An open relationship is a marriage or relationship in which both partners agree that each may have sexual relations with other people.
Some couples are agreeing to open their relationships to more than one sexual partner. Are the benefits really worth the cost?
With about 50% of marriages ending in divorce and with many reporting that infidelity as the reason, some couples are challenging the boundaries of traditional relationships.
What’s the Appeal of Open Relationships?
Freedom of choice is a big reason for some people. Some people say that their heart is ‘wired’ for multiple relationships. People get frustrated by the classic love triangle in films. Why should they have to choose between two people, why couldn’t they have both?
It’s not just variety of sex either. Sometimes having multiple partners can give people a lot of emotional support. Especially if you’re a bisexual girl, for example seeing romantic comedies at the cinema would be much more enjoyable with another girl than a guy.
Children’s bed stories always states that the princess or prince has to choose who they will end up with. Maybe in the future if more people are comfortable with the concept we will see a change in these kind of stories.
Are There Different Kinds of Open Relationships?
There are a wide variety of open-relationship models out there and different models can work differently for different couples. Having an open relationship can really work for some couples, however as people we’re inclined to feel sexually jealous of a partner being with someone else. This makes us resistant to that partner having another relationship.
There are the polyamorous relationships in which people openly have multiple romantic or sexual partners but always return home to each other. There are swingers who experiment with other couples together. And there’s overlaps in those definitions because that’s the point; people are making it up as they go along so that their relationships stay fulfilling.
You normally see open relationships in two situations. The first one is if someone is dating someone where they are able to get something else out of the relationship, like status. The other category is if it’s just a person who likes to have sex with a lot of other individuals. In both situations the relationship can survive, however there are a few obstacles you have to overcome.
Is it Worth it?
Sometimes people can’t get everything they need, sexually, physically or emotionally from the one person. Those who practice open relationships lay a load of ground rules for the multiple relationships to avoid hurt and disappointment.
The state of monogamy is being examined and is slowly becoming a bit more popular. 5% of people are in some kind of open relationship, with 16% of women and 31% of men willing to try it.
While some couples are able to pull off this kind of lifestyle, there is a high risk of things falling apart.
If a couple are willing to partake in an open relationship, they have to be close to perfect. Their love and commitment be unquestionable, their ability to communicate and problem-solve be equally skilful. This is because we humans have trouble setting limits when we want something bad enough. And when we’re angry or frustrated all those rules you agreed by can be used as weapons to attack our mates.
In reality if a couple were so close to perfect would they need an open relationship? Is openness in relationship another way to avoid intimacy?
In my eyes I don’t think it’s worth it. I’d rather get all my attention from one partner than a variety of partners. But what does everyone else think?