What Is An Open Relationship?

By: Carlos Cavallo

Nowadays, open relationships between a man and a woman are becoming more common. Being together, but not being addicted to each other – that's about what open relationships mean.

what to do when boyfriend wants open relationship What Is An Open Relationship?

Not what you were expecting?

Many people aren't sure whether to start this kind of a relationship because they do not have a complete idea of what it is. Women are usually more suspicious of this arrangement - and you probably should be!

So I'll explain what an open relationship is, why people choose it, and what are the advantages and disadvantages of that kind of relationship.

What does an open relationship mean?

An open relationship is a type of romantic relationship when a couple wants to be together, but at the same time, agrees to a non-monogamous relationship.

Thus, partners allow romantic, sexual, or other relationships with third parties. Each case of an open relationship may differ from another since the conditions of their relationship are determined by the partners individually (i.e., flirting, meetings, kissing, or sexual contact can be allowed).

Most often, open relationships occur when people have a romantic or sexual relationship with more than one partner. For guys, this is usually an excuse to keep a woman as a "booty call" or a "friend with benefits."

Such relationships can be both short-term (for example, dating multiple people) and long-term (an open marriage).

Due to the fact that an open relationship has a fairly flexible structure, its conditions may vary. Thus, the agreements between partners can change frequently, and the circle of lovers may decrease or increase over time.

24 What Is An Open Relationship?

Why people choose open relationships

People appreciate independence most of all, but serious relationships often deprive them of this kind of liberty. Everything starts with the words "have to."

To get rid of all the obligations that a person has to carry out in an ordinary relationship, some people resort to an alternate type of dating – open relationships. This creates both a psychological and financial side of the matter. In the usual way of life, a man has to provide for his wife and children and also remain faithful until the end of his days. If he still copes with the first part - providing -  then with the second condition of being faithful – not always.

Also, young people who have just created a family often suffer from excessive dependence on each other. They constantly suspect, check their partner's stories, and entertain all kinds of wishful thinking. They "oppress" their partner with their love, insecurities, making excuses. "That's how much I love you!"

But in return, they may only feel irritation. This is how misunderstanding, frustration, and resentment begins to take hold in the relationship.

Having tasted the “pleasures” of family life, a man or a woman starts looking for another way to not be lonely.

Many people wonder if it's worth trying an open relationship. This question comes to mind for a good reason.

The possible triggers for this curiosity are:

  • Bad experience, for example, a break-up with a former partner. Then a person needs to get rid of bad feelings, get rid of heartache, and calm themselves down. It takes time. So he might not want either to start a serious relationship or be alone...
  • The desire to fix a failing relationship. It is when a man and woman decide to free themselves from a stifling sense of obligation but do not refuse each other. They consider open relationships to be a great way to preserve romantic feelings...
  • A fear or unpreparedness for a serious relationship. It applies to young guys and girls who have little experience or desire for starting serious relationships. In this case, the period of open relationships does not last long – the young couple wants to enjoy real family life sooner or later. And when they come to a reasonable understanding that it's time to change something, they are able to determine what exactly family life means for them.

Open relationship rules

Open relationships happen when both people agree to it.

They imply the existence of common interests, communication without reproach, the absence of jealous behaviors, and a letting go of claims, and demands.

Of course, the main condition for open relationships is multiple sexual partners.

A man and a woman take this step because they don't want to suffer, get stressed out due to cheating, and depend on each other too much. The pleasure of being with each other, ease, and freedom from expectations – this is what open relationships mean to many.

This is how it should be ideally. But what happens in practice is something quite different.

Sometimes people are intent on open relationships, but then it turns out that they still have some expectations from each other.

For example, a girl wants a guy to be close at a difficult moment, and the guy wonders, "But we're not a family! I didn't sign up for this!" Thus, there are misunderstandings that already resemble married life.

Having an extra person in the mix can complicate things immensely.

In order to navigate some of these situations, you should learn the 3 main rules of open relationships that will help you to make your love affair as strong and happy as possible:

how to set boundaries in open relationships What Is An Open Relationship?

Forbidden fruit...

