My Boyfriend Jokingly Mentioned Having An Open Relationship & I’m Freaking Out

A couple of days ago, my boyfriend jokingly suggested we should have an open relationship. I know he wasn’t serious—at least I hope he wasn’t—but it totally freaked me out and left me with a host of questions.

  1. Does he want more sex? We all joke about how different men and women are, but on average, most men want more sex than women do. My boyfriend and I have a pretty decent sex life, but what if it’s not enough for him? Some women have sex when they don’t want to but I’m not one of them. I’m hurt that he might not have been communicating his needs to me. There must be a better way to reach a happy compromise than opening up our relationship.
  2. Is he bored with me? The reality of most relationships is that we fall into routines. Routine isn’t all bad; it gives you a sense of security and stability and I don’t understand why that would be a bad thing. In fact, that’ s what I strive for. I’ve seen far too many friends try to spice up their relationship and have things go south. If my boyfriend is bored with what we have (which I love, by the way) then what’s the way forward?
  3. How long has he been thinking about this? My boyfriend and I have pretty great communication. He told me he hates my mother, for crying out loud! Why would he keep quiet about something that’s less confrontational? I can’t help but feel lied to. If he’s been holding back on this, that means he’s gone against our promise to always be honest with each other. I hate that he’s putting me in the position of having to break that promise too. I’m just not ready to tell him how I feel about his open relationship request.
  4. Does he still want to get married? My boyfriend is the same guy that told me he wanted to marry me one day when we were only three months into our relationship. Not a lot of guys would do that. They usually bring it up when years have passed and pressure is piled on. My boyfriend told me that when he didn’t have to, which makes me inclined to believe him. I don’t know where an open relationship fits in with that. I don’t want us to be swingers!
  5. What if one of us changes our mind? Let’s say I go along with his suggestion and we open up our relationship. Is there a way to close it back up? It’s impossible to undo an action but we could change direction. What if we do it, and I hate it or vice versa. Where do we go then? I almost feel like we’d be better off working to improve our relationship as it exists now. Adding to it may increase our problems.
  6. What if he falls in love with someone else? Yes, the jealous woman in me has pined over this more than anything else. I couldn’t stand to have my boyfriend look at another woman the way he looks at me. It would ruin us. Besides, is it even possible to love two people? I don’t think so, and I don’t want to put myself in a situation where I’ll have to find out all for the sake of one man.
  7. How much will we tell each other? Let’s say we get into it and we both like it. What kind of information would we share? I’m big on knowing where my boyfriend is and what he’s doing. I’ve had bad experiences that make me overly cautious. Would he be comfortable sharing this kind of information with me? Would I be jealous if I heard about all they were doing together and compared it to what he and I had done? Ugh! Just thinking about it gives me a headache.
  8. Which relationship would be the priority? This goes back to my belief that you can’t truly love two people equally, at least not romantically. I don’t want to be one of those women that compete for her man’s attention. It’s either you’re with me and into me only or you’re not. What if both of us had something important on the same day? Who would he pick? I refuse to hang around and be the other woman.
  9. What if I can’t get on board with an open relationship? All worst case scenarios aside, there’s a pretty good chance I’m not going to go along with his idea. Is that a deal breaker? Would he be disappointed or would he want to leave? I’ve given my boyfriend my everything, and he’s done the same. Why is that not enough? If he says it’s not, I seriously can’t see myself dating again. I’m not being dramatic either—this is the best relationship I’ve had. There’s been no toxicity. If it can fall apart, then I’m not sure any relationship could last.
Hannah is a twenty-something-year-old freelance writer, obsessed with reality TV, and all things sweet.