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The BedPost: Stigma should not hinder open relationships

My boyfriend and I are in an open relationship (meaning we can have sex with other people, but we just can’t go on dates with them or become romantically involved). I am very happy with the arrangement and so is he, but we both seem to have a difficult time explaining this to other people. Is this not a healthy relationship or should we just not tell other people about the situation?

I guess I can summarize my answers to both of your questions in a simple word: NO.

To be more eloquent (or at least try to be), open relationships are on the rise, but it’s hard to say exactly how much since there are no statistics on them yet. That shows you that it’s still a new, uncharted territory for most of America and some other parts of the world (though this kind of thing was happening thousands of years ago and in other parts of the world and as far as I can tell, the Earth hasn’t caved in yet).

Though I can’t really bring up the numbers, I can tell you this: You’re not alone. What you two have is not uncommon and, if executed correctly, is not unhealthy. As long as the terms are clear, which they seem to be, there is no reason why you two can’t explore your options with no shame or recklessness.

All of that inspirational muck is kind of hard to put into practical use, however, which is the bummer of the whole situation.

Let me let you in on a little secret: Some people are really afraid of things they don’t understand. Take the moon landing or jeggings — they are both really awesome things and they were both scrutinized by people because they just didn’t understand their beauty.

That’s the devil of this situation. Since it’s a fairly new concept to the mainstream, people are offended by it because it threatens the norm. To them, it’s not a typical relationship and it’s a threat to the traditional relationship model.

That’s a good thing. People shouldn’t have to be shackled to the idea of a two-person relationship if it just frankly isn’t their cup of tea. In the words of the ever-wise Barney Stinson, “New is always better.”

Long story short, never ever apologize for a relationship that is not causing you or someone else bodily or mental harm (and even then, don’t apologize, get out). This is your life and naysayers are not there when you lay your head down at night, so they don’t get a say. (Unless they’re someone you’re sleeping with, then … why are they naysaying again?)

Are you in an open relationship or judging someone who is? Tell Kristin about it at

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