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Closed to open marriages?

One of my favorite recording artists, Jill Scott, caused a little buzz on Twitter yesterday. She happened to ask the question, “What do you think about open relationships?”, which garnered loads of responses.

She went on to pose this scenario “The love of your life cheats and is honest about it. Your life with him/her is everything but monogamous. Do you stay?”

I actually had to think about it for a long time! Do I walk away or do I find a way to handle it? The older I get, the more I realize what is most important.

If I had to make a choice, I would want/prefer my man to tell me before he explores his attraction to other women. Now does this mean I would jump for joy if my husband/partner sought out other people while we are supposed to be exclusive? Absolutely not! I can barely share a remote control!

I just think when two people commit to a life together, I can appreciate the deep honesty it takes to explore an open relationship.

For a long time, I believed that I wasn’t built to commit to one person. Although I have never cheated in a relationship, I simply questioned if I was capable of being with one man for the rest of my life. Could he be enough? Could I be enough? Could we convince each other that “we” were enough?

For the record, I don’t believe that open marriage is just about women kowtowing to male desires. It’s not always about having sanctioned trips to the sexual buffet of women.

To be perfectly honest, I think exploring an open relationship is like this really pragmatic approach to commitment. It’s for those who believe that it is impossible for one person to fulfill all your needs.

If the most painful part of cheating is the deception and lies, will being honest about your attraction to other people make a difference?

Could you be in an open relationship? Could you define an open marriage on your own terms?

Would you tell people that you had that kind of relationship?

What are your apprehensions about the idea?

Do you think more single people would marry if the open marriage option was on the table? Not talking about swinging lifestyle, per se. I am referring to a couple both agreeing to let each other know when they meet someone they feel a strong attraction to.

By Wise Diva, Misadventures in Atlanta Dating Blog

477 comments Add your comment

Just Call Me G

August 4th, 2011
7:09 am

I think that cheating comes with a lot of emotions that go beyond the deception and lies. I think that if they are honest about their attraction to other people it may lessen the blow but it still would hurt. I think being honest from the start can give the couple their options and include both opinions as opposed to one just going out and acting on their actions. I also think it gives them a chance to see how it would really effect other aspects around them and in their relationship. When people cheat I dont think they think of anyone but themselves and never consider the other persons feelings or is able to put themselves in the others shoes but once it is brought out into the open, then they can see how painful it may be and it puts the whole situation into perspective.

I could not be in an open relationship or marriage. It defeats the whole purpose. You are in a relationship because you ONLY want that person and that person does the best job of satisfying you on your own terms no matter what they may be. I feel like if you want your relationship to be “open” you may as well be single and DATE people as opposed to being in what is supposed to be a monogamous relationship

Oh…and Good morning :)

czBrat

August 4th, 2011
7:54 am

Hi Yas!
If I ever agreed to an open relationship you can bet I’m not that into him. Some things I just choose to be selfish about.

More later. Time to go play in traffic.

Into the Light

August 4th, 2011
8:14 am

Could/would I be in an open marriage? Not just no, but H*LL NO!! My definition of marriage is a covenant made between a man and a woman before God to be faithful and loving for life. Whether your SO condones it or not, “stepping out” is adultery and God does not condone that.

I’m not “open minded” enough to understand people who have an open marriage, nor do I want to be. Regardless of how they might try to justify it, sooner or later feelings of jealousy or insecurity are going to creep in. And, quite frankly, I think you’d have to be either insecure or not not give a rat’s tail about your SO’s feelings to even consider it.

Tammie

August 4th, 2011
8:16 am

Do you mean would I be open to a marriage that is not a marriage?

What a stupid question!

Larry Sinclair

August 4th, 2011
8:16 am

Yes, Barry and I are open to it, just as long as Michelle doesn’t find out. LOL!

Happy Birthday, Sweetheart!

Sweet Pea

August 4th, 2011
8:25 am

Good Morning!

JCMG/CZ, I agree with you. I don’t understand this concept of a marriage where you can be with whomever you desire while having a spouse and NO ONE gets hurt!! Where is the real committment??? There is none. It may be a covenant in their eyes, however it’s obvious God surely isn’t in this one..JUST CAN’T DO IT

Sweet Pea

August 4th, 2011
8:27 am

@ITL~I agree with you as well

Mingo

August 4th, 2011
8:30 am

Yes, I’m for it, as long as my woman stays at home. It sounds bad, but it’s a fact that men have more sex urges then women and therefore have the need to “sow their seed”. It’s just a biological requirement. I’m very upfront about it with her and it doesnt seem to bother her that much. She asked once if she could meet one of my lady friends and possibly join in, but chickened out later. Too bad. It Would have been fun and would have allowed her to experience something new.

