Open Relationships: Before Jada Pinkett’s recent “entanglement” with August Alsina, in 2013 she posted on Facebook that she and Will Smith can do whatever they want:
“Will and I BOTH can do WHATEVER we want because we TRUST each other to do so.”
Although, she clarified that it does not mean that they have an open relationship. “This means we have a GROWN one,” she said. Maybe we now know better, or not.
But what is an open relationship?
An open relationship happens, for instance, when you and your partner (the primary relationship) agree to be open to the possibility of intimacy with other people. This could mean inviting others into the relationship or looking outside the relationship for sexual gratification with one or more people.
What people find most exciting about open relationships is freedom or sexual liberty, if you will, which most monogamous relationships do not offer. With an open relationship, you can explore sexual relationships with as many partners as you wish.
Other reasons why people enter an open relationship include, but not limited to, varying sex drive between primary partners, the thrill of being with someone different, and for some, the need to explore sexual relationships with someone of a different gender.
But is that all there is to an open relationship? The pursuit of happiness and orgasm or is there something else that no one is telling us?
Below are some of the things no one readily discusses open relationships.
Jealousy is not exclusive to monogamous relationships. In fact, the results of some studies have suggested that jealousy remains a problem in open relationships because the involvement of a third party in a relationship can be seen as a trigger. According to a study, 80% of participants in open marriages had experienced jealousy at one point or another.
Jealousy refers to the thought or feelings of insecurity or fear over a relative lack of possession. The feeling ranges from suspicion to rage to fear of humiliation. Yes, you said he can do whatever he wants but can your liberal mind bear the thoughts of him in bed with someone else?
Earlier, we noted that sexual liberty is one of the main reasons for entering open relationships, so does that mean “anything goes”?
Now, this might sound counterintuitive, but most open relationships have some form of boundary or agreement between the primary partners. For instance, you and your partner may decide that your ground rule is to use condoms when sleeping with other people.
Increased Risk Of STIs
A larger circle of partners means an increased chance of catching a sexually transmitted infection. Any sexual contact outside of a strictly monogamous relationship increases the possibility that one member of the group will contract an STI and pass it into the group.
This is why people in open relationships tend to be extremely cautious even more than monogamous couples that engage in extramarital affairs.
You’re an expert at filtering sex from feelings and you think there’s no way you could possibly get attached to someone else other than your primary partner.
Well, it is not uncommon to develop feelings for more than one person at the same time. And in a relationship where there is little restriction, you don’t realise it at first for what it is.
Can you handle it? Think about whether you’re ready for the difficult emotions and situations that come with dating multiple people.
A Logistical Nightmare
Some monogamous couples often complain of not having time for each other, now imagine a relationship in which you have to create time for not just one partner but two or more.
Your time is divided between work, time for your primary partner, other responsibilities, and your other partner(s).
So What Works?
Open relationships are not for everyone, nor the fainthearted, else it might end in premium tears. If you do decide to transition into an open relationship with your partner, you have to outline what you aim to achieve by opening up the relationship with other people.
There is no one right way to make an open relationship work. Have in mind that you and your partner may not get it right at first.