Every relationship has its own rules – and an open relationship is no different

It’s not for everyone…

But it is for some, and it’s becoming more popular (and acceptable) as couples – young and old! – choose to explore non-traditional types of relationships.

We’re talking about open relationships.

What does it mean to be in an open relationship?

The Urban Dictionary defines an open relationship as “a relationship in which two people agree that they want to be together, but can’t exactly promise that they won’t see other people too. Basically, to have it all: a significant other and the freedom to hook up with other people”.

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It’s not a ‘one size fits all’

Every relationship has its own rules – and an open relationship is no different.

For some, it might mean the freedom to casually date and sleep with other people. While for others, it could mean having an intimate, loving relationship with more than one person.

Deciding to have an open relationship is not something you ‘sleep on’. The move requires stability, reciprocity and honesty – lots of it!

What about jealousy?

As your partner experiences the thrill of budding romance, it’s bound to shake things up in your relationship – leading to feelings of fear, insecurity or possessiveness.

Jealousy (whether you’re in an open relationship or not) is normal, but not a deal breaker, for the functioning of an open relationship. The key to working through jealousy is to acknowledge your triggers, set boundaries and keep talking.

Good to know: An open relationship is not a last resort for a relationship heading for splitsville,  and will not fix what’s broken!

Honesty is key. Be honest about what you want – and what you don’t want!

Here are three things to consider:

1. Just because it’s ‘open’, doesn’t mean that ALL rules fall away

Honesty is key. Be honest about what you want – and what you don’t want! It’s important that you establish with what you are each comfortable (sexually and emotionally).

  • How much time will each of you spend on open relationship activities?
  • How ‘open’ will your open relationship be? Will it remain a bedroom secret, or are you comfortable sharing it on social media?
  • What types of sex is okay? (if at all)
  • Are you up for meeting your partner’s lovers and inviting them into the home you share?
  • Or, would you rather follow the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ principle? How much are you willing to share with your partner?

2. Talk, talk, talk – and then talk some more

Talking can be tiresome – we know. But, like any other decision you and your partner make, deciding to have an open relationship requires you both to be on the same page.

The ‘talking’ doesn’t stop once you’ve set up your new relationship’s ground rules. For an open relationship to work, you and your partner have to commit to ‘checking in’ with each other and talking about all things sex, love and relationships on a regular basis.

Remember, once you lay the ground rules, you can’t break them, but you can revisit them and make edits after discussing them with your partner.

3. You’re going to get jealous

You’re only human, so obviously you’re going to feel different emotions when your partner recounts an awesome date, or flirts over text with someone else in your presence.

If you are an overly-jealous type person, then an open relationship probably isn’t for you.

This article was inspired by a video featured on the YourTango website. Watch the full video here.