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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

Into the Light

August 4th, 2011
4:58 pm

But the one in Georgia is only 3.2 hellish miles. And there’s mud…and a wall….and all kinds of other fun obstacles. C’mon, Leggs! You can wear your catsuit!

Leggs

August 4th, 2011
4:58 pm

Anyone 5″6″ should look tall to you. :wink:

Leggs

August 4th, 2011
4:59 pm

I’d stop the freaking race in my catsuit and diqualify myself, you nut.

5′6″

Leggs

August 4th, 2011
4:59 pm

Enter your comments here

Leggs

August 4th, 2011
4:59 pm

disqualify….

Into the Light

August 4th, 2011
5:00 pm

ek-zakery!!! all the other racers would be get caught gawking, and we’d breeze through the course! We’d be guaranteed a medal!! :)

SlimNu

August 4th, 2011
5:02 pm

EOD: Be good to others as best as you can while being good to yourself

i'm swiss™

August 4th, 2011
5:02 pm

I was about to say, Leggs… If you’re gonna “diqualify” yourself, you should get a room. And a video camera. And give me a copy. :lol:

SB

August 4th, 2011
5:29 pm

This is quite interesting.

I personally couldn’t do it, however after dating for the past few years – I’m 28 – I can see why some people would go along with this.

Nowadays we are free to redefine relationships, marriage etc as we see fit. It’s hard to find people to commit to you the way God intended.

I have an ex who thought I was perfect to be his wife, w/ the exception that the was worried that he wouldn’t be sexually fulfilled. So in that case, maybe an open marriage in which he is allowed to be sexually satisfied elsewhere, while emotionally satisfied at home works.

I applaud the man and woman who can live like that. For me however, it seems so selfish to seek fulfillment elsewhere. If that’s the case love is no longer unconditional. It’s a matter of convenience and nothing else.

Just my two cents.

Bishop's Wife

August 4th, 2011
6:23 pm

I did’nt give a dayum what Eddie L did as long as I could shop and he kept it in the closet.

Hummmm

August 4th, 2011
6:25 pm

I wonder what other Atlanta wives feel that way? Lets see…

Realist

August 4th, 2011
6:38 pm

We went through this “open marriage” caca in the 70s and it lead to divorce. Back then we didn’t have all the STD’s and AIDS which kills people and it was still a stupid idea. Everyone I ever knew who had an “open” relationship wasn’t in that “open” relationship for long! If you want an “open” relationship it means you don’t really care much about your spouse!!!!!!

[...] Jill’s thinking about it, Mo’ Nique is in one and while we can’t confirm it we know that Will and Jada aren’t opposed to it but is it for you? [...]

Lessons Learned

August 4th, 2011
9:44 pm

I dated a man who said he did not believe we (humans) were meant to be monogamous… precendent set when 40 was “old age”. There were so many other qualities about him that I found attractive, I continued to date him. I was sexually monogamous. I “dated”, but no man came close to him – regarding the qualities that attracted me to him and kept me enchanted. He insisted he was using protection otherwise…

I put an end to it – I needed more. It was very hard to cut the ties but it was necessary for me. With distance, and remaining “friends”, I see that he has been damaged by love and never experienced a true loving reationship (f’d up family chick full of addictions & drama).

2years after I cut off sex – he shares he fathered a child – while we were supposedly exclusive… I didn’t say a word about it when he disclosed it. I was more disappointed that he didn’t feel confortable enough with me to share it…

Since then, I’ve encountered more men who want “an open relationship”. I wonder how many would be so “open” if they believed their woman was banging every dude around? Or if she had something steady with one othr guy?

I realized that if I am not enough for a man, I am not the woman for him.

Bob

August 5th, 2011
7:44 am

Been there, done that.
The wife and I started having fun with others approximately 15 years ago. The openness continued for 10 years until the novelty wore off and it seemed to be more trouble than it was worth + as we grew older it became harder to find attractive, willing participants. Our marriage was strong then and continues just as strong today after 25 years of marriage. Obviously its not for everyone, but it sure was alot of fun.

ME

August 5th, 2011
8:44 am

@Exiled — I think the part we most enjoy is the lack of pretense overall – It matters not if in the “real” world the person is middle or upper class; whether one is a doctor, lawyer, Indian Chief, or whatever – Everyone, in my opinion and experience, is simly more honest. And no, I don’t worry or have concern if someone else makes her moan more than I. We’re in it for the fun and, to be brutally honest, if she were not having fun then she wouldn’t be in agreement to continue.
As far as whose idea this was, it was very mutual but, in this lifestyle, the women basically “rule” meaning that whatever they say goes. I don’t know of a single man who has made the decision to “play” and it work without the wife being in agreement – It just doesn’t work that way.

@SexyCool — You’re entitled to feel that way and your thoughts are certainly those of the majority. As I have stated, and continue to state, this lifestyle isn’t for everyone. No one like to feel “inadequate” but that’s not what this is about. I really do understand your thoughts in this regard but this isn’t a contest. It’s just a fun lifestyle that not everyone can understand.

@TwinGems – Yes, I would say that the majority of encounters are 4-somes with the occassional 3-some and the occassional situation with group participation. We attend something of an even mix of house parties and clubs. We also travel to Jamaica to Hedo II and there are Lifestyle Conventions in various cities where an entire hotel is “taken over” by only lifestyle members.

None of this, to us at least, has anything at all to do with “humans are meant to be…” or whatever.

Nor, in our minds, does being in this lifestyle detract from our marriage or our commitment to each other. The lifestyle for us is about meeting people and having a good time; we are not in the lifestyle to find a “replacement”.
We simply get together and have a good time; much the same as anyone else except that we participate in sexual encounters with partners other than our spouse.

