What Are One-Sided Open Relationships? How to Make Them Work? (2023)

What Are One-Sided Open Relationships? How to Make Them Work? (1)

In This Article

The basic idea of an open relationship is where two partners decide to see other people while maintaining the relationship. This means that they would both prioritize each other over anyone. However, they are free to see anyone they want.

In the situation where one person wants an open relationship and the other does not, this is called a one-sided open relationship. This article will teach you what a one-sided open relationship means and how to make it work.

A research paper by James Fleckenstein and Derrell Cox II explores the impact of open relationships on the health and happiness of the individuals involved.

What are one-sided open relationships?

A one-sided open relationship is a union where one partner is free to date others while the other does not. This type of relationship can be challenging to navigate because it needs a lot of understanding.

In a one-sided open relationship, the partner seeing other people needs to be more detailed when communicating with their primary partner. Additionally, they must keep reassuring their primary partner that they are still the utmost priority.

If the monogamous couple isn’t comfortable with a one-sided open union, it might not work because balancing one-sided expectations might be difficult when one party isn’t in agreement.

(Video) 3 "Counter-Intuitive" Secrets to Make an Open Relationship Work

What makes a successful open relationship?

If you have ever asked questions like do open marriages work, the answer is yes. One fundamental truth to understand is that an open relationship or marriage can be successful if all the partners abide by the set rules and practices.

Additionally, the partners involved need to keep up with communication because it would help them to clearly understand one another’s needs and make room for improvement. The same also applies to a one-way open relationship.

Both partners need to come to a clear understanding of their needs and stick to the protocols in the relationship.

To understand more about how to build a solid and successful open relationship, check this book written by Kate Loree titled Open Deeply. This book teaches how to build compassionate and open relationships.

How do you make an open relationship work

Open relationships can only work when some measures are in place to ensure it goes smoothly. If some of these tips are ignored, both partners might find it challenging to provide balance in the relationship.

What Are One-Sided Open Relationships? How to Make Them Work? (2)

Here are some ways to make an open relationship work

1. Understand what open relationships mean

If you want to learn how open relationships work, it is important to do your research. This is because entering a relationship you don’t understand can be difficult to navigate. Hence, if it is a one-sided open relationship, you can try to learn how they work and explain it to your partner.

Similarly, if it is what you and your partner want, you should take ample time to delve deeper into this subject. This will help you avoid various mistakes that can ruin the relationship. Additionally, you can reach out to people who have done it before to have a practical idea of how to get started.

(Video) Love Lessons from Open Relationships | Kathy Slaughter | TEDxWabashCollege

Related Reading: What is an Open Relationship?

2. Make communication a priority

Even if you have a one-sided open relationship or not, you need to ensure that you and your partner have open and honest conversations. If you don’t have clear communication, it can affect the relationship.

You need to know what is going on with your partner and vice-versa. It is also important for partners to know how each other is feeling so that they can make the necessary corrections.

Related Reading : 10 Effective Communication Skills in Relationships for Healthy Marriages

3. Set boundaries in the open-relationship

When you understand how a one-sided open relationship or an open union work, it is advisable to set some ground rules to ensure its success. If there are no boundaries, some unavoidable conflicts will emerge.

For instance, you can tell your partner what you are sensitive to so they won’t unintentionally rub it in your face.

Even though your partner does not perfectly show understanding when sticking to these boundaries, it helps to know that they know that there are lines that shouldn’t be crossed in the relationship.

Related Reading: 10 Most Common Open Relationship Rules

Watch this video on discovering the obstacle that prevents setting healthy boundaries:

What Are One-Sided Open Relationships? How to Make Them Work? (3)

4. Consult a therapist before starting

If you are going to begin a one-sided or a mutually open relationship, it is important to see a therapist before going ahead. This is especially helpful when transitioning from a closed relationship to a whole one.

The whole process can be too overwhelming for you and your partner at some point. Hence, you might need a professional to help calm your nerves and reduce your fears.

(Video) "My partner wants an open relationship": First ask these 5 questions!

When you see a therapist, you can learn how to set one-sided open relationship rules, understand conflicts, communicate properly, etc.

Related Reading: How to find the best therapist

5. Mingle with other couples in open relationships

One of the ways to build a solid support system in a one-sided open relationship or just the open one is to find other couples doing the same thing. When you find couples in open relationships, you will not feel alone.

