Open relationships might have seemed scandalous in the past, but today they're generally more accepted. There are even some celebrities in open relationships. And it's not just about shaking up a bedroom routine – many people in open relationships report they're actually happier, healthier and more sexually active than monogamous couples.
So, what's it like to be in an open relationship? Just like in any good partnership, communication is key. It's also important to set up some ground rules, like practicing safe sex. Beyond that, most couples have rules about one-night stands versus a more long-term arrangement. Some pairs even allow more serious relationships, as long as their original significant other stays number one.
Although some Redditors share open relationship stories that include jealousy and divorce, for the most part people in successful open relationships seem to agree that although it's not for everyone, it works for them. These real-life stories about open relationships offer an intriguing look at a lifestyle that's not nearly as fringe as it used to be.
"The rules are:
1) No lying.
2) No getting/transmitting STDs.
3) No getting anyone else pregnant/become pregnant by someone else.
4) Be prepared to give an honest answer to 'Am I having sex outside [my] marriage because there is a problem with my marriage?'
5) Make an effort to include the spouse.
We're both Bi, so it's fun that we can bring someone home and both play with them. Mostly that's what it's been, bringing home friends for group playtime... The important thing is that for us, sex is fun and a way to get your rocks off. It isn't about possession, and the only intimacy is what you make of it. You don't need to be in love with someone to have sex with them, and it doesn't mean you don't love your spouse."
It Makes Some Marriages Stronger
"I've been with my husband (we're both men) for nearly ten years, and I don't think I can imagine myself in a successful monogamous relationship anymore.
Non-monogamy is pretty much the default setting for most gay men, so it's not exactly unusual. I entered the relationship wanting exclusivity but that fell by the wayside when I discovered how much fun threesomes are. We spent about a year dissecting each sexual encounter we had to make sure we were we understood what each of us was comfortable with, and we've been pretty good since then. We have threesomes (and foursomes) together with friends pretty frequently and also play separately when one of us is traveling.
It's made our marriage stronger and brought a lot of enjoyment into both of our lives."
The Venn Diagram Of Relationships
"My wife and I have been together for almost 8 years. Married almost 3, have a child, and have been open for a little over a year and a half. I have seen a lot of people discuss how open relationships are a last resort but that wasn't actually the case with us...
We are very sexual people. We love experiencing the different ways people do things and are firm believers that people can have fun consensual sex without being in a relationship. The way we like to describe it to friends who find out... to us, love and sex are two circles in a Venn diagram. For some people those two circles overlap almost entirely, For us, they don't overlap completely, Our relationship lies within the love and sex overlap, but there are parts of sex that lie completely outside of love. Those are the people we hook up with...
Over a year into being open, several new partners have come and gone. But the things that still hold true are [sic] the fact that there is a huge trust between the two of us to communicate. We hide nothing, we talk about everything and our communication in every aspect of our life is so much better."
Over Being Open
"We set up a lot of ground rules initially, things like you can't hang out with that person all the time and sleep with them more than 3 times etc. Things that would mean that you were now in a relationship with someone else (we wanted open play, not poly relationships). Now we just can't be bothered seeing other people and the sex was never as good as with each other. We might bring in a person to jointly play with once or twice a year, but we're kind of just 'over' seeing other people lol. Honestly, [it's] mostly the same as before we were open."