SaveOurRepublic

August 5th, 2011
11:25 am

“Open” marriages? You mean vile, adulterous, degenerate behavior.

C from Marietta

August 5th, 2011
11:37 am

@Harder…please

Adultery is NOT a crime in Georgia.

C from Marietta

August 5th, 2011
11:40 am

@SaveOurRepublic

It does’nt hurt you. Why care about what others do?

SaveOurRepublic

August 5th, 2011
12:13 pm

C from Marietta, I “care” for the well being of the Constitutional Republic & it’s citizens, so I don’t embrace immoral depravity. With that, I certainly understand folks are free that “lifestyle”, so be that unto them. However, I certainly won’t condone or “accept” it.

SaveOurRepublic

August 5th, 2011
12:14 pm

edited for above ^^^ ….”undestand folks are free to choose that “lifestyle….”.

Christopher

August 5th, 2011
5:13 pm

Brown Eyed Girl…you need to go hit the books and read up on wild animals. You are truly deceiving yourself if you think “most animals mate for LIFE.” The fact is that most animals come together and mate, and then the female is left to raise the young. If the male does stick around, in most cases it is only until the offspring can self support, then they are off looking for the next mate. Now I’m not suggesting that justifies open relationships, but you need to get your facts straight. Animals that mate for life are quite rare.

And based on my knowledge (as a marriage counselor), most humans also do not mate for life. I personally do not advocate for an open marriage, but I often wonder if that would save the over 50% of marriages that end in divorce (typically because one partner cheats). The reality is that most married couples are not honest enough with each other for various reasons. Many withold information that is vital to the relationship, some because they don’t want to hurt their partner. Unfortunately these omissions do more damage when they are ultimately revealed, than they would have if everyone was honest to begin with. It truly amazes me the differences in conversation when I speak to a couple together vs. when I speak to them individually. Individually they will let down their defenses and tell all to a stranger, but the person they committed to they are no where near as honest. The reality is this, if you are hiding things from your partner, regardless of what it is because you think it will hurt them, you are eventually going to kill off your relationship.

Now most people will keep some secrets, and that can be very healthy as long as the subject matter doesn’t have a signficant impact on the relationship. However, with that said, you need to realize that just because you do not think it’s significant, it doesn’t mean your partner would feel the same way. So you must walk a fine line when keeping things from your partner. If you want a long lasting happy relationship, honesty is the one thing that can accomplish that. Lies are a deal breaker in just about every form.

Bigdawg

August 5th, 2011
8:20 pm

In many cultures, such as the French and Italians, many married men have mistresses. When French premier Francois Mitterand died, both his wife AND MISTRESS

Bigdawg

August 5th, 2011
8:20 pm

…were the funeral! America is just too puritanical to be sexually progressive!

Bigdawg

August 5th, 2011
8:29 pm

Plus, all the little southern belle/Scarlett O’Hara wannabees have “traditional marriage” pounded into their pretty little heads by their mamas and daddys and preachers.
I’ll bet if you posted this in Seattle or Portland, you’d get much different responses! The South is too damn parochial for its own good!

MzD

August 5th, 2011
8:48 pm

i am in and know other couples that are successfully in open marriages. each one is unique, the boundaries defined by the people in the relationship. i have not even used my “options” in a decade, mainly because i do feel that keeping one relationship strong is enough for me. however, for the sake of principal, i demand the right. my partner and i serve as a home base..someone to come home to, someone to adventure through life with, someone who will always be my #1. our rules stipulate that we can do whatever we want…AS LONG as it does not negatively effect our own relationship. people in open relationships generally make a division between “sex” and “love.” Have you loved every single person you had sex with? Chances are no, especially if you are male. Sex does not equal love, and those who think it does are probably speaking from a faith based viewpoint. To each their own…and that is the POINT. Each relationship should be individual, and the terms of it individual, just as each one of us is individual. There should be no cookie cutter ram-down-your-throat definition of marriage. when you try to fit everyone into one slim category (monogamous, one man one woman) then you get…high divorce rates! I personally feel that it is unfair for me to say my partner is worthy of my love and adoration, but no one else gets to love him. If he is worthy of love, should I not want him to get love? Who am I to begrudge someone that? I am there to SUPPORT him, not to CHAIN him. we are partners, not jail wardens.

Greg

August 5th, 2011
11:33 pm

After more than 10 years in the ‘life’, I can tell you it is not as portrayed here. It does work for some and for some, it works for an extended period. For most, it does not work. The impact on the marriage and self image can be hugely damaging. It is easy to make it through a few years but it does catch up with you. Understand I’m not talking about the once every couple of years we are with our friends situation, I’m talking about truly being in the lifestyle. Of the couples that we knew and met early in our experience, we are the only couple that is still together. We are together because we woke up one day and realized that we were just shells of what we used to be and what we had aspirtions to be. Sex is sex and love is love. Often the two are related and often they have no relationship. However, to build a truly deep intimate relationship over time, you need and should focus soley upon your partner. Sex is great but when it become the focal point of your enjoyment and need, it has become a drug. There are too many other pursuits in life that do not rob the soul as the lifestyle does over time. You can have intimate and loving relationships with others without the focus being sex. No need to feel guilt or remorse over the past, but look to the future and the potential to develop a deep relationship with someone.

For the ‘mariage counselor’, I would suggest a refresh on your studies. You quote on the divorce rate is wildly inaccurate. The rate is no where near 50%. You are quoting studies from many years ago that were questionable at the time of publication and clearly have no basis in today’s numbers. Regardless if the rate is approaching 50%, as a counselor, you would very well know that sex ranks way down on the list of issues truly driving divorce.

Best of luck. It is an intriguing lifestyle. It can be fun. It can be addictive. However, it will rob your soul overtime if you truly committ to the lifestyle.