It is possible that someone you are very fond of asks you to be in an open relationship, when you were expecting something serious. Or maybe you’ve been in a serious relationship for a few years, and suddenly your partner suggests that they would want to try out an open relationship.

Open relationships have both advantages and disadvantages. They can be enjoyable if both partners are on the same page regarding what they want from their relationship, and aren’t looking for different things.

However, at the same time, by their very nature, open relationships are complicated, and if you find your partner asking you about it, keep the following pointers in mind:

Don’t be judgmental

Just because you never thought about this prospect before, don’t become judgemental about your partner as a knee-jerk reaction. Sometimes, it could be natural for you to want to scold him/her for making this suggestion, and if you’re the one who is more inclined for commitment, then that reaction is probably justified too. What is important is that you understand the concept and what exactly your partner wants from the relationship.

Be honest

You need to be honest with yourself. There’s no point of saying yes to the proposal just because you feel that doing so will save your original relationship. You need to know whether you can go the whole way with this decision and only then should you take a final call.

“It completely varies from person to person when it comes to choosing a particular kind of relationship. Some people prefer being in a serious commitment while some like it without any strings attached. A lot of times it happens that the person you are with, might have a different perspective for relationships. At that moment, one should understand their partner’s point of view instead of judging them,” says Mumbai based Nidhi Jain, who is the founder of The Ochre Tree, which specialises in healing practices.

It’s not experimental

An open relationship at the outset seems like an experiment, but understand that it is something which can get pretty serious in a short span of time. You need to weigh the pros and cons of entering into it and then take a call.

An open relationship is not everyone’s cup of tea. It might be a usual thing for some, but for many, it is unusual and unethical. However, if your partner wants to be in an open relationship, don’t judge them or lash out at them. Listen to what they have to say to bolster their point and then put your point forward. This makes sure that there is no drift between the couple and even if they wish to part ways because of different perceptions, it happens on a friendly note.

What is it that you want? You need to know exactly what you want from your relationship. Are you OK with the concept of an open relationship? Don’t get forced into it just because you feel it might be the right thing to do. At the same time you and your partner should be wanting the same thing from your relationship. If you want it to be serious and they want an open relationship, then there’s no point of getting into the phase.

Breaking up

It is natural to feel that right in the middle of your relationship; your partner has changed tracks and now wants to go for an open relationship. In this scenario, it would be fine to walk away from the relationship because it does not agree with you and you are not at all keen on something like this. This option should also be considered in case you feel you are being pressurised into an open relationship.

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