Why you should date someone in an open relationship

Why you should date someone in an open relationship

One thing I’ve learned about myself through the failed relationships and bad decisions that make up most of my dating life is that monogamy is probably—definitely not for me. Try to lock me up or marry me and I’ll start looking for the emergency exit. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t long for romance and connection to solidify monogamous unions. Hi, I’m a Pisces, which means a cocktail of dazzling romance and chaos is my drug of choice.

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Wherewhat ddefend against a controversial sex/dating strategy.

In theory, an aversion to monogamy + a desire for romantic relationships makes you an ideal candidate for an open relationship. But while opening up about my own relationships — when I had them — was certainly something I considered, I always dismissed the idea of ​​being part of someone else’s ethically non-monogamous union. Which means, like many women, I tend to swipe left on dudes who identify as ethically non-monogamous partners on dating apps.

As I mentioned, I’m not alone in this. I know many fellow singles are annoyed by the increasing number of people in open relationships that have started popping up on apps in recent years as non-monogamy becomes a more visible, viable option for couples. And listen, I get it. It’s hard enough to find a decent match, let alone a real relationship, and now we have to share the already crowded, oft-cursed dating pool with the quasi-marriage? For anyone looking for a monogamous relationship, the invasion of happily married couples can be understandably frustrating.

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But that’s the point; I am not one of them. I’m not looking for any kind of relationship, certainly not monogamous. Moreover, you can often find me extolling the virtues of non-monogamy, sometimes even arguing against it. And yet, even I, who consider myself to be as progressive and open-minded as the next sex and relationship editor, have found myself regularly passing on open-minded guys on Tinder.

That is, of course, until I agreed to go to Adam* a few months ago. You know that person you’ve met multiple times on every single dating app, but you’ve never actually dated? Yes, that’s Adam, literally listed as “Adam Matched on Like Every App” in my contacts, approx. 2019. We ran into each other again a few months after being unbanned from Tinder after a four-year exile (it’s a long story) and decided to give this years-long flirt a go.

I knew that Adam had been in a long-term, ethically non-monogamous relationship with his primary partner since we first met—which, in retrospect, is probably one of the reasons we never met. . Look, it can be pretty hard to get yourself to take a chance on a dating app when you’re stuck, and pushing yourself into oblivion is always a viable option. So it makes sense that it would be twice as hard to make plans if you know there’s no chance of a “future” with the other person, even if that future (ie monogamy) isn’t actually what you want. Maybe I thought it seemed pointless to date someone who was already “taken” or uncomfortable knowing that there was another woman in his life who would always be his romantic and sexual priority. Or maybe I’m just afraid of feeling like a loser walking back to my apartment alone after a date, knowing he’s going home to a loving girlfriend.

But I’ve been seeing Adam for a few months now, and I’m happy to report that I’ve felt exactly zero of these things! In fact, the whole situation was, in a word, lovely. It’s all the fun and excitement of dating someone new, minus the jump on the DTR or relationship escalator. Meanwhile, your relationship status sets certain boundaries around our own arrangements, preventing our hot and heavy tendencies from venturing into the messy, emotionally risky territory of situations and other ambiguous matters. Basically, it’s casual dating, without the carelessness and confusion that often plague ill-defined quasi-relationships. For someone like me who craves romance and intimacy but rejects the strings and expectations that come with it, it’s about as close as I get to having my cake and eating it too.

Not to mention that there are certain qualities that people in open relationships can somewhat reasonably assume to have – which generally make them good candidates for a date. If you haven’t heard, open relationships require rock-solid communication skills, honesty, self-awareness, and introspection to succeed. Anyone who can maintain an ethically non-monogamous relationship is probably a decently strong communicator who can assess and manage their emotions – which, um, isn’t always the easiest thing to find in a man! (Or anyone—but you know, mostly men. Sorry, boys.)

It’s casual dating without the carelessness that often plagues ill-defined quasi-relationships.

People who have actively rejected society’s mononormative ideals are also likely to be at least a little open-minded and non-judgmental, which is pretty damn refreshing. Obviously, these are not universal truths. I’m sure plenty of people in open relationships still manage to be narrow-minded jerks, but I suspect there are fewer narrow-minded jerks among the ethically non-monogamous than there are among the daters.

Dating someone in an open relationship can also give you an opportunity to reflect on your own beliefs and values ​​when it comes to love and monogamy—or mine, anyway. Speaking openly with Adam about his relationship with his primary partner gave me the opportunity to explore and interrogate internal reservations and biases about non-monogamy that I didn’t know I had—including those that have historically held me back. swiping right on ENM guys on Tinder. It turns out that a little self-reflection goes well with a bottle of wine and bubbly date-night conversation.

Of course, being in an open relationship with someone is not for everyone. If you’re a die-hard monogamist who’s on the hunt for a soulmate, hooking up with an ex-partner isn’t likely to do anyone any good. But if your current relationship goals are more “here for the good times, not the long haul” than “lock down a long-term partner and die together in wedded bliss,” consider this a call to try dating someone else’s boyfriend—you know, ethically.

Head shot by Kayla Kibbe

Sex & Relationships editor

Kayla Kibbe (she) is Cosmopolitan’s sex and relationship editor, where she covers all things sex, love, dating and relationships • Follow her Twitter and Instagram.

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