In the New York Times, Susan Dominus explored the concept of open marriages, something more and more people are doing, but don’t necessarily feel comfortable talking about. Here are some of the misconceptions she breaks down in the course of her enlightening article.
1. Open relationships can mean many things, arrangement-wise. This can include one-night stands with people outside the marriage or even ongoing relationships. Sometimes the husband meets the wife’s boyfriend; sometimes they don’t. Every open marriage’s rules are different.
2. Tammy Nelson, a sex and couples therapist in New Haven, Connecticut, called it “the new monogamy” and even wrote a book with that title. Nelson broke down the main ideas that many people in open marriages subscribe to: “The new monogamy is, baldly speaking, the recognition that, for an increasing number of couples, marital attachment involves a more fluid idea of connection to the primary partner than is true of the ‘old monogamy. Within the new notion of monogamy, each partner assumes that the other is, and will remain, the main attachment, but that outside attachments of one kind or another are allowed — as long as they don’t threaten the primary connection.”
3. Technology is making open marriages easier. Open marriages are experiencing a surge, largely because online technology makes it so much easier. Websites like OkCupid make finding new partners easier than ever, and even Facebook has the option to mark yourself in an open relationship.
4. People in open marriages are still judged. As Dominus pointed out in her article, open relationships aren’t exactly celebrated in our culture. Many of the people she interviewed for her article didn’t give their full names, stating that they feared judgment and possible job loss.
5. However, some people in open marriages are really, well, open about it. Zaeli and her husband, Joe, even have friends who refer potential new partners to them. Zaeli also developed a business, working with other polyamorous people to help them find the right balance in their relationships.
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