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Open Marriage

Marriage & Life Partnerships Debunking the old-ball-and-chain stereotype one couple at a time.

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Old 9th November 2002, 1:03 PM   #1
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Unhappy Open Marriage

Just found a used book on Open Marriage. Anybody in the forum follow the guidelines?
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Old 9th November 2002, 2:06 PM   #2
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I think I know what book you're talking about...

And the couple ended up divorcing bc they couldn't handle being in an open marriage anymore.
That's just what I think....

UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
nothing is going to get better. It's not.

"The Lorax" Dr. Seuss
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Old 9th November 2002, 2:12 PM   #3
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An old concept....

The book and the concept of open marriage popped up in the American culture in the early to mid-70's. Basically, it consists of an understanding between the marriage partners that they will be able to engage in extramarital sport sex, nothing involving emotions, while they are married.

It was a fad and was different from betrayal in that both parties agreed to the idea. It actually worked for some married people and today there are many couples, lots of them advertising on the Internet personals, who engage is spouse and partner swapping to end the boredom of their individual sex lives.

Open marriage is not a good idea for many reasons. If you don't think you're going to be happy with your spouse sexually after marriage, you should not get married.

However, if you really think it will work for you, try it. The worst that can happen is a divorse, intense pain, possibly a broken home with children, financial chaos, etc. That's all.
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Old 9th November 2002, 5:36 PM   #4
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tony you are too funny

nice to see your sense of humor.

i think that an open marriage is a theory, and that's it.

eventually jealousy develops. relationships are based on trust. how can you trust someone when they are sharing their bodies with someone else and you? it never made sense to me.

i know two women who did the swapping, swinging thing. both are extremely dysfunctional. one is a bipolar alcoholic and the other is a drug addict. both are overweight and insecure and jealous by nature.

if you want free sex, then don't get involved in a relationship, just do the one-night, bed buddy stuff.
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Old 14th November 2002, 2:26 PM   #5
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Thumbs up open marriage

K thanks. I didn't read about the O'Neil's divorcing in the end. But basing on the Amazon rank, that book got a lot of good reviews. Well, I think that some of the principles would be applicable in our relationships. The communication and privacy thing would be very beneficial to us.

Thanks to everybody who responded.
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Old 14th November 2002, 2:30 PM   #6
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of course...

it's going to get good reviews from people who want to be told that the lifestyle is ok.
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Old 14th November 2002, 3:35 PM   #7
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Not the lifestyle - the principles of communication and open and honest dialog that are a requirement for a successful open marriage. I'm not sure which book you are reading, but in the books that I have read there are sections that talk about how to know when its time to stop the practice and limiting the number of times being with each partner. There are also techniques for the couples to practice with each other and sections about scheduling too.

I don't agree with it but I do know some couples who practiced it way back in the late 60's and one of those couples is still married today. I think the other couple ended with a death, and another couple divorced.

The whole thing was supposed to be more than "hey let's sleep around" it was based on a "fact" that homosapiens are not a monogamous animal and should not be restricted by any type of doctrine. The theory being that we can love more than one and love at different levels and that loved is separate from physical need.

To me it boiled down to "hey, let's sleep around" and I think it was more harmful then helpful to the majority of couples practicing it.
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Old 16th February 2003, 12:39 AM   #8
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Lightbulb .... just a quick note to bring you up to date

Just 'found' this thread, doing a search on "Open Marriage" because I'm an author an networker in polyamory, and live in a hM-biF-hM poly triad family, with three children who very much enjoy and appreciate having three 'parents' - so far - and are only somewhat curious and surprised at the amount of negativity and hostility to our 'family lifestyle' by -still- a lot of 'mainstream' -including esp. self-styled 'Christian'- types.

The 'polyamory' movement and it is a very rapidly increasing movement in all western countries has moved ahead by leaps and bounds over the last 10 years. And may soon reach the stage of 'coming out' very much as the gays, lesbians, transgendered, etc., 'came out' in recent 'his'tory.

Despite *huge* antagonism, rage, anger, and disbelief by the 'orthodox' mainstream probably even more than that so far exercised against all earlier 'sexual deviates'- because it appears to 'attack' the 'holy family', the nuclear family which is one of the very basic foundation stones of patriarchy and the "Dominator Culture/Civilisations" of the last 4,500 to 5,000 years of human 'his'tory.

I have *no intention whatever*, by the way, of 'arguing' with anyone about this, let alone 'converting' anyone !! I am posting this merely to raise the awareness of those who *want* to have some information on what's going on in the world which the 'mainstream' media are, so far, avoiding as much as possible, or slurring and 'dragging into the mud' as much as possible. Because the people in charge, the people in power, in effect the 'patriarchy' (whether men or *women*!) don't like it, don't want it in effect *fear it* because it 'undermines' a basic means of power and control. Whether in the name of 'religion', 'power politics', 'social standards', 'family values', "human nature" or whatever other means can be 'man'ufactured and used to control the hearts and minds, genuine intimacy, sensuality and 'sex lives', of intelligent people.

