There is no one size fits all relationship. Everyone and every relationship has different needs. The idea of an open relationship has begun to gain acceptance in society as more and more people are questioning what really makes them happy when it comes to love and sex.
There are many options that people all over the world are considering, from the “traditional” monogamous relationships to more unconventional ones. With people becoming more open with their sexuality and needs, the idea of an open relationship is something more and more couples are discussing.
But is an open relationship the right choice for you? That is a question that comes with a lot of important considerations. So how do you know? Let’s discuss this a little more.
What Is An Open Relationship?
More clinical people might call this a consensually non-monogamous relationship. An open relationship involves an agreement between the couple that they are allowed to have sex with other partners. These relations are guided by a strict set of rules and guidelines that the couple agrees upon before having intimate relations with others.
This arrangement can be as simple as allowing each partner to experience casual sexual encounters with other people. Or it might include the acceptance of deeper connections like romantic relationships. Within the open relationship category, you may also find terms like swinging and polyamory. These two are forms of an open relationship as they are all non-monogamous and consensual in nature.
So you see, defining an open relationship is tricky as the parameters are built by the couple, and each couple will have their own rules and guidelines attached to this agreement. One thing that is the same, though; amongst all the open relationships, (besides the non-monogamous part) honesty is required to support this type of relationship.
Honesty is always the best policy, especially when dealing with sexual desires and feelings. So how do you decide if this lifestyle choice is right for you? The first thing is honesty, but there are other ways you can determine if an open relationship is right for you.
How To Determine If It Is Right For You
Every relationship is different. Every person in that relationship will have different insecurities and strengths. These will all play a role in testing the waters to see if an open relationship is a viable option for you and your significant other.
But there are a few things that could be indicators that this option may be the best one for you:
- Both you and your partner have voiced interest in having intimate relationships with others while remaining committed to each other.
- As a couple, the two of you have a good, open, and honest line of communication which will make setting boundaries easier after you have discussed the idea thoroughly.
- You are ready to be very honest about everything, even when it comes to insecurities. Trust and honesty have to be a part of your relationship well before you begin to talk about an open relationship.
- Another sign that you might want to begin talking about an open relationship is if, as a couple, your libidos don’t match. Or maybe one of you likes something special when it comes to intimate relations, and the other is just not into it.
- An open relationship may be something to consider if one or both parties have different sexual orientations. So if one of you is bisexual or pansexual, then an open relationship may be something that needs to be on the table (with guidelines that work for both parties, of course).
These are ways you can determine if an open relationship would be the right choice for you.
Talking To Your Partner
Once you have decided that you might want an open relationship, it is time to discuss it with your partner. Though before you do this, you will want to sit down and decide what you want for this arrangement. You will want to make sure you have plenty of time to discuss it, so setting aside a time and a place that is private and comfortable is important.
When it comes to the actual conversation, you need to make sure that your partner understands that you have not done anything with these feelings and urges, so they don’t feel that there has already been infidelity. Make sure they understand that it has nothing to do with anything they have or have not done and that this is about you. While doing this, make sure you define what you consider “open” and then let them take it in and express themselves as well.
When doing this, the other party should never feel like this is an ultimatum or a condition of the relationship. If you truly love your partner, this will just be a conversation, and if they aren’t comfortable with the idea, then you will continue as you have.
Boundaries & Guidelines
If, on the other hand, your partner is open to the idea of an open relationship, then you will both have to sit down and be really honest about what you are willing to accept. This includes things like sexual boundaries. When setting these, it is important that you are both very transparent about what you think is going too far.
This should include a discussion of protection as well. These boundaries and guidelines will need to be reviewed every now and then to make sure that nothing has changed so that the relationship can stay on track.
Another vital component of your rules and guidelines is emotional boundaries. This should include each partner’s thoughts on long-term relationships, sleepovers, dating, and if it is okay to have a serious relationship with someone else while still in a relationship with each other. There should also be a discussion of how to handle potential real feelings erupting in these other relationships and how you will handle this as a couple.
An open relationship requires more honesty than the monogamous one you have been in, but if you feel that you need more from your relationship, then discussing it with your partner is a good first step to finding your relationship’s perfect path.