question | Love

Do Open Relationships Work?

BY Amanda de Cadenet

Learn how you can submit your own Conversation Starter here.

For this Conversation Starter, I want to discuss open relationships.  Lately, we seem to be expanding our horizons and redefining “traditional” relationships to include more and more types of relationships than ever before.  With that comes the question, do they work?  Can an open relationship between two consenting adults be successful?

So, what do you think?  Can open relationships work?

Answer via Twitter or Facebook with the hashtag #OpenRelationships

longer answer? Comment here.

Past Conversation Starters view all


  • Quinn

    I’m in an open relationship for the first time. I’m 25, and I’m a fashion student at Central Saint Martins in London. We were honest with each other from the beginning. In the past I have had wonderful boyfriends but I start resenting them when I feel like they are getting in the way of my work. I know that isn’t fair and is something I have to work on if I ever want to commit to a conventional relationship again. However I am more happy now then I was in my other relationships. I also think that being in an open relationship doesn’t mean you care about the other person any less. Every single relationship between two people is different and as long as it is based on honesty and allows you to be the person you want to be, then I consider it a healthy one, and one that works.

  • Sanyu

    Hello Amanda! I originally tried to submit a video, but I guess that’s not yet possible. Anyway, what I say in my video is that I don’t think this question exists within a duality. And I mean that along a spectrum. I don’t think open relationships “do” or “do not” work for all people, at all times in all relationships. I think most everything exists along a spectrum. Basically, it depends on the people involved, their companionship, their communication and whether they know their positions with one another are unassailable. Personally, I am not a bodily possessive person. At this point in my life, I do not require from any lover that I be the only person they are allowed to be sexually intimate with. However, I do require that our companionship be transparent: in that we are highly communicative, in that our communication is explicit and in that we are honest about what is going on between us and between others. I do not need to know the minute details of my lover’s other companionships, but I do need to know they exist and when they are taking place. My lover may have a different set of requirements depending on their love nature. In my opinion, it is transparency, trust and unassailable positions that keep a companionship strong – not monogamy. That being said, I recognize that many people are monogamous by nature and that their companionships must work within that framework. I am just not of those people at this point in my existence. The bottom line is that nobody can have a companionship like the one I have with a person because nobody else is me. They may have a similar type of relating, but intrinsically the quality is different because there are different people involved. Thus, my lover’s love for me is unique from their love for another lover, friend or any other person. This isn’t always easy to keep in mind during moments of mind-chatter, but it is always true. The more one fixates on the “other person” and the less one focuses on their own strengths and qualities, the less sound the foundation of their companionship is going to be. Mainly because they are not secure about their position in the companionship. But nobody else can be you, so if you focus on being your fully uninhibited self within your companionship, and it is a truly communicative, honest companionship based on an unconditional bond, then I don’t see how anybody could take “your” place. And it’s worth noting that the type of relating (verb – action, not noun – thing) I’m talking about is a lot of work. But remaining aware of and attentive to what is actually taking place for and between people is the most edifying work I know to exist.

  • Christine Gutierrez

    I think that given the right amount of emotional maturity, honesty, and love that anything is possible. With that said there are certain factors that play a part not only internal experiences, personality traits, also biological tendency as we have evolved to claim your partner so to speak – as well as societal factors and overall just preference. It’s important to check in with yourself and see what makes you feel safe, loved, and good.

    I have friends that are poly and it works for them. Personally at this point in my life I work best within a monogamous relationship with lots of fun and exploration within our relationship emotionally and sexually.

    IF it’s working work it and if not find what works for your soul and make’s your highest self happiest 🙂

    What do you think @Amandadecadenet:disqus ?

  • Helena

    No I don’t think open relationships work. WHY would you be with a person and share your most intimate feelings and then be thinking of who you can screw next. Grow up.

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