Open Marriage

Leah - posted on 11/07/2010 ( 49 moms have responded )

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This topic conflicts me. A part of me wants to believe that something like this is achievable and makes a marriage stronger. However the realist in me thinks it can never work without some kind of jealousy and perhaps unhinging the marriage.

Here is the link;
http://glo.msn.com/relationships/wedlock...

Thoughts?

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Johnny - posted on 11/09/2010

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:-) It's not really so much "open marriage" that I'm fighting for. It's the right of grown adults to enter into consensual relationships of their own choosing without having other people's moral or religious beliefs inflicted on them. It's the same reason I speak out for same-sex relationships and polygamist relationships. I don't have any personal interest or consequence to these issues, but I don't want anyone legislating or moralizing over my personal choices, so I feel it is wrong to do it to others. My lifestyle choices are very vanilla and very accepted, I'm not gay nor polygamist nor in an open relationship. But if I suddenly chose to do so, it would not make me a bad person, worthy of less respect, or greater judgment heaped upon me. Those condemning these choices are doing so from a position of comfort and power, where they feel that they are entitled to make pronouncements on other people's private lifestyle choices that in no way harm or impact them. Open marriage may or may not harm the participants, but any relationship can have it's pitfalls and problems. When there are consenting adults involved, we are all expected to make our own decisions and suffer or reap the consequences of them. Just because I wouldn't choose something doesn't make other people's choices less legitimate.

Heather - posted on 11/10/2010

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See, I don't think an open marriage is anything relatable to gay marriage. At least in a gay marriage the two people want to be in a loving, committed relationship between two people. An open marriage wants to SAY they're married, but they want to be able to fuck whoever they feel like at the moment. It's their choice, but it's not what marriage was designed for. I feel like two people, no matter their gender, should be allowed to committ to each other and share some form of marriage, but why bother if you're not actually committing to anything. Marriage is definitely more than just a piece of paper in my opinion. It's a verbal committment before witnesses. And I'd love to see the priest, minister, what-have-you, agree to doing vows where the couple says...."yeah, we'll live together, but we're not committing to anything. We want to keep our options open." I think they'd get laughed right out of wherever they were. It's also why I don't think anyone gets married with the idea of having an open marriage. It's always something that comes afterward, when they decide there are problems. If sleeping with other people is the solution to the problem maybe you should just get divorced and be friends bc that's what your marriage has come to.

And for all of you who think this is ok, what if they get divorced because one decides the other slept with someone they didn't approve of? Would you then hold the person they were sleeping with responsible for breaking up the marriage? I know a lot of people said the gf/bf of the married person should be held accountable for breaking up the marriage in another thread. I'm just wondering if you think it applies to someone who has an "open marriage". I think any way you look at it, the married couple is committing adultery or cheating.

Johnny - posted on 11/09/2010

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Really Tah? You think other people should have a say on how you conduct your private life? (save actions that cause harm to others) What about the changes that have come to society in the last 60 years? It used to be that people felt that people of 2 races marrying was wrong, immoral, harmful to children, and would destroy society. Should we have listened to them and continued to allow their moral prejudices govern society?

Most people DO get married to be with one person for life. That is generally the plan. But not everyone shares in that. Does that negatively impact YOUR marriage? Does it weaken YOUR vows? Should the majority really have a say in the rights of minorities?

Heather - posted on 11/08/2010

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I think the practice of open marriages cheapens the whole idea of a marriage. Sure, people can do whatever they want, but why bother saying you're married. If you want a legal contract, get a power of attorney and list the person in your will. I just don't understand why anyone would bother going through a marriage process or wedding with no intention of being faithfull. It kinda seems like a lie to all the people who attend and witness the ceremony. But that's just me. I'd want to hear from someone in an open marriage(not televised) how that's going for them.

Lucy - posted on 11/08/2010

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Carol- I appreciate that not all couples may have monogamy explicitly stated in their vows, but marriage is still a legally binding contract, so is subject to the general understanding that monogamy is part of the relationship. After all, adultery can still be cited as grounds for divorce, whatever the couple may or may not have said in their vows.

As I said, I have no moral issue with people who choose to have an open relationship, I have no doubt that it works great for some people. Whatever goes on between consenting adults is none of my business. It just confuses me that a couple would enter into a legal contract, the terms of which they have no intention of adhering to. It doesn't upset me or make me mad, I just don't get it!

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Rosie - posted on 11/12/2010

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i didn't necessarily mean just sex. feeling romantic feelings for another person, IMO means they aren't committed to only you.
and i don't care how people want to define commitment. i don't feel any of this should be illegal, in fact i think polygamy should be legal. i just don't understand why people get married if they want to be involved with someone else. it's an oxymoron. you just can't logically have both things.

Rosie - posted on 11/12/2010

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how is someone committed to you when they are romantically involved with someone else?

