Open relationship benefits
15 Reasons You Actually Want An Open Relationship
The thought of your wife or girlfriend in bed with someone else probably curdles your blood. And if we had to guess, she probably doesn't exactly love the idea of you and a swimsuit model having a romantic rendezvous, either. But believe it or not, there's mounting evidence that more and more couples are engaged in this sort of relationship—well, not necessarily with models. And get this: it's not cheating. Yes, the open relationship is here and it's not going anywhere.
The only thing to decide if it's the thing for you.
The rules, of course, vary from open relationship to open relationship. Some couples share every nitty-gritty detail; others stay entirely mum. ("I was, uh, out with the guys.") The important part is that it's a mutually consensual arrangement. And as it turns out, there are a ton of benefits—from more satisfying sex to making new friends—to opening up your relationship. You just have to be careful and make sure you tackle your open relationship the right way.Shutterstock
The simplest reason an open marriage may be right for you? "It could be an option for not separating, but still creating some distance," says Lisa Bahar, a licensed marriage and family therapist based in California. In fact, it might be a great way to deal with issues that sometimes are at the root of the decision to divorce, like sex drive levels that don't match up and vastly differing interests. It's worth nothing that sexual incompatibility is one of the biggest warning signs your relationship is in trouble.
Crazy, but true. "Research has found that opening a relationship can increase the frequency and quality of sex with your primary partner," notes Chanta Blue, LCSW, a sexuality and relationship therapist. If the reason you want an open relationship is to improve your sex life, there's a pretty good chance you'll end up happier with that aspect of your relationship than you were before. That said, there are plenty of other great ways to spice up your sex life.
One of the most surprising findings of a new study on consensual non-monogamous relationships (aka open relationships) was that couples in these relationships were significantly less jealous than monogamous couples. Of course, it makes sense that non-monogamous couples would be less jealous about the idea of their partner engaging romantic activity with someone else, but monogamous couples also displayed more jealous behaviors, meaning that being with just one person doesn't actually prevent jealousy. In fact, you and your partner might be less likely to act jealous if you engage in an open relationship—and, as a result, far less likely to cheat.Shutterstock
It's no secret that they key to making an open relationship work is the ability to talk to your partner about hopes, feelings, boundaries. That's probably why being in an open marriage "improves and encourages honest communication between partners," according to Blue. After all, if you're being totally open and honest about one part of your relationship (who you're having sex with, why, and how it's going), you're more likely to be willing to talk about other things openly, too. Speaking of communicating well, make sure you know the sexiest things to say to a woman.
One person can't provide for all of your needs, all of the time. "An open marriage allows both primary partners to get most or all of their wants and needs met," explains Christene Lozano, licensed marriage and family therapist who specializes in sex and relationships. "It can take the pressure off of each partner," she adds. And for more advice on how to get more of your needs met, here's how to transform your wife into a sex goddess.
It may seem like a monogamous relationship is the most trusting kind you can have, but the same study mentioned earlier found that trust levels were higher in open relationships, which likely has something to do with those improved communication skills that are gained in the process.Shutterstock
There's some evidence that being in an open relationship "helps you maintain your own sense of identity," says Blue. That means you feel free to do things on your own, but still appreciate your primary partner, which is pretty much the ideal situation. Also, being (a little bit) selfish is one of the ways to make your marriage last forever.
"Opening a relationship can relieve that pressure of the common ideology that your spouse has to fulfill all of your needs," Blue says. It's true that married couples often feel stressed about not having a picture-perfect marriage, but being in an open marriage means that you're okay with not going along with the traditional definition of what marriage means, which can make it easier to focus on doing what's best for you as a couple instead of what's expected.Shutterstock
It's no secret that married sex can get a little stale (if not, count yourself lucky!) But one of the advantages of an open relationship, according to Bahar, is that it allows you to investigate different elements if your sexual identity, as well as experiment with sexual practices that your spouse might not be into.Shutterstock
"Failure" in a monogamous marriage is simple: separation or divorce. But the same research referred to earlier showed that people who are engaged in open relationships and polyamory are less concerned with relationship failures, since "breaking up" isn't as cut-and-dry for them. For more great marital advice, check out the secrets of the best relationships.
"Metamours (your partner's partner) can become a resource and support for you, creating community and friendship," explains Angie Gunn, LCSW, a sex, trauma, and relationship therapist based in Portland, Oregon. It's also encouraged that you network with other open couples to find out how they handle being non-monogamous, which can result in lasting friendships and a new sense of belonging.Shutterstock
Even though monogamy is traditionally considered the "healthiest" kind of relationship, the trust, communication, and honesty required by an open marriage mean you may end up being closer to your spouse and more in touch with who they really are than you ever were before. And for more ways to make sure you have the best possible marriage, make sure you and your wife have had these crucial conversations.Shutterstock
While it's gaining popularity, being in an open relationship isn't exactly standard. "Opening up provides opportunities for couples to explore what it's like to challenge mononormative cultural assumptions, which presume monogamy is the only way," Gunn says. Whether you've always been a go-against-the-grain type or you're newly nontraditional, it can be exhilarating and informative to buck the norm.
