Just you and me until death do us part? This traditional promise that couples make at wedding is quite ambitious, as divorce rates and affair statistics show.
Not that eternal loyalty is impossible! But spending the rest of your life with one person and never being drawn to others again is a challenge. You don’t need statistics for this – common sense is enough. For many couples the question arises at some point whether an open relationship might not be the better solution: You stay together, you are deeply emotionally connected, but everyone also sleeps with other people.
Openness strengthens the relationship
Thanks to good medical care, people are on average much older than they used to be, and in mid-life at the latest, many couples ask themselves the question: Was that all now? If you feel stable and happy as a couple, a sexual opening for other partners can be a great enrichment.”
This openness does not necessarily have to be permanent: Maybe sex with new bedfellows will lose its appeal at some point. But at least you can’t blame yourself for missing something in life. Ultimately, such an openness strengthens the relationship because you have the feeling that nothing and no one can pull you apart.
You might think that open relationships are ideal for couples who struggle to be faithful. But that is not enough as a feature.
Something like that only works with great honesty. It’s important to communicate a lot with each other and also to establish rules that everyone has to adhere to. For example, you could agree that you can only date someone one day a week.
What is an open relationship?
An open relationship refers to consensual non-monogamy in a relationship. In the case of consensual non-monogamy, sexual contact with other people is permitted. There are various ways in which consensual non-monogamy can be structured, depending on whether sexual contact with other people takes place as a couple or separately.
Necessary prerequisites for an open relationship
Some aspects have to be clarified in advance, there is no getting around them:
- Can an affair turn into a long-term second relationship?
- How do we react when feelings arise for the new person?
- Is it possible to get to know each other?
- Do we go to an erotic event together and only experience sex with others in a shared context?
There are so many different ways to enrich a relationship through sexual opening. A couple has to be able to speak authentically about being compassionate and fair.
Important prerequisites for an open partnership to work:
- As superficial as it sounds: Both partners have to be on the same “attractiveness level” and be satisfied with their appearance. Otherwise there is a risk of destructive self-doubt on one side.
- Both get bored easily and need outside approval.
- Knowing that you are not enough for your partner shouldn’t cause pain.
- Loss of control must be perceived as appealing.
Have jealousy under control
Unfortunately, it is often the case that only one partner in the relationship is in the mood for adventure outside the home; the other suffers and is jealous. You can learn to deal with this jealousy to a certain extent by trying out for yourself how nice it can be to feel someone else’s skin. Then falling asleep in the arms of your own partner can create a very intimate feeling.
Jealousy can only be defeated if you are willing to question social norms, “because this feeling has nothing to do with love, only with fear of loss.
Anyone who is basically jealous and with an extroverted partner will not be happy in the long run: In this case, it is better to break up and look for a person who is more like you.
Often people are afraid of losing their partner as soon as they do not allow things to be done that they do not like. Some women who go to swingers clubs with their partners when they don’t really feel like doing it. You feel bad afterwards, but you don’t have the courage to express it.
Such constellations are always unhealthy. Anyone who lets themselves be hurt even minimally by classic situations in an open relationship – for example, if the partner does not come straight home from a party – should not live this model. Either the partner renounces it or you split up in love and friendship.
What to expect in an open relationship
1. You will start to enjoy your freedom
An open relationship suggests a kind of feeling of freedom. Thanks to the ability to see other partners, you don’t feel constricted or restricted. You don’t do anything that is forbidden and you decide for yourself who to go to bed with, when and how often.
2. You will not suffer a boring relationship
Everyday life often creeps in within a long-term relationship. If the relationship becomes routine, it gets boring quickly. Not in an open relationship. New impulses and topics of conversation thanks to new people also bring new momentum to the relationship.
3. You might end up having a superficial relationship
A side effect of the possibility of driving on multiple tracks, however, is superficiality and emotional distance. Anyone who invests time and dedication not only in one person and bears no responsibility automatically becomes less involved with the new partner. Proximity is only allowed up to a point.
4. Your partner will become more attractive
Introducing your significant other on a date can make you frantic, but it can also provide new incentives. If the attractiveness of your partner is regularly confirmed by others, this also has an impact on the relationship. Suddenly the sparks start to fly again, the fire is rekindled and the attraction is suddenly
5. You will go through a negative emotions roller-coaster
Thanks to a lack of security, open relationships create deeply hidden fears and deficits. A lack of transparency leads to jealousy, anger, abandonment, or even hatred: Feelings that you experience more often and more extreme in this relationship model.
