Seen and Heard
Do you think more openness can bring closeness in a relationship?
-Julie Ryan Evans
When you think of open marriage, do you think of a swingin’ good time, or do you firmly close (or slam!) that door without a thought?
Since the premiere of the new series Swingtown, I’ve been thinking about and hearing about partner sharing discussed more and more frequently. (Side note: I’m in LOVE with this show. Not since Once and Again have I so loved any non-reality TV show! It’s that good.)
If you haven’t yet seen it (go set your DVR now; I’ll wait), here’s the deal – in the show, set in the free-lovin’ 1970s, a couple moves into a new neighborhood and is seduced by their glamorous, high-rolling neighbors. They end up having a little spouse swap one night, which at first seems like a fun, wild escapade. However, in the light of the Quaalude-less morning, they make a pact never to do it again.
Of course, that won’t be the end of it; all of the foreshadowing (not to mention the previews) points to the problems that lie ahead as a result of this one night of passion. How perhaps one partner wants more swinging while the other wishes they’d never swung at all. How their friends react and how children (and employers!) might find out.
Two people’s emotions and desires are hard enough to coordinate. Add more to the mix, and it seems to only get more complicated. Others would argue the more the merrier. To help navigate some of those issues, however, you can always take workshops on open marriages. In these classes, sex guru Tristan Taormino, author of Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships, will “explore common myths, real-life benefits and challenges, and how to decide if an open relationship is right for you. She will share some of the most common styles of open relationships – from partnered nonmonogamy to solo polyamory – and discuss how to customize them to meet your individual needs and wants.”
Who knew there were so many choices?
Personally, I’ll keep my swinging at the park with my 4-year-old. For one, I’m much too jealous of a person, and, to me, once you cross that cheating line (with or without consent), there’s no going back. Wouldn’t you forever wonder if your husband wanted other women, or who he was eyeing for your next tryst? Or since you let him once, would he more easily rationalize further indiscretions – even without your knowledge?
I’m just saying … not for me. But I’m very intrigued by the topic and OPEN to hearing about why such arrangements might work for you!