Into the Light

August 4th, 2011
8:35 am

Morning, Sweet Pea! :)

I always smile when I see your name, because Sweet Pea is my mom’s pet name for me.

Just Call Me G

August 4th, 2011
8:38 am

Mingo- So it is okay for a man to do it because of this so called “biological requirement”? but not for the woman?

That makes no sense!

Why bother

August 4th, 2011
8:42 am

What is the purpose of being in a ‘marriage” or ”relationship” if you are stil exploring other options?
True is you may find something more appealing, but if you choose to commit that should be it.

Mingo to G

August 4th, 2011
8:42 am

Yes, that is what I think. Men are just made to breed. It is a biological/brain thing that we can’t help. If a woman shares her man, I see it as letting him do what he is upposed to do. As I mentioned in my first post, she can still participate with the other lady if she wants, but that is her choice.

ME

August 4th, 2011
8:45 am

Okay, allow at least one post from someone who is married and participates in something of an “open” marriage. We are totally committed to each other as it relates to emotion, i.e. I’m dearly in love with her and vice versa. The simple fact of the matter is that we enjoy sex with multiple partners. This isn’t something we do every night or even every month but we have a lot of fun just having sex with no emotions, no strings, no jealousy, no drama, etc. We do have our guidelines as it relates to this and for us, contrary to what you may think or feel, it isn’t “cheating” provided we both “play within the rules”. I am, in no manner, stating that “everyone should try it” as this type of lifestyle simply isn’t for everyone. We happen to enjoy it and it works well for us.

Lady Strange

August 4th, 2011
8:45 am

For me, no way! I do not share!

I am a monogamous person and only want to be with someone who is monogamous too. If others are happy in an open relationship or marriage and it works for them then go for it. That way is not for me but I do know some people that it works for.

Randyt (aka, BEEN THERE, DONE THAT, HAVE A CLOSET FULL OF T-SHIRTS)

August 4th, 2011
8:46 am

In two words “HEELLLLL NOOOOO”. I don’t share my toys, nor do I explore if in a committed relationship. Just not me. If she wants her jollies somewhere else, or if I do…then get out and set the other free.

My take.

Blackfoote: The Real Blackfoote

August 4th, 2011
8:47 am

Nope can’t do it.
Morning Lady’s.

coffeecoffee25

August 4th, 2011
8:48 am

I know 2 couples who have relationships like that and it works for them. Me, I couldn’t do it.

Into the Light

August 4th, 2011
8:48 am

Good morning, BF. Morning, Randyt.

Randyt (aka, BEEN THERE, DONE THAT, HAVE A CLOSET FULL OF T-SHIRTS)

August 4th, 2011
8:49 am

I should have read the posts…Into the Light already said it all.

Randyt (aka, BEEN THERE, DONE THAT, HAVE A CLOSET FULL OF T-SHIRTS)

August 4th, 2011
8:52 am

Morning ITL. I have a hard enough time with the awareness of my love interests having previous lovers, much less current ones or future ones. Another reason for, at least in my case, not talking nor asking about former lovers. i don’t need or want the visuals. (Hey I’m a Scorpio through and through, and jealous even if I am the “best ever” by their accounts).

Blackfoote: The Real Blackfoote

August 4th, 2011
8:52 am

RandyT yes she did, and well stated.

A Realist

August 4th, 2011
8:52 am

Solomon had how many wives again? God didn’t seem to have any problem with his multiple mistresses. Didn’t sarah give Abraham the go-ahead to get with Hagar? So it looks like open marriages were just fine according to God.

Marriage is not just about sex. The people who I know in open marriages don’t step out as much as you think. Having to talk out your decision and let your partner know about it, destroys any illicit appeal. They have mutual respect enough to let the other person know, in fact the spouse HAS to be informed, that’s the decision they both made.

And many people don’t think about illnesses such as diabetes, and injuries that do not permit intercourse between a married couple. It makes sense for some people, but nor for everyone. It’s not a cure all, and it requires much more maturity than a “traditional” marriage.

Just look at all the traditional married couples who cheat on each other. Obviously, regular marriage isn’t working all that well either.

Stonethrower

August 4th, 2011
8:56 am

To paraphrase the late Z Z Hill, would you want the whole neighborhood dipping in your sugar bowl?

