Open marriage

So there are no one in the forum in an open marriage? I am genuinely interested in how it works. I am stretching my imagination to come up with workable rules.

I personally do not know anyone openly say they are in an open marriage. I do know some couples who have been married for many years decided to live their own lives. There is a couple with a place in NYC and a place in ÇA. They are together for major holidays with their adult children, but they don’t do much together. I don’t know what they do when are not together.

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I used to know a couple who had an open marriage. They dated who they wanted. According to the wife, it was a mutual decision after they married. There were no kids and they felt it was “progressive” and proof they weren’t “tied to the system created by the man.” Then they decided to start a family. All of a sudden she found herself doing the bulk of the work needed to maintain their home plus the majority of the childcare while his life was relatively unchanged. They divorced before the child was a year old.

I don’t really get open marriages. In my opinion it’s just an excuse to shop around for a better deal without losing the security of your current arrangement. The person proposing it gets all the advantages and none of the risk. I wouldn’t tolerate it. If my spouse couldn’t commit to me 100% I’d divorce them and find someone who would.

Many monogamous couples divorce under those exact circumstances. So I wonder if it was the “open marriage” part that caused the downfall or the resentment often felt when the workload is not shared equitably that did them in. Yes, maybe his “absences” fed the resentment, but it just as easily could have been the same resentment as in traditional marriages when the partner spends too many hours at work or golfing with their buddies, etc. that was the death knell.

There are all types of flavors to what people may call an open relationship. Some may couples with couples. Others may be a couple with one or more additional people. Some will be completely separate where one member has no/little interaction with the people outside of the couple. Some will only have short term relationships. Others may be longer term. Sometimes people have veto power over what their partner is doing. Details may be shared between the couple (what occurs with other). Some it it is almost a completely different life and the two don’t interact.

Generally what you hear is that it will not fix a broken relationship and communication is key.


While it may not be what I would choose I do have to say different people have different needs - so to speak. I have more respect for a couple who between themselves work out an arrangement/agreement than one of a couple who sneaks around and satisfies their needs - whatever they are - in secret.


I think the ex-CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt, he and his wife has an open marriage, after watching a lot of stories on PBS about FDR and his wife, I think they also had an open marriage, possible none in the beginning to start with, but after their kids were grown up, at least that is my take after watching these stories.

Will Smith and Jada Pickett Smith have one from what I read.

It’s not for me…but I don’t care what consenting adults legally do in the privacy of their own homes, as long as they don’t slap Chris Rock over it.


H has a buddy and also a cousins who had an open marriage. They each had a separate residence and a long term significant other or sequential significant others. They would show up as a couple for some events but mostly had their separate lives.

My folks know at least one famous entertainer who has a wife and a GF, and families with both.

To me, it makes life more complicated but if the folks involved like it and it harms no one, I’m happy for those involved.

I don’t think that speculating on what other couples do in their relationship is helpful to the OP.

An oxymoron if there ever was one.


I don’t know of anyone in this arrangement. I have heard of it. It seems as if it would take a lot of (or at least some) time away from the actual marriage and family. Of course you could say that about a demanding career (but that would benefit the family financially), or a time consuming hobby (but that would not have the same emotional commitment).

Trying not to be judgemental, but not it’s not for me.

Open marriage sounds like a good way to contract an STD and then pass it on to your spouse.

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My SIL’s brother has always had interesting relationships. Although we’ve talked about it, mostly she doesn’t want to know. He’s been with the same male guy living together for at least 20 years. They’ve got married about eight years ago. They have a shared girlfriend (we think) who they saw a lot of pre-Covid. There sometimes seem to be other boy or girlfriends in the mix. We don’t ask. They don’t tell. But it seems to work for them. The girlfriend is a single mom, but they don’t have kids.


A psychologist can make a fortune counseling people that thought an open marriage was a good idea.

In a typical male/female relationship, there will be 100 times more outside interest in the female. Is the male ready for that?

But if you’re asking a forum before speaking with your spouse about this, that’s not a good sign, IMO.

I think that this is an unfair criticism of the OP. They are just asking questions. I wouldn’t want to be in a relationship that has the power dynamic that requires me to clear every question I have with my SO.


Pretty sure the news to some that Will and Jada Smith have an open marriage precipitated this thread.


Wikipedia has an interesting entry about open relationships & marriages for anyone interested.

A fair number of my gay friends are in open marriages, viewing monogamy as restrictive and heteronormative. It’s not my cup of tea, but it seems to work well enough for them. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

The key thing is to establish and stick to ground rules. Some of them only bring in an outside person if they’re being intimate together, whereas others prefer doing their own thing. Of the latter, some choose to disclose everything to their partners while others have a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. As someone mentioned above, there’s not one particular way to do it.

Dan Savage has discussed monogamy, being “monogamish,” and open relationships/marriages quite a lot over the years. I recommend checking out his stuff!