What You Need to Know About Open Marriages
What are open marriages, and how do they work? How can you discuss this topic with your spouse without insulting them or endangering your marriage? Here’s what you need to know about open marriages before you talk to your spouse!
What Is an Open Marriage, Exactly?
Open marriages are certain types of relationships that are consensually non-monogamous. The difference between polyamory and open marriages is that the latter does not involve love connections.
Any couple is free to set their own ground rules in an open marriage. For example, some married partners could allow each other to flirt or even make out with strangers. Others could permit their spouse to have sexual relationships with boyfriends or girlfriends while agreeing to various boundaries. But, the main focus should still remain on the marriage.
There are no set requirements for open marriages other than the ones you set. From there, it’s a matter of sticking to your agreement. That’s why it can sometimes be tricky to arrange an open marriage. Here, communication is key. If you forget to cover all the bases, you could harm your long-term relationship. Yet, if you are careful and you both agree that an open marriage is the best way forward, it could provide a fantastic opportunity for personal growth.
Can It Save a Troubled Marriage?
Most relationship experts agree saving marriages with open relationships without solving your issues in advance is not recommended. If you are already having power struggles, conflicts, and similar issues, opening up your monogamous relationship is not the right way forward.
In fact, it can make things a lot worse than they already were by magnifying your issues. If you are having issues with intimacy, infidelity, and a lack of interest, bringing up the question can do a lot of damage.
Marriage experts advise all couples to deal with their issues first. That way, you’ll wipe the slate clean if your issues are solvable. If you do so, an open marriage can improve your relationship and broaden your sexual horizons. Plus, it could make you fall in love with each other again.
When Asking for an Open Marriage, Take Your Time
If you want to initiate the discussion, it’s best to start slowly. First, read up on the subject or talk to people in open relationships. That will show you what to expect. It will prepare you for talking to your wife or husband.
Then, assess the state of your marriage. If you are in a great place, you might be able to easily venture into an open marriage. If not, it could take months or years before you should even bring up the topic.
Additionally, you should always be ready for a rejection or a highly negative reaction. If so, you need to be able to accept your spouse’s decision. If they are strictly against it, no amount of talking will make them change their mind. It’s also crucial that you don’t make demands or try to pressure your spouse.
Talk Out Your Fears, and Theirs
While talking about open marriages, you should also bring up your fears and concerns. Here is a list of tips you could try:
- If your partner rejects you, respect their decision.
- Avoid direct statements, e.g., “I want to have an open marriage so that I can have sex with other people.” Instead, ask questions such as, “What’s your opinion on open marriages?”. If you’re unsure, open-ended questions will allow you to figure out your partner’s thoughts.
- Wait for the perfect timing to bring up your question.
- Cover all the possible problems and fears. Talk about “crisis” situations and develop some solutions for both of you.
- Discuss how an open relationship could change your life.
- Think about your reasons. If you’re unsure, you may not be ready. But, if you know exactly why you want to change your relationship dynamics, be honest with your partner.
- If you want to save your troubled marriage, avoid an open relationship until you resolve your issues. There are many other ways to refuel the fire in your sex life.
- Think of open marriage as a new adventure that you can accomplish together.
- Persuade your partner that open marriages are the ideal opportunity for both of you to explore your sexuality.
- Emphasize that you’ll be able to try certain sex activities that your partner isn’t comfortable with personally.
- Discuss your physical and emotional boundaries. That can include anything from the types of sexual activities, safe sex practices, outside partners, dating rules, etc.
- Finally, prepare for mistakes. It’s unlikely that you’ll get it right the first time. So leave room for trial and error and work as a team.
As we’ve said, you shouldn’t rush into an open marriage. But, if you take your time, do your research, and have a long talk with your spouse, you might discover that an open marriage is a perfect way to move forward for both of you. Good luck!