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What is an open marriage? Definition, Rules, Benefits, Disadvantages and everything else

What is an open marriage? Definition, Rules, Benefits, Disadvantages and everything else

Updated on Jul 04, 2022 | Published on Feb 23, 2022

Reviewed by Julianne Cantarella, MSW, LSW , Certified Relationship Coach

Open Marriage - Definition, Rules, Benefits, Disadvantages and More

So, you want to know how open marriage works? Perhaps you feel sexually frustrated in your marriage but can never opt for cheating?

So proud of you because you’re already a step ahead to solve this issue for good.

Wondering how? 

Well, you’ll learn everything about opening a marriage from this think-piece. 

From the benefits of opening your marriage to scientifically-backed info… from detecting your true feelings about it to your deepest uncertainties… I’ll answer it all.

Bonus: You’ll also know how to make your open marriage damage-proof!

And of course, explore the world of sexual desires with your partner’s consent.

Can’t wait? Let’s dive in already…

What is an open marriage?

Summary
In an open marriage, you can consensually have sexual relationships with other partners. This is a CNM type where you’re usually not allowed to have emotional connections outside your marriage.

When a married couple decides to pursue sexual connections outside their marriage with each other’s consent, it’s an open marriage.

Open marriage is a kind of consensual non-monogamy (CNM). However, open marriages are much different than polyamorous relationships.

In polyamory, people are involved romantically with their secondary partners. Though, open marriages don’t encourage married people to have a romantic involvement with others.

Open marriages and open relationships are similar types of relationships. The first includes taking vows and a legal contract of marriage between primary partners, the second doesn’t.

There are always two primary partners in a romantic and/or sexual relationship… and desired number of sexual relationships with secondary partners.

However, there’s no hard-and-fast open marriage or relationship rule… you may allow romantic relationships in your open marriage… but the primary relationship always gets priority over secondary ones.

Interested in knowing more? Let’s learn some…


Open Marriage Examples

There can be different definitions of open relationships… it all fizzles down to how you and your spouse define an open marriage.

Your partner might allow you to only kiss another or even do the nasty things with them… depends on your defined boundaries.

Let me help you understand it better with common scenarios…

1. Two consenting legally married partners allow one another to have sexual partners outside their marriage… and neither have any issues with the arrangement.

2. A married couple discussing their sexual needs and changing their relationship dynamics into an open one… before either engage in sexual relationships outside.

3. Your spouse might only allow you to casually date and flirt with people.

4. Your spouse might only have one-night stands with different people.

5. The secondary relationships are always limited to the body, not the heart. You’ll only want to spend a lifetime with your primary partner.

Wondering if these are healthy for humankind? Let’s head down to…


Are open marriages healthy?

Summary
According to the research of Murphy, Joel, and Muise, people in ENM or open relationships found higher relationship and sexual satisfaction. This implies open marriages might be healthy.

In monogamous relationships, couples might not feel comfortable discussing their sexual needs or sexual dissatisfaction.

For monogamous married couples, exclusivity is an important sign of loyalty.

However, sometimes sexual dissatisfaction is high, spouses might engage in extramarital sex without consent.

Later on, when their partners know about sexual infidelity, divorce is the only choice.

However, following ethical monogamy (ENM) might help such sexually dissatisfying marriages.

Samantha Joel’s research, the team worked on finding a sexual, relationship, and individual satisfaction from following ENM… which mostly involved opening marriages.

The research compared ENM relationships with traditional ones. They found that ENM couples experienced personal growth –improved communication skills, faith, and reduced jealousy. 

They also found that partners engaging in consensual extramarital affairs found higher sexual satisfaction.

Though the feelings of partners who didn’t practice ENM weren’t studied… The couples reported better relationship satisfaction.

So, the researchers concluded that there wasn’t much conflict about their lifestyle.

Hence, open marriages might be healthier… but this requires more research.

