Tips for Choosing Between Monogamy and an Open Relationship

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Most people automatically and accidentally fall into monogamy. They don’t choose it, necessarily, but instead grow up believing that it’s the right (or even the only) way to conduct a relationship. For a growing number of people, however, the idea of an open relationship is much more appealing. Did you know that you have a choice?

In this article, we’re talking about what an open relationship really is and the benefits of choosing one. Then, we’ll be covering the key differences between monogamy and open relationships to help you choose the right one for you. 

What is an Open Relationship? 

Growing up, we all heard the same Disney love story. Boy meets girl, they fall in love and live happily ever after. But, real-life doesn’t always work that way. And, not everyone wants to commit themselves to just one person forever. That’s where an open relationship comes in. 

Open relationships are a form of ethical non-monogamy, preferred by approximately 30% of all people. And, these are exactly as they sound: a relationship that is open to sex with other people. It is important to note that open relationships fall on a spectrum, and each one looks unique depending on the people involved. However, they are all vastly different from traditional monogamy, giving the individuals an opportunity to recreate their idea of a romantic relationship. 

three people in an open relationship on the beach

Open Relationship vs. Monogamy: The Key Differences

As mentioned above, there are many different options for those interested in pursuing an open relationship.You can tailor each of them to your specific needs and desires. In simple terms though, an “open” relationship allows the individuals involved to have sex with other people. The most common dynamics for an open relationship include:

  • Swinging: This dynamic includes individuals that openly agree to have casual sex with other people. Common amongst swinger couples are sharing and swapping of partners, and clear boundaries are always established before “playing.”
  • Polyamory: This dynamic includes sex and emotional attachment. In polyamory, the individuals love and have sex with each other, and may also love and have sex with others.
  • Friends-with-Benefits: Also known as FWB, this dynamic is a non-committed, casual sexual relationship with someone outside the primary relationship. FWB relationships are not emotional in nature. 

As you can see, an open relationship can mean very something different for each and every relationship. Unlike monogamy, which looks pretty much the same across the board, individuals involved in open relationships are freer. They are open to defining and adjusting their relationships to their own unique needs. Monogamous couples are bound by the rules of monogamy, which say that one relationship should be enough for a lifetime. 

four people in an open relationship having drinks together

Choosing the Right Relationship Style for You

Knowing whether you should commit to a monogamous relationship or try exploring something a little more open is a very personal journey. The most important thing to remember here is to be yourself. Don’t agree to a monogamous marriage if that’s not what you really want. At the same time, you should never get involved in an FWB situation because that’s all the other person will give you. 

Make sure to always know your worth, values, and desires, and let your heart lead the way.

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