An open relationship is one that isn’t exclusive. In general, it means that either partner can have romantic relationships with other people. It is difficult to bring up in the beginning of a relationship. It is also difficult to keep up. Because it is unconventional, not everyone will respond positively to it, but it can be a positive experience if done correctly.
Part 1: Recognizing an Open Relationship
1. Ask yourself why you want an open relationship in the first place. Are you dissatisfied with your partner? Do you simply want to give it a shot? Do you believe it will strengthen your current relationship? All of these are important considerations to make before attempting to discuss the subject with your partner.
Before attempting to discuss the subject with your partner, make certain that your motivations are very strong. For some, the subject is extremely taboo and negative. Do not assume that your partner will accept it unless he or she has previously mentioned it.
Consider whether it is worthwhile to pursue. It is possible that bringing the subject up with your partner will cause a schism between you two. It may appear that you are no longer content in your relationship. Make sure it’s something you really want to do, because you might lose your current partner.
2. Understand that being in an open relationship does not imply that your love for your partner has lessened. In fact, many people believe that having a successful open relationship necessitates a deeper bond between partners in order to maintain a connection.
If you are unable to accept this fact, you should seriously consider whether an open relationship is worthwhile. You may be looking for a way out of a relationship without actually breaking up, which is an unsuitable reason to enter an open relationship.
Because you may be drawn to love other partners, you will require an even deeper connection with your partner. Consider whether you will be able to maintain your love for your partner while seeing other people.
Part 2: Introducing the Topic
1. Determine the best time to discuss the subject. Make a time and make sure you both have set aside an hour or two to thoroughly discuss the subject. You will undoubtedly require a significant amount of time to discuss the nuances of the relationship and whether or not it is something you and your partner wish to pursue.
Before beginning the conversation, try to remove any distractions such as cell phones or computers.
Assure your partner that the time to talk should be taken seriously. You don’t want to catch your partner off guard.
2. Bring up the subject of an open relationship and ask your partner what he or she thinks about it. Before going any further, try to get their feedback. If he or she reacts negatively, do not try to bring up the subject again. It is preferable to put an end to the discussion right away.
Make it clear that there is nothing wrong with your current relationship, but you want to try something new.
Pay attention to your partner’s body language because it can convey emotions that words cannot.
3. If your partner appears to respond positively, explain what an open relationship is and why you want it in your relationship. Be honest and open about your motivations to demonstrate that you are not attempting to diminish your partner’s role in the relationship.
Explain clearly that this is a giving relationship rather than a selfish one. It is not a codependent relationship.
Make it clear that the open relationship is a trial period. It is acceptable to end the relationship at any time if either partner is uncomfortable with the situation.
Part 3 Discussing the Details
1. Discuss the open relationship’s boundaries and objectives. Explain to your partner what you hope to gain from the relationship and where the boundaries should be. Then, ask your partner to describe what he or she thinks the limits should be. Based on this information, reach a compromise.
Discuss with your partner whether you should seek permission from each other before getting involved with someone else. Some people prefer the ability to “veto.”
Discuss whether you expect to be informed about the activities of the other partner. Do you want to know when your friend has had a relationship with someone else? Or would you prefer not to know?
2. Set ground rules for how far each partner can go. You can decide that neither of you can engage in any sexual activity with anyone else, or you can draw a line somewhere and ask that your partner only engage in sexual activity with someone of a specific gender. Some couples even establish geographical boundaries, so that when the couple is separated by a long distance, the relationship becomes “open.”
3. Talk about safety. If either of you contracts a sexually transmitted disease or infection, it will affect both of you, so this is something you should talk about. Will each partner confirm that the person they’re dating is STD-free? Is verbal reassurance sufficient, or do you require medical documentation? Will each partner use protection during ALL sexual activity, or just some of it?
4. Decide whether you want to inform your friends and family about the new aspect of your relationship. Many people will not accept an open relationship, so it is a sensitive subject.
It’s perfectly fine not to tell your friends and family about the open relationship if it makes you feel uncomfortable.
5. Finally, make it clear that communication will be critical to the relationship’s success. We can all agree that honesty is the best policy. When you and your partner lie to each other about what is going on with other people, suspicion and paranoia will grow.
Make sure your partner understands that he or she has the option to end the open relationship at any time.
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