Open Relationship: Is It Right for You?

Are you curious about open relationships but need to know if they're right for you? The concept of non-monogamy might initially seem complicated, with its set of rules, challenges, and misconceptions. However, for many, it offers a refreshing alternative to traditional monogamous partnerships, offering a broader range of more fulfilling emotional and physical experiences. In this article, Flure demystifies what an open relationship entails, explores the foundational rules, weighs the pros and cons, and guides you through various relationship styles and how to navigate dating apps tailored for open relationships.

What is an open relationship?

An open relationship is a modern approach to love that challenges traditional boundaries of romance. It's a form of intimate relationship that embraces consensual non-monogamy, allowing partners the freedom to explore romantic or sexual connections with others, all within a framework of mutual agreement and understanding. The essence of the open relationship meaning lies in maintaining a deep, primary emotional bond with one partner while freely exploring additional external relationships.
This type of relationship thrives on the pillars of open relationship definition: communication and consent. Far from the secretive nature of infidelity, open relationships are built on a foundation of transparency, honesty, and profound respect for each partner's feelings and boundaries. It's about redefining love in a way that respects individual desires and fosters trust and openness between partners.

Is an open relationship right for you?

Deciding whether an open relationship is the right fit for you involves deep diving into your desires and emotional needs. Begin by exploring your motives: Are you craving more diversity in your romantic life or seeking to discover unexplored areas of your sexuality? Consider your reactions to complex emotions like jealousy and how you feel about sharing your partner's attention with others. Open relationships require a robust foundation of trust and the ability to manage emotions effectively.
Here are the five signs that open relationships match your needs:
  • Communication is your strong side. You easily engage in open and honest dialogues with your partner(s) about your mutual desires, fears, and the boundaries you might need to establish.
  • You are emotionally secure. You are comfortable with the idea of your partner being with others. In an open relationship, confidence, trust, and effective jealousy management are essential to make things work.
  • You want to explore. You genuinely wish to have sexual and/or romantic connections beyond your primary relationship.
  • You respect your partners. If you are in an open relationship, you are sure that you and your partner are enthusiastic and in agreement about it.
Evaluate your relationship goals and desires; if these signs match your interests and character, stepping into the world of open relationships could be a promising and enriching experience for you and your partner.

Open relationship rules

A thriving open relationship involves more than just an agreement to see other people—it requires a set of well-defined rules that respect the feelings and needs of everyone involved. Here’s a closer look at these essential guidelines:
  • Communication: Consistent and open communication is the cornerstone of any healthy open relationship. Partners should commit to regular check-ins where they openly discuss their feelings, experiences, and any challenges they might be facing. The ongoing dialogue helps to maintain clarity and ensures that both partners are continually comfortable.
  • Honesty: Transparency is critical in open relationships. This includes full disclosure about relationships and encounters with other partners. Honesty helps to prevent misunderstandings and builds a foundation of trust that is essential for the relationship to sustain and grow.
  • Safety: Physical safety cannot be overstated. Couples should agree on safe sex practices and adhere to them without exceptions. This includes using protection with all outside partners and scheduling regular health check-ups to ensure both partners are healthy and safe.
  • Boundaries: Each relationship is unique, and so are its boundaries. Couples should explicitly discuss what is and isn’t acceptable regarding their relationships and interactions with others. Setting these limits not only helps in managing expectations but also ensures that both partners feel secure.
  • Respect: Like all relationships, respect lies at the heart of open relationships. This includes respecting each partner’s feelings and not using the openness of the relationship as a pretext for hurtful behavior. It’s essential that each partner feels valued and respected throughout their interactions, both with each other and with others.
Regularly revisiting and adjusting these rules is crucial as relationships evolve and grow. This adaptability allows the relationship to remain strong and responsive to challenges and each partner's changing needs and desires, ensuring that the open relationship remains a fulfilling and positive experience for everyone involved.

Pros and cons of open relationships

Like any other relationship style, open relationships come with their set of pros and cons.


  • Freedom: Provides a sense of freedom to explore connections with others.
  • Personal growth: Open relationships can lead to personal growth and a deeper understanding of one's desires and boundaries.
  • Communication skills: Opening up can enhance communication skills between partners.
  • Satisfaction: Can fulfill needs that might not be met within the primary relationship alone.


  • Jealousy: Managing jealousy can be challenging.
  • Complexity: The dynamics of such a relationship can become complex and emotionally taxing.
  • Misunderstandings: Without clear communication, misunderstandings can occur, potentially harming the relationship.
  • Social stigma: Partners may face judgment from others who do not understand or accept non-traditional relationship structures. Most polyamorous relationships deal with societal pressure, which is why sometimes educating others can be important not only for your private life but also for the community.

