What Exactly Does Having An “Open Relationship” Mean?

What is an “open relationship”? I’ve been seriously pondering over what that means. It’s a term that carries so much ambiguity—completely relative and subjective. I have personally rendered many definitions to no avail. I’m still completely confused.


So here’s what Google is really good for: really ridiculous queries that you’d feel stupid or embarrassed to ask someone else. The results, you ask? So I did a little random selection, here’s what I came up with.

  • “A relationship in which two people agree that they want to be together, but can’t exactly promise that they won’t see other people too”. – Urban Dictionary
  • “An open relationship is essentially having your cake and eating it too, romantically speaking.” –
  • “In plain English, this means the person spooning me to sleep at night is not always my loving boyfriend of four years.” –
  • Open Relationship defines a committed relationship in which monogamy is not stressed upon. In such a relationship, in spite of being committed to one person, people are allowed to date or get romantically or physically involved with others. –

That was a mouthful, wouldn’t you say so?

I used to believe that this was essentially a great idea. But mind you, I was young and ignorant. When you’re lacking full development of the pre-frontal cortex (which is believed not to fully develop until the age of 25), then you aren’t too wise in thought regarding such complex matters. Having your cake and eating it too is always the preference, but what seems too good to be true usually is.

An open relationship, in my opinion, is an invitation for polygamy. You’re permitting your partner and yourself to freely explore the dating cesspool and still maintain the guise of a relationship. Rules? What rules? I found a couple of sources that established “open relationship rules”. I’m amused by the irony of that idea. It’s actually quite oxymoronic. You just can’t logically create rules to protect an open relationship. It’s open – no boundaries. I say this because either way you maneuver it, someone is going to get the short end of the stick. Someone’s going to dislike something the other person is content with, someone’s going to feel like something is unfair, someone’s going to get jealous, and ultimately someone’s going to get HURT.


Granted, these are all things that happen in normal relationships; the difference: in an open relationship you have INVITED these things to pass through freely.  Why do that? Sounds really stupid.

Whether you’re trying something new or exploring additional options (whatever your reason), recall that there are other alternatives that won’t put you at such a great risk for losing someone you really care about. If you’re not ready for a committed relationship, then just be honest with yourself and your partner and consider being single. If you love that person and don’t want to lose them, reevaluate your situation and try working things out. If you even took the time to entertain an open relationship, you most likely have some issues within your relationship that need working out. Maybe you’ve become disinterested in that person or have even outgrown them. But, before you make any moves, ponder over it. My grandmother used to tell me, the grass is always greener over the septic tank. You don’t want to find yourself paddling up shit creek.


  1. I see your point of view, hell I though the same thing at one point in my life and I agree to the extent, that when one is under the age of 25 making life decisions are trivial to when you are 25 or older. I’m a believer in keeping your options open, unless you have a serious convictions. As you’ve said some of the same things that can go on in an open relationship can happen in a monogamous relationship. You ask why do that? I wonder why not? Address the “invited issue(s)” as they a rise, discuss it as adults and move on, so theres preventative measure in place for the less likelihood of problems. I mean this something that should go on in “normal” relations away.

    Also, just because a person has thought of, considered or are in an open relationship, it doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with them. It’s simply what work for him/her, especially if they’ve found someone that is completely on board with it. In any relationship, between associates, friends, family and lovers, honesty and open communication is key to keeping a level play field and for making things work. I can go on for days about relationships and my thoughts but these are just my two cents on your post. Great Topic!

    1. Cay thanks so much for your input. I always love to hear different perspectives! I think that you’re absolutely right when you say that people should openly communicate and work together to resolve their issues. I believe that the lack thereof is a key factor in why many relationships don’t work out. Open relationships may work for some and that’s perfectly ok with me; it’s just not my cup of tea. But I’m open enough to be the one to agree to disagree with some things, lol. Thanks again for your feedback and I appreciate you reading my article! :)

  2. Interesting article. Maybe people prefer engaging in open relationships because being single in their eyes is like ‘being alone’. You get the benefits of being in a relationship and of being single. It is almost shocking how many people fear of being single and just hop from one to the other. It just shows some people can’t enjoy their own company and need a partner/partners constantly, little sad in my opinion…

    1. Thank you :) I think that you’ve got a good point. Many people do fear being by themselves and need constant companionship…which in my opinion, can be very unhealthy. Like you stated, people should learn to enjoy their own company and then they wouldn’t feel as if they NEED others so much. It’s not the end of the world to be single or alone. It can actually be quite enjoyable!

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