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Wedlock Unlocked

An Inside Look at an Open Marriage

Many people believe that open marriage is either a) absurd in the extreme (why bother being married then?); or b) impossibly complicated emotionally, logistically and sexually. Truthfully, there are as many types of open marriages as there are closed, so these assumptions are baseless, though understandable. The short-lived TV show Swingtown notwithstanding, the imagined benefits of open marriage (sex! all the time! with friends and neighbors!) are quite titillating but (alas) often untrue.

What is true, however, is that most people practicing open marriage are usually both romantic and realistic about the probability of remaining monogamous over a lifetime with one partner. If recent studies are any indication, most people who pledge monogamy aren't actually faithful anyway, so you could say people in open marriages are simply being more honest about their desires to mess around than the average American.

Of the many surprising benefits of open marriage, perhaps the most surprising is that it can, if handled gently and lovingly, bring you closer to your spouse. If you're secretly carrying on an affair, or e-mailing an ex-lover, or otherwise harboring deeply held desires that you can't share with your partner, you are experiencing the alienation this lack of honesty can create. I know because I used to feel completely lonely in my marriage. I felt I couldn't tell my husband what I wanted, sexually or otherwise. I made the mistake of having an affair rather than telling him what I needed and nearly ruined everything. ...Read More

Luckily, we made our way back to each other and have arrived at a place of deeper honesty, including a mutually agreed upon desire to have an open marriage. I don't recommend this approach to achieving open marriage, but it eventually worked well enough for us.

Surprisingly, our open relationship status (as well as therapy and working a 12-step program) has led each of us to a greater level of self-acceptance. Admitting to and embracing our imperfections as well as our sexual desires has, in turn, translated into greater understanding of each other. It seems counterintuitive, but it's true: By opening up our relationship and deepening our honesty, we're happier than we've ever been. Our house is peaceful, and there aren't anymore deep dark secrets between us.

Most people can relate to going on a date or to an event with your spouse and seeing his or her excellence or attractiveness as though from a new perspective. Well the same applies in spades when you see your spouse all lit up by a new love interest, assuming you can overcome whatever jealousy or possessiveness that arises. Surprising but true. If you can talk it through, seeing your partner dolled or duded up to go with someone else out can be incredibly attractive.

To continue reading, visit YourTango.com

  • Would you ever open up your marriage?

Wedlock Unlocked
An Inside Look at an Open Marriage
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