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12 Things You MUST Know If You’re Considering An Open Relationship

People often wonder what an open relationship is. In extremely simple words, an open relationship is one in which a couple mutually agrees to have casual sex or a romantic relationship with other people while still being together.

If you’re considering an open relationship, please remember that just like every relationship is different and can’t be compared with another, the same goes for open relationships. There is no rule book that you have to follow. At the end of it, your relationship should be based on what the two of you find convenient and what works best for you.

What you need to think about

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Entering into an open relationship isn’t as easy as it appears to be. There are a lot of scenarios you need to be prepared for, especially dealing with your own emotional mess if it doesn’t work out. So, we’d suggest that you first sit by yourself and contemplate what you want from your life and your relationship. You should consider your expectations for yourself, how emotionally stable you are, whether or not you can handle an open relationship and all that it entails at this point in your life, and how long you have known your partner.

Suggested read: These are the things women want men to know about relationships

It’s a pretty big step you’re going to take and it’s always better to think it through and figure these things out beforehand, rather than sulk after it’s done! You will have to overcome your fears, whether it is your fear to communicate or anything else that would hinder your relationship.

Think the following things through and discuss them with your partner if the both of you are considering an open relationship.

1. Understand what an open relationship is all about


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Before deciding on getting into an open relationship, understand what changes it’s going to bring to your relationship. Ask yourselves what all will be included in an open relationship and think about whether you’re prepared for changing the current dynamics of your relationship. Most importantly, consider whether you will be comfortable with this decision. There will be unexpected awkward moments you need to be prepared for, like phone calls from friends telling you how they spotted your boyfriend with another girl or vice versa.

2. Are you doing it for the right reasons?

woman thinking

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Are you thinking about taking this step because you want to make your partner jealous? Don’t enter into an open relationship if you think that this will fix an almost broken relationship. An open relationship isn’t going to help you fix this, it might just push your relationship off the edge and break it forever. When your relationship is broken, you need to work on its foundation; so an open relationship might not be the best choice, unless you’re sure that this is what the both of you need. Open relationships have to be done for the right reasons. For instance, an open relationship might work well if the both of you enjoy having sex with multiple partners but still want to be emotionally linked to just one another. Think long and hard about your reasons before proceeding to the next step, and make sure that they’re valid.

3. Discuss it with your partner in detail

couple talking11

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You need to speak to your partner about this in detail. They need to know what’s on your mind, why you’re suggesting it, and whether both of you will be able to go through with it. You need to be absolutely honest and clear with one another about what you expect out of each other after this change in scenario, so there isn’t any miscommunication later. Ask questions, answer everything they ask you honestly, and make sure you’re very patient. You need to have an extremely detailed conversation with your partner because this is a huge decision and might not work for everyone.

4. Set ground rules


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You know yourself best, and this knowledge should guide your conversation with your partner about what you will be comfortable with and what you absolutely can’t stand. Once the both of you sit down and discuss what each of you are okay with, make a list of all the open relationship rules that you mutually agree upon.

Another thing you might want to discuss with your partner would be whether the two of you will want to know about the other relationships you’ll have. Maybe you’re comfortable with telling your partner about every tiny detail from each of your affairs, but they might not be very comfortable listening to it, or vice versa. Make sure you discuss every detail and set your ground rules before you come to a conclusion.

5. Decide on boundaries

couple talking

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Are you comfortable with walking in on your boyfriend and one of his girls? Will he be comfortable with you having your set of people over? These are questions the both of you will have to ask each other and accordingly decide a boundary which neither of you can cross. Also check with your partner if they have a list of people who will be off limits to the both of you. Some couples prefer to keep colleagues and mutual friends off limits, so that they can avoid complications and awkward situations in the future. It’s better to discuss this aspect when you set the ground rules for your open relationship.

6. Take it one step at a time

couple disagreement

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There can be times where your partner might realize later that they’re not okay with something or you might feel the same, and that’s okay. Don’t be surprised if your partner tells you that they can’t continue with the relationship. You might have spoken about everything related to this a thousand times, but one tends to realize certain things only with time and experience. We’d suggest that you take this slowly and don’t rush into doing everything at once. Keep checking in with your partner to make sure they are okay with where the two of you stand, so you can make changes along the way. This would be a good time to think about your feelings too. Are you okay with what your partner has been doing and with the number of people they have been with?

