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Open Marriage?

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Shanoa posted 5/1/2014 16:48 PM

I was wondering if anyone on here had thought about having an open marriage? Where both husband and wife are permitted to date/have sex with other people. Of course there would be some boundaries set, always use protection, don't get too emotionally involved, etc. Just a thought. If you love someone but have trouble being faithful or have a spouse who has trouble being faithful, maybe you could still be married and be together but just have a mutual agreement to get some on the side?

LdyD posted 5/1/2014 17:03 PM

My WH and I have discussed this recently. But only partially open, where I have the freedom to be with other men. He's always been this way, but I chose to be faithful to him. He knows that I have a hard time with him being with other women, and rightfully even more so now! I'm working on potentially being open, but not until the trust is back fully! My H says that he is not interested in being with anyone else, especially after the damage he's caused. He is truly remorseful and doing everything right to ensure true R.

[This message edited by LdyD at 5:06 PM, May 1st (Thursday)]

SisterMilkshake posted 5/1/2014 17:06 PM

What you need in the extreme is trust in an open marriage. After infidelity there is little to no trust left. To start an open marriage after finding out about infidelity would be a huge mistake, imo. Maybe years down the road after you have healed and have regained trust, maybe you could think about an open marriage.

whattheh posted 5/1/2014 17:11 PM

There is no such thing as unprotected sex.

Using condoms may help prevent pregnancy and lessen std risks, but it wont protect fully for things like hpv, herpes and hepatitus. condoms can break too.

Wodnships posted 5/1/2014 17:37 PM

An open marriage isn't a solution to someone cheating. Cheating is about issues with boundaries. Poor boundaries and an open marriage leads to disaster. That's not an attack on open marriages, but I'm saying people have to understand exactly what is acceptable and what is not acceptable and stop things from going to far immediately. Other wise it becomes a pain point in the relationship.

Lyonesse posted 5/1/2014 17:44 PM

He cheated and lied.

Of course there would be some boundaries set, always use protection, don't get too emotionally involved, etc.

If he is capable of lying and had no boundaries in the past, why would you feel you could trust him to keep boundaries/use protection/don't get emotionally involved?

I just don't think infidelity is about sex; I think it is about lying and control - not problems that can be resolved by more sexual intrigue, IMO.

yearsofpain25 posted 5/1/2014 17:45 PM

Shanoa, An open relationship is based on honesty and communication. You do not have these things in your current relationship. Gently here, you need to let the other people know what's going on in your Engagement thread in JFO before these fine people can give you a response to your situation.

Here's some more education on open marriage here:

[This message edited by yearsofpain25 at 5:46 PM, May 1st (Thursday)]

Abbondad posted 5/1/2014 17:59 PM

Just want to chime in, as any post with the title "open marriage" draws me in. NOT judging, but my sad story of infidelity and the destruction of my family began with my ex and I mutually agreeing that we would open the marriage--"just an occasional crack"--to spice up our sex life. We agreed on rules and agreed that we had so much love and trust for one another that we could "handle it."

Long story short, she began an LTA behind my back with one of the three men she'd had what was supposed to be a purely sexual fling and ended up choosing him over me and our family. I offered reconciliation or divorce; she implicitly chose divorce. (Well, she professed that she did not want divorce, but would not give up the affair.)

Just the phrase "open marriage" scares the hell out of me, frankly. Again, I've heard that it can work with total trust, so I don't want to judge. And of course it had its allure for both of us. But it ended in terrible calamity.

Please be careful. It's a dangerous game.

sisoon posted 5/1/2014 18:26 PM

We considered it early in our M, having read Stranger in a Strange Land and Open Marriage. That was probably circa 1969.

We decided it was not something we could do. W forgot those discussions but proved them accurate.

Note: I'm saying open M is not for us. I also think very few people can do it, but it works for some people.

