3 amazing tips on how to ask your partner for an open relationship

here's how to navigate that "open relationship" talk

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last updated
April 4, 2023
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Ah, the good old "open relationship" talk. It's like the "birds and the bees" talk, but with more awkward silences and fewer props. But fear not, my friend! we’re here to help you navigate this difficult discussion in the best way we can.

An open relationship is a type of relationship where both partners agree that it is acceptable to have sexual and/or romantic relationships with people outside of the primary relationship. While some may view open relationships as unconventional or taboo, it's a personal choice that can work for some couples—many of our members are living proof that it can definitely work and that it’s not as unattainable as it might look when you’re first starting.

So let's roll up our sleeves and get ready to have a conversation that might just change the course of your relationship forever (no pressure tho!).

here are 3 tips to help you approach the open relationship discussion

Tip #1: Be clear and honest about what you want from the open relationship

Before you start the conversation, take some time to clarify your own desires and boundaries. What do you want to explore in an open relationship? What are your limits? Having a clear idea of what you want will make it easier to articulate your thoughts to your partner. For instance, you can reflect on your past relationships and what worked and didn't work for you. You can also think about your current needs and desires and how an open relationship may align with them.

When you start the conversation, be honest and direct about your desires. Let your partner know that you're interested in exploring an open relationship and explain your reasons for wanting to do so. Let them know that this is not a hasty decision and that you’ve put a lot of time and thought in it. A lot of rejection comes from insecurity and fear of the unknown so make sure you tell your partner that the decision was not made based of something they’re lacking but rather something you’re needing—as that’s how it should be. Be prepared to answer any questions your partner may have. You can also share your concerns and fears about opening up the relationship, and ask your partner how they feel about it.

Tip #2: Choose the right time and place to have the open relationship talk

Let your partner know that you have something important to discuss; reassure them that nothing is wrong but that you’d like to talk about something that’s been on your mind. It’s important that they don’t come into the discussion feeling anxious as that can heighten their reaction but also try not to give out too much information so they don’t come with a pre-conclusion without hearing from you. As much as we hate it, open relationships carry a bad stigma that they’re the solution for a broken relationship and you don’t want them to believe that’s the case before even hearing you out.

Try to find a time and place where you and your partner can have an open and honest conversation without distractions or interruptions. both of you need to have each others’ undivided attention for the discussion to go smoothly and avoid any miscommunications. You may want to consider a neutral location where you both feel comfortable and at ease—and where your partner shouldn’t have to worry about tuning their reaction.

Tip #3: Listen to your partner's response

Your partner may have a strong emotional reaction to your proposal, so it's important to listen to their response and be open to their feelings. Don't dismiss or invalidate their emotions, and try to be understanding of their perspective. You can ask your partner how they envision an open relationship and what their concerns and boundaries are. This is a big change, especially if there haven't been any previous discussions about it so try to empathetic towards them.

If your partner is not immediately receptive to the idea of an open relationship, be patient and give them time to process their feelings. It's important to respect your partner's boundaries and decisions and to continue the conversation respectfully and honestly. You can also offer to revisit the topic at a later time when your partner feels more comfortable or ready to discuss it further. These transitions cannot be rushed and you need to give them all the time they need and offer them resources to learn about open relationships. This might be a great time to set up check-ins if your relationship doesn’t already have them.

If your partner's potential reaction is a great source of concern for you, you might want to introduce the topic in a softer way first to gauge their opinion on the relationship structure. Perhaps watch a movie about open relationships together, tell them about a book or an article you've read, or ask them about their opinion without involving your relationship and see how they react to it.

our take.

Remember, the decision to have an open relationship is a mutual one that requires both partners to be on board. Before tou jump head first into discussing it with your partner, take a little bit of time to plan and prepare for what might happen if they do say no and that it's not an option for them—which is OK, there is no right or wrong way to have a relationship. If monogamy is the only way for them to feel secure and fulfilled in a relationship, will you be willing to give up this new exploration or is it going to be the end of your relationship?