6. You might end up being distant in your relationship
In many open relationships, secondary partners are kept silent, partly to protect the other, partly to avoid possible disputes. Secrets and lies are not far, the partners are moving away from each other emotionally.
7. You will get good at communicating feelings
An open relationship, on the other hand, also offers the opportunity to become clear about these feelings and to communicate them meaningfully. This is also important for a functioning free relationship, because emotions such as fear of loss must be discussed so that you can work and deal with them.
8. You could end up falling in love with multiple people
An unprecedented feeling is suddenly no longer impossible: polyamory. The possibility of loving more people is rejected out of hand by many. Those who open up to it and get involved in it experience a whole new kind of free love.
9. Sex in your relationship improves
Freedom to develop also affects your sex life. Experiences in strange beds bring inspiration and new impulses with your partner. Exciting stories and newly learned skills bring variety and new ideas
10. Your personality will grow
Expressing needs and implementing them strengthens self-confidence. You get to know yourself and your own limits, you work actively on yourself and, on the other hand, you are regularly held up in the mirror. Constructive criticism in conflict situations gets you further.
11. You learn to juggle things in the relationship
The freedom of open relationships also needs rules in order not to hurt the other or to get yourself hurt. An example: not spending the night with the new lover. You learn to come to terms with and compromise – A balance between freedom and restriction.
12. You will get good in bed
Living out sexual needs with others in spite of a stable relationship automatically brings experience with it. Those who let off steam and experiment on the playground of possibilities know what they want and what they don’t. The relationship also benefits from this.
13. It can all go wrong!
Failure is an experience that can only be experienced by trying something new. This also applies to new relationship models. If the relationship falls apart despite new impulses and opportunities, one is sure of at least one point: an end was inevitable.
Open communication in an open relationship
Think about how much you want to know about their sexual partners. Do you want to know everything or is the information enough that he is meeting someone tomorrow evening? The same applies to you. How much information do you want to reveal? Specify here exactly what information you would like to receive about sexual partners.
Tips on how to suggest an open relationship to your partner
1. Prepare the interview
Don’t present your partner with a fait accompli.
“Honey, I’d like to suggest an open relationship with you. I’ll have my first date next week. But you don’t need to worry. I love only you.”
This is not a loving partnership. Your partner will feel betrayed. They’ll think you’ve already put everything in place and planned it behind your back. They will fall from the clouds and switch to defense or escape mode.
2. Include your partner in your process
Your partner needs to know and feel that they can still trust you.
Speak gently to your thoughts and ideas. Let him participate in your needs.
The key is: show yourself vulnerable. Speak from your heart, share your fears , your doubts , your being torn. Make your partner feel like you are with them, that nothing is secretly happening.
3. Share your motive, your why
Make it absolutely clear that it has nothing to do with the fact that you no longer love your partner or are not happy and you don’t want to break up.
Most likely, your partner will base your suggestion on their self-worth, not feeling enough about themselves. They will wonder why, what he did wrong. He will wonder if it is no longer enough for you. Maybe they will say I would never do this to you, I love you too much for that, and you are enough for me. Expect such reactions.
4. Be understanding
Meet your partner’s hurt with love and openness.
Accept the anger, the sadness and the disappointment, the abuse and the aggression or the apathy. Because you know it’s the hurt ego that struggles. Just be there. Catch the hurt self-worth as best you can. Acknowledge your love, your support as often as necessary.
5. Take the pressure off
Confirm that nothing has happened so far, that you want to shape this idea together, and that you give as much time as necessary, but that you need the space to talk about it openly. Give your partner time to process the information – Maybe days or even weeks. But don’t let the subject be swept under the table. You will probably have to confirm your love and commitment often and for a long time. That’s okay. Do this if it’s the truth.
6. Communicate the vision
Refrain from trying to convince your partner the hell out of it.
It’s not about winning a debate and having the best arguments, but about creating something together. Nevertheless, it can be helpful to explain the benefits to the partner as well. What’s in it for them? Even if they’re not interested in meeting others, what’s in it for them? More time for you? What could a common vision be?
Of course, this is not horse trading. But your partner will need fairness and balance so as not to feel inferior.
Do open relationships make us happier?
