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What is an open relationship?

An open relation is a type of unconventional relationship in which both partners give consent to each other to explore and have romantic and sexual relationships with other people.

The unconventional relationship types such as open relationships exist mainly because some people feel that love should be given to all and monogamy restricts us to do just that. Instead of committing adultery and betraying their partner, some people communicate their sexual and emotional needs and wants to their partner and introduce the idea of getting into an open relationship.

Open Relationship vs Polyamory

Both these types of relationships are unconventional ones and are sometimes confused with one another. However, when you try to understand their basic definitions, you’ll see that they have a bit of difference that sets them apart.

Open Relationships is defined as a consensual agreement between partners to have sexual relationships other than between them both.

Polyamory is defined as having multiple relationships. The relationships don’t have to be sexual. The focus and driving focus in this type of relationship is love and emotional connections with other people other than your partner. It basically pushes that you can be in love with more than one person at the same time.

How to ask for an open relationship?

Being the one to open up about wanting to try open relationships can be quite awkward and challenging for a person. Here are the steps on how to ask for an open relationship:

1. Think before you ask.

Before even attempting to talk to your partner, you need to think things over and make sure that you understand the risks and benefits of having an open relationship.

2. Introduce open relationships to your partner.

Your partner might not be aware that certain relationships like it exist. Tell them the basics about it and slowly let them understand your intention of opening the topic.

3. Explain why you want it.

State the reasons why you’re starting to think that open relationships can be good for the both of you. Don’t be ashamed of it. Be sexually and emotionally open and kindly ask your partner to approach the discussion in the same way.

4. Assure your partner that it’s not because of any shortcomings on his/her part.

Make sure that your partner knows how much you care for him or her and that it’s not due to his or her flaws or shortcomings. Explain that you just want what’s best for both of you.

5. Give your partner the time and space to process things.

Your conversation will, undoubtedly, be a heavy one. You can’t expect your partner to have an immediate answer to your proposal. Don’t give him/her an ultimatum and assure him/her that you are totally fine if the answer is no.

Open Relationship Facts

Before you both dive into the unknown waters of an open relationship, familiarize yourself with the following facts and accept the advantages and consequences of open relationships.

It’s not all about sex.

Being in open relationships does not mean you have sex all the time with all of your partners. It’s something much more deeper than that. It’s finding strong connections with others and not just letting your whole universe revolve around one person forever.

Jealousy is normal.

Being in open relationships does not make you immune to being jealous. It just means that you and your partner are able to positively work through your negative feelings by communicating effectively and openly without judgments but instead, with pure love, kindness, care and understanding.

Open Marriages exist.

Some couples who are in open relationships eventually get married and they, of course, make their marriage open. Some religious people might frown upon it but there’s no denying that they do exist in this modern world of dating.

Rules vary for every couple.

There are no set rules in an open relationship. As long as there is transparency, honesty and love between the partners and that everyone is happy about the setting, you’re all good to go!

Some people still haven’t accepted it.

Others might justify that they hate the idea of cheating and are being mature and grown up about their relationship that’s why they made it open but it’s not totally accepted in society. You might lose your job and damage your reputation once it’s known to the public. It also won’t help if you’re currently fighting for your child’s custody.

Open Relationship Rules

The rules might not be the same all the time for all couples but here are some guidelines you need to remember when you both decide to be in an open relationship. You can live by it and see for yourself if they work for you.

Talk about your sexual boundaries.

It might get weirdly specific but for the benefit and assurance of both parties, you need to talk about it. Agree on the how many partners at a time, how many times you can have sex, the type of sex acceptable and any other sexual aspects you want to agree upon.

Freely express your emotions.

Since you are going to be dating other people, make sure that you become open to one another no matter what. Accept each other and learn to comfort each other by being supportive and caring at all times.

Exercise safe sex.

For the benefit of your partners and yourself, don’t get too excited with your explorations that you throw all the safe sex practices you’ve been heeding out the window. For all intents and purposes, you should be more safe than ever since you’ll have multiple partners.

Honesty is the best policy.

Be honest to your partner about what you’re doing with the others. You should not have to suppress or hide what you feel or what you need to your partner. Trusting each other is of utmost importance.

Schedule and prioritize dates with your primary partner.

Make sure to maintain your relationship with your partner. Even though you’ll have new relationships, you should still schedule dates and trips for your alone time together. After all, what you have must be true that you still continue to hold on to your relationship despite the many people you’re also with. Don’t sacrifice the long term love you have for each other for those short-time flings you’ll have throughout your open relationship.

Open Relationship Pros and Cons

. Before opening the floodgates of this relationship, you should both accept with all your heart that there will be risks, as well as benefits to having this type of relationship. Monogamy is already hard. This is going to be even harder.

Pros

1. Personal Growth

Meeting and interacting with new people and connecting with them on a whole new level will nurture your personality, your views and principles about life and make you discover stuff about yourself that you have never realized before.

2. Variety

The main reason for some people why they enter into open relationships is that they have become bored and felt restricted in their previously monogamous relationships. In open relationships, you’re both going to meet and connect not only with each other but with lots of people, without cheating, since you both consent to it.

3. Enhanced Communication

In open relationships, honesty and transparency will always be the most important ingredient. In order to trust one another with other people, you will have to open up sexually and emotionally to your partner in order to positively talk things through.

Cons

1. Hurting Others’ Feelings

The green evil named jealousy can haunt you if you don’t work it out with your partner in an open relationship. One way or another, you are going to do something that might hurt the feelings of one or more of your partners if you’re not careful about it.

It might be your words like you unintentionally compared one lover from another or through your actions like if you forget your date with one while spending time with another partner.

2. Impracticality

If you think about it, there are only too many hours in a day. You’ll be busy with work, responsibilities, personal self-care time and other aspects of your life to even maintain more than one relationship/date at the moment. You can’t always have it together all the time. It won’t be as peaceful as monogamy for most.

3. Limited Resources

When things get tough, you won’t have much references on how to fix your relationship. It’s modern and unconventional. There are no set nor legal rules about it. You’ll be left on your own trying to decide the best next move in your relationship.

Various university studies even state that the success rate of consensual non-monogamy is only at 4%.

Bonus: Dating Someone in an Open Relationship

Love is a natural and genuine thing that every human being has the capability of giving. Some people believe that they have too much love to give and they’d want to give this love to more than just one person. And that is the birth of open relationships.

Dating someone in an open relationship can be very daunting and full of pressure since you will be seeing not just one person. Try to remember that no two people in this world are alike. You’ll be dealing with different personalities, different backgrounds and different connections. One might be deeper than the others. One might be less serious.

It is, however, important to remember that the ultimate goals of open relationships are honesty, happiness, freedom and above all, love… since this is where it all began- humans’ undying capacity to love more than just one other human being.

✍️  April 12, 2021

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