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8 Things to Consider Before Opening Up Your Relationship

8 Things to Consider Before Opening Up Your Relationship

8 Things to Consider Before Opening Up Your Relationship

Fully opening up your relationship isn’t for everyone, but being "monogamish," just might work for you.


Some guys are simply the monogamous type. Just like how people are born gay, there are people who were born monogamous. That’s the only thing that appeals to them. It’s the only thing they’ll ever want, and the idea of having an open relationship is completely ludicrous. These guys would still be monogamous even if they lived in a society that didn’t push monogamy as the norm. If you are one of those guys, stop reading now. This clearly has nothing to do with you. But if you’re slowly realizing that maybe monogamy isn’t for you, that maybe putting all of your needs on one person is too much, that maybe (like the vast majority of animals in the animal kingdom) you need multiple sexual partners, and that and you don’t see how that could take away from the love of your current boyfriend, then maybe it’s time to consider whether or not you want to have an open relationship.

Here’s what you need to do and think about before taking that step.

1. Think about what your ideal (open) relationship would look like

Would it be a free for all? You go out alone and have sex with a bunch of people? Would dates be acceptable? Would you two only play together? Is it a don’t ask, don’t tell policy? (FYI, this seldom works.) Are you allowed to sleep with friends? What is the appeal of an open relationship for you, and what are the drawbacks? Do you want to sleep with other people badly, but know that if your partner did the same thing you’d be insanely jealous?

You know yourself better than anyone. Think about what relationship type would benefit you the most.

2. Think about how open your partner would be to it

While you know your partner better than anyone, the truth of the matter is, you might not know how open he would be to the idea of being non-monogamous. You might think that your partner won't be open to it, but similarly, he assumes you wouldn’t be open to it either. In a society that praises monogamy and deems it the highest form of relationship, we often think our partners would be offended or assume something is “really wrong” with the relationship if we have a desire to open up. The only way to be sure is to ask.

3. Ask yourself how jealous of a person you are

Do you get jealous when another guy touches your man? Do you get nervous that he’s going to cheat on you constantly? This probably isn’t the first guy you’ve seriously dated. How has your jealousy manifested itself in past relationships? How do you think it would manifest itself in an open relationship?

4. Ask yourself how confident you are that your partner loves you

This goes back to jealousy. If you’re a jealous person, odds are, you’re not 100% confident that your partner loves you unconditionally. If you’re 100% sure he loves you, but are still a jealous mess, that’s a whole ‘nother situation, and has to do much more with you than your relationship.

But if you’re able to answer the question, “I’m not really a jealous person” or “I’m not a jealous person within reason” and “I’m sure my partner loves me,” then you’re probably in a good place to discuss opening up your relationship.

5. Ask yourself about how solid your trust is

This often harkens back to how long you’ve been dating. Trust, doesn’t correlate to how supposedly “trustworthy” a person is. Of course, that’s part of it, but often times, we don’t trust “trustworthy” people. Trust comes from time and repeated experiences. For this reason, many guys wait years before opening up their relationship. Only once they completely trust their partner do they feel comfortable exploring other men sexually. So don’t rush into opening up your relationship. Make sure both you and he trust one another fully before doing so.

6. Talk to him about it

Approach it in a direct but non-threatening way. See how open he would be to it. Alleviate any doubts. Let him know that nothing is “wrong” with the relationship. Yes, you’re feeling satisfied, but you do think this novel relationship form would enhance both of your lives. Ask him what he would be open to. Maybe start by inviting a third to play with you, and take it from there. If he says, “there’s no way in hell," drop it, and come back to it later—after he’s had some time to think it over.  

7. Once you're relationship is open, communicate frequently with your partner

Being in an open relationship requires a ton of communication (especially in the beginning). The things you thought would bother you don’t, and new challenges arise. Don’t hide your jealousy. Jealousy is natural. Just talk to him about in a level-headed way. Discuss things you both can do you to mitigate your green-eyed monster. Discuss things you can do decrease your chances of STIs. That’s one thing that often changes when you start sleeping with other people: using a condom. It may be worth it to start using condoms with your partner again if you open up your relationship. Yes, it sucks, but it’s something you both should consider (or at least talk about!).

8. Allow the open dynamic to evolve

Your relationship with your partner will take on a life of its own. The dynamics of your relationship will, undoubtedly, evolve. Yes, there’s a risk in that, but one that both you and he are okay taking. You think an open relationship is going to mean this, but it actually means that. You find yourself actually liking one of the guys you’re sleeping with. Oh shit, what now? Be open to everything. And most importantly, be honest and communicative with your partner.

At the end of the day, both you and he want the same thing: to be happy emotionally, physically, and sexually. Together, you’re figuring out the best way to make all that happen.

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Zachary Zane

Zachary Zane is a writer, YouTube influencer, and activist whose work focuses on (bi)sexuality, gender, dating, relationships, and identity politics. Check out his YouTube channel here.

Zachary Zane is a writer, YouTube influencer, and activist whose work focuses on (bi)sexuality, gender, dating, relationships, and identity politics. Check out his YouTube channel here.