Open Relationship: An open relationship, also known as a non-exclusive relationship, is an intimate relationship that is sexually non-monogamous. The term may refer to polyamory, but generally indicates a relationship where there is a primary emotional and intimate relationship between two partners, who agree to at least the possibility of intimacy with other people. I’m pretty sure monogamy was never for me. In fourth grade, I got in trouble with my boyfriend because he found out I had another boyfriend.
Throughout high school and college, some of my relationships overlapped, and some were purely dishonest. But society told me I had to be with one person at a time, with the goal of choosing one person forever. I would often fall into a cycle of trying to make that work but eventually letting temptation get the best of me, and failing both parties of the relationship; especially my partner. I hurt people, and it felt so wrong. It was so wrong. After a really great, long-term, successfully monogamous relationship ended, I was suddenly single in my late twenties and enjoying the freedom and the variety.
That’s when I met Adam on OkCupid. Adam was fun and our chemistry was fantastic and rare, and though we kept it strictly physical, with those boundaries clearly defined throughout, spending time together was becoming the highlight. Eventually, the inevitable conversation came up naturally about what we were, and what we could be. We were both always aware of the existence of other lovers, but it was clear that we were each other’s favorite. It occurred to us that we could keep the excitement and variety, and still let ourselves fall in love with each other.
Open Relationship Rules
One of the first rules you should agree on as a couple is what types of sex are okay to have with other people (if sex is okay at all) and what you consider to be out of bounds, Lundquist says.
Set Emotional Boundaries
It’s also important to define what social and emotional behaviors are okay. For example, maybe you’re totally cool with your partner having random Tinder hookups but you’re not comfortable with them going on dates or seeing other partners in a social context.
Establish Who It’s Cool To Hook Up With
Open relationships don’t (usually) mean “open to anyone.” And, according to Lundquist, “this is an area where open couples can get into trouble.” Before you enter into an open relationship, it’s important to agree on who is fair game to get intimate with.
Figure Out How Much Time You’ll Spend With Other Partners.
Once you’ve established boundaries, experts recommend taking the time to dig into the nitty-gritty—like how much time you’ll each spend on your open-relationship activities.
Confront Your Insecurities Head On
In an open relationship, in order to succeed, you will have to confront your insecurities. You will have to navigate the first, by yourself, and then again with your partner. Open relationships require you to do a ton of work on yourself that would otherwise lie dormant in closed relationships—specifically in the realms of jealousy, insecurity, and communication.
Love Yourself A Lot
You have to really like yourself. You have to know you may not be the hottest person your partner puts their dick in, but that it won’t matter because you know you’re the shit. Sex isn’t everything—it’s actually a very small part of a relationship and an even smaller part when you add another person mathematically. Also, you can never have a threesome if you both aren’t into it.
Institute Practices, Not Rules
“Our biggest key to success is not having any rules. We only have the best practices. Our three best practices (not rules) are, one, to always use safe sex practices (re condoms), two, own our own feelings so we don’t expect anyone else to fix them, and three, don’t be a jerk.”
Types Of Open Relationships
To a large degree, open relationships are a generalization of the concept of a relationship beyond monogamous relationships. A form of open relationship is an open marriage, in which the participants in a marriage have an open relationship.
There are several different styles of open relationships. Some examples include:
- Multi-partner relationships, between three or more partners where a sexual relationship does not occur between all of the parties involved.
- Hybrid relationships, when one partner is nonmonogamous and the other is monogamous.
- Swinging, in which singles or partners in a committed relationship engage in sexual activities with others as a recreational or social activity.
The term open relationship is sometimes used interchangeably with the closely related term polyamory, but the two concepts are not identical. The main unifying element to open relationship styles is the non-exclusivity of romantic or sexual relationships. Another generic term for all these types of relationships is open love.
What Does In An Open Relationship Mean?
An open relationship is one where an established couple has mutually agreed to share a non-monogamous lifestyle. This includes either or both parties having other sexual and/or romantic partners. This type of relationship is carried out with the consent and knowledge of all parties involved.
Is An Open Relationship Healthy?
There are scant positive models of healthy non-monogamous relationships, and so monogamy is generally not considered a choice but a given. Once a couple commits to each other, sexual exclusivity is expected and assumed — for now, and forever.
What Percentage Of Open Relationships Work?
Research tells us that about 4 to 5 percent of heterosexual couples have agreed to have an open relationship.
What Are The Rules Of An Open Relationship?
- Set sex boundaries.
- Set emotional boundaries.
- Establish who it’s cool to hook up with.
- Figure out how much time you’ll spend with other partners.
- Decide how you’ll talk about your relationships with each other and others.
- Discuss how often you’ll have a check-in.
What Is Swinging In Relationships?
Swingers are couples or singles who choose to have an open relationship, allowing their partners to have sex with other people, with their permission, of course. In the swinging world, couples make their own rules around what they need within relationships and marriages and vow to abide by the boundaries set forth.
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