True open Ms are very hard to set up, because the boundaries need to be clear and measurable - 'don't get too emotionally involved' just doesn't work as a boundary. On SI, too many people say 'open M' when they mean that a WS has said 'just suck up my cheating' or a BS means 'I'll just suck up my WS's cheating'. That's cake-eating or abuse, not a real mutually satisfactory open M.

I knew only one 'open M'. In fact, it was 2 couples of which one H wanted the other guy's W and she wanted him. It started ostensibly as 2 cash-poor couples sharing an apartment, which became an open M after a few weeks. A few months later, it was a WH and a WW living together and 1 crushed BW and 1 crushed BH.

LdyD posted 5/1/2014 18:32 PM

I was time limited in my first reply. I have read that open marriages have an 80% failure rate. Like others have said, open marriages require the M to be Very strong and Trust is a Major Requirement (hense the reason I will not agree to an open marriage with my WH any time soon).

Having said that, I have been with another man (the OW's BP) twice last month. He was my H's best friend and also a friend of mine for 15 years. My H encouraged it and he knew both times when I was heading to meet him and when I left. I must say, for me and the BP it has helped us move past some of the painful emotions of the A. This wasn't an RA, no betrayal or lies were told. My WH and I are more intimately close now.

[This message edited by LdyD at 6:34 PM, May 1st (Thursday)]

sunvalley posted 5/1/2014 18:37 PM

to each his own and if a couple discussed and agreed to an open marriage from day 1, who am I to judge? But to go through the betrayals and years of lies surrounding As, all the grieving and emotions attached and then have to re-examine the M and consider an open M seems like a form of rugsweeping to me. I would assume the type of BS who would be open to this would be one who was seeking revenge or had an overwhelming sense that the WS got to have all the 'fun'. But to me if this discussion weren't on the table prior to the As, then it's right up there with having a child to fix the M. Just my opinion though.

Skan posted 5/1/2014 18:41 PM

I have several friends who had open marriages, who were poly, and one who formed a very stable unit of three. Of all of these people, only two are still married to their original partner one couple who had an open marriage, and the triad.

To make something like an open marriage work, from what I've seen, takes two very confident and strong individuals who BOTH want this and who have iron-clad barriers in place keeping the primary couple together, with an occasional invitation for a guest who does not overstay their welcome.

Trying to start an open marriage with someone who has already cheated on you and lied, out of the fear of losing that person, is doomed to a rather messy and spectacular failure. You do not need this pain on top of the pain that you already are being put through. It's as if after crushing one hand, you decided to crush the other one too, so that you were now symmetrical.

Melian40 posted 5/1/2014 18:46 PM

by Sisoon:
"True open Ms are very hard to set up, because the boundaries need to be clear and measurable - 'don't get too emotionally involved' just doesn't work as a boundary. On SI, too many people say 'open M' when they mean that a WS has said 'just suck up my cheating' or a BS means 'I'll just suck up my WS's cheating'. That's cake-eating or abuse, not a real mutually satisfactory open M."

I so much agree!

yearsofpain25 posted 5/1/2014 18:47 PM

In an open relationship at least I could have my cake and eat it too --too! Ha just saying if he wants to explore maybe I should too. Maybe we could spice things up in the bedroom with threesomes?

as long as we had threesomes with men and women not just other women lol. That would be interesting I think. Perhaps that's what's missing. We could just have sex with other people together!

Shanoa, based on these comments in your JFO thread, what makes you think an open relationship is going to work with your child rapist fiance? He has no character for an open relationship. Stop thinking about an open relationship and start focusing on you!!!


[This message edited by yearsofpain25 at 6:48 PM, May 1st (Thursday)]

tushnurse posted 5/1/2014 18:55 PM

Open marriages are based in total truth and boundaries. When you have one partner who has cheated and not healed themselves or is broken to bein with this will NOT work.
I actually know several couples that have open marriages and have talked at length about the hoes an whys and so forth. For one it is a second marriage for her and first at an older age for him. They only "play" together with other couples and it is agreed upon by them that there will never be secrets or communication that doesn't include all four people. And another couple we know we're each others first but had an open relationship even in college. They too only "play" together they will play with just another woman or another man. Again only with each other and no secrets. That's why it works. The third couple who didn't play together are in the midst of. Divorce.

