We humans are a pretty social species. But where there is contact, there can be chaos. Throw some romance into the mix and the guidelines get even thicker. Throw multiple romances into the mix, as is the case with open relationships , and you might just find yourself in over your head. Yes, monogamy has traditionally governed the world of romantic relationships. We spoke to a variety of couples in open relationships who offered some advice for those who want to get started.
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As a term, open relationship has previously existed in English for a long time, though the sense was quite different. The original sense of open relationship was any type of relationship that had open communication and few secrets. For example, a child could have an open relationship with their mom, where there is constant honest communication between them. Polyamory and open relationship are related terms and are used synonymously by some people. For others, the difference between an open relationship and polyamory is that open relationships allow for solely sexual relations such as friends with benefits or more casual additional partners outside an established, primary relationship. In this framework, polyamory is distinct because it encourages committed romantic relationships to form with more than one person as well.
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Whether you're in favor of them or not, you're probably fascinated by open relationships. Open relationships are a point of fascination to most people who are not in one. And it's understandable, as the concept of eternal monogamy tends to be enforced in most people from a young age.
I mean really talk? I was deeply involved with a man let's call him Steve when he surprised me with an unusual request. One night, Steve explained that if and when we got married, he would always want to have a separate apartment where he could be "alone. In his version of our lives, Steve's "alone" was when he would step out on our relationship -- up to three nights a week. Steve wanted an open marriage -- a nonmonogamous, polyamorous arrangement wherein he could go his way and I could go mine.