Here is a not at all uncommon couple’s therapy moment : I am discussing with a couple agreements that they want to have in their relationship, something that they want to do differently. They have just hit on something they are excited about, and they look at me and say, “We can do that?” It is a fun moment for me as a therapist to be able to give people permission to define their relationship for themselves. Do your relationship the way you two want to? Yes, you can do that.
What I mean by this is, your relationship is between the two of you so you set the rules. If something works for you, it doesn’t matter if it works for your friends, parents, neighbors or your therapist. Each relationship is unique and trying to live by the rules established by other couples will not serve you. You can get ideas from Phil and Claire each week, but please don’t feel that every couple is doing thing their way. When it comes to being a couple, there really is no “norm”.
So if you and your partner decide you want to define watching porn as cheating, then that is your rule. If you want to open your relationship to other sexual partners, then that is your agreement. If you want to never go to sleep angry or always take a night to cool down before deciding, either is fine. You can always text several times a day from work or not be in contact during the work day. You can agree that Tuesdays are wear blue underwear day. You can shape your relationship any way – so long as both of you agree and find it to be a good fit. Making sure your agreements or rules are explicit and you both know what to expect is key.
Be honest about what you want and about what you can agree to, re-evaluate if it ends up not feeling good for either one of you, and keep communicating. And you will have a relationship that is the unique fit for you.