Contrary to popular belief, people in open relationships may be happier than those who are monogamous.
By Rebecca Jane Stokes — Last updated on Jul 24, 2023
Photo: Alessandro Biascioli/Shutter Stock
A study shows that people in open relationships are happier than people who are in monogamous relationships.
In 2017, scientists at the University of Michigan analyzed relationships of 2,100 participants over 25 (because peeps in their early 20s be crazy) with about 1,500 of those people in monogamous relationships and around 600 in committed non-monogamous relationships.
When it came to how fiercely they love, and how satisfied they are, researchers found no differences between monogamous couples and those in open relationships.
However, levels of jealousy were lower and trust was higher among those engaged in committed open relationships.
That’s right if you want less jealousy and more trust, the veritable bedrock of any romantic relationship, it looks like opening your relationship up might be the way to go!
So what do we make of these, results, huh?
Well, as a person who is monogamous but in a relationship with a polyamorous man, let me tell you:
They are totally not shocking.
To me, it makes a lot of sense that people in open relationships would be overall more happy.
Whyfore? Well, there’s the obvious reason: They are getting laid more often, and I’m only half joking. Sex does make people feel pretty happy and we’ve got the biochemistry to prove it.
The other reason is the one that matters more, I think, and it’s that people in open relationships talk more.
When you are dating and sleeping with multiple people, and being open about that fact, being open itself is not enough.
You have to talk through how you are feeling, and how they are feeling, on a daily basis.
An open relationship is by its very nature a crowded and busy one. There just isn’t room for anyone to ruminate on their discontent or unhappiness. In order for an open relationship to be successful, the people in it must have communication skills so well that the government would tap them to come to interact with aliens if they ever landed on Earth.
When you’re in a monogamous relationship it can be easy to keep things to yourself, to put off having the difficult conversation “until the moment comes.” When that moment never comes, that’s when unhappiness creeps in.
There was one aspect of the study that made me, as a person in a polyamorous relationship, a little bit sad.
The study also found that people in open relationships feel more love and trust for their primary partner than they do for their secondary partner.
As a person who would be labeled as the “secondary” partner, that made my heart hurt.
But here’s a thing to remember: Not all open relationships are polyamorous relationships.
In polyamorous relationships, the people in them do not view love as being something that runs out. It’s infinite in supply.
So you don’t weigh and measure your love accordingly between partners, you just love those partners differently.
I can’t wait until someone does a study on monogamous couples versus polyamorous couples. That noise will have Mike Pence clutching onto “Mother” for dear life.
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Rebecca Jane Stokes is an editor, freelance writer, former Senior Staff Writer for YourTango, and the former Senior Editor of Pop Culture at Newsweek. Her bylines have appeared in Fatherly, Gizmodo, Yahoo Life, Jezebel, Apartment Therapy, Bustle, Cosmopolitan, SheKnows, and many others.