Simply navigating a closed relationship is hard enough, but sometimes you gotta shake things up to make it work.
Jack and Peter* are totally in love with each other, but that doesn’t stop them sleeping around with other guys. And they’ve been doing it for most of their relationship.
“Early in our relationship we went on an overseas holiday together but had slightly different itineraries,” Jack said. “We were both young and good-looking and enjoyed having sex with other people for fun.
“So we agreed that we could hook up with others whilst we were apart.”
Despite their wanton itinerary, Jack and Peter still managed to spend plenty of time together, leaving little room for casual hookups anyway.
“After that trip,” Jack continued, “we discussed how we felt about it, talked through any issues or concerns that we had and agreed that we didn’t have any real issues with hooking up with others. As long as we were careful with avoiding STIs.”
Following their wanton trip overseas, these two lovebirds left the idea of a proper open relationship on the table. But things always change.
“We ended up moving to London a few years later where there were lots more euro-hotties and we ended up hooking up with others pretty regularly for fun. Generally, it was just threesomes, but we’d also play apart occasionally, particularly if we were in different cities.”
According to Jack and Peter, the key to any successful relationship, especially one that’s open to sexual promiscuity, is pure honesty and openness. This is something they’ve always done.
“We agreed to tell each other about all our hook-ups,” Peter said, “but other couples might not want this approach.
“Trust is critical on both sides and if there are any major signs of jealousy it is probably not a good sign.”
Jack and Peter both agree that the most important aspect of any open relationship is setting ground rules. Can you kiss them? Should you only fool around at their house? Are you allowed to crash overnight with them? Can you sleep with the same person twice?
But as well as setting ground rules, it’s also important to regularly evaluate them. Circumstances change all the time, and you must always change with them.
“The most dangerous phrase in the English language is ‘we’ve always done it this way'”
– Grace Hopper
Another important aspect is understanding why you both want an open relationship in the first place. For Jack and Peter, it originally grew from the idea of being apart on holiday. But soon they realised it was simply about sex.
“As someone who enjoys casual sex with new people, it means that I don’t need to forgo this aspect of my life,” Jack said.
“My relationship with my partner comes first and foremost, but it’s great that we don’t have to give up this other enjoyable experience.”
On the flip side, Jack and Peter caution those who think this promiscuity will save their relationship.
“I wouldn’t recommend it,” Jack said. “I guess if a relationship was definitely ending, and it was the last alternative left, then it might be worth a go. But I don’t think it would have a successful outcome in many cases.”
“It could raise feelings of jealousy or trust issues which probably wouldn’t be dealt with well in a failing relationship.”
But for these two lovebirds, an open relationship works wonders.
“We both feel that we have something really special between us and having a bit of fun with someone else occasionally doesn’t change that.”
“There’s only been one or two [guys] that I could actually see myself having a long-term relationship with,” Jack said. But certainly, they didn’t come close to comparing with my boyfriend.”
*names changed for anonymity
Feature Image: Dainis Graveris on Unsplash