We all have been taught the concept of ‘the one’ throughout our lives. We all have been conditioned to believe that monogamy is the gold standard of relationships. But, this is not true. Polygamourous relationships are slowly gaining momentum and have been around for a while now. That’s when the concept of an open relationship enters the picture.
Open relationships fall under the category of consensual polyamorous relationships that tends to focus on sexual activities over emotional with other partners.
As opposed to the popular misconception, open relationships are not like affairs. The main ingredient of an affair is secrecy.
But, in open relationships the partners are completely open to each other about everything. Thanks to the internet and dating apps, open relationships have been on a rise lately.
Opening your relationship is not an easy transition. So if you’re considering opting for an open relationship, you’ll need to weigh your wants and needs, consider your partner’s and establish some ground rules beforehand.
Rules that would lay the foundation for a healthy open relationships:
Communication is the key
There has to be numerous serious conversations about the topic, or else it would end up to be a disaster. Some examples include -: How many other partners are you allowed to see? How many times per week is acceptable? Can they see the same person on a recurring basis or only new people? How much conversation should take place about these other experiences?
Basically, there are so many important areas to cover. It’s important to figure out why each partner wants an open relationship and how you guys can compromise on rules to make the both of you happy. be honest and clear about what you are and aren’t willing to compromise on. Make sure to communicate everything you’re not okay with to your partner so that there’s no room left for lies, misleading and deception.
Confront your insecurities beforehand
“In order to have a successful open relationship, you will have to conquer your insecurities first. You will have to confront them first, by yourself, and then with your partner.
Open relationships require you to do a ton of work on yourself. To be honest about yourself and your partner. You’ll feel jealous; it’s inevitable.
Therefore, you need to battle the feelings of jealousy, possessiveness, inadequacy, and trust your partner wholeheartedly. Always remember, trust is the foundation of these kinds of relationship
Freely discuss what you want without fear or retaliation. Be clear with your expectations with both your new and existing partners.
Negotiate your sexual boundaries
One of the most important ground rules that you should set as a couple in your open relationships is boundaries regarding sex. Don’t shy away in getting specific regarding this aspect. Such as how often sex can occur (e.g., weekly, monthly, etc.) with how many partners at a time.
This includes the type of sex as well. Would it be penetrative sex? Or just oral sex ? and if you are allowed to explore other things like BDSM? Yeah, at first it might be uncomfortable, it’s best to sort this stuff out to keep your relationship running smoothly.
The discussion about sexual practices should also include safe sex practices. For example – wearing a condom should be mandatory always. Both the partners should get screened for STIs frequently etc. Everyone needs to feel sexually safe too.
Prioritise your original relationship
This is the basic rule of all open relationships. Between all your ‘extra’ relationships, don’t forget your original relationship. Your main partner should always be your priority.
Schedule time to nurture your relationship and make sure to maintain that. Date nights, weekend trips and expressing love in different ways need to be prioritized to maintain that passion in your relationship. I
t’s quite easy and pretty common for one partner to get distracted with the brand new and exciting relationship. And in this process, they tend to forget to pay attention to their original relationship. You should also agree upon the specific time that you are allowed to spend with other partners.
Don’t get too caught up in the ecstasy of your new relationships. It’s important to have check-ins with one another to provide a safe space to process emotions.
Check-in regularly with one another about how the open relationship is going.Whatever rules we may set for ourselves, may not apply a few years down the road.
It’s important to have a conversation frequently about what needs to be changed, or boundaries that need to be negotiated. It need not be a very formal conversation. You can have this conversation over dinner and drinks or your quality time together and then discuss what’s working for you and what’s not.
There’s even a possibility that one of you isn’t willing to continue this arrangement further. In situations like that, it’s best to communicate anything and everything with your partner.
Do it for the right reasons
It’s common for people to open up their relationship when they feel that the desire and passion in their relationship is dying. If you’re opening up your relationship just to fix the current issues in your relationship, then it’s a terrible idea. You can’t use your new relationship to just escape the ongoing problems in your current relationship.
Don’t force it. Opening your relationship is not a cakewalk. So , there is no need to just sprint into this lifestyle. Also, it is of utmost importance that you both are on the same page.
Don’t just switch to an open relationship if your partner is the only one who wants it. An open relationship may sound perplexing and even difficult at first.
But, It’s for both the partners to decide whether they are ready to embrace the emotional and physical challenges that come with open relationships.
There are bound to be conflicts if you add additional people in the dynamics of your relationship. How well you connect and handle those conflicts as a couple, are the key determinants of your open relationship.
If you are more doubtful regarding this transition, then it’s best to consult a certified sex therapist to navigate the possibilities of an open relationship.