If you’re in a traditional monogamous relationship, it’s not difficult to understand why you might want to try opening things up. Open relationships can be wonderful, healthy ways to experience the variety you crave when it comes to sex without saying good-bye to the companionship and depth you enjoy in your primary relationship. Neither of you ever has to feel like you’re missing out either, which can actually make your relationship stronger in many ways.
However, deciding an open relationship could be amazing for both you and your partner is one thing. Successfully convincing your partner to give it a chance is another. Some people are a lot more open to the idea than others. Here we’ll go over a few tips for bringing up the topic, as well as touch on some ways to help a reluctant partner warm up to the idea.
1. Bring it up for the first time in a casual context.
The first step is often the hardest when it comes to opening up a monogamous relationship – going from never having discussed such a thing to bringing it up for the very first time. The direct, brutally honest approach usually isn’t the best way to go about it. Hearing your partner suddenly announce that they want to sleep with other people out of the clear blue can feel incredibly threatening and understandably so.
Planting a seed in your partner’s mind in a way that’s elusive and relatively casual is a lot more likely to lead to the situation you’re looking for. You could try sharing an article or watching a movie that addresses the topic. Afterward, drop a casual comment about how interesting you find the idea as an “in” to a more in-depth conversation and see what happens.
2. Insert a few success stories into a future conversation.
Sooner or later, the topic of open relationships is bound to come up again. It might be in a more serious context or more casually like the first time. Whichever the case may be, this is an excellent time to bring up some examples that support how fantastically fulfilling open relationships can be for mature, open-minded people. The point is to help your partner see that limiting, outdated views on fidelity aren’t the be-all and end-all when it comes to having a healthy, fulfilling relationship.
If you know other happy couples in open relationships, definitely bring them up as examples you find inspiring. If you don’t personally know anyone, it’s worth pointing out that numerous celebrity relationships widely considered to be happy and healthy are also open relationships. Examples include Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis, Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell, and David and Victoria Beckham.
3. Spend some time around other couples that feel the same way you do.
The more someone is exposed to a given lifestyle, the more normal and acceptable it will come to seem. Eventually, simple curiosity may spark a deeper interest in trying whatever it is on for size. This is just as much the case for open relationships and sexually open lifestyles as it is anything else.
Try suggesting more outings and social settings that will expose you both to alternative sexual lifestyles as a couple. If your partner is the type that might be open to attending a sex party or visiting a swingers bar, suggest going to one together just to check it out without actually being intimate with anyone else. Let them flirt with some of the other people there, have a few conversations, and start getting excited about some of the possibilities.
Alternatively, if you know other couples in open relationships, try fostering closer friendships with those people. Regularly spending time with other open-minded individuals will eventually expose your partner to ideas those folks believe in as well, even if you only socialize in traditional ways. Sooner or later, the topic is bound to start coming up more often, allowing them even more time and space to become acclimatized to the idea.
4. Stress that it’s about sex and only sex.
Sooner or later, the subject of opening up your relationship is going to come up in a serious context. It’s important to know how to handle things when it does. To begin with, you should understand that “being in an open relationship” isn’t simply code for “I get to do whatever I want”. Even open relationships have rules and boundaries that both parties need to respect. However, it’s ultimately up to the two of you to decide where those boundaries should be.
The great majority of couples in open relationships decide that the “open” part refers to sex only. Try stressing this to a partner that’s reluctant to try one out of fear that they’ll lose their special and exclusive connection to you. Gently explain that it’s about social sex and only sex. Emotionally and romantically, you’ll still only belong to each other. In other words, there’s really nothing to be afraid of and no reason not to give it a shot if it’s something that sounds interesting to you both.
5. Prepare to make a good case for why an open relationship would work.
When you’re trying to sell someone on a given idea, it’s not enough to just put it out there and hop they take a shine to it on their own. You need to do a thorough job of presenting the benefits and perks of choosing that option over any of the alternatives. That said, you should be prepared to do some explaining as to what an open relationship could bring to the table. Really give your partner some good examples of ways it won’t just be great for you, but for them too.
Have the two of you already been talking about ways to spice things up in that department? Explain how opening up your relationship will help you do exactly that. Are you looking for ways to expand your horizons sexually? Try talking about all the ways going the open route could help that happen.
The chances are pretty good that you’ve already thought long and hard about how opening up your relationship could make both of your lives better. Just put it all out there and hold nothing back. Remember, your partner loves you just as much as you love them. If you do a good enough job of explaining the pros, you might be surprised at how easy it is to get them to agree if they think it will make you happy.
6. Counter any negativity with absolute honesty.
Thankfully, we’re living in a day and age that sees more people open to more possibilities than they might have been at one point. You might luck out and find that your partner has actually given this some thought as well or learn that they’ve actually been in an open relationship before. However, you should also be prepared for the possibility that your partner really won’t understand and will react negatively. They may be hurt that this is something you want because they feel it means they’re not enough. They might be angry at you, or jealous, or disappointed. They could accuse you of simply wanting to have your cake and eat it too.
Whatever the case may be, know that that honesty is the best policy when it comes to neutralizing any negative feelings or reactions on your partner’s part. Respectfully explain the actual reasons why this is so important to you. You know that this isn’t something you’re asking for because you don’t love them or because you want to see them hurt. Speaking from the heart is the best way to help them come to know that too.
7. Don’t forget to be patient with your partner.
Keep in mind that while you may have been thinking about this and weighing the pros versus the cons for a while, the idea of the two of you opening up your own relationship may be completely new to your partner. The swinger lifestyle is not for everyone. For that reason, it’s important to be patient. Even if your partner does eventually warm up to the idea of opening up your relationship, it might take them a while. For some people, it may take months or years.
Whatever the case may be, it’s important to respond with respect if you truly value your relationship. Wait for them to come around and give you the green light before you start sowing your wild oats, so to speak. Going from being monogamous to non-monogamous has a lot in common with any other major lifestyle change (i.e. going from eat meat to being a strict vegetarian). Yes, making such a change can bring lots of benefits to the table, but that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone. Your partner could turn out to be one of those people.
At the end of the day, it’s important to react to your partner with sensitivity and consideration no matter what they ultimately decide about going the open route. Handle things the right way and you might wind up pleasantly surprised!