Curious why people open their marriages? Here are the…


Reasons for having an open marriage

There are various open marriage pros and cons… but everyone doesn’t do it for the benefits. Some people have very simple reasons which spike their interest in open marriages

Let’s know them right away…. 

1. The trust in your marriage multiplies

The foundation of ENM lies in open and honest communication. You gotta show transparency when beginning an open marriage.

While society judges people for looking outside their marriage for satisfaction… The person who initiates this conversation is definitely extremely courageous and bold.

It implies your partner trusts you to not judge them for their needs. Also, you can trust your partner that they won’t do anything without your consent.

2. Your relationship never loses the charm

Even in this day and age, many people aren’t comfortable with their sexual needs.

When people don’t find sexual satisfaction in monogamous marriage… couples fight, relationship satisfaction decreases, they cheat, and then finally lead to divorce.

But with open marriages, you can reach sexual satisfaction, feel fulfilled, and there will be fewer fights in the marriage.

Opening a marriage is always tricky, so abide by the basics…


Open marriage rules and boundaries

All ENM relationships work on trust and loyalty and open marriages are no exception. To open your marriage, always stick to some compulsory rules and boundaries. 

Follow these to make your journey smoother…

1. Engage with all the partners with honesty

Opening your marriage isn’t a one-directional conversation. Engage in sexual relationships only after your spouse gives consent for it.

Next, when you find a suitable sexual partner… be honest with your situation.

Tell them you’re in an open marriage… that you’re only looking for sexual relationships, and not a romantic or long-term one.

Be it your spouse or your sexual partner, never take them for granted.

Clearly communicate to all sides about what kind of relationships you desire, for how long, and begin only if everyone’s comfortable.

2. Be sexy with safe sex practices

After consent, the next sexy thing is safe sex practice. Discuss with your primary partner what kind of protection you’ll use… know if they want to add anything to it.

The greatest risk of ENM is sexually transmitted diseases.  So, the ENM community takes great care so that everyone stays safe and healthy.

Also, unwanted pregnancy outside your marriage might ruin your primary relationship.

Discuss whether you’ll use male and female condoms, dental dams, and contraceptives simultaneously.

Figure out if you’ll share toys or have individual ones… and how you’ll clean everything.

3. Don’t fuel gossip

There’s nothing to be ashamed about an open marriage. But it’s better if people in open relationships don’t spread the word.

Why?

Simply because, some people aren’t as open-minded… so, don’t expect acceptance even if they’re close.

If someone spots you with your sexual partners outside, there will be gossip. But don’t attract the gossip meaninglessly… It’s like attracting negativity towards yourself.

Keep it a secret from everyone who doesn’t think of open marriages the same as you.

Also, if only you have sexual relationships outside the marriage, others’ judgmental views will impact your spouse.

Lastly, some people think people in open relationships have sex with literally everyone… you know that’s not it, they don’t.

So, it’s also a safety measure for you – against unwanted sexual advances – and your family – from the public trash-talk.

4. Respect your sexual connection

Your secondary partners are here for the sex but they’re human too.

While you discuss your desires and safety measures with your spouse, repeat the same with your sexual partners.

If you want BDSM-play, take consent… don’t expect them to accept all kinds of sexual activities. They might not be comfortable with all of your choices, so don’t force them.

Remember, any sex without consent is rape… a punishable offense.

Your sexual partners aren’t toys that you desirably pick and dump. Always communicate openly for a healthy arrangement.

5. Don’t cheat!

Think that there’s no cheating after consent? There is… if you don’t maintain the physical and/or emotional boundaries.

If falling in love isn’t allowed, follow that. Or, if your primary partner wants more time, prioritize them.

Opening your marriage doesn’t imply you can ignore your marriage.

If a sex position, kissing, holding hands, or hanging out with others is off-limits for your spouse, respect the sexual boundaries.

Also, know how regularly you can have sexual relationships outside your marriage.

Since your spouse allows you sexual fun, give them more attention… so that you both feel that you’re really married.

