all our other pages. You saw me on Twitter where I had 40,000 followers who loved the conversation each day and that is j-u-j-u-m-a-m-a.
Frank: Any closing words Carl?
Carl: No, I just appreciate the show and the work you’re doing Frank. I followed your work for over a year now and just keep it up, man. We appreciate it.
Kenya: We love you. We enjoy your blogs.
Frank: Thank you. Well along today’s journey we’ve discussed managing multiple partners, initiating the open marriage conversation and talking to your children about open relationships and the other things that may occur as a result of having one.
I hope you’ve had as much fun as I have, chopping it up with our guests, Carl and Kenya Stevens, about our love relationships and yep, open marriage.
As always, it’s my wish for you to walk away from this conversation with a heaping, helping of useful information, that will help you create a relationship that is as loving and accepting as possible. Let us know what you thought of today’s show at facebook.com/relationshipflove , on Twitter @mrfranklove or at franklove.com. Until next time, keep rising. This is Frank Love.