How to Bring Up You’re in an Open Relationship to New People

If you’re in an open relationship, you know the questions that come about when you’re talking to new people in the open relationship scene. They have a bevy of them that come with the world view that everyone is supposed to be monogamous and that being in an open relationship is either odd, wrong, or a reason to cheat.

You know better than that, though, and you know better than to dive right into the topic without first being prepared to understand how you’re going to answer the more fundamental questions. But what about those that are a little more involved? There’s always the option to opt-out of answering and ask politely that you not be asked to explain yourself, and then there’s the opportunity to educate if you’re someone that would rather do that instead.

Questions that might arise will be out of curiosity and lack of knowledge about the world of open relationships. So if you’re one that would prefer to educate rather than decline discussing things, here are a few questions you might come across and some suggestions for answers that you could give.

What is an open relationship?

Here we know that explaining an open relationship demonstrates that there are multiple partners involved with one another. However, it’s a bit more complicated than just a bunch of people sleeping together. An open relationship is just a term for any relationship that isn’t monogamous and doesn’t follow society’s standards for what a relationship should be. Each connection can look different from both the inside and outside, and so may require a bit of explaining on your part depending on your situation.

Some have open relationships with others, while their primary partner wants nothing to do with those partners and have partners of their own. Some have partners together, and then some may have one primary partner with partners, and the other does not. It’s up to the couple, or single, to decide just what they want out of an open relationship, as long as things are done safely and with the consent of everyone involved to ensure full disclosure, honesty, and communication.

Don’t you have a great relationship already with your primary partner?

This is a question that will probably pop up a lot, and honestly, it’s up to you on how to answer this. But think about how it makes you feel when it does pop up. Does it make you defensive? Does it make you thoughtful? Does it make you resentful that you’re being asked this question at all? This question may bring up things that you don’t want to face at the time, though at the same time, there may be an answer already in your mind that you have available, as having a good relationship with your primary partner can make all the difference.

Many people feel that having one relationship isn’t natural, and over a lifetime, many people have more than one relationship and aren’t with just one person their entire lives. However, there are a lot of instances where married couples find themselves in a bind because of cheating or other behaviors that take them down the road of divorce because they were having other relationships outside their primary one. Answering this question may be a challenge or not a challenge at all, depending on the relationship you have with your primary partner.

Do you have rules or boundaries in your relationship?

The answer to this should always be yes. Whether you explain those rules or not, it is up to you, but generally most people will be curious about what those rules and boundaries are. This is likely something you have set up with your primary partner(s), and while you don’t have to go through the entire list of them, there are a few that you might want to throw out as an answer to this question.

  1. Communication. To ensure that the relationship stays stable and everyone stays happy, communication is critical for the relationship to survive. Having an acceptable form of this is vital to any relationship’s stability and longevity, and an open relationship is no different; if anything, it’s even more critical.
  2. Honesty. This is vital to making sure that everyone is happy. Always be honest, communicate to your partner(s) just what you want, need, or if your rules are that you have multiple partners but share or don’t share; however, you need to let your partner know. Then let them know.
  3. Quality time vs. Equal time. Spending time with your primary partner(s) is essential and can’t be stressed enough. Making sure that you’re not spending too much time with secondary partners, depending on your primary partner’s needs, is something that needs to be paid attention to. Though at the same time, if your primary partner doesn’t need a ton of quality time, you’re probably well aware of this and handle it between the two of you just fine.
  4. Use protection. Be safe always.

Isn’t this just glorified cheating?

As long as you are honest and in open communication with your primary partner(s), then no, it’s not glorified cheating. There should be talks about who dates who, where someone is going, and what someone is doing when it comes to having sex with other partners. That doesn’t mean that one partner controls the other. However, that means that being open and honest with one another keeps each other in the know, safe, and feeling secure in their relationship. No one wants to find out that their partner has been seeing someone on the side without communicating to them first that they’re doing so unless, of course, that’s something that’s been talked about beforehand as being okay.

Are you against monogamy?

Now, this is a question that will have an answer that varies from individual to individual. Answering this may be challenging; it may be easy, depending on your views. Think about, however, before answering how this question makes you feel. Do you feel attacked for being asked? Do you feel as if you’re being questioned on your own choices? How do you feel about monogamy, and how can you convey those feelings without coming across as resistant or defensive? These are questions you should ask yourself before answering this question.

No matter whether you’re being asked about being in an open relationship, think about those answers that you give as you are the window to a world that some people haven’t seen before. Ensuring that you’re open about your answers, comfortably honest, and not coming off as defensive will set a good precedence for that person to learn about something they may become interested in themselves.

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