Stellar Blog

Therapy for Open Relationships

Therapy for Open Relationships-98-png

Stellar Pro knows that being in an open relationship can be a great source of joy for many individuals. If you’re thinking about open relationships or ethical non-monogamy or an open relationship veteran, you can benefit from therapy for open relationships.

What is an open relationship?

Open relationships are a form of ethical non-monogamy. This type of relationship can be a huge source of love, joy, and excitement for both couples and individuals. The term open relationship itself serves as an umbrella term for all types of open relationship structures. These include: open, poly, solo poly, swinging, kink, and more.

Not all open relationships involve each partner having many significant others, but it can. Each open relationship is unique and there are millions of combinations and styles.

Visual for just how many definitions to open/poly relationships there are:

Graph of different types of Open Relationships

– Unicorn Polyamory

– Dating Around

– Don’t Ask Don’t Tell

– Swinging

– Casual Sex

– Closed-Group Swinging

– BDSM Play & D/s non-monogamy

– Polyfidelity

– Religious/Social Polygamy

– Cheating

– Open Relationships

– Commerce

– Poly/Mono Relationships

– Soft Swing

– Con Sex

– 100 Mile Rule

– And more

Open relationships can take many forms. This list is only a small fraction of the types of open/poly relationships.

Why do people want to engage in Open Relationships?

People are unique and so are their reasons for engaging in open relationships. Sometimes one partner wants one thing and the other is not wanting to explore. This may allow the partner to explore freely with minimal stress or concern.

Mismatched sexual desire can be another reason for wanting to open a relationship. If one partner feels that their sexual needs are not being met due to a libido issue they may want to engage in an open relationship.

Another reason is people in long-distance relationships. People in a LDR may agree to opening a relationship. This allows each partner to fulfill their needs that their primary partner cannot.

What matters is that you and your partner have discussed an open relationship and that terms have been established. If your partner begins to engage in an open relationship without discussing it with you, it’s up to you if you consider that infidelity.

Can infidelity happen in an open relationship?

Absolutely. Infidelity may take a different form in an open relationship than a monogamous one. If you find your partner(s) are going against the terms you may feel this is infidelity.

Therapists certified in open relationships can help you talk about infidelity in open relationships.

What if I find out open relationships aren’t for me?

Trying something new can be difficult. Sometimes, it’s even more difficult to admit you didn’t like it. Open relationships aren’t for every person. It’s important to communicate your feelings towards your partner about closing your relationship back up. This is when a certified open relationship therapist can help.

No matter your reason for wanting to close a relationship, open relationship certified therapists are trained in both opening and closing open relationships and can help you. Remember, if you’re not enjoying being in an open relationship you shouldn’t have to grin and bare it. Communicating your feelings in a safe environment is the first step towards that.

What is Therapy for Open Relationships?

Talking to your normal therapist about open relationships might be difficult. But therapy for open relationships works the exact same way! You and your therapist will talk through the issues and answer questions you are having about open relationships. They might also provide worksheets or additional readings. Stellar Pro highlights clinicians who have received extra training in open relationships.

You may also see clinicians advertising themselves as poly-aware and poly-friendly. While labeled as polyamorous, these therapists may also be able to help you with your open relationship. We’ll describe them in more detail regarding their experience with polyamorous relationships.

Poly-friendly therapists or poly-affirmative therapists are therapists who are open-minded and accepting of poly, but they may be lacking in experience and knowledge about poly.

Poly-aware therapists are clinicians who have received additional training in polyamorous relationships. They may or may not have further training in other forms of ethical non-monogamy.

Sometimes, open relationships aren’t the focus of your therapy and you just need a therapist who won’t try to change you. This is where a poly-friendly or poly-aware therapist might be the best option for you. If a therapist is advertising themselves as poly-friendly or poly-aware, it is best to check with them if this includes open relationships.

But if you’re looking to dive deeper into open relationships, seeking out a Stellar Pro with advanced training or certification in consensual non-monogamy might be the best match for you. No matter which option you pick, all open relationship therapists should continue to educate themselves on open relationships while being aware of their own potential bias.

Why do I need Therapy for my Open Relationship?

Open relationship therapy is for all! Whether you’re starting out your open relationship journey or are a veteran, open relationship therapy can help. Open relationship therapy is different from non-open therapy in that it focuses on open relationships. Partners or individuals wanting to engage in an open relationship can benefit from having a professional, neutral third-party listen to their concerns before starting one. You may uncover things you didn’t even know about yourself and/or your partner(s)! Or you may learn something new about open relationships.

For those just starting out their open relationship journey, a therapist certified in open relationships can help answer questions you have. Maybe you’re not sure why you want to be in an open relationship. Maybe you’re having trouble meeting people. No matter the stage in your open relationship journey, open relationship therapy is here to help.

To get the best results out of your open relationship therapy you need a therapist who is knowledgeable about open relationships.

What can Open Relationship Therapy help me with?

– Navigating boundaries

– Improved communication

– Differences in opinion on poly relationships

– Jealousy or anger

– Broken agreements

– Negotiation contracts

– Infidelity

– Grief and Loss

– Navigating stigma from cultural or family

– Navigating personal sexual values and belief systems

– Being hesitant or skeptical

There are some of the benefits clients can gain from attending open relationship therapy. Getting results from therapy requires effort and hard work on all parties involved. Some clients only need 1-2 sessions to see the benefits while others need something more long term.

