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Open Relationships - Good or Bad?

Updated on January 25, 2011

Open Relationships

Open to what?
Open to what?

What in the World is an Open Relationship?

One of my friends recently updated his Facebook profile with the status "Now in an open Relationship" and it got me wondering why someone would want to get into a relationship - and then want to be out of it straight away. It led me to searching for a proper Definition of an "Open" relationship.

Wikipedia defines it as a relationship in which the participants are free to have emotional, spiritual and/or physical relationships with other partners, often within mutually agreed limits. If a couple in an open relationship are married, it can be called an an open marriage.

Types of Open Relationships

What, they are actually "types" of open relationships? Wow, that’s interesting.

Some relationships place restrictions on the number of partners the other party can be with, in other words, you can be with any one from your current circle of friends/associates but you cannot go outside that circle.

Other relationships allow both partners to flirt with other people and basically do all else BUT sex. In other words, you can have as much fun with anyone else as long as it doesn’t lead to actual intercourse.

The third type of Open relationship and one that I have found to be not only popular but wide spread among those practising this type of relationship is the one where both partners can have sexual relationships with other partners without taking it further than that. What this means is that you are having a strictly physical relationship with the other party but you are not falling in love with them or taking any other commitment other than the physical intimacy you are currently enjoying.

Different flavour = more fun.
Different flavour = more fun.

The Good

The most obvious positive about an Open relationship is that technically there’s no cheating. Where there’s no cheating there are no lies. And normally this means there are no nasty surprises and no hurt because everything is in the open.

Secondly, sexually, a monogamous relationship can turn dull with time. Allowing both partners to venture out and sample different “flavours” can sometime bring back that excitement to the primary relationship. Who knows what else one can learn out there about fun between the sheets. This new knowledge can surprisingly spice things up in the bedroom for the couple.

Thirdly, and especially true for married couples, a third party relieves pressure from the primary relationship. Pressures of work, the kids, finances, in-laws etc can cause serious rifts between couples. A third party in the relationship can in a way relieve this pressure, giving both partners some space to cool off from all the rigours of married life. 


The Bad

Are Open relationships widely approved? I know in modern times, like many other taboos of the past, this type of relationship has been accepted but there is very few evidence to suggest it is now widely approved. You still find derogatory names being labelled on those, especially women, who have been with more than one man while in a set relationship. Couples in Open relationships might find themselves being discriminated against or in some cases being censured by society for engaging in such a relationship.

Mainstream religion unequivocally forbids open relationships. Similarly, those engaging in open relationships may find it had to reconcile this behaviour with their religious obligations.

The most obvious negative aspect of open Relationships is the health risk they pose to all involved. Getting sexually involved with multiple partners increases one’s exposure to a host of STDs including HIV/AIDS. Admittedly, this risk can be considerably reduced by practising safer sex. Please note, safer and not safe. Certainly safer than unprotected sex but not 100% safe all the same.

Another pertinent issue with Open relationships is that they have a major psychological burden on all parties. Think about it, as human beings, we all crave intimacy. This is a very special and unique trait of human beings from all other mammals in the animal kingdom. Having said that, does our human nature allow us to share this with multiple people simultaneously? Jealousy inevitably creeps into Open relationships because intimacy simply cannot be shared.

When jealousy starts two things quickly follow – Lies and Betrayal. When you realise you partner is getting jealous, you can no longer be honest about your actions because this will naturally upset your partner so what do you do? Lie. When you then go out and do what your partner dislikes behind their back, it becomes betrayal. 

Happy Endings?
Happy Endings?

Good or Bad?

Personally, I don’t believe that one should get into a relationship if they are not committed enough to the person to stay loyal to them and them alone. People are entitled to choice – that I admit. However, if you would rather be free to roam around and do as you please with no confines then don’t get into a relationship. Whenever there has been a third party in a relationship, there has always been an unhappy ending to the whole thing and our lives are full of examples of this. World leaders have gone down in shame after succumbing to the temptation of having an extra party in a relationship

As the saying goes “Two’s company, Three’s a crowd” I don’t think Open Relationships work and would be really curious to hear from someone who thinks otherwise.

What is your current relationship status?

