Home  >  Love Couch  >  Better Love

7 Steps to Ask Your Partner for an Open Relationship

Though not everyone is open to the idea of an open relationship, you can try these tactics to convince your partner to give it a shot. By Lianne Choo

7 Steps to Ask Your Partner for an Open Relationship

So what exactly is an open relationship? In a nutshell, it means that both parties are totally fine with their significant other having sexual relations with other people. Depending on the couple, this could mean just sex or even building an emotional bond with someone else. At the end of the day, all open relationships have different rules and it is totally up to you how you want to pursue this.

No matter what you do, the key is to take it slow. Even if it takes weeks, months or even years to drill the idea into your partner’s mind, take your time with it. Not many people are open to this novel concept of dating other people, whilst in a committed relationship. So you have to look at it from their point of view. Gently urge them without coming on too strong or you will alienate them.

The last thing you want to do is to push your loved one to do something they are not comfortable with. Always remember to be patient and to not hold it against them, if things do not go your way. There is no doubt that it will probably take you dozens of in-depth conversations to get your partner on board but it will all be worth it in the end. [Read: What is an open relationship?]

How to ask your partner for an open relationship

Here are 7 simple things that you can say and do to get the conversation flowing.

#1 Casually mention it. The first step is to bring up the subject in an elusive manner. Try not to come right out and say it, and do not make it obvious at first that you want an open relationship. Many people do not even know what an open relationship is, and your partner may be one of them.

You should watch a movie together or recommend to your partner that he or she read a book or an article that touches on the topic of open relationships. Plant the seed in your partner’s mind and wait for the magic to happen.

#2 Bring up a success story. The next time you talk about open relationships, whether seriously or just in passing, bring up a success story or two. If you know couples who are happy in their open relationships, point out that they are happy, and that it is something worth trying.

Use celebrities as examples if you think it will help. Rumor has it that Hollywood star Will Smith and his wife Jada Pinkett-Smith have an open relationship. The same goes for celebrity chef Rachel Ray and husband John Cusimano. At the end of the day, the goal is to help your partner see that open relationships are not such a big, bad and scary thing, and that society is changing its stuffy views on conventional partnerships.

#3 Hang out with like minded couples. Another way to ask your partner for an open relationship is to spend time with like-minded people. An example is gently urging your loved one to head to a swingers club without going home with anyone. It is simply a matter of exposing your partner to this alternative lifestyle, and what better place to get a taste of it than at a sexy swinger’s club or bar? Let you partner flirt with someone else and get them excited about the myriad opportunities out there. [Read: A guide to swinging with your partner]

#4 It’s only for sex. When you speak about having an open relationship, be sure to clarify the rules. The last thing you want to worry about is your partner agreeing to this, then falling for someone else. Make it clear that your open relationship will only be about sex, and emotional infidelity will not be tolerated. Of course, this all depends on the two of you and what types of rules you wish to set in place. Make sure that you discuss this important bit together and not shove it down your partner’s throat, and expect them to kowtow to you. [Read: What should you do when your partner has sex with someone else?]

#5 Explain why it works. Just like any salesman, you have to explain what the benefits are. Sell the whole idea of an open relationship to your partner, and focus on why it works and why it is better than what you currently have. Whether the two of you should sexually explore what is out there or if you simply want to spice it up a couple of times, share all the pros of an open relationship and hold nothing back. You will be surprised at the lengths your loved one will go to, just to see you happy.

#6 Be honest. You also have to remember to be honest. Springing the idea of an open relationship on your partner is hard enough for anyone to swallow. They will probably experience every negative emotion in the book, the minute you bring this up: sadness that you want this, disappointment that they are not enough, anger that you would do this to them, jealousy because you want to be with someone else.

The only way to dull the negativity is to be honest. It may not work right away, but it will eventually get through to your partner. Honestly explain to them why this is important to you, and they may just see the light sooner than you think. [Read: How to deal with jealousy in a relationship]

#7 Take your time. The final thing that you have to do when asking your partner for an open relationship is to take your time. Patience is certainly a virtue when it comes to this. Do not expect a breakthrough right away. As mentioned, this may take days, weeks, months or in some cases, even years to sink in. You have to wait until your partner warms up to the idea before embarking on sexual escapades.

If you truly love them, you will wait for them to be ready. Making a lifestyle change is not a piece of cake. Imagine how much discipline it takes to go to the gym three times a week or to be a vegetarian. Agreeing to let your spouse go out and sleep with other people takes time and plenty of thinking, so just be patient.

Always remember that there is a chance things may not go your way. There are cases where people have been known to walk out on their partners, because they asked for an open relationship. Some people are just not programmed to be accepting of this novel relationship idea so do not be surprised if your spouse is one of them.

[Read: 15 open relationship rules for a better love life]

Just remember not to force your loved one to do something they are not comfortable doing. Play your cards right, and you may be surprised that your partner may also be open to the idea of an open relationship.

Liked what you just read? Follow us on Instagram Facebook Twitter Pinterest and we promise, we’ll be your lucky charm to a beautiful love life.

Gemma Hsieh
Born in Singapore and raised in Canada to multi-racial parents, Gemma is a self-proclaimed travel and food junkie. Having traveled extensively around the world,...
Follow Gemma on