Regardless of the reasons you choose to have an open relationship, you can reduce the risk of things going wrong by setting up a few solid rules. It’s important to remember that opening things up as a last effort to save your relationship never works. Doing it when you’re in a good place emotionally is a much better decision.
Once you pick the right moment, open relationship rules can be slightly difficult to set up. Good communication is very important, and so it always putting your partner first. Here are the best ways to create the rules and boundaries for the new phase in your relationship.
1. Accept Jealousy
It’s silly to go into an open relationship expecting that you’ll never feel jealous or insecure. If you discuss these feelings with your partner, without an accusatory tone, you’ll have an easier time processing them and brushing aside irrational insecurities.
2. Get Specific
Sticking to broad strokes when setting up open relationship rules can be a relationship for disaster. It’s important to go into details when it comes to who, when, where, and how is allowed. You also have to set up boundaries when it comes to discussing any events. Some couples like to share details, others prefer total detachment.
3. Start Slowly
If monogamy has always been your default relationship setting, jumping into bed with another person might be the wrong first step. Start flirting or sexting with people online and see how that makes you and your partner feel. You can also consider trying a threesome and opening your relationship only in this way. This is why it’s important to be in a good place in your relationship when you try it. Both you and your guy should be ready to just let it go if the other says “This isn’t working for me.”
4. Work on a Blacklist
One of the most important open relationship rules is to work together to create a list of people who are completely off limits. You can include friends and co-workers or just decide that only people from out of town are acceptable. Once you finish that list, stick to it, because getting involved with someone from the list is a betrayal as big as cheating.
5. Avoid Emotional Involvement
Sticking to strangers certainly makes it easier to avoid getting emotionally tangled with the people you have sex with. Don’t spend the night, and don’t get too cuddly. Any emotional complications are threatening your relationship and just aren’t worth it. If you start getting a crush, cut that person out of your life completely.
6. Show Emotional Respect
Even if you stick to the letter of your open relationship rules, what’s more important is that you stick to their spirit. Don’t do anything you know might hurt your partner or make him feel betrayed. It’s not worth it.
7. Keep Your Home Out of It
Just don’t bring anyone home, whether your partner is around or not. Unless you’re enjoying threesomes with your guy, keep your home as the place where the only intimacy allowed is between the two of you.
8. Put Your Partner First
It doesn’t matter if you made plans in advance with other people, your partner is your top priority, and that’s one of the basic open relationship rules. Ignoring your guy and spending too much time with others is a bad idea, and it will hurt your relationship.
9. Be Honest When You Hook Up
Leading people on is simply wrong. You don’t have to mention your relationship status when the other person is just looking for a one night stand. But when that’s not clear, it’s your duty to let them know that there isn’t any chance that you’ll ever date or be together exclusively, since you’re already in a relationship.
10. Stay Flexible and Keep Reassessing
Flexibility also has to play a big part in open relationship rules. Keep communication lines open and see if things have evolves. Many couples discover that their sex lives have improved significantly after opening up, and they decide to go back to a more fulfilling monogamy. Rules can change when you’re both in agreement. Remember that the original goal was to make you both happier. If that’s not happening, reassess the situation.