Even the most open-minded among us are sometimes resistant to changes in our relationships, especially when it involves what we consider to be taboo. When Karen Salmansohn's boyfriend expressed his desire to have an open marriage, she had to decide if it could ever be right for her.
Can we talk? I mean really talk? I was deeply involved with a man (let's call him Steve) when he surprised me with an unusual request. One night, Steve explained that if and when we got married, he would always want to have a separate apartment where he could be "alone."

In his version of our lives, Steve's "alone" was when he would step out on our relationship—up to three nights a week. Steve wanted an open marriage—a nonmonogamous, polyamorous arrangement wherein he could go his way and I could go mine.

Steve made his request after he and I were intimately involved—catching me totally off guard. I'm a nice Jewish girl from Philadelphia who grew up in a cul de sac where we played kickball and said "darn" instead of "damn" when we missed a kick. The concept of open marriage is very foreign to me, but I do consider myself open-minded. I was already in love with Steve, so wondered, "Was four-sevenths of a marriage to Steve better than no marriage at all?"

Was it at all possible that the pros of an open marriage agreement could outweigh its cons? We all know that deceiving someone you love feels horrible on both sides—so could creating a system of rules for cheating actually prove to be helpful? Does operating with transparency when cheating lessen the stress of an affair? Is the true immorality of cheating the act of dishonesty rather than the act of sex itself? Here's what I learned about open marriages—the good, the bad and the @#$@!

What's good about open marriage?
The opinions expressed by Oprah.com contributors are strictly their own.


Next Story