Rewards on Open Relationships
A successful open relationship can be more rewarding than you presume. With both partners being honest and lay down ground rules, the introduction to an open relationship can in fact, enhance trust and love between a couple. Making it an acceptable dating style in the modern society
To first clear the misconception of an open-relationship. Some indicate such relationship as when both partners share a “free pass” to sleep around with other people but are still somehow committed to their original partner and their serious relationship. As oxymoronic as it might seems, this is not the full story. With our substantial knowledge in societal norms and means in maintaining a stable romantic partnership (such as exclusivity). The idea of an open relationship doing good to a couple can sound bewild.
Surprisingly, a recent student at the University of Guelph in 2018 have showcased that interviewed couples who were in an open relationship (200 participants) were just as happy and satisfied as their monogamous counterparts (140 participants). This debunks societal view has the study made it to the headlines internationally, including CTV News, the New York Post and The Daily Mail. Jessica Wood, the lead author of the study and a PhD in applied social psychology mentioned, “We have found that the levels of relationship satisfaction, psychological well-being and sexual satisfaction are the same for both non-monogamous and monogamous couples”. With the majority of people who either want to, or are in a relationship wishing for happiness and companionship. Thought it might varies from individuals, the idea of an open relationship seems to be a practical choice in terms of bringing joy and happiness into the lives of the dating-couples.
One of the keys of maintaining an applicable open relationship is being communicative. Couples have to discuss nearly about everything, from setting emotional and sexual boundaries to taking protection procedures. The level of disclosure is high, yet essential. In this digital age, our phones and electronic devices have become an inseparable part of our daily routine. The introduction and popularization of dating and communicating apps have weaken the bonds and trust shared among couples. Ask yourself now, how you ever tried to unlock your partner’s phone just to go through their messages? Or login to their social media accounts to see who they are following or who’s photos they liked? You try to understand and have a full picture of what your partner is going through in his/ her life. You try to take control and predict their moves. The introduction of an open relationship can have the couples to better navigate and negotiate their emotional, physical needs and triggering factors. A relationship with a great level of transparency can strengthen the bond and trust shared between the couple. A better understanding of each other’s’ needs will result in a positive impact in maintaining the trust within the relationship and have your partner feeling secure. With that being said, an open relationship is an acceptable dating style in the modern society.
Pros of having an open relationship
Having an open relationship could be terrific for those who do not believe in monogamy, have a failed relationship previously or do not want to attach to only one partner simply. However, they still pursuit to have a serious and long-lasting relationship with a partner. In this case, having an open relationship could be suitable for them as they are able to enjoy the best elements of both worlds.
In an open relationship, you are allowed to get to be with other people. In other words, you are not only limited to one person and you have unlimited possibilities. Instead of sticking your whole life with just one person, you are allowed to go out and explore what is out there and potentially find a better partner who fits you the most. In a lot of traditional relationships, people complained that they might have missed ‘the right person’ while they were stuck with ‘the wrong person’. An open relationship would never have such trouble. It is very frustrating when you are out there making new friends but you have to keep reminding yourself that you are in a relationship in which you are somehow discouraged or even not allowed to have further interactions with even someone you are incredibly attracted to. With that being said, you are never going to miss any opportunity that comes to you and feel regretful while you are in an open relationship.
Another possible pros of having an open relationship is that competition could make a relationship healthier. While you are in an open relationship, you are allowed to meet others apart from your own partner. In this case, your partner will be aware that you have other options. If your partner know you have been seeing someone else for a while, they might somehow try to improve themselves in order to make sure he or she is still your favourite one and you are not going to leave. In a lot of traditional relationships, partners will eventually get bored of each other and start to be less effortful in maintaining their relationships. Sooner or later, they will become someone who are completely different compared to the beginning. By knowing the fact that your partner has been changing and improving themselves could possibly make you like the more too. So, having some sort of competitions could be beneficial to the relationship.
Cons of having an open relationship
On paper, an open relationship seems to combine two of the most wanted lifestyles in relationship – the ability to create a long-lasting and meaningful connection with a significant other whilst breaking out of the boundaries of monogamy and allowing oneself more time to sexually explore and experience with others. The philosophy of it may sound ideal, yet it only papers over the many cracks prevalent in open relationships.
The first issue lies in sexually transmitted diseases. A survey by health group Aids Concern showed that 11% of its respondents aged 13-25 were infected with STDs. Whilst this may be attributed to the hook-up culture promoted by the rise of dating apps, it is foolish to ignore the increased risk of contracting STDs as a result of having multiple partners at the same time, and this risk increases exponentially too if your significant partner is also having multiple partners. An open relationship with your significant other, in which you each have another partner, will increase your exposure to STD from one person to at least three, as the second partners may also engage in relationships with others as well.
Pregnancy may also be a severe, unwanted effect of open relationships, and cause legal and mental issues. The impregnation of a secondary partner by the male of the original couple may lead to the original couple becoming financially obligated to the child’s upbringing, and similarly, impregnation to the female of the original couple can cause legal disputes on the parentage and legal ownership of the child. The most innocent individual in either case – the child, may be subjected to the most pain emotionally and psychologically as a result of confusion in regards to their own upbringing.
On an emotional level, couples who choose to partake in open relationships may find themselves at the end of more matters that they can deal with. Nobody likes to be seen as the jealous type because it gives off the vibe of being an insecure individual, yet this is the very reason people overestimate their ability to control jealous, or define as “not the jealous type”. It may be very likely that an individual in an open relationship may become jealous as a result of their partner choosing to spend time, or sleep with someone else ahead of them.
Furthermore, even if a couple is able to maintain their emotions, and remain loyal emotionally to one another, there is no guarantee that their secondary partners will adhere to the rules of a purely physical relationship. For example, an individual may face difficulties if their secondary partner falls in love with them, and attempts to destroy the individual’s original relationship or sway them from their original partners. The same could happen to the individual’s original partner too. There are simply so many variables of emotions involved, and a specific outcome will become hard to build to, or predict. It is therefore dangerous to assume firsthand that emotions can be separated from a physical relationship.
Cons of having an open relationship
Modern life dating styles are getting increasingly complex. With movies and media suggesting “No strings attached” and “friends with benefits”, some would choose to avoid all the drama by opting to go for an open relationship.
In theory open relationship can be perfect for people who hate commitment. Some people might choose to have an open relationship during a failing relationship to give each other more space and time to work on their own problems. However this might not be the best approach. Opening a weak relationship from monogamous, you will very much likely destroy what you two had. If one is going to change status of their relationship, they must first have a very strong and sturdy foundation in place. It is not about being the “jealous type” or whether you are emotionally vulnerable and attention-seeking. Open relationship might affect one’s physical or emotional health by putting their well-being at risk. One of the example would be the difference in expectations. It is hard to rely on your partner to make good choices and be physically safe as he or she might develop serious feelings for someone else, leaving you emotionally unsupported, hurt and without any relationship. Of course, vice versa, you yourself might potentially fall for someone because you are allowing yourself to go to this stage.
Moreover, it triggers unhealthy competition. It is practically human nature to feel at least a little bit jealous when you see your partner with another person. Or even when you hear them talking about a new person. The insecurity of being not good enough for you partner and the feeling of uncertainty might run wild and go out of control when you do not know how to deal with them.
Being together for a longer time is not a justifiable reason to have an open relationship. You don’t need another person to spice up your relationship given you’re in a solid committed relationship with your partner. Spending time with other people means spending less time with your original partner. Quality time spent together is one of the crucial element in having a stable and happy relationship. With this in mind I believe open relationship does more harm than good to both you and and your partner. It is merely an escape when things are getting rough and you have no idea how to solve it.
Theoretically, open relationship might be a perfect solution to solve boredom and FOMO, but if you treat your partner as someone you are going to spend your life with and you care about each other equally and intensely, having such polygamous relationship is torture instead of nurture. You are have think before you trade your life partner for a temporary rest stop while you are searching for something better.