An open relationship refers to a romantic relationship in which both partners agree to engage in sexual or emotional relationships with other people outside their primary partnership, without necessarily forming deep emotional connections with these additional partners. The key to a successful open relationship is open communication, trust, and setting boundaries.
What Is The Difference Between An Open Relationship And A Polyamorous Relationship Table of Contents
Open relationships can take on multiple forms such as sexual relationships outside the primary partnership("swinging"), occasional or regular sexual encounters ("friends with benefits"), or a committed partner allowing a non-committed partner to have other relationships ("hall pass").
Polyamory translates to "many loves" and involves the practice of engaging in multiple romantic and sexual relationships with the consent and knowledge of all parties involved. In short, it is about forming meaningful emotional connections with multiple individuals that are more than just casual encounters.
Polyamorous relationships can be diverse, ranging from one partner having multiple connections simultaneously to a group of three or more individuals living and loving together as a unit (also known as a throuple). Additionally, polyamorous relationships can follow a hierarchical structure - where one relationship is prioritized over others, or non-hierarchical, with a focus on equality among all partners.
Difference Between An Open Relationship And A Polyamorous Relationship
Kate and Jake are in a committed relationship, but both of them agree to explore sexual connections with others, all while maintaining their primary connection as the priority. In this case, Kate and Jake have an open relationship where external sexual encounters do not threaten their romantic bond.
Lucy lives with her two romantic partners, Tom and Mike, and all three individuals are fully aware and supportive of each other's diverse emotional and intimate needs. Here, Lucy's relationships with Tom and Mike resemble a polyamorous relationship structure.