  • Respect for each other. It implies not only respect for the choice of life values and views of a loved one. The rule is that each of the partners should not have a bit on the side at the first opportunity. No, of course, it is permissible by mutual consent. Only by MUTUAL! All acceptable and undesirable nuances of your relationship should be discussed in advance. Also, you should consider whether each of you is ready for such a wild ride.
  • You can enjoy the freedom and have affairs, but in certain life circumstances, your primary partner must come first. For example, if someone from a couple urgently needs help related to health or moral support, then another should to set all the lovers aside and come to the rescue.
  • Emotional readiness. This is probably the most unpleasant rule, but you cannot do without it. Are you ready for the fact that sometimes your loved one will have sexual contact with someone else? And how will you feel yourself after they've been intimate with another person? Will you act out? Hold a grudge?

Advantages and disadvantages of an open relationship...

Before talking about whether to start an open relationship, let's find out what advantages and disadvantages this type of dating is fraught with.

Advantages Of An Open Relationship:

  • There are no obligations to each other

Many people consider the main advantage of open relationships is that it is not necessary to account to a partner where you are and what you're doing. The couple feels comfortable and not burdened with guilt. You can also choose to end this relationship at any time you want without feeling slighted or abandoned.

Maybe that's why this kind of a “love mode” is distinguished by perseverance and endurance.

15 What Is An Open Relationship?

  • Revives romantic relationships

This type of dating can revive a romantic relationship, make it more passionate, and even save it from total destruction. At a certain point, some couples come to the conclusion that physical betrayal is much more harmless than the collapse of a long and serious relationship. And that their relationship is built not only on sex but also on spiritual attraction.

Open relationships give newness, adrenaline burst, and a sense of adventurism. A marriage based on these principles will usually not break up due to boredom, routine, and monotony.

  • "Normal" Relationships Break Too

Sex is always a temptation - and especially within the confines of a traditional relationship - one where all sexual contact with the opposite sex is forbidden.

Consider that most European countries consider the United States to be very immature when it comes to the expectations of relationships. Infidelity and open relationships are much more accepted there than here.

We Americans expect too much, and never get what we expect because it's usually impossible for a single relationship to provide everything. It's a myth that leaves us hurt, frustrated, and angry.

When you remove the "adrenaline rush" that cheating on a partner provides, that addictive cheating behavior is much easier to control. When you sneak around with someone, the thrill and the hormones make it a really addictive habit.

By setting up compassionate rules and acceptance around our natural needs, you bring things back to earth. And you strengthen your main relationship as well.

  • Release dependence on each other

Your dependence on a loved one interferes not only with him but also with you. Painful experiences, overthinking, and feeling jealous about "rivals" can make your life unbearable. In advanced cases, it can even resemble a kind of slavery.

An open relationship frees you from dependence on a partner, and thus makes your life easier. Moreover, there are a lot of online services that will help you to find a partner for an outside sexual relationship.

One of these dating sites is Godatenow.com since you can easily find a partner not only for physical intimacy but also for serious relationships.

pros cons of having an open marriage What Is An Open Relationship?

It can be exciting and new...

There is a wonderful expression that forbidden fruit is always sweetest. When people lower their inhibitions, they change themselves. It becomes undesirable to do something to annoy a partner or try to just live hedonistically at every given opportunity.

An open relationship is like breaking from cultural restraints, not just externally but also internally. Perhaps, after the liberation from their restrained feelings, a couple will lose the desire to have affairs.

Okay, now we have to talk about -

Disadvantages Of An Open Relationship:

  • Infidelity

This is a major disadvantage for people with an exaggerated sense of ownership. That is, ownership of their partner.

Can you own them?

Can they own you?

Well, in any case, if you feel that you can't handle the "openness" and sharing your partner, there is a signal here for you to look at.

You should not start an open relationship if you aren't ready to share your loved one with someone else. For those who are mentally prepared for this, infidelity will be a secondary phenomenon, with a bit of the next problem mixed in...

  • Jealousy

Yes, jealousy is just about the biggest problem you're going to have in an open relationship. Every other attractive woman on the planet will seem like a threat to you. Which is why you MUST have a rock-solid relationship on your own before you can even consider an open relationship.

