When couples open up their relationships to other partners, there are many terms for it. Some call it an open relationship. Others call it swinging, ethical non-monogamy, or polyamory. Ultimately, they are all looking for the same thing.
They are looking for more love. More options for relationships open up to them. They have more options.
The ways couples might open up their relationships to more love are as diverse as the titles that people give them. Here are some of the ways couples today are creating open relationships.
#1 Limited Opening Up
When a couple only wants to expand their relationship to a limited amount of people, they will be very specific about what they are looking for.
If one of the people in a marriage is bisexual, they might open their relationship to a person of a very specific gender. A relationship with a bisexual woman might only open their relationship to another woman.
Sometimes, that means that they are looking for a woman to have a sexual and emotional relationship only with her. Other times, they might be looking for a woman who is also bisexual and would be willing to consider having a relationship with both him and her.
There are a variety of ways that couples might open their relationship to another person. They might expect them to live with them and become part of the family or they might both date the other person in their relationship. They may date her together or separately.
This kind of relationship has undergone some scrutiny in the ethical non-monogamy (ENM) community. Couples who have very specific rules for a woman who they want to join their relationship are frequently called “unicorn hunters” and this method of dating is frowned upon.
Unicorn hunting can be hurtful to the other person who is joining the relationship because the couple is already established with their own life. They may have a house or children and other financial obligations to each other. The “unicorn” is often considered a secondary member of the family, which isn’t fair to her.
#2 Unlimited Opening Of Relationships
When couples have an unlimited view of their open relationship, they take the viewpoint that they do not own their partner and have no right to determine who they see. The couple usually dates separately, although they may both date the same partner at some point.
#3 Opening Up Sexually Only
Sometimes, this open relationship comes with limitations like no kissing, no oral, or no anal sex.
This often happens if one of the people in a relationship is not interested in sex or can’t have sex for health reasons. They may not like the idea of their partner having sex with other people but they understand that their needs and desires are different.
While some couples are only open to having sexual relationships outside of their marriage, some prefer to only have emotional relationships. This might be the most challenging type of open relationship because it takes time to develop an emotional relationship with someone.
For people who are asexual or demi-sexual, this can be preferable. They aren’t interested in sex as often, so emotional relationships are more satisfying.
In emotional only relationships, hand holding, cuddling, and other non-sexual intimacies are common. Sex is not.
#5 Opening Up to Friends-With-Benefits
If a couple is open to having other sexual partners but not as deep emotional connections, these are FWB relationships. They like the people they are seeing outside of their marriage, and they often have sex with them, but their deepest emotional connection remains in their committed relationship.
They will always put their committed partner first, so a friend with benefits will always come second. This can work well, as long as the person outside the relationship understands what they are getting into.
#6 Opening Up To Other Couples
Sometimes when people in a relationship want to open up their marriage, they choose to open up to other couples only. They date the couple, just as they would date another person.
The hard part is to find a couple that both people like!
It’s And Individual Decision
If you want to open up your relationship to more love, more fun, and more sex, how you do it is ultimately up to you. You and your partner have to be happy and content with the decisions you make and no one can tell you that it is wrong.
That being said, some ways of opening up your relationship are going to be harder than others. It takes time to find the right person (persons) that you can form the kind of bond you’re looking for with.
The greater the limitations you impart on the way you open up your relationship, the more of a chance there is that it is not fair to other people outside your relationship. Always remember that you and. your partner are not the only ones that will be affected when you open your relationship!
If you’re serious about opening up your relationship, start with the why. Why do you want to open up your relationship? Why do you think that opening your relationship in a certain way is best for you?