Have you ever thought about sleeping with someone who is not your partner? Have you ever acted on it? You already know that you are not alone: ​​almost half of marriages end up in divorce and anywhere between 20% and 40% of those divorces are caused by infidelity. Perhaps the key to happy relationships is leaving room for a little impunity fooling around?

Before you ask your partner this oh-so-philosophical question, here’s what you need to know in order to ask them to open up your existing monogamous relationship.

Am I ready to lose my partner over it?

First, ask yourself a few questions

Horniness is human nature, so the answer to “Do I want to pee another person’s pants?” could be a slight “yes” to you, but loud Dating trainer Adam Lyonsthere is one more thing you need to ask yourself before taking any further steps: Am I ready to lose my partner over it?

Because you could and you need to be prepared for it. Some people place great value on monogamy, so your partner may not answer “yes” when asked if they would like to sleep with someone else. Opening up the relationship could remove a lot of dishonesty and make your partnership stronger, but it could also help break it down.

Even after asking the first question, you are not entirely free from the possibility of being dumped. A 29-year-old who only asked to be identified as Vanessa said to Lifehacker, “Some people say they are ready and they are not.”

She described how she started talking to a guy who said he was in an open relationship and that his girlfriend was cool if he followed her – but his girlfriend broke off their relationship after finding out he was really different Moving women. They had agreed that it was allowed. That put Vanessa in an uncomfortable place: she felt guilty about their breakup and was generally insane. In the end, she didn’t move on in any relationship with the man, which meant he began to believe he was sleeping with two women, but ended up being sexless.

“Before you dive into an open relationship, make sure you are building a solid dynamic with your partner,” explained Roy, who is in an open marriage. “It’s a cliché, but true (at least for us): Communication and trust are the keys to a fulfilling and healthy relationship. If you don’t have that, an open relationship won’t fill in those gaps, no pun intended. “(By the way, Roy is not his real name either.)

This is a personal issue, and while third-party lovers will likely know they are knocking on the boots with someone in a unique arrangement, it’s not uncommon for people in open relationships to keep this information on a knowledge base. In Lyon’s experience, in an open relationship, someone can “compete with their partner for transparency, but doesn’t want the whole world to know what’s going on.” The next questions to ask yourself are whether you want to do this discreetly and whether this is even possible for you.

If you live in a small town or have a curious family, you may need to explain why it’s okay for someone you know to find your profile on a connection app. When you ask your partner to open the relationship, you are also asking them to possibly ask the same question – or worse, become the subject of rumors.

The final question to ask yourself is whether it is worth leaving yourself and your partner, through possible embarrassment, in the hands of people who, at best, do not need to know about your sex life and, at worst, are unkind. (There is also a risk that it will cost you more than friends –like your job.)

Communication and trust are key … if you don’t have this, an open relationship won’t fill in those gaps, no pun intended. “

Make the conversation easier for yourself

After you’ve weighed the risk of losing or embarrassing your partner, you will have plenty of time to respond to your fantasies and impulses if you still want to ask him about opening the relationship and he agrees. You don’t have to hurry. After all, you do this because you value your existing relationship and you don’t want to end it.

As Lyons pointed out, you would only be cheating if you didn’t look after your partnership. Since you are not cheating, you need to make sure that both of you are comfortable as you continue with this conversation and, if that goes well, move into a new phase of your relationship.

Lyons, who has been teaching and advising on consent since 2007, suggested getting permission from your partner to have a potentially awkward conversation, perhaps over a nice dinner. “Getting permission to do anything – not just sex – is so important,” he says.

Once you have permission to bring up the topic, prioritize its needs and wants. Create a hypothetical scenario and leave “room to play” for them to express themselves. Wording to consider: “Be honest with me – since we were together, have you ever had the idea of ​​sleeping with someone else, even in a fantasy?”

If they say no, at least you know how to adjust half of the conversation in the future. Just be honest.

Sometimes, as in the case of Roy, the transition to an open relationship can be a little more organic, but it depends on your individual situation.

Roy stated that he and his current husband were each other’s first same-sex partners after they both previously dated women. After five years of committed relationship, they slowly began to experiment with a willing male friend who spent many late nights in their house, then delved into more threesomes and fours with interested friends, and finally actively pursued group sex with apps. Progress, of course, continued, and they eventually talked about playing separately with other men.

In the midst of it all, they got engaged and married. So cheer up yourself: this can work, but only if the two of you are on the same page.

If you think you’re going to stray from the conversation … with a free pass to randomly jumping into bed with strangers, think again. “

Make some tough rules

Roy mentioned that the main problem he and his husband had at the beginning of their open relationship was figuring out “how to have sex without developing feelings for others,” which required “lots of difficult, transparent conversations about what each of us wanted from looked for each other and from the open relationship. “

If you think you are moving away from the initial conversation about opening things up with a free pass to randomly jump into bed with strangers, think again.

“An open relationship isn’t just about ‘We can have sex with anyone and we’re sluts,” Lyons said.[Successful] are open relationships [with] Someone who is willing to be open to the rules of a relationship and define clear rules that suit them [them]. ”

Roy and his husband have a rule against developing feelings for the other parties. Some people in open relationships tell each other stories about their sexual exploits, while others have rules against disclosing details such as names or the time of an encounter.

Of course, you need to set rules on how to protect yourself. For example, Roy and his husband take PrEP, which he thinks reduces fear for them. Openly discuss your expectations of condom use and behavior outside of boundaries with your partner.

“In the beginning, the rule was that we had to reveal ourselves either before or after sleeping with someone,” said Roy. “Over the years this has become less of a requirement and more of a suggestion. Now we’re really just going to reveal if we want to meet someone when we were otherwise at home (based on our normal pre-pandemic work schedules) just so we can’t expect the other person to be home on time and that’s why we do don’t worry about them. Otherwise we don’t really talk about it much. We trust each other and don’t really want to know the details. “

You already know what this is about: communication is key. It has to come from a place of innocence and with the common goal of making each other happy, Lyon said. Communication, he added, but also means expressing and accepting that “fair is not always the same”.

In other words, if one of you is genuinely interested in casual sex and the other isn’t, but you agree to be in an open relationship, it is fair for the casual sex haver to meet their needs and reciprocate by making sure, the one who does not care has also met his special needs, whatever they may be. What is the same would be for both of you to have casual sex – but that won’t work if either partner doesn’t want to. A rule that simply says that the two of you can have casual sex can leave a partner’s needs unsatisfied. And that can – you guessed it – lead to resentment … and a breakup.

One of the most important elements in making an open relationship work is figuring out what is fair, what is equal, what is acceptable, and what is a deal breaker. If you can’t have an open conversation about your rules and expectations, the first thing you need to do is check that the relationship is really healthy.

You don’t wanna lie You don’t want to cheat. “

Stick to the plan

In the first conversation about the opening of your relationship, in all subsequent conversations you inevitably have about the status of that relationship, and in all of your consensual after-school encounters, think about why you got involved in it in the first place: you care for your partner and want what’s best for both of you. You don’t wanna lie You don’t want to cheat. They want your needs and their needs to be met so that you have the healthiest connection possible.

Don’t be dishonest even if the conversations are uncomfortable because you come from a good place here. And don’t break your rules. If you do, make yourself comfortable.

“I’m not sure how we ended up where we are now, but I think the most important thing was to have open communication and never hold back how we felt,” Roy mused. “We trusted each other and even if we accidentally hurt each other, we knew the intentions were good and good [we were] ready to overcome the growing pain to end up in a place where we are both sexually and fulfilled in our marriage. “