However, that’s not all, know more secrets to begin from…


How to have an open marriage?

Though open marriage is interesting, are you sure you know everything? Well, not really.

Following some more ideas to make your open marriage work without any bitterness.

After all, who wants bitterness in a sacred relationship like marriage? Come on, let’s dive in…

1. Research about open marriages

Learn together about open marriage from books like…

Susan Wenzel’s A Happy Life in an Open Relationship: The Essential Guide to a Healthy and Fulfilling Nonmonogamous Love Life, and Dossie Easton and Janet Hardy’s The Ethical Slut.

Also, podcasts like The Monogamish Marriage can show how open marriage works.

If you know another couple in an open marriage, know more from them. Or, search online open marriage communities and seek them through public posts or DMs.

Include your partner on this journey to help them understand what an open relationship/marriage is.

2. Communicate your feelings

Once you find enough info together, time to know how your partner feels about open relationships.

Do they feel comfortable about it? Communicate your feelings about the topic.

Allow your partner time, otherwise, a hasty decision won’t result in happy dynamics. For a successful open marriage, when either or both of you aren’t sure… seek a couples therapist.

A therapist will help you both understand your goals and sort out your feelings about this step in your life.

If your primary partner doesn’t agree with it, never talk them into it or manipulate them to agree.

3. Dig into one another’s mind

If your spouse agrees with it, congratulations! Now move on to your partner’s ideal imagination of open marriage.

Learn what your partner imagines you doing with your secondary partners.

Do they wanna keep “I love you” exclusive? Affirm the ones you agree on and make lists with YES and NO.

If you want to have anal or oral with your sexual connections, tell your partner. Put them on the YES list if they don’t mind.

Communicate all your desires, make sure that nothing goes unsaid. Don’t assume anything and don’t take silence for a yes… it can hurt your partner more than you know.

4. Learn to gain control of your desires

Your spouse won’t agree on everything you fantasize about extramarital sex. What’s your next step? Will you sulk over it? Or, even persuade them until they agree?

Prioritize your marriage over other affairs, because your marriage is a long-term relationship… other ones aren’t. If you love your spouse, abide by their wishes.

Couples in open marriages can sometimes fulfill their sexual fantasies partially… and there’s nothing wrong with that. At least, it’s better than not opening your marriage at all.

5. Don’t indulge sexually with known people

Next comes who you can’t sleep with… possibly people you had an emotional attachment with. Or, even people you know personally.

When you don’t want any emotional involvement with secondary partners… choose someone who doesn’t have a history with you.

For instance, old flames, unrequited love, someone you friend-zoned or your spouse’s friend, a co-worker, an acquaintance’s spouse, your teacher, or a student.

Avoid such people to keep away confusion and drama in your life. Though, your partner might add more to this list.

6. Discuss your “story” beforehand

Don’t tell many people about your relationship because “extramarital sex is inherently a terrible thing”.

However, if you meet a close friend while checking out from a hotel… What will you do?

Somehow people will know, no matter how low you lay. So, talk with your spouse and the secondary partners about what labels you’ll use.

Will you introduce your sexual partners as friends? Or, do you have something more believable on your mind?

Work as a team with your spouse to handle such situations. Also, if someone says something mean to your children or family, figure out solutions on how to handle these situations.

7. Talk about the night

If you belong to a joint family or have children… never stay the night out if they aren’t aware of the open marriage.

They’ll get suspicious if you regularly or even periodically return late or don’t return at all. It will also put your spouse on the spot.

Always keep your partner in the loop about when you’ll see someone and return by what time.

Stay the night out if you’re not answerable to anybody. However, ask if your partner is okay to spend the night alone.

8. Be open to end the arrangement

With time your spouse might become more open-minded or feel jealous about the arrangement. They might behave clingy or even demand to close the marriage.

It depends on how you both feel about the marriage dynamics. Be prepared to become monogamous if your spouse desires it.

