Opinion: An Open Relationship Isn’t A Relationship

Opinion: An Open Relationship Isn’t A Relationship ©iStock/nensuria

An open relationship might not sound all that bad in theory, and maybe you think it might not be a bad idea to spread your dating wings a little without being tied to one person. In reality, here’s why open relationships are not the real deal and not worth it, no matter how much you try to put a positive spin on them:

  1. Your feelings are put on the backburner. A real relationship is filled with feelings. If you have to keep your love, jealousy and resentment under wraps — which is what you’ll do to make an open relationship work — you’re giving up the chance for a real relationship to happen.
  2. There’s no commitment. You’re fooling yourself if you think you and your partner are committed to each other or that you’re each other’s main dish. If you really were, you wouldn’t feel the need for a side-order of fries or salad. Relationships are a sit-down dinner for two, not a buffet at a party filled with hungry people. If your relationship isn’t exclusive, you’re not in a relationship.
  3. Your S.O. could be someone else’s S.O. Even if you and your boyfriend have rules for your open relationship, which might include not getting serious about another person, you can never be guaranteed that they won’t catch feelings for someone else. Your partner might have a new Number One and even if he doesn’t, there’s no way that you’re his Number One if he’s out there having sex with other people. Sorry, the minute he sleeps with someone else, he’s public property and your claim on him is over.
  4. Open relationships are like taking back a cheater again and again. Just because you and your partner have said it’s cool to date other people, how can it be? After he’s gone out on a date or had sex with someone else, he’ll rock up to see you smelling of another woman’s perfume and there’s no way that you won’t feel something’s whack about this. If you don’t feel it’s whack and you’re genuinely cool with it, then you have to ask yourself why you’re with your partner if you don’t really feel for him.
  5. You should be with someone who would get jealousCome on, a real BF who really loves you will want you all to himself if he’s keen on a real relationship. There’s no way he would be cool with you sleeping around, even if he knew about the other men you were with. If there’s no jealousy, there’s not a whole lot of love and not much to lose.
  6. You’re not in a relationship. You’re at a singles bar together. You might think your relationship is real but here are the facts: you’re both going out there to explore the singles scene, then telling each other about it in the same way friends would. At the end of the night, you’re like each other’s designated drivers – after you’ve had a wild time with other people. Sure, it feels safe to have that person there to come home to, but that’s not enough on which to base a relationship. If you want to explore the single world, then at least have the balls to fly solo.
  7. Your needs aren’t met by your BF, so why are you with him? A reason for agreeing to have an open relationship with your partner could be that you feel you have needs that can’t be met in your relationship. But then why not find a man who fulfils you in every way, instead of needing more than one man?
  8. It sounds like an excuse to cheatOpen relationships often sound like a fancy title for people to want to get their rocks off with others without having to lose out on the safety of a relationship or pissing off their partners. How is that normal or healthy? Sooner or later it’s going to feel like betrayal.
  9. You don’t really want to work for your relationship, so it’s not real. If you want to explore options that are out there, it hints that something’s not working in your relationship. If the relationship really meant something to you, you’d want to fix it. And no, sleeping around with other people isn’t a remedy for relationship problems – and it won’t bring back the spark. Sadly, if it does work for you and your partner, then maybe there wasn’t much of a relationship there in the first place. In a healthy relationship in which both partners are committed to each other, opening the front door for other people to enter is a sure way to send the relationship out the back door — fast.
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.