An open relationship is one of those things that sounds great in theory, but so much harder in practice.
Many of us like to think we’re ‘open’ to the idea.
And quite simply, monogamy isn’t for everyone.
Open relationships can work well for those who long for the commitment, but are happy to extend the sexual boundaries across multiple partners.
However, over time jealousy and other feelings can creep in and slowly break down the perfect open relationship.
This leaves one, or sometimes, both people wanting to make significant changes and switch to monogamy.
Here’s what to do if you’ve tried an open relationship and decided it wasn’t for you.
Why is my open relationship so hard?
So, you agreed on an open relationship.
Whether it hasn’t worked since the outset, or things have simply changed and aren’t working now – don’t feel guilty.
You’re entitled to your feelings and the simple fact is: open relationships aren’t for everyone.
Your feelings can change for a number of reasons.
Of course, this is the number one emotion that creeps in to break down most open relationships. It takes a special person to be able to watch someone they love go off and be intimate with someone else.
If you’re suddenly jealous, and have never felt this in an open relationship before, then it’s a sign that you might have developed deeper feelings. You’re in love.
Some argue that it’s simply too hard to be in love and accepting of an open relationship.
You care too much to watch them walk off and be with someone else.
For others, love is part of the open relationship and it’s possible to love your partner and still be intimate with others. It’s about being honest with your own feelings.
If jealousy has crept up on you suddenly, it might be time to work out where these feelings have come from and what you now want out of your relationship.
When you know your other half is off enjoying a number of different sexual partners, it’s hard not to feel like you’re constantly being compared.
The crazy part is, you’re competing against people you have never even met.
It’s enough to send anyone stir crazy.
While for some, this amped idea of competition is enough to heat things to the next level in the bedroom, for others, it’s a real killjoy.
It can make you lose your confidence in yourself and take the spark out of your relationship.
That extra level of insecurity can chip away at the relationship and wear you down over time.
You find yourself always wondering where your partner is.
Who they’re with?
What this person is like?
This isn’t a healthy way of living and will drive you into despair. It’s time for things to change.
3) Lack of honesty
When it comes to open relationships, there’s a keyword in there: open.
Often, these fail when there’s a lack of honesty between both parties.
If you have found your partner is lying about where they are and who they are with, it’s not the foundation of a healthy open relationship.
It’s time to renegotiate those rules you set at the beginning and make sure you’re both on the same page.
4) Less time
Another downside that comes with some open relationships is the lack of quality time you have for each other.
You might be finding your partner is off seeking it elsewhere more than they are at home spending quality time with you.
Doesn’t seem fair, does it?
Enough to lead anyone off the track of an open relationship.
5) It’s cheating
The idea of an open relationship is to go off and explore other sexual relationships.
This is all well and good if both parties are taking advantage of it.
If it’s only your partner going out and enjoying these experiences, then it’s likely you simply feel cheated on.
You’re the one waiting home each night, knowing your partner is off with someone else.
That’s a lot to take in.
It’s not a healthy way to continue your relationship together and something needs to change.
My open relationship is killing me
You know why it’s not working, so what next? Here’s what to do if you’ve tried an open relationship and decided it wasn’t for you.
1) Talk about it
The best thing you can do is sit your partner down and talk about it. Let them know how you’re feeling and why you’re feeling that way.
With everything out on the table, your partner might agree with you and be willing to give monogamy a try for a change.
People can get so set in their ways; they miss what’s right in front of them. Your partner may have no clue you’re feeling this way, so give them the benefit of the doubt.
It could lead to the perfect change to your relationship.
2) Negotiate new terms
Of course, not every partner is going to be willing to give up the freedom that comes with an open relationship. Even when they know how you feel about it.
Don’t take it too personally. Some people just aren’t meant to be in monogamous relationships. But that doesn’t mean you can make it work for you.
It’s time to renegotiate the rules.
Think back to the reasons above and why this isn’t working for you.