"Creating a relationship configuration and structure that suits the two of you can be really liberating and fulfilling long term," Gunn says. This is especially relevant since you'll have to work together to outline what you each hope to gain from your outside relationships as well as your primary relationship. When expectations are clearly delineated, it's easier to meet them and have positive, loving interactions in your day-to-day life.
Co-dependency, or needing your partner to be there for you emotionally at all times, isn't such a great thing for relationship longevity. In fact, research shows that people with more different types of relationships, who don't put all their eggs in one basket, so to speak, are better-equipped to deal with stress spikes.
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The Pros and Cons of an Open Relationship
- Love & Dating
Hint: Communication is key.
Stacey Laura Lloyd
Stacey Laura Lloyd
Stacey Laura Lloyd is an author with a passion for helping others find happiness and success in their dating lives as well as in their relationships.
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Updated on 10/25/22
Reviewed by Minaa B.
Minaa B. is a writer, mental health professional, and founder of Minaa B. Consulting.
Brides's Editorial Guidelines
Licensed Master Social Worker
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Relationships are like a great pair of vintage jeans: If they don't fit, they won't make you happy. One thing we know for sure is that, also like amazing denim, there are lots of different types of relationships. Love is definitely not one-size-fits-all. One type of relationship getting a lot of buzz lately is an open one, but what does that really mean?
What Is an Open Relationship?
An open relationship is one in which both parties aren't exclusively dating each other. In other words, both people are openly allowed to have other sexual and/or romantic partners.
Basically, if you're in an open relationship, you're okay with you and your partner having other love interests. Other than that, the rest of the "rules" are up to you and your partner. In a psychological study conducted by the University of Guelph, author Jessica Wood pointed out, "We found people in consensual, non-monogamous relationships experience the same levels of relationship satisfaction, psychological well-being and sexual satisfaction as those in monogamous relationships."
If this sounds interesting, but you aren't quite sure if an open relationship is right for you, keep reading to learn a little more about what being in this type of coupling entails. Here's what you should consider before opening up your relationship.
01 of 05
Say Goodbye to Monogamy
Look, all relationships are different, but the one thing that defines them is whether or not both parties are exclusively seeing each other or not. The whole point of being in a relationship is to enjoy yourself and your partner in whatever context works for you. If you both feel like your relationship would do better if you open it up, go for it.
If you've spent your whole life in monogamous relationships, an open one may feel a little strange, but don't worry, you'll get used to it (and might even wonder why you never tried this earlier!) You may feel a little guilty the first time you hook up with someone who isn't your main man or lady, but try to let those feelings go because you're not doing anything wrong.
Lawrence Josephs Ph.D., explains, "[Some] individuals may feel that monogamy is a prison that traps them in a permanent arrangement that is sexually frustrating and devoid of emotional intimacy. " If you can relate, that doesn't make you a bad person incapable of love; it just means that you may need different things from different partners.
02 of 05
Honesty Really Is the Best Policy
The only way an open relationship will work is if you're both totally honest with each other. Like a monogamous relationship, you'll discuss what you're both comfortable with when you define the relationship. People who don't really understand the concept of open relationships may make you feel like you're just getting permission to cheat on your partner, but here's why they're wrong: Open relationships grant both of you the freedom to pursue other people in a way that's based on mutual respect, open communication, and total honesty. In other words, you fully trust each other.
While you still have strong feelings for your primary partner, you're still able to have different sexual needs met with different people, all while being completely truthful and open with one another. We truly believe that the hallmark of a successful relationship is being able to tell each other anything.
03 of 05
Clear Your Schedule
No matter how many or few partners you have, you'll need to be able to make time for all of them. Regardless of whether you're going out for a long and leisurely dinner or just heading to their apartment for a quick hookup, you will probably need to keep a few nights open every week. Just like any other relationship, an open one requires time and effort.
For some couples, it means one main partner and other less significant partners, and for other couples, it means that both parties can have other full-blown relationships. Take some time to figure out what works for you, but either way, open relationships are a time commitment.
04 of 05
Feel Your Feelings
Even if you're super open-minded, accepting, and trusting, you may still feel a pang of jealousy when your partner comes home after a night spent with one of their other lovers. Jealousy is a strong feeling that may be hard to ignore, so don't try to pretend you're fine if you're not.
