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Open Relationships: How Do They Work

By McKenzie Collins on 2017-01-27

Is an open relationship for you? Find out how to navigate between blurred lines below.



There are few things in life which play out the way they are depicted in movies. One of these is open relationships. They really are as radical and ill-defined as they do seem. One could only attempt to offer a definition. However, when it comes to open relationships, there really is no start and finish. Each one is dependent on the couple as are the rules which characterize them.

Strictly speaking, an open relationship will describe two people seeing one another, and in some form or another, also seeing other people. In some cases, open relationships purely offer sexual experimentation to those involved. On other occasions, they will permit both individuals to actually dating other people while seeing one another.

When put simply, open relationships may appear straight-forward - even ideal - to the average reader. However, there are many facets to consider before diving into one. They are most definitely not as simple as one may perceive; in fact, they are dotted by many loopholes. These are ready to catch either partner out at any given moment.

If you are considering entering an open relationship, what you should first acknowledge is what you mean by the term. Are you looking to have other sexual partners? Or to have a wide range of romantic partners? It is pertinent that both you and your partner understand what you want out of the situation - and too, that you both actually want your relationship open. Make sure neither parties are simply obliging to satisfy the other. This will only end in heartbreak.

Once you’ve established your classifications on the subject, don’t stop talking about it there. Keep one another updated. Are there things you’re uncomfortable with? Are there limitations on sexual or romantic bonds that either parties may build outside the relationship? If you don’t continue to discuss the guidelines of your agreement, there are bound to grow ambiguities. The more ambiguities, the more likely there will be disagreements. Save yourself the hardship and the pain, and make sure your stance is known right down to the finer details first.

Whether it’s before or during the experience of an open relationship, keep in touch with yourself. If you find that you’re jealous, or struggling to enjoy the benefits of your agreement, consider that maybe open relationships aren’t for you. This is okay. They aren’t for many people. They are complicated and they rely on both individuals to be absolutely open-minded. If you’re pretty traditional when it comes to dating, chances are you won’t be okay with your partner sleeping with or developing connection with other girls or guys.

Remember that with sex can come emotional bond. If you’re allowing your partner to purely sleep with other people - or date them for that matter - don’t forget there is potential for more serious repercussions down the track. You may find they become more attracted (physically or mentally) to another individual they’re seeing. For you’ve agreed to let them see others - and all the same, you could have found yourself in the same situation - you don’t have the right to be angry. If you believe you would be disappointed by the circumstance, again, maybe reconsider the opening of your relationship.

Indeed, open relationships can be fun. They have a lot of perks, sexual and non-sexual. They allow individuals to meet more people, to experiment and avoid unnecessary settling down. However, if terms and conditions aren’t outlined, or if individuals are not self-aware, they can evoke a lot of emotional pain too. For this sake, an open relationship ought to be well thought-out and heavily discussed. Most importantly, they should be founded upon great respect between two partners.

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