What does it mean to be in an Open Relationship?
An open relationship is an intimate relationship between two people who agrees to share a non-monogamous lifestyle.
In this type of relationship, the couple or individuals have the liberty to engage in sexual acts outside of the relationship.
Unlike a closed relationship where an individual has only one partner during their lifetime, a non-exclusive relationship encourages or gives you the freedom to take a new lover, without having issues or misunderstandings with your partner.
Do Open Relationships Even Work?
It depends on your motive for desiring a new partner or a lover.
If your aim is to gratify your sexual urge, then it may not work for you as you expected. It will only compel you to search and desire more sexual mates. But if your aim is to improve your relationship or to be a little detached from your partner, then, it may probably work for you.
Although, all these depend on your approach. I can’t give you an assurance that an open relationship will work for you.
Being attracted to a new set of people or lovers will expose you to new ideas. Not only that, but it can help you to re-spark your love for your partner, as he or she will look new to you, and not like the everyday person you always know.
Is it good to be in an open relationship?
Well, it depends on what you want to achieve in the end.
Before going into a non-exclusive relationship, consider answering the following questions first:
- Do I really need this type of relationship? If ‘YES’, then why?
- What is my partner’s perspective regarding non-monogamous relationships?
- What are the merits and demerits of this relationship?
If you are able to answer the above questions, then it’s left for you to decide, depending on your answers.
Are Open Relationships & Polyamory the same?
Whereas an open relationship is all about having a sexual partner(s) outside the relationship, polyamorous means having multiple relationships at a time, with the consent of everyone involved.
A poly relationship does not necessarily involve sex, but, being in a different relationship at the same time. For instance, you are dating Mr. ‘A’, Mr. ‘B’, ‘C’ or even Mr. ‘D’ at the same time, and they are all aware of this.
So, it is the direct opposite of Monogamy. But a non-exclusive relationship is a casual dating where two individuals connect with each other without any form of commitment.
It is not like polyfidelity in which the couple or the two parties agree to abstain from sexual activities outside of the marriage or relationship.
So, it is a non-serious relationship. You are always free to be in a romantic relationship with several partners. You can use the word ‘free love’ if you like.
What are the various types of Open Relationships?
Swinging is a sexual activity in which both singles and partners in a committed relationship sexually engage with others for recreational purposes.
Some examples are wife swapping, husband swapping, or swapping your partner. It is a form of an open relationship.
It is a form of non-exclusive relationship where a man or a woman, or a couple engages in limited friendly hookups with or without their partner.
Disadvantages Of Open Relationships?
There are common problems facing casual relationships. Below are some of the disadvantages of being in an open relationship.
1. High chance of contracting STI
Having more than one sex partner is the easiest way to contract sexually transmitted infections or diseases, and those in open relationships are more vulnerable to it.
So, if you want a non-exclusive relationship, then be ready to protect yourself sexually, to avoid contracting STID or STI.
2. Jealousy may creep in:
Jealousy is bound to creep in at some point, no matter how you try to stop the feelings, they are bound to come.
Although you may remind yourself that you are in a casual relationship, at the same time, you will find yourself being jealous.
3. Issues of who to spend your time with:
Every relationship requires time. One of the problems you will face in an open relationship is deciding on who to spend your time with. Whether with your ideal partner or your new lover.
4. It can cause depression:
Depression can come in when one partner decides to discontinue the relationship, whereas the other person is still interested. It can also happen if the two parties are unable to handle multiple partners. They may end up breaking the relationship.
What boundaries should you set in an Open Relationship?
Follow these rules if you are considering having a non-monogamous lifestyle.
1. Sex boundaries should be set:
Don’t shy away from this topic. It is very important for both of you to agree on the type of sex you should have outside of the relationship. The purpose of doing this is to stay safe. To avoid contracting STD or STI.
2. Set emotional boundaries:
Most people in open relationships end up being jealous even after being reassured that they are in a non-exclusive relationship.
So, it is very important for you and your partner to agree on the level of intimacy to have with other partners. Failure to do this may result in relationship problems that will eventually bring an end to the relationship.
3. Set a limited time you should spend with another partner:
Time is so precious. It is advisable to set a limited time you would like to spend with another partner, as this will help you to stay connected with each other. But if you spend the whole day with others than with each other, you may end up losing the relationship.