In order to have a successful relationship, there must be an implicit or explicit set of rules that all parties follow. Whenever these rules are broken, the likelihood of the relationship succeeding decreases exponentially.
This sort of reasoning applies to open relationships. Here are some of the do’s and don’ts of open relationships, to ensure that your open relationship is a successful one.
Communicate Openly With All Parties Involved
Communication is the key to a successful relationship. Open relationships make this rule all the more pressing, as, when more parties are involved than just two, a lack of communication can cause a great deal of mistrust and confusion. Ensure that you are expressing your relevant feelings and intentions to all of your partners as openly and honestly as possible.
Ensure All Parties Are Explicitly Consenting
Maybe you are in a monogamous relationship and you would like to open it up to other people. You need to ensure that your primary partner consents to this. Likewise, if your primary partner does consent to this, any new partners you have need to also consent to the non-monogamous nature of your romantic intentions. Acting in any other manner would be dishonest and fundamentally tantamount to infidelity. All relationships should follow ethical guidelines, and consent is a crucial part of having an ethical relationship.
Treat All Partners With Respect
Some get into open relationships, simply for the sake of having extra sexual partners on top of your primary romantic partner. Yet, your “secondary” partners might have more in mind than this. You need to respect that fact about them and treat them with as much respect and humanity as you have for your primary partner. Unless it is pre-agreed that there are no strings attached, you must ensure that you are not simply using others for sex, when in reality they want something more romantically involved.
Lies and Deception
The worst thing you can do in a relationship is lie and deceive. Let’s say you find a new partner and you don’t tell your other partners about them. What do you think will happen if they find you? They will no longer trust you, and rightfully so. That’s why --as written above-- it is so important to communicate. If you lie and deceive, one of two things will happen --if not both: (1) you will be found out and your partners will no longer trust you and this will jeopardize the relationship greatly; (2) you will be so guilt-stricken that you will at some point or another lose your quality of life. On top of this all, it is unethical to lie and deceive within the confines of a relationship. If you feel the need to lie and deceive your partner, you probably shouldn’t be in a relationship with them.
Lack of Friendship
The 19th-century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once wrote, "It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages." Such words have never rung truer in the context of open relationships. If those you are romantically involved with are not your friends also, you should not expect things to go very well. Friendship is the precursor to love, so if it is absent within your relationship, don’t expect things to get very far.
Lose Sight of Yourself
When we get into relationships, quite often the first thing we want to do is please. We might buy gifts for our partners, work diligently to please them sexually and/or give them our full efforts to ensure that they are happy. However, sometimes we do this to our own detriment. In attempting to fulfill the needs of our partners, we often forget about our own needs. This is a problem, however, because all this will end up doing is making you unhappy and maybe even inept in attempting to fulfill the needs of others. As, it is the case that if you do not treat yourself with love and kindness, you will have a difficult time treating other people with love and kindness in an authentic manner. Hence, ensure that your needs are being met as well.