Why does open marriage work for some couples and destroy others? The answer could be that for it to work you need to be in an extremely healthy relationship. When I think about open marriages, I can only imagine and picture: deeply unsatisfied adults , most likely going through mid-life crises, pathetically searching for hot sex as solution. It is difficult for me to think of it as something new or current, or as something my friends would do.

But apparently, I am stuck in the past. Plenty intelligent, successful, hip people are considering the not-quite-forsaking-all-other options on till-death-do-us-part. And by now, most women are familiar with the statistics round the world. At this time in our history, for the first time ever, there are more women living that are single than are married. Women are staying single, couples are divorcing, marriage isn’t entirely working, at least for a fraction of the population. So, could non-monogamous coupling be the answer?

To look into this question, I researched a site that encouraged candid dialog about sex through blogs, feature stories, fiction and photography. I found dozens upon dozens of couples, some married, attached, some who preferred not to say, but most of whom claimed to be healthy, happy , stable and just looking for cool people to hang out with who do not mind getting naked at the end of the night.

Although it is slippery by definition, open marriage is generally considered a committed marital relationship between two people who under a set of mutually agreed upon rules engage in sexual encounters with various partners other than their spouse. The O’ Neills in their publication in 1972 conceived open marriage as one in which each partner has room for personal growth and can develop outside friendship.

The impact of open marriage varies across couples. Some report high level of marital satisfaction and have long lasting open marriages. Some drop out of this lifestyle and return to sexual monogamy and may continue to believe open marriage is a valid lifestyle just not for them. As other couples experience serious problems that lead to annulment and divorce in their marriages. I’d advice couples in open marriages to pay attention to their relationship maintainable behaviours.

Open marriage style: include the polygamous style where couples prefer extramarital relationship emphasizing love and emotional involvement. Couples who prefer extramarital relationship emphasizing sexual gratification and recreational friendship have and are in a swinging style of open marriage. These distinction may depend on psychological factors such as sociosexuality. Despite their distinction, however, all open marriages share common issues: the lack of social acceptance, the need to maintain the health of their relationship and avoid neglect and the need to manage jealous rivalry. Critics have put forward moral, medical and psychological objections to open marriages. The lack of social acceptance place pressure on couples to hide their open marriages from family, friends and colleagues.

The practice of extra marital sex is often illegal in jurisdictions where adultery is illegal, regardless of whether the partner(s) have given their consent.

As a christian , I see open marriage as adultery and I believe it is ungodly even though open marriage has remained relatively stable over the last two generations. It’s not a perfect world , and therefore it’s not a perfect solution. If you play with fire enough , sometimes you get burned.

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– Eunice Jereaghogho is a Lagos Based Event Planner


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