Why To Choose Open Relationship: Pros, Cons, And More

Published 07.05.2022
9 min read

For many decades, the church and society have told us that a monogamous relationship is the only acceptable form of relationship. But does it fit everyone? All people are different. So basically, the one-size-fits-all approach doesn't work. Many people choose an open relationship over the monogamous one, and that's totally fine.

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Do you want to offer your partner to try an open relationship but have some concerns? Learn more about this type of relationship and figure out whether it's the right choice for you.

What Is an Open Relationship Exactly?

Probably you have heard this term a hundred times but still don't have a clear understanding of what it means. In a broad sense, an open relationship is a relationship in which both partners are NOT exclusively committed to each other. Both sides agree on the fact that they can openly have other romantic and sexual partners.

Whether you are married to your partner or have just started dating, you can opt for an open relationship. If both of you are non-monogamous people, the chances are it will work for you. Before you make a final decision, you should consider all advantages and disadvantages of your choice.

4 Advantages of Open Relationships

According to the survey conducted by YouGov, 25% of Americans are interested in having an open relationship. Why? Most people want to enjoy the following benefits of an open relationship.

Diversity of Sex-Related Experiences

Let's face the truth. When you're committed to one sex partner, you can't enjoy all spectrum of sex-related experiences. No matter how good your partner is in bed, it's highly unlikely that one person can satisfy ALL your needs and bring ALL your sexual fantasies to life.

Are you one of those people who want to explore each and every type of sexual satisfaction? Monogamy is not for you. If you want to "try it all", you need to have multiple sexual relationships. In this case, consensual non-monogamy is a key to your happiness and psychological well-being.

Photo by Monstera from Pexels

The Feeling of Attractiveness

Many married people (or people who stay in one relationship for many years) face one issue – they feel loved, but they don't feel sexy or desired.

Let's say you met your spouse when you were 20 years old and got married three years later. You have spent many years together, and you know that your spouse loves you the way you are. You know that he finds you attractive and wants you.

No matter how good your sex life is, you may wonder whether other people find you attractive. And the longer you stay in the marriage, the more you doubt your attractiveness.

One of the easiest ways to feel desired again is to get involved in relationships outside the marriage. Open relationships allow you to do it without experiencing guilt and remorse. Once you start dating someone else, you will significantly boost your self-esteem, and that will positively influence your long-term relationship.

Fostering Self-Expression

Do you feel like you have a few personalities? Do you want to play the role of loving spouse inside your marriage and be a freak in bed with other people? You have such an opportunity. Choose an open relationship to express both sides of your personality.

Stefanie Lynn, a blog writer, emphasize the importants of sexual self-expression:

"Sexuality can be expressed in so many ways through the different facets of everyday life. It’s not something to be ashamed of; it’s something to embrace; another way to identify yourself to the world."

Photo by Kamaji Ogino from Pexels

Setting Free from Monogamy Pressure

When you choose monogamy, your partners expect you to fulfill all their wants and desires. For instance, your spouse may want you to be a perfect housewife who bakes delicious pies, looks after kids, while also enjoying BDSM.

You may have strong romantic feelings for your partner but do not want to try BDSM. You can offer your spouse to open your relationship and find a new partner to turn their fantasies into reality.

If you can cope with jealousy, it will be a win-win situation. Your spouse will get what they want, and you will be able to explore your sexuality your own way without experiencing any pressure.

4 Disadvantages of Open Relationships

While some people show interest in polyamory, the vast majority of men and women don't consider such relationships socially acceptable. Open relationships have their cons, and you should be aware of that.

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Jealousy that Drives You Crazy

An open relationship is not only about sexual boundaries but also about emotional boundaries. So if you like the idea of having sexual relations with multiple partners, don't rush into offering your current partner to make your relationship open.

Imagine your partner making love or having an emotional connection with someone else. Are you ready to accept that? Is it okay for you to know that the person you deeply care about has a romantic relationship with another person?

If jealousy creeps up on you, you have zero chance of building successful open relationships. Basically, you will want to break up with your partner as soon as they get involved in other relationships.

Tip: If you cannot deal with jealousy, you should stay monogamous.

When it comes to polyamory, you must be ready to cope with stronger emotions. That's what one Twitter user wrote about being in an open relationship.

High Risk of Sexually Transmitted Infection

You can trust your primary partner, but you can't trust all the people you both hook up with. The more lovers you and your partner have, the more likely you will catch STI.

Scientific fact: By choosing open relationships, you put your health at risk. You multiply your chances of getting infected with human papillomavirus (HPV), gonorrhoea, herpes, chlamydia, and HIV.

