Open relationships pt 2 – why would you do it??


The next installment about open relationships is about why. In order to say anything sensible about how and if it would work, why comes first.

Why would you open up? Most relationships start out with at least an implicit assumption about monogamy. The relationship exists to make the participants happy, and any mutually agreed changes should strive towards that, too.

One reason is that opening up can help diffuse sexual incompatibility. We discuss many important areas in life before people make long-term commitments: e.g. finances, how many kids to aim for, where to live, but not always sexual needs and how to plan for any challenges in this area. That makes it tricky to know what to expect in the long run as you may not know what your partner actually wants or how important sexual satisfaction is to them over years of marriage. Different sexual needs and expectations can sometimes be met by opening up a relationship rather than be a ticking bomb or constant source of bitterness and resentment.

Rather than see sexual needs as a source for painful negotiations or an excuse for betrayal, some couples just decide to allow some leeway. It may even be that with some freedom to (safely) express a wider range of sexual needs, one source of conflict is removed from the relationship.

Another reason is a joint sense to explore and have adventures, together and apart. I know couples who have been more or less open from the beginning, and it helped them both get what they wanted out of life and the time they spent together. If you know you find monogamy challenging, recognising that fact and using it as a source for adventure with your partner’s blessing can be a relief.

In order to even consider how and whether it will work – do consider why you individually and you as a couple are considering an open relationship. Yes, this involves talking. Lots of it. And thinking. And self-reflection.

Next up: How do you do it?

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