At some point in our lives, many of us have considered being in an open relationship and had these questions cross our minds: What would it be like? Am I too jealous? Will he fall in love with another woman?
An open relationship is the ultimate forbidden fruit. Can we find the Unicorn out there? Why does it make us feel so uncomfortable to even consider it?
There are two reasons: social norms and fear of failure. There is nothing that drives us more than wanting to fit in with others. We have to take chances and that creates change in our routine. Let’s take a look at these two ideas:
In the not-so-distant past, our mothers and grandmothers were not able to explore their sexuality the way we’re allowed to now. Back then, when it came to exploring sex there was a lot of guilt and expectations put on women.
Being able to choose your partner, casual sex, same sex relationships, having one partner throughout your life, sex before marriage, divorce, and in some cases, even having a boyfriend, are all ideals that were challenging for women. I can’t imagine how hard that must have been for them.
One day, being in an open relationship might become the new social norm, just like living with a boyfriend or engaging in a one-night stand has. Our next generation may look on us as archaic because we even questioned it. The younger generations would think of us as conservative, square-minded, prehistoric creatures who wasted their good years on just one person. But who knows, there is nothing wrong with good old fashioned monogamy either.
Fear of Failure
Most of us like to think that we’re open-minded, but really we are deeply uncomfortable with change and the unfamiliar. It’s because we don’t know what to expect and we’re afraid to fail. When considering an open relationship, the number one fear people have is that it will ruin their existing relationship and break it up. They want spice, but are afraid of the competition, jealousy, and insecurities that an open relationship brings.
The cold hard truth is that there’s no such thing as “one size fits all.” A monogamous relationship isn’t the recipe for foolproof love. You just can’t predict how any major decision in your life would affect your relationship. The good old familiar things like moving in together, having kids, moving to a new city or country, they all have the potential to make it or break it. Deciding to have an open relationship is just another item on that list.
So What’s The Decision?
It’s always a personal decision between partners. If you decide to give an open relationship a try, you should consider what rules to share that both you and your partner will be comfortable with. Here are a few things to think about:
- Safe sex. This is a must. Always practice safe sex outside your relationship, and get checked for STDs regularly.
- Who will know? Are you going to keep it a secret? Or are you comfortable with certain people knowing about your open relationship?
- Mutual friends and acquaintances. Are you allowed to have sex with people you both know? Or does it complicate things too much?
- Preference. Your mutual plans as a couple should always come first.
- How much should you share? Will you tell each other who you’ve been with? Will you share the details about what you’ve done? Decide how much is too much, and prevent unnecessary jealousy.
- Bringing other partners home. Are you comfortable with that? Or do you prefer to keep your privacy?
- Spending the night. Are you allowed to spend the whole night with other sexual partners?
Being in an open relationship can bring the variety you have been looking for, but both partners must respect boundaries and rules of engagement. Leave some insight on how you feel about it. We’d love to hear your experiences.
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