10 Tipps

Tips for opening a relationship

10 Tipps für eine offene Beziehung

Love can go in many directions.

Think carefully about what motivates you to open your monogamous relationship. Don’t put yourself under pressure. Take your time with your decisions. If you embark on the adventure, you’re likely to find out more about yourself than you ever thought possible. Here we offer some guidelines for opening a relationship:

No spur-of-the-moment decisions

Before you open your monogamous relationship, you have to ask yourself why you want that.

  • Do you and your partner have the same vision of life?
  • Are you good at solving conflicts together?
  • Can you speak openly and honestly about everything?
  • What kind of relationship do you want to have?
  • Do your relationship values match?

It’s not a matter of 100 percent agreement. But you should feel safe in the connection with your partner and have the deep certainty that you can master together, no matter what.

Know your starting point

It makes a big difference, whether you have already lived polyamory and met a like-minded partner, or want to begin opening a monogamous relationship. There are usually two reasons people want to open their relationship: Both partners have taken an interest in doing so; by doing research, talking, and making a joint decision–or one partner gives the impulse and the other responds accordingly, with variable amounts of compromise. Or one partner gives the impulse and the other must or wants to follow it.

Unfortunately, the latter scenario is more common. The partner concerned is overwhelmed by the decision and asks himself/herself many questions, for example whether he/she wants to live in an open relationship at all or can cope with opening up on an emotional level. A possible consequence could be a permanent overload. It has been our practical experience that in these particular cases, the opening is the beginning of the end of the relationship.

Opening should be a voluntary decision by both partners.

It is extremely important for the process of opening a relationship that all partners participate willingly and that the motives of each partner are clear. Sometimes we see one of them build up pressure by saying, “If you don’t accept it, I’ll leave you or cheat you secretly.” It is obvious that this cannot work. Such pressure build-up causes pain, inequalities and sometimes even trauma to the other person.

Therefore, clarify exactly why you want to open the relationship. What are the longings behind it? Your alarm bells should ring, when the opening is essentially an escape, because the current relationship has deficits. This can be for example quarrels, boredom, carelessness, devaluation, lack of desire, and much more. If opening up insinuates that these discrepancies be compensated for by other people, the motive should be viewed critically.

We advise you on how to open up your relationship and accompany this process sensitively and competently.

Polyamory strengthening the relationship

However, if the decision to become polyamorous is made consciously out of a happy partnership, it is possible that an honestly communicated external relationship can even stabilize the primary relationship – at least as long as the third person plays along and remains in the role of the lover. For example, it may be that one partner is less interested in sex than the other and the other person lives out this need with someone else. This can certainly work if the parties involved talk openly about their needs and negotiate the details carefully.

Polyamory strengthening the relationship

However, if the decision to become polyamorous is made consciously out of a happy partnership, it is possible that an honestly communicated external relationship can even stabilize the primary relationship – at least as long as the third person plays along and remains in the role of the lover. For example, it may be that one partner is less interested in sex than the other and the other person lives out this need with someone else. This can work if the participants speak openly about their needs and negotiate the details with all due care.

Care and mindfulness

Be aware that great care and mental preparation is required when opening a monogamous relationship. It’s greatly important that you as a couple work consistently on the relationship. Polyamorous relationships are not a license for anything and everything. If you dream of an open relationship and confront your partner with it, you are likely to feel guilty. After all, you don’t want to hurt them with your wishes and actions.

In order for an open relationship to be successful, the following five mistakes in thinking need to be recognized and recalibrated:

1. “Everything should just stay as it is.”

If you want to open your monogamous relationship, this is a big change. There are a lot of things that you don’t recognize at first glance. This creates uncertainty. This means that there is a great risk that you will take a step back immediately after opening so that everything stays as it was.

Rules are not an absolute safety net

Many couples initially set up rules that aim to make the change smaller and more bearable. For example, it is decided that neither partner should fall in love or spend the night with someone else. Many also stipulate that one-night stands are allowed, but no longer-lasting relationships. As a couple, of course, you should think about your limits. Be aware that some things are neither predictable nor controllable. Feelings cannot be expressed in rules, not in the present, and certainly not in the future.

But when rules are broken, there is a big breach of trust. This is often perceived by the partner as a failure of the relationship. It makes a lot more sense to set up guidelines instead. Be aware of what you value most in your relationship . Should anything happen outside of these guidelines, this will be taken as an opportunity to talk to the partner and to further develop the partnership.

Potential for relationship growth

The best reason to choose to open the relationship is this: You both see the potential benefits and the growth that comes along with it. This growth has a positive impact on the relationship. But it doesn’t mean that it will always be simple or easy. It is always scary when you leave your comfort zone. As a rule, courage is rewarded.

