Open Relationships: How Far Will You Go to Save Your Marriage


 by Sasha Smartt, for Woman to WomanBookmark and Share              

Photo, wellbeing.com

 How many of you like to eat your cake and still have it? Yea, a perfect “win-win” situation….how far will you go to “have it all?” “Open” relationships or polyamorous relationships, as they are also referred to (though distinct in meaning), are becoming more and more popular, especially in liberal societies like the United States and Europe. It is also important to note that the term “open relationship” may or may not infer permission to engage in sexual activities outside of the primary relationship or marriage (married couples do have open relationships). So, in some cases, an open relationship may allow the parties to engage in sexual activities outside the primary relationship, while in other cases, sex is not allowed but emotional bonds and love is allowed between a primary party and the secondary partner. It all depends on what is allowed and/or restricted in the compromis. There are even cases where the parties may join the primary and secondary relationships together.             

Open relationships in marriages fly in the face of monogamy and fidelity. Why would anyone, a wife or husband, allow their spouse to kiss, love, romance or even have sex with another, especially with all the sexually transmitted diseases out there? Not to mention the the question of morality—yes, and the issue of infidelity. I mean….sigh….Oh, and there is the view people take about a woman who wants to date other men—can you imagine the appellations society gives to her? Unfortunately, it will be all well and good for the man, you know, “men are going to be men”, “they’re studs“. He doesn’t get called any negatives names. Instead he gets a pat on the back for being “the man.”             

For some people reading this, your eyes and ears may be popping, your mind wondering “what the heck” :-o  

Well, this practice is very real in contemporary relationships, including marriages. But guess what? With a steady climb in the divorce rates in any given society, people are now willing to go to preposterous lengths to save their marriages. Women are agreeing to these things, letting their husbands have other women, and they too seeing other men. Of course, not because it’s “open” it means they run around telling everyone. The “situation” is a highly guarded secret of both parties. Deborah Anapol, Author of Polyamorus Relationships in the 21st Century Wrote: “I am convinced that the incidence of polyamory is far higher than anyone suspects because so many people keep their private lives private.”….”Polyamory was not something the average man or woman in the street was likely to go along with simply because it’s trendy as is now the case. Yet on those days, three of four people in the middle of nowhere might accidentally fall in love with each other and quietly set out to build as life together. Before global Internet access, Google and the Web made it easy, such people were isolated and often imagine that they were the only ones in the whole world who’d discovered that love can be shared with more than one significant other.”

And not because it is open it means that both parties are “out there.” It can be one sided, as agreed, where perhaps only the man or woman have external “connections.” (for the purpose of this article, it’s not an “affair”, but wait ‘til you see my comparative article)             

It’s the sad truth. Marriage (and love) is viewed less and less as a sacred institution, where monogamy is the fundamental and ultimate principle that drives the union. I was reminded of this just recently. A work colleague of mine, with whom I’ve been best buddy since high school, confided in me about the state of her marriage. She and her husband have been married for a number of years now. They have no children, but do share a vast number of assets they accumulated over the period of the marriage. In a nutshell, they decided that they do want to spend the rest of their lives together, especially since their lives are so integrated. However, they resolve to see, date and have relationships with other people. This is not being done on a “willy nilly” basis, but that’s just what things have boiled down to. I asked her if she’s happy. To my surprise, she said yes, undoubtedly. They both are. They were just willing to do whatever they thought was “best” in order to preserve their marriage.  

Whether this kind of arrangement is “right” or “wrong”, is a question for each individual person (and I will deal with this is in the other article). It depends on the couple, each of their individual morals, values and principles by which their lives are guided or dictated. “Wrong” or “right”, this is the now the extent many couples are going to save their marriages, for many reasons, including joint property, love and children, and constant, familiar companionship.             

What about you? Are you in an “open” relationship? What do you think about married couples engaging in extra marital relationships? Do you view a woman who agrees to see other men as a “loose woman?” What about the third parties? Are they tarnished by this relationship conspiracy?             

Open Relationship: “A relationship in which two people agree that they want to be together, but can’t exactly promise that they won’t see other people too. Basically, to have it all: a significant other and the freedom to hook up with other people.” (urbandictionary.com)             

LEAVE your COMMENTS below.

About these ads

Posted on September 29, 2010, in All Publications, Dating & Relationships and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. As a Relationship Coach I used to be surprised how frequently the concept of “open marriage” came up with my clients. It doesn’t surprise me anymore.

    It can work, I’ve seen couples be successful with it, but I’ve seen more couple try and fail. I appreciate you taking on this taboo topic in the open. Getting it in the open is the key. Constant dialog is the only way to work through issues like this.

    http://www.escapefromrelationshiphell.com

  2. This is nice post but you may include some more ideas in the same theme. I’m still waiting for some interesting thoughts from your side in your next post.

  3. I am in an open marriage and I love it! It doesn’t take away the sacredness of the union, it just recognizes the fact that many human beings, both male and female, are not monogamous by nature. I have written 200 posts about how luscious my husband and I feel in our relationship. We have been married 15 years and have three children together…

    http://jujumamablog.com

    It’s time for open minds… xo

  4. I’ve been married for 13 years and it’s been an open relationship for 13.5 years. Open marriage has been the best thing to happen to me. We’re still madly in love and even work from home together.

    Opening our marriage doesn’t just mean sexually, but in all ways. We have no taboo subjects and we have the greatest of respect for each other. We see each other in the best possible light and accept comments and actions in the spirit in which they were intended rather than looking for offense. We don’t look for ways to control the other and we make allowances for each other’s quirks. From the beginning, we have loved and accepted each other and didn’t want to change anything about the other.

    Sexuality seems to be the most titillating part of an open relationship to those not participating in one. We both have high sex drives and separating love from sex is extremely easy for us. Neither of us is threatened by either of us playing outside the marriage. For us, it’s sport.

    I have found marriage an easy and fun experience. I’m positive it’s because we were perfectly suited for an open marriage together.

  5. My SO of over a decade said he can not change who he is though he tried. He wants it all. That Being said, if he can keep me satisfied and has enough strength to screw other eomen i wish him the best….lol. If not, i will see other men too. I have taught him to be a pretty good lover ( honestly wa like a teen when we started:( ). L said i love and adore him and know we are each others’ primary foundational rock of a relationship that none other compare to. We have discussed swinging and may settle on that.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 73 other followers

%d bloggers like this: