How to Bring Up an Open Relationship
For traditionally monogamous couples, even couples with a healthy sex life and open lines of communication, the idea of opening up a relationship can be terrifying. Even with the knowledge that swinging and open relationships are actually fairly common, some couples will find talking about them uncomfortable.
Swinging, in particular, can feel like a threat to the status quo, but it may be less of an emotional risk than one might think. Swinging isn’t about pursuing emotional relationships outside the one you’re in. Instead, it tends to focus on embracing a healthy recreational attitude toward sex.
For many people, this means swinging is a natural evolution from a traditionally monogamous relationship.
Test the waters
As you begin to read about swinging and open relationships online, or just fantasize about them in your own life, pay close attention to what ideas excite you and which ones make you uncomfortable. Before you can confidently communicate to your partner about the subject, you need to know the specific aspects that interest you; being vague will not move this important conversation along.
The longer you harbor thoughts about swinging or sex outside your existing relationship in any form, the more important it becomes to share those thoughts with your partner. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t enjoy some “alone time” with your fantasies, but open dialogue is always the best way to avoid hurt feelings later.
There are no magic words for starting the conversation. Even before you reach that point, ask yourself questions you suspect your partner might have, which should help you form boundaries of your own and fine-tune your empathy for your significant other.
Try to approach your partner with the goal of supporting and being supported. Don’t be afraid to express this concept. How a couple talks about nonmonogamy is a fantastic indicator of how a couple will practice nonmonogamy. There’s a difference between talking the talk and walking the walk, but this type of supportive communication is actually a bit of both.
The best time to talk to your partner about nonmonogamy is not “any time.” Your partner’s (and your) willingness to have some casual fun may change based on a given condition, context or circumstance.
It’s important to approach these topics with your partner at a time when life’s stressors are not so abundant and overwhelming. These are great conversations for a date night, days off or vacations. You want to bring up the topic of swinging in a way that is fun, casual and curious, rather than daunting or distracting.
Talk about sexy subjects, discuss fantasy scenarios, ask tawdry questions or tell each other raunchy jokes. If you’re ready to embrace a bit of vulnerability, talk to your partner about scenarios that scare or worry you. This type of honesty and insight can really help convey the desire to support and encourage each other.
Well, both happen to be true.
Many assumptions and judgments about swinging and alternative sexual lifestyles are out there. It’s possible you will confront some of these concepts, either with your partner or among others you encounter. Remember, and remind your partner, information is the best defense against ignorance.
And if you don’t want to necessarily educate every person who disagrees with your choices, you don’t have to do so. Your sex life is your own and doesn’t have to be anyone’s business.
Beyond closed doors
Congratulations. You tested the waters and started a difficult conversation.
Together, the two of you navigated tricky questions and now you feel ready to open things up. Maybe you’ve created online profiles, gone on dates or already taken that special resort trip you saw advertised online. The point is, you’ve opened the door together and walked through.
Remember the great communication you utilized to get to this point? Don’t let go of that practice. Things move quickly and can change at any point. Check in and talk regularly to make sure that you and your partner stay on the same page.
No matter what happens in your relationship (or relationships), remember to be honest with each other, listen to each other and stay safe. Taking these steps just might help you continue to enjoy what you’ve always enjoyed about one another, just exponentially.