Dare more freedom

If the relationship is opened, you have the freedom to go on sexual and romantic expeditions, can work permanently on your communication skills, and thereby strengthen the bond between you and your partner. Surveys have shown that people in polyamorous relationships are as happy or even happier than people in monogamous relationships. So do not try to leave everything as it is, but prepare for changes on many levels and let yourself be surprised.

2. “I want to avoid jealousy altogether.”

Of course, it is obvious at the beginning to do just that. Who wants to lie on the couch and watch how the partner makes himself nice for a date? Doesn’t it sound much more tempting to be on the road at the same time and to have the same opportunities? This way nobody feels outside or has to fight jealousy. In theory this makes total sense, but you can still expect an awakening: jealousy, like all emotions, is anything but rational.

If you can’t bear deep in your heart that your partner is having sex with someone else, it won’t go away just because you have the same freedom. In an open relationship, you need to be aware of your inner insecurities, and learn how to get what you need in your relationship. Perhaps you also had the idea of ​​venturing into a threesome so that you would not be confronted with your jealousy. Before you bring someone else into your relationship, you should ask yourself the following question: How do I feel when my partner has sex or a date with the third person alone? If this idea makes you deeply uncomfortable, you are not yet ready to open the relationship.

3. “There’s nothing more to say”

You’ve known for a long time: Communication is the basis of a good relationship. But how comfortable are you with the conversations in a polyamorous relationship? Few of us have learned to talk to our partner about our sexual health or most intimate weaknesses. And we’re far from skilled in listening to how our partner feels about their sexual experiences with others. At this point, the critical questions about the social environment need answers. Unfortunately, many open relationships fail to address these, despite the best intentions for communication.

Learn to communicate

If neither of you has the slightest idea of how to talk about such issues as a couple, it will be difficult. Be prepared for communication to be difficult and tiring, and accept that you’ll feel strange when you talk about these issues. The more you practice, the easier it will be for you – and you can be sure that there will be plenty of opportunities to practice.

Negotiations are part of everyday life

In a polyamorous relationship, you’ll be busy pushing your boundaries, negotiating agreements, and juggling your schedule with that of your partner/s. Even though there may be resistance at first to being radically honest, your relationship will benefit in the long run. Studies show that people in non-monogamous relationships are much happier when it comes to communication and openness in the partnership.

4. “It makes no difference whether I know the new one”

Just as we have not learned to communicate properly in polyamory, we have not learned how to behave when we meet the new lover. Many couples make the mistake of doing everything to avoid such an encounter. Others even go so far as to not talk about whom the other person is dating. They don’t want to admit or face this reality. If you recognize yourself in this behavior, you have to ask yourself whether an open relationship is really right for you.

Everyone knows each other

There is even a term in the polyamorous scene for the person who is in a relationship with your partner: metamour. For an open relationship to work, you need to be honest in your communication. Each of the participants must be informed about the role they play in the overall structure, and must agree to this. This does not mean that you have to build a close friendship with the metamour, but a short message exchange or a coffee together should indeed be possible.

You participate in your partner’s life

Why is it so important not to close your eyes to your partner’s love life? On the one hand, you show your partner your full support – both in terms of your relationship and that of other partners. On the other hand, it’s a great opportunity for you to get to know your partner’s secondary relationship with all its uniqueness, interests, weaknesses and idiosyncrasies, and not just have an abstract concept in your head. Even if it feels difficult to meet your partner’s metamour at first, it’s still worth it. Who knows how much you might already have in common?

5. “Opening a relationship solves all problems”

No relationship is perfect. Even people who are in a happy long-term relationship know the ups and downs of everyday relationships. However, there is a difference between occasional arguments and misunderstandings and a basic communication or compatibility issue. If you are no longer happy in your relationship, opening it up will not change anything.

We advise you on how to open up your relationship and accompany this process sensitively and competently.

Sexual problems

Sexual problems can be treated. They occur more often than you think. Sex counseling makes it possible to discuss sexual problems without shame.

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Mag. Barbara Zuschnig
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Mag. Beatrix Roidinger
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We advise on all topics that shape and influence sexual desire:

  • physical experience
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  • social norms
  • societal myths
  • sexual life phases
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10 Tipps für eine offene Beziehung

Sexual problems can occur in any relationship.

Sexual problems may also be caused by the following physical ailments:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Surgeries
  • Nervous system disorders
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Substance abuse (drugs, nicotine, alcohol)
  • Injury to the erectile tissue
  • Snoring
  • Tumors/Cancer
  • Side-effects from medication (antidepressants, sleeping pills, beta-blockers, antiandrogens)
  • STDs

There is a solution for every sexual problem.