Combating, Embracing Societal Perceptions of Open Relationships

man with two women in bed

The world of open relationships continues to grow as traditional dating disruptions compound. With costly and emotionally draining divorce at staggering highs, many couples are seeking new ways to operate with a significant other. The growth in open relationships stems from a pursuit of mutual happiness.

And for many, open relationships are helping them find their way to a better relationship place.

But that doesn’t mean that open relationships as a hot button topic is simmering. The more mainstream media attention open relationships get, the more critics and proponents collide.

Today, we’ll discuss the importance of social perceptions in the open relationship community.

What Are Open Relationships?

We discuss open relationships ad nauseam here, mostly due to our hosting one of the premier open relationship dating communities. Yes, we have a bias, but equally, we bring experience in the field to the conversation.

Open relationship is a high-level term that encompasses a variety of relationship types. In all cases, these relationships are consensual and share a mutual interest for happiness. Open relationships mean that more than two persons are involved in a physical and sometimes, emotional, relationship.These relationships could be loosely attached in the way that they aren’t long-term; but other types include longer term commitments, which often refers to swingers.

The LGBTQ community embraces open relationship concepts as much as anyone, spotlighting polyamory’s inclusivity.

Let’s now delve into the criticisms and support of open relationships and most importantly, how to navigate it all.

The Critics

Life is full of haters. Yeah, that’s a bit of an immature, slang way to describe critics of open relationships; however, it’s quite appropriate.

We live in a world of all types. Most “types” don’t aim to harm the rest of us. But that doesn’t stop moralist from feeling a need to criticise and shun those who partake in activities they don’t approve of.

And such is the case with moralists vs. open relationships.

Many religions deeply root themselves in monogamous relationship structures. And while many of those supporters could care less what the rest of us do, there are the unfortunate few who feel an energy for protesting.

The moralist factor is the most impactful when it comes to creating critics. And if you’re new to open relationships, they’ll serve as your immediate thorn.

But as we find our way down the tree, we shake off a few other types. Some critics come in the way of family and friends. For these people, your change to an open relationship may be so shocking, they don’t know how to handle it. And instead, they act out. Some of these people will adjust, and in some cases, pursue the same path as you and yours.

But some others may themselves be moralists. And their staunch rejection of your open relationship may never fade. Unlike the moralists you don’t know, these moralists often hurt the worst because they are former friends, or family members.

Critics of open relationships aren’t something we simply overlook as a “sticks and stones” model. Some of these critics push anti-open relationship, anti-polyamory laws in their communities that can have sweeping, dire affects on real people. These are real consequences that can’t be disregarded.

The Proponents

As mentioned in our introduction, there’s a growing movement towards open relationship dating. The same traditional relationship structure the moralists protect is the one that’s highlighting a need for restructure. That’s the irony, of course.

Proponents feel strongly that open relationships offer a more liberating, flexible, and most importantly, honest connection. Traditional relationships are ripe with partners lying, concealing, and cheating.

Furthermore, proponents of open relationships see this incoming flexible structure as bucking our normal as a way forward to a better place. For proponents, like us, we see open relationships as the evolution of the relationship – a better way forward.

There’s an increased visibility of non-monogamous relationships that’s happening right before our eyes. And it’s making an impact by normalizing a new structure. It’s not recruiting, per se, instead it’s freeing up those who have considered the idea but felt shame.

What Now?

Its important to embrace proponents, but further, it’s absolutely essential to support causes that help push the movement forward. Critics will continue their slander and support of anti-open relationship agendas. Its essential that the community stand up, be seen, and fight back.

Of course, some open relationship couples live in the shadows for a variety of personal reasons. Its an understandable position. Privacy is important to all of us. This conversation isn’t about forcing a movement of unveiling. Instead, it’s a conversation that helps us all better understand our movement and where we are.

When you are faced with critics, remember that there is no perfect response. Its OK to feel down over it. Look towards the light. There are way more proponents than opponents. Focus on the good people out there. You’re amongst many.

Check out further resources, including some popular podcasts.

  1. Multiamory: This podcast is dedicated to ethical non-monogamy and alternative relationship structures. The hosts discuss a wide range of topics, from communication and conflict resolution to relationship advice for polyamory and open relationships.
  2. Normalizing Non-Monogamy: This podcast features interviews with people in non-monogamous, open relationships, and polyamorous relationships. It provides real-life insights and experiences, helping to normalize and understand non-monogamy.