A while back, I matched with someone on Tinder and we started talking – you know, the usual drill. After meeting the first time, we decided to give it a try since we both were into each other. Though, it was on our third date when she suggested the idea of an open relationship, which took me by surprise. Don’t get me wrong – I understand that there are different ways to love someone, but to me, relationships have always been monogamous.
The idea of having a non-exclusive relationship and sharing my partner with someone else never crossed my end. Nevertheless, in the heat of the moment, I said yes. We were already dating casually and I thought of giving it a try. To be honest, it was a liberating experience and taught me so many things. It has been over 6 months now since we are together and our open relationship has only grown mature all this time.
While I’m not an expert, I can say that open relationships can be a bit challenging, especially to those who are doing it for the first time. If you are not sure about it, then I would recommend weighing its pros and cons. To help you overcome this challenge, let me start by sharing some of my experiences and what I learned so far.
Suggested read: Ours Is An Open Relationship, And Is As Good As Any Relationship
The Potential Challenges (and Things to Know)
Before I start discussing the common challenges related to open relationships, you need to understand that every situation is different. While you might not face all of these difficulties, you should be aware of them regardless of your present situation.
- You would be jealous of the people around them
Jealousy is undoubtedly the most prominent challenge that people face in most of the open relationships. You have to accept the fact that you can’t have your partner entirely. There will always be a part of them that you got to share with someone else. You would often compare yourself with the people around them and that can lead to jealousy.
- You might think that you are not enough
This is something that I experienced in the initial days of my open relationship. Since it was the first time I was being in a non-monogamous relationship, I asked myself the same question – am I not enough? To answer this, you need to examine your relationship. Chances are that it could be not about you. Some people just don’t like to be in a monogamous relationship – it is really as simple as that.
- People around you might judge you
People have different opinions about polygamy and the idea of open relationships. If you tell your friends and family that you are in an open relationship with someone, chances are that they might judge you. Some of them can even try to end your relationship. You need to understand that it is a personal decision and you don’t have to tell it to the world – until and unless you are sure of it.
- Be prepared to be insecure and lonely (at times)
Every open relationship has a degree of uncertainty attached to it. Most likely, you might end up meeting people with whom your partner is involved. In the back of your mind, you can start comparing yourself with them and might get insecure about the future of your relationship. There will be times when your partner would be with someone else and you will be alone. Loneliness is a part of open relationship and you need to accept it sooner or later.
- The sexual risks
This is a prominent risk that comes with every polygamous relationship. The degree and acceptance of every relationship can be different, but it won’t change the fact that you are in a non-exclusive situation. I would recommend taking care of your sexual health and getting tested at regular intervals.
The Good Side
After getting to know about the above-stated challenges, you might have got a bit scared. Just like every relationship, an open arrangement also comes with its own pros and cons. Here are a few things that I found appealing in my open relationship.
- It’s liberating
Even though it was my first time with non-exclusivity, it had to be one of the most liberating experiences of my life. I got to experience a whole new side of love, affection, and intimacy. Now I know that we can love more than one person at the same time. The relationship will certainly change your perspective about love and you would become more open-minded.
Suggested read: Are Open Relationships Worth It?
- You will get to know your real self
One of the best things about open relationships is that you will have enough time to discover yourself. It won’t stop you from meeting others, spending time on your own, going on a solo trip, and being the truest version of you. Since you would stop depending on your partner for everything, you will become independent. At the same, you will have someone by your side to share things.
- You will make lots of friends!
Ideally, it would depend on the kind of arrangement that you have with your partner. If the two of you are allowed to introduce people to each other, then you will certainly end up making a lot of friends. As you would get connected to others and share an emotional bond, you will realize how similar yet alike your new friends are.
- You won’t have to marry or make things official
Open relationships are ideally recommended to those who don’t believe in the institution of marriage. You won’t have to worry about taking the next step in your relationship, making things official, and the related hassle. You and your partner can be happy and content in the present situation without any issue.
- It’s fun!
Most importantly, it is just a whole lot of fun to be in an open relationship. You would always have someone by your side yet your personal space won’t be invaded. There would be so many things to do and you can always go out and meet people, without feeling guilty.
The Recommended Ground Rules
In order to sustain in any open relationship, it is important to maintain some ground rules. If you are up for it, then I would recommend having a conversation with your partner regarding the following issues.
- What is the degree of your open relationship?
This is the most important thing that you should discuss with your partner. What is the kind of open relationship that you two are having? Can you and your partner date anyone or should they consult you before meeting someone? It might happen that your partner can introduce someone to you and later ask you if you want to include them in the equation as well. There is no rulebook for this. Therefore, it is important to have a discussion with your partner to set the ground rules.
- Discuss the specifics
Yes, this discussion might make the two of you uncomfortable, but it is important to get into specifics. For instance, you might agree to have a physical relationship with someone else, but not get emotionally connected with them. If you are not comfortable with certain things, then inform your partner in advance.
- Have a no-bang list
The both of you should have an honest conversation and make a list of people that you or your partner won’t approve of. It might sound crazy, but sometimes we don’t want to share our partner with a specific person. For instance, if there are three or four individuals involved in a relationship, then they might decide to not see anyone else beyond their confined group.
- Get to know everyone who is involved
If you and your partner want to have a confined open relationship, then I would recommend getting to know everyone who is involved. In this way, you will have a group of close friends and would be able to know each other’s sexual preferences as well. It will also help you know your partner – and yourself.
Are you ready for it?
In a nutshell, open relationships are not for everyone. It has its own pros and cons, and should not be forced upon by anyone. I would strongly recommend that you should examine your situation and decide if being in a non-exclusive relationship healthy for you. If you want someone by your side all the time and can’t share your partner with anyone else, then it might not be your thing. Nevertheless, if you are looking for something casual yet substantial, then you can give it a try.
I’m sure that after reading this extensive and personal guide on open relationships, you would certainly be able to make up your mind. Remember, it is your choice and you should do it only if you are up for it. Don’t let anyone force you into it. It might not be a piece of cake in the beginning. Go ahead with an open perspective and you will be fine. If you still have any questions or would like to share your own experience, then feel free to drop a comment below.
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