All Of My Friends Are In Open Relationships But I Just Don’t Get It

I truly believe that every relationship functions differently and the rules and ways of each couple are completely up to them to determine. However, open relationships are just something I can’t seem to wrap my head around entirely no matter how common they’re becoming. What am I missing?

  1. It’s not cheating but it feels like it. Don’t get me wrong, I totally get why it’s different from cheating on your partner. You have an agreement and both people are aware of the fact that they’re able to have different partners, but to me it would still feel like being dishonest. I can’t fully understand a set arrangement that involves sleeping with someone who isn’t your significant other and then acting like nothing’s happened.
  2. I don’t get why jealousy’s not an issue. In a consensual open relationship, both parties are OK with their partner being with other people, but I know I’d never be. I wouldn’t consider myself to be a controlling girlfriend but I definitely would not be able to cope with my boyfriend talking to and being with other women. Even if I was aware of it, there’s just no circumstance where it wouldn’t drive me crazy. It floors me that people in open relationships don’t seem to have this problem.
  3. I have no desire to be with anyone else. If I’m in a relationship where I feel truly happy, secure, and all of my needs are being met, I don’t see any reason to venture outside of it. In fact, the idea of being with someone else when I’m in love and happy with a guy is scary and makes me uncomfortable. I guess it’s just my desire to be monogamous which I understand isn’t for everyone.
  4. I would never be able to stick to any of the “rules.” If I ever did agree to an open relationship with a partner, I’d never be able to respect the boundaries. There’s way too much secrecy and things left unsaid for me. I know that’s the whole point in making it work—don’t ask don’t tell and all that—but I would always feel the need to know who my partner had been talking to and seeing. It would lead to jealousy and anger for sure.
  5. There’s a lot more to worry about. The extra stress of an open relationship isn’t always just emotional. In a monogamous relationship where sex is involved, there are a lot of things to think about involving responsibility and safety, but when you add more than one person to the equation, more precautions need to be put in place. Pregnancy and STDs are things you need to be even more aware of when you’re sleeping with more than one person.
  6. There’s more to argue about. I get that the whole point of open relationships is that you don’t fight or argue over who you or your partner is sleeping with, but I can’t imagine a world where arguments don’t happen anyway. I feel like there would just be more to fight about, (going back to the jealousy point I made before) and possibly a lot of accusations flying around. It feels a little like a recipe for disaster.
  7. My fear would completely consume me. I just don’t think I’d be able to overcome the fear that my partner would leave me for someone else. Sure, the multiple partners are casual hookups, but what happens if more than just sexual attraction gets involved and they start developing real romantic feelings for each other? I would be terrified of losing my partner and in turn, I wouldn’t be able to relax at all.
  8. It’s not for me, but that doesn’t mean I condemn it. At the end of the day, every relationship is different and so is every couple. Who am I to question what works for someone else? I think as long as both people are in understanding and consenting, whatever the two of you decide on, should be respected by everyone else. Just do you, girl.
Shelby is a journalist and fiction writer raised in the South but built for the big city. She's a book nerd (well, an overall nerd, honestly) and coffee addict and obsessed with all things leather and lacy.

She has a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication and Media Studies from Sam Houston State University and worked for her university newspaper, The Houstonian, as well as serving as a producer and part-time entertainment anchor for Cable 7 Huntsville. You can follow her on Twitter @shelby777.