How to Ask Your Partner For an Open Relationship

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If you’re interested in an open relationship, it’s important to bring this up with your partner early on. This discussion will help set sexual boundaries and create expectations for both of you.

Be prepared for them to be resistant at first. This is a huge change for anyone to go through, so don’t be upset if they have reservations.

1. Be honest.

The key to a healthy open relationship is honesty. This is especially important when it comes to discussing sexual and emotional boundaries.

For instance, a couple may agree that they will only have sex with outside partners that both of them approve of. They may also decide that they will only go on dates with people that they both have approved of. Ultimately, the goal is for both partners to be comfortable with and feel safe within their own set of boundaries.

Before asking your partner for an open relationship, you should think deeply about why you want to explore a non-monogamous dynamic. This will help you articulate your motives more clearly and effectively.

As you discuss your needs and wants for an open relationship, it’s important to set sexual boundaries from the outset. This means you and your partner will have to decide if you are okay with penetrative sex, oral sex, kissing, etc. It’s also important to create an agreement about the use of birth control. It will also be helpful to discuss what emotional intimacy is acceptable in your open relationship.

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2. Set boundaries.

If your partner wants to explore nonmonogamy, it’s important to set boundaries right away. Otherwise, emotions can get in the way and lead to resentment or even breakups. “The key is to discuss the entire scope of the arrangement upfront,” Sydney Psychologist and Couples Counsellor Dan Martin tells POPSUGAR. This may require some self-reflection, but it’ll be well worth it if you want to avoid hurt feelings or disappointment down the line.

It’s also a good idea to choose an appropriate time for the discussion. A quick conversation while watching the latest episode of Dead to Me might not be the best idea, especially if you’re already in a tense mood. Instead, try to schedule a heart-to-heart in advance so you can focus on what’s being said and not how you feel about it.

You’ll likely need to agree on some rules or best practices, such as only having sex with someone your partner approves of and using condoms every time. You might also decide to have regular check-ins to make sure both parties are happy with the agreement and that there are no issues.

3. Be open to change.

A big part of an open relationship is being flexible. That means being willing to reevaluate the rules and boundaries from time to time. This will help ensure that your relationship stays healthy and happy. It’s also important to be honest about your feelings. Resisting or sugarcoating your wants and needs can be toxic.

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For example, if you start out agreeing to sexual and emotional outside connections but later find that you’re more comfortable with just the former, you can change your rules accordingly. However, you must still have regular check-ins to make sure that everyone is on the same page.

While the idea of a consensually nonmonogamous relationship may sound confusing and intimidating, it can be incredibly rewarding for couples who are ready to explore their options. Having the right conversation and setting the right boundaries can save you a lot of heartache and allow you to find new levels of love and connection. So, if you’re open to the possibility of an open relationship, be sure to consider all the benefits before asking your partner for one!

4. Set a timeline.

If you’re interested in moving towards an open relationship, it can help to have all the nitty-gritty details laid out and agreed upon before you broach the topic with your partner. “This will ensure you have a clear idea of how things are going to work and what to expect,” says Sydney psychologist and couple’s counselor Dan Martin. “It will also give you a stronger sense of commitment.”

This can include things like: how many partners you’re willing to have, whether or not you want your partner to have veto power, how you’ll go about meeting new people and where you’ll be engaging in non-monogamous activities. It’s important to discuss all of this before you ask your partner so they have an idea of what the change will entail and can make informed decisions about their own participation.

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It can take a few conversations to come to an agreement on these issues, so it’s important to plan the conversation carefully and choose the right time to bring it up. Avoid suggesting it off-the-cuff while you’re binge-watching a show and instead pick a time when both of you are in neutral to good moods and can focus on communicating heart-to-heart.

5. Ask for permission.

If you and your partner are on the same page about open relationships, they can be a lot of fun. But they can also be a lot of work, especially when dealing with issues like jealousy and communication. So it’s important to talk about them often. This can help you reaffirm your relationship, soothe insecurities, and work through feelings of jealousy or inadequacy. You might even consider individual therapy as a way to practice your communication skills and deal with these issues.

Whether you choose to have an open relationship or not, it’s important to set and stick to the emotional and sexual boundaries you agree on. That’s because the same study found that a major factor in open relationship success was the consistency of these boundaries. It’s also important to have a plan in case something goes wrong. For example, you might want to establish safe sex guidelines, such as using condoms or dental dams with all your partners, or requiring them to screen for STIs. And you should always be respectful of your partners’ needs.

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