So I believe someone who has recently crossed the line into infidelity lacks the tools to be able to swing effectively. I see this every so often here and honestly I think it's just an excuse to not fix your shit and just turn your head to the real problem.

tired girl posted 5/1/2014 18:56 PM

An open M is something that is done from the start with two people that trust each other immensely, not started from a place of distrust because a partner has already cheated and someone is looking to keep them.

Why are you trying to bargain to keep him? If you had everything you wanted in a perfect world, would you choose a man that wanted an open M and wanted to sleep with other women?

blakesteele posted 5/1/2014 18:57 PM

I work with a woman who is in an open M. A month or two ago she increased her visiting with me enough to make me suspicious. Small town here, she is constantly on FB and is into the high school mentality of living. I strongly suspect she caught wind of my wife's affair.....started testing the waters with me.

My concern is how this open M way of living twists the minds of those engaged in it.....taking the "edge" off interacting with married monogamous people.

Also think it would be very confusing to children.

My wife's affair was hidden from our girls......they still picked up on a different vibe in our home. Don't see how you could insulate them from this lifestyle. IMO kids are not equipped to handle such vibes....concern it would mess with their future abilities to bond.

My 2 cents worth.


Sal1995 posted 5/1/2014 18:57 PM

This seems like a really bad idea. To me "opening" a M to others seems to miss the whole point of marriage in the first place.

TheGarden posted 5/1/2014 19:25 PM

My close friends' open marriage set the stage for my husband's affair. Their lack of respect for monogamy and monogamous marriage definitely influenced their interactions with him and contributed to their willingness to throw me under the bus. There were conversations between the three of them about my marriage becoming "open" - conversations I was not privy to until I snooped in WH's email after DDay. And I was blamed and attacked after the fact because I didn't share the same morality (i.e., in their eyes, I didn't have a right to be angry about my husband's cheating, because they themselves did not value fidelity). A major condition of reconciliation for us is not EVER again being friendly with people who have open marriages. IMO, the values and attitudes associated with that lifestyle erode important boundaries and pave the road to affairs.

Also, an open marriage is no proof against infidelity, because infidelity is not always merely about sexual dalliance. I have read posts here on SI from individuals who had open marriages where the only boundary was "tell me when you do something with someone else", and the WS was unable/unwilling to offer even this modicum of respect and honesty to the BS, and they ended up here with a wrecked marriage. For some people (maybe even many people), secrecy and deception is part of the fun. For some people, the issue isn't about sex, but is instead about an inability to be loyal or honest, regardless of how loyalty or honesty are defined within a marriage.

If your partner is willing to lie and and break boundaries in a monogamous marriage, there is no reason whatsoever to assume they would not be willing to lie and break boundaries in an open marriage. And by adopting the attitudes that accompany an open marriage lifestyle, they will find themselves with even more justification for doing so (i.e., "we agreed that I could fool around with her...the problem here is that you need to work on your jealousy, not that I didn't use a condom")

TL;DR - please be careful about assuming that an open marriage is the answer to marital infidelity.

[This message edited by TheGarden at 7:27 PM, May 1st (Thursday)]

NoGoodUsername posted 5/1/2014 19:49 PM

With kindness:
Adding someone to your bed doesn't actually fix any problems, it just adds layers of complication.

I've known a lot of people with different configurations in their relationships and very rarely have I ever seen anything work out worth a darn by adding more people to the mix, particularly when things weren't healthy and stable to begin with.

Furthermore, there is a finite amount of time and emotional resources in anyone's life. By adding more people to your already strained situation, it will just take away from the specialness of you and your relationship.

I would advise you not to walk this path at this point.

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