Love, Sex

3 Conversations You Need To Have Before Starting An Open Relationship

Open relationships are becoming more popular — and more acceptable — over the recent years.

So if you and your partner want to try it, good for you!

But an open marriage or open relationship can't just happen one day. Suddenly jumping from monogamy to polyamory, without adequate planning and thought, is asking for it to fail.

Because, yes — open relationships CAN succeed, but only if you are honest with your partner and approach an open relationship the right way.

In our latest Expert video, sex & intimacy coach Dr. Lori Beth Bisbey — creator of the podcast The A to Z of Sex ™  — explains how, before you can even think about starting an open relationship, you and your partner need to sit and talk.

Yes, talk. Which makes sense because, like any other major relationship decision, you and your partner need to be on the same page or there is no chance of it working out well.

There are 3 specific things you need to figure out beforehand:

1. What type of relationship are you looking for?

Yes, there are different types, even if they don't all have names.

Are you looking for a polyamorous relationship? If so, do you want to meet your partner's "other lovers"? And how much contact information should be given out to these other people?

Are you looking for something purely sexual, like a swinger encounter to spice up your sex life, or maybe a threesome?

Maybe you want to implement a "don't ask, don't tell" situation, where you are both free to have sex with others when you're traveling — as long as neither of you discusses it?

Make sure you're both on the same page, so you both know what's expected.

2. Set up some rules.

A lot that can happen in an open relationship that you might not have thought of. To avoid seriously hurt feelings, or accidentally betraying the person you love, plan ahead.

Establish from the beginning what you are each comfortable with — either emotionally or sexually. Decide whether this relationship should stay in the bedroom, or be posted all over social media.

3. Finally, figure out what you're going to tell the kids.

If you have children, you have to discuss how/when/if you're going to explain who daddy and mommy's special friend really is.

And no, you can't just avoid this forever. Because kids are far more observant than you might think and they will pick up that this person is special.

It's up to you both as a couple — and as their parents — to figure out how much they need to know to avoid over-exposing them to adult or private concepts while balancing the need for honesty. 

There's a lot more to learn from one another before you officially open your relationship. Watch the video above for further insights. 

If you or your partner are thinking about having an open relationship, or have any other sex-related concerns, check out Lori's website or write to her with your questions by clicking here. She's here to help.