Types of open relationships

Open relationships come in various forms, each offering a unique way to explore love and intimacy outside traditional monogamous frameworks. Here are the common types of open relationships you might want to explore.
  • Open dating: This is the most flexible form of an open relationship. Partners are free to date and form romantic or sexual connections with others independently. The primary relationship remains intact while individuals pursue external interests without necessarily intertwining these interactions with their primary partnership.
  • Swinging: Typically involves couples who engage in sexual activities with other couples or individuals in a social setting. This type of open relationship focuses on recreational sex rather than forming romantic, emotional connections with outside partners. It's often practiced occasionally, like at parties or clubs catering to this lifestyle.
  • Polyamorous open relationships: Unlike swinging or open dating, this style permits deep, loving relationships with multiple partners. It encompasses hierarchical and non-hierarchical arrangements and can include committed relationships secondary to the primary partnership.
  • Hybrid open relationships: These involve a mix of freedom for sexual encounters outside the primary relationship while maintaining certain restrictions on emotional connections or the frequency of outside interactions. Couples might set specific boundaries to ensure that their primary relationship remains prioritized.
  • Mono/Poly relationships: In this dynamic, one partner remains monogamous while the other has the freedom to engage in romantic or sexual relationships outside of the primary relationship. This type requires a strong foundation of trust and understanding, as the needs and boundaries can significantly differ between partners.
Each type of open relationship has its own set of dynamics and rules that can be tailored to fit the comfort levels and desires of those involved.

Open relationship vs polyamory

Open relationships and polyamory are both forms of non-monogamy but differ in their structure and emotional depth. Open relationships generally focus on allowing sexual encounters outside the primary relationship without developing deep, romantic bonds with external partners. This model prioritizes the primary partnership, with the freedom to explore outside that core relationship under agreed-upon boundaries. On the other hand, polyamory involves forming multiple romantic relationships with the consent and knowledge of all involved. It is not limited to sexual exploration but includes emotional commitments and can often involve various equally important relationships without a primary hierarchy. Polyamory requires a high level of communication, honesty, and openness due to its complexity and the emotional depth of the relationships involved.

Open relationship vs ethical non-monogamy

Open relationships and ethical non-monogamy are terms often used interchangeably, but they hold distinct nuances in relationship styles. An open relationship is a specific form of ethical non-monogamy that typically emphasizes the ability to pursue external sexual relationships while maintaining one primary romantic partnership. The term explicitly connotes openness to external sexual encounters but often with the expectation that these do not develop into significant emotional relationships. Ethical non-monogamy, on the other hand, is an umbrella term that includes a broader range of relationship structures that reject monogamy in an ethical, consensual manner. This broader category encompasses polyamory, swinging, open relationships, KTP, and more, focusing on the ethics of honesty, consent, and respect across all types of non-monogamous relationships. Thus, while all open relationships fall under the wider spectrum of ethical non-monogamy, not all ethical non-monogamous relationships are open relationships, as some may involve deeper emotional connections with multiple partners.

Open relationship vs open marriage

An open relationship and an open marriage share the commonality of involving consensual non-monogamy, but they are applied within different contexts. An open relationship refers broadly to any romantic relationship where partners agree that each may engage in relationships or encounters with other people, either sexually or romantically. This term can apply to any relationship stage, whether the partners are dating, cohabiting, or otherwise committed but not legally married. Conversely, an open marriage specifically refers to a situation where the partners involved are legally married but agree to similar arrangements of engaging with other people outside of their marriage. While the underlying principles of trust, communication, and consent are foundational in both, an open marriage typically involves navigating additional complexities related to marital laws, family dynamics, and often long-term financial and domestic arrangements.

How to find an open relationship?

Finding the right platform is crucial for successfully navigating open relationship dating. Special open relationship dating apps, like Flure, cater specifically to non-monogamous people. Here's how to choose a dating app to find a partner for an open relationship:
  1. Research: Look for apps explicitly supporting non-monogamous or open relationships.
  2. Privacy features: Choose apps that offer robust privacy settings to protect you.
  3. Community feedback: Read reviews and feedback from other users to gauge the app's suitability for open relationships.
  4. Features: Look for features that facilitate open communication and transparency, like linkable profiles for partners or relationship status disclosures. OnFlure, we support diversity in all its forms and the global polyamorous community. You can find multiple features like adding a partner or special filters that enable advanced search for your preferences.
Enhanced visibility and simple connections are the key ways dating apps empower those who prefer polyamorous connections. It’s the easiest way to find like-minded people in your area and an excellent starting point in your polyamorous journey.