Open relationships are an option for people who are perhaps less traditional than standard monogamous couples.
Open relationships have been around perhaps as long as men and women have existed in close proximity to each other.
In some eras, open relationships were sought out and practiced only in secret. The subject was taboo in public society, and those who practiced this arrangement could face fierce retribution if they were discovered.
In recent generations, advocates for open relationships have been increasingly able to speak out publicly, and more people have felt the freedom to find out if it's right for them.
Are you and your partner intrigued by the idea of being committed to each other, yet free to pursue sexual experiences outside the primary relationship?
There are some guidelines you may want to follow to ensure that the transition goes as smoothly as possible for all parties.
First of all, be clear on your definition of what an open relationship actually is.
The definition may be slightly different for each couple. Life, sex, and relationship coach Natalie Vartanian defines an open relationship as follows:
“An open relationship is a partnership where there is an option to be emotionally and/or physically intimate with other individuals,” she said in an email.
“More than anything, there is openness in communication, honesty, dynamics of the relationship and being able to design (and redesign) what that relationship looks like so that it works for all individuals.”
It’s also necessary to know why you’re pursuing this type of relationship, including the benefits and potential drawbacks.
Vartanian believes that with an open relationship comes less dishonesty, and as a result partners won’t feel the need to hide information from each other.
“The reason I believe [open relationships] can work is because that level of communication and vulnerability brings people so much closer — being able to play with and sometimes act on the desire for others brings so much passion back into the relationship,” she said.
Vartanian is currently in her second open relationship.