When bringing up an open relationship to your current partner, you want to make sure of a few things, namely making sure that your ongoing relationship is your priority throughout the entire thing. Communication is critical and making sure that you have a stable relationship with your current partner as well before opening up any discourse on the subject. Always check your reasons before having this discussion and make sure they’re reasons beneficial to you both, rather than just one-sided. That will help your partner ease into the transition and be more accepting of the suggestion.
Opening up Discussion with Support
Keep in mind that if your current relationship has any issues, that having an open relationship won’t fix those. Work with your partner first and strengthen your relationship and communication skills before exploring this new avenue with them. Make sure they feel supported and are open to the idea without feeling insecure in the relationship that you two have. Sometimes going to couples counseling beforehand to talk things over and set the tone for expectations is an excellent way to start something. That way the both of you can get off your chest how you’re feeling about the whole thing, and you have a trained counselor to help you healthily process those feelings.
Whether you’re talking with your partner about having an open relationship with the help of a trained therapist or just on your own, make sure you make time for that conversation. This won’t be only one conversation but several, in which there will be questions raised and possibly some concerns. Don’t talk about this after an argument, or when you’re pressed for time. You want the two of you to be comfortable while you’re talking on a subject that potentially opens up your relationship to other people. Avoid, while talking, you statements. Instead of saying things like “You make me feel…” instead say something like “I feel like…”, that way you don’t sound accusatory and put them on guard.
Allow for Mistakes
Allow for mistakes that will be made along the way. Likely if you’re reading this, or if you haven’t had that talk yet with your partner, you may be new to this, or they may be new to it. There will be mistakes made along the way. Forgive yourself and others involved when they happen. If miscommunications about agreements made in the past are made, re-amend the agreement, clear up the misunderstanding and then keep going. You wouldn’t expect to learn a new language after a week of taking the class, and you can’t expect someone to become ‘good’ at being in an open relationship in just as little time. Be patient, and you’ll both improve together and be happier for it.
Respect their boundaries as much as you expect them to respect yours. If you’re going to set ground rules in an open relationship, you can’t very well expect that they won’t want some. Make sure you’re setting realistic ones, however, and don’t expect something that’s hugely controlling of the other person to go over well. Asking things like not allowing the other person to have their girlfriend or boyfriend over in your bed is perfectly fine. Asking them only to go out certain days of the week or during certain hours, so it’s convenient for just you, is not.
What do you do if they’re not on the same page? Respect that. If they’re not on the same page, perhaps broach the subject later when they’ve thought it over and investigated it a bit. If they’re still not on the same page, perhaps think about what your reasons are again for wanting an open relationship and decide if that’s a deal-breaker for you or not. Respect their choice just as you would expect them to respect yours.
Go slowly throughout the process, and make sure you come at it with an open mind that your partner may or may not be open to the prospect of someone else in your relationship. You’ll be happier you took your time and strengthened your current relationship before diving in, and you’ll likely find that you’re able to enjoy yourself more with them.