You can’t have a happy married life with an unhappy husband/wife.

Be a monogamous relationship or a polyamorous one, your primary partner is the most important one. If you love them, relationship structure compromises won’t be hard.

9. Reassure them time and again

Don’t neglect your spouse, no matter what. Your partner might compromise for your happiness despite their insecurity.

It’s your responsibility to compensate them with enough love, affection, and time. Know how much time your spouse wants for themselves.

Engage in heart-to-heart discussions and meaningful sex.

If your spouse wants to go on trips during the weekends, then squeeze the secondary relationships somewhere on the weekdays.

Confessing your love won’t suffice, so show your spouse what’s true love.

10. Be honest with yourself

An open relationship isn’t a way to escape from a dysfunctional relationship. Perhaps, your union lost its spark, opening it can’t save a marriage.

Also, never use an open marriage for wrong reasons, like… getting back at your partner, making them jealous, or making them crave you.

The ulterior motives behind an open marriage will only spoil your marriage. So, be very honest with yourself and think about why you want this.

Unsure about the big step? Let’s know…


How to know if open marriage is right for you?

Only honest communication helps to know if an open marriage will work for you. If you can’t figure things out yourself, consider counseling. But I’ll show you how to self-counsel…

Answer some important and uncomfortable questions together with your spouse, including…

1. Where did you come across open marriages?

Hint: Usually, people learn about ENM structures through books, movies, or other internet sources.

If someone else suggests you an open marriage because you seem sexually frustrated, that’s kinda fishy.

Perhaps, they don’t mean anything bad… but it’s not your original idea. Possibly they influenced you into it and you’re unaware.

2. Do you already have a sexual partner in mind? If yes, did they propose this to you?

Hint: Not attacking you personally, but if you have a sexual partner in mind… it might not end with just sex.

If you know the other person, then you have a platonic intimacy with them. They might have a crush on you and persuade you into opening your marriage.

Later they might even persuade you into a divorce.

Also, if you approached them yourself, figure out your feelings first. If choosing a different partner doesn’t hurt you, then you have clear intentions.

4. Do you want it for more sexual attention? Or, do you want to bond with them?

Hint: Open relationships aren’t for you if you want a romantic connection. That redirects you to polyamory… and there you gotta be more responsible for your secondary partners.

Don’t mix the two ideas in your mind. You can’t feel love from casual sex… and you can’t love someone without being responsible for them.

Open your marriage only when you’re dead-set on sexual relationships without attachment.

4. Did either of you ever have casual relationships?

Hint: If you or your partner ever engaged in casual sex before, they’ll be more accepting about it.

Perhaps, you guys still practice the same but only in each other’s presence?

Does casual sex in your partner’s absence sound alright to both? If both of you don’t agree, open marriage won’t work.

5. Do you have any unresolved relationship conflicts?

Opening a broken marriage isn’t the path to save it.

Say, you have a sexless marriage due to past grudges. You both settle on open marriage dynamics without resolving the issues. What will happen?

Neither of you will truly accept the situation… one might think the other refuse sex because of other sexual encounters… Neither of you might blame the other for the bitter feelings.

Work on your relationship head-on instead of seeking other solutions.

Though you learned so many rules, let’s consider more…


Ways to have a successful open marriage

You know how to stay within the defined boundaries and keep your spouse happy… but that might not be all. Sometimes, your marriage might fail even if you follow all rules. 

So, learn to make your marriage invincible here…

1. Find if you have double standards

You’re ready to engage in new sexual relationships, your partner is cool too… that’s great!

However, how will you feel if your partner does the same? Are you willing to accept equally?

Don’t want your spouse in other relationships? That’s a sign of double standards.

Though your partner might not want extramarital sex themself, an open marriage works both ways. In the future, they might desire to explore it too.

If you can’t handle it or feel uncomfortable, it will destroy your marriage. Embrace the structure completely before opening a marriage.

