The Beginners Guide to Open Relationships

The Beginners Guide to Open Relationships

The Beginners Guide to Open Relationships

guide to open relationships

Back in the day open relationships were something to be frowned upon. Now they’re almost like the alternative to cheating or getting divorced. They’ve become so common that no one even  bats an eyelid anymore when they meet or read about a couple in an open relationship. In fact perception has changed so much over the years, that it’s gone from being sniggered at, to being cool.

People in an open relationship seem so modern, so mature, that it makes you wonder why it isn’t the norm. I have friends who cheat all day. They want their cake and they want to scoff it too. They cheat for various reasons but equally love their wives. I also know someone I grew up with who is an open relationship. Sure they have some rules, but they’re like the coolest, hippest couple in our group. They’ve come to accept that not everyone is built to stay with one person for the rest of their lives. In their world it seems too antiquated, but it got me wondering. Is it something I’d love to try one day? Of course I would, but the thought of my wife agreeing was practically next to nothing, and tougher than that was thinking about her with another man. Sure I’d love to go off and meet other women, I feel that would be so much fun. But I don’t think I’d be cool with my wife going off with other guys and having the same amount of fun.

Maybe I’m just not that cool or hip!

When you look back in history, all the big dogs were out there cheating away, having affairs and having the time of their life. Cheating has been going on since time and memorial, but open marriages are a relatively new concept.

The Beginners Guide to Open Relationships

Let’s get right into this guise to open relationships, so you can figure out if it’s right for you and how to navigate one if it is.

What is the definition of an open relationship?

With the restriction that other relationships remain informal, people in open relationships can typically have sex with others they find attractive. So they basically involve relationships which are purely sexual and confined to being of a casual nature. Alternatively Polyamory is all about having multiple committed, romantic partners and swingers tend to limit their outside relationships to sex with other established couples.

Who’s an open relationship for and what’s the point?

 Well these are both intertwined. In general it is younger people who prefer non-monogamy, and they are also likely to be more open about the topic. With sexual satisfaction high on the priority list, non-manogamous people can express their needs and identity without fear.  There is also far less pressure for one person to fulfill all of their partner’s emotional and sexual needs and interests.

There are a couple of disadvantages we have to mentions. Namely the risk of jealousy, and the potential emotional pain caused as a partner potentially experiences pleasure and happiness with someone else.

How to broach the subject

This is way easier if you are still at the dating stage as you can make your needs clear at the outset. If you’re in an established relationship, however, you have your work cut out for you! Many of us assume that our partners expect monogamy due to social norms, but I find that those are courageous enough to ask the question, can sometimes be surprised by the answer. It’s mostly a matter of timing and tact. Suggesting this due to having found another partner is not the right way to approach this. I find that making this more personal and about therapy for the relationship is a far more palatable proposition. Also before you truly open up your relationship, you will need to deal with your partner’s anticipated feelings of betrayal and hurt. Instead of doing it out of resentment or boredom, you should start your relationship with a positive viewpoint.

Surviving an open relationship

So now you have your cake and are eating it, everything is smooth sailing right? Not quite. New challenges crop up and here is my strategy to surviving them.


Setting clear and distinct boundaries are my number one piece of advice. No one wants to have their nose rubbed in your new-found happiness. In fact, it could cause a lot of animosity to build up in a relationship. I’m a businessman and the one thing I know with great certainty is that the success of any relationship relies on an agreement of terms by both parties. In a relationship, this can be by setting boundaries at the outset, be they emotional, physical or even sexual. Partners may agree on things like kissing, dating, time spent with other partners, where any potential sexual relations take place for example they may be restricted to hotels i.e. away from home etc. This reminds me of someone I was working with recently. He had started to spend more and more time with his new relationship partner, and couldn’t understand his girlfriend wasn’t too happy. She should have set clear boundaries!

Guide to Open Relationships – Conclusion

In conclusion,  whether an open relationship is right for you, can only be determined by yourself.  Examining your feelings and thoughts regarding monogamy, as well as what you truly desire in a relationship, are all necessary steps in starting a relationship. It requires a great deal of maturity and empathy.

However, being in an open relationship isn’t for everyone, and deciding that you value and prefer monogamy doesn’t indicate a lack of maturity or compassion. The key to happiness in your relationships is ultimately being honest with both yourself and your partner. It’s either that or cheating like me, but getting caught can bring the whole house crashing down.

Thanks for reading guys. If you enjoyed this guide to open relationships, let us know in the comments below. If you’ve ever been in an open relationship let the guys know how it went and if you have any tips! Peace.

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