Tips and Advice from Experts and Couples
Gay open relationships are not a new phenomenon in the gay community, but they have become more visible and accepted in recent years. With the legalization of same-sex marriage in many countries, some gay couples may wonder if they can or should have an open relationship while being married. What are the benefits and challenges of having an open relationship? How can gay couples navigate the issues of trust, communication, jealousy, and boundaries? How can they make their open relationship work for them and their primary partner?
In this blog post, we will explore these questions and more, drawing from the insights and experiences of experts and couples who have been in open relationships. We will also provide some tips and advice on how to have a successful open relationship that is based on mutual respect, honesty, and love.
What is an open relationship?
An open relationship is based on mutual, trustworthy agreements to sexually engage with partners that are outside your primary relationship. Often LGBTQ+ couples approach these issues differently than heterosexual couples and it’s important to work with a therapist who understands our unique culture.
There are many different types of open relationships, such as:
- Monogamish: This is a term for couples who are mostly monogamous, except in certain specified instances when they may choose to add partners. For example, a couple may have an agreement that they only bring in a third. Or they can only play with others when one person is out of town.
- Open relationships: A completely open relationship is often a relationship with few boundaries, guidelines or restrictions around sex, intimacy and relationships outside the primary partnership. Anything goes, so to speak. There is still a foundation of honesty and transparency, but no one is going to get in trouble for breaking the rules. That doesn’t mean that there won’t be hurt feelings or jealousy, though.
- Polyamory: This is a term for having multiple romantic and/or sexual relationships at the same time, with the consent and knowledge of all involved. Polyamory can take many forms, such as having a primary partner and secondary partners, having multiple equal partners, or having a group relationship.
There is no one right way to have an open relationship. Each couple has to decide what works best for them, based on their needs, preferences, values, and goals. The key is to be clear about what you want and what you can offer, and to communicate openly and honestly with your partner(s).
Why have an open relationship?
There are many reasons why some gay couples may choose to have an open relationship. Some of the common ones are:
- To explore their sexuality and fulfill their fantasies with different partners
- To enhance their sexual satisfaction and variety
- To avoid boredom and monotony in their long-term relationship
- To accommodate different sexual desires and needs
- To express their love and trust in a non-traditional way
- To challenge the norms and expectations of society
- To cope with the challenges of distance or illness
Having an open relationship can bring many benefits to a couple, such as:
- Strengthening their bond and intimacy
- Increasing their honesty and transparency
- Boosting their confidence and self-esteem
- Expanding their social network and support system
- Learning new skills and perspectives
However, having an open relationship also comes with some risks and challenges, such as:
- Dealing with jealousy and insecurity
- Managing conflicts and misunderstandings
- Balancing time and attention among multiple partners
- Protecting their health and safety
- Facing stigma and judgment from others
Therefore, having an open relationship is not for everyone. It requires a lot of commitment, communication, trust, respect, and flexibility from both partners. It also requires a lot of self-awareness, self-care, and self-respect from each individual.
How to make your open relationship work?
If you decide to have an open relationship with your partner, here are some tips and advice from experts and couples who have been there:
- Communicate openly and honestly: Communication is the foundation of any successful relationship, especially an open one. You need to talk to your partner about your expectations, boundaries, feelings, needs, desires, fears, hopes, etc. You also need to listen to your partner’s views and concerns without judgment or criticism. You need to be clear about what you want and what you can offer, and negotiate agreements that work for both of you. You need to check in regularly with your partner about how things are going, what is working well, what needs improvement, etc. You need to be respectful of your partner’s privacy but also transparent about your activities outside the relationship.
- Trust your partner: Trust is essential for any relationship, but especially for an open one. You need to trust that your partner loves you, respects you, cares for you, and is loyal to you. You also need to trust that your partner is honest with you, follows the agreements, protects your health and safety, and respects your boundaries. You need to trust that your partner is not trying to hurt you, replace you, or leave you. You need to trust that your partner values your relationship and wants to make it work.
- Respect your partner: Respect is another key ingredient for any relationship, but especially for an open one. You need to respect your partner’s choices, feelings, needs, desires, limits, etc. You also need to respect your partner’s other partners, if any, and not interfere with their relationships. You need to respect your partner’s time and space, and not demand too much attention or affection. You need to respect your partner’s individuality and autonomy, and not try to control or change them. You need to respect your partner’s dignity and worth, and not degrade or belittle them.
- Love your partner: Love is the ultimate reason for any relationship, but especially for an open one. You need to love your partner unconditionally, without expecting anything in return. You also need to love yourself unconditionally, without compromising your integrity or happiness. You need to love your relationship unconditionally, without comparing it to others or taking it for granted. You need to love your partner for who they are, not for what they do or don’t do. You need to love your partner with all your heart, mind, body, and soul.
Having an open relationship can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience for some gay couples, but it can also be a challenging and difficult one for others. It is not a one-size-fits-all solution for every couple or every situation. It is a personal choice that requires a lot of thought, discussion, and experimentation. It is a journey that requires a lot of courage, patience, and compassion.
If you are interested in having an open relationship with your partner, or if you are already in one and need some guidance or support, you may want to consult a therapist who specializes in LGBTQ+ issues and open relationships. A therapist can help you explore your motivations, expectations, feelings, and goals for having an open relationship. A therapist can also help you communicate effectively with your partner, negotiate agreements that suit both of you, deal with conflicts and challenges that may arise, and enhance your intimacy and satisfaction.
You can also learn from the experiences and advice of other gay couples who have been in open relationships. You can read books, articles, blogs, podcasts, etc., that share their stories and insights. You can also join online or offline communities or groups that offer support and resources for gay couples in open relationships.
Remember that having an open relationship is not a competition or a contest. It is not about who has more sex or more partners. It is not about who is more adventurous or more liberated. It is not about who is better or worse than others. It is about finding what works best for you and your partner. It is about being happy and fulfilled in your relationship.