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Open Relationships: What Are They and How Do They Work?

The concept of open relationships is becoming more popular and more couples are encouraged to experience it, but what does it mean to have an open relationship?

What does it mean to be in an open relationship?

An open relationship is one in which its members do not believe or practice monogamy, that is, they are not from a single couple, but rather accept that both participants have sexual encounters outside of the relationship.
It must be clarified that an open relationship is not the same as practicing polyamory, since in the latter there is more emotional involvement, more feeling, more love and in some way, greater commitment.

Is it good to have an open relationship?

The answer would be…it depends. The first thing is that it is something that you both agree on and that clear limits are established from the beginning. No scenes of jealousy and exclusivity, if from minute 1 you know that they are going for everything with a freer relationship and an open couple, the scenes of jealousy are cancelled.

Advantages of open relationships

  • Greater communication: both of you will have to establish the rules from the beginning of the relationship, talk about your expectations and respect each other's spaces, knowing clearly that you can be with another person.
  • Zero routine: Open couples fall less into routine than a monogamous or closed couple, because you are always looking for new and better experiences to enjoy as a couple, there will always be that feeling of risk because the other could leave at any time and that gives a touch of greater interest to the relationship.
  • Greater freedom : an open relationship has less pressure, therefore there is more freedom to say and do what you think. A lot of weight is also removed from the sexual charge, since this aspect ceases to be partly 'an obligation' to be something of greater enjoyment, because if your partner does not satisfy you, you can seek that pleasure in another without problem.
  • Sexual learning: An open relationship allows you to learn other things about sex and put it into practice with your partner so that the flame of passion is fanned.

However, we cannot only talk about the good. If you want to join the 'wave' of open couples, you also need to know what might eventually become a problem (yes, remember that you minimize conflicts if you have good communication from the beginning, above all transparent and sincere).

open relationship problems

  • Jealousy: Undoubtedly one of the problems of this type of relationship is that jealousy gets out of control. Remember that if you enter to play on this court it is because you accept that your partner has sexual encounters with another person and vice versa. So it's normal for you to feel a bit 'I don't know what', but from there you don't control what you feel and you put on a show for whatever, no! Claims are also left out.
  • Emotional pain: For this type of relationship, your partner and you have to be in total synchrony, it is not valid if only one of the two is betting on the open relationship, both of you must be on the same route, because if it is not thus one of the two would suffer longing for what they do not have: a monogamous relationship.
  • Low self -esteem: If you have low self-esteem, this practice is not recommended because when your partner is not with you, it is normal for you to think that he or she is with another person and that is where the questions begin: what does he or she have that I do not have, spend more time with him or her than with me, I'm not good or good enough, anyway. That is not healthy, your self-esteem and therefore mental health can be greatly affected.
  • Risks of sexual diseases: It is very important that you remember that if you have sexual encounters with different people, it is your responsibility to protect yourself because you are more exposed to the spread of infections and sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Losing your libido: If you don't know how to handle an open relationship well, it may be that one or both of you fall into hypersexuality, that is, the stress and burden of pleasing all couples.

What to do if your partner asks you for an open relationship?

As we told you at the beginning of this article, if your partner asks you for an open relationship, the first thing to do is to establish rules and be very clear about what you want. If you don't like it, tell them, don't feel obligated to do something you don't believe in.

You must have very defined limits, how far to go or what to do and what not. Communication is key for the relationship to flow smoothly, if necessary, create a list of prohibited areas or situations, if there is someone who is definitely not allowed within the relationship, it must be made clear, as well as if there is a place that they should not go or something punctual that you would not like to do.

Open relationship or polyamory?

No, it's not the same! As we said above, polyamory implies greater commitment, it involves more feelings than the sexual part, it is like having a courtship and it can occur with several people at the same time, while the open relationship is stronger in the sexual part, even in an open relationship there may be no feelings involved, only attraction and desire.

What types of open relationships exist?

Polyamory is a type of open relationship, however, there are others such as:

  • Emotional open relationship: Allows the link with other people, but without kissing or sex.
  • Open sexually: Allows sex, but no emotional bond with other people.
  • Platonic open relationship: Allows flirting with other people, but without actually having sex.
  • Partner exchange: Known as 'swinger', this relationship allows sexual encounters at a specific event or party, the idea there, as the name says, is to exchange partners for a night of sex.
  • Monogamish: It is a semi-open relationship, since it allows couples to have meetings with others outside of the relationship, but only for a certain period, for example twice a year, once a month.

Tips for making the open relationship work

  • Communication and respect: Always talk to your partner, be honest, do not hide anything and put all the cards on the table so that both are clear about what they are betting on in the relationship.
  • Establish rules: They need to know how far they are going to go, that they have no doubts about the practice.
  • Do not get involved: if it is something sexual, the idea is not to involve feelings, be special with that other person, give them gifts, calls, invitations. This could make the couple uncomfortable. You must be clear about what is love and what is just a sexual bond.
  • Before this practice, the relationship must be in a good moment, it is not recommended that you start to open a relationship, as a possible solution if it is fractured.
  • Have time for yourself: being in several relationships can end up exhausting you, it is ideal that you take time for yourself, to be alone and do what you like. That space must be respected by your partner.
  • When you are with your partner looking to innovate, rehearse with different games to get out of the routine , oils, massages, aromas, spaces, the ideal is that they also get out of the routine with small details that can ignite passion.


Open relationships are an option that you can experiment with, remember that it must be something approved by your partner, if you both agree and have mutual respect and communication as their center, it will surely ignite more than one spark and strengthen their confidence. Everything is to talk about it and from there decide. Do you dare to take the step?

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