Open Relationship and Inclusive Dating Blog

Maintaining Emotional Intimacy in Open Relationships

male couple

As society continues to evolve, becoming more accepting of diverse relationship structures is taking center stage. More people are exploring the possibilities of an ethical non-monogamous relationship.

While open relationships offer a unique, sometimes exhilarating, freedom to form connections outside of the primary relationship, they also require a strong foundation of trust.

If you don’t have trust, you can’t have an open relationship.

We’ll explore the key strategies for maintaining emotional intimacy while in an open relationship.

Understanding Emotional Intimacy in Open Relationships

Emotion is sweet.

Even, this sweet.

Did we hook you with our wit?

Probably not. We might not be known for our meme insertion skills, but we do understand open relationships given our open relationship community.

Emotional intimacy refers to a deep sense of closeness to another partner. There’s a whole lot of trust and affection serving as the building blocks.

Having emotional intimacy means being able to share innermost thoughts and feelings and even vulnerabilities without fear of judgment or rejection.

In any relationship, emotional intimacy is a big deal. Without it, things fall apart.

But there are a number of obvious challenges to maintaining emotional intimacy, particularly while in an open relationship.

Time Management

Balancing time between partners is a difficult task. Ensuring the each relationship gets adequate attention requires heavy prioritization skills.


This is the most obvious. We place it second because often, poor time management contributes. But many other things can cause jealousy, such as physical looks, wealth, and many other attributes found in various partners. Seeing your partner form a close bond with another partner can lead to jealousy.

Communication Overload

Open relationships often necessitate more frequent and detailed communication. But sometimes, this can wear partners out.

Boundary Setting

Clearly defining and respecting boundaries is crucial in the maintenance of emotional intimacy. Without boundaries, you don’t have a relationship.

How To Build More Emotional Intimacy

Now we know it’s important. So how to get more of it in our open relationship?

Self Reflection

You should regularly reflect on your own feelings and needs. You need to understand yourself first so you can improve your communication with your partners. If you don’t do you, you can’t do anyone else. Its like they say on the airplane, put your oxygen mask on first.

Open Dialogue

Create an environment that promotes sharing feelings. When you discuss feelings, fears, and expectations, you constantly refresh and invigorate the current relationship.

Prioritize Quality Time

Make sure you balance time between ALL partners, this is critical. You need to make everyone feel welcomed into the relationship. All partners should feel they are a part of your life.

Professional Guidance and Resources

It doesn’t matter what type of relationship you’re in, it is always healthy to look into professional resources geared towards helping people build better relationships. Too many people look at help and guidance as a failure, but its by far the way to win at your relationships.

We’ll stop sounding like a self-help book now. That said and speaking of books, here’s a couple to begin with:

“More Than Two: A Practical Guide to Ethical Polyamory” by Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert – This book offers practical advice for navigating polyamorous relationships, including communication, trust, and emotional intimacy.

“Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships” by Tristan Taormino – This guide covers various aspects of open relationships, from establishing boundaries to maintaining emotional connections.

If you are experiencing persistent challenges in your relationship, speaking to a professional is a good idea. Its important to find someone who is knowledgeable and supportive of open relationships.

Look for therapists who specialize in relationship counseling, particularly those who have experience with non-monogamous or polyamorous relationships. Seek recommendations from friends, online communities, or support groups that focus on open relationships. Personal referrals can often lead you to trusted professionals.

By seeking professional guidance, reading recommended resources, and connecting with supportive communities, individuals and couples in open relationships can thrive.

But its important to consistently do the work.