[deleted account]

"Heather, you say "At least in a gay marriage the two people want to be in a loving, committed relationship between two people."



The same could be said of people with an open marriage. Just because some people have an open marriage doesn't mean they're not committed to each other or that they don't love each other." ~ Dana S.



I would go even one step further and say, who says a gay or lesbian couple can't or don't want an open marriage. They're people. Just because they're gay and might want to have the rights recognized doesn't necessarily mean they want a tradition marriage, does it?

Dana - posted on 11/12/2010

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If you commit yourself to someone that means you want to be there with them or for them for a lifetime. You can still have that and have an open relationship.

Commitment has nothing to do with sex.

Dana - posted on 11/12/2010

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Heather, you say "At least in a gay marriage the two people want to be in a loving, committed relationship between two people."

The same could be said of people with an open marriage. Just because some people have an open marriage doesn't mean they're not committed to each other or that they don't love each other.

Eronne - posted on 11/10/2010

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Yuk! On practical terms marriage is needed to create a stable family unit to raise children. All the touchy feely stuff about companionship, spending your life with someone you love etc is for your pleasure and obviously children can be raised in other scenarios. But the main reason was and may still be is for women to have the security of a monogamous male to support and protect the family. Maybe we don't need that anymore but we certainly don't need a 'marriage' where monogamy is irrelevant. It's not good for the kids.

Sara - posted on 11/10/2010

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So it is cheating if your wife/husband knows or is actually present when the act is committed? I don't know about you, but cheating always implies duplicity in my mind, and if your spouse knows that you are sleeping with others, and in some cases actually knows the person or is participating, then is it really cheating?



I can't answer the above questions for you, because this is such a personal issue. Nobody's marriage, or their idea of marriage or the meaning behind it, is exactly the same. I'm not sure people can use their own experiences to judge something as bad when it's something they would never do themselves. I mean, I don't like anal sex (and sodomy is actually illegal many places), but I'm not going to tell people that it's the wrong way to make love to their husband. It's between two people and their wants and needs and what works for them. If their marriage breaks up, I would venture to say that it probably would have never worked out anyway.

Sara - posted on 11/10/2010

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I agree with Carol, and I can't really phrase any better than she already has.

[deleted account]

I know a couple who have been in a successful, loving marriage for over 25 years and they have an open marriage. It can work, but like any other type of marriage it has to be the right two people in complete agreement and totally on the same page. I'm on the Carol boat.



Edited to add: And I think that saying an open marriage "can't" work is the same as saying gay marriage can't work. Marriage is about whatever the two people entering into it think it is about. For you (and me) that may mean one man, one woman, monogamous. For other people it means other things and who are we to try and tell them what works for them?

[deleted account]

No my personal view is,if you want other men and women just stay single..a marriage is between two people who love each other and dont want anybody else.Again if you want to do it , go ahead, if it works it works.We all have the right to choose what we want but for me it would not work, i want my boyfriend to become my husband and for us to live happily together without anybody else.I wouldnt marry him if he didnt feel the same.

Cat - posted on 11/09/2010

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Well, my husband's ex got married in 2006, told people they had an 'open' marriage, had a whole group they all did their thing with... They were married less than 3 yrs before they separated, and now they're not even on speaking terms... so in this particular case, while maybe it wasnt specifically what roasted the marriage (I am not close enough to ask) it definitely didnt bring them closer or benefit for them... There are a whole host of reasons why I'd never be okay with an open marriage, but their example is up near the top of the list... The other main reason would be b/c I love my husband, and I got married so that we DONT have to share each other... The only thing I dont understand, is why people who want open relationships bother going through with marriage in the first place.... In my eyes, a true commitment to each other does not involve a commitment to sleep with other people... Anyway, not my marriage, not my business, but those are my true honest feelings about it...

Charlie - posted on 11/09/2010

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"Open marriage doesn't "cheapen" marriage anymore than divorce does.


Everyone is entitled to the type of relationship they want, and the legal recognition of that relationship if they choose to go that route. "

I agree with Laci and Carol .

Tah - posted on 11/09/2010

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I didn't say someone SHOULD...let's back up..i am saying that reality is..they WILL...they will see things that society doesn't view as NORMAL and have questions and comments about them..that's why we have things like debate threads..lol..i just read through..i should not have said have a say..i should have said a view on it..they may see it differently or truly not understand.

Tah - posted on 11/09/2010

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things don't have to impact you directly for you to have a say. In some cases it may be about power or comfort. Some people may just not get it or agree with it and can have nothing to do with either. I don't want to exert any power over or toward anyone and i do what i am confortable with. It has more to do with my view on marriage in general and the reasons that most people get married, to be with one person for life. Of course anything else is going to be viewed by other persons, it can be in a positive or negative light, but it will be looked at none the less, and possibly questioned.

