In a day and age that finds more people than ever meeting online, sometimes across great distances, long-distance relationships are on the rise. But they’re also no picnic and can be really hard on those involved, so it’s essential to have a plan for how to approach things before taking the plunge.
Going the open relationship route is one option that makes sense to lots of long-distance couples. But is openness the right choice for you? Let’s take a closer look at some of the potential benefits, as well as a few other tips for surviving a long-distance relationship.
Why Open Up a Long-Distance Relationship
Open relationships are valid, enjoyable approaches to love and sex that can come with many benefits if both parties are genuinely on board with the idea. Here’s a look at a few of the most important ones.
It takes some of the pressure off
In a committed, monogamous relationship, there are only two options when something goes wrong – stay the course or break up – which can be an especially tall order when you’re long-distance. But going the open route instead redefines what it means for a relationship to succeed or fail.
According to research, polyamorous people and those in open relationships tend to be less hung up on what “has to” happen if relationships hit snags. Being with one person doesn’t hinder their ability to explore other possibilities, so a breakup isn’t automatically the knee-jerk response to every problem.
It can actually bring people closer
Although every couple has their own approach to how much they want to share or hear about when it comes to any extracurricular activities, open relationships require couples to communicate. They also call for honesty and trust, as well as provide opportunities to get better at those things.
That said, going the open route can actually help foster better intimacy with a long-distance partner. It will certainly make you better at communicating and keeping each other in the loop.
You don’t have to be “everything” to one another
Social constructs and restrictive upbringings have many people believing that healthy, happy couples are each other’s everything. However, that’s honestly just not a realistic way to approach love or a shared life with someone else, especially if you’re long-distance.
Open relationships generally embrace the idea that it’s up to each person to meet their own needs. And part of that can involve forming romantic, sexual, or otherwise enjoyable connections with other people. Such connections don’t have to diminish the value of the primary connection with one’s partner.
It can make taking the next step easier
It goes without saying that it can be hard to make a lasting commitment to someone, even if you’re relatively sure you have a chance at a great future together. There’s so much pressure to be sure everything will be picture-perfect, and trying can be incredibly stressful for any couple.
Opening a relationship up can relieve that pressure, too. Once you stop believing that your partner has to meet all of your needs before you can choose them, you’re free to finally appreciate your relationship for what it is. It doesn’t have to be perfect (or traditional, either) to be worthwhile.
Is Openness Right for Your Relationship?
You don’t need to be experienced when it comes to open relationships for one to be a good move for your long-distance connection. Here are some signs it might be worth a try for you and your partner.
You both like the idea
Open relationships can be incredible if both people are equally excited about the idea. Neither of you can be reluctant or hesitant. Openness should be approached as an adventure, not something to tolerate in order to keep one’s partner.
You have sexual differences
Sometimes two people are pretty in sync when it comes to sex, but this isn’t always the case. Many couples have differing sex drives, kinks, and sexual orientations. And adding distance to the equation only complicates things more, but going open can be a great way to level things out.
You’re both comfortable with non-traditional
Some people are very traditional folks, they also need their relationships to be traditional, and that’s OK. But others really like the idea of breaking the mold and making up rules based on what’s right for them. If both you and your partner are the latter, then an open relationship might be worth exploring.
Ultimately, openness may not be for everyone. But it can be a great way to overcome some of the obstacles that make long-distance relationships especially challenging. So if you and your partner are cut out for openness and excited about exploring it together, there’s really no reason not to try it. You might just wind up glad you did.