Do open relationships really work out?

Washington: While couples do try new things in their love lives, open relationships have always been in question if they really work or not. Open relationships are those in which partners have agreed on sexual activity with someone other than their primary romantic partner while maintaining the couple bond.

“We know that communication is helpful to all couples. However, it is critical for couples in nonmonogamous relationships as they navigate the extra challenges of maintaining a nontraditional relationship in a monogamy-dominated culture,” says Ronald Rogge, an associate professor of psychology and head of the Rogge Lab, where the research was conducted.

“Secrecy surrounding sexual activity with others can all too easily become toxic and lead to feelings of neglect, insecurity, rejection, jealousy, and betrayal, even in nonmonogamous relationships,” adds Rogge.

Researchers in the study considered distinctions and nuances within various types of nonmonogamous relationships, and then assessed the success of each type independently.

The findings showed that monogamous and consensual nonmonogamous (CNM) groups demonstrated high levels of functioning in their relationships and as individuals, whereas the partially open and one-sided nonmonogamous groups exhibited lower functioning.

People in both monogamous groups reported relatively healthy relationships, as well as some of the lowest levels of loneliness and psychological distress. Moreover, both monogamous groups reported the lowest levels of sexual sensation seeking, indicating fairly restrained and mainstream attitudes towards casual sex. Overall, people in the three nonmonogamous relationships reported high levels of sexual sensation seeking, were more likely to actively look for new sexual partners, and to have contracted a sexually transmitted disease.

—ANI