How to Talk to Your Partner About an Open Relationship: A Handy Script

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Aaron and Josh are two guy friends who have a podcast in which they try to answer questions about dating, romance, relationships, sex, and the vagueries of human interaction. (“If you’re not a straight cismale, then we (may) have the answers you’re searching for.”) They’ve agreed to write a weekly post on The Date Report expanding on some of the topics covered in their weekly podcast.  Last week: Aaron advised on how to date when your apartment sucks. This week:  Aaron helps you talk through open relationships, mad-lib style.


We talked this week on the podcast about open relationships. Talking your way around your open thing can be a pain, but not to worry– the Guy Friends have some nice templates for you. Just fill in the blanks to suit your particular situation (because, after all, no two open relationships are the same) and we’ll do the rest! Trust us: we’re (not) professionals.

1) Let’s say you’re telling your date about your open relationship.

“Hey (name), before this goes any further, there’s something you should probably know. I’m _________ (in an open relationship/in a long-term partnership/involved in this thing). Hold on, let’s address that look on your face; my partner ______ (is okay with me/tolerates me/encourages me) dating other people. I (don’t) know what you’re thinking, so let me just give a little detail. It’s ________ (a new thing for us/the way it’s always been with us/a me thing). We’ve talked about it, and it’s working. Are you okay with this stuff between you and I not getting any more serious than it already is?”

2) Maybe you’re trying to convince your monogamous partner to give it a shot.

“I think this will be good for us. You know that we’ve had problems with _______ (our sex life / things moving too fast / the idea that one person can be all things to another person at all, I mean really, how can that even be a thing). I _______ (love / really care about / still want to fuck) you, that hasn’t changed and it won’t change. There’s a reason you’re the primary partner. It’s because our relationship is(n’t) stable right now that I’m bringing this up– I think we could ______ (really use / definitely handle) a big change. I hope you’ll think about it. (But it’s non-negotiable to me).

3) But what if you’re not even looking for an open relationship? What if you’re just trying to date someone that’s in one?

“Thanks for letting me know about all this. Is it weird that I have (no) problems with this? I feel like I should clear up a couple things though. First of all, I’m not getting involved with _______ (an open relationship your partner doesn’t know is open / the first stages of a horrible breakup / a weird prank), am I? Because I’m not down for that. I’m not going to make any assumptions about your relationship and how I fit into it but if you’re going to try to include me in _______ (your triad / a weird game of jealousy cat and mouse and one-upsmanship that was less about seeing other people and more about pushing the buttons of your primary partner / a threesome) I’d have to give that some serious thought. For the moment, though, I (don’t) feel okay with doing what we’re doing now.

Just to be safe, print these out and carry them with you at all times. Never know when you might come face to face with a nonstandard, but potentially extremely rewarding, relationship construction!

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