30 Jan 2010

Sample Essay: Resolve: Married Couples Should Have an Open Marriage

A minute can change your world. A minute can separate one life from the next. A minute can destroy so much. Open marriages are fragile minutes ticking past. They are callow myths that appeal to fantasy and physicality, which people step with innocence into, yet are dramatically and devastatingly blown out of, often time naïve to the repercussions that will undoubtedly catch them in the end.

The conflicts involved within open marriages range from the literal to far over to the ethical. To speak literally of such dilemmas, one cannot forget to leave out the concern with STDs. In an open marriage, one has the feeling that they are free and unrestrained and the problems of the world cannot, and will not, affect them. But the truth is, STDs are more common now than ever, and a common, yet serious misconception is that the older generation is less susceptible, more knowledgeable than the younger. If an open marriage is supposed to work on the grounds laid before, and not be hypocritical or contradictory, than an open marriage could involve many partners, and where one partner may be honest, the next maybe not, and in many cases a person who has certain STDs might not even know they have it.

Even though it might totally go against everything the open marriage was agreed upon, jealously has a belligerent way of coming into the main relationship. Rules that are often given mutate and shift, and suddenly one rule that was agreed upon is twisted and no longer is an agreement had, but an ongoing lie, which spreads throughout many relationships. Time spent away from the main partner lead that partner to start questioning and wondering what is happening while the other is away. And since open marriages are not based on monogamy and trust, communication has away of disappearing. In fact, not telling is always the culprit for jealousy and distrust.  In an open marriage one does not have to communicate. They can say “I was out”, or “Just went into town”, to the details of their whereabouts, and in this type of climate, jealousy has an all-to-easy way of creeping into the marriage and ultimately destroying it, leaving the two parties devastated and alone.

When engaging in an open marriage you are not just hurting yourself and your spouse, you may also be hurting someone you did not even consider. There are always many unseen factors when dealing with these particular relationships. Children have a very difficult time with open marriages. Children look upon their parents as role models; they are the rocks of the worlds, and in open marriages, children that constantly see their mother or their father with someone else, shakes that foundation and leaves them wondering why Mom and Dad no longer love each other. This does not just happen with children who are already born, it also takes place with children born through these open marriages. Children being born through these open marriages are born with a disadvantage. Not only do the children have to try and understand where their place in life is, but the parents of that child, parents not married to each other, but to someone else, someone with lives and families of their own, have to determine to what to do with this child. Nothing is more debilitating to a child than to not know its place in the world.

Open Marriage: the state or practice of having more than one romantic relationship at one time.

Problems with open marriage


Unsafe sexual practices with multiple partners

You may not know where the other has been

Health is a big issue with open marriages

People can go to a bar or club to pick up people and have sex with them without knowing their past partners and their sexual health

Can than in turn give the STDs to you “main” partner


“Main” partner may feel inadequate

Other person may get jealous that they are not your main focus

Scheduling is a full time job. Balancing time and energy between multiple partners can be extremely draining and hard to manage

When it “does” work it often leaves at least one spouse constantly miserable and or angry

Can you mentally handle an open marriage

Babies with more than one partner

Children that you have with your “main” partner may have a misunderstanding as to what a marriage and sex really is

Enduring effects on the children can last a lifetime

Jenny Block writer of the book Open: Love, Sex, and Life in an open Marriage, comments on bringing her other partners home with her to play with her husband and child. She openly goes out with both her husband and her “friend” Jemma on dates and is intimate with both, how do you explain this to your child? Where are your priorities?

