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Open relationship

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See also open marriage.

An open relationship denotes a relationship (usually between two people) in which participants are free to take other partners; if the couple making this agreement are married, it is an open marriage. While "open relationship" is sometimes used as a synonym for "polyamory" or "polyamorous relationship", these terms are generally differentiated. The "open" in "open relationship" usually refers to the sexual aspect of a non-closed relationship, whereas "polyamory" refers to the extension of a relationship by allowing bonds to form (which may be sexual or otherwise) as additional long term relationships:

  • Some relationships place strict restrictions on partners (e.g. polyfidelity); such relationships are polyamorous, but not open.
  • Some relationships permit sex outside the primary relationship, but not love (cf swinging); such relationships are open, but not polyamorous.
  • Some polyamorists do not accept the dichotomies of "in a relationship/not in a relationship" and "partners/not partners"; without these divisions, it is meaningless to class a relationship as 'open' and 'closed'.
  • Some polyamorists consider 'polyamory' to be their philosophical orientation — they believe themselves capable and desirous of multiple loves — whereas 'open relationship' is used as a logistical description: that is, it is how their polyamory is expressed or implemented. They would say of themselves, for instance, "I am polyamorous; my primary partner and I have an open relationship (with the following ground rules)...."

However, there is enough overlap between the two concepts that 'open relationship' is sometimes used as a catch-all substitute when speaking to people who may not be familiar with 'polyamory'.

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de:Offene Beziehung
sv:Öppet förhållande
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