The Problems of Open Relationships

One of the common questions that struggling couples have is whether or not they should open up their sexual relationship. There are many reasons that couples consider doing this. If you are considering taking this route, I recommend you read through this article and think about your options before making a decision on this topic.

Maybe you have a sex life that has lost some of its excitement or you are in a long distance relationship and can’t frequently have sex with your partner. Maybe you think that you should keep your sexual options open. Possibly you  don’t want to be intimate with your partner because you don’t feel emotionally close due to toxic communication. Although there may be immediate sexual gratification from having an open relationship, there are almost always drawbacks and future problems associated with this.

The issue of having sex outside of the relationship is more of a practical issue than a moral one. You are consenting adults, and it is your decision if you choose to have an open relationship. However having sex with other people often serves as a way of avoiding underlying issues and can bring conflict to your existing relationship. And sex is much more complex than we often assume. It is difficult to always identify what it is that we want from our sexual relationships because we can get lost in feelings of lust.

Therefore, if sex was once good in your relationship, there is a good chance that you could work to improve this once again. You may have to be creative to make some changes. All relationships have their ups and downs and the sexual aspect of a relationship is no different. If your sexual relationship was never all that good, you can always make it better. Also remember to ask yourself “why is this a problem now, and it wasn’t before?” If it was because you didn’t talk about your sex life enough, you now know that you should talk more, which will help you improve it. But maybe their are changes in your own thinking that you need to process through in order to be able to improve on your sex life.

Another problem with open relationships is that the boundaries are often too loose. Both parties are unclear of the rules, and when the unspoken assumptions of what the rules should be are broken, one person in the relationship inevitably gets hurt, which begins a toxic cycle. You or your partner may say and even feel as though you are fine with sex outside of the relationship, but you do not know if this will always remain true. Are you going to feel fine about your partner repeatedly choosing someone over you for sex? Passive-aggressive comments, anger, jealousy and resentment are common problems that end relationships when other people are introduced and another feels left out.

The third most common issue is that open relationships promote falling for another individual. What happens if you are so attracted to a person that you end up sleeping with them repeatedly? Lust can be quite blinding and an easy way of further losing interest in your current partner. You can get up in the grandiosity of the act of sex and quickly lose track of the benefits of along-term relationship. Is it better to avoid such a problem altogether?

Rather than looking outside of your relationship for more exciting sex, I recommend talking openly about the issues in your relationship to create more meaningful sex with your current partner. If it is a long-distance relationship that you are in, discuss if you realistically can make your relationship work with the current distance that you live with. If you are not likely going to live in the same town or close to the same town, it is not likely that your relationship will work out anyway. If there is an end in sight to the long-distance of the relationship, using masturbation and phone-sex are options, or just waiting it out and saving the long-awaited passion for when you have a chance to get together.

If your problem is dealing with mundane sexual activity, discuss openly what you want out of this and have fun experimenting. Understand part of growing together is respecting and understanding the difference between love and lust. Also be careful not to discount other problems in your relationship or even in your personal life. Couples often struggle with having two people in them, so adding more people can greatly increase the chances of having future problems. Finally, remember to examine your own personal needs that are being met through this other than sexual needs. Remember that I have no personal problem with you having an open relationship, but mindfully enter this arena. If you are using sex as a way of avoiding other relationship or personal problems, the outcome is likely to backfire.


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