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Open Relationships: A Comprehensive Guide

Think you want to open your relationship? Learn a little more about open relationships before you do!

Have you ever thought about opening your relationship?

You aren’t alone!

Nontraditional relationships are more common in today’s society. While monogamy works for many people, many people are realizing it isn’t for them.

Many people turn to open relationships or wonder if it might be the best arrangement for them. But how do you go about approaching the subject with your partner?

Before you go and do something you will regret, keep reading to learn all about open relationships and what one could mean for you and your partner.

Depending on who you ask, an open relationship could be a wide range of partnership styles. In general, it means that you and your long-term partner will see other people while still being in a relationship together.

It’s important to note that open relationships look different to each couple. An open relationship could be a romantic arrangement with someone else, an outside sexual encounter on occasion, or possibly, a threesome.

This dating style is exciting and intriguing to all types of people. Sometimes it gives current partnerships an added boost, and other times it could lead to relationship destruction. As with anything in life, doing it the right way can make all the difference.

The conditions to making an open relationship work are:

If you and your partner are able to maintain these, it is likely that an open relationship can work for you.

According to one woman in an open relationship:

However, just as there are many ways to make an open relationship work, there are many reasons it will not work, and one of these reasons is if you aren’t honest with your partner.

If you start lying to your partner about what you want from an open relationship, or what you are doing in your open relationship, this will destroy the trust. When trust is destroyed, there is no relationship. When the couple struggles with something, they both should be open to talking about it.

Therefore open relationships can work, but communication is absolutely key.

With all this being said, is your relationship in a state to handle having something more open?

On occasion, couples will turn to the open relationship style to smooth out their current love problems. No new individuals are responsible for fixing what came before them, so this bandaid usually ends in turmoil.

If you feel like something is missing from your daily love life, have a constructive chat before you add another person’s energy to the mix.

Before you set out to do anything new in life, do you consider the pros and cons?

What would change for the better? The worst?

In addition, CNM partners also have fewer instances of being abusive towards their partners. This goes back to the trust factor that exists within the open relationship. But it can also be attributed to the fact that it is almost impossible for one partner to isolate the other in an open relationship.

A coin has two sides, as does love. While there are many benefits to having an open relationship, what’s the catch?

This could be because the new relationship gives you something your partner does not. Other times, it’s just an unfortunate wake-up call.

Another downside of an open relationship is the fact that it exposes everyone involved to STDs. Therefore both partners, as well as anyone they see will need to engage in regular testing to keep everyone safe. This can be seen as a bit of a hassle for some people.

Many people struggle with communication in an open relationship. Even when the agreement is in place, it is important to discuss everything.  Communication has to be open and honest for these types of relationships to work. So, if you already struggle communicating with your partner, an open relationship would not be the best idea.

No matter how strong your present relations are, presenting this topic can be a bit risky. Does your partner know anything about open relationships?

It can come as a big surprise to hear your partner wants to open matters up to others. You both need to understand the rules, emotions, and how to coordinate a new change.

It is crucial to tell your partner that you are not dissatisfied with them, but curious. The partner may be more willing to talk about the open relationship idea if you are honest. Also, you need to discuss the subject without blaming them for anything.

And here’s what you shouldn’t do when approaching the subject:

Remember that you should never bring up the idea of an open relationship as a resolution to an argument, or in the heat of the moment. This can cause the other person to feel betrayed and they won’t even be open to a discussion.

You need to additionally make sure that it is not issued as an ultimatum for ending a relationship. You are not bringing up the subject to leave a loved one but to open the connection as a way to bring you closer together. And if you feel you need an open relationship to be happy, chances are you are not with the right partner.

Do not push your partner to make a quick decision about starting an open relationship. You most likely did not come up with the idea spur of the moment either so you should not expect them to decide immediately either.

Do not be pushy, and give them time to think before reaching an agreement. If you put pressure on them it may end up backfiring on you.

Still not confident about an open relationship for you and your partner? Check out these tips!

For any first-timers, the transition is going to be a learning curve. Find what works for you and your partner, and run with it. If you need help, reach out to a counselor or ask your partner what they need to feel comfortable in this new role.

A CNM arrangement requires the couple to be open with their feelings rather than hiding them. Secrets can quickly take root and end up causing more significant problems in a relationship down the road.

If your partner begins a secondary relationship before you, you could be feeling jealous. In that case, you must discuss the feelings. Handle insecurities together to get to the root of the issue.

To ensure that your open relationship will work, you must have 100% trust in each other. If there is no trust between you and your partner, a CNM arrangement will not work. Feelings of jealousy and bitterness can turn toxic in a relationship before you realize it.

Talking about how you will use protection in an open relationship is critical. You need to discuss how you will both use protection before you open a relationship.

There is both the risk of pregnancy and STDs from unprotected sexual relationships. When you engage in sexual intercourse with someone who is not your partner, you are not only trusting the person you are sleeping with but also whoever they may be sleeping with as well.

Set ground rules with your partner about your open relationship from the start.

Therapists recommend you have an in-depth talk with your partner before opening the relationship. You need to take all of the following into account for your open relationship to be successful.

Figuring all of this out in advance will ensure there are no surprises later down the road. It will also keep either of you from getting hurt by the actions of the others.

Now there’s an added booking in your weekday schedule, what does that look like for you?

When partners start to include a third party in their lives, it’s healthy to discuss when time will be spent together.

Will you have certain nights that are for your own relationship, such as date nights? Although it seems odd to schedule sexual trysts, it may be necessary to make the open part of the relationship successful.

Take a look at how much time you’re planning to devote to a new side relationship. Having boundaries can keep you from feeling sidelined. Spending the right amount of time with both partners, and yourself is a balance.

When you have an open relationship, you will need to check in with your partner regularly to be sure they are still happy about their choice.

During the check-ins, you should talk about everything. Discussions about what is working and what is not working are important. Keeping the relationship completely honest.

Here is a list of things you should discuss at each check-in:

These check-ins should also let you evaluate your feelings about the open relationship. You may decide it is not for you and that you need to close your relationship.

If reading this article made you spark some jealousy concerns, opt-out. If you find your communication needs a tune-up, opt-out.

On the flip side, if you’re left feeling energized to start a discussion with your partner about opening things up, go for it! You have some therapist-approved tips to get you started in the right direction.

Be prepared for your partner to come with questions and uncertainty. Open relationships aren’t spoken about as usual as most, so it can be a lot to stomach at first. If you’re not able to find a common ground, and you’re STILL wanting an open partnership, ensure this relationship is what you want.

Reflect on yourself before you open up another book. Ready for the next chapter? Turn the page.

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