Rare is the person who has not “window shopped” while in a relationship. Many people live by the maxim, you can look at the menu but you can’t eat a meal. Others, however, take an entirely different view.
Swinging, open relationships, and some forms of non-monogamy are examples of relationships where sexual fidelity is not a defining nor a guiding principle. People engage in these relationship for a variety of reasons including distance (military, internet romances, etc.), differences in sexual appetite or ability, and, more often than not, sexual pleasure. While it may appear as a free-for-all from the outside, the relationships generally have rules and structure.
Should your partner approach you on this subject, know that this is one of those things, along with pregnancy and death, that you can’t be kinda into. If you are truly not interested in it (and you will know if you are or if you are not simply by your reaction to the topic), do not get talked into it, either by your partner or by yourself. There are some things that can not be undone and this is one of them.
On the other hand, if you think, this sounds like a great idea! Then set up boundaries to navigate what could be choppy waters.
- Is it a together-only activity or can you interact with sexual partners without the knowledge or consent of the other?
- Are certain people strictly off-limits? (co-workers, ex-boyfriends/girlfriends, family members)
- Are the relationships strictly sexual or will secondary relationships exist?
- How much time and energy will be devoted to extra-marital activities?
- How will jealousy and possessiveness be handled?
- If one person wants to “close” the relationship, what happens?
Then keep the lines of communication open and have frequent check-ins to ensure that both partners are content within the primary relationship.