Opinions on open relationships?

Hello everyone,

I have a serious question regarding open relationships and in particular in reference to my best friend who has told me that she and her boyfriend are thinking about going down that route.

To give you a bit of background, my best friend and her boyfriend have been together 6 years, are compatible in so many ways. For me it's a great relationship. Recently, though, she told me that her boyfriend had asked her how she would feel about being in a open relationship. She said she would be fine with it, but I'm not so sure..

She told me that she would rather know about it than him going behind her back, but is that a good enough reason to agree to an open relationship?

I mean, in my opinion, if they go ahead and do this they'll put so much at risk. I get the impression that they're more inclined to indulge in a one-off threesome - that's if they do anything at all - as opposed to full blown relationships, but I'm worried that they'll risk dragging up issues of jealously, trust issues, general insecurities etc and ruin what is a great relationship.

I get the impression that it's him that wants it more than her. She's the only girl he's been with, and it appears that he wants to stay with my friend whilst sleeping with other girls. I don't get the impression my friend wants to see other people. She's happy with him.

What's your opinion on open relationships? For me, it's just a whole can of worms that shouldn't be opened..

Hi Claire nothing to add your thinking is spot on for me.

I agree with everything you have said. There's only one man for me, and I'm not sharing in any way shape or form. I couldn't even stand the thought of another man touching me! But if I wanted someone else, or he did, I think we both have the maturity and love with each other to share our feelings and decide if we still wanted to be together before anything else went on with anyone else. For me, it's just a massive no.

However, I have read a lot of people on here that have had open relationships and it works fine for them. It just depends on the people involved.

If your friend isn't sure about going into this then they really need to have a good talk about it soon. Open relationships aren't something to go into lightly and if her only reasoning is 'I'd rather know about it than have him do it behind my back' as opposed to 'I'm also interested in opening up our relationship for these reasons' then I can't see it going very well, honestly, and it seems like it could have the potential to drag up insecurities all over the place.

Having said that, me and my girlfriend have an open relationship and it works well for us, we're very happy, it's mutually enjoyable and we communicate a lot - I seriously can't stress how important letting your partner know about your feelings and communication is!

My view is that it's certainly better than cheating as she says, but if I was going to go down that route I'd want to dip my toes into those waters VERY carefully!

I think just giving your OH licence to go off and shag someone else could lead to difficulties when you realise afterwards that you're not OK with it... I'd have thought maybe trying a swingers club and playing gently with another couple might be a good start. If everyone's still fine, then keep building up from there.

Pretty much agree with what's said here.

An open relationship is only successful if that's what both parties want. When one person is more into it than the other, than perhaps it's time consider whether you want to continue any resemblence of a relationship, or whether it's time to move on.

Sounds like this guy got himself into a relationship too quickly and is regretting it, and instead of doing the honourable thing and just ending it, he's trying to cover himself by calling it an open relationship... so once he's dipped his toes and had a bit of a play around, he'll come back. I'm not sure i'd want to be used like that to be honest.

Whilst they can work for some people, it's not something I would do.

I think this is a massive mistake, sounds like her boyfriend just wanys to experience sex with someone else.Also the fact that she says she'd rather this than him going behind her back sounds a bit like she doesn't really trust him and thinks he'll go ahead and do it anyway.

This can work for some couples but it doesn't sound like your friend is interested in other men so this is pretty much going to be a one way street with him shagging any girl who takes his fancy and theres only so long she'll be able to cope with that if she's not doing the same..

I agree with you Claire that this is something that could end in a whole host of problems but all you can do is be there to offer support if ( and probably when ) it all goes wrong.

Claire1 I totally agree with you. Why ruin everything you have built by betraying the one you love? If he's asking, then he's already succumbing to temptation and is probably not the man for her. I know there are couples who are swingers and if they agree between themselves that's how they like it, then fair enough, good luck to them. That's their world.

But most of us are in closed relationships that are built on trust. And that's all quite apart from the danger of STDs and HIV, etc. I personally view trust as the bedrock of any relationship - before even sex. This sort of behaviour will ruin trust unless she's as actively keen as he is. But I get the distinct impression she is reluctantly saying "yes" for fear of losing him - which is what I guess will happen anyway if she lets him do this. Personally, I think she should stand her ground, believe in herself and say no, and take the risk of losing him. I get the impression he's mutton dressed as lamb. She may be better off dumping him.

That said, I doubt this is something you can do much about other than offer support and advice.

Thanks for the replies, guys.![](upload://ez5kOkpKXRZOxjavAURYmQxVTau.gif)

Seriously, it's hard for me at the moment as I haven't got many people to talk to about this as my best friend has sworn that I don't tell anyone about this. But I want to talk about this.

When she told me last week after work over drinks I told her she was mad to contemplate this. I just don't understand it. I envy their relationship. We're all in our 20's and a 6 year relationship is amazing at our age. No? I wish I had someone who shared the same interests like they do.

