What to do if your partner wants an open relationship


There are many types of relationships, and if you are currently in a committed, monogamous relationship, you might have a lot of questions and what to do if your partner decides they want to have an open relationship. With that in mind, if your partner is pushing for an open relationship, it’s up to you to decide if you’re comfortable with it or if you should. close the door on your time with this person.

To better understand your partner’s desire to have an open relationship, as well as to determine the best way to process and process this type of information, it’s important to know what an open relationship really involves.

What is an open relationship?

An open relationship is a relationship in which you and your partner are free to engage in sexual and / or romantic activities with other people. In other words, you and your partner are not monogamous, and either and / or both are able to look out of your relationship and bond physically and emotionally with others.

In 2016, it was estimated that 4 to 5% of North Americans were involved in a consensual non-monogamous relationship. Although non-monogamy is still widely stigmatized in its social perception, a study Journal of social and personal relationships suggests that partners in open relationships are just as satisfied, happy, and at the same level of well-being as those in monogamous relationships.

If non-monogamy is a new concept to you, your head may be spinning. Spend time thinking about your romantic goals and what to expect from your relationship. Being honest with yourself and your partner might save you time and heartache in the future, or open the door to a new level of fulfillment.

In order to determine if an open relationship is the right kind of relationship for you, answer these five critical questions as honestly as possible.

Should you accept an open relationship?

1. Why does your partner want an open relationship? If your partner wants to have an open relationship, they should clearly explain why this is the case. For example, has your partner failed at monogamy in the past and would rather be outspoken and open about their efforts rather than having to squeeze in? Does your partner have the impression that she needs are not currently being met and want to look outside of your relationship to satisfy those desires?

“More often than not, one of the two simply feels confined”, says Isadora Alman, relationship and sex therapist. “Sex within a couple is dull; their needs are not met, not only for variety, but perhaps for some predilection, the partner will not let go.” Once you fully understand why your partner is interested in having an open relationship in the first place, you can make a more informed decision about whether or how to continue.

2. Are you interested in being with other people? After hearing the reasons your partner wants an open relationship, it’s important to ask yourself if you feel like pursuing other options outside of your current relationship as well. And if the answer is ‘yes’ then an open relationship may be worth a try, especially since you and your partner can both be with other people while still being completely open and honest. one with the other.

When a person has accepted consensual non-monogamy under duress… the challenges become much more intense than they would be if everyone involved were truly willing.

But polyamory expert Elisabeth Sheff, Ph.D., shares a word of warning: “When a person has agreed to non consensual monogamy under duress – either they’ve been bullied or harassed until they give in or they feel like they can’t say no but really don’t want to be in an open relationship – the challenges become a lot more intense than they would be if everyone was involved and truly consented. ”

3. Do you agree with unilateral monogamy? If you are not interested in being with other people, then you need to consider whether you would be okay with your partner leaving your relationship while you remain monogamous. “This is where one wants or expects a monogamous relationship, is happy in those bonds, and the other partner is not,” says Alman. “If some sort of settlement can be negotiated – only casual sex outside and no romance, or only outside of town, etc. – there can be a truce.

It’s important to keep in mind that there are open relationships where this is the case, and you need to be honest with yourself if it’s something you could handle. For example, if you’re someone who tends to get jealous, having to share your partner with others might not be the best choice for you.

4. What is the state of your current relationship? If your partner wants an open relationship, it is essential that the relationship you have with each other at this very moment is strong. In fact, many people mistakenly believe that opening a relationship can be beneficial if they are currently facing challenges as a couple, but a difficult relationship is likely to fall apart.

Given the complexity of negotiating and maintaining consensual non-monogamous relationships, it’s no surprise that choosing it as a strategy to mend a damaged relationship doesn’t usually end well.

As Sheff says, “given the complexity of negotiating and maintaining consensual non-monogamous relationships, it’s no surprise that choosing it as a strategy to mend a damaged relationship doesn’t usually end well.” In a nutshell, an open relationship is not a silver bullet or guaranteed solution for a failed relationship, it should therefore not be used as a kickstand for an already broken connection.

5. Is this a deciding factor? Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide whether you’re okay with having an open relationship. And even if you love your partner very much and care about them with all your heart, you need to think about your own wants and needs when making this important decision. “There are as many possible outcomes of an open / closed relationship as there are rules and agreements around one,” says Alman.

If you’re not quite comfortable saying ‘yes’ to an open relationship but you’re not quite ready to quit either, Sheff offers another idea:’ When couples are considering move from monogamy to consensual non-monogamy and find that something the assistance of a professional advisor, a therapist or coach can help them consider and negotiate alternatives. ”

Remember, you determine the type of relationship you have with a partner. And if monogamy is a requirement for you, then you should find someone else who also shares this requirement – just like your partner should find someone who is totally okay with an open relationship.

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