Being in a long-distance relationship can be scary but having an open relationship while the two of you are miles apart can be terrifying. The thing is that a long-distance open relationship is only possible if both partners are on the same page.
You have to be emotionally, physically, and mentally in the right place and confident that you and your partner can deal with it. If one of you is uncertain about whether or not they can handle it, that’s a clear sign you shouldn’t opt for a set-up like this in the first place.
Most couples who choose to try this out often have to deal with people around them who are against the whole idea – most notably their families. You’ll also face many other tough challenges along the way but they aren’t impossible to solve if you trust each other and know that the love you have for each other is real.
Sometimes couples get stuck in a routine, especially those who are in a long-distance relationship, and they try to find a way to make things a bit more interesting. That can be due to being limited in seeing your significant other in person so there’s little you can do to spice things up a bit and you decide to have an open relationship.
However, be careful, as a long-distance open relationship isn’t for just anyone. You have to know that what you’re doing is for the right reasons and not just because you’re searching for something new to experience.
What is a long-distance open relationship?
To better understand what a long-distance open relationship means, you have to be familiar with what each of these relationships entails – a long-distance one and an open one.
In simple words, a long-distance relationship is when two people are separated by geographical distance. On the other hand, an open relationship means that both partners agree to see other people for physical pleasure.
Therefore, a long-distance open relationship is a non-monogamous arrangement where a man and a woman mutually agree to explore other options outside of their union. This doesn’t mean that you restrict yourself only to sleeping with others, as it can also include casual dating or texting.
It’s a well-known fact that this kind of relationship has increased in popularity over the past few years – often due to online apps and social media. However, unlike a monogamous relationship, this one is open and has its own set of rules.
Many dating experts agree that it’s almost impossible to maintain such a relationship unless you set clear boundaries from the very beginning. Arguments are inevitable in any relationship but if you feel emotionally distant from your partner or you lack physical intimacy, then it’s better to address it before it becomes a real issue.
A long-distance open relationship can help you see things from a different perspective and it can also strengthen the bond you two share. Nevertheless, you have to be confident that your partner won’t leave you for any of the other people and you have to be sure that your bond will survive problems that may come your way.
Polyamory vs. open relationship
Many people think that these two terms are the same, when in fact they’re not. When a couple agrees on an open relationship, it’s also to be with multiple people but the main difference is the emotional connections you have with those other people.
A polyamorous relationship is one where you can have deep and meaningful emotional bonds with multiple partners, whereas an open relationship allows you to sleep with someone besides your partner.
It’s easy to get lost in all these definitions but it’s vital that you understand which one you prefer the most and which kind of non-monogamous relationship you’re after.
At first, it may come as a shock to your partner that you’d even suggest something like this but you need to be precise and tell him how your relationship could benefit from it. Explain to them that it’s not that you want to leave them, it’s just that you want to explore your preferences.
You can always drop some small hints here and there first before confessing your feelings. Don’t just assume that your partner will be on the same page and expect the unexpected. Often, their choices are based on how they were brought up and what their parents’ relationship was like.
Both of you have to approach the idea in an objective way in order to avoid any kinds of misunderstandings. Take your time to think about this idea very carefully and when you know that this is what you want, then you can talk to your partner about it.
Communication and trust are the basis of a long-distance open relationship. On top of that, having an open mind is a must.
Can an open relationship be good for long-distance?
Keep in mind that this type of arrangement isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.
I understand that dealing with a long-distance relationship can be tough or exhausting as you aren’t able to feel your partner’s closeness or warmth as often as you would like. And being apart for a long time can make you feel angry or frustrated because you lack any sort of physical intimacy.
This can affect other areas of your relationship as well. It can have a negative impact on your communication and you may even start questioning his intentions.
Consequently, your days may be filled with endless arguments or fights and it can become hard to find a reason to stay in a relationship like that. Ultimately, you’ll have to make a decision to either shake things up a bit or walk away and leave your partner for good.
Another important factor is how long you think you and your partner will be apart. It’s not a big deal if your long-distance relationship will only last for a few months as there are plenty of things you can do that will bring you two closer together and help you get to know each other better.