Stifler's - posted on 11/09/2010

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I remember that thread, but I was convinced it was Carol that had an open marriage for some reason :S Sorry Carol lol

LaCi - posted on 11/09/2010

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Open marriage doesn't "cheapen" marriage anymore than divorce does.


Everyone is entitled to the type of relationship they want, and the legal recognition of that relationship if they choose to go that route.

If I were less catty, I would absolutely be all for an open marriage/relationship. I get less and less catty with age, so maybe next year.

Tah - posted on 11/09/2010

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lol...yeah carol..i think i told her that...it sounded like a mess....alot going on..lol....

Johnny - posted on 11/09/2010

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I remember that too Tah. It sounded awfully confusing to live like that, but whatever floats your boat.

Perhaps I am coming at this from a slightly different cultural perspective. Where I live, there is "no fault" divorce, meaning that there are no "grounds" bought into a case. Whether someone committed adultery or not is immaterial. And legally, someone here can commit adultery without breaking any laws at all. "The state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation." A quote from one of our most popular prime ministers, Pierre Trudeau. But then, we also have gay marriage legal here, and our province has tried and failed to prosecute Mormon polygamists because it just may be that they are protected by our Charter of Rights and Freedoms. I also don't personally see marriage as a specific commitment to just one person as the rule. It is a choice made in the marriage, but a wedding does not necessarily signify that is the choice being made. That is, unless it is in your vows to forsake all others. It was in my vows, and we plan to stick with it. But we wrote them that way by choice.

Tah - posted on 11/09/2010

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There was someone on here who was in an open marriage..i forget her name....if all the chaos from work has not fried my brain, i believe it was her, her husband and his boyfriend living together with the child....(her husbands)...i know someone else remembers....

Tracey - posted on 11/09/2010

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I hope they took the line "forsaking ALL others" out of their marriage vows.

Leah - posted on 11/08/2010

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I can kind of see where they are coming from. If you are married to your best friend, have a great relationship but something is missing in the 'intimacy' dept, and it really causes a big problem, I can see why some people might turn to this as an alternative to seperation. But I can't see it working long term. I remember seeing an episode of "House", I think it was last season, where the couple had an open relationship. The wife thought they were both having relationships outside their marriage, however it turned out the husband wasn't sleeping with anyone else, just played along and let her think he was so she would be happy and wouldn't feel guilty. Sounds more realistic.

Rosie - posted on 11/08/2010

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exactly lucy!! it doesn't upset me or make me mad, it just makes me scratch my head. lol! i can understand how people can make it work, and i don't care what people do, BUT why get married? seriously, why? is it for the legal aspect of it? cause if thats the case then do something legal, and make that person legally liable for you. why does marriage have to be involved?

Chrystal - posted on 11/08/2010

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I don't believe that an open marriage is right. A marriage is between 2 people and 2 people only. There is no way I could let my husband go out and have sex with somebody else or even date anybody else and be completely ok with it. Yes jealousy would stir up and that's not healthy for a marriage.

Desiree - posted on 11/08/2010

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Like certain tpes of politics it works on paper never in practice. The theoretical world is exactly that theoretical because it can't take into fact the human fact. jealousy, greed and anger is all part of the the human factor. I don't agree with the open marriage nor do I think it works.

Jenny - posted on 11/07/2010

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Whatever consenting adults choose to do with each other is fine by me and none of my business.

Stifler's - posted on 11/07/2010

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I'm opposed to power imbalances. I'm not opposed to other people having open marriages just myself and I'd have said no if my had husband wanted one.

[deleted account]

I'm with you, Carol - different strokes for different folks. While I don't understand it, I'm not opposed to it. I've never tried it so I can't say for sure how I feel.

Johnny - posted on 11/07/2010

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I get that people here wouldn't want to do it themselves. I don't want to do it myself. The idea rather grosses me out actually. I'm not really the jealous type, but the idea of being with a man other than my husband gives me the shivers. Ugh!

However, there are lots of things that other people do in and out of relationships that I would never choose to do. But I can understand that it makes them happy and works in their life. I would never enter into a relationship or marry a woman, I feel equally as uninterested in that as I do in open marriage. And yet I can accept that it makes other people happy and is good in their lives.

Are all of you who are opposed to open marriage also opposed to homosexual relationships? Or transsexuals having relationships? Or people who choose not to have any sexual activity in their lives at all? How about people who choose to have great power imbalances (dominant/submissive) in their marriages?

I just don't understand the depth of opposition to other people who make the choice for open marriage. Why does that specific choice make a marriage meaningless? Can two people not choose and commit to one another on different terms than you did with your spouse?

