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Open Relationships

There is no agreed-upon definition for the term open relationship, although it could be applied to any dyadic relationship that allows for additional members, either sexually or relationally. Open relationships can be seen on a continuum, including a couple willing to have occasional sexual encounters with one or more individuals to live-in intimate relationships with additional members. One way to conceptualize an open relationship is to consider what it is not. An open relationship is not constrained by monogamy and therefore offers unlimited opportunities for relationship structure, depending on the agreement of those involved. This entry addresses the various terms describing open relationships and implications for clients and implications for therapists working with individuals in open relationships.

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