Randyt (aka, BEEN THERE, DONE THAT, HAVE A CLOSET FULL OF T-SHIRTS)

August 4th, 2011
8:56 am

@ ME and Realist…I don’t don’t point the finger at those that do (although it should be both partners, not just one saying it is okay). Whatever floats your boat. I just don’t have the psyche for it myself.

Blackfoote: The Real Blackfoote

August 4th, 2011
9:05 am

I have no issues that you or your spouse is satisfied with that lifestyle. No reason to justify since it is you two and others who is comfortable lving out your fantasies through multiple partners.

Brown Eyed Girl!

August 4th, 2011
9:06 am

Why are we now reducing ourselves to being lower than animals? In the wild, most animals mate for LIFE…not til the next good tail comes along! We can commit to jobs, cars and a host of other things, but we can’t commit to a relationship with a person? My husband gets on my last nerves sometimes. But when I committed 10 years ago, I meant it to be for life. @ITL you hit the nail on the head honey! I think you need to say it again…maybe in all caps!!

They Call Me Easy..

August 4th, 2011
9:10 am

A wise person once said, “For a marriage to last forever, A couple have to reach the state of mind where they both and unequivocally love God, more than they love themselves..”..

I am not God, but I am 10000% sure He wont suscribe to this..it just defeats the whole purpose of marriage..

Leggs

August 4th, 2011
9:11 am

Good morning. This is going to be very interesting.

I can’t do it, but don’t knock those that do. Live your life that best suits you. I agree with whoever said why get married, to honor and cherish that one person in the eyes of God to then turn around and give yourself to another.

Like Just Call said earlier, honesty more than likely will soften the blow than going behind one’s back. An open relationship means just that, being open with the other party so they are knowledgeable and can make an informed decision if they have the constitution to pull through together. To not discuss is not an open relationship, it’s a one-way road to adultry!

Celisea

August 4th, 2011
9:11 am

Morning lovelies!

To answer all of the questions posed….HECK NO!!

No way would I EVER knowingly, in my sound mind agree to sharing a spouse, mate or SO. Label it insecure, overbearing, clingy, needy….whatevs…lol Not happening. IMO, these sort of discussions just give way and enables folks to be less and less accountable.

Attraction is often something that I’m sure many have found themselves caught up in with “another” at some point and time but really, that’s easy. As quickly as you recognize it’s there you can easily side step it….nothing venture nothing gained. It’s something that can naturally happen given the amount of time, space and place shared with other individual. Even so, it’s not an excuse either. And just because one is “big enough” to admit, ummm you don’t get a pass either.

Blackfoote: The Real Blackfoote

August 4th, 2011
9:14 am

Brown Eyes:
One say it is biological, one say it’s biblical, another say there are rules to be obeyed. It’s Apparent nobody is sure why they are doing it.

Sweet Pea

August 4th, 2011
9:15 am

ITL~I’m glad it makes you smile..it was my nickname in during my youngster years although some relatives still prefer to call me that at the ripe age of 45! LOL

In two words “HEELLLLL NOOOOO”..RandyT, this response reminded me of Whitney’s classic Hell to the Naw!

I can’t imagine having a phlethora of folks “getting it in” my marriage and it not affect my pysche so on that note, I’d rather remain solo and sane! I can’t go for that..No can do!

Brown Eyed Girl!

August 4th, 2011
9:17 am

“Solomon had how many wives again? God didn’t seem to have any problem with his multiple mistresses. Didn’t sarah give Abraham the go-ahead to get with Hagar? So it looks like open marriages were just fine according to God.”

@A Realist, Solomon had multiple wives, concubines and occasionally dabbled in homosexuality. He ultimately went crazy! God was not in that! Sarah gave Abraham the go ahead because she didn’t trust what the Lord had told her. Hagar and Ismael were forced to leave their home after the fact. These are examples of people that were used for a purpose in spite of their shortcoming, but there were still consequences to their decisions. David killed a man so he could get his wife and the consequence was the loss of their first born child…but I digress!

Sweet Pea

August 4th, 2011
9:20 am

I can’t imagine having a plethora of folks “getting it in” my marriage without it affecting my psyche. I’d rather remain solo and sane! I can’t go for that..NO CAN DO!

ITL~I’m glad it makes you smile ;) It was my nickname in my youngster years, however even now some relatives still prefer to call me that. LOL

In two words “HEELLLLL NOOOOO”

RandyT~this reminds me of Whitney’s classic, HELL TO THE NO!…funny

Into the Light

August 4th, 2011
9:20 am

And just because one is “big enough” to admit, ummm you don’t get a pass either.

Well said, Celisea!

