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Why Open Relationships Are Not Just an Excuse to Cheat

Why Open Relationships Are Not Just an Excuse to Cheat

Why Open Relationships Are Not Just an Excuse to Cheat
McKennaMagazine

When you think of an open relationship, you may envision a couple who lost their spark. But, that's not accurate. An alarming number of people have major misconceptions about the idea of open relationships, or relationships in which the people involved are free to have sex with people outside the relationship.

This stems from a lack of understanding or an unwillingness to learn or see things a bit differently. There are two primary problems, each stemming from a different side of the issue.

You see, some people flat-out deny the existence or validity of open relationships, or believe it's just an excuse to cheat on their partners. Both phenomena are wrong, and here's why:

1. Open relationships are real

Late last year, my pal Jessie began having casual hookups with Sarah, a woman she met online. When we talked about it, she mentioned that Sarah has a girlfriend with whom she is in an open relationship.

Jessie explained she really liked Sarah, and the idea of being in a more serious relationship with her. She thought it would be easy to accomplish this goal and have Sarah all to herself because "Sarah and her girlfriend aren't in a real relationship anyway."

I had to stop Jessie and ask her why she felt this way. Why would an open relationship be less valid than any other? And, because she's by no means alone in this way of thinking, why is this such a common belief in society?

It's likely because we make sex into a bigger deal than it needs to be and assume love and sex always go together. We think that if someone really loves you, why would they need to have sex with anyone else?

I understand that way of thinking; it's common and we are inundated with it in our culture. But, here's the thing: it is possible to love someone and also want to have sex with others. You may not feel a need to have sex with anyone outside your relationship, but that doesn't mean others can't. That'd be like me saying that 5 Seconds of Summer isn't real because I'm more of a One Direction kind of gal. I'm allowed to have my own preference, but that doesn't stop both options from being legitimate.

The idea of an open relationship is, at its roots, simple: The people in the relationship are a unit, a strong team, but the members of that team are free to see other people if they'd like.

While it may seem strange or unfathomable, I'd challenge everyone to try to see it this way: As long as everyone involved in the relationship is happy, everything is consensual, and there's open and honest communication, then it's really not for anyone else to say or judge.

If the people in the relationship are satisfied, then there's no part of it that's "unreal" or "invalid."

2. Open relationships are not an excuse to cheat

In the past couple of months, I've witnessed people claim they're in an open relationship simply to excuse their infidelities. Basically, they were caught cheating and say they're in an open relationship, when in fact they're not. This is unacceptable for many reasons.

First of all, do you see what I just did in the first bullet point up there? I had to explain the realness and validity of these kinds of relationships because people like this exist. It is because of people using open relationships as an excuse to cheat that we need to continue explaining why they're not.

Secondly, cheating and open relationships have nothing to do with each other. In a real open relationship, there is no cheating. Ever. Because the key to an open relationship is communication and openness, and cheating relies on lies on manipulation.

What we've learned here today ...

So, for all of the naysayers out there who continue to throw shade and believe that open relationships aren't a thing and they never work, I would advise you to think again. I hate to break it to you, but open relationships are 100 percent valid.

And for anyone who has ever cried "open relationship" to justify cheating on your partner — don't. Don't do that. You're hurting yourself, your partner and the reputation of people in open relationships everywhere. You're not in an open relationship or polyamorous or anything else. You're just a cheater.

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Mckenna Ferguson

McKenna is a freelance writer, Netflix addict, and Colorado State University alumna. Her hobbies include sleeping, staying indoors, and crop top advocacy. #CropTopsForAll

McKenna is a freelance writer, Netflix addict, and Colorado State University alumna. Her hobbies include sleeping, staying indoors, and crop top advocacy. #CropTopsForAll