2. Put forward your definition of marriage

How do you feel about an exclusive marriage? Do you feel it limits your freedom? What kind of expectations do you have from marriage?

You both have expectations from your marriage… and your feelings about it already expresses a lot.

Together, find your way through open relationships or an understanding of your desires. Discuss your opinions and perceptions on marriage to find your feelings for the next step.

This discussion might also remove all kinds of insecurities from your partner’s mind.

3. Never threaten to open

Perhaps your partner really can’t satisfy you sexually. Or your sexual drives mismatch so you reside to porn every night. So, you honestly need an open marriage… registered, cool!

However, your partner doesn’t want it… what will you do?

Say, “You’ll either open the marriage or leave”? That’s a very bad move… in fact, if you respect your marriage you won’t say such things.

When the divorce topic enters, the feelings exit… that’s the end of your happy married life.

This is a self-fulfilling prophecy… this thought will stay in your spouse’s mind… and they’ll work on it when you least expect it.

4. Be prepared for unexpected problems

Despite how much you prepare, there will always be new problems. Since you can’t be prepared for all the problems, identify a basic route that both of you can adopt in case of uncertainties.

Considering a wild imagination, someone saw your partner having sex with their other partner… how will you guys deal with the situation?

No, not how to confront it, but how you’ll react. Letting things take their own course is the best solution. Never deny if someone has solid proof.

Figure out how you both can ping each other during troublesome episodes. Never accuse each other, and deal it head-on.

5. Reach out to a counselor

Figure out your feelings with a professional before you discuss this with your partner.

Despite self-counseling, affirm both of your intentions with an ENM-friendly couples’ therapist or counselor.

Perhaps, your partner accepted the idea because of insecurities. A professional will notice that better than you. They’ll also help you define your boundaries.

And since your marriage is precious, it deserves all the careful steps.

6. Prepare for possible accidents

Sometimes, accidents happen and you know it’s nothing intentional… but you can’t control your emotions.

Suppose, you don’t want any sexual partner in your circle… but your find your sexual partner is dating your brother-in-law. It wasn’t on purpose… play cool, call off things asap.

Or, you don’t wanna meet your spouse’s sexual partners… but come across them publicly. Greet back if they greet you and don’t bother.

If something unintentionally upsets you, deal with it maturely. Or, figure out something that works better for you both.

7. Break the monotonous check-ins

Your partner’s feelings might change, so check-ins are compulsory. Never expect your partner to begin a conversation by themselves.

Schedule days for check-ins and talk about your feelings honestly.

Your discussion doesn’t need to revolve around open marriage only. You can talk about other things also.

For instance, plan an outdoor date for checking in. While you talk about the serious and sensitive bits of your relationship, you can also make a few happy memories.

Further, your spouse will also feel reassured with such gestures.

8. Don’t fear being vulnerable

If you possess negative feelings about open marriage, speak before it piles up. Both married partners must be transparent about their feelings.

Feel your partner doesn’t prioritize you? Or the sexual energy in your marriage is missing? Or even fear they’ll abandon you? That’s your cue to talk, not hush.

Communicate if you really love your spouse and obviously protect your marriage. The partner practicing ENM mustn’t judge the other.

Your spouse expressed their feelings because they trust you. Take their feelings seriously and make a serious effort to make them feel secure.

9. Plan the possible end

NO! Not your marriage… Think about when you want to close your relationship. Sexual desires don’t last a lifetime… and if you don’t wanna disclose it to your children ever, pick your finishing line.

Though this is optional, do it before you even open your marriage. If you ask your partner to close the marriage the next day, they can’t accomplish it overnight.

People need mental preparation and time for a change. So, either pick an approximate last stop now, or give your partner enough time to close it.

10. Make a contract

Opening a marriage is no easy feat. There are sexual, physical, and emotional boundaries, ground rules, and these marriage rules which promise a successful open marriage.