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    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Hello! Someone in my Facebook group shared this website with us so I came to check it out. I'm definitely enjoying the information. I'm bookmarking and will be tweeting this to my followers! Outstanding blog and superb design and style. cagcgkekdfdb

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I like this post, enjoyed this one thankyou for posting . aeeeeceaeade

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      "Whenever there has been a third party in a relationship, there has always been an unhappy ending to the whole thing and our lives are full of examples of this."

      This seems a bit presumptuous, and I'm not sure if the world leaders example you sited wasn't deceitful infidelity when the context of the article seems to be about consensual infidelity. Also, the reason these relationships are becoming more of the norm is specifically because the majority of monogamous marriages end badly. We comfort ourselves through serial monogamy, when the fires of passion burn out most view this as though it wasn't "true love" and off we go to find someone new. So rather than maintaining long emotionally exclusive partnerships with a little freedom to roam, we have short exclusive relationships and then roam to someone else (usually after there are kids involved).

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      here are four possibilities for 95% of long term marriages (5% are successful monogamist marriages and monogamist longterm relationships with a happy and fulfilling sexual life):

      1. Cheat = mostly destroying and traumatizing your children and family.

      2. Becoming a sexual brother and sister relationship = love deepens and erotic fades your children and family will be ok, but you will become an old person very quickly

      3. Serial monogamist, every five to ten years a divorce with new sexual partner = mostly destroying and traumatizing your children and family.

      4. Being honest with each other about the need of sexual, emotional variety, adventure, exploration and find a consensual respectful way (swinging, soft swinging, threesomes, affairs, polyamory, non-monogamy in all it 1001 ways... etc.) to not breach each others boundaries so both partners can enjoy, be inspired, feel free and be happy!

      SHAME, GUILT, CONTROL AND FEAR is where traditional inspired monotheistic religious marriages are founded on! Adults, free, healthy and independent people have to free themselves from all this negative feelings and boundaries.

      Affairs, adventures with your partner, freedom, natural instincts, is about excitement, being alive, seduction, flirtation, love, affection, sexual bliss, lust, caution, eroticism, fantasy, danger, adventure, exploration and the determined refusal to grow old gracefully.

      I am 100% convinced that the worst of all cases for children is a divorce, unhappy parents or a sentiment of passive aggressive behavior = point 1-3 leads to all this! 

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I would NEVER try an open relationship that bring jealousy infections and other things into a relationship especially if u not careful and if u catch feelings for the third party "three is a crowd"

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I am dating one of the hottest, girls I could I have ever met, but that's not it she is everything I ever wanted and more and I don't desire anyone but her, people say its unhealthy and she wants to "casually' have sex with other people only after a month and a half and she told me recently that she was not really wanting to have sex as much cus she is so small. But now even when I ask her what would she get out of it or even the simplest question she screams and cries like a baby and im not up for some guy that doesn't cook for her and provide for her getting to pound her and possibly give me a STD, FUN FUN woo hoo. I mean I have dated a porn star and 6 strippers but this girl is supposed to be serious with me if she wants to be in a serious relationship then she doesn't need 20 small ones, only our big one...fin tell me i am wrong

    • profile image

      6 years ago

      I'm not cool with it.....what if she gave oral to the other guy and later that day she kisses me....nasty

