Today’s guest post comes from Meredith Cox who lives and works in Shanghai, China.
Before I tell you what an open relationship is, I’ll tell you what an open relationship isn’t: Open relationships aren’t cheating. Cheating is when you break your relationship rules against your partner’s knowledge and wishes — for most people this means having sex with someone else without their partner’s approval.
Open relationships, while not cheating, can be hard to define, because they can mean different
arrangements for different couples. In broad terms, however, an open relationship is one where you are emotionally monogamous but sexually non-monogamous (with your partner’s consent). There are lots of variations on this, but most open relationships fall under this definition in one way or another. Some common open relationships types include swingers (where two couples exchange partners), threesomes (a couple together has sex with another person), and couples where one or both partners have occasional sex with someone outside their relationship.
Polyamory (where someone is in a committed relationship with two or more people) is also considered an open relationship, but differs from the types above in that in a polyamorous relationship, it’s implied that you are both emotionally and sexually committed to more than one person (i.e., it’s not just sex). For this article, I’m focusing on open relationships where two partners are emotionally committed, but interested in having uncommitted sex with someone else.
There are also a lot of reasons why a person might decide to have an open relationship instead of breaking up with their partner. Maybe you (or your partner!) are bored. Maybe sex has become monotonous, or you have mismatched libidos, or your partner has lost interest or can no longer have sex, or you have a fetish, kink or desire that your partner can’t fulfill. Maybe you just want to experiment with someone else! Basically, relationships become “open” when partners decide that they want to have sex with other people, but they don’t want to break up with each other for whatever reason.
Getting into an open relationship is a personal choice, obviously, and it’s not for everyone. Before you take on an open relationship, there are five main points to consider: [Click to continue]
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