You can’t possibly memorize everything, so write it down on paper or online and save it on your cloud. Make the document accessible to both of you

Or, print and hang your relationship rules in your bedroom or closet (somewhere personal) to quickly glance over them daily.

Now let’s consider how this will change your world…


Benefits of an open marriage

Possibly, you want to open your marriage because of your sexual dissatisfaction.

But, ENM relationship structures come with a list of pros. Open marriage has lots of surprises in stock for you. 

Let’s find them now …

1. It gives you freedom and satisfaction

Some people feel suffocated in exclusive relationships, which makes them feel bitter towards their partners.

If you’re a non-monogamist by heart, open marriage can be liberating and thrilling. Or, if you dream about open marriages, this can bring you immense happiness and satisfaction.

Engage in the sexual activities which your spouse finds uncomfortable. Consensually turn all your sexual fantasies true.

2. It compensates for mismatched drives

Suppose, your libido is higher than your spouse’s. If you ignore your unmet desires and lead a monogamous lifestyle… it’ll end in resentful feelings.

Your spouse won’t know that you’re unsatisfied if you don’t bring up this topic. An open marriage helps you release pent-up sexual energy.

Also, you won’t inconvenience your spouse with unwanted sex. It’s a win-win situation for both when you respect all boundaries.

3. It diminishes sexual expectations

In monogamous relationships, partners expect each other to sexually satisfy each other completely. However, two lovers might be incapable of fulfilling each other’s sexual desires.

Opening your marriage removes the sexual pressure from your relationship, It helps you enjoy sex confidently.

Sexual pressure may degrade your performance and decrease the overall quality of sex.

Though, it still isn’t acceptable in this day and age… having sex outside marriage promotes healthy marital sex.

Also, if you’re in an open lesbian marriage and either or both of you desire penetrative sex, this is your answer.

4. Your marriage becomes stronger

Open marriage instills a great amount of trust in spouses. The partner at home knows that the other will return to them. They feel confident about their love and trust each other.

Everyone might not feel this when opening their marriage. So, it’s the other partner’s responsibility to verbally convey “You allowed me freedom, I’ll pour out all of my heart for this”.

Allowing an open marriage isn’t a favor, but everyone doesn’t accept it. Make your partner feel special because they are.

5. It improves your soft skills

Any ENM relationship needs a great amount of communication, honesty, and listening skills. It’s an added necessity when you also want to sustain a marriage.

You also learn to split your time wisely and emotionally connect with your spouse better. An open marriage teaches you how to manage different aspects of your life.

With good soft skills, you have personal growth… which might also help your professional development. Better soft skills bring a chain of benefits in life.

But relationships always come with downsides. Let’s get to know them here…


Disadvantages of an open marriage

Like any otherworldly connection, open marriages also come with many drawbacks. You must know them beforehand to find a solution for each.

1. It instills jealousy

Your spouse might feel jealous and resentful. They might feel that you’re living a better life without them. Or, they feel left behind because you’re making your best memories with someone else.

If they have insecurities about their body, this can trigger other mental health concerns like depression, anxiety, bulimia, or anorexia. 

Also, this will eventually harm their physical health.

2. It’s tough to separate sex and intimacy

Most people can’t differentiate between sex and intimacy. Blame it on the feel-good hormones, but you can’t deny your feelings once you fall for someone.

Open marriages strictly emphasize the lack of emotional intimacy with secondary partners. Some people can’t differentiate between cheating and open marriages.

Well, if you become emotionally attached to a secondary partner, this is open marriage cheating. If you can’t separate the two, your marriage might not survive.

3. You’ll face social discrimination

The concept of open marriages and relationships are still new to the society, and often labels people engaging in them as bad people.

Though nobody has a say in your personal life, they still bother you.

Couples in open marriages even lose jobs or get refused housing. Some schools might refuse admission to children of open couples. Friends and families might look down upon you.

You might think, “This doesn’t make sense”. Agreed, but the world always resists change.

