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|Mary Gorham Malia • 9/25/14|
So your girlfriend wants an open relationship and you’re not sure if you can do it. Do you want help with this situation?
This kind of question shows up more and more often, as the Internet has opened us up to additional perspectives on relationships and sex.
An open relationship is most often defined as a relationship where both partners are committed but not monogamous.
That is different from a polyamorous relationship. In a polyamorous relationship, there are three or more individuals who share a common love for one another. They also share each other as sexual partners.
Sometimes they do, and sometimes they do not.
It is the same with gay men and straight couples. Sometimes they do, and sometimes they do not.
Open relationships require each partner to be less clingy, more independent and definitely more creative about how to stay committed.
The biggest part of an open relationship is both partners have to be OK with the other partner having other sexual partners.
The premise of an open relationship is that you are committed to each other, but open sexual relationships keep life interesting and help support your committed relationship because you are both happier.
Does this life make your relationship easier? Or does the open relationship make life harder for you?
Apart from the conversation about safe sex, which is critical in an open relationship, what is happening with your sense of emotional intimacy in your open relationship?
Because you are the committed part of an open relationship, realize it is the emotional connection that is not supposed to be shared. The open part of the relationship is supposed to be just about the sex.
Are you getting your emotional needs met in this open relationship?
There are reasons this type of relationship can work.
If one of you has a much higher sex drive, this is one way to take care of that. If one of you has a much stronger need for independence, an open relationship is one way to express it.
In your relationship, you should feel heard and cared about.
“A successful open relationship
requires great communication.”
If you value monogamy, an open relationship will not work.
You might be able to try an open relationship for a while, but eventually you may become so unhappy that it will fall apart.
If monogamy is low, or not even on your relationship values chart, an open relationship could be a way to keep your commitment alive and interesting.
Ultimately the choice for what you want in a relationship needs to be yours.
If you are accepting your lesbian girlfriend’s desire for this type of relationship but are unhappy and feel cheated out of what you want, the open relationship will fall apart.
If you find an open relationship gives you freedom to do things you would not otherwise be able to do, then this could be a win for you.
You should then be incredibly honest with yourself about your relationship choices.
Many women experiment with this type of lifestyle. Some can make open relationships work, but most are not able to.
A successful open relationship requires skills of great communication, a nonjudgmental heart and trust.
Photo source: samanthafoxlmft.wordpress.com.