How to Make an Open Relationship Work for You
An open relationship can be awesome—if you do it right.
Are you considering opening up your relationship? There is nothing wrong with that. Really.
Monogamy, while the most popular relationship style, is not the only relationship style available. In fact, new research suggests that people in open or polyamorous relationships are actually just as happy, if not happier, than those in monogamous relationships. Take that, societal norms!
What is an open relationship, exactly?
An open relationship is when two people in a monogamous relationship make the consensual decision to explore non-monogamy. This can mean a variety of things, including introducing new sex partners together or separately, or developing outside romantic relationships. An open relationship is a little like a an awesome Crock Pot recipe you made up on the fly: It’s completely yours; it has no guidelines; and you figure it out as you go along.
To open your relationship is to go down the road less traveled, and you might not know other couples to model your open relationship after. That’s where this guide to open relationships comes in. We’ll talk about how to know if an open relationship is right for you, as well as what to do once you’re in one.
Is an open relationship right for you and your partner?
Here are some things to think about.
Write a pros and cons list.
Before you decide to pursue an open relationship, you should make a list of pros and cons, suggests Kristie Overstreet, PhD., a clinical sexologist and psychotherapist: “This will force you to come from a logical versus emotional place.” If you’re going to make an open relationship work, there cannot be any surprises—you have to know all of each other’s insecurities and desires.
Make sure you and your partner are really on the same page.
“You’d be surprised at how many couples I work with where they’ll both say they want to open up, but as we work together, one will usually reveal they like the idea more than the actual practice,” says Mal Harrison, a sexologist and director of the Center for Erotic Intelligence.