Monogamous relationships aren’t for everyone. With marriage rates decreasing while divorce rates, adultery and flagging libido remain high, monogamy seems like it’s doomed. As Dan Savage writes, “some people need more than one partner, just as some people need flirting, others need to be whipped, others need lovers of both sexes.” If you and your partner are both interested in seeing other people, but still want to stay together, that’s something you can make work.
The thing to keep in mind is that there’s not a one-size-fits-all approach to non-monogamy. Some people call themselves “monogamish,” others prefer “open relationships” while many would rather stick with “polyamory.” All with different rules, boundaries and ways of dealing with commitment. Figure out which resonates with you the most and come to a decision with your partner.
For many, sex and love are two completely different things. For some, opening their relationship has actually saved it following times of struggle. If you’re interested in opening up your relationship, here are some of the benefits:
1. Increased Excitement
Let’s be realistic. Keeping the passion alive in a long-term relationship is a problem many couples face. Especially when you think of being married to the same person for 40 years. Savage acknowledges the drawbacks of monogamy, which can include boredom, despair, lack of variety, sexual death and being taken for granted. By opening up your relationship, you keep things exciting for both you and your partner. Just make sure you’ve set clear boundaries that you’re both comfortable with.
2. A Stronger Bond
Few people think of this at first, but often the process of opening up your relationship can actually bring you closer to your partner. As Terry Miller (Dan Savage’s husband) writes, “Far from it being a destabilizing force in our relationship, it’s been a stabilizing force. It may be why we’re still together.”
3. A Way to Fill Your Needs
Everyone has urges, but because of our current societal norms, most people try to shut them out. Why not just be open about your wants? If you want to sleep with other people, then let your partner know and figure out a situation that works for both of you. Be your true self. But with your partner’s consent—otherwise it would just be plain cheating.
4. A Chance to Make Your Fantasies Real
Have a fantasy that your partner isn’t really into? Or a kink that you haven’t had satisfied? When you’re in an open relationship, these things are back on the table. You can find someone who’s into your specific kink or fantasy. And you can have specific rules for your relationship. With an open relationship, you don’t have to put all your eggs in one basket. You can have one date that has specific boundaries around it.
There are many benefits to opening up your relationship. The most important thing to keep in mind is to talk to your partner and establish boundaries you’re both comfortable with. This will help avoid any miscommunications that could jeopardize your relationship.