Watch for it; it's coming. Like so many other things the 'Establishment' whether Church, State, or mainstream 'professionals' don't want you to 'believe', recognise, and experience the 'alternatives' that are real, possible, practical, beautiful, and *ethical". ( See Dossie Easton and Catherine Liszt, "The Ethical 'Slut' ") Because it endangers "The Family", "The [American, or any other] Dream", "The National Interest", or your Immortal Soul.

If you want to have a peek at what's actually happening at the grass roots, use any search engine on the net for 'polyamory' and see what comes up!


Last edited by Moderator; 16th February 2003 at 3:41 AM.. Reason: Removed inappropriate solicitations.
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Old 11th April 2003, 11:40 PM   #9
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Opening up

One thing to note about the discussions here - there was a general shrugging-off of the movement in the previous posts, citing any number of myths about swinging and open marriage (which are not the same thing, by they way).

To blame swinging or open-marriage as the reason for any marriage failing is like saying its the tree's fault that it fell over and crushed the car sitting under it (one is not considering the whole picture). All the swinging couples I've known over the years are happier in their marriages than the non-swinging couples I've known. It is a very couple-centric activity that they brought my wife and I much closer than we'd ever been. BUT we both had similar goals and interests and both were unafraid of providing complete disclosure of our feelings to each other.

It is pretty safe to say that a swinging marriage that breaks up would just have likely broken-up had the couple never started swinging. Swinging isn't a problem...dealing with life occurring around the swinging is the problem.

As for open marriage...that is a bit of a trickier slope. It is not focused on the couple - rather, it is usually focused on each partner's own goals. One person noted that they couldn't understand how you could trust someone in this situation...but for people in a successful open marriage, the whole experience is about trust. They have a level of trust for each other that completely eclipses what most couples claim to be trustful in their relationship. Open marriage couples understand the motivations of their partners and because of that, feel no jealousy in allowing their partner the freedom to explore. NO, this isn't for everyone as some people are just too jealous. But to pooh-pooh it because you don't understand it is kinda silly ("we kill what we fear, and we fear what we don't understand"). But hey, that's the way the human race has been operating for eons...

The best way to try to imagine it is to think about applying the old adage to your life, "If you love someone, set them free." We're just living that adage. I don't for a moment believe everyone should be doing the same - society is a powerful former of beliefs and it is plain that the idea of an open marriage is way outside the norm. But try to understand that it is normal for some people, just like some of you consider watching WWE Wrestling to be entertaining (it doesn't float my boat, but I'm certainly not going to condemn you for watching it).

Some will start banging their bibles at this and say it isn't the same thing. For them, I assert they should try to understand that there are some in the world who don't own a bible...but they're not necessarily your enemies. Ah, religion...I could wax poetic about it for hours....but luckily for y'all, I won't.

And I can't help but laugh at the person who noted his swinging friends were a bipolar alcoholic and a drug addict...I wonder who else that person hangs around with! All my swinging friends are successful couples; attractive and very intelligent - the kinds of people you see every day in every walk of life - people I am happy to call my friends.

So relax a bit, folks. The rest of the world is not really out to get you. Feel free to say that this lifestyle isn't for you - that's cool. But to try to skewer the beliefs of others because you don't understand them is a bit like (insert your favorite political tyrant) perscuting the (insert your favorite persecuted group). That's where it all begins.

Peace, love and the lifestyle

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Old 18th May 2003, 3:43 PM   #10
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Lightbulb setting boundaries


Let's read deeper on "Swinging and Open Relationships" in response to a problem that neither partner wants to deal with - Divorce. To some, Swinging sounds like an easy solution compared to divorcing or even the talk of divorce and Open Relationships are just like swinging but they just carry a different dynamic than swinging and are adopted by those that do not identify with Swinging (go figure). In either case, it's the path of least resistance. There is a problem and the solution seems to be obvious to the people who choose either of these behaviors.

Both behaviors center around sex and this is important to note. Whether the individual seeks sex, love, intimacy, deviance through homo-sexual sex, interracial sex, etc., there is a problem and any lonely human being will identify deeply with the sexual presence of another (some of us pickier than others) and the wonderful feelings that can come from it. Sex and our individual definitions of love are the focal points for many or our daily lives, mine included."I feel loved when ....", does not end with anything that Swinging and Open Relationships offer, it ends with a statement of receiving that which is being extended by another who loves you. To the masterful deviant, this sentence will end with what Swinging and Open Relationships have to offer. You be the judge. You must consider the source and whether this masterful person loves them self and can extend them self lovingly, through effort and commitment, to others. Notice this please, I have just explained many a charismatic of a cult leader, wife abuser, alcoholic, neurotic and so on. The difference is 'intent'. Denial can cause you to believe otherwise so be very careful how you interpret ones intent.