What makes us really happy is having loves in a relationship with our current life partner or is polygamy the better choice? A new study provides answers.
Some cannot imagine sharing their partner with someone else; others find monogamy restrictive and unnatural. When it comes to the question of whether you can have only one partner or several at the same time, opinions differ. But which way of life makes you happier? Canadian researchers have now been able to answer this question with a new study.
Happy and content
The researchers surveyed 142 people living in open relationships and 206 people living in monogamous relationships and wanted to know how satisfied they were with their life and relationships. It showed that it made no difference in the results whether the person lived monogamous or in an open relationship. Regardless of which variant one chose, the respondents were about equally satisfied with the relationship, sexuality and psychological well-being as a whole.
The prerequisite for both relationship models to be able to trigger the same satisfaction effect is consent. Especially in an open relationship, both partners have to agree and approve the idea.
So what makes a relationship happy now? According to the researchers, the reasons for having sex are important. Just for the sake of your partner? Then there will be nothing with the happiness in a relationship. On the other hand, those who have sex because they want to be close to their partner themselves – yes, a bit of egoism is quite appropriate here – will experience the relationship happier and more satisfied.
7 rules cardinal rules of an open relationship
Rule 1: Both partners are open to the type of relationship
The first and most important rule is: You and your partner need to want an open relationship.
It is of no use if only one of you two wants to have a polygamous relationship.
That only harbors arguments, ends in bitter disappointment and at least one broken heart. However, if you both don’t mind that you can have fun with other people, nothing stands in the way of an open relationship from this side.
Rule 2: Where and when can sexual contact arise?
Nothing is worse than coming home and seeing your partner in the shared bedroom with his new sexual conquest.
Sexual contacts, yes, but not in bed together. Or is it?
Establish rules about where and when you can get intimate with other people. Many couples go to tantra meetings together, others go to the brothel.
Others, on the other hand, swear by the vacation, true to the motto: Get out of your hometown, out of the common bed. Here you both have to think carefully about what you want and where your limits are.
Rule 3: sex yes, love no
It is well known that it is difficult to fight against feelings. This would be a fight against windmills.
Therefore, be aware beforehand that sex is only sex and nothing more. Of course, it can also happen that you fall in love again. Emotional chaos can arise, especially after multiple meetings with one and the same person.
You have to be clear about this. Not only can you fall in love again, but your partner too. Therefore, determine in advance whether you want to exchange your feelings regularly or not.
However, many couples have found that the clear rule “sex yes, love no” leads to fewer new infatuations. Anyone who approaches the matter beforehand with exactly this thought is less susceptible to more intense feelings.
Rule 4: specify partners
An equally important rule is the definition of sexual contacts.
Think about who you could be sexually active with and who you couldn’t. Also consider which sexual contacts you could accept from your partner and which are absolutely taboo.
- Would you mind your partner sleeping with one of your friends?
- Would you have something against sexual contact with prostitutes?
- Are vacation acquaintances okay?
Determine here with your partner exactly which sexual contacts are right for you.
Rule 5: clarify the question of contraception
Anyone who has sex with several different sexual partners at the same time also increases the risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease.
Contraception is very important in an open relationship. Many of the polygamous relationships practice contraception when having sexual partners outside the relationship.
Within the relationship, both partners usually sleep together without contraception. However, everyone has to decide for themselves what is suitable for them and what is not.
It is not primarily about avoiding unwanted offspring, but rather about preventing sexually transmitted diseases. This topic should therefore be at the top of your catalog of rules.
Rule 6: No jealousy scenes
Only those who can trust their partner can have a happy relationship in the long term.
You know that your partner will also have other sexual partners in an open relationship. Accordingly, jealousy scenes are taboo here.
If you can’t stand it that your partner might even bring a woman to bed who has model dimensions, you should consider whether you are made for an open relationship.
Surely he will not become sexually active with a woman who does not fit into his female pattern. You should keep this in mind.
He’ll pick out exactly the women who turn him on and who he likes. But that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t love you. It’s just sex.
Therefore, scenes of jealousy are out of place in open relationships.
Rule 7: Spend time together & talk openly with each other
So that you do not become alienated and also clearly differentiate yourself from your other sexual achievements, it makes sense to create clear pair times.
This time is yours only. You can do whatever you want during this time. The main thing is that you don’t forget your relationship and your love.