4. It covers serious relationship issues

Sometimes, lack of sex in a relationship is a sign of unresolved relationship issues. For instance, one partner might refuse sex intentionally because of a grudge.

Or, it might be a symptom of physical or psychological health issues.

If you focus on sex alone, then you’ll brush up on any relationship or health issues under the rug. Later on, such issues might snowball and lead to divorce.

5. Marital sex might feel boring

Suppose, your spouse only likes conservative sex positions… whereas you only want to try the exciting ones.

Once you receive the desirable sexual pleasure outside marriage… you might not seek sex from your spouse anymore.

Sex in your marriage will feel burdensome, boring, and mainstream. Abundant pleasure might make you forget the importance of your marriage.

Lack of sexual activities in the marriage can also lead to divorces.


How to seek help for an open marriage?

Opening a marriage isn’t easy because of the lack of honesty and support in your vicinity.

Even if your spouse agrees, your loved ones might not. It’s hard to seek help because of the stigma and misconception.

So seek help in these ways…

1. Speak to a licensed marriage counselor in person

Consulting a counselor/therapist about your marriage rules and boundaries in person can help.

In-person counseling can focus more on the communication or honesty issues in your marriage.

Your therapist can teach you to explore your emotions and perceptions about open marriage decisions. They can help you set boundaries to protect your marriage.

They can also throw some realistic situations and ask you to identify solutions to them. Such activities help you deal with real-life situations better.

2. Book online counseling with professionals

It’s not possible to find a counselor in every corner of the world. Seek an online counseling session when an in-person one isn’t possible or available.

Research well before you choose the counselor. Though, make sure you have a strong internet connection for smooth counseling.

3. Seek open couples from online communities

If you can’t afford to counsel at all, then find open marriage communities on social media. Find other couples in open marriages and connect with them.

Learn their experience with your spouse. Guess the possible roadblocks in open marriages and solve them together.

Also, ask them what the other couple wishes they knew before opening their marriage.

If possible, plan double dates with other open married couples to get better insights.

Before opening the relationship, here are some more…


Questions to ask yourself and your partner if you’re seeking open marriage

Ask yourself some more questions to understand your feelings towards open marriages and your intentions towards your partner.

These questions will help you peek into the deepest corners of your heart…

1. Based on a. communication skills, b. loyalty, c. intimacy, d. growth, e. commitment, and f. happiness rate your marriage.

2. What do you desire sexually? Based on frequency, and quality, Rate your partner’s ability to satisfy your desires.

3. If the scores are low, did you try fixing it? If not, why can’t they?

4. Can you cope with the complications of open relationships?

5. Did you figure out when to close your relationship? Or, is it a long-term plan?

6. How will you handle relationship conflicts in the future?

7. Do you both agree to opening your marriage and nobody is manipulating the other?

8. How will you deal with any one’s desire to close the marriage?

9. How will you protect your marriage, if you ever face consequences?

10. Where will you seek secondary partners?

Think it’s uncommon? Learn more about…


Celebrities with open marriages

Think open marriage might not work for your relationship? Take more inspiration from some famous stars about open marriages. Perhaps, you might find someone with similar ideas here…

1. Ethan Hawke and Ryan Hawke

The actor says: “He’s cheated so he’s bad, she’s cheated so she’s bad as opposed to a recognition that our species is not monogamous. 

People have such a childish view of monogamy and fidelity.”

2. Mo’Nique (actress/comedian) and Sidney Hicks

The actress says no king in Africa has only one wife. She implies that ENM is a cultural thing and the couple takes pride in it. She proposed to open the marriage to her husband, not her.

3. Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith

The couple allegedly practices open relationships according to many social media posts and public appearances.

However, the couple likes to keep things private. They never properly denied or confirmed the rumors.

4. T-Pain and Amber Najm

The singer gave a bite to the media about practicing open marriage. However, there are many unique boundaries in his practices.

5. Dolly Parton and Carl Dean

The media guesses that open marriage might be the secret behind this duo’s union of over 50 years.

