If you’ve been on a dating app recently, you’ve probably come across a range of profiles of people asking whether you think being in an open relationship is just cheating with permission (because they’re in one) or, on OKCupid, a lot of profiles stating that they’re open to non-monogamy. Open relationships are by no means a new choice, but people are being more upfront and honest about being in one. Although, what exactly IS an open relationship and how does it work? Truth is, we’re not here to judge, we’re here to help and inform (if we can…) So, here are 6 rules needed for an open relationship to work…
Make Sure You’re Both 100% Sure
Discussing being an open relationship is not something you just casually drop into conversation out of nowhere. You have to ease into it and be prepared for any and all reactions your partner may have. You have to remember that it’s not just about what you want and what’s best for you. If they do hesitantly show interest, don’t push.
Give them some time and space to come to a decision on their own. One thing’s for sure, you both need to be on the same page before moving forward. Otherwise, that’ll bring about a whole host of problems down the line. A good idea is to have an honest think about why you want to be in an open relationship and what you think it’ll bring to your lives.
Set Boundaries About Sex and Emotions
Not the same, but remember the Ross and Rachel saga about being on a break and not setting boundaries? Well, imagine that… times a thousand! Every open relationship is different. Some partners might decide that the emotional connection is only between them and the openness only extends to trying new things with new people in the bedroom. Whatever you decide, it’s best to decide in the beginning that the limits are.
This is also not the time to be shy in terms of sex, the more specific the boundaries the better. In terms of emotions, there is definitely a difference between dating someone and just sleeping together. So, be clear about which distinction works for you.
Open relationships, or any relationship really, is nothing without trust. More so here than in other cases. Open relationships are just that, open. It’s up to you to decide what works for you and the best way to do that is to talk. Regularly checking in to make sure you’re both on the same page is key.
Also, you can’t ignore your emotions. If you are feeling jealous or uncomfortable, speak up! If you feel a line has been crossed, it’s important to address it. A side note, open communication should extend to those not in your relationship too. You want to make sure everyone and anyone who becomes involved can make an informed decision.
Be Upfront About Who Is Off-Limits
This should be a no brainer, but gonna put it out there anyway. Definitely list who is off-limits in your open relationship. Whether that’s exes, friends, co-workers, dear I even say their family members?
If there’s someone who you have in mind that brings about feelings on insecurity or jealousy, add them to the list.
Establish How The Balance Will Work
Will you have regular check ins to discuss? Maybe you’ll have specific date nights that are just for the two of you? This is part of the clear communication needed in an open relationship. A good idea is to set some rules in terms of how much time you can both spend with other people as well.
Even if you end up going for the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell approach’, it’s essential to have these little details sorted out. Once you have your time prioritised, it’s should be smoother sailings!
Safety first kids! In all seriousness, use protection and have regular check-ups. This goes for all, open relationship or not! 🙂
So, there you have it! 6 rules needed for an open relationship to work. Remember, it is absolutely your choice what works for you. If you’re happy, that’s all that matters. Go forth!