5 steps to help you figure it out!
3. Don't use open relationships as a way to break up slowly. If you are not really happy with your current partner and actually are desiring a way to pull away from that relationship, it will be better to be honest about this — with yourself and your partner. A struggling relationship is not likely to be fixed by opening up to other partners, nor are other partners necessarily going to ease the blow of a break up.
More often, it just complicates things further and makes it so you really don't have the energy or the time to work on problems with your current partner. So before beginning a conversation with your partner about opening the relationship, ask yourself, "Am I really asking for this because I feel it will end the relationship so that I can be free?"
4. Are you willing to let someone else share in your sexual decision-making? While there are hundreds of ways to structure open relationships and sexual agreements with partners, if you are thinking about expanding a relationship with a current partner, that implies that you will work as partners to create rules and agreements that work for both of you. This requires negotiation, consent, and sometimes not getting to do what you want.
When I meet people who tell me they want an open relationship with their partner with no rules and no partners off limits, I know we need to explore if this person wants a shared open relationship with their partner or if they really just want don't want to be in a committed relationship at all.
It is okay to want to make sexual decisions strictly for yourself and by yourself, but it helps to be clear with your partner about this. Otherwise, what I have seen happen, is an extended negotiation period in which one person continually breaks agreements, asks for more freedoms and eventually, the other person feels that there is no "relationship" at all. Now they are just seeing other people. If you want complete freedom from the boundaries and responsibilities of relationship, then that is a different conversation.
5. Explore the role sexuality plays in your life and your image of yourself. The more clarity you can have about your desires, fears, doubts, joys and yearnings, the more you will be able to have an intimate conversation with your partner about trying something new. Open relationships ask you to bring your sexuality out of the shadows and to talk about risky subject manner.
Support yourself, know your own mind and heart as much as possible and stay open and curious to what you are feeling. Working with a sex therapist or taking a workshop about sexuality can be great resources.