However, if your long-distance arrangement lasts longer than that, then you may have a problem with the lack of physical closeness. Nothing can replace your partner’s touch and the emotions you experience when they kiss or hug you but in that case, seeing or casually dating other people may be a good option in the meantime.
A healthy long-distance relationship can withstand any problems that may arise along the way but if you’re having certain issues now, such an arrangement may not be the best choice for you. It could drive you apart even more.
Will a long-distance open relationship work for you and your significant other?
Your relationship may lose its core value if one of you doesn’t consent to enter into this type of arrangement. After you’ve had the ‘talk’ with your partner, give him some space and time to gather his thoughts and don’t bother him with endless questions.
If you do that, he may think that it’s his fault that you’re questioning your emotions and he may become distant and cold. Therefore, have an open and honest conversation with him and see how he reacts. If you can’t find common ground, then it may be time to reconsider whether or not he’s the right one for you.
There are a few things you have to consider in order to understand whether a long-distance open relationship is the right move for you and your partner:
Are both of you on the same page?
Bear in mind that you can’t force your partner to try something he has no desire for. If you stay persistent and he agrees to try a long-distance open relationship even though he doesn’t want one, it’ll eventually end with a break-up.
Also, adopting a trial-and-error mindset could tear your relationship into pieces because your trust and communication will only get worse. The point of such an arrangement is to strengthen your bond and not destroy it completely.
You both need to be honest with each other even if that means telling the bitter truth. You have to voice your opinion no matter what.
Many couples who agree to try this type of relationship end up regretting it in the middle of the arrangement and this usually occurs either due to dishonesty or a lack of communication between partners. You both must respect and accept each other’s preferences if you wish to build a future together.
If at any point you become suspicious that your partner may have caught feelings for another person, you need to tell him straight away. Don’t hesitate to pour your heart out because that’s the only way a long-distance open relationship can work.
Are you using an open relationship as an excuse for your problems?
You can’t fix your key issues by opening up the relationship. Your heart won’t heal if you allow your partner to sleep with other people. In fact, it can result in you breaking up.
Before allowing anyone else to enter your relationship, you have to solve any problems you and your partner may be facing. After that, sit down with him and lay down the reasons why you have a desire to try this out.
Perhaps your significant other is the one suggesting it but he wanted to draw a veil over a mistake he made by initiating this set-up. If that’s the case then it’s not recommended to even test something new.
The thing is, you won’t trust your partner if he hurt you or cheated on you in the first place and without trust, a long-distance open arrangement can’t work at all.
Have you considered the pros and cons of such a relationship?
This may sound silly to you at first but it can help you see things from a different perspective. Both of you have to keep in mind that when entering into this type of relationship, there could be consequences or rewards of sleeping with other people.
Don’t get carried away by your emotions or your lack of physical touch and keep things as simple as you can. My recommendation is to list down all the advantages and disadvantages of a long-distance open relationship and then talk about it with your partner.
For example, a relationship like this can help you satisfy your physical needs when the two of you are separated for a long time. Also, it can lower your levels of frustration and help you approach your main relationship with your partner in a more calm way.
However, be careful because there’s also the other side of the coin. The first thing that may pop into your mind is that your partner will have the possibility of sleeping with other people, which means some random women may become his bedwarmers.
On top of that, some people have difficulty separating their emotions from being physically intimate with someone, which could also ruin everything you’ve built so far.
Jealousy or feeling guilty about sleeping with someone else (even though you agreed on it) are things to also consider and all of these things can impact your relationship in a negative way. It’s no surprise that some couples who try this quickly decide to go back to their old ways because they see their connection getting weaker.
7 must-know things for a successful long-distance open relationship
Now that you’re familiar with what this kind of arrangement entails, it’s time for you to make a decision. These are the things you must know if you want to have a healthy long-distance open relationship:
1. Your heart must be in it
Before telling your other half anything, ask yourself this: Are you okay with sharing the person you love the most with other people? Can you handle the fact that your man will most likely sleep with more than one woman?
This is the first thing you need to be aware of. Your heart must be in it and you should trust that it won’t go too far and the same applies to you.
The moment you start catching feelings for someone else, you need to confess this to your partner and resolve the issue like adults. Otherwise, being with some other man may be interpreted as cheating.
