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6 Open Relationship Rules To Make It Successful

By: Kratika Tue, 14 Mar 2023 4:03:29

6 Open Relationship Rules To Make It Successful

When we talk of rules for an open relationship, the aim is that you stay protective of yourself and your partner(s). Setting ground rules for an open relationship is healthy and beneficial for all the partners.

It is not required to present these rules as a manual right at the beginning. But taking time (before any expressed commitment) to build the strength of a relationship provides ample opportunities to give yourself and your partners an idea of the rulebook. Open relationships will have more complex dynamics anyway. So, rulebooks keep things in check by facilitating boundary regulation in a healthy way.

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# Be open about everything

Honesty is the best policy when you are going for an open relationship. Honestly, it’s a pre-requisite even if you’re not dating someone in an open relationship. If you have one partner whom you consider your emotional significant other, don’t hide the fact that you have other partners. Similarly, if you have multiple sexual partners, it would be wise to ensure they are aware of one another (not necessarily in terms of actual identities).

Among other things, you’ll need to discuss timelines and levels of physical and emotional intimacy. You needn’t share too many uncomfortable details, but one of the most basic open relationship rules is to keep things, well, open, and honest.

# For a successful open relationship, do not undermine the feelings of your other partners

Just because you have a primary partner does not mean you undermine the feelings of other partners. The very concept of an open relationship is also to ‘open’ ourselves up to the idea that a sexual partner doesn’t have to be ‘less’ than a romantic or emotional partner. Here, too, honesty will come in handy.

Let them know what you are looking for — do you just want to hook up on Tinder or is it a relationship that you want? You may need to be sensitive to a partner who feels threatened or jealous of someone else that you may be seeing. You may also need to set timings for when you will see partners for each week or month, lest insecurities take over your relationship

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# Successful open relationships set boundaries and limitations

This is important both for the partner in the primary relationship and the other partners you have. Set sexual boundaries. Set emotional boundaries. Be specific. What if one falls in love, and wants to pursue it while staying in their primary relationship as well? Could a person be your support system as well as a sexual partner? Do you have oral sex? Is it okay to indulge in sexual acts that you do not do with your primary partner?

Talking about these things in advance will prevent jealousy, guilt, hurt, and disappointment. Also, be sure to talk about things that are off-limits. Discuss consent in detail with all your partners. If it’s important in monogamy, it may be even more important in non-monogamous bonds.

# A basic but vital open relationship rule is to use protection

How do open relationships work? By making safe sex a priority. Safe sex is important no matter what your relationship status. And since you’re going to be with multiple partners, put this at the top of your list. You may want to ask new partners to get themselves tested before getting physical with them.

Having multiple partners can be an open invitation for STIs and STDs if you’re not smart about it. Get yourself tested frequently as well. It’s just good health planning. Popping in an emergency contraceptive pill is not advisable and you should avoid it as much as possible. Talk to each other about using protection, be it in the form of condoms or dental dams if you have oral sex. Always use protection lest you transfer any disease you contract to your primary or other partners.

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# Be careful about who you hook up with

Is it cool to hook up with one of your partner’s classmates from high school? Or the boss from the company where your partner worked before? Be careful with this — open relationships do not mean being open to everyone and ignoring that may be the reason behind closing an open relationship.

Your partner might want to get intimate with people they already know while you might be uncomfortable with the idea that you might run into those people and create an awkward social situation. Getting personal with a Facebook friend is okay? Are Tinder dates cool? Whatever it is, discussing it with your partner might save the ugly arguments later.

# Don’t underplay jealousy

Ah, the green monster that creeps up on us even in the most stable of relationships. It’s hard enough in a single-partner relationship, but when there are multiple bodies (and hearts) involved, that creeping, unhealthy jealousy is bound to come into the picture. And no, one of the rules for an open relationship is not “You can’t be jealous”.

Like all matters pertaining to relationships, you’re not going to be able to organize your open relationship into a neat Excel sheet, no matter how many open relationship rules you make and discuss. You’re dealing with people and feelings, and it’s going to get messy.

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