When I think of a great relationship, I think of Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre.
This is not your typical relationship where they were married, had kids and lived happily ever after; instead, it was a realistic relationship.
Their relationship was not perfect but to them it was close enough. They never lived together, married or had children but Beauvoir claimed that their relationship had been her biggest achievement.
For me, their relationship was a true, realistic love affair where we can all learn a few lessons from them.
They were together for 51 years and had an open relationship.
The thing that probably kept them together that long was that they made two promises to each other: (1) they both agreed to an open relationship and (2) they would always be honest with each other about everything.
She wrote in one of her memoirs, "Our relationship would endure as long as we did; but it could not make up entirely for the fleeting riches to be had from encounters with other people".
I agree with this statement, as having other relations outside of your current relationship helps you to learn more about yourself.
Plus there are many great things about other lovers that you can learn while still having a meaningful and loving relationship with your current partner.
Open relationships are not for everyone and should be handled with complete honesty and caution so as not to hurt the other person. But it seems as if they were able to handle theirs for 51 years.
Of course there was a bit of jealousy which Beauvoir admits to in her writings but I always say a little bit of jealousy is healthy in relationships.
Beauvoir had fewer and longer affairs than her lover Sartre who stated he loved the chase. She dated both male and female, including some of Sartre's lovers.
Besides Sartre, her other famous love affair was with US novelist Nelson Algren who she dated for 17 years.
That relationship ended because she refused to marry him. She never wanted to be a mother or wife as she yearned to be a teacher and writer which she became.
Beauvoir had many love affairs throughout her life while dating Sartre. You could say that she paved the way for "open relationships."
While she's not the first to have an open relationship, hers was the most well-known and famous of her time.
She openly committed to a life of polyamory. Beauvoir and Sartre's love affairs read like an erotic adventure.
There is so much more to learn about this fascinating and intellectual woman that I haven't even come close to covering.
I would encourage everyone to read more about her including books written by her and others.
Here are a few of my personal selections below, which can be purchased on Amazon by clicking on the links below.