What Is An Open Relationship?

open relationship feature image

For many, the terms “open relationship” can be quite unsettling. But much of that is rooted in a deep cultural misunderstanding as to what an open relationship is. There are dozens of open relationship benefits that tend to get glossed over by people who simply don’t understand the lifestyle.

And hey, that’s fair. Rather than dwell on how we want people to feel, a more positive way forward is by being the change we desire to see. In other words, in this article, we’ll help clear up misconceptions and explain the open relationship concept in a digestible way. We’ll convey how an open relationship might be the solution to your relationship woes.

Is an open relationship for you and your spouse?

Maybe – but maybe not.

So, What The Heck Is An Open Relationship?

The image above conveys a sort of romantic, culturally ideal vision of what it means to be in love. And that’s fair.

But sometimes, our preconceived notions blur the reality of marriage and dating. Coupling up is tough stuff. It takes a lot of work. In the United States, 50% of marriages end in divorce. Many of those divorces slathered in vitriol, vengeance, and financial calamity. Love makes pretty pictures – but love can throw emotional daggers.

Many couples simply get bored of one another, particularly on a sexual level. We aren’t here to pitch ideas about whether monogamy is natural for people. We’ll leave those debates for the scientists. However, one thing we’ve learned through the open relationship lifestyle is that a lot of resentful, vexed couples thrive when they begin an open relationship agreement.

An open relationship is a lifestyle where a couple, dating or married, agrees to a set of romantic, physical engagement rules with people outside of the marriage. Depending on the rules, people introduced into the relationship may be friends, or strangers. Open relationship directives could mean background checks, or physical limitations. But the overall concept of an open relationship means that both partners can pursue some form of a physical relationship with outside people.

The last paragraph may have served to make you feel a bit uneasy. Wait, my man or my woman will make whoopy with someone that’s not me? And that’s a good thing?

Let’s be clear. An open relationship is not for every couple. Deciding to go down the path of an open relationship means partners should pursue a free exchange of dialogue as to what each partner would gain and what each partner desires.

This dialogue, as fortune would have it, is one of the great benefits to an open relationship. We linked or our benefits of an open relationship article in our opening paragraph, so we aren’t going to spend too much time on those aspects.

An open relationship may, and should, look different for each couple. An open relationship is not as simple as “we are seeing other people.” An open relationship means constructive dialogue that results in meticulous format.

Each partner will have their desires. Each partner will express insecurities. This exchange of information crafts an open relationship policy.

Maybe as a couple you agree that you can’t be with people you work with, or friends, or maybe you each don’t want strangers in the relationship due to concerns over health.

What An Open Relationship Is Not…

An open relationship isn’t typically an unrestrictive pass to live that dope life from your 20s. Most couples in an open relationship have discussed, ad nauseam, their desires. They’ve improved their communications with one another.


Wait for it…

They’ve improved their own sex lives. In fact, when it comes to “what is an open relationship,” improving the originating couple’s communication and sex lives is a big part of that answer. If its not, you might be doing it wrong.

If you want to be in an open relationship with the long goal of going on a bar fest, you might be better off single. But that’s your perogative. Many couple who find our open relationship dating site desire both outside fun and internal growth.

Do Open Relationships Last?

Open relationships do, in fact, last, but success hinges on couples who do the work. If a couple singularly wants to get with other people but not improve their own relationship, the “open relationship” may fail. But again, that’s not a failure we attribute to the open relationship but a general relationship failure.

Does Infidelity Happen In An Open Relationship?

Absolutely, yes.

Again, an authentic open relationship experience requires that the originating couple establish needs, rules, and desires. If your physical or even platonic interactions fall outside of that scope, you’re not doing it right.


An open relationship is an agreement between two persons to pursue platonic or physical relations with outside persons. Those additional people may be strangers, friends, or otherwise and such depends on the established, agreed upon rules.

An open relationship should help the originating couple’s relationship become stronger and more secure due to the uptick in heartfelt dialogue.