How to Have a Successful Open Relationship
You have probably heard a lot about open relationships, and it might seem exciting to you. However, people are often worried about how it works and whether it is the right thing for them. Here, we will discuss the open relationship set up, what you need to consider, and some general relationship advice that might help you along the way.
What Is an Open Relationship?
An open relationship is a type of non-monogamous relationship between multiple people. While it is possible for an open relationship to be considered polyamory, it isn’t always the case. Most commonly, it represents two people who are in a non-exclusive relationship, which means that they can have other partners or be intimate with other people.
The primary idea of an open relationship is the possibility of having other partners. Now, open couples can still be in this type of relationship, even if they don’t have intimate relationships with other people. With monogamous couples, they agree to exclusivity. This means that they won’t engage in any type of relationship with other people and that they will remain faithful to each other.
Most commonly, people associate open relationships with gay and LGBTQ+ people. However, this doesn’t mean that other people can’t enjoy having this form of relationship. The reason why many people like the idea behind it is that it allows a certain level of freedom you can’t find in traditional relationships. Some people don’t want to be tied, or they are in love with more than one person.
If this is the case, then open relationships are a dream come true for them. They won’t need to worry about whether flirting is “allowed,” and they can do as they feel, even if that means being romantic with another person. Of course, there are some rules that need to be established at the beginning to eliminate the possibility of someone being hurt or mistreated.
One of the most important parts of an open relationship is honesty. Being completely open does not only relate to sex and intimacy, but it also means being open in communication. While honesty is key to any successful relationship style, it is necessary to make ground rules here since traditional ones don’t apply.
Both parties in an open relationship will need to work hard if they hope for it to work. Of course, people might say that it is identical to traditional monogamous relationships, but honest communication might be more important here.
The reason for this is that the whole territory is pretty much uncharted, and you will need to set the parameters. This includes what is okay and what is not. Talk to your partner. Tell them what behavior will make you feel comfortable and what they should avoid. Ask them to tell you the same thing openly and honestly. Some rules might apply to primary partners, and you will need to figure it out yourself. The only way to do it is if you are honest.
You cannot force someone into an open marriage or relationship. If this is something that works for you but is not something your partner will be comfortable with, you need to make it work. This doesn’t mean that one side needs to persuade the other. Either you will stay in a relationship that works for both parties, or you’ll go your separate ways.
Consent is mandatory for any type of relationship, and the same applies here. You and your partner will need to inform other people (or potential partners) of your terms, and they need to be aware of what they are getting into.
Whether we are talking about a long-term partner, one-night stand, or casual flirting, it is necessary for everyone to provide consent and to have a clear understanding of the entire relationship.
Jealousy is a part of every relationship. Considering the open ones, the first thing on the mind of a monogamous person is jealousy. And it is normal, at least if it’s within the boundaries.
If you’ve ever been in a monogamous relationship, you know how jealousy can show up whenever you meet someone new. But here, there is no secrecy. Someone in an open relationship won’t need to wonder whether their partner is cheating on them or if they have feelings for someone else. Their partner will tell them about it. It eliminates the problem from the start.
Of course, a tiny bit of jealousy can be a healthy thing, as long as you don’t let it control your emotions and your life. Usually, a person in an open relationship will have their primary partner, while other people will come and go. You can expect them to feel a bit jealous because they aren’t the central figure in the relationship.
The main problem in traditional relationships is trust. People feel jealous because they don’t fully trust their partner, and they let jealousy consume them, so they make different scenarios in their head. Here, none of that will be a problem.
Emotional and Physical Well-Being
If you are in an open relationship, you need to ask yourself who you turn to for emotional support. Is it your primary partner or your lover? Sometimes, it is better to have this type of support outside the relationship. You won’t bother your partner with problems, and you will feel better. The very fact that you got it off your shoulders will feel incredible, and you might realize that the issue was trivial.
Naturally, this doesn’t mean that you should keep things away from your partner. The best thing to do is to talk to your partner and decide how far a personal relationship with other people can go. There is no wrong answer to this question as long as both of you are on the same page.
However, emotional support is nothing without physical safety. You should always practice safe sex. While this applies to traditional relationships as well, here, it is even more important. You and your partner will meet new people, and based on your agreement, you might have intercourse with them. It is essential to be safe, so test for STIs regularly and keep other involved parties protected.
Interestingly, monogamous people are less likely to use protection, even when they cheat.
Check in Regularly
Finally, you should check in with your partner from time to time. It is important for both of you to be on the same page, but it is also essential that you stay on it. They might think that an open relationship is a good idea at the moment. However, people can change their minds. Something that was perfectly fine with them at the moment could change completely.
They might grow tired of it, and you need to ensure that it is still fine with them to have this type of relationship. As we have already mentioned, consent is important, and you’ll need to get it again and again.
The best thing you can do is communicate with your partner, be honest, and respect their wishes. If you do this, you will have an incredible relationship where everyone is happy.