I have some issues with this post: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/beyond-don-juan/201108/why-open-marriages-dont-work (link unfortunately no longer works, as you will see may have to do with some passive/aggressive activities by readers). I highly suggest Anne Rettenberg, LCSW, discuss polyamory with those who embrace this lifestyle.
Anyone who knows me knows I have comments nearly exploding in my head and heart. I will try to keep this rational.
1 – Open Marriages: Openness to non-monogamy is not all the same. My experiences range from infidelity to ethical non-monogamous relationships, and include my current polyamorous structure, a subset of “open marriages.” Please do not judge all by one. I have a feeling a lot of monogamous couples would feel the same way, if suddenly monogamy was on the judgement block because of the divorce rates in the world today.
2 – Open marriages are male-promoting sexism: Not in my experience, though I am sure there are subsets of non-monogamous couples where only the male has outside rights. But in today’s world, and in the relationships I know, the women have the far better end of the deal. It is easier for women to get attention on sites such as ok cupid, easier for a woman to get a date, easier for a woman to develop a relationship or get what she wants in terms of physical connection with another partner. Good luck finding a large number of men who have had many interested parties reach out to them.
3 – “People who desire open marriages often don’t think about how they would feel knowing their partner is sleeping with someone else” And this is a problem. But I argue “not thinking about all of the consequences” is a larger problem than just in open relationships. How will I feel if I finish that extra large slurpee? How will I feel if I don’t go to the gym this morning? How will I feel if I don’t tell my partner I didn’t like that dinner, and it becomes a stand-by meal for the rest of my life? Think about what you want, about what you don’t want, and make it known. Communicate.
4 – “…an “open” marriage, a term that connotes that each member of the couple has sex with whoever [sic] they want outside of the relationship.” That is NOT what the term connotes, at least not in the open relationships I have experienced. It means that other relationships are up for discussion and decision, and that rules (which should be established before the relationship is deemed open) will be followed.
5 – “People who attempt “open” relationships end up with multiple attachments, confusion, and/or jealousy.” Yes, they do. So do parents with more than one child, friends with more than one bestie. Multiple attachments are not something to be feared. If they were, wouldn’t we all be hermits? I would much rather live my life fully, embracing love, and learning to deal with the downsides of life responsibly and gracefully. My open marriage has helped me to learn to fall with dignity, has learned to pick myself up and brush off the dirt. My marriage is nearing its tenth anniversary, and open has nearly always been a defining piece of it.
A better option The key to an “open” relationship is a frank discussion with your partner about your differences and how to manage them within the relationship while respecting each others’ needs, concerns, and desires. My suggestions for a re-write.