You can learn a lot from watching how other people handle similar issues. Additionally, you can also reach out to these couples for pieces of advice. This will be helpful because they can give you pragmatic steps to solve any relationship issue.

6. Don’t bury negative emotions

If you are feeling bad about something in a one-sided open marriage, it is best to dispel it instead of burying them. It would be best if you spoke to your partner about whatever worries you so that a solution can be found.

For instance, if you are feeling jealous, communicate this feeling to your partner so they can provide you with the needed assurance.

You have to understand that no relationship is perfect, and keeping those negative emotions can become unhealthy in the long run. When you don’t keep negative emotions, it strengthens the bond with your partner.

7. Decide on the duration of the open relationship

Most times, when it comes to a one-sided open relationship or the customary open union, they are usually temporary even though they might last for some years.

Therefore, you and your partner need to decide when the relationship will become closed or if you want the open status to remain permanent.

What Are One-Sided Open Relationships? How to Make Them Work? (4)

(Video) Real Talk About Open Relationships

When this is decided, you should have a plan on how the relationship will end. Also, you’ll have to get ready to create more boundaries and rules because your relationship is returning to its former status.

8. Don’t deplete the romance in your relationship

One of the mistakes that some couples make when they want to make their relationship open is they forget to attend to the emotional needs of their primary partner. Remember that the bond between you and your primary partner is special and should be preserved.

Therefore, while you attend to the emotional desires of other individuals in the open relationship, ensure your partner is not left out. You can organize dates or hangouts from time to time. This is to show that they are still special to you.

Related Reading: The Role of Romance in a Relationship and its Importance

9. Set safety guidelines

In a one-sided open relationship or a mutually open one, you or your partner might be having sex with other individuals. Hence, both of you need to set some guidelines that will ensure your safety because you still need to attend to the sensual needs of your primary partner.

You need to understand that the inclusion of third parties in your relationship increases the chances of contracting some sexually transmitted diseases.

Also, remember that those third parties also have people they are sleeping with. Therefore, put measures in place to prevent STIs and prevent birth control.

Related Reading: Tips for Building Emotional Safety in Your Relationship

10. Be ready for the unexpected

One of the open marriage rules you should never forget is to avoid getting your hopes up. If you do this, you might get hurt in the process. Your expectations of an open relationship might not play out how you want, and you need to accept this possibility.

Therefore, you need to keep an open mind so you won’t get too disappointed. For instance, your partner might not stick to some rules discussed before the open relationship starts. Hence, it is important to still communicate with your partner to resolve some issues.

To get a broader grasp of open relationships, check out Axel Neustadter’s book, Open Love, as it acts as a complete guide to open relationships and other concepts.


Related Reading: How to Deal With Disappointment in Relationships

Wrapping up

After reading this article on how to handle one sided open relationship or the closed one, you now know the steps on how to make it work.

First, you need to know that the goal of every relationship is for all the parties involved to record growth and progress in all ramifications of their lives.

Therefore, as you set the ground practices and boundaries, remember that your partner should be better than the way they were before meeting you. For more tips on handling an open relationship, contact a counselor.


1. Couple in Open Relationship Secretly Share Their Story
2. How do I open a relationship to try non-monogamy?
(Dr. Liz Powell)
3. Examples of open relationship rules
(Brian Murphy)
4. Do 'Open' Relationships Work? — Susan Winter
(Susan Winter)
5. Establishing Defined Boundaries in Your Open Relationship (Part 1 of 2)
6. How To Get Girls To One-Way Open Relationships?
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: The Hon. Margery Christiansen

Last Updated: 02/05/2023

Views: 6125

Rating: 5 / 5 (50 voted)

Reviews: 81% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: The Hon. Margery Christiansen

Birthday: 2000-07-07

Address: 5050 Breitenberg Knoll, New Robert, MI 45409

Phone: +2556892639372

Job: Investor Mining Engineer

Hobby: Sketching, Cosplaying, Glassblowing, Genealogy, Crocheting, Archery, Skateboarding

Introduction: My name is The Hon. Margery Christiansen, I am a bright, adorable, precious, inexpensive, gorgeous, comfortable, happy person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.