And I like what Brown-Eyed Girl said, too. “til death do us part” means just that. If you’re not willing to make that vow, don’t take that vow!

Sweet Pea

August 4th, 2011
9:21 am

ok…please excuse my duplicate post here…I thought the blog ate my other one..oops! :(

Simple Man......

August 4th, 2011
9:21 am

LOL….I understand Brown Eyed Girls position, but she needs to get her facts strait…Most animals do not in fact mate for life…(Well except those that mate and then KILL the male…LOL)

UGA 1999

August 4th, 2011
9:21 am

Very much so depends on the relationship and the situation.

Sweet Pea

August 4th, 2011
9:22 am

Hey Celisea~I hope yesterday was easy breezy for you! :)

Celisea

August 4th, 2011
9:23 am

And please folks…..if you want to swing and “now reducing ourselves to being lower than animals” (thanks for that Browneyed Girl), please just go on and do that. Let’s not get into FIIIIINDING scriptures to justify our actions.

Into the Light

August 4th, 2011
9:23 am

Mmm-hmm. I could learn a lot from a spider. :)

Blackfoote: The Real Blackfoote

August 4th, 2011
9:26 am

Brown Eyes:
Two down one to go. You knocked down the biological and the biblical. What you got for the one’s who have rules.

MsMarriedUp

August 4th, 2011
9:29 am

Takes a very mature emotional intelligence to handle open relationships. Those that can handle it are very secure within themselves. It certainly isn’t for everyone.

Celisea

August 4th, 2011
9:31 am

Hey ITL – Thanks

Sweet Pea – Girl, my stomach was in knots…lol I was sitting next to my counterpart (rode up there with him) and he was like what was going on with you? LOLOLOL I did okay. A bit more nervous than normal for some reason. I had to literally take the floor….and talk and answer questions. Usually we do self introductions and briefly speak to how our role will play out in the relationship.

JASon

August 4th, 2011
9:31 am

“It’s for those who believe that it is impossible for one person to fulfill all your needs.”

The internet satisfies a very wide range of “needs”. If spouse + internet is not enough for you, then I would say you have no business getting married.

Harder...please.

August 4th, 2011
9:33 am

Wikipedia defines “open marriage” as a marriage where the partners agree that each may engage in extramarital sexual relationships without this being regarded as infidelity. Open marriages place high value on honesty. If one spouse doesn’t agree to the lifestyle or see the need for the lifestyle, I guess it’s called cheating.

@Mingo, you’re in the minority, my friend. The majority of married men I know feel no need whatsoever to “sow their seed” outside the marriage, regardless of their “biological urges”.

BTW, adultery is still a crime in Georgia, whether your partner has agreed to the open marriage concept or not.

Brown Eyed Girl!

August 4th, 2011
9:33 am

@ Simple Man, maybe saying most is an exaggeration. But there are a lot of animals that do mate for life. But the point is still there…why are we reducing ourselves to be compared to animals? If a stinky nasty vulture can get this partner thing right, why can’t humans?

Lisa

August 4th, 2011
9:34 am

Into the light: I totally agree with you marriage is a covenant done before God in the presence of other. If people are going have a “open” relationship don’t bother to get married. Individals are trying to destroy what God has put together and change it to fit their way of life…. make marriage something that is is not. Marriage is between one woman and one man not with other people being invited into that marrige union.

MsMarriedUp

August 4th, 2011
9:35 am

…And Hello Realist!!! What’s that? @8:52? So on point.

Simple Man......

August 4th, 2011
9:35 am

“Let’s not get into FIIIIINDING scriptures to justify our actions.”

Scriptures are used to justify all manners of vile things…..What do you think the Crusades were about???? How about the Wars in the middle East??? If they can be used to make murder and genocide OK, then I think they are fine to justify an open marriage…….

SlimNu

August 4th, 2011
9:36 am

Good morning all…

@ME – You said you sort of have an open type marriage but you two move WITHIN the set guidelines and rules. Would you mind sharing with the group just what boundaries, rules, etc you guys have setup that makes it work for you? I can understand somewhat, the concept of the OPENNESS because most times, it’s all the deceit and feeling of betrayal that makes cheating so hard to deal with. So in THEORY, I understand trying to make the situation one where everyone shows and see’s the other persons cards. However, from an ACTUAL standpoint, no matter how open one is with me about their attraction to another, it doesn’t take away feelings of jealousy or feeling like i must be inadequate if my partner is pining this hard about another chick. Makes me wonder if that would begin to spread like a virus knowing just how much my partner thinks about, seeks out and craves to conquer others…