An open relationship: what is it and how does it work?

open relationship sex

An open relationship is an adventure for every couple that longs for excitement outside the relationship. That desire has nothing to do with dissatisfaction in your love life or being disloyal. It’s the opposite actually: you both want to have sex with other people and you’re open and honest about it.

An open relationship is different for every couple

In order to have a successful open relationship, you need to have a strong bond with your partner: honest conversations, trust, expressing desires, and setting up rules. Tell each other everything! If you’ve been on a date with another person, there is nothing better than to come home to your partner afterwards. Always let each other know how important you are to each other. How does an open relationship work exactly and do you start?

In a open relationship, you and your partner agree to have sexual and sometimes emotional relationships with other people. An open relationship is different for every couple. There are couples who choose to have sex with other people every now and then, without emotional connections coming into play. Others allow each other to be in a relationship with one other man or woman, as long as their own relationship remains the priority. There are also couples where one partner has a second partner, while the other hasn’t. In an open relationship, there are three important aspects: honesty, trust, and paying attention to each other.

Why do people choose an open relationship?

There are many reasons for agreeing to have an open relationship. Sex is an important reason of course. Not long ago, there was a Reddit thread where this phenomenon was discussed by people who were actually in an open relationship. The following reasons for having an open relationship were mentioned:

  • Trust and communication is better in an open relationship than in a monogamous relationship;
  • People are not monogamous and I don’t want to live like that;
  • It’s great to have sex with someone you don’t see every day;
  • I always had one crush after the other and the opportunity to have sex with other people keeps my relationship interesting;
  • This relationship gives me the ultimate feeling of freedom;
  • My partner and I have different needs. My sex partner fulfils the needs my real partner cannot;
  • It’s the best of both worlds: you can just approach that one sexy person at a party or the person who flirts with you, or you can choose to let it go;
  • It’s the some reason as dating someone: because you’re attracted to that person and you want to hang out with them. Sex is a part of that;
  • It’s an amazing experience and it enriches your life.

How do you talk to your partner about wanting to have an open relationship?

When you dream about having sex with another person and having a relationship with them, you have to discuss it with your partner. It’s crucial to choose the right moment to tell him or her and start the conversation the right way. Tell your partner you want to have a serious conversation. Make sure you can clearly list all the reasons for wanting to have an open relationship before talking to your partner.

  • Do you really need that stimulus outside your relationship and why?
  • Explain it calmly and make sure to tell your partner that he or she are the most important person in your life;
  • Respect your partner if they tell you they aren’t ready for an open relationship. Talk about it again at a later date;
  • If you’re going to have an open relationship, make sure you’re both completely on board. If you feel like your partner only agreed to it to make you happy, talk about it;
  • An open relationship only works if you’re both on board.

Create clear rules

Did you both agree to a relationship where both of you can have sex with other people? An exciting time begins! As with everything that is new in life, a new kind of relationship is an adventure. Before you start dating other people, make sure all the rules are clear for you and your partner. By agreeing to certain conditions, you can trust and be open with each other, and there won’t be any insecurity. Create rules for:

  • Sexual acts. What is allowed?
  • Will you use condoms or other contraceptives?
  • Can you only have sex once, or are long-lasting relationships allowed?
  • With whom: are aquaintances allowed or not? How would you feel if your partner enters a relationship with a parent from your child’s school?
  • How do you tell each other about the adventures outside your relationship? Do you want to know about it at all?
  • Is it okay to share the fact that you have an open relationship with your friends or family, or is it a secret?

Set up a trial period and evaluate

If you have doubts, but you’re still willing to find out if an open relationship works for you, you can always set up a trial period. An open relationship doesn’t have to be forever. Perhaps you simply need to get something out of your system. Make the trial period part of the rules you create with your partner. For example, you can agree to try it for 6 months. After those 6 months, you can talk about your experiences together and how you feel about the open relationship. Do you want to go through with it and do the rules still work for both of you? Do you want to add something to the rules? It’s your life, so you and your partner decide what will happen together.

Also read: Talking about your sexual desires

Always be honest in an open relationship

Good communication and trust are key in a healthy open relationship. The attitude of ‘we don’t want to know anything about what the other is doing’ creates a lot of mystery in an open relationship. This can easily lead to jealousy. You might start imagining all the things your partner is potentially doing for example. And your imagination is likely much worse than reality. Talk about everything, be honest, and accept each other. Indicate what you like and what you don’t like. An open relationship is a journey and you’ll constantly keep learning.

Celebrate life together

No relationship is easy at all times and your open relationship is no exception. So keep working on it. It’s a pleasure to have sexual adventures outside your relationship and it’s even better to come home to your partner every time. Tell your partner how much you love them and celebrate the fact that you support and trust each other. Your partner is your best friend and they always will be. Pay attention to each other, do fun things together, and keep your relationship intimate. When you keep investing in your relationship and always try your best for your partner, your open relationship is likely to be a success. The bumps in the road you will encounter, like insecurity or jealousy, you’ll be able to overcome together. So celebrate life together and let your hair down!

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