Believe it or not, it's not uncommon for people in an open relationship to feel a bit threatened or intimidated by the different people their partner may pursue. "Some of us might aspire to be successful at consensual non-monogamy and that, too, requires certain personality dispositions and interpersonal skills like overcoming jealousy and insecurity about consensual partner sharing," Dr. Josephs explains.
If you are experiencing negative feelings about your partner, talk to him, your friends, or a therapist about it. Sometimes merely acknowledging the way you feel aloud to another person can help alleviate the negativity.
05 of 05
Don't Expect a Quick-Fix
Whether it was on television or in real life, we've all seen a couple have a baby in the hopes of repairing their relationship, but that never works. If a relationship is doomed to fail, nothing will be able to fix it because it's simply not meant to be.
Like a baby, an open relationship can't save a failing connection. In fact, opening up a weak relationship will probably destroy it. If you want an open relationship to have any chance of succeeding, you need to establish a strong and sturdy foundation first. Trust us, if you're already feeling pretty insecure about where your connection stands, hooking up with other people won't help.
Are You Dating a Serial Monogamist? How to Tell and What It Means
Brides takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
University of Guelphi. Open Relationships Just as Satisfying as Monogamous Ones, U of G Study Reveals. Updated July 3, 2018.
Open relationship | Facts, rules, pros and cons
- 💕 What is an open relationship?
- 👨❤️💋👨 Open Relationship Facts
- 💜 Open Relationship Rules
- 💖 Pros and Cons of Open Relationships
- ❤️ Bonus: Dating Someone in an Open Relationship
An open relationship is a type of non-traditional relationship in which both partners agree to explore and have romantic and sexual relationships with other people.
Non-traditional types of relationships, such as open relationships, exist mainly because some people believe that love should be given to everyone, and monogamy restricts us from this. Instead of committing adultery and betraying their partner, some people make their partner aware of their sexual and emotional needs and desires and offer the idea of an open relationship.
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Open Relationships vs. Polyamory
Both of these types of relationships are unconventional and are sometimes confused with each other. However, when you try to understand their basic definitions, you will see that they have a slight difference that sets them apart.
An open relationship is defined as a consensus agreement between partners to have a sexual relationship different from that between both of them.
Polyamory is defined as having multiple relationships. Relationships don't have to be sexual. The focus and driving force behind this type of relationship is love and emotional connections with people other than your partner. Basically, it encourages you to be in love with more than one person at the same time.
How to ask for an open relationship?
Being someone who is open about their desire to try an open relationship can be quite awkward and difficult for a person. Here are the steps to ask for an open relationship:
1. Think before you ask.
Before you even try to talk to your partner, you need to think things through and make sure you understand the risks and benefits of an open relationship.
N e w !
2. Introduce your partner to an open relationship.
Your partner may not know that certain similar relationships exist. Tell them the basics about it and gradually let them understand your intent to open the topic.
3. Explain why you want this.
What are the reasons why you start to think that an open relationship might be good for both of you. Don't be ashamed of it. Be sexually and emotionally open and kindly ask your partner to approach the discussion in the same way.
4. Reassure your partner that this is not due to any shortcomings on his/her part.
Make sure your partner knows how much you care about him or her and that it's not because of his or her shortcomings. Explain that you just want the best for both of you.
5. Give your partner time and space to think.
Your conversation will no doubt be difficult. You cannot expect your partner to immediately respond to your offer. Don't give him an ultimatum and reassure him that you're fine if the answer is no.
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Open Relationship Facts
Before you both dive into the uncharted waters of an open relationship, read the following facts and accept the benefits and consequences of an open relationship.
It's not just about sex.
An open relationship does not mean that you are constantly having sex with all your partners. It is something much deeper than that. It's about finding strong connections with others, not just letting your entire universe revolve around one person forever.
Jealousy is normal.
An open relationship does not save you from jealousy. It simply means that you and your partner can positively overcome your negative feelings by communicating effectively and openly without judgment, but instead with pure love, kindness, caring, and understanding.
Open marriages exist.
Some couples in open relationships end up getting married, and of course they make their marriage open. Some religious people may denounce this, but there's no denying that they do exist in this modern dating world.
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The rules are different for each couple.
There are no set rules in an open relationship. As long as there is transparency, honesty and love between partners, and everyone is happy with the situation, everything is in order!
Some people still haven't accepted it.
Others can justify that they hate the idea of cheating and mature and mature in their relationship so they made it open, but this is not fully accepted in society. You could lose your job and damage your reputation if the public gets to know about it. It also won't help if you're currently fighting for custody of your child.
Open Relationship Rules
The rules may be different for all couples, but here are a few guidelines to keep in mind when you both decide to enter into an open relationship. You can live by it and see for yourself if they work for you.
Talk about your sexual boundaries.
