If you’re in a committed relationship, will you mind if your partner had sex with someone else? Many people would say that they wouldn’t like it if their partner got intimate with someone else. But there are also those who are very much comfortable with having an open relationship.
For many who are wondering what it’s like to be in an open relationship, the first thing they want to know is if it can actually work. Whichever type of open relationship you’re going to have, how it will work will really depend on you and your partner. To find out if an open relationship would work for you, continue reading.
Open Relationships Come in Various Forms
People normally conceive of open relationships as having a non-monogamous relationship. Times have evolved, however, and so have our personal relationships. There are now different types of non-monogamous relationships, and experts have classified open relationships into different categories.
When you have a sexually exclusive relationship with your partner, that’s called monogamy. It’s classical if you both have had no other sexual partners previously, and you remain faithful to your partner your whole life. Serial monogamy, on the one hand, is defined as being in a series of a monogamous relationship.
In contrast, non-monogamous relationships vary in terms of the degree of sexual openness, structure, roles, honesty, and emotional connection. In addition, some non-monogamous couples come up with rules that make their open relationship quite unique.
Polygamy, as practiced in certain religions and cultures, is the most common form of non-monogamous relationships. It’s called polygyny if the husband is married to multiple wives who are sexually exclusive with him. Polyandry, wherein a woman is married to multiple husbands, is far less common than polygyny.
Consensual non-monogamous relationships or open relationships generally refer to any relationship wherein the primary couple are open to having sexual relations with others. Polyamory, monogamish, and swinging are all common examples of open relationships.
Currently, swinging is the most popular and diverse type of open relationship. Committed couples basically consensually exchange partners just for the main purpose of engaging in sex.
Monogamish couples, on the one hand, have stricter rules when it comes to sexual contact outside the relationship. Although the couple stays committed with each other, they both allow the other to have sexual relations with someone else, albeit to a limited degree.
In a monogamish relationship, the couple may commit to a certain rule like having sex with a third party only once a month. Some monogamish couples have rules about kissing, oral sex, and time limitations.
Polyamory, on the one hand, may appear to be the most liberated type of open relationship. Couples in a polyamorous relationship engage in multiple romantic and sexual relationships simultaneously.
What Makes Open Relationships Work?
If you have never tried an open relationship in the past, you may wonder how these non-monogamous couples make it work. Some people just can’t get their mind wrapped around the idea of their partner being in bed with someone else. And that’s actually one of the biggest factors that can make or break an open relationship.
When you’re in a non-monogamous relationship, no matter what form it is, it’s not just about being aware that your partner is having sex with someone else. It’s all about accepting that fact and being okay with it without any jealous or insecure feelings.
When a partner starts to feel jealous or insecure, that’s when an open relationship starts to crumble. This is why honesty and transparency are very important for couples in an open relationship.
Non-monogamous relationship couples who make it actually work usually establish how much they’re going to share with each other. There are those who agree that they will be open and honest about everything, sharing all details about their sexual interactions outside the relationship.
There’s really no set standard on how much you’re going to share with your partner about your other sexual relations when you’re in an open relationship. The key is to establish and agree on the level of honesty and transparency that you expect from each other.
If you expect your partner to tell you about everything that happened with her latest one-night stand, but you yourself aren’t willing to tell her how sexually excited you were when you were with your latest sexual partner, then that could put a strain on your relationship.
One thing that you and your partner also need to decide on before you start an open relationship is the kind of arrangement that you will have. You have a lot of options, and you can decide on the structure of your relationship and what kind of rules you will both commit to. The important thing is for both of you to agree on such structure and rules.
You don’t have to stay committed to one form of open relationship, either. If you and your partner both agree to it, you can switch from a swinging relationship to a monogamish or even a polyamorous relationship. It really depends on how sexually open you both are, and your level of comfort in exploring these types of non-monogamous relationships.
Why Open Relationships Sometimes Fail
As with any other relationship, how strong an open relationship stays really depends on the strength of the connection between the primary couple. Anything that breaks that emotional and sexual connection can cause an open relationship to fail.
Jealousy is by far the most common reason why couples in an open relationship break up. When you’re swinging and you notice that your partner seems to be more satisfied when she’s having sex with your friend, sometimes you can’t help but feel jealous. That’s natural, too, since jealousy is a very human emotion.
Feelings of insecurities often accompany jealousy. When you start comparing yourself with your partner’s latest playmate, that can trigger feelings of insecurity, especially if you think the other person is better at sex than you.
If you do want your open relationship to last, you both need to protect the trust that you have for each other. Even if you both consent to the other having sexual relations with someone else, it’s still cheating if you’re not staying faithful to the rules that you have established for your open relationship.