What is an open relationship and is it right for you

What is an open relationship and is it right for you

Journalist and sex blogger Arina Holina discusses the psychology of open relationships and their appeal. Let’s explore how this arrangement tends to create issues and whether you should consider it in your romantic life.

How an open relationship works

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Our female friend noticed that the guy he was seeing had practically moved in with her. This didn't bother her; in fact, she enjoyed it, prompting her to suggest something new. She was eager to move on to something more serious, but she was uncomfortable with the idea of monogamy. She also saw no reason or desire to change her mind, so she was frank about it. This was a true ultimatum for their relationship, and the guy, thankfully, had no objections.

And they’ve lived happily ever after. For 20 years now! Here’s how it works:  

  • They can have sex separately from each other. It can be as easy as going out, finding a new fling, and having sex with them;
  • There is always a chance of falling in love during a fling. This is something that they both realize and accept, sex with different people isn't everything. We seek romance, that's why many people have affairs. In their arrangement, no one is afraid of losing anyone. First of all, it doesn't always have to be catastrophic, and secondly, they treat each other like family already;
  • They have both sex and affairs with people. A couple of times it was even a relationship for several years. Casual sex with new people is not excluded.

Pure dating — anything but boring!

How many people are in open relationships?

We recently surveyed the Pure Community and found that 10%~ of respondents were in open relationships. At the same time, 68% of those surveyed said they wouldn't mind if they found out that their date was already in a relationship.  Stats speak louder than words!

An open relationship without a partner - what is it like?

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Yes, it is entirely possible to have an open relationship, even if you’re not exclusively seeing someone. You can easily be the third person in an open arrangement. Just for once or for a while. Some people would rather not be in a permanent relationship, so this is a great option.

Your lover might already live with their main partner, and perhaps, you could settle down with them, and participate in all obligations, but let's be honest, a third person is rarely able to integrate into an existing relationship. Everyone usually just wants sex - just because of the thrill of being with multiple partners. Though, everyone is different. You can have sex with someone today, and you can cuddle with someone else. Once again, no one can forbid you from connecting with someone else. That said, there has to be a transparent and mutually understood relationship for you to do that.

Women, of course, have a big advantage here - not all men are willing to accommodate another man in their relationship. Women have a much easier attitude towards sex with women, while men, even without any dated homophobia, find it harder, and it’s not rare. If you're a woman, you can walk into any type of arrangement (if you all like each other). Really, if you're part of a couple and you want a second man in your relationship, your husband most probably won’t be ready for such an experience. C’est la vie.

Open relationships in marriage

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In theory, you can transition from a closed to an open relationship over time, but let's face it: most people are too conservative to consider it. No matter what changes you want to make, habits tend to stick to us. When most people have broken free, they find it easier to get a divorce - and have a new, open relationship. We know one woman who spent three years trying to convince her husband that having two blankets was not a betrayal of their love and passion. Imagine how hard it would be to talk about open relationships with someone like that.

But if you're determined, this guide on how to find a third will help you. First for sex and then you'll see

Rules of an open relationship

An open relationship can be a great option if both partners are completely on board from the very beginning. Otherwise, one will insist on being free, while the other will try to accept it (but in reality, suffer in silence). It shouldn't be all betrayal for one and liberty for the other.

Arina Holina


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