Why Do People Want Open Relationships? Real Examples 

Open relationships can be as individual as the people in them. These non-monogamous relationships start with two and can branch out to include many more.

Read: What Is an Open Relationship? An Introduction

Here are some real-life stories from those in open relationships—healthy, challenging, and everything in between.

Once Poly, Always Poly

“I always identified as non-monogamous and expected to stay single and have many relationships. Then I fell in love. We didn’t see anyone else for the first year or so, but then decided to open the relationship since it was more natural for me. The whole thing felt natural to Kevin, too, and we are happy this way.”  – Angeline, 29

Read: Still Deciding? Open Relationship Pros and Cons

We Opened Our Relationship Because My Wife Was Bisexual

“We were married quite young and it’s a great relationship, but after a few years Mary admitted that she was bisexual. I hated the idea that she had given up a part of herself for me and asked if she wanted to explore her sexuality.

She decided after some time that the best way for her to do that without excluding me was for us to date women together. We started opening our relationship with some fun threeways and eventually became a throuple with a wonderful woman.” – Larsson, 33

Read: Throuple Dating and Relationship Tips

Long-Distance Love for the Long Haul

“I was offered a dream job for my music career over twenty-five years ago, but it involved the other side of the country and a lot of continual travel. My fiancée was deeply rooted where we were, as caretaker for a disabled sibling. It was gut-wrenching trying to decide how we could make the impossible work.

She told me she was breaking it off out of love, so that I wouldn’t lose MY chance, out of love. I told her I wanted her to be happy too, and find someone as soon as possible so she wouldn’t be alone. It seemed ridiculous to be apart when we loved each other that much.

That’s when something radical came to our minds—what if moving in different directions didn’t mean breaking it off? Ours is a very unusual situation. We got married and are primary partners, but we live with other partners. We see each other whenever I can spend time in our hometown, and it’s a priority for me to come home as often as I’m able. Our relationship is strong. I’m not on the road as much as I used to be, and may move home eventually, but right now this works. She is still the love of my life.” – Jonah, 48

Read: Opening Your Marriage: Staying Together and Transitioning to Polyamory

A Kink Too Far

“We chose an open relationship because honestly I was not able to accommodate my husband’s kink and fetish needs. When I found some dirty diapers in a gym bag that he was taking to the laundromat, I flipped out. It was pretty brutal because I couldn’t understand and was not able to become a Mommy Domme.

I told him to find someone who could be. But we were a really good fit in every other way and weren’t really able to stay apart. So we decided to find lovers that could fill our sexual needs outside of our marriage. I wasn’t expecting it at all, but found myself dating women. Life is full of surprises!” – Samantha, 29

Read: Talking about Kink with Your Poly Partners

We Tried Swinging, and It Was Amazing

“My girlfriend asked me if I wanted to try swinging. It was all the rage in our city a few years ago with all kinds of swinger parties. We had steamy, wild times, and found that the shared adventures brought us closer together.” – Nick, 25

Read: Swinger Lifestyle 101: All About Swingers

The Cuckold Next Door

“I always fantasized about Maggie making love to other men. I would text her what I thought were erotic sexts about where was she and what was she wearing. She thought I was being controlling and jealous when she was out with her mother!

Finally I told her I had raging cuckold fantasies and loved the idea of her out doing errands in sky-high heels and a tight pencil skirt, and attracting the attention of every Tom, Dick, and Harry. We started playing with hotwife and cuckolding fantasies and eventually decided to explore those fantasies for real.” – Oliver, 30

Read: Hotwife 101: What Is the Hotwife Lifestyle?

The Sex Got Boring

“The truth is I was pretty bored of the vanilla sex routine and was craving excitement and variety. So I suggested to my boyfriend that we open the relationship.

It was fun for a while but eventually we realized we weren’t right for each other and that was the reason the chemistry was so tepid. We did break up but we are friendly. He’s in a monogamous relationship and I’m in a polycule” – Therese, 29

Read: How to Ask for an Open Relationship

Tough Conversations

“It was not easy to ask my girlfriend about opening up our relationship. But I wasn’t happy. We have very mismatched libidos. She would be happy to have sex a few times a year and spend the rest of the time snuggling. She never really got very horny no matter what I did and was always eager to just get it over with.

I couldn’t usually go down on her, and she never gave me a blowjob, never mind kinkier adventures. At first I was angry, then I thought it was me. But finally I realized that her sex drive was very mild. She admitted it finally, that it wasn’t anything I was or wasn’t doing, just that she was happy to go without sex for months at a time and mostly did it because she loves me.

She tried to be more open, and it made things worse. Finally I asked about opening the relationship, an alternative to breaking up. I was afraid she wouldn’t be able to handle it, but she was relieved! It was a bit strange at first, to go off on dates, while she went out with her friends. But we got used to it.

People might ask why we didn’t just break up. Now we see that’s not always the answer and that polyamory works really well for some people. We wonder why people would break things off over sex issues when we know that you can’t be all things to all people or always match sexual needs.” – Jorge, 35

Read: Asexuality and the Asexual Spectrum

Are you in an open relationship? Why did you open your relationship?

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