Your partner pauses – then asks, “uh, what are your thoughts on having an open relationship?”

A quick Google search cues you in: an open relationship is one in which both partners consent to have sex with others, outside of the relationship.

From swingers, where the relationship is purely sexual – to polyamory, where there is also an emotional component involved – there are different types of open relationships. 

An image of a person holding the hand of another behind the back of their partner. A couples therapist in California can offer support in overcoming relationship issues. Contact a therapist in Fair Oaks, CA to learn about couples retreat in Californi

You’re stunned. 

What now?

Or maybe, you’re the one who’s been entertaining thoughts of an open relationship.

It seems like a perfectly good idea. Your sex life is hum-drum; the only thing in the bedroom that really gets your heart rate up is the ‘beep’ of your alarm. 

As relationships progress, it’s normal for the mundane to creep in. It tends to put a drab lackluster coat on what used to feel exciting and fresh.

While the prospect of an open relationship may sound exciting; a great solution to a boring sex life (or whatever else seems to be missing) the reality is much more complicated.

Studies show that over 90 percent of open marriages fail. 

If you are considering opening your relationship, it is critical that you get perfectly clear and honest, both with yourself and your partner before venturing outside of your union. Ask yourself these questions first:

1. Why?

  • Be completely honest, why? 

  • What are you looking to “fix?” 

  • Are you feeling unfulfilled by your partner, and think this may be a way to spice things up and add a little novelty, without breaking up with them?

  • Is something missing? 


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2. Parameters

  • If both of you are on board, do you have ground rules set? 

  • Do you have a plan for how you’ll be able to communicate through jealousy, or any other feelings that may arise? 

  • How will you handle the possibility of your partner (or yourself) falling for someone else? 

  • Is there a certain number of people you can see? 

3. Boundaries

  • Will there be anything you keep sacred, something shared just between the two of you? 

  • Can you be sure that, even if your partner agrees to it, that they are agreeing from an honest part of themselves, and not doing it just to keep the relationship intact?

  • Will you ask that potential prospects be tested first; how will you practice safe sex?

If you’re not truthful, you will more than likely find it challenging to navigate any big emotions and feelings. Things can easily become messy, overwhelming, and out of control.

Before opening up your relationship, it’s a good idea to seek guidance from a counselor first. They will work with both you and your partner. Help implement ways to identify and communicate your true feelings, and learn how to support each other through them.

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As your sessions progress, you may realize that seeking excitement, novelty, and pleasure outside the relationship is not the solution. You may uncover and reignite what’s been missing, and learn ways to keep it alive – so it never gets lost again.

The decision to engage in sexual activity outside of your current relationship is not one to be taken lightly. When it’s done, it’s done. 

At the Relationship Therapy Center, our therapists are well-versed in seeing couples from all walks of life. We understand the importance of making sure both of you feel seen, heard, and understood. No matter how you choose to proceed. Give us a call, we’re here for you.


Begin Working With A Couples Therapist in the Sacramento Area:

If you are ready to learn how to deal with the problems in your relationship, the therapists at The Relationship Therapy Center in Fair Oaks, CA, and Roseville, CA can help! Our therapists are ready to support you and your partner in your journey towards creating a healthy and happy relationship. To begin counseling in the Sacramento, CA area, please follow these three simple steps:

Other Services offered at The Relationship Therapy Center in California:

In addition to couples counseling, Our Sacramento area counseling clinics located in Roseville and Fair Oaks, CA are pleased to offer a variety of mental health services. Our couples services include: Couples Counseling, Counseling after infidelity, sex therapy, co-parent counseling, family therapy, divorce counseling, intensive couples retreats, and premarital counseling. Our individual therapy services include anxiety treatment, therapy for children, teen therapy, depression treatment, codependency counseling and individual relationship counseling. Our therapists offer online counseling in California to treat a variety of mental health concerns. Please reach out to our Sacramento area therapy office to learn more about the many ways we can help you or your loved ones.