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How long is the leash?…….Open Marriage

By on May 16, 2010

The concept of an open marriage is that both parties enter into an agreement of sorts that they will be free to have sex with members of the opposite sex, other than their spouse and it is permitted. Furthermore, the married couple have the idea or ideal in their minds that it will not affect their relationship in any way shape or form and they will continue to have the same loving, dedicated and connected relationship as they initially entered into when they first lovingly walked down the aisle to their nuptials. It even goes as far as the couple naively believing that a commitment still exists between the two of them simply because they are individually aware that the other has someone or more than just one someone else “on the side”. The fact is that there is no commitment whatsoever. The concept of an open marriage is just that a concept, in theory it sounds fabulously sexy and delicious, After all, being in love and engaging in various types of sexual activity with someone else with your spouses blessing so to speak, sounds great on paper but in practice well that’s a whole other story.

Open Marriage

Consider for a moment that the bed you share with your beloved is also shared on some occasions by another. This is not to say that going to a hotel or even staying at your boyfriend or girlfriends house is any better but for the most part, an open marriage couple often have their lover(s) over for sleepovers. Once you take on the mental challenge of accepting and knowing this, how does it not affect one’s relationship? Well, for some it simply does not. They are in fact quite okay with the concept and remain in their marriage out of what they define as love. This is accomplished because they are able to separate the physical aspects of being in a committed relationship/marriage from the emotional ones. Open marriage couples believe that it is their love, their commitment to one another and the marriage that keeps them together.

Consequently for couples in an open marriage, taking on a lover, a practice that has been around since the beginning of time, in no way negates the importance of their marriage. This is considered an alternate lifestyle and is not in the same category as swingers in that swingers are couples that are together when they have sex with others. What is ironic is that the elimination of monogamy in the marriage and the supposed acceptance of sharing one’s “life partner” often does create significant trust issues which is what both individuals were attempting to avoid from the get go. The fact is that there is always one person in this type of relationship that is the “holder of the leash”. One will allow certain freedoms for their spouse to do what they wish only when it suits them. If they do not want to be with their lover one night but their spouse wants to be with theirs, too bad. In truth, even in a so called open marriage; the freedom door can be slammed shut at any given moment at the whim of the gatekeeper. In all honesty, an open marriage is only as open as the husband or wife allows.

To learn more about Open Marriage, here are some great books we suggest:

Open: Love, Sex and Life in an Open Marriage

Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships

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