For most of us, being in a relationship instantly means being exclusive to the partner a person has a relationship with. This is a common perception of people from the olden times up to now. However, there is a kind of relationship that might change all that: Open relationships.
In a more precise term, an open relationship is precisely called "polyamory". It came from two words, "poly" meaning "many" and "amor" for "love". Technically, polyamory is a kind of relationship wherein two partners are allowed to engage in intimate affairs with other people. Both mutually allow their partners to indulge in relationships other than theirs, sexual or non-sexual. If the couple doing this is married, it is called open marriage.
Not surprisingly, this is not popular among couples. Most couples would like their relationship to be exclusive only to both of them. Most of us would experience misery after learning that our partner has been engaging into an illicit affair with another. This is significantly emphasized after a "till-death-do-us-part" promise. However, some are actually in favor of this kind of relationship. Polyamory or open relationship usually takes many forms, but it all leads to one simple point: both partners can love different people other than them. Love may not be present but nevertheless, it involves intimacy with another person.
Certain factors can usually affect one's view about polyamory. The most dominant would be the culture. Most people are brought up the traditional way wherein loyalty and fidelity are essential in the relationship of a man and a woman. Christianity and some other religions taught us the importance of fidelity in a relationship. Polygamy is strictly prohibited. Islam, on the other hand tolerates the marriage of a man to many women. It all depends on what is right or wrong according to the individual. The level of affection also plays a factor on this. Jealousy and rivalry may be the most common things a person can develop after they find out that there is a third party involved in their relationship. Sadness and remorse follows afterwards. Desire for retaliation may also develop which leads to a vicious cycle. One cannot have an open relationship unless the other party agrees to it. Normally, older and more mature people are usually against this type of relationship. Younger generations, perhaps because of their open-mindedness and the influence of media have accepted this relationship as an alternative to the usual, traditional relationship.
Honestly, I view polyamory as an immature way of handling a relationship. A serious relationship rarely forms from an open relationship. Mostly, the main reason for this type of relationship is lust. If a person really loves his partner, he would want to reserve himself solely for the company and enjoyment of his loved one. However, respect begets respect. We must also respect what others feel about this. Some people perceive this as a positive thing, and we must not be prejudiced about it. There is nothing wrong with this as long as there is no one getting hurt physically, emotionally and spiritually. What you want your relationship to be, is entirely up to you and your partner, so make your decisions wisely.