What Does In An Open Relationship Mean?
What does being in an open relationship mean? if you ask any two people you will likely get a different answer, and if you ask the same two people a month later you might get another answer… So join us as we attempt to break it down, shed some light and help you begin to understand what it might mean to you. Keep in mind this article is not the end all be all what does an open relationship mean guide, it is meant to be a place to start a conversation from to develop your meaning and your way of communicating it to others.
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What does in an Open Relationship Mean?
Exploring ENM – Ethical Non Monogamy and being in an open relationship means slightly different things to different people. Each person will have a different needs and each person will have different rules. This is why clear concise communication in everything is so important and will only lead you part way to knowing what the question “what does in an open relationship mean to you”.
So let’s dive into what might being in an open relationship mean to you!
What does Open mean?
Open in the most holistic and healthy definition would be a place where you are able to create space for all desires and needs to be fully discussed and considered. But keep in mind that considering does not equate consenting to act on. Being open is a piece of what firms up the foundation of an agreement to create the strongest open relationship and bring you closer to your definition of what does an open relationship mean.
Therefore, It doesn’t matter if you and your partner are picking out a new couch together, or opening up your relationship, there are a few key things that smooth it all out.
If you and your partner don’t come to agreements on picking out a new couch easily, opening your relationship will be a challenge. This is why communication is key in finding your version of what might an open relationship mean – Cindy
So now that we are forming our own version of what might an open relationship mean for us, let’s take a look at how we start to communicate with our partner(s) about the possibility for opening up an existing relationship.
Start With A Deep Dive… Personally
While the space to share desires needs to be wide open, the choice to act upon desires needs to be deeply thought out. Think of it as a brainstorming session VS an implementation session. One is designed to talk about big ideas, wants and desires and the later is for picking the really good ideas that fits everyone’s’ needs and then setting them in motion.
A great way to welcome in all desires is to freely share them without being attached to the outcome. Often we can get caught up in the “ya, but how” conversation and that can shut down the free flow of inspiration. Carve out time and schedule a deep dive into what lights YOU up and turns YOU on. Be playful with this practice and practice it often. Simply allow your mind to wander from fantasy to fantasy… this is not as easy as it sounds. In our busy lives we don’t often sit around and create this space so consider blending showertime (or any other appropriate time) and allow your mind to wander.
Think of the above as the first step to knowing for you what might an open relationship mean. It is the step that occurs before you communicate anything to your partner(s). Regardless of how long you’ve been together we are sure there are more fantasies inside of you that would love to create space for than you currently know about.
Life can get busy and if we skip the step of personal discovery, we end up being pulled into other people’s desires without identifying and generating our own. So be thoughtful about step one, dive deep and dive often and be real with yourself about which ones you might want to bring to life.
How To Share Fantasies
Build your list and share each item with your partner(s). Begin by saying “these are the things that light me up and turn me on”
While sharing your fantasies invite your partner to place everything you share into one of the following 3 categories.
- Yes I’m into that let’s create it
- I’m not sure if that feels right for me, let’s put a pin in that idea for another time.
- I can’t see how I could participate in that comfortably
You can see how each of these categories can lead to into further discussion. Conversation is where clarity comes in and it’s where space to choose lives and easy, organic choices can be made.
Mind reading and attempting to predict things never works. So with this system you welcome all fantasies to the table and invite all parties to customize the creations. Once you have your “Yes i’m into that, let’s create it” and “I’m not sure if that feels right for me, let’s put a pin in that idea for another time” fantasies go through the 5 following steps to explore them deeper with your partner(s).
Step one – Fantasize
Step two – Share/communicate
Step three – Plan
Step four – Take action and create/enrol other people in
Step five – Debrief
Debriefing is as equally important for some people as the actual fantasy itself. Debriefing is a chance to see what worked and what needs to be worked through. It’s important to return here to complete an honest assessment and a create a blank slate in order to create the next plan even more powerfully.
As humans we are much more generous and giving when our needs are met. It’s up to us, not our partners, to maintain our basic needs. With a firm inner foundation everything built will be much more successful.
It’s ok to press pause
Slowing down or stopping at any time and request time to firm up your foundation is a good habit to get into. One of the best ways to ensure success is to share honestly when you’re feeling wide open and when you’re not. Rate your current openness and be aware that this too is a sliding scale. At different times for different reasons we all waver; and that is OK!
Some additional tips to think about before attempting to move forward.
All partners need to see :
- If/when they feel shutdown or hesitant to share
- If/when they go along with something that they are not 100% into
- If/when they wait for others to make suggestions rather than share their own fantasies and desires
- To be responsible for sharing honestly, openly and without judgement.
Creating an effective open relationship take a high level of understanding yourself and being curious to learning about others. It’s not going to be a “tick these boxes” and you have an open relationship. It takes work, communication and openness by all involved with a knowing that there will be stumbles along the way. Those stumbles may seem insurmountable at times or they might seem trivial. Regardless how each feels dive into each, explore what it means for everyone involved and then create a path forward that might or will mitigate them in the future.
Prepare for amazing growth as you develop what might an open relationship mean to you and those you care about!