How Do You Know What Style of Open Relationship is Best for You?

Sexuality is evolving for those who are open and curious about it. As I begin to launch a course for those looking at making a transition from monogamy to open relationships, I will be addressing some questions I get from those just new to exploring the possibility, or who have just begun their journey.

For some this means they may have tried and need some guidance for it to be successful, while others have opened the conversation with their partner, or even those who are secretly desiring it, but haven’t yet broached the topic with their spouse.

My intention is to help you better understand open relationships and how to make them be successful and fulfilling in the ways you desire. One of the questions I want to address is: how does one know what style of open relationship is best for them.

For some people, they try all kinds of things, and that is fine, but sometimes that is counter- productive. For some, it is easy to rule out what won’t work just based on their personality and sexual personality. We will talk more about sexual personality in the future, but for now, I just have a few ideas to help you begin to think about when you start considering your options.

Brief Review of Open Relationship Types

Swinger. In general, those who participate in a swinger lifestyle have a committed relationship where one or both partners engage in sexual activity with a person or people outside the relationship. It tends to be more casual connections, unlike more committed relationships in a polyamorous lifestyle.

Polyamorous. Polyamory is defined as a committed relationship to more than one partner. They are both emotional and physical, but all people may not be intimate with each other, however everyone is aware of the partnerships between parties.

Designer. Designer relationships are those created by the individuals that blend and define what their open relationship looks like. It could mean that one partner is monogamous while another has a committed relationship to more than one partner, or has full openness to date others.

Questions to Consider

How strong is your need to hide your sexuality?

One general trait that can make a difference in helping to determine what type of open relationship works for you is your willingness to go against societal grain. It takes strength to be very open, such as in a polyamorous relationship. You could potentially face backlash/pressure from family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and if applicable, your children.

Consider how you would feel showing up at your family’s Thanksgiving dinner, the company picnic, or a vacation with more than one partner. Would you be ok with it? Maybe you still feel this is best and just need to put some agreements or hierarchies in place, but these are things to consider.

What level of risk are you willing to take?

Keeping yourself and your partner(s) safe from sexually transmitted infections and/or pregnancy can be a real concern. A small poly family with fidelity can overcome this, but may not be the right fit for your desires. Be honest with yourself – how good are you are at choosing to be safe and reducing your risk of unwanted physical consequences? What do you need to put in place to limit this risk?

What support do you need to help this be successful for you?

There are many resources available to you on open relationships, including those listed here. I invite you to learn more by joining the private Facebook group A Successful Transition from Monogamy to Open for articles, videos and discussion.

As you consider your options and how you may transition from monogamy to an open relationship style, I hope to be a resource for you. If I can help, request a free consultation today at

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