No matter how long your open relationship therapy journey takes you, your therapist is here to guide you.

Do I need therapy for an open relationship?

Every open relationship has their own reasons for wanting to attend open relationship therapy. Open relationships require a lot of communication and sometimes that can be difficult. No matter your reasons for wanting to attend therapy for your open relationships, attending therapy can help.

What are common reasons to go to Therapy for Open Relationships?

Here are a few reasons why clients seek out therapy for open relationships:

– Navigating boundaries

– Communication issues

– One partner wishes to engage in an open relationship and the other does not

– Jealousy or anger

– Broken agreements

– Negotiating contracts

– Infidelity

– Grief and Loss

– Stigma from cultural or family

– Navigating personal sexual values and belief systems

– Being hesitant or skeptical

– NRE or New Relationship Energy

– Throuple’s V’s, W’s and moresomes

If you find yourself relating to the items on the list, you and your partner(s) may benefit from therapy for open relationships.

Do I need to be in an open relationship to attend therapy for open relationships?

That’s the best thing. You don’t! Therapists certified in open relationships welcome all individuals. Even if you’re just thinking about open relationships to open relationship veterans. Talking about your needs, desires, and any questions you may have with a professional certified in open relationships can be beneficial. You may find that an open relationship is perfect for you. Or you may find that it isn’t for you at all.

My partner wants an open relationship but I do not.

Open relationships are not right for everyone. Just how monogamy isn’t right for everybody.

Even if you’re confident in your stance on open relationships, attending open relationship therapy can still be beneficial. You and your partner can discuss your feelings as to why you do and do not want to open the relationship. You two may discover a deeper reason for wanting to engage in an open relationship that can be satisfied without opening the relationship. Or you may learn that opening the relationship is the only way to satisfy that desire.

What can I expect from Therapy for Open Relationships?

Like non-open relationship therapy, open relationship therapy can be either online or in-person. Open relationship therapy is like any other therapy session except the focus can be open relationships.

You and your open relationship therapist will work together to understand the issues you are facing. These can range from “How do I get started in open relationships?” to “How do I tell my partner(s) I want to stop being in an open relationship?” to everything between.

Your therapist may give you worksheets or specific task goals – such as journaling. They may also recommend books such as Open Deeply: A Guide to Building Conscious, Compassionate Open Relationships by Kate Loree.

As with any therapy, open relationship therapy may take a few sessions before you see a great improvement. Each client is different. Some clients only need 1-2 sessions while others need a more long term schedule. No matter how long open relationship therapy takes, remember that every session is helping you work towards understanding your desires and needs.

Why is it important that my therapist is certified in Open Relationships?

Therapists who have received additional training in polyamorous relationships are uniquely equipped to handle therapy for open relationships. Open relationship therapists are also encouraged to analyze their own relationship biases.

You may see therapists who specialize in open relationships as Consensual Non-Monogamy (CNM) certified. CNM certified therapists specialize in multiple forms of consensual non-monogamy including: poly, open relationships, and swinging.

A consensual non-monogamy certified therapist will have received extra training in the following:

– Reasons to be in a poly relationship(s)

– Common mistakes when starting out

– Structures of new relationships

– Negotiating, renegotiating, and setting boundaries

– Making sex-safe agreements

– How to deal with jealousy

– Managing daily life – finances, time management, paid vs unpaid work

– Managing conflict and power dynamics

– How to deal with consent violations

– Defining members in a polyaffective family

– Coming out – including as a poly parent

– Polyaffective marriages

– Poly-pregnancy

– Dealing with friends, family, coworkers, and school

– Aging body and mind

– Retiring and how that relates to consensual non-monogamy – including shifting relationships

– Impact of poly on raising children

– Legal issues, medical institution tips, dealing with discrimination

– Breaking up

– Death and dying

– Addressing grief

The above is not an all-inclusive list but is meant to give you an idea of the extra training a consensual non-monogamy certified therapist will have received.

CNM therapists understand that open relationships are healthy and perfectly normal. Seeing a CNM certified therapist for your therapy for open relationship needs is the best way to analyze your relationship and gain a deeper understanding in a judgment-free space.

Stellar Pro has clinicians experienced in open relationships. A clinician who has submitted verification of their training in consensual non-monogamy will have a badge on their profile.

What benefits can I expect from Therapy for Open Relationships?

Each open relationship is unique. Some benefits you may experience are:

– Deeper connection to your partner(s)

– Improved communication skills

– Increased pleasure and satisfaction

– Understanding how to set boundaries and what to do when those boundaries are violated

– Increased confidence

All therapy takes time and effort from all parties to be effective. Some clients only need 1-2 sessions while others need many more. What matters is that you feel you are gaining a deeper understanding of your relationship and what an open relationship means to you.

Why should I choose Stellar Pro to find an Open Relationship Therapist?

Stellar Pro is the only therapy directory that verifies and highlights clinicians’ advanced training and expertise. We make it easy to find a therapist that specializes in open relationships. When you find a therapist on Stellar Pro you are assured that you are matching with somebody who is trained in open relationships.

Share This: