The modern world can offer a lot of freedom in the way that we conduct our relationships - but it can also be a minefield. There once was a time when the course of true love meant that you met somebody, you ‘stepped out’ with them for a while and then you married them. In 2020, things are a lot less simple and, one increasingly popular option is the open relationship. In our brave new world, an increasing number of people choose to have their cake and eat it by maintaining one central relationship whilst seeing other people. Although this may seem, on the surface, to be a good idea, it’s not without its pitfalls. The following are a few things to bear in mind before embarking on this kind of relationship.
To commit or not to commit
It may be that you’re extremely fond of your partner but don’t yet feel ready to commit to an exclusive, long-term relationship. In this situation, an open relationship can help to give you the freedom to explore what you want from your love life and, may even bring you and your partner closer together in the future.
However, you do need to bear in mind the fact that, whilst you’re seeing other people, your partner is too. This means that you will need to understand that your partner may meet somebody else and choose to build an exclusive relationship with that person.
The full package
Another, trickier reason for an open relationship may be that your partner ticks some boxes but not others. For example, you may connect with your partner on an intellectual level but the physical intimacy is somewhat lacking. In these circumstances, as long as you’re upfront about the situation, an open relationship can deliver some of the things that you feel that you’re missing with your main partner.
Having said that, this kind of open relationship rarely ends well time apart may well make your partner realise that he or she is looking for the full package when it comes to a relationship. To be honest, you’d be much better off holding out for somebody who is everything you want from a partner.
One very common reason for pursuing an open relationship is that the spark has gone from the main relationship and that you miss the thrill of the chase and that heady feeling of meeting somebody new. In this instance, it may seem that leaving yourself free to pursue that spark whilst keeping the security of your main relationship gives you the best of both worlds.
Although that may be the case for a while, this is just not realistic. Our relationships move through a number of phases and that initial fireworks phase rarely lasts. Instead of constantly chasing that initial high, why not try embracing the more comfortable, deeper phase of your existing relationship? Otherwise, you may find that your thrill seeking becomes just plain hard work.
The choice of pursuing an open relationship is very much an individual one and, there’s no doubt that it does work for some couples. However, you do need to examine your reasons for doing so - and you need to ask yourself how you will feel as you sit at home in front of the TV while your partner is out on a date.