Read: "The Road Less Traveled" on 'falling in love' and 'love' or 'dependency' and 'ego boundaries' or a book called 'I feel guilty when I say No" at Amazon

Read and keep reading. You'll be drawn to read the material that you want to believe. Don't let denial lead your choices.

Differentiation of self does not allow for such behavior as suggested by Swinging or an Open Relationship.

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Old 20th May 2003, 11:09 PM   #11
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Actually read the reference and... huh???

OK, not plugging for open marriage, but I have a copy of The Road Less Travelled, and to quote Dr. Peck:

"My work with couples has led me to the stark conclusion that open marriage is the only kind of mature marriage that is healthy and not seriously destructive to the spiritual health and growth of the individual partners."

(from the subsection The Myth of Romantic Love, pg. 93)

As for ego boundaries, I think it requires one biggole' whoppin' set of ego boundaries to accept your partner's sexual attraction to other people, let alone their acting on it. Of course, I can also see a potential pathological side to such an arrangement (i.e. the spouse who is coerced into such a marriage, or who believes that they are so unappealing that this is the only way to maintain the relationship, or, or, or...) But to condemn the concept in its entirety seems a little knee-jerkish, especially when the reference sources seem to come to a completely different conclusion.
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Old 9th June 2003, 7:49 PM   #12
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Thumbs up Open marriage in real life

I'm surprised at how many people who have NOT read Open Marriage responded with their assumptions. I'm glad you found the book interesting, and as you know it covers a lot of ground.

I have been in an open marriage for 12 years, and that book has been very helpful as a point of discussion when we make decisions about what marriage means for us as a couple.

First of all, there are many principles that the book looks at that have nothing to do with having sex with other people, although that was radical enough that it's what most people mean when they refer to an open marriage/relationship.

I think it also really questioned some basic assumptions that were made about marriage historically. Some of these changes have become mainstream, some are still not generally accepted.

Our choices around marriage include sexual openness (that DOES include relationships for us, not just casual sex.) We also challenge traditional gender roles, and recognize a need for some separate time, space and activities. It seems unreasonable to me to assume ANY relationship can meet 100% of someone's needs, which may be the main point of the book.

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Old 10th June 2003, 3:08 AM   #13
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Open Marriage

Being open in a marriage as far as communication with one another, I can understand. But for all of those that seem to enjoy an open marriage, can you tell me where's the logic or intelligence in getting married if you're going to have relationships or sexual relations with other people? What do you site differen marriage vows from everyone else? "Don't forsaken all other lovers"? I don't care how society dresses it up by making it seem fun and exciting. Fun and excitement can be find, but in some situations it can be "childish" stuff. Marriage is about two mature individuals being committed, loyal and faithful to one another and only each other. You might as well not be married if you find it hard to, or don't want to or don't plan to commit to one person, be loyal to one person or be faithful. The whole idea makes a mockery out of the marriage institution. It's like saying "I want to have my cake and eat it to". And no matter how well you dress it up, it all points to one thing:selfishness.
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Old 1st July 2003, 8:29 PM   #14
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product of open marriage

I have recently realized that my parents were in an open marriage. It has taken me over 20 years to put the puzzle together. I think that my mom may have been capable of handling and probably still is, this lifestyle. But I think that my father was not emotionally capable of this. The divorce was nasty and bitter and tore the family apart to the point where I could not grow up seeing my mom anymore. We paid the price for all of this.

I don't blame open marraige. In fact, I am so tired of searching for all of those missing pieces of childhood, that I just blame all of the adults involved. Why could they not step back, and say, "For the sake of the children, this is not working. We cannot do this right now." I am still working on the details. I am pretty sure that my dad is my father. That is not really an issue to me. What is an issue is why could the adults during that time period not respond as adults to all of the children in these marriages that were disrupted? But I take these lessons and hope that I can keep them forefront in my mind as I care for my own children.

Just think about the children.
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Old 6th July 2003, 4:20 AM   #15
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What Insanity.....

People, people, people. You go on with your philosophies and mis-guided theories of open-ness, committment, etc. The bottom line is that "Open Marriage" is an oxymoron.

The idea of marriage is based on the idea of committment. If you just wanted someone around who promises to stay with you, well, you don't need a marriage for that. You can use it as a security blanket if you like, but you and your partner are probably better off as friends (with benefits.) Let's not fool ourselves with intricate webs of reason for this or that: call it what it is. An open marriage is not a marriage.

Never mind the posts about this success, or that. "Open mariages" are not mainstream for a reason. The don't work for 99% of people; they didn't work in the late 60s, don't work now, and tomorrow is no different. I very much doubt, as the one responder implied, that there will be this mass "coming out" of open - marriage participants.

Also, read the entire Peck chapter, you will find that "open" is being taken completely out of context. He is refering to open-ness in letting your partner express him/her self without being mired by control factors by the other partner - NOT EXPRESSING YOURSELF SEXUALLY. People... listen to Tony (above) and don't ruin your marriage. And, if you can't exist faithfully in it, then get out of it and save your partner the prolonged pain, as well as your own dignity.
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