Do you fantasize about other sexual partners? What do you believe about cheating? Is flirting cheating? Thinking? Acting?
Acting may or may not be cheating, depending on the agreements you have with your partner. Many folks these days are monogamish, or polyamorously-curious, but if this isn’t true for you, but you’re considering taking your relationship to the open field, you’re in luck. There are many ways to open up a relationship, but here are a few tips for doing so gently, respectfully, and with integrity.
Establishing boundaries and expectations.
One of the most important components of any open(ing) relationship (or really, any relationship at all) is figuring out your boundaries. What are hard boundaries, meaning boundaries that would wreck you if broken. Say your partner is down with you having sex with other people, but wants you home for breakfast. That could be a hard boundary.
You can also establish something called soft boundaries. These are nebulous areas, boundaries that feel important, but there might be some wiggle room. For example, no hickies from other people. Maybe that feels important to you or your partner at the onset, but loses importance over time.
Being honest and be accountable.
What many people don’t realize is that open relationships can often turn into an excuse for one or both parties (or really, everyone involved, if there are more than two people) to behave badly—to be dishonest, to be careless, and to be lazy about communication and/or transparency.
Also, if you mess up and break a boundary, be honest with your partner. You’re on the road to creating a more capacious and flexible relationship, but it won’t work if communication and honesty aren’t at the forefront.
Scheduling us time.
It can be difficult to remember your primary partner sometimes when you’re ensconced in a new fling. However, it’s important to balance out your time with all of your dates, not just the one who’s giving you honeymoon feelings. Try to schedule regular date nights with your primary. If it’s not against your boundaries, have all your sweethearts meet one another, maybe over dinner. Show everyone that there is enough love to go around.
The thing about open relationships is that they are a tremendous amount of work. After all, you are doing the work of maintaining your primary relationship plus the work of either dating or being in a relationship with other people. You’ve got to prioritize your time so that everyone feels important and like a part of your life.
One sexy way to connect with your primary could be through a foreplay game—after all, you’ll have all of this newfound sexual energy and positivity from your open relationship—why not channel it into your main squeeze?
In fact, Tickle Kitty has just the product for that! Check out our Cosmo Truth or Dare Game to really amp things up during us time! Use code “GoLove” at checkout to save 10%.
Lastly, take it from the experts.
There are many, many people who are writing about, speaking about, and generally just engaging with concepts of nonmonogamy and openness in relationships. Check out Dossie Easton’s The Ethical Slut, or podcasts by folks like Cheryl Strayed at Dear Sugar.If you’re married and curious, a great intro to poly life is Jenny Block’s infamous Open: Love, Sex and Life in an Open Marriage.
Remember, there is no right or wrong way to be in a relationship– you are free to create whatever kind of connection you desire, including how you move through your sex life. The possibilities are endless. Boundaries are created custom by you. If you don’t feel comfortable opening your relationship, just relax and open your mind instead–baby steps are still steps! The world, and your sexuality, is yours to explore!