So if you start an open relationship, make sure to discuss all possible health risks with your partner. Talk about how often you will get routine STI testing. Pay attention to the fact that you should do tests even if you don't have any specific symptoms because some STIs have latency periods.

Savita Ginde, M.D., M.P.H., who works for Stride Community Health Center in Denver, explains the importance of regular check-ups:

"Many STIs do not have immediate effects. For many people, it may take weeks, months, or even years to truly feel and recognize the symptoms of an STI. HIV, syphilis, and hepatitis B are common STIs that can often stay dormant for years after exposure."

Other Health-Related Issues

Monogamous relationships promote mental health and sexual wellbeing. So before you say "no" to monogamous relationships, you should think of how it may affect your health. If you used to deal with any mental or sex-related issues in the past, you should think twice before you open your romantic relationships.

Do you dream about making love with multiple partners on a regular basis? Do you really think that your body is ready for a "sex marathon"? Be aware that numerous attempts to please more than one partner may make you feel exhausted. In some cases, it may result in loss of libido.

Or, vice versa, regular hook-ups can make you sex-addicted, and you will lose control over your mind and body. You will not be able to work, study, or enjoy your hobbies. Your psychological and emotional wellbeing will be affected, and you will not be able to resolve this issue without professional assistance.

Risk of Losing Connection with Your Romantic Partner

The concept of an open relationship supposes that you will have a primary relationship that will be a priority in any situation. No matter how many dates and lovers you, as a couple, have, you promise to always come back to each other.

Well, the concept is not perfect, and things do not always come this way. Sometimes people fall in love with their lovers and break up with their primary partners. So you should understand that every time your spouse goes on a date, you risk losing them.

To prevent that, you should maintain close communication with your spouse. Once you notice changes in their behavior, you should intervene and talk about the importance of your relationship.

Things to Consider before Starting an Open Relationship

Do you think that the pros of an open relationship outweigh the cons? It's time for you to find out whether your partner supports your idea and wouldn't mind dating other people. Here are a few important things you need to consider before opening your relationship.

Interesting fact: One market research shows that 67% of females and 46% of male respondents would leave their partners if they get offered to have an open relationship.

Know Your Feelings

What has recently changed in your life? What makes you believe that now is the best time to make your relationship open? Make sure to analyze your feelings before you take any further steps.

Some people choose an open relationship not because they have a genuine interest in non-monogamous relationships but because they can't find happiness in their current relationship. The truth is that if your marriage is dying, consensual non-monogamy will not fix it.

It may sound weird, but some monogamous couples opt for outside relationships simply because they don't dare leave their partners. They do it unintentionally, without understanding that their decision means breaking up or divorcing. Here is a tweet that supports this idea.

Discuss an Open Relationship Rules

If you want to build a healthy non-monogamous relationship, you should clearly outline your expectations and set ground rules. Both your partner and you should accept these principles and follow them strictly.

Every couple is unique and so feel free to express your personal preferences. Consider all the aspects of the open relationship and decide what is important for you. Here are a few examples you may use for inspiration.

  • You agree to have sex only with strangers (not neighbors, co-workers, friends, etc.)

  • You agree to have only a physical relationship with other partners. You can have sex with someone you have met at the party, but you can't go on a romantic date.

  • You promise to spend most of your free time with your main partner, not with random lovers.

  • You agree not to tell your friends, colleagues, and family that you have an open marriage to avoid social pressure and judgments.

  • You are allowed to engage in relationships with people of any sexual orientation.

  • Specify that only safe-sex practices are acceptable. Promise to use condoms for penetrative sex and dental dam for oral sex.

  • Outline your further communication. Define whether or not you want to discuss outside hookups.

Tip: If you are unsure whether you can deal with your jealousy and negative feelings, make it a rule never to discuss your sexual practices inside your primary relationship.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

Be Honest with Your Primary Partners

Honesty and communication is a key to healthy relationships. If you have any concerns regarding open marriage and non-monogamy in general, talk to your partner. Share your thoughts and be honest if you have any specific fears. Don't wait until the person you love finds happiness in another relationship!

Also, make sure to ask your partner whether they are ready to start a new relationship. Be aware that if your spouse says that he has fantasies about having polygamous relationships, it doesn't mean that he really wants to have one in real life.

Most romantic partners who have emotional intimacy do not want to take advantage of an open relationship. Even when they get permission to date other partners, they opt to stay in a committed relationship.

Interesting fact: One recent study shows that 1 out of 6 people desire to have open relationships. Still, only 1 out of 9 people actually choose polygamy at one point during their lives.

Take a closer look at your current relationship and try to understand whether you genuinely want to join the ranks of non-monogamous couples. Your dreams about other lovers are probably just fantasies, which are not worth sacrificing your happy partnership.

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