There’s all sorts of reasons why you might wonder, “Is an open relationship right for me?”
Maybe your boyfriend asked to open your relationship. Maybe you met a guy that conference and even though you have a boyfriend, you can’t stop thinking about him. Maybe the cute guy you met on Tinder already has a husband.
I’ve been there myself and I’ve helped a ton of people answer that question for themselves. Whatever your reasons for asking yourself that question, I’m gonna help you figure it out.
If you’re trying to figure out if an open relationship is right for you, let me tell you: I have been. there. And I’ve helped tons of people answer that question for themselves.
Here are some clarifying questions that you can ask yourself to figure out, “Is an open relationship right for me?”
Do you want to hook up with or date other people?
This is one of the most important questions. Do you want it? Like, on a base level. Not worrying about what your parents will think or how you’ll handle vacations or will the kids be alright, but just like, do you want to hook up with other people, or date other people. If you don’t, that doesn’t necessarily mean that an open or polyamorous relationship isn’t right for you.
An open relationship can still be a fun and fulfilling way to structure a relationship even if you.don’t want to date or hookup with other people… Just as long as it’s freely chosen and whoever you’re with is going into it with thoughtfulness and grace.
Is there something missing from your current relationship?
Trying to find another partner to fill whatever is missing in your relationship, can be like trying to put a bandaid on a bullet hole. A quick fix to a much deeper issue. But not always.
If what you’re looking for is because of differing sex drives, or an interest in a particular kink, or because you want to live with a partner and your partner wants to live alone, or because you just want some more diversity. That’s all totally naturally. But if what’s missing in your relationship is something deeper, like trust, or empathy, healthy communication or a real commitment to each other an open relationship isn’t going to fix those types of systemic issues. And in fact, it can make it even worse.
How are your communication skills? And if you’re in a relationship, how are your partner’s?
Being in an open or polyamorous relationship involves a lot of communication. You’re cutting against so many cultural norms and that takes work.
You have more people’s time, energy, needs, and feelings to manage.
You’ve got to be really intentional about what you want out of your own life and your relationship together.
You’re going to have to be able to have conversations in a healthy and productive way.
You’re going to have to be able to hear uncomfortable things
You’ve got to be able to say no and have it respected.
Do you trust yourself and your partner to navigate these conversations thoughtfully and respectfully.
Which leads me to my next question...
Do you feel safe, stable and secure?
This can be a tricky to sort through because even just thinking about an open relationship can be deeply unsettling in a culture that is ingrained with monogamy. The question itself might just make you feel unsafe or insecure.
But setting all of that aside for a second, there’s a bigger question of, in general, do you feel safe and secure in this relationship?
Are you able to understand each other’s needs and collaborate to get those met? Do you treat each other kindly? Do you have each other’s best interests at heart? Do you take care of each other, in thoughtful and respectful ways?
And outside of your relationship do you have a support system of friends and family in place that can support you, so you’re not just leaning entirely on this one person in your life.
Regardless of whether you’re in an open or polyamorous relationship, having a support system outside of your partner is going to be so important for having a healthy relationship.
Are you willing and able to ask for what you want and need?
I think that it’s important for you to be able to ask for what you want or need in any healthy relationship. If you’re single and you want your next relationship to be open from the beginning or you’re dating someone who’s already in a relationship, this might actually be easier for you because you don’t have a history of monogamy together and all of the assumptions that sometimes go along with that… like, “You should just know what I want and what I need at all times, without me having to say it!”
Get comfortable figuring out what it is that you want and you need and then asking for that directly.
Do you spend all of your time with and energy on your boyfriend/husband/partner?
If so, regardless of whether you decide an open relationship is right for you, I’m gonna invite you to diversify your base of friendship and support. We humans have these balancing needs of needing to be independent and interdependent. Autonomous and in community. If you’re used to spending every waking moment with your partner, even spending a night alone by yourself, whether with friends or at the office, can feel totally scary and overwhelming. And that’s not even talking about jumping right into a date or a sleepover.
Remember that no matter how much you love your partner or your boyfriend, or your husband, you’re still two individual people. That’s what drew you to each other in the first place and that’s what’s going to sustain you going forward. So take some time to cultivate your own interests and activities. These little bits of uniqueness and separateness are opportunities for you to fall in love with each other all over again.
If your responses to any of these questions have got you thinking that maybe an open relationship isn’t right for you, that doesn’t mean that it’s never going to be right for you. Or that you aren’t built that way, or whatever.
It just means that that’s where you are right now and where you are right now is absolutely okay.
I’ve actually worked with a lot of people who were really nervous or hesitant about an open or polyamorous relationship. They thought that it would never work for them. And then once they put that relationship into practice, it ended up being really fun and fulfilling for them.
But that doesn’t mean that non-monogamy is right for all people at all times. There very well might be time commitments or an intense emotional commitment or personal development work that you need to do or issues in your current relationship that you need to work through before you get started.
My invitation to you today is to take some time to really think about what an open or polyamorous relationship might look like for you.
If that’s something you’re really excited about, awesome! But also, take some time to think about some of the obstacles that might come up and how you would address them. You don’t wanna rush into this half-cocked.
And if you’re nervous about an open relationship or about polyamory, that’s ok too! I invite you to take some time to think through what benefits that might bring to you. It’s not only the scary stuff, you know.
Regardless of whether you choose monogamy or polyamory or an open relationship or something else entirely, you deserve a relationship that is fun and fulfilling for you. And ultimately you’re going to know best, what that is.
If you’re in the thick of it, in the midst of trying to figure out if an open relationship or a polyamory is right for you, I have been there, I get that, I’m going to be making more videos to help you figure that out for yourselves.
Drop me a line here and let me know what it is that you’re going through so that I can make stuff that’s most applicable to you. If you want some more personalized supported, I’m always available for that too. You can learn more and snag a time to talk here. We can work through whatever it is that you’re dealing with. I would love to hear from you.
Remember to subscribe on YouTube or by email below for a new video + article every Wednesday afternoon. We’re talking about all the things that gay guys need to have relationships that are fun and fulfilling. Things like, sex, jealousy, shame, hooking up, healthy communication, open relationships and so much more.