Why Do People Have Open Relationships?

People have open relationships for all kinds of reasons.  Just like monogamous relationships people choose this relationship model for healthy and unhealthy, informed, and unenlightened reasons. 

In my years working with non-monogamous couples, I have heard quite a range of reasons people choose open relationships.  Here are some of the reasons I commonly hear from fabulous individuals in varied polyamorous arrangements:

  • We don’t believe in the status quo.
  • There is greater security outside the confines of a two-person relationship.
  • My partner and my sex drives are out of alignment.
  • I have spent my whole life in polyamorous community and prefer to stay in the community I know and love.
  • I am bisexual and my wife is straight.  She doesn’t want me to lose connection to my queer identity.
  • Why not?
  • I enjoy the communication and honesty necessary for long lasting open relationships.
  • I believe open relationships require higher personal integrity.
  • Having multiple income streams in one household can make for greater financial abundance and sustainability.
  • We enjoy sharing play partners.
  • Polyamorous relationships require greater self development, introspection and have pushed me to grow as a person.
  • I enjoy watching my partner connect with other people.
  • I like the challenge.
  • I am not willing to sacrifice one relationship for another. 
  • Sex with one person for my whole life would be boring.
  • My partner has a fetish or kink I am not into, and I want to support her in getting her needs met.
  • Trying to meet all of my partners needs on my own would put a lot of pressure on our relationship.
  • I like more than one kind of person.
  • My life is richer with more than one partner fueling my emotional intimacy needs. 
  • I don’t want to limit my partner’s personal expression or have mine limited by her.

Open relationships only work when both parties can consent to their boundaries and be honest when they renegotiate their agreements.  Consider your own reasons for choosing a monogamous or an open relationship.

  • Which model works best for you and why?
  • How do you define the boundaries of your monogamous or open contracts?
  • How do you communicate expectations about intimacy with others with your partner?
  • How have your beliefs about monogamy and non-monogamy changed over time?
  • What beliefs do you have about other relationship models? 
  • How do you know which model is best for you?

Remember, no one is born poly or monogamous, these are relationship models we choose.  Neither option is right or wrong when made honestly and intentionally.


If you're thinking about opening your relationship and want help talking about it with your partner give me a call for a free consult- I'm glad to help.

Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC is a polyamory consultant, sex educator and relationship coach specializing in polyamory, open relationshipsjealousy, LGBTQ issues and infidelity.  

She can help you:

Contact her for a free consultation to see if working with her is right for you.

Click here to download her free guides to strengthen your relationship (monogamous or not).