Whether you’re currently dating someone or are simply familiar with the dating scene, you might have heard the term keeping an “open mind” during a relationship.
What exactly does this mean? How can you keep an open mind when dating others, and is it necessary to keep an open mind during your actual relationship with a long-term partner?
When people stay you must be “open-minded” in a relationship, this is usually referring to having an open mind to new experiences and being empathetic to the other person’s feelings.
It could also mean keeping an open mind to having an open relationship with someone.
An open relationship means that you can date other people outside of the relationship and/or have sexual encounters with others.
It can also mean keeping an open mind about the route you’re taking in the relationship, new sexual experiences, and even new foods! The possibilities are endless.
To be open-minded means to be receptive to new ideas, thoughts, emotions, or even behaviors!
Being open-minded is something we can practice not just with our partners, but in our everyday life as well.
People who are open-minded have actually been shown to be happier, healthier, and more creative due to their ability to see the world from different perspectives.
You can practice being more open-minded by:
- Being empathetic when others are telling you their feelings
- Practicing being kind to others
- Listening to listen instead of listening to speak or add your opinion (this is also known as active listening)
- Being open to new suggestions, from something as small as trying a new food dish, to bigger things in your relationship such as practicing new sex ideas
Overall, having an open mind can help salvage a relationship that has grown stagnant.
For people who have been in a relationship for years or who are struggling in their relationships, a new attitude of open-mindedness can lead to more excitement, more feelings of positivity and closeness, and can help refresh a relationship.
This is especially true for couples that initially started their relationship due to feelings of passion and lust.
Yes, passion and lust for your partner are great to start things off and can help you feel more connected to and crazy about your partner.
However, studies have shown that passionate love is more likely to fizzle out and lead to break-ups.
On the contrary, showing companionate love (meaning love toward your partner’s feelings, emotions, and values) is much more likely to be long-lasting.
Have you noticed the similarity between companionate love and open-mindedness?
By being open-minded, you’re showing your partner you can be a good companion and take into account their desires, feelings, and other values that they want to embrace in the relationship.
Open-mindedness is key to being a good companion and being a good partner to your spouse.
If you’ve ever seen the movie Yes Man with Jim Carrey, you might be familiar with the concept of being radically accepting.
While saying “yes” to everything your partner suggests might not be the best option, you can think of being more open-minded as having the tendency to say “yes” more often.
In addition to agreeing with your partner to try new things, such as new restaurants, sexual moves in the bedroom, or even more sexual partners, you need to also put your words into action.
It isn’t enough to simply agree with your partner and then not do what you promised!
For instance, let’s say your partner wants you to be more open-minded about open relationships. This might be due to a number of factors, such as:
- Long-distance relationships
- Working hours that make it impossible to be intimate
- Having new experiences
- Wanting to add a partner and spice things up in the bedroom
Immediately shutting down your partner might come off as uncaring.
Ask yourself and your partner, why do they want this to happen? What is this suggestion leading to?
Compromising, meaning to come to a mutual understanding, plays a big role in relationships. In fact, compromising has been shown to be beneficial for a healthy relationship, as it combines the best of both worlds.
You take into account your partner’s feelings and have an open mind, and your partner also listens to your suggestions.
We know, it can be hard to compromise and keep an open mind about certain things in a relationship, especially sex.
Because of this, it’s important to keep an open line of communication with your partner.
Not listening to your partner’s emotions and suggestions might not only be rude but can also be seen as abusive.
Having a partner that doesn’t listen to any suggestions, whether it’s suggestions about sex, food, bills, or anything else in the relationship, can also make your partner feel:
- Anxious about the future of the relationship
If you don’t agree with your partner and want to know more about how to be open-minded in the relationship, be honest with them and express your feelings.
It’s okay to say, “I have never experienced or tried this before. Please explain to me the benefit.”
Being open-minded is all about expressing your feelings and being curious about new experiences.
If you’re hesitant to try something, it’s also important to let your partner know about these feelings beforehand.
Never compromise on your relationship if this goes against your values.
Although compromising and keeping an open mind in a relationship can make your relationship healthier, it does the opposite when you begin to fulfill all of your partner’s needs while neglecting your own.
This is known as a co-dependent relationship, and it is not about being open-minded!
In order to strike a balance between being open-minded and close-minded, practice having boundaries.
For instance, your boundaries with your partner might be to only have one sexual partner in the relationship or only have partners that you two agree upon.
Your boundaries could also be to not try foods that are spicy or foods that have made you sick before!
These are some simple, yet very effective boundaries that can help you establish a balance in your relationship.
By setting boundaries, you prevent your open-mindedness from turning into an unhealthy, codependent relationship where you cannot express yourself or your needs.
By doing all other things that don’t interfere with your boundaries, you prevent yourself from being completely close-minded and not accepting new experiences into your life!
In a relationship, perhaps the best place to practice open-mindedness is in the bedroom. Being open-minded in the bedroom can look like:
- Practicing a new move
- Having sex using toys
- Using foreplay or other things that turn your partner on
- Inviting new partners
- Have a different schedule for sex
Using open-mindedness in the bedroom can be a huge way to improve the sex in your life! Open-mindedness can also be used during:
- Date nights
- Meeting new family members
- Vacations and getaways
- Listening and conversations
- Being open-minded about your living situation