From polyamory to swinging to being part of a throuple. Are you ready for an open relationship?

According to LGBTQ Nation, 81 percent of people have at least thought about giving polyamory a shot. With the rise of media covering open relationships, throuples, and other non-traditional forms of romantic relationships, it makes sense why you might be curious if it's the right thing for you.

Polyamory is a type of ethical non-monogamy. Both terms are often used to describe dating practices where people date or have sex with more than one person, with the consent of their partners. Many folks who date under this structure believe they are capable of loving and maintaining relationships with more than one person at a time.

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Here are a few common misconceptions about Ethical Non-Monogamous Dating:

It's considered cheating.

Relationships that practice Ethnical Non-Monogamy (ENM) have their own set of guidelines and boundaries that are created and agreed upon by those in the relationship. Therefore, being intimate with another person outside of a primary partner is not always considered cheating. Partners may exclude some acts of intimacy from their practice with outsiders or anything can go as long as all parties have agreed. It's different with every relationship, which is why if you and your partner are considering adding another person or people into the mix, agreements should be made prior to opening up the relationship.

Opening up a relationship only damages the primary one

Opening up your relationship to others can have benefits to all parties involved if practiced ethically. It can strengthen communication with your primary partner, make you more attracted to them, and increase your own sexual and romantic satisfaction. Obviously, with more people involved, the more feelings are involved so it will be a new process to navigate. If you fear your primary relationship will be hurt after the choice to open up with others, be honest with your partner or make a rule that the second it becomes too difficult, you will re-evaluate the situation.

It's all about SEX

While increasing sexual satisfaction may be a result of participating in an open relationship, it is not the only positive outcome from this practice. Like everyone, folks who choose to practice ethical non-monogamy including throuples, swingers, and those who practice polyamory aim to improve their relationships. Often this is through sex, but being open and honest with your partner and others involved can make you a better communicator, help you explore your sexuality, and show you new ways to be intimate.

How to tell if opening up a relationship is right for you:

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Disclaimer: You don't have to meet all of these qualifications, but if any seem of interest to you, it may be worth discussing with your partner or exploring an open relationship with someone new.

You've wrestled with commitment issues

If you have felt ‘trapped' when in committed relationships in the past or have struggled to commit to a single person because it feeling too confining, you may find success in open relationships. Many who practice non-monogamy believe they are meant to love more than one person romantically which is why traditional, monogamous relationships have not worked for them in the past.

You've fallen or had crushes on multiple people at the same time

If you have had romantic feelings for more than one person at a time and you weren't the lead on The Bachelor or Bachelorette, you may be someone who may find satisfaction in opening up your relationship or participating in one. While opening up a relationship doesn't always mean you will find romantic connections with everyone you choose to date, it can lead to more opportunities to connect with many people at once.

The thought of you being with another person and your partner being with someone new excites you

Maybe the thought of adding someone new to your existing relationship excites you and your partner. Maybe the thought of being intimate with an existing relationship gets you off. Either way, these are signs that you may want to experience with practicing ethical non-monogamy. Before you decide to do so, it will be in yours and your partner's best interest to discuss what that looks like. Are you looking for a one-time orgy? For both of you to date others separately? Do you fantasize about swapping with another couple? Any of those options can be viable to you if you choose and are honest with all parties involved.

You and your partner practice strong communication and boundary setting

One thing is for sure. If you and your partner would like to experiment with or decide to open up the relationship, communication between you is pivotal. Successful open relationships rely on strong boundaries being set before, during, and after dating or having sex with another person. Regular check-ins with your partner can help you both avoid jealousy, resentment, and disappointment. If you don't already feel strongly about your own or your partner's ability to communicate effectively, it may be something you need to work on before taking the next step.

Remember that love and sex are two of the most natural human desires. It makes sense why the potential of expanding this part of your life makes you curious. Don't let traditional dating or expectations from traditional love stories affect what you want. Dating multiple people is another way you can increase sexual and lifestyle satisfaction.

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