Dolly Parton neither denied nor confirmed her relationship structure to the media… leaving a lot to the imagination.

6. Emma Thompson and Greg Wise

The actress cum writer shaped numerous romance projects on monogamy. Though, she has opinions based on how she wonders about alternative relationship styles.

This leaves a possibility of her practicing open marriage.

7. Alan Cumming and Grant Shaffer

The gay couple married for over a decade admitted that they were always into non-monogamy and still are.

8. Tilda Swinton and John Byrne

Swinton opened their marriage and is in a relationship with Sandro Kopp. She admits that people fantasize lots about open marriages but it’s quite “boring”.

9. Tom Ford and Richard Buckley

Ford admitted in an interview that “monogamy is artificial”. The designer stopped at “it wasn’t natural” else he’ll be in “sh*t”.

10. Maria Bello and Clare Munn

Bello states monogamy is “nonsensical” and the entire idea is mostly “a big fat lie”. She is in an open relationship with her current girlfriend and her ex (her son’s father).

To validate your feelings towards open marriage, check these…

FAQs about Open Marriage

Opening marriage is a huge step in your life… you obviously have more questions. So, let’s find all the important answers here…

1. How often should you check in with your spouse?

Check-in as regularly as possible just after you open the marriage. If you can’t maintain it regularly, then check in weekly at least. Your spouse might still feel unsure about everything.

This is a crucial phase of your marriage… because they’ll get the wrong impression if they go out of focus so soon.

They’ll imagine “my spouse can’t give me time after opening the relationship, wondering if the marriage will work out”.

Avoid such trains of thought with frequent and fun check-ins like dinner dates, outdoor dates, or other activities.

2. Is cheating still possible in open marriage?

Whenever you cross the agreed rules and boundaries, it’s cheating in an open marriage. However, it’s not always intentional.

Perhaps, your contract says you can’t hug… however, you hug them while engaging in a sexual position. You did that unintentionally without your spouse’s consent.

Keep your promises wisely… if you can’t keep a promise, don’t hide it. Confess to your spouse and negotiate the rules.

If your spouse denies negotiation, figure out some other solution.

3. Are open marriages sustainable?

Open marriages are tricky because the number of people involved is more than simply monogamous relationships. Also, you must follow numerous rules and boundaries.

Though you might feel great at the beginning of an open marriage, it soon loses its charm if you don’t switch extramarital sexual partners.

The sexual dissatisfaction might soon creep in if you stick to the same old sexual partner.

4. How to approach your spouse about an open marriage?

Obviously, with honest communication!

However, this is a sensitive topic so make sure you don’t demand an open marriage. Introduce them to the subject, give them time to understand. Ask their opinion on it, never threaten them to open your marriage.

Be smooth and gentle if you love your partner. Say “Opening a marriage fancies me, does it attract you? If not, that’s okay!”

However, if you force your spouse to open your marriage, it might lead to separation.

5. Do open marriages work?

Of course, they do!

Focus on communication and listen to your spouse’s desires actively. Understand your spouse’s untold desires and notice the small changes in their attitude.

Make them feel that despite the sexual infidelity, they’re still your entire world.

Also, strictly follow your open marriage rules and boundaries. Keep your spouse happy and the relationship satisfaction high this way.

A word from ThePleasantRelationship

Whether you successfully open your marriage or not, always prioritize your spouse over otherworldly desires.

Hopefully, your desire to open your marriage will introduce you to more happiness.

However, never use an open marriage to escape toxic relationship dynamics… because it never works. Or, if your marriage seems unstable, therapy is a better option to save it.

Also, don’t expect everyone will understand or accept your “openness” towards relationships. Enjoy your life your way and keep it to yourselves. 

Open marriage doesn’t work out for everyone. Anyone might be mean to you because their open marriage didn’t work out. So, don’t let that get to your head.

Are you interested to know more about ‘Hypergamy’ then click here?

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