What Does Open Relationship Mean? 8 Rules Of Being In A Happy And Fulfilling One

Rules That Make an Open Relationship Work

Love is a marvellous thing, isn’t it? It comes in all shapes and sizes, challenging the norms and expanding our understanding of relationships. One such style that has been gaining attention and acceptance is the idea of an open relationship. So, what does open relationship mean?

We’re about to dive into the fascinating world of couples who have open relationships and where communication, trust, and exploration are the name of the game. In this article, we’ll uncover the secrets behind a healthy and fulfilling open relationship, presenting you with ten simple rules to make your journey an exciting and joyous one.

Let’s start by understanding open relationships and what does open relationship mean.

Related: What Is A Throuple Relationship And How Does One Work?

What Does Open Relationship Mean?

Okay, let’s start with the basics. An open relationship is when you and your partner agree to explore connections with other people while still maintaining your primary partnership.

It’s like having a relationship with a side of extra love. But hey, there’s no one-size-fits-all here! Open relationships can take on different shapes and sizes, from swinging to polyamory or whatever floats your boat.

For example, Sarah and Mark have been together for a while, and they’re all about being open and honest with each other. They love each other a lot, but they also believe that it’s okay to explore connections with other people.

They had a long chat about what they’re comfortable with and set some ground rules. They decided that it’s cool to have physical relationships with others, but they want to keep the emotional stuff just between them.

They talk all the time and make sure they’re on the same page. Opening up their relationship has actually made their bond even stronger.

Another example goes like this. Alex, Beth, and Chris are in a special kind of relationship called polyamory. It means they’re all in love with each other and they’re totally cool with it. They’re like a little team, and they believe in being open and honest about their feelings.

They’ve talked a lot about what they want and what makes them comfortable. They’ve set some rules so that everyone knows where they stand.

Being in a polyamorous relationship has given them a sense of love, security, and the chance to build multiple meaningful connections.

Now that we have talked about what does open relationship mean, let’s explore the rules of an open relationship, especially a happy one.

8 Important Rules Of An Open Relationship

1. Make sure you are 100% open about everything with each other.

Being open and honest is one of the most important rules of an open relationship. It’s not just about being honest with your partners, but also with yourself. You need to be upfront about having other partners and make sure everyone is aware of the situation.

You don’t have to share all the nitty-gritty details, but keeping things open and honest is a basic rule. It’s also a good idea to have a conversation about what an open relationship means to each person involved.

Understanding everyone’s perspectives and being clear about your commitment levels can help avoid jealousy and power struggles. Remember, open communication is key to making it work.

What does open relationship mean and how openness can help

2. Have proper boundaries and limitations with one another.

Setting boundaries is important in open relationships. It means deciding what’s okay and what’s not okay for everyone involved. Talk about sex and emotions.

Can you have another romantic partner while still being with your main partner? Can someone be both a support system and a sexual partner?

Discuss specific sexual acts and what’s off-limits. Consent is crucial. Emotional boundaries matter too. Talk about social and dating interactions. Setting clear boundaries prevents jealousy and builds trust.

Related: What Is ‘Open Casting’ Dating? Exploring The Revolutionary Trend For Gen Z And Millennials

3. Safe sex is non-negotiable. Period.

When it comes to understanding open relationships and what does open relationship mean, this is something that should be at the top of the list.

It’s really important to prioritize safe sex when transitioning from an exclusive to an open relationship. While you might be excited about exploring new experiences, don’t forget about practicing safe sex in real life.

Have a conversation with your partner about what you’re both comfortable with and how you’ll ensure safety. Discuss using protection, getting tested regularly, and being open and honest about sexual health. Taking these precautions helps protect not only yourself but also your partners.

So, keep the excitement alive while making safe choices to enjoy your open relationship to the fullest.

4. If you feel jealous, or sad, don’t hide it or pretend as if you are not affected.

Jealousy is a real thing, even in open relationships. It can sneak up on you, even if your relationship is strong. Couples who have open relationships know that dealing with multiple partners and emotions can get messy, and it’s important not to downplay jealousy.

Don’t keep your feelings bottled up or ignore them. Open communication is key. Don’t shame your partner or yourself for feeling jealous. Remember, it’s normal and okay to feel that way.

