An open relationship is not on everyone’s radar. However, many couples are either curious, interested or wanting to open their relationship.
Open relationships are indeed not a solution for a failing relationship. There is a lot to navigate when it comes to this expansive type of relationships.
Firstly, it is essential to define an open relationship (also known as non-monogamy) as they are different from polyamorous relationships, relationships where there are intimate relationships with more than one partner, with the knowledge of all partners involved.
Couples in open relationships tend to have sex with others and are not necessarily interested in pursuing other aspects of a relationship. There tends to be little discussion around these experiences within the primary partnership.
Polyamorous couples believe that one partner cannot meet all their needs. They therefore want to explore having an intimate relationship with others, in addition to sexual experiences.
Polyamorous couples do not limit themselves to just one person when it comes to affection, romance, flirting, sex, connection, and love. Communication around these experiences may be open with a primary partner or may have been negotiated.
Different configurations can make up polyamorous relationships, but the most common has a primary relationship, with other relationships that are secondary, or not as important.
Considerations for opening your relationship
If you’re considering opening your relationship, it’s essential you sit down with your partner and communicate your thoughts around how the open relationship is going to work. This could be an opportunity to discuss boundaries and deal-breakers.
Most couples who enter into some form of non-monogamy will have ground rules or boundaries to specify which sexual behaviours are okay and which sexual practices are not okay.
Some questions that might be helpful to discuss:
- What are the ground rules around safer sex with multiple partners?
- How do we talk about other sexual activities outside of the primary relationship?
- Are there limits to who we can have sex?
- Are there specific sexual activities that are exclusive to the primary relationship?
- Are there places that are off-limits to have sex outside of the primary relationship?
- Can we have regular sexual partners outside of the primary relationship?
If you would like support around such issues please do not hesitate to be in touch.