Olivia J. Scott
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, also known as polyamorous relationships, 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 compromise. 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 person, especially with all the sexually transmitted diseases out there? Not to mention the the question of morality—yes, and the issue of infidelity.
There is also the view people take about a woman who wants to date other men. Can you imagine the names society gives her? Unfortunately, it will be all well and good for the man to date or sleep with other women. What’s the justification? Right, “Men are going to be men“. He doesn’t get called any negatives names. Instead he gets a fist bump.
For some people reading this, your eyes and ears may be popping, your mind wondering “what the heck!”
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 various lengths to save their marriages. Women are agreeing to these arrangements of letting their husbands have other women, while they, too, are 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 until 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 principle to be honored. I was reminded of this just recently.
A work colleague of mine, hat 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 agree to date and have relationships with other people. I asked her if she’s happy. To my surprise, she said, “Yes.” 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. It depends on the couple, each of their individual morals, values, and principles they live by. Wrong or right, many couples are opting for open relationships to save their marriages. It sounds contradictory, considering cheating is still frowned upon.
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? Or, are they a party to the conspiracy if they are aware of the polyamorous agreement?