“Open” romantic relationships: a winning formula?

Free or open romantic relationships are a type of couple that is non-exclusive. That is, the partners stick together – in the “primary couple” – and mutually empower each other to have sexual and / or romantic relationships with other people. This phenomenon, which mixes in more and more couples, is a victim of received ideas, especially about the couple’s jealousy, fidelity and happiness. We make status.

A growing phenomenon among millennials?

In 2019, 1 in 2 men would have been unfaithful in their relationship and 1 in 3 women would have “cheated” on their partner. Infidelity in women that would have increased by 20% in 30 years. With the success at the start of the academic year 2021 with several books on abandoning heterosexuality (by Mona Chollet, Juliet Drouar, etc.), this year, 2022 increasingly marks an interrogation of the traditional coupleunderstand “bound forever”.

Romantic relationships: a difficult definition, multiple realities? In fact, we observe, not among the younger generations, but rather among millennials (individuals who became adults around the year 2000), an openness to other models, even to other love identities.

What motivates you to move towards an “open pair”?

The motivations for “opening your pair” are several. It can come froman interrogation of the monogamous couple, listed as the only valid model of society for generations. With this belief that there are other models, some couples go for it experience a love life in accordance with their principles and values.

Other couples will be motivated by “compersion”in other words the experienced feeling when we rejoice in the happiness and freedom of the other. A couple can also choose openness to find a stronger mutual sexual desire. It may also be a desire to not to relive problems from a previous relationship (lying, loss of confidence, infidelity). People eventually feel things inside themselves and choose to do so to listen to oneself beyond the norms of society.

Jealousy, proof of love?

A great myth conveyed by culture, the media and our society teaches us that jealousy is a proof of love, to be an integral part of a romantic relationship. Our partner would only care about us if he / she feels negative feelings about being with someone else. But this feeling is based on prejudices that can hinder individual freedom : the relationship would allow us to possess the other, but also to control him, conscious or not. But when these feelings become present, they can quickly become toxic to the couple (partner prevents the other from seeing their friends, searching in their text messages, etc.).

Choosing the free relationship would then be mandatory a way to nurture feelings of jealousy. However, a monogamous couple has never protected anyone from jealousy, on the contrary. The solution when you find the ideal partner is to be able to communicate freely about feelings of jealousy. Everyone must be able to understand where this feeling of betrayal, insecurity or danger comes from. People who choose to accept these feelings, share them and overcome them, say they have found themselves more mature and happier.

The rules for reinventing the word “fidelity” in the couple

Most open couples define in advance the rules by mutual agreement, which varies from pair to pair and changes over time. Some allow only one or more sexual relationships outside the “primary couple”, however no external love or affective relationship. Sexual intercourse may be restricted to once per person outside the couple.

Sometimes external relationships can not belong to the social circle of the two main partners: mutual friends or work colleagues can therefore not be selected. Other times it is the opposite, you can only choose people you know.

Some people want to know everything about foreign relations, others nothing. This is where we come to the accepted idea one cannot be faithful in an open relationship. The free relationship is simply based on the redefinition of the concept of fidelity. The open couple may consider thisBeing faithful in your relationship consists of telling each other what other partners they are dealing with. It is a matter of sincerity and trust.

Communication and mutual trust would be the key

It has a study published in the Journal of Sex Research examined whether these open relationships actually worked. For this, four types of couples were questioned in relation to the “nature” of their relationship: monogamous, open, partially open (with more mixed attitudes to monogamy) and unilateral (where the non-monogamy of the couple n is only accepted by one partner). Among the respondents 67.5% were between 20 and 30 years old, and most of them were in a long-term relationship (4 and a half years on average).

results? Relationship quality was higher in monogamous pairs and open pairs. Members of these groups reported in particular lower levels of loneliness and mental disorders than others, and high degree of sexual satisfaction. According to researchers, this quality of the relationship led to a good level of communication and mutual trust.

“We know that communication is crucial for all couples. But that may be even more the case for non-monogamous people, as they face the added challenges of maintaining a relationship that is outside the norm in a culture dominated by monogamy, ”says Ronald D. Rogge, Assistant Professor of Psychology and co-author. of the study.

Have you ever gone beyond the boundaries of the traditional couple? Come and share your experience on our forum.

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