Can open relationships work?


Today I was asked to spend a little time on the radio (NEWFM) talking about open relationships and can they really work… My simple answer is yes, but not for everybody.

If you are someone prone to jealousy then I have to say walk away and do not even bother exploring this option. But if you are able to feel a twinge of jealousy – we all have a little bit of this in us, it’s only human - but can manage it, then this just might be something that will work for you and your partner.

To make an open relationship work you must first understand the difference between love and lust. By acknowledging each of these are valid feeling states you can then allow one to exist without the other.

Once we have come to this understanding then you and your parent must come to an understanding of some non-negotiable ground rules. And I do mean non-negotiable – once these rules have been agreed on, no party can break them. They can be renegotiated over time, but never broken – the difference is you do not act against them until you have spoken with your partner and it is agreed it is okay.

These rules often around keeping the dynamic safe both physically and emotionally; some rules I have seen work include:

  1. Never in our bed – which means you cannot bring your shag home to your bedroom.

  2. Safe sex is essential – this is not only about unplanned pregnancy, but also about bringing home a little nasty that is unpleasant for all.

  3. At no point can scoring a root be more important then the dynamics of our relationship – which means if you are meant to be meeting your partner for say parent-teacher interviews and you get the opportunity to hook-up; guess what parent-teacher interviews take priority!

  4. Never in the same postcode – which often means, play around when your out of town but do not do it in space where friends, neighbours, colleagues, etc will see it to know it is happening.

  5. No repeat tricks – which often means the shags are one nights stands only, it is not acceptable to establish a relationship with a person that is built around sex.

  6. Keep it clean – this often refers to how you share the act with your partner. Some partners want to know what happened (maybe even learn a trick or two).

  7. Don’t ask, don't tell – which is the opposite, some partners never need know as long as you follow the rules set out.

Another tip I have around this is be sure to talk about it first… It is easier to have an open honest dialogue about your desire for an open relationship before you act (or at least get caught acting on it) then trying to negotiate such a dynamic after the trust of your relationship has been jilted because you got caught sleeping around!

Remember relationships last thanks to open and honest communication built on a foundation of love…

This article first appeared on Shane Warren Coaching & Counselling Services 'My Rambles'

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