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5 Things to Consider About Open Relationships


5 Things to Consider About Open Relationships

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So, you've been a traditional monogamous person who's now considering an open relationship.  Before you embark on this amazing journey, there are some long term things to consider. Before taking the plunge into the world of swinging, polyamory, or any other form of ethical non-monogamy, it would be wise to do a self-assessment and honestly answer these five questions about yourself:

  1. Do you have jealousy issues? – Ahh, the evil green monster of jealousy.  This is the biggest issue for most.  Jealousy is a normal emotion to feel, it regularly wreaks havoc on monogamous relationships - and its even more of a challenge in open relationship structures. If jealousy controls you instead of the other way around, it's open relationships all together until you can reconcile your feelings.  BUT, If you are afflicted and up for  confronting this challenge, you should really check out PolyVictoria’s article - How Jealousy Affects Open Relationships.

  2. Do you become co-dependent on your partners to achieve personal happiness? – Here’s an elusive fact for most – You, and only you, are responsible for your own happiness.  No one else – You!  If you are not happy in any relationship and continue on, it’s your own fault. Monogamous relationships seem to thrive on the premise of, “my partner makes me happy” while poly people are happy alone, but appreciate a partner that contributes to their happiness.  It’s important to understand the differences in those two statements. 
    I’m of the opinion that, in order to really be truly happy in ANY relationship, you must be completely self-contained and self-secure.  What that means is: Have you gotten to a place in your life where you can be completely happy, whether you are single or partnered?  If you are the type of person who is only emotionally happier when partnered then alone, then poly dating is definitely not for you.

  3. Do you like having your own space in relationships? I LOVE my alone time.  Not that I need much of it, but it’s nice to have. With your Poly partner there will be both synchronous and asynchronous date nights, so eventually, you will be alone while your partner is out on another date and visa-versa.  This is a reality that you have to be ok with.  Fun fact: practiced poly people are actually happy for their partners when they are out dating others.  This is referred to as “Compersion”.

  4. Are you considering dating someone who is Polyamorous because you think you can “fix” them?  - Simply dating a poly person with the intention of waiting for them to “come around” to your monogamous favor is ill advised. Believe me, one of the first things you’ll learn about people who are poly, or otherwise ethically non-monogamous is that we are not broken, therefore there is nothing to fix.

  5. Above all, can you maintain honest and open communications with a partner?  It takes a while to become comfortable talking about traditionally uncomfortable topics, but it’s certainly possible.  Ask any medical professional or law enforcement officer and they will tell you that asking uncomfortable questions of people or hearing “too much information” eventually becomes second nature.  But how would you feel about hearing how much awesome sex your partner had on their date last night?  Or openly negotiating physical and emotional boundaries with potential additional partners.

    While there are somewhat open couples that operate on a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, I view this type of arrangement as a “band-aid solution” to a set of serious underlying problems.  In my experience, these relationships hold together for a while, but usual leads to a breakup in contempt.  Communicating openly and honestly is the key to any productive relationship, but can be even more challenging in an open relationships when there is “much more” interesting stuff to talk about.

There, you have it.  Spend some quality time with these questions and you will know if open & honest relationship dating is for you.

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About the Author


PolyRick has contributed 8 sexy blogs.

Rick Broider is a popular Open Life Coach specializing in personal growth and healthy sexuality. Rick has many years of experience working with ethically non-monogamous lifestyles (polyamorous, swinger, etc.), and unconventional relationship structures as well as with individuals and couples representing many sexualities. He also has a long history supporting anyone who is in or exploring Open/Kinky/BDSM relationships and is an incredible resource for couples looking to strengthen their primary bond while opening their relationship to new possibilities.

In addition to his success as an O.P.E.N. Relationship Workshop Leader and Educator, you can find Rick presenting at events from Maryland (D.O. Fusion) to Jamaica (KS Week 2016 / 2017). Rick is the former host of the Tampa Bay Area Munch, a monthly event that has provided resources and support for those who are kink-curious in the Tampa Area for over 15 years.

Rick is dedicated to perpetuating healthy and positive messages about sexuality, and offers advice to his clients and the public about issues such as monogamy, open relationships, long term relationship health, and self-compassion. He writes about these and many other sexual/relationship topics on several online blog sites.

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