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Got more than one “significant other”? There’s a good chance that all parties are pretty damn happy.

Researchers sought to find out whether people in open relationships were content with their situations or secretly yearning to get chose by the “one” they loved.  What they found wasn’t too shocking. The study determined that relationship satisfaction has less to do with the number of participants and more to do with participants’ buy-in and self-esteem. In sum, men and women are happier when they are in relationships structured in a manner that they both desire v. something one partner pressured another to participant in—or even worse, issued an ultimatum.

One of the biggest issues around non-monogamous relationships is stigma. Many people believe they are morally wrong or innately selfish. If you want an open relationship, but want to avoid a messy situationship, consider these tips from experts.


The study found that couples in open relationships reported higher levels of satisfaction when each participant had a thorough understanding of their roles and boundaries. It’s all about trust.  In healthy, non-monogamous relationships everyone has to be clear on things like how many other partners are involved, how time is spent together and apart, and expectations. You’ve gotta make sure there are no surprises.


Things don’t have to be exactly equal, but they need to be fair. Open relationships don’t work when one person is able to engage in certain behaviors but the other is prohibited. In successful open relationships, both men and women are free to engage in romantic, sexual or emotional relationships with other parties. It’s can’t all be one-sided.


Open relationships aren’t just physical. In happy, non-monogamous arrangements, psychological and sexual needs are being met by participants in the relationship. There is a deeply intimate bond that keeps participants connected. They discuss personal issues and depend on each other for support.