Suggested read: 12 men reveal their thoughts on monogamy, and it’s revelatory!

7. Don’t cheat

cheating man

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Cheating is still considered cheating even if you’re in an open relationship. Lying will be taken as cheating in your case. You’ve broken a rule and slept with someone who was off limits and you choose to keep that from your partner because you don’t want to hurt him? Sorry miss, that’s called cheating. Any relationship is based on trust, and once that breaks, there’s no guarantee that it’ll ever be the same again. The both of you mutually decided on the rules of your relationship at the beginning. If there’s anything more you’d like to do, speak to them about it before doing it rather than lie to your partner after the fact! You shouldn’t be keeping some details of your affairs to yourself if you’ve agreed to share everything with each other. That’s not fair to your partner and is very much considered to be cheating.

8. Be healthy

safe sex

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It’s a given that you will have to be careful when you have sex with multiple partners. Whether you like it or not, use protection. You don’t want to contract an STD. Men don’t have much of a choice; there’s no option but to use a condom. Women should talk to their gynecologist and figure out which contraceptive or birth control method will work best. Don’t take this lightly, decide your protection method well before you start getting intimate with various people. Make your personal health a priority.

9. You have to tell your other partners

couple talking

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Whether you’re looking for just a weekend affair, a romantic relationship with multiple people, or a one time thing, it’s wrong to keep somebody in the dark, no matter who it is and what their intention is. It’s important to tell your potential partner about your open relationship status before you take things forward with them. Let the person take their time to process this information and depending on what they think about it, you can then move forward or part ways. Don’t lie to anybody just to get into their pants!

10. What about when you have children?

father talking to son

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Open relationships can get tricky when children are a part of the equation. Understanding the importance of a family, the role of parents, and elders, is something a child will learn mostly while theyare growing up. Children do what they see around them and what you do around your child will reflect in their behavior and thinking over the years. So discuss with your partner if they want children or not. If you do, then discuss how the two of you will bring your child up, if you will have multiple partners around your child, and who will be regularly interacting with your child. Your child isn’t going to understand what an open relationship is while growing up, and chances are that there will be a lot of questions from their end when they see you in one. You need to understand that your child will be learning something completely different at school about the opposite gender, sexuality, marriage, and relationships; they will be seeing their peers and how their parents are on a daily basis. Be prepared to take care of any of these situations and the questions that the child may have.

11. Do you want to tell your friends about it?


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You will have to tell your close friends and family when you decide to enter into an open relationship to avoid random phone calls late in the night with your best friends telling you how they saw your partner cheating on you with somebody else, let alone somebody who knows you. And mind you, this will only get worse with time if you choose not to tell anybody about it. Sooner or later, it won’t just be your close friends who will be talking about how you’re being played. Talk to your partner about who to tell and whom you want to keep it from. Save everybody the drama including yourselves and be truthful to your close friends. If the two of you aren’t comfortable with telling people, maybe you need to rethink your decision of being in an open relationship.

Suggested read: What do men want in a relationship?

12. Don’t force your partner into it

couple disagreeing

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Open relationships do not work if one partner isn’t interested. If your partner isn’t willing to try this out, don’t force them into it. Open relationships aren’t something many people are comfortable with. Your partner may not be okay with sharing you with other people, whether it’s physically, emotionally, or both. This is a very sensitive topic, so treat it very gently and don’t trick or force your partner into it, simply because you want to. An open relationship will only be successful if both people agree to try it.

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Article Name
12 Things To Consider Before Entering Open Relationships
What are open relationships? Are you planning on entering into one with your partner? Here are all the things you need to consider before taking that step.
Shachi Lavingia

Shachi Lavingia

Shachi is currently pursuing her Masters in English Literature. She loves catching up on TV shows and spends her time doodling about things that make a difference. You will often find her at Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, sipping on Ice Blended Mocha while she writes about things that actually matter. You can have a look at her work here: