If you’re considering an open relationship, I strongly recommend you take some time to learn about the various aspects of the lifestyle. Doing research before taking action will better equip you and your partner for the road ahead. Keep in mind, people choose ethical non-monogamy for a variety of reasons. It’s important to get clear on your intentions behind opening a relationship. Having an understanding of the pros and cons and seeing how they align with what you are desiring for your relationship can be incredibly helpful.
The open relationship lifestyle offers a sea of opportunities for personal growth. Being in an open relationship has taught me how to be more true to myself while staying in connection with my partner and with others. As an open relationship coach, I see my clients take huge steps in creating positive changes in their lives and in their relationships. Some of these changes include shedding layers of societal programming, surpassing challenging situations with more ease, learning to express themselves more clearly, and more. It’s an honor for me use these skills to help others create healthy and sustainable open relationships.
Did you ever think you could have your cake and eat it too? People in open relationships often say they can! But, what does that mean? That means they have the comfort and security of a solid, stable, home-base relationship with the freedom to explore connections with other people. Having space to explore sexual and romantic connections with other people can be incredibly exciting and healthy for any long-term relationship. It adds variety to the relationship. With more people, there are more experiences to explore. This often leads to an increase in sexual desire, intimacy and authentic expression for everyone. The key, of course, is to practice ethical non-monogamy in healthy and sustainable ways. This is where coaching can be helpful.
No doubt, communication is the biggest area of focus for anyone practicing ethical non-monogamy. Why? In order for any kind of relationship to work, we need to have the necessary skills to be able to express ourselves and hold space for others to do the same. So often, couples find themselves in a routine of behavior or a pattern in their communication. They get lost in this dynamic and lose touch with what’s important to them.
Being in an open relationship will put every issue on the table. These issues come up to be addressed. Addressing these issues in healthy ways is the goal. This is where open, honest, transparent communication is needed. The majority of the people in our society were not brought up in environments where it was okay to have feelings and express them. Learning and practicing these skills in a safe container such as coaching gives us an opportunity to break unhealthy patterns and create positive shifts in our lives and in our relationships.
Feelings and emotions are a natural part of being human. All feelings come and go. That’s the nature of their game. Anyone considering an open relationship must realize that there is no way to avoid unpleasant emotions just as there is no way to hold on to positive emotions. Being aware of this upfront can be incredibly helpful. With this awareness, we can begin to practice acceptance of our feelings and find healthy ways to deal with them. From this perspective, having feelings can be seen as a pro to being in an open relationship because feelings help us get clear on what we need. This is good. The problem is that many people are resistant to having feelings. They are challenged by how to deal with them and this puts a strain on their relationship. This is one reason why people reject open relationships.
The saying “love is infinite but time is finite” is commonly used by people who practice ethical non-monogamy. There are only so many hours in a day. Add work, family, and relationship needs to the mix, and the day is practically over. There’s just not enough time to do everything we want to do, let alone add another person or two to the mix! Making plans and developing relationships outside the primary relationship can be challenging. Meeting the needs of everyone in your circle and taking care of our own needs and responsibilities can be tricky. In theory, being in an open relationship might sound ideal. However, practically speaking, it just may not work for people.
Limited resources when things get tough
One of the main reasons why I choose to work with the open relationship niche is because it is a very underserved population. Yes, there are resources available online: articles, podcasts, books, to name a few. And yet, when a couple is struggling, it’s hard to find someone to talk to who can both understand their situation and help move through it. Limited and accessible resources contribute to people’s inability to learn how to create healthy and sustainable open relationships. I love it when people come to me and say, “We want to work with you because you get it. You’re in the lifestyle and you’re a professional coach. This is what we’ve been needing all along.” It helps to have extensive personal experience and offer this to my coaching clients. Clients feel validated from the beginning. This makes all the difference in the world.