Do open relationships work?
First of all, the people who get to decide are the people involved, no-one else. They also get to define what “working” means to them. What do you want out of a relationship? What is important and unimportant? What rules are you comfortable with?
(Article from The Times 21 May, 2016)
Open relationships have rules just like others do. Depending on what the couple want to achieve and are happy with, there will be agreement on what’s allowed and not regarding external sexual contacts. If the concern is friends & family finding out, a rule may be “only when out-of town”, if they are concerned about STDs, the requirement may be “condoms, also for oral”, if personal security is a worry, maybe the agreement is “try to find a regular fuck-buddy”. Some couples want to save certain experiences for each other, so I’ve encountered the “no kissing” rule now and again.
All relationships have rules. Would you be comfortable with your partner spending every other weekend with friends, leaving you to take care of the kids on your own? Would you agree for your partner to spend money on a new car when the big plumbing bill hasn’t been paid yet? Time, money and attention are all important and always need to be discussed in any marriage or long term relationship. In open ones you just add sex to the discussion, which is often a good thing to ensure you get what you want and lead to joint happiness (within the relationship, too). Gay couples figured this out ages ago (more here).
So, do open relationships work? If you’re honest with yourself and your partner, negotiate rules you can live with, recognise when you need to renegotiate and stick to what you agreed – yes, it can work. But it also means there’s scope for betrayal and complications. It won’t work if that’s not what both of you want, or if you can’t agree or follow the rules you set out.
In addition, if you date or hook up with someone in an open relationship, do check what the deal is. It doesn’t automatically mean anything goes. And even if it means you’re dying to kiss them for a whole night, consider that you get to fuck them instead. That’s a win.