A couple with an open marriage tells us why it works for them.
- Libby Keatinge, BettyConfidential.com
With couples like Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher rumored to have open marriages, many of us wonder: how exactly does this structure work? BettyConfidential sat down with "Sandy" and "Jon," a good looking, seemingly normal couple who lives in Pasadena with no children - and who have an open marriage. We asked them all the questions about open marriage that you have all been wondering. Find out how this couple feels about their partner having feelings for someone else and where the sexual encounters go down.
"Sandy," a seemingly conservative blonde, who wore pearls and a sweater to the interview, kicked off giving us the general guidelines of an open relationship. "The most important thing to remember is that there are no universal rules," she says as she holds her husband's hand. She continues to outline that each open marriage has a unique structure and each couple needs to decide for themselves what their individual needs and desires are within the relationship, and what boundaries they are comfortable with. A few things you need to think about before entering into an arrangement like this are:
1. Is the "open" part of your relationship going to consist of bringing third, fourth, partners etc. into your sexual relationship together, or are you wanting the freedom to have sexual partners separate from your main partner?
2. Are you comfortable with your partner having romantic feelings and dates with someone else, or is this purely a sexual thing?
3. Are you allowed to bring people home to your shared home? If so, do you have a separate bedroom? Is the new guest allowed to sleep over?
4. Are you allowed to continue to sleep with the person, or is it only allowed one time?
"Jon," who wears a polo shirt and has slick brown hair continues, "Because this issue deals with emotions so complicated and sometimes taboo, there can be no set rules that can apply across the board to everyone."
BettyConfidential: What are the rules to your open relationship?
S: We each have separate bedrooms in our house, and truthfully we do not have that many rules about it. Of course protection is mandatory, as is regular testing.
J: I don't have any problems with whatever Sandy wants to do. It turns me on knowing that she is excited and happy, which just strengthens our own bond.
What if you have a date with someone else, but your husband needs you to go do something with him?
S: It would depend on the situation. It would be like anything else really. If you had plans to get together with your girlfriend, and your husband wanted you for something- what would you do? It would depend on how urgent what he needed me for was. If he needs me to go pick up some chips and beer for his boys poker game, then I am keeping my date. If he needs me to go with him to visit his mother in the hospital, then obviously I will cancel my date and be there for him.
J: As cliche as it sounds, it all comes down to the Golden Rule: treat others as you would want to be treated.
Do you have to tell about all of your other partners, or is it just open?
J: We have found that for us, a pretty open dialogue works best. Now I am not saying that this is the easiest thing to accomplish. In the beginning, it def took some hard work, hurt feelings, and acceptance.
S: But once we got past that, we kind of entered a higher place that I feel a lot of "normal" couples don't get to achieve. Once you are able to be truly honest with your mate, it kind of transcends your relationship to an elevated place. That kind of honesty brings with it a bond that is very strong.
J: But in answer to your question, yes we do tell each other about our other partners.
S: Well it is kind of hard to hide when I can hear them in the next room! (both giggle)
What are some of the potential problems that can happen?
S: Well, of course the main one is jealousy and insecurity. But like I mentioned before, the ultimate goal is to transcend past these feelings. And in order to do that, I think you have to make sure that you are extremely sensitive to each other's feelings, wants and desires, and take care of each other.
J: Yes, Sandy and I have each other's backs. We both understand that it is not human nature to be monogamous with one person for life. But as we love each other, we want to stay together for life; so new solutions needed to be made.
S: People can be so judgmental and hypocritical, but these same people are the ones who have secret mistresses and even families, and live lives of deceit, which often times sets them up on a downward spiral that affects other areas of their lives and their families' lives as well.
Why does this type of situation work for you?
J: Well, I think like everything else in life, it works because we work at it. There is not some magic pill we can take that makes us immune from problems, fights, and insecurities. But we take it day by day, situation by situation, and grow individually and together.
S: I also think it mainly works because we are being honest about our sexuality and needs. It is a big world out there, with lots of things to experience, and I feel a lot of people in this world end up in long term committed relationships and feel trapped. Having the freedom to go out and experience different people, have different lovers and the thrill and excitement that comes with that, while still being able to be in love with someone, have a strong relationship and the security and trust and love that comes with that, really gives you the best of all worlds.
Libby Keatinge is a senior editor at BettyConfidential.To read more from BettyConfidential:
Does Open Marriage Have Its Privileges?
Sex Terms You Should Know: Party Lingo
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