Rosie - posted on 11/07/2010

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to me it totally defeats the purpose of marriage. i didn't vow to love and cherish and be faithful only my husband for the rest of my life, just to break those vows to go do the nasty with someone else.
i still feel even if it's in your marriage vows to allow for this type of thing, it totally defeats the purpose fo marriage. why would you marry someone if that's how you were going to have your relationship be? i truly don't get it.

Tah - posted on 11/07/2010

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if i wanted to share a intimate part of my life with others, i would have kept my husband in the line-up where he was before he proved he was a starter and then eventually the star....i happen to beleive that marriage is between 2 people and i love the idea of the vows and commitment being between 2 people. If you write your vows to allow for loop holes or certain freedoms...well, that is up to you....but it would not work for me....

Katherine - posted on 11/07/2010

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Yeah it does kind of take away from the whole concept of marraige. Unless, of course you've written your own vows.... I'm with Jenn, I think someone is going to have a problem with it.
Like Heather said too, what if the wife or the other get's pregnant? Then what?

Stifler's - posted on 11/07/2010

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I don't really care what goes on in others marriages but it wouldn't work in mine. We got married to the exclusion of all others.

Heather - posted on 11/07/2010

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Well, that would be akward is the girl ended up pregnant...DNA test anyone? and then who has rights to the child? The father or the husband? Then it's not just a sexual relationship, you're connected to that "sexual partner" for the rest of your life. And what about the child? How do you explain that you were literally "fucking around" when you got pregnant and "daddy" isn't really daddy, but it's "ok"....I don't know, I think it's kinda selfish to have an "open" relationship. If you're going to committ to someone, then committ to them, if you're going to date around and have sex with lots of other people then why bother? I really would like someone to come up with a logical reason for a marriage when there's no committed relationship and you're basically just "fuck buddies" and roommates.

Johnny - posted on 11/07/2010

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"But I really don't see why two people in an open relationship would take the very particular step of getting married, when you publicly and legally declare that you will be both emotionally AND sexually monogamous as a couple."

Not all people declare monogamy in their marriage vows. In some, it may be implied but not stated, and in others, their vows leave it open. Outsiders may assume that by marrying, people are vowing emotional and sexual monogamy, but this is not necessarily true. It is not a requirement of marriage. Some people may seek to marry their partner to avow the relationship as a primary and lifelong contract, not to the exclusion of all others.

Legally, you are not allowed to commit bigamy by marrying others, but at least where I live, you are not breaking any laws by having emotional and sexual relationships outside the marriage.

[deleted account]

I watched a Discovery Channel program called Taboo and they interviewed a couple who had an open relationship. There were "dates" but the other partner got to meet the new person and the date was more of a precursor to sex. They said it brought them closer as a couple, but it didn't convince me. At least with me, I wouldn't be able to stand my fiancé sleeping with someone else and it wouldn't help if I knew about it. If anything it would reduce my self-esteem: what do these women have that I don't, that he can't get this from me? I guess I don't feel the need to sleep around to be happy.

Jenn - posted on 11/07/2010

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I think a lot of people "think" that it's working for them, but I'd be willing to bet that their partner is having some issues with it, or one of them will at some point. If someone wants to give it a go, then that's entirely up to them, but it doesn't work long term.

Lucy - posted on 11/07/2010

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I have no problem with how other people conduct their relationships, it really isn't any of my business. I know people who have open relationships, three way relationships and traditional monogamous relationships which have worked, and as many of each which haven't, so there clearly isn't a one size that fits all!

Although it doesn't appeal to me or my husband, I do believe that some people can be in a genuinely loving, respectful and committed relationship AND be open to having sex with other people. But I really don't see why two people in an open relationship would take the very particular step of getting married, when you publicly and legally declare that you will be both emotionally AND sexually monogamous as a couple. It really doesn't bother me at all that a couple in an open relationship would get married, I have no moral objection, I just don't really get why they would want to.

I also think that the woman in the link goes a step further than the usual open relationship in her description of her marriage. I have known several couples in open relationships, and they have been clear that sexual intimacy with other partners is fine, but full on romantic relationships (with proper dates, meeting the folks etc,) and the level of emotional intimacy that comes with that is over stepping the boundaries. When the writer talks about seeing her husband light up talking about a new "love interest", this implies another relationship potentially on an emotional par with the existing marriage. To me, this is a step on from an open relationship and towards polygamy. Again, I have no objection to this, what ever floats your boat, I just think the two marital arrangements are quite distinct and shouldn't be lumped together as the same thing.

Johnny - posted on 11/07/2010

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Different strokes for different folks. I know a lot of people believe that people who choose an open marriage should just not have bothered getting married. I strongly disagree. It's not something that myself or my husband would choose, but everyone's marriage is different and everyone's relationship is unique. If a couple chooses together to pursue this route, and they have respect for one another, it may work fine. I suspect that most of the time, it is not a success, but I'm sure sometimes couples manage long, successful open marriages.

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