And if you're paranoid about your partners connections to other people, sensing a possible threat to your relationship whenever you don't have him in sight - don't bother. An open relationship would basically be a self-destruct button for your relationship.

Being able to handle an open relationship is incredibly challenging for 90% of the people out there - and it's even harder for women who have any insecurity issues with their relationships.

  • Social stigmatization

Open relationships usually do not cause negative feedback from young people. But for moms, dads, and grandmothers, it's going to stir up some huge drama.

Some of your inner circle friends may call you a frivolous person. But such a view is understandable as this is the usual reaction of people who have lived life within the framework of moral rules. Open relationships are definitely not for the faint of heart.

And they absolutely are not for people who adhere to traditional relationship rules, religious dogma, or strict social laws of what is "proper" or not.

  • Marriage and children are out of the question

Open relationships do not lead toward the birth of children, marriage, and serious relationships, typically. An open relationship is a good option for people who have already tried family life and have children, but may be past all that. Or they're divorced and unwilling to focus on a primary relationship.

  • Hiding behind the freedom

Many people hide behind the freedom of open relationships in order to avoid responsibility. This is way more common than most people talk about. Therefore, it's very important to learn about the true motivations of a person before starting an open relationship with him.

You need to know what their motivation is first.

21 What Is An Open Relationship?

  • Short-term relationships

Sooner or later, one of the partners may want something more from the relationship, while the other person simply cannot give it - or they're not ready for a serious relationship. Consequently, relationships break-up - just as much as traditional ones.

You also want to be sure you practice safe sex and birth control to maximize safety for both of you - and keep the complication factor to a minimum.

  • The risk of losing a loved one

If adultery occurs in a marriage, the husband or wife tries to not abandon the family, realizing that infidelity may be just a temporary weakness. However, in an open relationship – a guy or girl can fall in love with another person if your boundaries and rules are not set up front.

You have to have a very clear "charter" for your open relationship to ensure that the focus is always on the primary relationship, and not the side relationships.

Is it worth trying an open relationship?

The advantages and disadvantages of an open relationship are relative concepts. It entirely depends on how a person perceives them.

Some people can find shortcomings in the advantages I mentioned. While others may find something positive in the imperfection of open relationships.

The very first thing to do is to clarify what open relationships mean to you personally. If your mind and heart are ready for something like this, that's okay. However, you should remember that an open relationship may seem ideal in the first stages, but later on there is no guarantee against quarreling and misunderstandings.

Nobody knows how you will perceive the first betrayal of a person you love.

are open relationships healthy What Is An Open Relationship?

Does it feel like cheating...?

Also, you should beware of self-deception.

It may turn out that you have kept the truth from yourself that this type of relationship is not really going to meet your needs. So you may end up with nothing in the end.

Many women and men look for answers by checking different forums and talking to people who have experienced an open relationship.

Remember: All the experiences and joys of open relationships that you may read on the Internet are SOMEONE ELSE'S experiences and joys.

You will have your own experience depending on where you are when you make this decision - and where he is as well. I can't emphasize the importance of maturity from both of you to make this work.

There are cases when people realize that open relationships benefit only one of the partners. A woman often reaches a conclusion that she was created to take care of the family and give birth to a child. But despite the conversion, she continues to play the old game. It is not worth it. Share your thoughts and mind changes with your loved one.


Everyone should decide individually whether to start an open relationship or create a family.

One thing is for certain: Don't harm yourself or reverse your principles and views for the sake of another person. You have to stay close to your truth and what you know in your heart.

14 What Is An Open Relationship?

Open relationships can be good for those who are not ready for a serious relationship or even marriage.

However, even legal marriage doesn't give the right to complete control over your loved one. There must always be certain freedoms and the right to a private life - whether that's a bachelor party, vacation, or just gatherings with friends.

If you'd like to learn more about how to make him want you - AND ONLY YOU - forever... go watch this short presentation...

ForeverFaithful What Is An Open Relationship?



One of the open relationship dating sites we found was Godatenow.com. They help men find a partner not only for physical intimacy but also for serious relationships.

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