Last week, I met a good friend, and we chatted about attractions felt to others while in serious relationships. She said that she and her partner were fairly open about these attractions, even though they aren’t considered conventional things to discuss or be open about. They even know a number of seemingly happy couples in “open” relationships where they either either together or married, and they and their partners sleep with other people. I’m not sure I could personally get on board with this (the mere idea of Chris having sex with someone else makes me want to claw someone’s face out), but I don’t see why society needs to judge other couples who are in agreement about this and are open about their external relationships from each other. What I’m genuinely curious about is whether the people who participate in open marriages are truly not jealous and are open to their partners being amorous and loving other people.
And then of course, Chris reminds me that the definition of marriage has evolved significantly over the last several decades. Now, for the first time ever, gay people can marry. People can divorce and be open about it, and there’s not as large of a stigma around it as before. I’m meeting more and more people in their late 20s and early 30s who are divorced, and I don’t really care. No one else does, either. Women are working outside of the home, and it’s considered completely normal and even expected, and with their higher level of earning power and independence from their husbands, they are leaving unhappy marriages when before, they didn’t have the option to do that, otherwise they’d be destitute and without a penny. Monogamy is really a religious idea that came from the Bible – devotion to your husband or wife until the end of your lives together. But I don’t think that many people think about that; we’ve been taught since we were children that we will get married and live happily ever after with one person one day.
The only very practical fear I’d have over open marriage is well, exposure to diseases. It wouldn’t be good to give chlamydia or gonorrhea to your married partner, would it? The other question I’d have is, what’s really my threshold for jealousy? You never really know until it’s truly tested in reality.