When Do I Tell a New Partner I Want an Open Relationship?

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Dear Em & Lo,

I’m a single guy and I’m fairly active on the dating scene. When I eventually get into a long-term relationship, I’d like it to be an open relationship, but I don’t know when and how to bring this up with new partners. I don’t want to scare a woman off by mentioning it too soon, but I don’t want to be accused of leading her on, either. When’s the right time to mention that long-term monogamy isn’t really my thing?

— Free Willy

What’s your advice for Free Willy? Leave your suggestions in the comments section below.


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4 Comments on "When Do I Tell a New Partner I Want an Open Relationship?"

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Well, at some point in any new relationship, it has to take that step, from acquaintance/friend to partner. This is when you should do it. I would say before you have sex, but some people are a little more casual and to them, you’d want to tell them right when you start hanging out and being around more often. These kinds of desicions cannot really be pinpointed by just anyone(me/posters), its relative to you and your situation. If you feel them starting to get emotionally closer to you make sure and tell them, you don’t want to hurt them! My… Read more »
This is something I’ve had to deal with a couple of times (actually am in the process right now). Sooner is better than later. Disclaimer: I’m a straight cis woman, so the whole dynamic is probably very different. The first time, I brought this up as soon as the guy I was seeing mentioned exclusivity. I think that timing was right. However, what I did wrong was cave and say I would be monogamous when I knew that wasn’t going to work for me. We broke up about a year later because of fundamental incompatibilities, not limited to our views… Read more »
Step one is to avoid putting off monogamous boyfriend vibes. Don’t rush into a relationship. Limit your phone/text/internet communication with her. Limit the amount of time you spend with her. Continue to date other women. Step two is to wait for her to bring it up, and then tell her that you love the idea of forming a strong connecting with one woman, but you can’t imagine yourself being strictly sexually faithful forever and ever – in other words, say what most people would say if they were honest with themselves and with their partners. Tell her you really value… Read more »

I don’t know from personal experience but i would say before you sleep with her. If you wait til after, there is a good chance she’ll feel lead on and/ or duped.