Whether you are thinking to get serious or have been into this for years, an open relationship involves some ground rules that can help you not mess up the relationship. In this world where monogamy is believed as the gold standard of relationships, we have witnessed that polygamy is far more common in several cultures and societies, even in history. But do you think an open relationship won’t work for long? Don’t ever think that. People are more consistent about their decisions and they know what they really want and work better. What you should know is age, race, or socio-economic status won’t affect your desire to be in an open relationship nowadays.
However, if you are looking forward to entering into an open relationship, you need to figure out the do’s, don’ts, needs, preferences, and terms of your partner to make it smooth and flow like a river.
Some Insights on Open Relationship
What exactly is an open relationship? Is it limited to gay, lesbian, or just bisexuals? These questions might have crossed your mind so many times. In general terms, an open relationship can be defined as any type of consensual non-monogamous relationship which tends to focus on sexual pleasures rather than emotional attachment, but not always. Open relationship: this umbrella term includes several types of consensual non-monogamous relationships like polyamory where the partners support one another for having both emotional and sexual relationship with other partners; monogamish relationships are restricted only to sexual activity with other partners with the consent of your regular partner, and some other types. Unlike a secret affair, an open relationship requires the mutual consent and support of the partners to get involved in other sexual or emotional attachments.
Open Relationship Rules
No relationships are alike in any terms. Nevertheless, if you need to establish a healthy open relationship you need to follow some ground rules that need to be discussed, negotiated, and set in before starting one.
Clarify Your Terms
Though non-monogamous couples are completely open to their partner’s emotional and sexual relationship with others partner, without telling each other, most don’t take it that far. So, define your terms, discuss them, and clarify your points before it starts. Set limits and boundaries before starting the relation and tell them that these boundaries might change with time with the development of the relationship. Make sure that you won’t be blamed for doing something that you did that is contradictory to your mutual agreement.
Define your Sexual & Emotional Boundaries
Give clear definitions about your sexual and emotional boundaries. Take an open stance and explicitly mention what you expect in terms of physical, emotional, and sexual dimensions that you prefer. This can include the type of sex and emotional attachment you need, your limits, likes and dislikes about your partner, time preferences, other no-entry points and all.
Keep Trust & Honesty
Be it open or closed relationships, trust is much counted. Hiding something that can affect your relationship is not always a good idea. Open up and let them know that you expect the same from them. Whether you are in multiple relationships or have distinctive needs and preferences, tell them honestly. If you are not looking forward to a long-term relationship, discuss that also in advance.
Safe sex is very much important when you are having an open relationship. You might be super excited to venture into new adventures, but don’t let all those safe practices fly out of the window. Discuss this in advance and don’t let your partner disregard it when it comes to sex. Even when it is okay to have sex and emotional bonding in an open relationship, most of them may not be ready to parent some other’s baby. So don’t take chances.
Time & Space Matters
In open relationships, you should maintain proper time and space. Date nights, phone calls, trips, and meetups need to be prioritized to maintain a healthy relationship. While getting into your new relationship, don’t forget to pay attention to the relationship that you wish you continue for longer-term or a lifetime. Don’t just spare all the fun for this new relationship.
It’s a misconception that people won’t feel jealousy in open relationships. Yes, they do. What matters is you must respect the boundaries and attempt to avoid unnecessary possessiveness and jealousy or deal with it in a healthy way. Openmindedness, trust, and proper communication are essential to take it that way. As a partner, you must be ready to listen to the other one with compassion, open heart, and honesty to understand their feelings and needs.
Don’t force for anything
If it’s not working, let it be. Don’t try to force your partner to do something they may not like. Respect their choices and likes and encourage them to do what they truly like. Let them understand that you’ve got their back.
How to Talk about it with Others
You should decide and agree upon how to talk about your relationship with others if you both have some common connections. Whether to keep it between you both or not, decide together and make a mutual decision. For some, it might be uncomfortable or embarrassing, because they don’t want to be judged. So like any other things, it is good to discuss with your partner that you’re not revealing your private life.
What to call each other
Labels also have some importance in a relationship. Sometimes, you might be overwhelmed by the label “girlfriend”; for some, it might be a burden or inject pressure. But giving your partner a label can sometimes show how important they are to you. Call them by the word they love so that they can understand how you care for them.
The Bottom Line
A successful non-monogamous relationship needs to give importance to a combination of proper communication, trust, honesty, openness, collaboration, and respect. Feelings of apprehension, possessiveness, jealousy and occasional anger are all normal in an open relationship. So, don’t try to shy away from all these. Identify your roadblocks and sort them out for maintaining a healthy relationship.
FAQs – Open Relationships
- Is it okay to feel jealousy in an open relationship?
Yes. jealousy, anger, possessiveness, etc are common in any relationship. You just need to identify the issues and sort them out, understanding the boundaries in a relationship.
2. What is a one-sided open relationship named?
A mono-poly relationship is one where a partner is polyamorous while the other is monogamous. A polyamorous partner has relationships with more than one person; while the monogamous partner is interested only in one partner.
3. Is an open relationship healthy?
An open relationship or consensual non-monogamous relationship can be healthy and satisfying if you are dealing with a combination of compassion, respect, trust, and honesty.
4. Why do open relationships fail?
Usually, relationships fail due to a lack of understanding. To keep your relationship warm, you should maintain trust, honesty, respect, and empathy in your relationship.