The term may be considered a type of polyamory. It may sometimes be used to refer to polyamory, although not all polyamorous relationships are open relationships (although many are). People in a polyamorous can agree to have a closed relationship, in which in people agree to only see those who in the relationship.
There are several different styles of open relationships. Some examples include:
- Multi-partner relationships: A relationship between three or more partners where a sexual relationship does not occur between all of the parties involved. (Example: A and B are in a relationship. B is also seeing C, and A is seeing D. A and C are not involved and B and D are not involved.)
- Hybrid relationships: When one partner is nonmonogamous and the other is monogamous. (Ie: A is dating B. B is polyamorous and is also in a relationship with C and D. A is monogamous and is only dating B.)
- Swinging: In which singles or partners in a committed relationship engage in sexual activities with others as a recreational or social activity.
The concept of an open relationship has been recognized since the 1970s.
The original open relationship flag was designed by NonMonoPrideFlags on DeviantArt on December 3, 2015. Green represents the balance between multiple relationships. Grey represents the shade of grey that society sees with these kinds of relationships. Orange represents the openness between partners. A red infinity heart is also included.
The second open relationship flag was coined by a user going by Artemis. It holds the same meaning as the original.