Now consider what you can change to make it work. This might include:
- Asking your partner to be open and honest about who they are with.
- Limiting it to exploring outside the home once a week.
- Limit the number of partners you can each have at one time.
It’s about finding what you’re comfortable with and making changes to the existing set up that both of you can agree on.
You can even make a rule to check in every six months to make sure you’re both still happy with the way things are going.
3) Get advice specific to your situation
While these points will shed light on the main steps you can take if you realize an open relationship isn’t for you, it can be helpful to speak to a relationship coach about your situation.
With a professional relationship coach, you can get advice tailored to your unique situation…
Relationship Hero is a popular site where highly trained relationship coaches help people work through complex relationship issues, like being in an open relationship. Their popularity boils down to how skilled their coaches are.
Why am I so confident that they can help you?
Well, I recently experienced a tough patch in my own relationship, and I reached out to them for help. From the moment I got in touch, I was given genuine, helpful advice, and was finally able to see my relationship issues with real clarity.
I was blown away by how kind and empathetic my coach was.
Within minutes, you could be receiving life-changing advice on how to navigate your open relationship and fix the issues you’re facing regarding it. Your coach can help you figure out whether you can turn your open relationship into a monogamous one.
4) Explore more
One reason the jealousy and other negative feelings often creep their way into an open relationship is because your partner is off doing all the exploring, while you’re simply at home.
It might be time to try that.
If you haven’t been an active participant in the open relationship to date, you might find you come around to the idea.
Get out there and do some exploring of your own. This will mean less time sitting at home feeling sorry for yourself and jealous of your partner.
You might just find the open relationship has plenty to offer you as well. Those negative feelings can subside in time.
5) Set a date limit
One of the biggest fears for many in an open relationship is that their partner will fall in love with someone else.
While this isn’t the goal…things happen.
If this is something that’s stressing you out, then it’s worth setting a limit on dates. Pick a number that works for you both and cap it.
This relies on both of you being honest about who you’re with and for how long. But it also stops an open relationship from becoming something it’s never supposed to be: two separate relationships.
6) Fix your relationship
An open relationship is never going to work unless your own relationship is solid. Instead of putting a stop to the open relationship, it might be time to hit the pause button.
Let your partner know about the issues you are experiencing and see if they are willing to take a break from the open side of the relationship to get the two of you back on track.
Working on the two of you could be the perfect solution to get you back on track in a happy and fulfilling open relationship.
Is it time to leave?
While love might be in the air for you, are you really going to be happy spending the rest of your life looking over your shoulder and feeling insecure?
Open relationships aren’t for everybody.
While you can’t change your partner, you do have the option to walk away from it.
If your open relationship is killing you, then it’s clear that something has to change.
Open relationships only work when both partners are not only on board, but encouraging of each other going out and having new sexual experiences.
This is simply not something many people have the ability to give to their partner.
At the end of the day, you need to be honest with yourself. You can’t stick in an open relationship as a ‘gift’ to your partner. This is a recipe for disaster that will catch up with you over time. It will eventually lead to resentment that will eat away at that happy relationship you envisioned.
If an open relationship isn’t for you, then it’s time to leave.
This will hurt and is really hard to do when it’s love, but it’s the best thing you can do to find that happy ending you’re after.
Will you ever find yourself happy in an open relationship?
The answer to that question will help you decide what next when it comes to navigating this difficult chapter.
Can a relationship coach help you too?
If you want specific advice on your situation, it can be very helpful to speak to a relationship coach.
I know this from personal experience…
A few months ago, I reached out to Relationship Hero when I was going through a tough patch in my relationship. After being lost in my thoughts for so long, they gave me a unique insight into the dynamics of my relationship and how to get it back on track.
If you haven’t heard of Relationship Hero before, it’s a site where highly trained relationship coaches help people through complicated and difficult love situations.
In just a few minutes you can connect with a certified relationship coach and get tailor-made advice for your situation.
I was blown away by how kind, empathetic, and genuinely helpful my coach was.