Can Open Relationships Work?
Find Out if an Open Relationship is for You
There is no one-size-fits-all relationship model that works for everyone. The more you consciously co-create your relationship, the more likely it is to last. Some people will thrive in monogamy and others in a more open agreement. If you’ve been wondering if an open relationship can work for you, we can help.
For example, those who desire consistency and feel very threatened by the thought of their partner being with someone else, may do better with monogamy. Those who are more capable of dealing with jealousy and crave more variety, may do better with non-monogamy. Whether a relationship is monogamous or open, what makes it work is mutual trust, respect, attachment, good communication, empathy, the ability to self-reflect and grow, consideration, and the desire to support each other in being true to who you are.
Every relationship has unmet needs and, when these needs are not threatening to the individuals in the relationship, people often outsource these needs with others. For example, some people like to partner dance and their partner doesn’t. If their partner is ok with it, they take dance lessons themselves or find a long-term dance partner. However, when there are unmet needs and people have done their best to try to meet them in the relationship but it is impossible for some reason, there are 5 approaches people take. They are (1) stay and build resentment, (2) leave or divorce, (3) outsource the need dishonestly (cheat), (4) outsource the need honestly (5) accept their disappointment and stay.
When we work with couples, we help them explore what they can get in their relationship and what they want to do in the face of their unmet needs. We look at honest outsourcing as one viable option that can often feel much better than resentment, dishonesty or divorce. Opening your relationship may mean that you can enjoy the depth of understanding and support that long-term loving relationships offer and also experience the excitement of new partners. Bringing in new people can often reignite passion between you and your partner. It can also make you feel accepted in all of your desires, which helps you feel more loving towards your partner. It can increase the stability of the relationship because no one needs to leave or lie in order to get their needs met. If you do decide to open up, we can help choose the approach that works best for you. Some people choose more of a swinger lifestyle, others prefer polyamory and some people choose to create their own personal definition of non-monogamy or open marriage. You may want to explore as a team or branch off and have your own experiences or both. Regardless, we will help you go through the process slowly by dipping your toe in the open relationship waters and processing whatever feelings might arise.
Why You Might Want to Open Your Relationship
There are many reasons why you might consider exploring the option of an open relationship
- You are each other’s family, you feel very connected and match well in all other aspects of life, but the sexual spark has gone out (or there never really was one) and you still want to stay together
- You have children and are wonderful co-parents but you are no longer romantic or sexual partners and you don’t want to leave but you want sex or romance in your life
- You love each other and desire each other and you want more variety or one or both of you have never been a naturally monogamous and you want to embrace your true self
- You have sexual desires that your partner does not want to meet and you feel that your life will not be fulfilling if you don’t get to experience them
- You feel safe and attached to one another and you want to bring more excitement and variety into your sexual relationship
One Couple’s Journey into Open Relationship
We have seen many marriages saved by opening up, which has created long-term stability in their partnership and for their children. One of these couples came in to recover after the woman had an affair. After exploring deeply whether the two of them wanted to go back to monogamy and what they wanted out of their sexual relationship, they both became clear that they still loved each other and still wanted their sexual connection. At the same time, they had such different sexual and romantic needs that they wanted to keep their relationship honestly open so that each one of them could get those needs met and avoid divorce or bitter resentment towards one another. At the end of one of our sessions together, the woman said, “He is totally there for me, is an amazing father, and also supports me in getting my sexual and emotional needs met. Why would I go anywhere else?!” Her husband added, “I feel like I’m getting to have the college years I always dreamed of but was too shy to enjoy.”
In Somatica Sex Therapy and Relationship Coaching Sessions You Will:
- Understand what you need in your relationship and how to ask for it
- Be able to be vulnerable and see your partner more clearly
- Learn to accept yourself and your partner for who you are
- Make your contract transparent so you can see and evaluate unspoken agreements
- Explore the possibility of open relationship and the feelings that arise around it
- Explore your boundaries and comfort level
- Explore and negotiate the format that works for you
What to Do Next? Start your Shared Journey!
- Book your first Sex and Relationship Coaching session
- Join our Couples Therapy Retreat
- Read Making Love Real and have a desire conversation
- Read our blog series on open relationships, affairs, and midlife crises
“An amazing, transformative, heart-touching experience that gave me a viable new comprehension of men’s and women’s sexuality.”