What is an open relationship? Can they be successful? So, before I tell you about open relationships, it’s important to understand that it’s not cheating. Cheating is when you step outside of your relationship and violate the rules that you have set with your partner – simply put having sex with someone else without your partner’s knowledge and approval.
While an open relationship can sometime be hard to define, and only because they can mean different arrangement’s according to each couple. However, an open relationship is one where you are emotionally monogamous but sexually non-monogamous, and done with both parties being aware. Now there can be variations on this, but most fall under this definition. Common open relationships include swingers, threesomes, or when each partners has sex with someone outside of their relationship.
In recent years Polyamory has become very common among the younger generations; this is a committed relationship with two or more people involved. The difference is that it is implied that you are both emotionally and sexually committed to more than one person at the same time. But for this posting I will focus on the typical open relationship.
There can be several reason why a person might decide to have an open relationship. You also have to understand that this type of relationship is not for everyone, it’s a personal choice and involves a lot of trust on both sides. So, Why? Well maybe sex has become monotonous, mismatched libidos, or a loss of interest. Some couples want to experiment with someone else, try a new fetish, kink, or desire a sexual activity that your partner cannot fulfil.
Before getting into an open relationship here are five steps that I think are important to consider:
Communicate – You have to absolutely discuss having an open relationship with your partner. Find out how each feels about the situations. If you don’t have the guts to bring up the topic then clearly an open relationships isn’t for you.
Create & Set Boundaries – You have to decide what type of open relationship you’re going to have. For example; some insist on threesomes, others allow sex with other people. Remember to compromise and stick to the boundaries you have set. You’ll also have to think about how much you’re going to share with each other. Will you have a “don’t ask, don’t tell” agreement or will you share the details. Just have an agreement about sharing, this is depended on how much you’re comfortable with knowing.
Make Rules – This is a MUST, no exceptions. Before starting an open relationship remember there are no exceptions on the established rules. Now these rules will vary from couple to couple, but you have to discuss them. Here are a few common rules for an open relationship.
Make your Partner a Priority – The time you spend pursuing sex should never interfere with the time and obligations you have with your partner. Your partner is still your top priority and should be treated that way. Being aware of this will go a long way to alleviating potential jealousy and resentment in an open relationship.
Reevaluate your Situation – From time to time you will have to reevaluate how your relationship is doing. Are you both happy and satisfied? Are you emotionally connected? Is this arrangement working for you both? Changing the rules is ok, as long as you both agree. All relationships change over time, it’s normal to have mixed feelings in any relationship, just be open and honest about how you feel, if you can’t express your feeling openly, then you might have to reevaluate the situation.
An open relationship may fix a small portion of your relationship, but if there are problems that extend beyond sexual compatibility, an open relationship isn’t going to work or even solve your problems. Just remember don’t be forced into any situation that makes your uncomfortable, and never force your partner into an uncomfortable situation as well. Making an open relationship work takes some effort, trust, respect, and open communication. Without these core principles it will never work out.
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