An open relationship is a tricky maze.
It can seem like a lot of fun, but as with anything that seems too good to be true at first, it’s better to be prepared than sorry. There are many couples that enjoy a perfect open relationship with their own partners.
And they’re happy with their lives.
If you and your partner believe in the logic that sexual infatuation and love are two different emotions, well, an open relationship may work out just fine for you.
Open relationship rules for beginners
There are no rules written in stone for anything we experience.
What works for one person may not work for another.
But through the experiences of other couples that indulge in an open relationship, there are many things we can learn in order to avoid those pitfalls and enjoy those sexual highs.
You should remember that these open relationship rules aren’t created to restrict you.
It’s only a guide to help you enjoy the benefits of an open relationship and yet keep your love life happy.
15 important open relationship rules that matter
#1 Be Prepared.
When both of you have been in a relationship for a while, the prospect of having sex outside the relationship could seem like a heady rush. But are both of you psychologically ready for it? If you jump into an open relationship when one of you isn’t prepared, your relationship could only lead to a breakup.
#2 Test the waters first.
Party with your own friends one night and hook up with someone fancy. The next morning, talk about your experiences with each other. How do both of you feel in the morning? Is there jealousy or insecurity in the air, or are both of you happy and excited for each other? [Read: How to kiss a friend and get away with it]
#3 Is it lust or a lifestyle change?
Sometimes, it could just be a buildup of sexual lust over the years that may lead to both of you believing that an open relationship is the best choice ahead. But at times, it takes a few anonymous shagathons to realise that you don’t like what you’re doing.
Try this test. Do both of you feel like participating in an open relationship a few minutes after having sex with each other, even after both of you have orgasmed? If you don’t feel enthusiastic about sleeping with someone else when you’re not horny, you just have an imaginative mind that goes haywire only when you’re horny.
#4 Avoid mutual friends.
If you’re still convinced that you’re ready for an open relationship, here’s a good rule to start off with. Always try to look for partners who aren’t involved with your life in any way beyond sex. And keep it that way.
Make it seem like you’ve having an affair with the person you’re sleeping with, but let your partner know the real truth. By telling your friend with benefits that your partner knows about the relationship, they may try to get revenge or publicise your open relationship to the world to get back at you at some point in future. The fact that you’re having an open relationship should be a well-guarded secret that stays between the two of you. To any other lover either of you is sleeping with, always make it seem like an affair.
#5 Hide the details, don’t hide the people.
An open relationship is a delicate balance between love, lust and a lot of trust. By hushing things up, you’ll end up making your partner feel insecure which could damage the trust in the relationship. It’s a sexual agreement between both of you; so don’t ever hide the people you’re involved with.
#6 Have sex, but don’t fall in love.
This is hard, but it’s something you always need to remember. An open relationship is not a hall pass to fall in love with other people when you’re already committed in a relationship. Don’t stay over or get cuddly with your buddy. Falling in love with someone else because you’re sexually infatuated by them will only complicate things further. Always remember that it’s sex and nothing but sex.
You may get jealous of your partner, especially if you aren’t getting as much attention as your partner is. Remember, it’s easy for a girl to get attention when she wants it. Most of the time, a guy has to work for the attention. Don’t let jealousy come in the way of this sexual arrangement. [Read: Tips to deal with jealousy in a relationship]
#8 Don’t share your secret with the world.
We’re all busy with our own lives. All of us have secrets, big and small. So learn to keep it that way. Telling everyone that you enjoy a perfectly happy open relationship may take the guilt or fear off your shoulders, but it can be embarrassing to both of you if others are not as understanding. Share these secrets only with a few friends who won’t judge you, but understand your decision.
#9 Nothing changes in the relationship.
Just because you’re having sex now and then with someone else doesn’t mean your relationship should change overnight. Don’t let it change and don’t let sex get in the way. Work harder to let your partner know that there’s still a lot of love and sexual attraction in the air.
Don’t exchange all the horny details, but be aware of each other’s interests and partners. Tell your partner about all the people you’re sleeping with, and your partner should do the same. And if some sexual partner of your partner bothers you, voice your thoughts. Be frank and communicate to each other if you want to enjoy this happy sexual arrangement with no hitches.
#11 Stay protected outside romance.
Get checked for any sexual diseases now and then to reassure your partner. Always use protection and avoid lovers who may have a very amorous and sexual past. If you go wrong somewhere, your mistakes could affect your partner’s life. Would you ever want that?
#12 Set clear boundaries.
Define the things that bother you and the things that don’t. So what’s cheating and what’s not in an open relationship according to you? What’s allowed and what’s not? Talk frankly with each other and discuss every detail until both of you are satisfied with each other’s answers.
And while setting boundaries, always respect yourself and your partner. Just because you’re sleeping with someone else doesn’t mean you’re a bad or immoral person. You’re just being truthful to yourself and your partner about the fact that you do get sexually attracted to other people. And quite frankly, don’t we all?
#13 Don’t bring a lover home under any circumstance.
This is an absolute no-no. Your partner may know you’re sleeping with others, but bringing the other person into your own home can destabilise the fragile balance. Your home is your love nest; where nothing comes in between both of you, well, unless you’re bringing another couple to bed!
#14 Your partner gets first preference.
No matter what, always give your partner the first preference over any plans or events you may have with your other lovers. Always plan ahead and let your partner know about it, so your partner doesn’t start to feel like a second fiddle while trying to get your attention.
#15 Set a time frame.
There are two-time frames to think about here. Firstly, how often are either of you allowed to meet and interact with other sexual interests? For some, once a month may seem like too much, while for others, meeting another lover once a fortnight may seem perfect. Choose what works for you, and always have enough time to be with each other so both of you can live like a perfect couple with no distractions. [Read: Things to know when your partner has sex with someone else]
Secondly, how long do both of you want to enjoy an open relationship? Have a plan or an understanding to go back to monogamy if the open relationship isn’t working out to your expectations. [Read: Top 50 kinky ideas to keep sex exciting]
If you’ve been contemplating about an open relationship, consider these 15 open relationship rules seriously. They really can be the difference between a happy open relationship and a failing and confused romance.