By Natalie Vartanian

The way I see it is there are so many models for being in a relationship. Some people are naturally monogamous. Some people are not. Some people need variety. Some don’t.

Instead of assuming a closed relationship is for you, or an open relationship is for you, really ask yourself the questions and be honest about your feelings. To help with that, here are the top three questions asked about open relationships:

1. How do you classify a relationship as Open?

Open simply means you are choosing to open up the physical part of the relationship. If you want to flirt, kiss, go on a date or have sex with someone besides your primary partner, that is totally fine. With your partner or alone. You may even choose to have multiple partners (relationships) that are equally weighted in commitment and energy/connection.

What people love about open relationships is the freedom to talk to other people. Pursue them romantically if they want. It is a belief in the idea that you can love more than one person and have an intimate relationship with more than one person. Without feeling bad or wrong about it.

Related: Is He In It for the Long Haul?

2. What about fear of getting emotionally attached to someone or jealousy?

That may very likely happen: the attachment, care and love you feel when you are intimate with multiple people. Doesn’t mean you won’t encounter confusion or doubting your feelings for your primary partner (or any of your partners).

Being unemotional and detached is not the point. The point is enjoying the freedom, ability to love without definition and being open to the range of emotions. It is all part of the journey and self-exploration.

An open relationship requires a lot of communication and honesty, and self analysis. Jealousy is a natural part of open relationships. Identify the jealousy and deal with it appropriately.

Ignoring jealousy will inevitably lead to resentment and eventually heartache. There is a great article on jealousy as part of the list of resources included at the end of this post.

3. Any tips or lessons learned for someone contemplating an open relationship?

There are so many pieces to a relationships besides physical, such as emotional, mental, spiritual, etc. So while the physical part of your relationship is important, it is not the end all be all either.

You have got to be clear about your level of desire and comfort up front and throughout the relationship. Open relationships are fluid. Once decided/agreed upon, it does not set it in stone. They can open, close, shift, expand, etc depending on where each other partners are in their level of comfort.

Related: Return to the Dating World

Remember to continually keep the lines of communication open and that will alleviate unnecessary stress on the relationship and allow it to be a thoroughly enriching experience.

Natalie Vartanian, CPCC, ACC, is a certified life coach, talented writer, speaker, workshop facilitator and an expert when it comes to sex and relationships. She knows it’s possible to have amazing love in an unconventional way.  She works with individuals and couples to build better relationships and help them amplify the communication and intimacy, which always results in better sex. She has also worked in organizations such as Google to develop personal development curriculum and present around the importance of designing relationships in the classroom to educators, as well as personal leadership for education outreach professionals.  Her work has been featured in Forbes.com, Good Men Project, Your Life Your Way and CTI’s Transforum Blog. You can find her at http://nataliethecoach.com.