At Map Psychology Solutions, our therapists are trained and experienced in working with clients in non-traditional and open relationships such as, polyamory or swinging.

People gravitate towards open relationships for many reasons – to experience more love & intimacy, from a place of understanding that we can’t have all our needs met from one person, as well as to increase the experiences of autonomy, freedom, fulfillment, and community.

Below are 7 important aspects of open relationships

1. Boundary Setting

Boundaries are the personal limits we set for ourselves. It is important to clearly communicate your
boundaries and be aware of your partner’s boundaries. Here are some common boundary examples some couples in open relationships agree to:

  • No sex/play with other partners in our home or bed
  • Communicating who, where, and when for safety
  • The degree of detail sharing from interactions with other partners
  • Agreement and awareness of where and how to meet other partners

2. Assertiveness

Assertive communication is open, honest, and direct. With assertive communication you say how you feel and what you need in a calm and kind way. Rather than assuming your partners can read your mind, share clearly and directly what you want/need. For example:

  • “I am feeling distant and would love for us to prioritize time together this weekend.”
  • “I am feeling insecure/triggered/uneasy about your new partner, could we make time to talk about how I’m feeling and sort through it?”

3. Prioritization

Depending on your open relationship agreement/dynamics, prioritization of your primary partner is very important. Some ways to prioritize your primary partner are through spending quality time together, rebooking plans with a secondary partners if your primary partner needs your support, and maintaining open and honest communication.

4. Respect & Trust

Having respect for each other’s feelings, desires, and boundaries is crucial to the success and open relationships. Respect is built and maintained through consideration for your partners. Trust is also really important and built through open communication and consistency. Anytime your partners hear something from you, even if it is upsetting to them, it is trust building. Anytime your partners hear something from someone else or finds something out, it is trust hindering.

5. Compersion

Compersion is the experience of getting joy or happiness from seeing your partners happy or fulfilled with another romantic or sexual relationship. Essentially, it’s finding joy in your partner’s joy, even if that joy comes from a relationship with someone else. Compersion is the opposite of jealousy. In open relationships, compersion plays a significant role in fostering trust, security, and emotional intimacy. It requires a high level of communication, empathy, and emotional maturity from all parties involved.

6. Evolving Together

As your involvement and open relationship interactions grow, it is important to evolve with your partners through open communication, re-establishing boundary limits, and love. Open relationship require ongoing check-ins and management.

7. Minimize Social Comparison

Social comparison is a natural human tendency that usually leads to negative feelings like jealousy, low self-esteem, inadequacy, insecurity, and dissatisfaction. Social comparison can be particularly challenging in open relationships because individuals may compare themselves to their partners’ other partners. Without effective communication and mutual understanding, social comparison can undermine the trust and intimacy in relationships. Instead of social comparison, try to focus on compersion (item #5 above). Remember what you focus on amplifies.

Below are some resources on open relationships


Accidental Swingers

Front Porch Swingers


We Gotta Thing


More Than Two by Franklin Veaux

Polysecure by Jessica Fern

Relationship Check-in Tool 

RADAR (click here).

Written by: Hadley Mitchell, R. Psych
Map Psychology Solutions
[email protected]
(587) 330-2999

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