Non-Traditional Relationships, Where to Begin?



...dating these days has morphed into a completely different experience

An open relationship sounds intriguing because who doesn’t love having options; the more the merrier, right?


However, open relationships come in many different forms, so if it is something you’re considering, I recommend introspection as a way to define what it means to YOU; what do you want it to look like, feel like, etc. Once you have that personal definition secured, the next step is figuring out how to set it up, but that’s always easier said than done because dating these days has morphed into a completely different experience.


We live in a world where sending a winky face emoji through the DMs is considered flirting, and swiping right on a dating app is commonly seen as a first step toward finding a relationship. That said, it’s hard enough finding one person you can build a connection with, so adding more partners into the mix isn’t going to be the easiest set up to manage.


Should you find one person first, then hope they’re open to the idea of involving others in the relationship?


Or should you jump right in and work to find two people who are ready for an open relationship now? And what is the focus of the relationship, purely sexual or are romance and feelings on the table too? If the relationship grows more serious, what does the future hold? Marriage? Kids? These are all questions you have to answer for yourself, and your partners have to be on the same page with those answers, too.


How you navigate through such questions will allow you to understand and pinpoint exactly what and who you’re looking for. Maybe you’re not after an open relationship at all, maybe your desires are more in line with the exploration of threesomes or any multi-person sexual experiences and nothing more; no feelings or romance involved.


I think it’s important to note the option of polyamory as well, which is, as defined by sex educator and psychologist Liz Powell:

“the practice of, or desire for, having a loving and/or intimate relationship with more than one person at a time, with the consent of all people involved.”

So, in this type of relationship, everyone involved is equal. In contrast, an open relationship is rooted in a couple who have chosen to interact with others outside of their relationship.


Whatever relationship type you choose, no relationship is successful without the presence of trust, especially when there are multiple people involved; lack thereof creates jealousy and eventually, if left unchecked, a storm of drama that will leave you feeling like your life is suddenly the newest addition in the lineup of MTV reality shows. To avoid disagreements and arguments, keep the lines of communication just as open as the relationship.


In a study conducted by The Journal of Sex Research (Volume 54, 2017 - Issue 6), it was found that there has been a significant increase between 2006 and 2015 in Google searches relating to polyamory and open relationships. So, these non-traditional relationship types are continuing to peak our interest and desire for sexual experimentation/exploration. Ultimately, whichever route you choose to try, I hope you’re able to find what works best for you and don’t forget to have fun along the way!

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