Do Open Marriages Work?
I must confess, every time I type the words "good open marriage," my fingers twitch. These words feel oxymoronic. Personally, I view more cons than pros to an open marriage. For me, the whole point of marriage is to show your love and commitment by protecting your union with fidelity. There's a great deal of calm and security that comes from knowing your partner is directing his love and attention to you and you alone.
For me, rather than viewing open marriage as offering a yummy buffet of taste sensations, I view it as one big recipe for disaster. The main ingredients—resentment, competitiveness, jealousy, insecurity, curtailed time, scattered affections, feelings of betrayal, lack of security—all inevitably blur the lines of a healthy marriage. For me, a healthy marriage asks you both to bring out your highest selves. Sure, it might take a little higher willpower to resist the lure of extracurricular sex, but this discipline is for the higher good, allowing for a calm, secure refuge to emerge. Calm and security may not sound as hotsy totsy as sex and more sex, but many of us believe it brings far more happiness in the long run. This security brings with it the confidence of knowing your partner is committed to you "till death do you part" rather than until their next Wednesday evening date.
In my opinion, open marriage is pretty much the opposite of marriage. It seems to be about avoiding commitment—one of the cornerstones of a happy marriage. You may be able to agree on the "rules for cheating" in an intellectual way, but doesn't the emotional nature of love always get in the way?
What's "#$@%^!" about open marriage?