The Dos and Don’ts of an Open relationship

Honesty and consent are the buzzwords of an open relationship according to Sandra, my friend who has been in one for the past few months. She didn’t start her relationship as an open one, but rather came to the decision with her partner a few months ago. It was a decision that they thought would alleviate some of the pressure that came with living thousands of miles away from each other. And their thinking proved to be true; Sandra and Chad figured out a system that works and, more importantly, works for them.

How did your open relationship come about?

We had been going though a rough patch of our relationship. He started getting more and more sad, wondering how our relationship would work if we couldn’t see each other. So we mutually agreed to end it for a while.

But then he brought it up one day. We were talking about how it would be good- it would lessen the sexual pressure about it and there wouldn’t be any blame on anyone.  I thought it was unreasonable to ask him to abstain from sex because he’s with me; we’re both sexual people.

So we decided to give the open relationship a try. We found that it works as a safety net for us- just in case something happens, we know it wont break our relationship.

Did you decide on any rules beforehand? What were they?

We definitely did. We talked about whether or not the other party would want to know if we’d had sex with other people. He said he wouldn’t want to know, and I said I did. Another rule is that we can’t have sex with the same person twice.

I have some friends who are in an open relationship, and they tell each other all the details of every single sexual encounter they have, and that’s what they’ve found to work best for them.

Were there any moments when you were unsure of your decision?

Not really. For me, if he did sleep with someone else, I wouldn’t be mad- it would hurt but I would know it wasn’t because he didn’t love me, its just the testosterone got the best of him (laughs). But I haven’t had to go through that yet. Communication is a big part of your relationship succeding. Setting out clear guidelines from the beginning, that kind of thing.

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