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Open relationship boundaries are essential in order to keep things from going horribly wrong. Both people in the relationship have wants, needs, wishes, and sensitivities. When each person takes the other person’s needs seriously, and there is mutual respect between them both an open relationship can be very rewarding and fun. If not, it can be a hurtful nightmare.
You have to figure out what kind of sex is acceptable for both partners to have with other people. Put forth a set of guidelines on whatever sex is OK to have. If there are no boundaries, make sure that each of you agrees to this. Maybe one partner has a problem with romantic sex or french kissing. Maybe a partner would rather not allow the other one to be tied up and suspended from the ceiling wearing a rubber suit. Maybe they prefer it. Whatever the boundaries are, make sure that they are clear and that it is important not to cross them.
Whenever you have an open relationship, there is always the possibility that one of the partners will become involved with somebody else that they get attached to. It is bound to happen. Sex is passionate, and when the chemistry between two people is right, there is no stopping it. However, true love is true love, and both people in the relationship need to respect each other’s boundaries. Let it be known in the beginning that if there happens to be a “love” connection, the other relationship has to stop. Many couples make a boundary that the partner can only have sex one time with anybody they have sex with. Whatever your boundaries might be, stick to them.
Establish a set of boundaries that will tell how much time the partner can spend with other partners. If it is OK to spend a couple of hours on Monday night or Wednesday afternoon, make sure that it is known. How many hours per week or day is it OK to spend with other people? Communication is so important in an open relationship, just so everybody involved knows what is going on and how the other feels.
This one may be much more important than you’d imagine. Do you know that one person that you just can’t stand, the one that makes your skin crawl, the one that you will never like? How would you feel to know that they were sleeping with your partner? Or, what about your parents, or siblings, or ex-partners? There have to be some boundaries set in order to make a clear statement of who it is not OK to have sex with. Ever. Things like this can wreck a healthy relationship in a heartbeat. The only way to avoid problems like this is to get them out into the open, lay down boundaries, then adhere to them at all times.
It may seem selfish or superficial, but boundaries can seriously help a couple to stay in a healthy relationship. There is no need to end a perfectly good friendship out of miscommunications and ill understandings. Make boundaries, and stick to them—bottom line.