The Potential Pit Falls of an Open Relationship

If you and/or your partner have been considering opening your relationship, you likely have a ton of questions about what makes it work. In this two-part series, we will take a look at the advantages and potential problems that come with choosing to have an open relationship.

If you are like me, you’d rather learn from the mistakes of others rather than go through them yourself. This isn’t always possible, as every one of us is unique and experiences things differently, but at least having some awareness can certainly help us avoid some of the potential pain. Let’s take a look at some of the potential pitfalls of an open relationship, and you can read more about the benefits of open relationships here.

The Potential Pit Falls of an Open Relationship

Many couples biggest fear in opening their relationship is that it will implode and destroy what they have between them. The truth is that an open relationship will not destroy a solid relationship. It also won’t save a relationship with a cracked foundation. If a couple opens their marriage because they really just want to be with someone other than their primary partner, or if it is on the verge of divorce, opening it is not likely a successful solution.

I have found some couples who open the relationship when considering divorce will actually find it reigniting their passion and intimacy with each other. It really just depends on the true reason for why opening it makes sense, or doesn’t, for each individual couple.

The biggest disadvantage I have found with open relationships actually has to do with others – namely their inability or disinterest in understanding and/or accepting it. This is true for any “alternative” lifestyle however, including same-sex, inner-racial, fetish and more. There are many people who are quick to judge what they don’t understand.

Sadly, you may be judged by those in your social circles, and while it shouldn’t matter what other people think, for many people, it does. This can cause people to hide their sexual lifestyle out of fear of judgement and rejection. This disapproval can lead to discrimination, disassociation, and even can create child custody issues. However, while I have seen people lose friends, I have also seen them find more authentic ones within the newer community they begin to identify with.

Finally, for those who choose to have open relationships, the choice to tell their families, including children (if they have them), can be difficult, especially if multiple partners choose to live together. Hiding your lifestyle from children is appropriate until they are at a maturity level an age to understand, but this does create a problem to grapple with for many couples.

If you are considering opening your relationship, it’s important to understand how to successfully navigate it so that you have positive results, rather than destructive ones. With over 20 years as a therapist specializing in alternative sexual expression, including open relationships and their various forms, I can help.

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