Is Open Relationship Good? Certified Couple Therapist Talks About Pros and Cons of Open Relationships
Variety is the spice of life. If you are someone who hates boredom and monotony then maybe, just maybe, the idea of open relationships can intrigue you. It is a concept where both partners consensually agree to see other people. It could involve having physical and sexual interactions with someone who is not your husband or wife.
Eh, what? Does that sound strange to you? Well, you are not alone. Marriage or relationships are generally seen as a monogamous commitment and the idea of seeing your other half with someone else can be too much to digest, no?
But, you see, relationship dynamics are changing. Your partner cannot fulfill ALL your needs. In fact, the expectation of having them be your only source of happiness can do more harm to your relationship than good.
That is why couples are now shifting their perspectives and welcoming the idea of open relationships. In this article our certified couple therapist talks in length about open relationships and gives her personal insight into this interesting concept.
So, What Is Exactly an Open Relationship?
“Open relationship is a mutual agreement with your partner to date other people, or engage in physical and sexual activities with them. It means that you are no longer exclusively dating each other” says a certified couple therapist, who has 10 years of experience in relationship counseling.
It is important to empathize on the words ‘mutual’ and ‘consensual’. Otherwise, it is simply an excuse for cheating on your partner and escaping its dire consequences.
Why Do Couples Seek Open Relationships?
Young, and old, both couples can consider opening their relationship,
Many young people begin their relationship that way itself because they could be scared of commitment, or not looking for anything serious. This way, they can enjoy the pleasure of a relationship without any responsibility.
That sounds perfect, right?
However, our certified couple therapist has a different take on that. She says, “Young people see relationships like a supermarket store. There are so many options available then what is the need for settling with one? Although, in the present moment that can feel like a desirable choice, in the long run, it can get problematic.”
There is no harm in entering into open relationships as long as you are clear about what you want. If somewhere inside your heart you are seeking companionship and love then the idea of open relationships is not for you.
On the other hand, there are couples who have been together for many years. Long-term relationships can get boring and monotonous. It may be possible that both partners have unfulfilled emotional and sexual needs.
Open relationships could provide them with an outlet for their unmet needs. It allows them to explore their sexual and physical desires without feeling guilty or shameful. In this process, they can also communicate and learn more about each other. This leads to better trust, increased communication, and personal growth as well.
Then there are some individuals who identify as polyamorous or non-monogamous, which means they can have multiple loving and intimate relationships simultaneously. In such cases, an open relationship can provide an opportunity to honor their personal orientation while still maintaining a primary partnership.
So, there are different reasons why individuals and couples may prefer open relationships. In the end, it is all about making choices that will give you happiness. If the open relationship is bringing something good in your life then there is no harm in giving it a try.
What Are Some Major Mistakes In Having an Open Relationship?
“There are couples who come to me and say that they want an open relationship. They say that their relationship lacks fun, romance, and sex. They have practically stopped talking to each other and hardly spend any quality time. This is a relationship issue, and an open relationship is not the solution” says an the certified couple therapist.
The biggest mistake is opening your relationship as an attempt to escape the underlying issues haunting you and your partner.
Do not enter an open relationship thinking that it will solve all your problems and save your marriage from falling apart. It will only complicate your relationship even more and can even lead you to separation or divorce.
Not being honest with yourself and your partner is the second biggest mistake that needs to be avoided in open relationships.
“There was a couple who had an open relationship. A few months later, the wife started having feelings for someone else. She continued pursuing the connection knowing very well that it may lead to something serious. She refused to acknowledge her emotions or communicate them with her primary partner” continues certified couple therapist.
Eventually, it affected their marriage and they ended up getting a divorce.
That is why it is crucial to A) Be honest at all times, and B) Set strong boundaries.
Open relationships are supposed to enhance your marriage, not complicate it more. Therefore, make sure that you and your partner have clear rules and boundaries before you step into this territory.
Would You Recommend Open Relationships?
My opinion does not matter. It is the happiness, health, and satisfaction of the couple that should be the priority.
I have seen cases where open relationships have led to better communication and strong connection between couples. It has enhanced their personal growth and made them happier.
I have also witnessed cases where open relationships have created a lot of complications. This mostly happens when couples don’t address the real issues. I would strongly recommend seeking relationship counseling and exploring different ways to reconnect with your partner, and then consider the idea of open relationships if needed at all.
Otherwise, on an individual level open relationship is really a matter of personal choice. Yes, I would advise them to be honest at all costs. That is all.
Are you considering open relationships but feeling confused about it? Talk to a certified couple therapist to explore your relationship and make sure that you are making the right decision.