What’s All This About Open Relationships?
The concept of an ‘open relationship’ isn’t anything new. For many years, centuries even, couples have decided between themselves to release the bonds that prevent them from engaging in romantic activity with other people.
An open relationship is a form of non-monogamy (monogamy meaning to have only one partner at a time) - a partnership that is not predicated on exclusivity but an openness to sharing experiences with more than one person.
In a world so fixated upon monogamy, marriage and commitment to just one partner, why are open relationships becoming such a growing trend?
The Belief That Love is Endless
Some people are attracted to the idea that within each of us is enough love to go around– to many different people. If love is indeed endless, monogamy surely restricts it, which is why proponents of open relationships advocate the sharing of that love with those that deserve it.
Open relationships often have a hierarchy, too, where one person takes the role of primary lover and the other secondary. Not all partners are given equal and total love or time, meaning that individual lovers aren’t drained or spread too thinly.
Monogamy is Not Practical
Many individuals involved in open relationships are drawn to the idea because monogamy simply doesn’t work for them. They feel trapped when locked in a committed partnership, knowing that they’ll eventually resort to leaving or being unfaithful.
According to Jill Akridge,
It’s all about confidence in this relationship. You’re so confident in yourself that you know, no one out there is better than you, or is a better match for your partner. You know they feel the same way because you talk about it.You both understand the need for variety, and that that’s all it is – a little dose of the new relationship highs and lust. So, you’re comfortable with sharing and being shared.
Perhaps this isn’t strictly true for everybody, but it makes sense that the desire to remain open in a relationship could be driven by confidence. A person with such a heightened sense of self-assurance may, indeed, feel that no one person is quite enough to meet their standards. The only solution is to keep themselves open to a range of different lovers.
Quite simply, some people have such a high libido that it simply isn’t feasible for them to remain committed to only one partner. To quote Akridge once again,
You need to have sex with others, to experience others in that clothing optional way. Your partner needs the same thing. You understand that your body has desires that are absent of the heart, so you have at it. In the end, you come back together, maybe even the same night, maybe even with the other person in tow.
Whilst two partners engage in sexual activity with others, their open relationship acts somewhat like a home base - a constant amidst repetitive change.
Some People Think That Love Isn’t Real
Many of us have never found love, and as a result, some conclude that love simply isn’t real. Such people are sometimes attracted to the concept of an open relationship, which is predicated not upon love as such but upon genuine connection.
When an individual loses faith in the concept of love, meeting another person that holds similar beliefs may allow them to form a deeper emotional bond based upon identification with one another. They’re alike, and that brings them together.
Of course, some people in open relationships believe wholly in love and that their relationship is built entirely upon it. They are devoted and committed, but simply open to their partner’s pursuit of other sexually intimate partners.
Indeed, open relationships aren’t for everybody. Some people despise the idea of sharing their partner with different people, whilst others can’t imagine a world in which they were tied down to just one lover.
Whatever the sexual orientation of the people we meet, it’s important to remain accepting of other people’s preferences. Different cultures sometimes hold entirely opposing views on monogamy and polygamy, but as individuals, it’s our responsibility to keep an open mind.
Not all people are like us, and that’s okay. As long as they’re happy living as they choose to.
Written by Adrian Drew
Self-help blogger and freelance writer. Personal development writer and founder and editor of Mind Cafe (https://medium.com/mind-cafe), a Medium publication.