If you can’t stand the thought of your guy even kissing another woman, then this type of relationship isn’t for you. You’ll always be jealous and you won’t give him or yourself enough space to explore your physical needs.
2. Specify which type of open relationship will be best for the both of you
As I previously mentioned, there are different types of open relationships. Monogamish, polyamory, or swinging are just some of them and what’s great is that you get to decide what suits you both. But remember that what works for you doesn’t necessarily mean that it’ll work for your partner as well.
There are various questions that you’ll have to go through with him before making a final decision. For example, are you and your significant other comfortable having regular dating schedules or do you prefer to be spontaneous? Are the two of you okay if the other party goes to your or his house or do you agree to have a neutral territory?
Honesty and healthy communication will eventually bring you closer together and it’ll make the entire situation more bearable. You need to accept each other’s viewpoints and see what’s suitable for both of you.
3. Do it for the right reasons
Usually, couples who agree to try an open relationship have their reasons why they want to explore other options in the first place. But what’s important is to express those reasons in a clear and transparent way.
You can’t beat around the bush and tell your partner lies about why you have the desire to date other people. That can endanger your entire arrangement and weaken the foundations of your romantic relationship.
If you’re already happy with your partner and you think that you’re heading in the right direction, then why would you want to destroy that? I understand that in long-distance relationships, physical intimacy can be a huge problem but was that really the reason why you choose this kind of arrangement?
Are there any other things that are lacking in your relationship that you would like to seek solutions for? Perhaps you desire someone who can identify with you more or you seek validation and pleasure outside of your main relationship?
The thing is, being in a committed relationship isn’t just something that you can ignore and you can’t use a person as a replacement until someone better comes along. Commitment requires that you love, respect, and trust your partner and that goes both ways.
If either of you has any hidden motives as to why you want to open up your relationship, then it’s time to sit down and have a serious talk. Go back to why both of you made that commitment in the first place.
Take your time to self-reflect and soon, you’ll find your answer. The issue you may be having now will continue to exist if it’s not dealt with head-on.
4. Set clear guidelines
There are no universal rules out there that are written on a piece of paper that you need to follow blindly but these guidelines are something that you and your partner should come up with together.
If you want to avoid any confusion and protect each other from being emotionally hurt, write down those rules and perhaps even sign them. Don’t complicate it too much and tell him what you want or what you’d prefer. On top of that, say what you’re not okay with and what you think could damage your connection.
The truth is that people change and so do their emotions. And as time passes, you can go back to these rules and modify them if you think that’s what you need.
5. Find a proper way to deal with jealousy
Jealousy is a strong emotion that can force you to do things you could never imagine doing. It’s something that’s inevitable and can happen even if you’re not in an open relationship.
Therefore, your partner could be jealous that you’re giving him less attention than you usually do. However, those feelings shouldn’t be a trigger to immediately abandon the idea of having a long-distance open relationship.
On the other hand, if you notice a change in his behavior, then you must confront him about it and talk things through. Even when you’re seeing other people, communication is essential.
One perk that you’ll likely lose when you opt for a set-up like this is the amount of ‘me’ time you’ll have. Rather than asking for too much attention from someone, you should use this opportunity to rediscover yourself and work on improving yourself.
6. Decide how you’ll talk about your relationships with each other and others
This is definitely one of the hardest things to talk about when you’re entering into a long-distance open relationship. While some may agree on the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell‘ policy, there’s a possibility that this option isn’t your cup of tea.
If that’s the case, then you can switch things up a bit. Be careful and pay attention to whether you’ll tell your partner about outside hookups at all and if so, how much detail are you willing to share?
At first, you may experience some trouble in paradise but as I mentioned earlier, you have to find common ground. After figuring out how to discuss your open arrangement with each other, you should also agree on how to talk about it with other people, including if you’ll keep it a secret.
7. Seek professional help
If it’s impossible for you to have healthy conversations with your partner or if things are getting weird or scary, then you can seek help from professionals. Don’t trust that your family and friends will give you the best advice, especially if they’ve never been in an open relationship.
Instead, turn to experts to find ways on how to accomplish your goal. Many of us still believe that monogamous relationships are the norm and don’t even consider having an open relationship, when in fact your dating life may benefit from it.