I just don't understand her justification for it. She started saying stuff like monogamous relationships are natural and we should carry out our natural urges and desires, stuff that she would never have thought previously. She explained to me that her boyfriend had read books on the subject - he has a degree in philosophy - and it seems that she has come around to his way of thinking.

I mean, whether monogamous relationships are natural or not, we still have to deal with our emotions. I asked her how she would feel witnessing her boyfriend having sex with another girl and she said that she didn't know. To me she's trying to justify it by agreeing with what her boyfriend has told her after reading his books but she doesn't know how she would deal with it emotionally. Had he never had brought this up, she would never had thought about this. It's him who wants to have sex with another girl. She doesn't want to sleep with another man. She's too loyal. Which makes me think that she's agreed to this, worried she'll lose him otherwise.

I just really worry for her. I love her to bits and I don't want her to be hurt.

I hate this. I don't know what to do. There's nothing I can say to her to stop this, but at the same time I don't want her to get hurt. I just want them to be happy. I just don't understand it.

What should I do?

Silly thing won't let me edit..

My friend said 'monogomous relationship aren't natural'

I think you should tell her you're concerned she's going to get hurt, and she's gave you a lot of information to think about that you can't cope with. Tell her she owes you a proper explanation so you can be assured that she won't be getting hurt.

What I do think you should ask, is if she told her boyfriend that she didn't agree with it, would they break up? If the answer is yes, she shouldn't be with him in the first place and he's obviously just doing it to sleep around.

Some people aren't bothered by this sort of thing, but others are and unless both parties of the relationship consent to the open relationship 100% then it shouldn't be going ahead at all.

I think you need a good long chat with her, and find our what's going on in her head xx

It sounds to me like he's manipulating her. He has her convinced that monogamous relationships arn't natural and she's convincing herself too. There seems to also be element of her being stupid if she doesn't see it the same way he does since he has himself set up as the smart one who has read and knows all about it. She might agree so that she doesn't appear like a silly girl.

Does that make sense? I dont think I'm explaining what I'm thinking very well.

It sounds like he is going to sleep with someone else regardless of what she decides. He's just covering his ass for when he does do it because then he can say that she has no right to be upset over it. The fact that he's trying to convince her like this kinda tells me that he knows that she wont be confortable with it.

I would leave him before he really hurts her.

Agree with everything you've said, I personally think opean relationships never work out.

Claire1 wrote:

She said she would be fine with it, but I'm not so sure..

Just out of interest, what do you actually base that on? Is it possible that you're just projecting your own views on open relationships onto her?

Genuine question, not trying to start an argument!

MattB wrote:

Claire1 wrote:

She said she would be fine with it, but I'm not so sure..

Just out of interest, what do you actually base that on? Is it possible that you're just projecting your own views on open relationships onto her?

Genuine question, not trying to start an argument!

It's impossible not to. People always project their own feelings onto others. But I know her, if that makes sense. I just don't think she's the sort of person who would cope with this. She's trying to intellectualise the concept of open relationships but emotionally I think she would struggle.

I mean, at the end of the day, if it happens it happens. I don't want it to happen because I don't want her to get hurt and I think it would ruin what I think is an envible relationship. But it's her life, it's her mistake to make. I just don't want her to make it.

I hate it. It's very depressing.

its a massive no from me too ,its like a kind way of saying i like our relationship but the sex is rubbish,thats how id be thinking if it was proposed to me,followed by a swift backheel .not the relationship just the idea

I wouldnt ever agree to it

is one woman not enough for him?

Are they possibly going through a difficult time in their relationship and just not talking about it? It does sound that her boyfriend is a little manipulative - and personally, I have never met a philosophy student who isn't. They are great at arguing, and even better at getting people to believe their arguments are correct.

It sounds like the two of them just aren't talking things through properly. She loves him and wouldn't rink losing him over something...which he seems to think is fine, and therefore it must be. I know fine well that I have convinced myself that my partner is correct, just because he is so damned good at debating. Force her to really think about it, outside of her relationship with him. For example, would she want you to be in an open relationship?

Being in a longterm serious relationship is difficult when society kind of sells the idea that all 20 something should be shagging around. It is time they work out what they really want for themselves. I know my best friends have been together since they were 16 and are considering a break after uni. They both feel that they haven't really experienced everything that they want - they are both bisexual but got together so young that they didn't really get the chance to explore. However, they have talked it through, and if they feel their relationship is strong enough to withstand a break, they will go with it for a while. It is, as per usual, alll about communication.

I dont feel there is anything like open relatioinship. Its either a relationship or fuck buddies. Sorry f i sounded rude.

mysterio wrote:

I dont feel there is anything like open relatioinship. Its either a relationship or fuck buddies. Sorry f i sounded rude.

Couldn't have worded it better myself.