Ask Your Friend…Ask your Shrink: Open Marriage
One woman writes in to ask what to do about her open relationship, which shortly will turn into an open marriage.
-Libby Keatinge and Dr. Morris Halperin
Dear Libby and Dr. Halperin,
I have been dating my boyfriend for three years and now we are engaged. We have definitely experimented sexually with threesomes and it has been something we have both enjoyed. Now that we are engaged, we have discussed that our marriage would be open and have set up some ground rules: no friends, and we are always each other’s priority – like if he has plans with another girl, but I feel I “need” him or have a function I need to go to with him, he drops those plans. I am comfortable with the idea of an open marriage, and I have several friends that it works for and I feel it is a better alternative than lying and cheating. My only concern is that, since we plan to have children one day, will we need to change things when the children arrive? I don’t want to do anything that would be potentially detrimental to my future children, and just want to anticipate what kinds of changes we would need to make.
-Happy but Open in Las Vegas
Hey Las Vegas, if there is anywhere this is going to work, I think the open minded capital of the world, Sin City, is the place. The most important thing in this situation is that you are comfortable, which you say you are. You mentioned some rules, but what about where all this openness is going down? Are you and your husband bringing people home? A home that is a revolving door of people could create an unstable feeling for a child, not to mention the safety issues involved in bringing people around who you do not know well. Are you going to bring home a one night stand or will that happen elsewhere?
I think location is the key here. If your activities are taking place outside the home, then I see this as no different then parents who like to leave the kids with a babysitter and go out and get a little tipsy sometimes. The kids don’t need to see their parents playing beer pong, and they certainly don’t need to see their outside affairs.
However, as your children get older, questions may arise as to why your family structure is non-traditional. I would recommend an honest and open conversation about the topic and emphasizing that this works for you, but your kids are free to choose the type of relationship that works best for them once they start dating. In any situations that arise, I would recommend always asking yourself if the safety and health of your children are being put first. If that’s not the case, it’s time to make some changes.
Read on to see what Dr. Halperin has to say…