Open Relationship and Inclusive Dating Blog

Beyond the Flirt: Signs They’re Serious About an Open Relationship

couple on date with wine

Distinguishing between someone genuinely interested in an open relationship versus someone seeking something more casual is a difficult task. But as many of you know, it’s absolutely essential. Unfortunately, some folks may “think” they desire an open, more modern relationship, when in fact they aren’t ready for that at all.

Here’s some tips and ideas that should help you cut better read these situations both in person and online.

Why Would Someone Have Disingenuous Intentions?

Let’s begin by better understanding why someone might not be a good fit for the modern, open relationship dating community.

There are two types of people in these cases:

People who have ill intentions.

These are people who know they aren’t truly interested in an open relationship, but see it as an opportunity to meet people whose values may align with their own. The problem here is that they confuse the mainstream portrayal of open relationships with reality, but these two things couldn’t be further apart.

People who ‘think’ they want an open relationship, but aren’t ready.

These folks may think they are down for a modern dating relationship, but they aren’t. A lot of times, they suffer from similar misunderstandings about what open relationships are. Beyond that, they often haven’t taken the time to process the concept of an open relationship and all that it involves. They haven’t educated themselves on the space yet.

We have a bit more sympathy for this group, but unfortunately while we’re looking for authentic modern dating connections, they tend to have the same affect as their counterparts. The difference here is that someday, this group may in fact be ready to take the dive into an open relationship.

So how do we spot these folks before they waste our time?

Let’s Begin with Communication

We say this a lot around these parts, but, communication is the central fabric of all relationship types.

In open relationships, communication is the critical first step, it’s also the nucleus of the relationship as it continues.

If someone has ill intentions, they may try to communicate their needs and desires, but it can feel less authentic. They may say things that feel rather templated and impersonal.

For those who don’t realize what open relationships and modern dating are all about, they will likely feel off guard, maybe off-put, by the heavy lines of communication. If they haven’t self-explored these communications, they aren’t going to be comfortable having the initial explorations happen with a stranger.

This is another reason why communication in open relationships is so imperative. It can help you truly see someone’s intentions.

Ask About Prior Open Relationships

As a sub-topic, during communication, ask about prior open relationship experience.

For those who don’t really “get” open relationships, they’ll likely be pretty transparent about never having been in one. Often, these are people who came from traditional relationships where partners cheated on them. Pursuing an open relationship is a reactive path whereas they are trying to protect themselves.

For those with nefarious intentions, they’ll likely make something up. The good news is, given they don’t have any real connection with the open relationship community or philosophy, it may be easier to detect the inauthentic description.

Are Consent and Respect Centerpieces?

During conversations, the person should center near everything about respect and consent. As we know, both are super impactful pillars of open relationships and most modern dating setups. So if they aren’t acknowledging that, they likely aren’t ready to be part of an open relationship.

Do They Feel Transparent? Honest?

Those open relationship vibes – we know ’em well. Honesty and transparency are at the forefront and they carry over to other personal topics. If someone feels closed off, they aren’t ready for modern dating.

Signs Someone Might Not Have Your Intentions

What are other signs someone isn’t valuing the open relationship style?

They focus on physical intimacy too much

Their conversations seem to always lead toward the physical without much regard for the emotional. This is probably the number 1 red flag to be aware of.

They avoid deep conversations

We discussed transparency and honesty as part of communication expectations, nothing exemplifies this more than deep conversations. If the person you’re talking or chatting with tends to avoid these conversations, they aren’t ready for you.

They lack transparency

They seem vague about their intentions, avoid defining their relationship, and seem less open about their other current relationships. This is a good sign for you to move on.

They feel short-term

They only focus on immediate future and avoid all talks about longer term wants.

They disregard boundaries

You say you want to meet in a coffee shop first, they push you to come over for movie night. That’s one glaring example of a person who isn’t cut for modern dating that always places boundaries and respect as the centerpiece value.


There are many reasons someone isn’t ready to experience modern, open relationships. Some are nefarious, others fall into this category unwittingly. In any case, learning the signs can help you better grasp those who you should avoid, or cut ties with, before there’s any dating damage your way.