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I see the positive and down falls of having an opened relationship but I get jealous easy so I know I would be very jealus if he was with someone else and I have a hard time even getting other men to look at me so I would just be unfair if he get to sleep around with every chick that wants his dick or he is able to convince a chick to sleep with him. I do not think a opened relationship would be good for us because of that. But he is all ways saying if I want to sleep with someone else I can as long as he approves were safe and we tell each other whine that way it gives the other Peron time to see if they can get some from there other person and I get to approve of his other person. it husts me a lot whine he dose bring it up cuz I figure its cuse there is already someone he wants to fuck and start thinking what's wrong with me am i not hot enuff of am i just that bad in bed we have only been going out for a year and sleeping with each other a year be for that. that's not long enuff to be bored of sex with the other person. but he was a man slut in high school and he says sex bores him at time so why would he want to have a second girl that he has to worry about? I try to get hi to open up and respond questions I have about why he dose not mind and why he wants one and he just says to spice things up we have been together two years and it do not bother me if your with other men cause I know im the one you love and you will come bake to me as that is true he wont tell me why he thinks we need to spice things up so early in a relationship he says i have been more positive since we have been talking about it he asumead it was something I was wanting to try but i have been more positive and chaning how i hanndle whine I mad hopeing he would realise he only needs me he cant even please me in bed all the time cuz he said he had sex to off tin whine he was younger that is boring know so ya another girl he would please me even less he provably would pound her more (cuz she a slut and knows what she is doing as to were im not that good in bed he only the tired guy I have been with.) if I cant get him to talk about that area either and if he is not being fully opend with whys and awincering my questions how can it fully be a oped relationship and i know I would not be able to handle it I had one onenight stand and i felt really bad about myself and was calling my self a dirty filthily slut im old fashioned but Im opened to trying three ways though and having someone watch use and depending in how that goes maybe see about swapping win in the same room but I don't thing I would be opend for much more thin that and he has talked about swapping and being in seapret rooms but thin were not doing it together and sex is something a couple should do together and every time I try to tell hi my points and fellings on it he just says so you never tried it so how would you know at least try it he has a point but still he has to learn to respect my felling on the topic just like im trying to keep a opend mind to it cuz how he fells and he gets mad cuze whine im horny and were in the middle of it he brings it up i all ways say ya all try it and all be down for that but whine he try to talk about actually doing it later im not okay with it I told him ya wine were in the middle of sex im saying yes to keep the mooed going cuz if i say no you just ask y not and keep buging me tell i say yes any ways so its eayier to play along im down with role playing like that but i don't think he should get ad later win I told him I said it to keep the mood going and its not something I actaly wanted to do.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I think this is a great thing for certain people to try. I have seperated from my kids father a few months ago and now he and I are missing eachother , but neither of us have actually talked about being back together . He is talking about us living together again. I am enjoying are friendship better than when we were in a relationship and I was considering living together and having an open relationship this time. We are young and maybe that's why I think it would be good for us. That way we can meet new people and talk to the opposite sex without the other getting mad or upset.Of course we wouldn't bring others to our home or around our children, but our kids have been begging us to get back together and they have really taken the break up bad. So I definitely think us living together to share responsibilities of being a parent , and being able to both see our kids everyday while having an open relationship would be a very good thing for us. We get along much better as friends and we have lots in common and enjoy being around eachother , our problem is / or was we are both very attractive people and both are big flirts , and the fact we both like attention from the opposite sex to boost are confidence. Its the attention we love so much and the more the better! Its not saying we would like to sleep around and all its just the point of being able to go out with the opposite sex and having a good time because lifes to short and its good to have as many friends as you would like to have ! Its also nice to meet new people for new ideas and experinces which I think in the long run makes the other person more exciting when they can come back from being out with a friend and tell you something new . being around one person seems to become old and boring after awhile especially when they get mad everytime the opposite sex crosses your way or talks you, maybe that's why divorce rates are so high! I am certain that's why divorce rates are so high. People start to get on your nerves when they are around you constantly and always asking you where you've been or accussing the other of cheating and eventually it starts to push you apart! So I think people should do whatever it takes to save an relationship or a marriage and if its and open relationship that saves it then I am all for it!

    • profile image

      No more marriage 

      7 years ago

      This world is sick. I cant get in a normal healthy relationship anymore. Why do these perverted relationships have to be the norm now? Now you are considered possessive for wanting to be married to one partner. I used to think my grandparents were wrong for hating these fags but now I understand why and they weren't far off. Thanks swingers, you suck. You have ruined marriage for normal people with your perverted ways. Congratulations on making the world suck that much more!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      This is an awsome point of view, and the majority of these things you said are on point. I have to say that an open relationship saved my marriage. My husband and I fell out of touch with how we were originally brought together. We both sat down and laid some ground rules and decided to give this a try. Now 2 years later you could not separate us if you tried. One thing we strongly agreed on was protection. That is a great risk in today's world. But all in all in my experience an open relationship opened up so much spark in our marriage that we are the happiest couple in the world. :)

    • profile image

      Ryan Hadley  

      7 years ago

      I think it depends on the people in the relationship. Depending on who is involved reflects the results. It is not a bad thing

    • liljen23 profile image


      8 years ago from Shreveport,LA

      Great hub on this topic.. Thumbs up..


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