Do open relationships work? Curiosity has couples wondering whether a nonmonogamous relationship could be right for them.
I'm a dating expert having been featured many times on sites like Women's Health, Up Journey, and many more. I know the dos, don'ts, and what to expect in a relationship with multiple partners because I understand the ways your brain falls in love.
So, if you're ready, let's talk about open relationships.
What Does Open Relationship Means?
Open relationships are consensual nonmonogamous relationships where those involved are free to engage, explore, and have physical intimacy with people outside their primary relationship. These outside relationships are about sexual activity with someone other than a primary partner but aren't a committed relationship with feelings and tend to have emotional boundaries and rules.
Open Relationship vs Polyamory: Are They The Same?
The main difference between an open relationship and polyamory is the emotional intimacy and romantic connection involved. While both are consensual nonmonogamous groups, their relationship style is different. An open relationship seeks outside sexual relations, whereas a poly relationship is about having multiple relationships simultaneously, where they foster love and affection with all their partners.
There are psychological facts about men that suggest sexual satisfaction is not equal to relationship satisfaction, pointing out that the desire for multiple partners is not gender-specific despite popular belief.
Do Open Relationships Really Work?
A consensually nonmonogamous partnership is an open relationship where one or both partners can pursue a sexual relationship with other individuals. And these non-traditional relationships are growing in popularity.
There is still a lot of stigma around open relationships, and there is a misunderstanding that people enter these as an excuse to cheat.
Here are 3 reasons why people choose these relationships:
Reason #1: It allows you to pursue new experiences and interests.
Learning how to flirt with a guy and knowing where to meet men can help improve your dating game. When it comes to sexuality, people appreciate a novelty, and a new sexual partner can help fulfill desires for new experiences.
Reason #2: It promotes open communication, trust, and the freedom to express yourself.
If you're an expert on how to attract men, then you would know that they love it when you can be yourself. They value honesty, trust, and open communication. The next level to this is when you can be honest about your desire to explore a romantic relationship outside your primary partner.
A successful open relationship means the couple involved has excellent communication skills and a strong feeling of trust. Often, their roles and expectations have been thoroughly discussed. These partners can be completely honest about their deepest wants and needs.
An open relationship or an open marriage isn't for everyone, but being able to talk to your partner about it being an option speaks of the level of communication, trust, and understanding you have for one another.
Reason #3: Less pressure.
There's no need for one individual to cater to all of their partner's emotional and sexual desires in an open relationship structure. Unlike a monogamous relationship, having an open relationship or polyamorous relationship means you can find fulfillment with others besides your partner.
Open Relationship Rules
Open relationships make you take a closer look at your ideas and feelings about monogamy and your assumptions about love and partnerships. It asks you to be willing to be transparent with your feelings, bad habits, long-term relationship goals, desires, and expectations in a partner. It requires a great deal of maturity, understanding, and tolerance.
Here are 4 important factors for an open relationship to work:
Rule #1: Both partners must agree on having an open relationship.
Not everyone is willing to have an open relationship or an open marriage. There needs to be genuine and honest mutual consent for these relationships to work. Monogamous couples might indeed change the dynamics of their current relationship and explore the option of another partner, but if jealousy becomes an issue for one partner, a clear discussion needs to happen about what each partner wants going forward.
Rule #2: Agree on how much time you can spend with other partners.
It needs to be clear and approved by each partner on how much time is acceptable to spend with other people. You need to agree when it is alright to take time away from your relationship to explore other options actively. You need a guarantee that you still spend time with each other and that the outside relationships don't affect your connection and intimacy with each other.
Rule #3: Set physical and emotional boundaries.
What is fair game? Is it acceptable to bring in ex-partners, coworkers, or friends? What is your attitude about people you don't know? How do you check and maintain sexual health? These are a few questions needing to be answered before getting into an open relationship. You also need to ask whether you are both open to a polyamorous relationship.
For a monogamous couple trialing an open relationship, pay attention to the signs you're in a toxic relationship and question the real reasons behind the change. Is it the right thing for you both? Do you and your partner simply need a break from each other?
Rule #4: Communication is crucial!
For a healthy relationship to exist in this kind of set-up, there needs to be a lot of serious conversations beforehand and while engaging in outside relationships. For example, how to deal with jealousy if it occurs. Jealousy is a problem with these kinds of relationships, after all. You need to make sure there are no boundaries when communicating with each other.
It goes without saying open relationships aren't for everyone, and only you can decide if it's for you. If you're looking for how to deepen your relationship with someone, you can check out our article on personal questions to ask designed for improving communication.
Frequently Asked Questions
There is a lot to question and consider before entering an open relationship. Check out the most frequently asked questions we've answered:
How do people do this without feeling jealous?
Everyone is different, and each person has a different handle on their emotions. Ultimately, an open relationship requires a gross amount of open communication and honesty. Trust is crucial in holding jealousy at bay.
What if one person gets many partners and the other has few or none?
Open relationship work includes rules, boundaries, and discussions about these kinds of things. There needs to be a lot of prior agreements about certain situations that can happen, including what to do if one partner has more relationships than the other.
Is an open relationship healthy?
It can be as long as the parties involved understand and agree to it. Suppose one partner is against having an open relationship and the other person goes ahead with seeing other people. In that case, that is cheating and a sure way to break down a relationship.
Will emotional intimacy be allowed with other people in this type of relationship?
You and your partner must be clear in understanding the difference between an open relationship and having a polyamorous relationship. Rules need to be established about whether having feelings for another person is okay.
More Relationship Tips
Whether you're practicing monogamy or polygamy, relationships can be hard. That's why it's a good idea to read advice and tips about dating and keeping healthy relationships.
- Know the signs he has a manipulative personality to dodge all the drama and mental games. A manipulator is someone you should avoid!
- Sometimes, relationships end. But if your heart is still in it, learn how to win your ex back!
- Do you know whether you're dating a serial dater? Do you know what a serial dater is? Well, this is for you!
- "Is he cheating?" is not a question you want to ask yourself. But if your partner is acting differently and there's a nagging feeling something is wrong, here's a list of signs to watch out for.
Do open relationships have a big chance to work? The answer is yes if done for the right reasons, and there is a strong foundation in the relationship, to begin with. The ways your brain falls in love may have you curious about having multiple partners.
Still, before having a nonmonogamous relationship, it's crucial to understand why you're leaning toward opening yourselves up. After that, be completely honest and set the rules and expectations, always being compassionate and respectful of one another.