Open Relationship: An anthology


This is a series of poems I wrote during my time in an open relationship. He and I still remain friends, but I came to discover the great importance of reflecting on my own feelings through writing and deciding when it was best to act upon them. 


May not be

The love

You find in fairy tales

Or the one

You take home to mom

But damn,

Does it feel good

To fall asleep with

Gentle Fingers

Tracing grooves of my back

Thankful whispers

For my existence.

The space between

The cage of his

Heart beat


The arm

Falling perfectly

In the dip between

My ribs



Is the place I call


Cigarette burns on your forearm

We both know pleasure in pain


I think

I can taste

The others

On your lips.

You draw me back by my belt straps

To tumble like waves in waters

That have felt this rhythm before

And I wonder

If you ever longed for me

Like the sea longs for the shore.

“Why does it feel so damn good?”

You ask.

I may not wear my scars of my forearms

But I know

How beautiful it feels

To crack a heart open

Letting bloodied words spill onto paper

Tell me how to resist

This temptation.

I fall asleep

In your arms

On a note of ecstasy.

Waking a day

Or a week


Dopamine leaching

From my brain.

Pain only pleases

When we think

We deserve it.

I trust you

For you to betray me

You promise endearment in kisses

Then deny me with your words.


Are the cigarette

Pressed to my flesh.

Did you think

Of me

When her lips

Were pressed

To your neck

Where mine laid

Only hours


I was


To you

Yet still


You wanted

Me to be.

How can you

Call yourself a


And not


That I deserve


Than this?

One day

I woke up

And realized

This pain

Was not worth

The rush.


Stephanie Bertolo is an Arts & Science student at McMaster University. A strong advocate for youth health and wellness, she is a founding member of the Young Canadians Roundtable on Health, a volunteer at McMaster’s Children’s Hospital, and a subcommittee member of COPE: a student mental health initiative. Other than studying and volunteering, she spends her time baking, spending hours in used bookstores and coffee shops, and finding herself on enthralling adventures. For three years, she suffered from anorexia and orthorexia nervosa, and is still coming to terms with life as someone who has ‘recovered’.

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