Last night on the “For the Love of Ray J” reunion show, Stilts made it known that she was in an open marriage and was on the show to see if the grass is greener on the other side. Her comments got me thinking. How many people actually participate in an open marriage? Secondly, do I know anyone who practices this lifestyle? If I do, they haven’t told me yet and I’m not sure if I would like to know the details of their openness.
An Open marriage typically refers to a marriage in which the partners agree that each may engage in extramarital sexual 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.
Researchers originally used the term starting in the 60’s to describe the ability to freely choose your marriage partner. In 1972 that meaning was changed to describe the free love that many hippies had for each other.
Couples involved in open marriages or relationships typically adopt a set of ground rules to guide their activities. Ground rules in relationships allow partners to coordinate their behaviors so they achieve shared goals with fewer conflicts. Some ground rules are universal in the sense they apply to virtually all relationships in a particular culture. Other ground rules apply to specific kinds of relationships, such as friendships or marriages. Still other ground rules are designed to manage romantic rivalry and jealousy. The ground rules adopted by sexually monogamous couples tend to prohibit behaviors that are viewed as acts of infidelity. The ground rules adopted by sexually open couples tend to prohibit behaviors that provoke jealousy. Partners may change the ground rules of their relationships over time.
Open Marriage Styles