What It's Really Like to Be in an Open Relationship

When you hear the term “open relationship," what comes to mind? Let me guess: swingers parties, wild sex and noncommittal relationships where anything — and anyone — goes. That’s the usual assumption. But can an open relationship actually thrive?

If you’re curious about this relationship phenomenon, or are bored of monogamy and thinking of venturing into an open relationship, here’s some insight on what it's really like to share your cama — and heart. 

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1. Open Relationship: Scratch That Itch

You scratch that itch.

Let’s say you’re into men and women. Do you leave your significant other to explore your same-sex sexual desire, or worse, cheat on your partner? When in an open relationship, you don’t have to choose. Brittany, 24, from Tennessee decided to talk to her husband about her dilemma. It turns out he was down to play. “We both became interested in this lifestyle when we both became interested in a girl,” she shared. “We only had a short relationship with her because, although she was into it, she didn't want to "disappoint" her family — but we continue the lifestyle and love it.” So they’re having their cake — and devouring it. 

2. Open Relationship: More Than One Person

You get love from more than one person.

A few women told me they’ve fallen in love with two men at the same time. If you’re in this complicated romantic scenario, an open relationship might be the solution. Choosing a non-monogamous lifestyle opens the door to new and more love. A chica from Los Angeles agreed, which is why her and her boyfriend of two years have an open relationship where only “triads are allowed.” Yes, folks, there are rules to this! “When dating individual's separately, it feels like we’re not in it together,” she explained. As a couple, involving yourself with only one other man or woman creates a stronger unit of love and community that many crave. 

3. Open Relationship: Communicate

You must communicate.

Just because you can go out with Tom, Dick and Harry (while married to Pepe) doesn’t mean you shouldn’t tell your hombre about your dating escapades. You don’t have to share intimate detaila — well, unless that turns Pepe on. However, many couples in open relationships believe that it’s important to tell your primary partner about your “friends.” That way all parties involved are clear on who and what they’re doing.

4. Open Relationship: There Are Rules

There are rules.

Many couples in open relationships have rules to keep everything copacetic. Linda, 30, from New York City, and her fiancé are no exception. When meeting potential “friends” they have one rule: “no crazy people.” “We also tell each other when we are going to have someone over or go to someone's place,” she said of the rules. And condoms are a must. Either wear a condom with your buddy or no extracurricular fun!  

5. Open Relationship: Jealousy Is A Factor

Jealousy is a factor.

Pero como no! As open-minded as you have to be while in an open relationship, it can sting to see your partner enjoying the company of another. “If you do not have a strong relationship or you or your partner are not secure, they may experience jealousy,” said a member of OpenMinded.com, a dating site for polyamorous and non-monogamous relationships. How do you combat the green-eyed monster? You think of your partner's happiness. If another party makes him or her happy, enjoy the fact. After all, it’s par for the course in an open relationship.