Traditional exclusive couples often can’t even think about their partners having sexual or romantic contact with someone else. They promised to love each other and no one else for the rest of their lives. In a society where most people are monogamous, unfaithfulness is often seen as a thing that can only ruin a relationship. But when it comes to ethical non-monogamy, others also said that it actually saved their marriage. Do open marriages end in divorce? Let’s define an open marriage, find out if ethical non-monogamy is right for you, and figure out how it turns out in the long term.
What Is an Open Marriage?
First, let’s define this kind of relationship. Ethical non-monogamy includes any type of relationship in which two persons can date other people with their partner’s consent. The reason why cheating hurts a marriage is that someone broke their promises to remain faithful. But most ethically non-monogamous people would actually never see anyone behind their partner’s back. Open marriages simply have a different kind of agreement than exclusive partners.
It is actually a good thing to be able to define your relationship on your own terms. There are three main types of non-ethical monogamous relationships. Some people are polyamorous, which means they can share romantic feelings with other people, and sometimes all be part of the same relationship. Having an open relationship often means that two people have the right to have other sexual partners but still remain faithful emotionally and build life projects together. Swingers, on the other hand, meet other sexual partners together in a social context. In any kind of relationship, partners can add additional rules to make sure no one goes too far.
Those definitions might not be perfectly suitable for you, and that’s the reason why you should communicate with your partner to know about each other’s needs and boundaries. A common problem with traditional exclusive relationships is that people assume they know what faithfulness is even though their partner doesn’t have the same definition. This can lead to misunderstandings or even breakups if someone accuses the other of cheating even though they believed what they did was fine. Ethical non-monogamous relationships can actually last longer because partners have better communication skills to define the most suitable agreement.
Is Ethical Non-Monogamy Right for You?
When open marriages lead to divorce, this is often because one partner pushed the other to be in a (not so ethical) non-monogamous relationship even though they didn’t really want to. They agreed to please their partner without knowing how much it would negatively affect them. Others think about themselves first and how they want to have sex with other people but can’t stand when their partner ends up doing the same. It’s not ethical non-monogamy itself that leads to divorce but the fact that people didn’t find the right kind of relationship for them.
If you want to be in an open marriage, you need to learn about the feeling of compersion. This is the opposite of jealousy. It means that seeing your partner being happy with someone else makes you happy, too. People in open relationships can feel a different level of jealousy. For example, some might be open to seeing their significant other with someone else as long as they don’t spend more time with their other partner or don’t perform a more intimate act than what they do with their husbands or wife. In this case, it is essential to talk about what can trigger a feeling of jealousy to make sure no one goes too far.
Being in an ethical non-monogamous relationship also requires good communication skills to make sure everyone is on the same page. Moreover, a traditional exclusive marriage already involves a lot of time and energy, but an open relationship requires even more. That includes not only the time with other partners but also the effort needed to meet new people. This is why an open marriage might not be for everyone.
Many people admitted that they have cheated on their partners in the past because monogamy was simply not for them. Our society pushed them into a type of relationship that didn’t fit their needs. This is why they were unsatisfied with their sexual life or ended up hurting their significant other by breaking the promise they had made. More and more people now choose ethical non-monogamy or open marriages as a more suitable relationship for themselves and their partner. By finding someone who lets them see other people, they can satisfy their desire for variety while making sure that no one is hurt in the process.
How Does It Turn Out in the Long-Term?
We often hear stories of married couples who divorce pretty quickly after trying out non-monogamy. In most cases, this is because one of the partners didn’t fully agree with this or changed their mind in the process. If this happens, their significant other should always be open to renegotiating the agreement as this is something that can evolve through time.
People can start to get jealous or be uncomfortable when their partner doesn’t have enough time for them anymore. But many people in open relationships actually think that their love for their main partner is more important than any relationship they have with other people. They will do what it takes to stay with them. However, if you want to make this work, you must always be able to open up to your partner whenever something goes wrong to fix it pretty quickly.
Some people might also end up being more interested in their other partner than their spouse. In some cases, they will be able to keep both. However, sometimes, they feel like they would rather develop a more significant relationship with that other person. However, you should remember that falling in love with someone else might have happened in an exclusive relationship, too. It simply means that the two partners were not made to be with each other forever, and it would have ended in divorce anyway.
Some might be surprised to hear that ethical non-monogamy actually made most marriages happier or at least didn’t change anything at all. Most people in open relationships are more satisfied than the general population. It brings more variety to their sex lives and gives them opportunities to meet new people, have an exciting life, and feel more desire. Some people also argue that you can love many partners the same way, just like you love all your kids the same way. It is pretty uncommon to see that ethical non-monogamy makes a relationship worse. As long as this is the most suitable relationship for both partners, this can actually lead to a marriage that lasts for a longer time.
In the end, ethical non-monogamy is not what leads married people to divorce. What leads to break up is mostly an unsuitable relationship that doesn’t fit the partners’ needs and boundaries. This is why communication is so important, no matter what kind of relationship you are in. But if being with many people at the same time is what is best for you, it can actually lead to a better relationship. Open marriages are sometimes the best way to avoid a divorce!