At loveisrespect, we get a lot of questions about “open relationships” — but what does that even mean? Generally, it’s when a couple agrees to see other people while still seeing each other. And like any relationship, a healthy open relationship requires trust, communication, respect and honesty. So, how do you do that? Check out our bill of rights for open relationships below!
Article I. The Right to Mutual Agreement
First and foremost, you have the right to decide if and when you are ready to have an open relationship. If you or someone you’re seeing decides they want one, talk freely about what this would mean and work it out together. For an open relationship to be healthy, everyone has to agree.
Start by coming up with a personalized set of rules that you’ll both follow. Be honest and clear about your expectations — not just with each other, but anyone else you might see.
Article II. Boundaries and Expectations
Do you want to know about certain things in advance? How much will you tell each other about who you’re going out with, when and where? Are there certain things you decide never to share? What kind of sexual contact with other people are you comfortable with?
Decide what works, then adjust accordingly. While these may feel like difficult conversations to have, discussing these rules up front will help you avoid misunderstandings in the future.
Article III. The Right to Safety
Both partners deserve to be safe and healthy. If you and your partner have agreed to have sexual experiences with other people, safe sex is a must! If your partner ever has unprotected sex, you have the right to know immediately, and this goes both ways.
Article IV: The Right to Respect
Despite whatever agreement you and your partner come to, both of you still deserve to be treated with respect. Keep in mind that cheating still exists in an open relationship if one partner breaks the agreed-upon rules without the other partner’s consent. However, what is considered cheating can be fluid and shift depending on you and your partner’s needs and boundaries.
Have you ever been in an open relationship? What did you do to ensure your relationship remained healthy? Need a second opinion? Looking for more resources? Please don’t hesitate to call, text or chat us. We’re here for you 24/7.