If you’re reading this, I think it’s safe to say that you’re at least considering opening up your relationship. While polyamory, swinging, and open relationships are still a bit taboo, they’re becoming more and more mainstream, which means more people are looking to take a leap into the lifestyle than ever before.
How do you know when you’re truly ready? Only you can know for sure, but here are five signs that you might be happier in an open relationship.
One: You’re Comfortable Experiencing Romantic or Sexual Attraction to Multiple People
It’s completely normal and healthy to be romantically or sexually intrigued by people who aren’t your partner, even if you’re monogamous. How you act on those desires is up to you and your relationship parameters. If you naturally find yourself quite drawn to a number of people, you might love the possibilities that an open relationship provides you. In fact, that intoxicating feeling you get from a new relationship (often called “new relationship energy”, or NRE, by those in-the-know) can even breathe new life into established relationships when we allow these feelings to flourish and be shared.
It’s important to note that you don’t necessarily have to be open to both sexual and romantic experiences. You might want to open up your sex life without getting involved romantically, or vice versa. Do what’s right for you and your partners.
Two: You cherish your alone time and don’t necessarily want to be part of an always-together couple.
Some people like to have multiple partners — both sexual and romantic — but live or sleep alone. If you’re a very independent person who values time to yourself, this might be a relationship configuration that appeals to you. While it’s not necessarily our societal standard, this is becoming more and more common, especially as our global economy forces folks to relocate. You might want to look into “solo poly” and see if that’s a label and a concept that works for you.
Three: You don’t want to be someone else’s one-and-only.
If the idea of being someone else’s one-and-only freaks you out, you might be happier in an open relationship. No one person can meet their partners’ every need, and that’s important for everyone — in any relationship configuration — to accept. For polyamorous folks, or people in open relationships, this tends to be one of the major tenets of their relationship beliefs. It’s expected that no one person will fulfill you completely, which removes some of the pressure that people can feel in romantic relationships.
(It’s important to note here that monogamous people experience this as well. Managing relationship expectations and boundaries is an important exercise, regardless of your relationship configuration.
Four: You’re highly social and reasonably well-organized.
An open relationship requires sociability and logistics. The more partners you have, the more schedules, preferences, and plans you need to keep straight. If you’re a whiz at organization or if you’ve always been a social butterfly, these things will probably seem totally natural to you. If not, don’t despair — find a good calendar app (or go old-fashioned with a day planner) and get planning.
Five: You’re Happy with Your Current Partner
Sound backwards? Well, here’s the thing: An open relationship presents new opportunities and new challenges. If your foundation is a happy, healthy relationship, then you’re in good shape. Wanting to open up your relationship isn’t about being unhappy or unfulfilled in the relationship you’re in — ideally, it should be about sharing your life and happiness with more people.