An open relationship is when both parties involved agree to continue seeing other people, rather than having a monogamous relationship. Such an idea would have been unheard of just a short time ago, but these days, many people are choosing to have a relationship like this as a way of keeping the spark alive in their primary partnership.
As with all relationships, open relationships will work only if both partners want the same thing and are both equally committed to each other and this new idea of seeing other people. If the idea comes from one person only, and the other partner has any hesitancy at all about getting involved, then this is probably a bad move and may end in your breakup.
An open partnership can be more difficult to maintain than a monogamous one for many reasons. One of the most important things to consider before agreeing to a relationship like this is whether or not it’s what you really, truly want. Agreeing to it just to please your partner will lead to certain disaster, so you have to be sure to be honest with yourself about why you’re getting into this. Even though this may not be the mainstream choice, it may be what’s best for you at this particular time in your life, but only you can decide that.
Health is perhaps the most major concern when it comes to having an open relationship. Morals aside, this kind of relationship can be extremely hazardous to your health unless the both of you are extremely strict about practicing safe sex. Condoms must be used at all times, and you should both schedule regular health checkups at your local family planning clinic. Depending on how strict you want to be, you may wish to ask any new partners to do the same.
Although condoms (when used correctly) can give you some protection against many communicable STDs, many contagious conditions such as herpes can still be passed on during sex with a new partner. These conditions may be life-long, incurable, and extremely contagious, so extra precautions may have to be taken with each new partner to guard against the likelihood of accidentally infecting your primary partner.
Honesty is probably the most important factor in any relationship, even more so in an open one. Trust is the only way to make it work, so you must be completely honest at all times. Most partners agree to discuss other partners in whatever level of detail is required, merely as a way of including one another in the relationship more fully. You also must be clear with other partners that you are in an open relationship so no one gets the wrong idea.
Despite your very best intentions, be aware that jealousy (both male and female) can be a very powerful force, so you must keep communication open with your ‘main’ partner and all other partners at all times. It just takes one partner to become a little too attached, and you have the start of some major drama, hurt and jealousy. Being open may help to prevent this, but as with safe sex, it is by no means foolproof. It is entirely possible to fall for someone new, despite knowing the consequences of doing so. That applies both to you, and to all your new partners.
Setting the boundaries for the relationship is another important component to the success of open relationships. Decide what the rules are and stick to them at all times. Make sure the lines of communication are always open in case anyone’s needs or wants change.
To sum up, an open partnership can work only when both partners are both willing and well prepared to deal with the unique challenges this kind of relationship will bring you.