Whatever your reasons for wanting to explore an open relationship—whether you and your partner have mismatched libidos, or you want to experience meaningful connections with more people—you shouldn’t worry that you’d be cheating. The difference between the two is consent: all parties involved agree to the nature of the relationship.
And some good can come out of a relationship of this nature. According to Dr Martha Tara Lee, a relationship counsellor and clinical sexologist at Eros Coaching, it can introduce more mutual respect, open communication and honesty between your partner. But that’s not to say it wouldn’t also fail miserably—particularly if you jump into it for the wrong reasons.
“Some people choose to have an open relationship to try and save a failing connection, but opening up a weak relationship will likely destroy it, not fix. There has to be a strong and sturdy foundation in place for it to work,” says Dr Lee.
It will also not end well if you’re prone to certain feelings or issues, and aren’t confident about overcoming them.
“It’s common to feel jealous or threatened in an open relationship. Childhood wounds and fears of abandonment may also come up.”
So how can you tell if an open relationship will do you more good than harm? She shares four indicators.