However, managing and understanding open relationships may require more than just accepting jealousy. It’s important to address and work through it together.

5. Never take your partner/partners’ feelings for granted.

One of the most important rules of an open relationship is to respect the feelings of all your partners. Just because you have a main partner doesn’t mean you should disregard the emotions of your other partners.

Open relationships are about being open and honest with everyone involved. Make sure to communicate your intentions and desires clearly, whether you’re looking for a casual hook-up or a more serious relationship. Be sensitive to any insecurities or jealousy that may arise and establish boundaries and schedules to address these concerns.

Communication is non-negotiable in open relationships, so be open about your own feelings and encourage your partners to do the same.

What does open relationship mean

6. Don’t bottle up your insecurities, instead face them and try to deal with them.

It’s very normal to feel insecure sometimes, because you are human after all. However, it’s important to confront and address those insecurities before entering an open relationship. Couples who have open relationships know this very well.

Once you commit to it, going back can be challenging. Be honest and transparent about your feelings and insecurities with your partner. It’s crucial to have a mutual understanding and if either of you is unsure, it’s best not to proceed.

Related: The Cycle Of Serial Monogamy: Why Some People Can’t Stay Single?

7. Take it slow and steady, because being impulsive will not do you any good.

This is one of the most crucial things to keep in mind when it comes to understanding open relationships.

It’s natural to feel excited about the concept of an open relationship, but it’s important to recognize that your partner may have reservations, and sometimes some very serious reservations. Rushing into things can lead to problems down the line, so it’s important that you take it slow, and give it some time.

Take the opportunity to meet people who have been in open relationships for a while, join groups, and engage in discussions to gain a better understanding. Allow your partner sufficient time to adjust and get comfortable with the idea.

It’s possible that they may not share the same level of enthusiasm or may not be open to the idea at all.

8. If you feel things are not working out, don’t be scared to back out of it.

Open relationships are not everyone’s cup of tea, and you know what? That’s completely okay. Knowing when to step back when things are not going in the right direction is one of the most important things you can do.

No matter how long you’ve been together, entering an open relationship is a whole new dynamic. It may not be suitable for everyone, and if serious issues arise, don’t hesitate to back out. Take the time to revisit the idea when both of you share the same feelings and are in the same headspace.

Remember, entering an open relationship shouldn’t be driven by what’s considered “cool” or “trendy.” Closing an open relationship or parting ways due to incompatible needs doesn’t make you uptight or boring.

Now, let’s explore the benefits of open relationships.

Benefits Of Open Relationships

  • Freedom to follow your heart: Open relationships allow you to follow your heart and explore connections that resonate with your desires and needs.
  • Deepening emotional connections: Engaging with multiple partners can help you understand profound emotional connections and have a richer understanding of love.
  • Embracing your authentic self: Open relationships provide a space for embracing and expressing your true self without fear of judgment or limitations.
  • Rediscovering passion: This is one of the greatest benefits of open relationships. Having multiple partners can reignite the spark of passion and bring a renewed sense of excitement to your life.
  • Learning from diverse perspectives: Each partner brings their unique experiences and viewpoints, which can offer you valuable life lessons and help you broaden your understanding about life.
  • Honesty and communication: Couples who have open relationships know the value of honesty and communication. Open relationships demand open and honest communication, which deepens the level of trust and intimacy you share with your partners.
  • Personal growth and self-discovery: Again, this is one of the best benefits of open relationships. Engaging with different partners allows you to explore your desires, boundaries, and personal growth in profound ways.
  • Breaking free from societal expectations: What does open relationship mean? Open relationships challenge societal norms, empowering you to create relationships that aligns with your values and desires.

Related: 6 Steps To Becoming More Open with Your Partner


Open relationships give you the chance to explore connections beyond traditional monogamy, which can help you grow and strengthen emotional bonds. To make it work, follow these eight rules, and remember, open relationships require openness, both in your heart and mind.

Keep the conversation flowing and be ready to adapt. With these principles, you can create a happy and thriving open relationship that’s tailored to your needs and desires.

What does open relationship mean to you? Do you know any couples who have open relationships? Let us know your thoughts in the comments down below!

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