5 things to know about open relationships before taking the risk

If you think everyone is talking about open relationships these days, it’s not your imagination. It seems like every day someone, whether it’s a social media contact, an acquaintance, or a celebrity, is openly discussing their preferences for open relationships with positive intentions.

Open relationships offer modern, forward-looking individuals a perspective on love and sex that holds more importance to them than traditional monogamous relationships. So, it’s natural to wonder whether it might even be worthwhile for you and your partner. Let’s take a look at what you need to know before leaping.

Open relationships don’t work for everyone.

Although open, non-monogamous relationships can work well for many people, it is important to understand that they are not the same solution for everyone. They are certainly no remedy for troubled or failing monogamous relationships because of jealousy, anger, trust issues, or fear of abandonment. They are also not suitable for certain personality types.

If you or your partner isn’t ready for non-monogamy, opening up the relationship may create more problems than it solves. Someone who doesn’t agree with the idea simply won’t “get used to it” or “learn to like it.” They may feel pressured to end the relationship completely because of jealousy, resentment, or fear of abandonment. It is something that should only be attempted by those individuals who are equally excited to try it for their reasons.

Open relationships are no more accessible than traditional relationships.

No relationship is a walk in the park without any obstacles or challenges. Breaking away from monogamy does not mean that concerns about issues such as infidelity or jealousy should be ignored. Open relationships come with their own set of rules and boundaries that must be respected.

If you’re considering taking the plunge into an open relationship, make sure you thoroughly understand the ground rules. How much leeway do each of you have as far as infidelity is concerned? When it comes to opening up in primary relationships, how much openness are you comfortable with? It’s not about throwing monogamy out the window; It’s about redefining it.

Open relationships require excellent communication skills.

Communication is the cornerstone of any healthy relationship, monogamous or not. However, this is especially important if you are entering non-monogamous territory. If discussing sex, expressing your needs, or understanding complex feelings seems challenging, then an open relationship may not be right for you.

Successful open couples are adept at not only expressing their wants, needs, and feelings but also understanding their partner’s feelings. Although their policy regarding extramarital affairs may be “don’t ask, don’t tell,” they regularly check in with each other to make sure all is well with all parties involved. This level of openness ensures they discuss any discomfort when it arises.

Open relationships are not the same as polygamous relationships.

Although it is often confused, being in a polygamous relationship is not the same as being in an open relationship. A polygamous couple may date and engage in sexual activity outside of their primary relationship, but they are usually more inclined to develop long-term emotional relationships with at least some of their partners. When it comes to extracurricular activities, an open couple is often primarily interested in sexual encounters.

It depends on each couple which option is suitable for them. However, in most cases, open relationships usually only allow for emotional involvement within the primary relationship. Make sure you and your partner have a thorough discussion about your boundaries before making any decisions.

Emotions can develop in open contexts.

If you are the kind of person who can engage in sex without developing feelings, you would already be aware of this. Just understand that sometimes feelings pop up when you least expect them, especially when you’re sleeping with someone multiple times instead of just the occasional one night.

If so for one, having a game plan is essential. In most cases, open relationships agree to end the relationship where feelings for either party begin to develop. Others choose to strictly follow the rules of hookups and one-night stands to minimize the chances of anything beyond that. If you and your partner decide that opening up is right for you, be willing to embrace the freedom that comes with it and find someone who matches you as an individual and a couple. Just be sure to communicate thoroughly and keep the lines of communication open every step of the way.

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