For some the concept of an open relationship is scary. For others, the idea of monogamy is an absolute nightmare.
However, a healthy open relationships (no matter what configuration, as there are many) can be surprisingly pleasant for all of those involved. If you decide to become nonmonogamous here are delightful things you can expect (if you do it right).
One looming reality that usually comes with monogamy is that you have to sleep with the same person for the rest of your life (or for the duration of the relationship). For some people, this is a terrifying reality.
And if you really want to have a satisfying relationship, with any chance of longevity, you might need to consider opening your relationship up to other sexual possibilities.
Obviously, if you aren't okay with your partner having sex with other people, there are plenty of individuals who are happy with monogamy out there. However, if you could be okay with your partner having other sexual encounters that might not involve you and if the thought of having sexual encounters with others doesn't scare you, nonmonogamy might be for you!
The feeling of not being tied down to one person sexually for the rest of your life (or relationship) is exactly what some people need to be happy while remaining committed.
When you are in an open relationship, you will find that the standard for communication is very high. Having sex outside of your main partnership requires a whole lot of communication between you, your primary partner, and whomever you decide to sleep with on any given night.
How much information and how often you disclose information about your hook ups depends on the rules you and your partner set for one another (more on rules later), but it is necessary that you and your partner communicate openly and honestly. While the word "open" in this relationship style refers to nonmonogamy, it might as well take on the double meaning to refer to the openness you and your partner need to practice when communicating.
Honesty is also vital to maintaining a successful open relationship. You need to be upfront about what you're doing with other people to keep your core relationship healthy. If you find yourself lying or omitting some parts of the truth you might be cheating. And yes, cheating is still a thing in open relationships!
Rules and boundaries are also fundamental when it comes to maintaining a healthy nonmonogamous relationship. All relationships (both sexual and emotional) have boundaries and rules. However, when you remove monogamy as one of the rules you open you and your partner up to a whole lot of questions about what is allowed and with whom.
Successful nonmonogamous couples sit down and have a very candid conversation about the rules surrounding sex outside of the relationship. Some examples of rules are you have to tell one another when you're going out and spending the night with someone else, you can't sleep with any mutual friends, or that you can't have sexual encounters without the other's approval or both of you need to present during any sexual venture.
These rules vary from relationship to relationship and hinge upon those involved and what either of them are looking to gain from the relationship and from nonmonogamy. And these rules are 100% subject to change. If there needs to be a new boundary set or an adjustment made to a rule, that is not only allowed but necessary.
These rules are in no way set in stone and changes are up for discussion; however, you must follow them as if they are if you want to keep your relationship healthy.
If you're in a nonmonogamous relationship, you can definitely expect to feel jealousy. Just because you and your partner have chosen to be open in your sexual (or romantic) life doesn't mean that you won't feel jealousy.
What's nice about feeling jealous in nonmonogamous relationships, is that it is expected. It's totally normal, and your partner will understand how you feel.
If you find yourself feeling jealous you should examine why, vent to a friend, and put those feelings aside. It's entirely natural to feel territorial over your partner - especially if it's your primary partner- however, you should be able to resolve these feelings on your own or with your partner.
If these symptoms of jealousy continue for longer than expected, it might be time to revise your rules and set some new boundaries.
People in nonmonogamous relationships often find their friends texting them saying that they'd caught their partner cheating or find their friends wildly confused when they disclose their relationship status with them.
Either way, you can definitely expect your friends to be a little curious and confused. Hopefully, your friends will be supportive. If they are not supportive (or at least neutral on the subject), then it might be time to pick some new friends.
Sometimes friends are the ones who introduce you to the concept of nonmonogamy. If that's the case, this friend is ideally the perfect person to go to for advice or if you're feeling a little lonely while your partner is out.
If your friends are confused about the functionality of your relationship, or why you would want an open relationship in the first place, humor them and answer their questions. And let's be honest they're going to have a whole bunch of questions (including a few inevitable questions about orgies>Who knows? They might be interested in following suit and becoming nonmonogamous, which is a perfect segway into the next thing you can expect…
If your relationship is a healthy one you might find yourself wondering why anyone restricts themselves to monogamous relationships. You might find yourself giddy and want to share your nonmonogamous wisdom with all of your friends. While you shouldn't shy away from your relationship, you need to remember the nonmonogamy is not for everyone, just like monogamy wasn't for you.
While you might want to help all of your friend experience the sexual liberation you've found, you need to remember that open relationships make some people deeply uncomfortable. For some, their greatest nightmare is to imagine their partner with someone else.
Keep this in mind when you find yourself preaching nonmonogamy to your friends. Be open to helping other people who are interested, but don't shove your relationship style down anyone's throat or else you might find yourself with no friends.
The biggest thing that people want from nonmonogamy is sexual freedom. Some people have specific fetishes that their partner may not be able to or willing to satisfy. Fetishes are actually one of the biggest reasons for couples engaging in nonmonogamy. Another reason might be mismatched libidos or Polyamory.
Polyamory, which falls under the umbrella of open relationships, literally means "many loves"; people who are polyamorous are looking for more emotional liberation rather than sexual. However, they do still experience nonmonogamy as far as sex goes too.
Regardless of the reasons a couple might choose to be nonmonogamous, they are allowed a sexual freedom (and satisfaction) that they could not otherwise achieve with one partner. Being wholly sexually and emotionally satisfied is something everyone strives to experience and open relationships might be the way to get there!
Western culture fosters a lot of shame around sex. People are afraid to experiment with their partners beyond missionary position and are uncomfortable coming to their partner and asking for something specific sexually in fear of being considered a pervert.
However, open relationships encourage sexual openness and normalize sex between romantic partners. This allows for a better sex life for the core couple and the external sexual partners on both sides!
The most important thing in a relationship is that it is fulfilling. And if you're the kind of person that needs to have more than one sexual partner to be happy, then you can expect a whole lot of happiness to come from an open relationship.
People find that nonmonogamy actually brings them and their core partner closer together while satisfying their sexual appetite.
If an open relationship seems like the ideal relationship style for you, or both you and your partner, you can get started on Openminded.com, a dating site specifically for those practicing nonmonogomy.