couple talking

How to Talk About Open Relationships: Communication Techniques

Discussing any change in a relationship adds potential stress and strain. Prompting a discussion involving moving the relationship into an open setting certainly can be intimidating. Understand that discussing an open relationship with a partner is stressful for anyone. You aren’t alone. But most positive changes come from situations are decidedly outside our comfort zones.

If you believe that an open relationship could benefit your current relationship but are apprehensive about discussing it with your partner, keep reading.

Communication is at the Forefront of all Relationships

We can rather easily and expeditiously trace the root of most traditional relationship issues to poor communication. Communication resides at the heart of relationship problem solving and growth. But communication often suffers first as relationships grow with age. Partners begin to misalign because they don’t understand the other’s desires. At the heart of these communication lags is sex.

At the very least, an open relationship encourages and escalates communication between partners. No open relationship happens without healthy communication, yet, many traditional relationships endure years of poor communication. The point is, an open relationship prerequisite is the communication that you needed years prior. That’s the irony.

Preparing to Talk about an Open Relationship

Luck is the result of hard work and practice. Don’t take your chances with luck when it comes to the topic of discussing or asking for an open relationship. Like everything else, you should exercise forethought and practice.

Fear not, we aren’t suggesting you stand in front of the mirror and rehearse (although, its not a terrible idea). More, we feel it’s a good idea to write out some bullet points that will drive the discussion.

First, what are your concerns?

For example, consider jealousy, insecurities, and boundaries.

Understand how you feel about those with your partner. Sure, you’re asking for the open relationship, but that doesn’t mean you’ve fully thought through your emotions.

Next, consider how your partner may react to those issues. By considering your partner’s reactions, you can prepare your responses. The goal is to prevent unexpected reactions from tainting your responses which may cause the conversation to spiral into a heated argument.

You need to understand how you’ll sound asking for the open relationship. If you sound as if you have your eye on another woman, or your looking for a free cheat pass, the conversation may not go well.

By assuming your partner’s position, you can detect that angle and correct it. It will help you create talking points around how the ask of an open relationship should benefit you both rather than you alone.

Research Open Relationships

Our open relationship and swingers blog helps lots of couples better understand the value. There are lots of good thought leaders in non-traditional relationships out there.

The education you devour should serve as a main talking point. The educational content, such as podcasts, blogs, and scientific research, should also help show you’ve researched how an open relationship can help both of you.

Create a list in digital form. Make sure you have it at the ready for the conversation. At a later date, you should also have open relationship dating sites at the ready so they can see what that experience entails.

Pick the Right Time

This one should be obvious, but often our nerves and anticipation may cause us to force a conversation when the moment isn’t right. You don’t want to bring it up during a fight “as a solution to stop fighting.”

You want to pick a time when both of you have reasonable heads. If you’re in an irritable mood, avoid the topic. If your partner appears edgy, again, take a pass.

You also want to choose a time that’s free of distractions, such as kids or work. You need an undivided attention.

Have an Agenda

Using your research and your earlier mock conversations where you looked at an open relationship’s value from you and your partner’s perspective, create an agenda. You don’t need to print this out. But understand it as a mental guide for the conversations directions.

It might look something like this:

  • Defining what an open relationship means to you
  • Discussing boundaries and agreements
  • Talking about sexual safety and health
  • Discussing potential emotional impacts

Expect a Rough Start

Although you’ve set an agenda, performed research, and gone over the benefits for your partner, none of that matters if you never get into the heart of things because your partner goes a bit off the rails.

This may happen. Asking for an open relationship is a monumentous event in a relationship. Expect a potential rocky start. The key is to not make things worse. By expecting a rough reaction early, you can contain your own emotions. Don’t judge your partner for reacting to the initial news. Its most likely a very unexpected topic.

Instead, consider a couple of points that can help you keep the rails on.

  • The importance of listening to your partner’s feelings and concerns
  • Using empathetic responses to show understanding and respect

Remember, whether you’re just starting out or have been in an open relationship for some time, it’s okay to have questions or even doubts. It’s all part of the process. The important thing is to keep that conversation going. Just as you’d check the oil in your car to keep it running smoothly, you need to check in with your partner to keep your relationship on track.

Don’t forget, talking about an open relationship isn’t a one-time thing. It’s an ongoing dialogue that might evolve as you and your partner journey together. Revisit boundaries, discuss new partners, and most importantly, ensure you’re always listening to each other’s feelings and concerns.