Sex, Love, and All of the Above: Jealousy in Open Relationships

You can choose to seek professional legal advice to know about the rules and regulations in your state regarding polyamory. Explore one aspect of polyamory at a time and give your partner some time to discover. This will eventually throw out the fear that you’re seeking out an open relationship because of their faults, and you could build trust eventually. If you’re the one who brought up the subject of wanting polyamory, encourage your partner to try it out first. You and your partner must be on the same team when it comes to how you’ll each conduct yourselves in the relationship. If your partner is all in and has given the green light for an open relationship, it doesn’t mean that you should throw all caution to the wind and stop working on your main union.

You say that you plan to meet up with this guy whether or not your boyfriend consents to it. So really, framing this conversation as “asking” him for an open relationship would just add another layer of deceit to the whole situation. You’re not actually interested in gauging your boyfriend’s feelings about an open relationship; you’re interested in having sex with someone else regardless of how he feels about it. You should not present this to your boyfriend as something he has a say in when you’ve already decided he doesn’t.

You also must be honest about the boundaries you need to set in order to feel safe and secure. Honest and ~ open ~ dialogue will help establish the baseline of trust necessary for any open relationship. Being this honest can be scary, but it is absolutely necessary in order for an open relationship to work.


  • Something I’ve come to learn, something necessary for the success of truly any relationship, is that love is not control.
  • An open relationship is distinctly different from cheating in that there is no secrecy, dishonesty, or subversion.
  • This article explains what an open marriage is, how to create boundaries, and how to open your relationship if you decide to do so with your partner.
  • She currently works as a staff writer with Psych Central where she specializes in creating content about sex, relationships, mental health, and alternative approaches to wellness.
  • These are both great reasons to look outside of a monogamous relationship, as long as both parties are excited about the prospect of sleeping with other people.
  • This article was co-authored by Asa Don Brown, PhD, DNCCM, FAAETS and by wikiHow staff writer, Nihal Shetty.

I’m with him for all the other hours, the ones where we’re shopping together, watching TV, cooking, or not doing much of anything at all. And the hours in bed, holding him, are irreplaceable on this earth. They could not be replicated in all the billions of people out there, because there’s only one him. Intimacy is not sex, because you can’t have it with just anyone, and intimacy is what you want to cultivate and tend to in a good love story.

While sometimes it is no problem for people, at other times the desire to establish an open relationship or transition from monogamy to polyamory can come with pain and discomfort for everyone concerned. Those seeking consensual non-monogamy can feel shame, guilt, and self-doubt when confronted with a loved one who is suffering as a result of their desire for romantic or sexual open-ness. The monogamous partner might feel inadequate, unloved, or angry that their beloved wants to change the rules of the relationship mid-stream.

Establish Rules and Boundaries

In addition to setting sexual and emotional boundaries, it’s important to create explicit rules for the arrangement. How many partners can you have outside of your primary relationship? How much time will you allocate to your open relationship activities (for example, are Friday nights reserved for you as a couple?)?

Open relationship rules

In the world today, more and more relationship models have come to be accepted and normalized. However, people who are more traditional may find it difficult to accept anything other than the classic style of relationship. If your partner suggests you have an open relationship, you have several options. He advises people to say things “thoughtfully and gently”, although that may sometimes be hard. A more recent, 2020 study by the San Francisco Gay Therapy Centre found 30% of gay men were not strictly monogamous with their partners. “For every person that enters the relationship, the risk increases, and each partner should have a plan,” Leeth says. Many people don’t realize right away that they want to have an open relationship.

Control your external jealousy triggers by agreeing to rules and boundaries about what you and your partner will or won’t do with others. I’m in a monogamous long-term relationship with my wonderful partner, and we’re very happy together.

By being upfront about our feelings, we can explore not only why we feel the way we do, but also if it’s a sign of something else happening in the relationship. When these folks continue to love each other and stay together socially but not romantically, they have created what I call a polyaffective relationship. In that way, they can sustain family relationships even while pursuing different romantic paths. The important thing for a congenial polyaffective relationship is to treat each other well during and after the romantic split—no lying, cheating, or screwing over. Just like closed relationships, “there are rules, boundaries, and expectations,” that define what each partner is comfortable with, Leeth says. For example, some couples in open relationships agree only to date strangers, whereas other couples are free to explore partnerships with friends.