Thinking about entering into an open relationship? You might want to do some research first.
For anyone unfamiliar, here’s the deal: An open relationship is one in which both partners agree to a non-monogamous arrangement. This can mean exploring sexual relationships with new partners or engaging in romantic relationships outside of the main partnership.
If you’re considering opening up your relationship, take a look at the nine helpful reads below first.
[People think] that we are not committed, that we are cavalier about our relationship or marriage. This could not be further from the truth! I am 100 percent committed and loyal to my husband. That is why I do consensual non-monogamy ― in the long term I see that it enhances our connection. ― Gracie X, author of Wide Open
There are scant positive models of healthy non-monogamous relationships, and so monogamy is generally not considered a choice but a given. Once a couple commits to each other, sexual exclusivity is expected and assumed — for now and forever. Is that a reasonable expectation? Is monogamy willingly embraced or just endured?
Just like anything related to sex, an open marriage isn’t for everyone. While exploring polyamory may be incredibly satisfying for a growing number of couples, there are some potential drawbacks.
In my case, [being in an open relationship] strengthened my relationship because I felt like I could talk to Han about anything. There was never any jealousy between us. We were both comfortably secure in our commitment to one another.
You start out with a set of rules you think will work for you and some will work and some will not. You might end up thinking this will be easy — no problem — and then you might say, “Oh, that hurts! Let’s not do that again.” And sometimes you think something will not feel OK and you try it and you’re like, “Oh, that was no big deal! Sure!” So, be open to change and allow for that flexibility.
Why shouldn’t we be able to have sex with others in order to avoid monotony, and still have a satisfying, emotionally close relationship with one partner?
No. 7. Tight sexual boundaries lead to profound frustration. If you’re lucky, you grow and change as the years pass. Your sexual needs and wants are part of that very natural process, but there’s no guarantee that they’ll evolve in lockstep with your partner’s. With non-monogamy, you don’t have to choose between never getting those needs or wants satisfied and throwing away the entire relationship, just for the freedom to find the kind of sex you want with someone else.
No. 2. How will it work logistically?
Once you have decided what the open relationship will mean for you and your partner, you need to work out how much you want to know about what they are getting up to with others ― do you want full transparency or minimal information?
Navigating the ins and outs of an open relationship can be a difficult task, attempting to determine the actors, settings and moods involved in the sometimes uncertain arrangements. One New York-based artist, Keren Moscovitch, attempted to explore the murky territory with her camera, photographing her own personal experience with a form of polyamory.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.