You can have children out of an open relationship with more than one person


In some states adultery is illegal and both spouses can go to jail if caught in an open marriage –

Why some people choose to have an open marriage

They are not sexually, physically, and emotionally taken care of by just one partner

Freedom to choose who you are with at any given time

According to Alex Caroline Robboy, a Philadelphia based sex and marriage therapist and founder of www.HowToHaveGoodSex.com , there are two basic approaches to sexuality:

Sex as an expression of love

Sex as a fun activity or hobby like playing basketball on the weekends

George and Nena O’Neill

The two wrote a book called Open Marriages: A new life style for couples in 1972

The book talked about an open marriage and they introduced the term to society

They weren’t just talking about the freedom to explore sexual relationships outside the marriage they suggested that marriage partners be free to have their own separate friendships and that they trade domestic chores

Why are marriages failing

A higher number of open marriages end in divorces

People can find someone else who can greater meet their emotional needs and physical needs than their current spouse

Open marriages are less committed to seeing the hard times through

Marriage is not an easy thing to deal with

Vows: for better or for worse and till death do us part

People are not sticking it out when the going gets rough

People married for 50 years did not have all fun and games hard times hit everyone and it is how you deal with it

Robboy states “I think people honestly tell themselves that it is an honest attempt to make their marriage work, but it raises a red flag for me. It is incredibly common and incredibly destructive for couples to experiment with open marriage in response to problems or boredom in their sex life. This is not the time to experiment with open marriage, you need to have an extremely healthy relationship.”

Monogamy Myths

Monogamy is the state of having only one wife, husband, or sexual partner at one time

Society views this as the ideal form of family organization

Critics of monogamy say that socially marriage oppresses women and that lifelong sexual monogamy is unnatural and unrealistic

Myth: 60% of men and 40% of women will have an affair during their marriage

A society that supports monogamy can promote women’s equality because they are the only ones for their husbands and not seen just as a piece of ass

Sexual monogamy facilitates intimate and lasting relationships

Dr. Diana Kirschner

A couples therapist who was a guest on the Fox morning show Mike and Juliet

“usually this whole thing is a recipe for disaster. There is competitiveness, jealousy, very limited time, and affection, time for sex, and all these resentment s start. The head says we think we can handle this but other feelings take over and you get a run away train effect and a lot of people get their hearts broken.”

“Of course the divorce rate is high, and that’s with just two people. Can you imagine with three people, how much more complicated that is, whose going to be left out, who’s going to get a broken heart?”

Open marriages are dangerous and further weaken marriage, an already seriously weakened institution

Survivors of an open marriage by: Jennifer Gates

Gates and her husband tried an open marriage for ten years with little success

Her book outlines the dangers of an open marriage

Gates blamed inability to control emotions as the reason her open marriage.

Her and her husband are still intact and are now closed and monogamous

The rules to follow in an open marriage

Steve and Cathy Brody wrote the book Renew your Marriage at midlife.

They say it is next to impossible to lay down any ground rules

They question how people can predict their feelings with so many people involved

“you can try to set up guidelines in a rational and intellectual way, but you can’t anticipate the depth of the emotional reaction you are going to have,” says Steve Brody

One rule is crucial! If one partner wants to stop the arrangement, thy both do

It comes down to communication, agreed upon rules, and compatible values regarding sex

In reality people often break the rules

Once trust is broken the open marriage is at risk

“If you play with fire enough, sometimes you get burned.” Says Mike and Joan Wilson whose open marriage failed after three years almost destroying their 14 year marriage

What if you fall in love with another person?


A live in marriage: two people in the love relationship live together as husband and wife. They’re wholly committed to one another and even raise kids together. However they are not legally married. This means they can go their separate ways anytime they wish with minimum uproar.

If you want an open relationship simply do not get married

Non-monogamous relationships outside of marriage are tricky enough much less dealing with the legality of a marriage

The sense of belonging and specialness are willingly compromised, even carelessly discarded in some cases paving the way for jealousy and pain

The use of marital therapists and counselors can be very beneficial for struggling couples

Marriage anyway you look at it is meant to be a committed relationship between two people

Marriage is by definition: the social, legal, and religious institution in which a man and women or any two parties for mutual benefit to live together as husband and wife

Minutes are all we have in this life, minutes extend to hours, hours to days, and days to lifetimes, open marriages jeopardize those precious moments. Whether or not you believe in marriage is your own opinion, but once marriage is agreed upon, vows taken, a responsibility then becomes shared. Monogamy is not a death sentence. On the contrary, it is a beautiful and wonderful experience, one of openness and trust, even exploration, because once the minutes of lust culminate, nothing will be over.

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