Generally, an open relationship is a term that describes a non-monogamous relationship. There is often a mutual agreement between partners to engage in other forms of external connections while in an open relationship. These connections can be physical and/or emotional outside of primary partners. Although this is a general definition, many people have different rules in their open relationships that may slightly change it.

Societal norms have been heavily rooted in monogamy, which makes the discussion an unconventional one for many people. Open relationships are not new and have been practiced for many years. However, the idea of non-monogamy remains unsettling for some. This article brings you popular opinions that frequently arise concerning open relationships.

“Open Relationships Never Work”

In some cases, relationships can be open but still lack honesty. When secrecy starts to become a factor in your relationship, it can cause mistrust, leading to relationship failure. 

The building blocks of any healthy successful relationship apply to open relationships as well. Of these factors, communication plays a main role. Being unable to efficiently incorporate healthy communication is setting your relationship on a path of inevitable failure. 

Many couples have successful open relationships by learning how to effectively navigate a consensual open relationship. Ignoring the elements emphasized within that post is why open relationships don’t work for some people.

“Open Relationships Reject Commitment”

Agreeing or disagreeing with this statement will depend on how you define commitment. Open relationships are often disqualified as being a commitment due to many people seeing commitments as a monogamous construct. 

Commitment is often demonstrated through actions and behaviors. The commitment you make in your relationship is sealed by the agreements between you & your partner.

In a consensual and mutually open relationship, commitment can be an element. Commitment can entail engaging in behaviors that continuously enforce trust in the relationship. 

Commitment can mean being emotionally connected to your partner and physically supportive during hardships. It is long-term and often reinforced throughout the relationship as your intimacy grows. Here are a few questions to analyze that can help clear the idea of commitment in a relationship.

  • What are both partners’ core values? Are they respected by each partner?
  • Are both partners respectful of one another’s needs?
  • In which ways are both partners supportive?

“Open Relationships Create Unnecessary Arguments”

man and woman arguing

Arguments are expected in any type of relationship. Adopting healthy habits in your relationship, regardless of the label can lessen arguments. 

There are different reasons why people opt for open relationships, and these reasons can determine the frequency of the disagreements they may experience. Excessive disagreements are often the result of shaky relationship foundations and unhealthy compromise.

Assertiveness is not only necessary in the workplace, but also in relationships. You will not always agree on your open relationship rules and/or expectations. You may not even agree with opening up your relationship. Making sure your partner clearly understands your boundaries eliminates future disagreements and heartbreaks.

“Open Relationships Glorify Cheating”

“Does this/that count as cheating?” may be a phrase you may have possibly heard during your lifetime. In most cases, infidelity is the act of engaging in external physical and/or emotional affairs, which often break the agreement between two partners. This definition of infidelity can seem like an open relationship synonym, but what differentiates them? —The idea of what infidelity means in each relationship and respecting open relationship rules. 

Monogamous, as well as non-monogamous relationships, have expectations and oftentimes set boundaries that clarifies the responsibility they hold to one another in their respective relationships. Infidelity is when the unfaithful partner disregards these clear expectations and boundaries.

In a monogamous relationship, there is a general understanding of only maintaining a sexual and romantic bond with your primary partner. When a partner cheats, they are intentionally breaking that understanding of monogamy by being unfaithful. This idea is somewhat misunderstood when it comes to open relationships due to non-exclusivity. 

Contrary to popular opinion, cheating can also occur in open relationships where the agreements surrounding non-exclusivity are broken. The betrayal experienced in infidelity still occurs in both cases

 “Partners in Open Relationships Do Not Love/Care About One Another”

This opinion is based on the belief that engaging in sexual and romantic relationships with other people lessens your affection and interest in your primary partner. Many people in open relationships refute this statement. They still hold deep emotional connections to their primary partner but want their relationship open to feel liberated for different reasons. The belief is that this liberation can allow healthier open communication and eliminate relationship pressures.

Some people feel more emotionally connected and attached to their partner because they are not focused on what they are lacking in the relationship since openness gives them the opportunity to explore. They believe they can deeply appreciate what their partner is able to offer, by being fulfilled in other areas outside of the relationship. This, in turn, strengthens their bond and emotional connection.

“People In Open Relationships Are Promiscuous”

sex in open relationships concept

Traditional monogamous relationships are more accepted by society; therefore, promiscuity can be seen in a negative light. Promiscuity is a high-risk lifestyle that can result in unwanted sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Even with protection, there are risks associated with engaging with multiple sexual partners. 

Promiscuity often has a negative connotation, not due to the act of sex itself, but rather the amount of casual sexual partners. While some open relationships can be defined as promiscuous based on the terms of their arrangements, not all of them have external sexual elements.

“Your Partner Is Your Backup Plan”

The decisions behind open relationships vary depending on the couple. Some people enter open relationships, not for growth, but with selfish intentions. 

For example, someone who has fallen out of love with their partner, but still wants to benefit from everything that partner offers can propose the idea of an open relationship. This gives them the chance to have someone secure at home while exploring better options. These types of individuals are why many people might think open relationships are selfish. While many people may have ulterior motivations for opening up their relationships, it does not apply to everyone. 

"They Create Jealousy"

Jealousy in open relationships

Jealousy in open relationships can occur when a partner feels threatened and fearful of the direction of their relationship. 

Jealousy can be a healthy emotion experienced by anyone in a relationship; however, it can become obsessive and unhealthy. This feeling can be intensified in an unhealthy manner in cases where partners are afraid to disclose their emotions.