Open Marriages

19 Feb

The topic of an open marriage has darted in and out of the media quite a bit lately. First GOP Presidential candidate, Newt Gingrich’s second ex-wife stated in a recent interview that Newt asked for an open marriage that would allow him to have both a wife and a mistress. And most recently, reports state that Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore may have had an open marriage in which one comedian jokingly stated that what started as a threesome, turned into a twosome that didn’t include Demi.

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First off, let’s define an open marriage. Wikipedia defines an open marriage as one in which the partners agree that each may engage in extramarital exual relationships, without this being regarded as infidelity. There are many different styles of open marriage, with the partners having varying levels of input on their spouse’s activities. Open marriages place high value on honesty, especially of needs and wants.

The history of open marriages date back to the sixties when the term “open marriage” referred to a person’s choice in selecting their mate based on personal preference and not social prohibitions. In 1972, Nena O’Neill and George O’Neill wrote a book “Open Marriage” that evolved the term open marriage to mean that each partner has room for personal growth and can develop friendships outside of the marriage. The chapter of their book titled “Love Without Jealousy” discussed the possibility that an open marriage could include some forms of sexual relations with other partners. This thought process led to the present day definition of an open marriage which is a sexual non-monogamous union.

The idea of an open marriage has legal and emotional ramifications. In some states adultery is illegal, thus a spouse engaging in extra marital sexual relations would be committing a crime regardless of their partner’s consent.  Additionally, like Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore, eventually an open marriage may lead to isolation and jealousy. And the very idea of an open marriage to appease one or both spouses may eventually lead to a divorce.

I personally do not get the rationale of an open marriage which goes against a basic principle of marriage, monogamy. If you’re agreeable to an open marriage, why get married instead of continuing to date? What are the benefits of being married if your spouse can be shared? Furthermore, the track record of high profile open marriages seems to often time lead to a divorce anyway.

Some notable people in open marriages:

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2 Responses to “Open Marriages”

  1. Marsha J. O'Brien February 25, 2012 at 9:23 am #

    I believe an open marriage is like lighting a match to a fire while you are sitting on top of the kindling! My words are from “forced” (my mistake-we never HAVE to DO ANYTHING beyond our own philosophy) experimentation. Personally, I believe it ALWAYS ends in disaster….perhaps not today or tomorrow, but I’d bet my bottom dollar it ends sometime in the future because of it. Why get married in the first place?

    • Terry 411 Cato February 28, 2012 at 1:29 am #

      I totally agree …always seems to end in disaster.

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