Rules for an open relationship

If you are in an open relationship then chances are you have already discussed the do’s and don’ts with your partner, but if you’re looking to get into one and don’t want any crossed wires or misunderstandings later on then this article is for you. Read on for an easy guide of the most common rules and tips for having an open relationship.


Honesty – I’m not just talking about being honest with your partner, being honest with yourself is the first step to having an open relationship. Are you ready to see your partner interacting with other people in that way? Are they? Is your current relationship strong enough to withstand the possible jealousy that may arise if you misjudge how open minded you both are? Honest communication is needed to decide if you are the right people in the right relationship to have this kind of discussion in the first place.

Boundaries – Once you’ve agreed on an open relationship you need to be aware of each other’s boundaries. What comes under the umbrella of your open relationship? Are you only allowed to sleep with strangers you might never see again or is anybody ok to approach? What sex acts are ok and which are reserved for your partner only? Can you stay overnight? Do you tell your partner before/after or not share the details at all? All of these questions should have answers in place before you embark.

Protection – Unless you are looking to start an open relationship involving multiple partners and children then you should make sure that you are both using protection. Birth control alone for women will not be enough if sleeping with multiple men or one man who has multiple partners, a condom should always be worn to prevent the spreading of any STDs one of you may have.

Stay attentive – Just because you are allowed other people in your relationship, does not mean you should neglect your first one. Schedule regular check in moments with your partner to make sure they are still happy with the arrangement and give yourselves the chance to discuss any concerns that you may have. It is hard enough to keep one relationship going well all the time so don’t use other relationships to hide from any problems in the first one.

Have set rules for discussing your relationship with other people – Not everyone will understand your relationship and you may find that friends or family can create a problem in the beginning in terms of creating conflict where there wasn’t one. Have a game plan with your partner with how to talk about it if you feel that you should. Hold onto a simple sentence that you can both use whenever necessary to placate anybody who is asking why or other probing questions.