This may be oddly specific, but for the benefit and confidence of both parties, you need to talk about it. Agree on how many partners at once, how many times you can have sex, the type of sex that is acceptable, and any other sexual aspects you want to negotiate.
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Express your emotions freely.
Since you are going to meet other people, make sure that you are open to each other, no matter what. Accept each other and learn to comfort each other, always supporting and caring.
Practice safer sex.
For the benefit of your partners and yourself, don't get too carried away with your research to throw out of the window all the safer sex practices you've listened to. For all intents and purposes, you should be safer than ever as you will have multiple partners.
Honesty is the best policy.
Be honest with your partner about what you do with others. You should not suppress or hide from your partner what you feel or what you need. Trusting each other is extremely important.
Plan and prioritize with your main partner.
Be sure to maintain a relationship with your partner. Despite the fact that you will have a new relationship, you should still plan dates and trips to spend time together alone. In the end, what you have must be true that you still continue to hold on to your relationship despite the fact that you have a lot of people. Don't sacrifice long-term love for each other for the short-term flings you'll have throughout your open relationship.
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Pros and Cons of Open Relationships
Before you open the floodgates to this relationship, you must wholeheartedly accept that such a relationship will have both risks and benefits. Monogamy is already hard. It will be even more difficult.
1. Personal Growth
Meeting and interacting with new people and communicating with them on a whole new level will develop your personality, your views and principles regarding life and make you discover things about yourself that you have never seen before realized.
The main reason some people get into open relationships is because they get bored and feel limited in their previously monogamous relationships. In an open relationship, both of you will meet and communicate not only with each other, but with many people, without cheating, since you both agree to it.
3. Improved Communication
In an open relationship, honesty and transparency will always be essential. In order to trust each other with other people, you will need to open up sexually and emotionally to your partner in order to discuss things in a positive way.
1. Insulting other people's feelings
The green evil called jealousy can haunt you if you don't resolve it with your partner in an open relationship. Either way, you're about to do something that could hurt the feelings of one or more of your partners if you're not careful about it.
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It can be your words, for example, you inadvertently compared one lover to another, or your actions, for example, if you forgot a date with one while spending time with another partner. 0019
If you think about it, there are too many hours in a day. You will be busy with work, responsibilities, personal self-care time and other aspects of your life to even maintain more than one relationship/date at the moment. You can't always have it together all the time. For most, it won't be as peaceful as monogamy.
3. Limited Resources
When things go wrong, you won't have much advice on how to fix relationships. It's modern and out of the box. There are no established or legal rules about this. You will be left on your own trying to decide what is the best next step in your relationship.
Various university studies even state that the success rate of consensual non-monogamy is only 4%.
Bonus: dating someone in an open relationship
Love is a natural and sincere thing that every person can give. Some people feel that they have too much love and would like to pass that love on to more than one person. And this is the birth of an open relationship.
Dating someone who is in an open relationship can be very intimidating and full of pressure because you will be dating more than just one person. Try to remember that no two people are the same in this world. You will be dealing with different personalities, different backgrounds and different connections. One may be deeper than the others. It could have been less serious.
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However, it is important to remember that the ultimate goals of an open relationship are honesty, happiness, freedom, and above all, love … for this is where it all began - the immortal ability of humans to love more than just one human being.
Pros and cons of an open relationship
It is normal for a relationship between two people to close when there is a partner. However, it may be that the relationship is open with all that this entails. This type of relationship can occur in couples in which the degree of security and trust is quite high.
Of course, there must be agreement between them, otherwise it may destroy the relationship itself. In the next article, we will explain what an open relationship is, what are their pros and cons.
- 1 Open relationships in a couple
- 2 Risks and dangers of open relationships
Open relationship as a couple
Polygamy is something that is hard to accept and not everyone agrees with. Monogamy is taken for granted in a couple, and many people are not emotionally ready to accept an open relationship with their partner. When it comes to agreeing to such a relationship within a couple, both people must have a number of qualities or characteristics:
- These are fairly self-confident people with a fairly high degree of confidence. When it comes to losing a partner, there is no fear, as third parties pose no danger to the good future of the relationship. Getting to know someone outside of the couple helps break the monotony and improve the intimate relationship with the couple itself.
- People who practice open relationships or polygamy are good at both communication and dialogue. You must establish a set of rules or regulations so that there are no misunderstandings between the couple.
- These are open-minded people who move away from thoughts that do not agree with polygamy, such as machismo or certain religious beliefs. Otherwise, the relationship may be doomed.
Risks and dangers of open relationships
When it comes to open relationships with a partner, there are a number of dangers:
- It may happen that one of the parties regrets polygamy. The problem arises when the other person advocates an open relationship, resulting conflicts and disagreements that can lead to the end of the relationship itself.