Most people would wonder, “What are the rules of an open marriage?” Why marry if you don’t want to have exclusive sexual relations with your spouse? Don’t get into one if you don’t understand. Don’t pass judgment on those who do. Some marry for money, some marry with 40-year age gaps, and arranged marriages continue to exist for political reasons.
It’s just something that happens; accept it or reject it. Don’t waste your time worrying about what other people do with their lives. If you are interested in open marriage rules, you should know; that the success of open marriage rules is dependent on transparency. Cards are available from the start. If you want open marriage rules, you should bring them up as soon as the relationship becomes serious. It would be difficult to transition into an open relationship if you did not come from a successful one.
The Benefits of Having Open Marriage Rules
Most people believe that people marry in order to have a single partner for the rest of their lives. The truth is that you don’t have to marry to be loyal to someone; they will be loyal to you. People marry for the legal reasons of family dynamics and child-rearing.
Open marriage rules go through the legal jargon of civil union, but allow each partner to have extramarital affairs with their permission. They argue that the transparency and trust involved in open marriage rules outweigh those involved in traditional marriage rules. We’ll leave it at that because it’s a contentious issue.
People who are in open marriages say their sex life is more vibrant and never gets old. It also opens up the possibility of threesomes and other similar arrangements. It’s simple to see and understand the benefits and drawbacks of open marriage rules. So there’s no need to argue about it. Let us return to the topic at hand: what are open marriage rules and how to make them work.
Open Relationship Ground Rules
As previously stated, if you do not have an open relationship, do not even consider open marriages. The ground rules for open marriage are the same as those for open relationships. You simply live under one roof and share social security.
1. Be truthful to both sides
If you’re in an open relationship and your partner allows you to have sexual relations with others; the third party should be made aware of the situation. They should be aware that they are the third wheel, and that you are looking for an intimate relationship, but not a serious one.
Pursuing others and portraying love, romance, and happily ever after can complicate the future. In open marriages, infidelity persists. That is when you begin to lie about your relationships with either party. The emphasis of open relationship rules is on trust and transparency. Make sure to go over everything with your partner and gauge their level of comfort.
2. Always wear protective clothing.
Having sex with other people is enjoyable and fulfilling. If you have explicit permission to do it, you are less likely to ruin your marriage as a result of it. However, that is not the only danger associated with having sex with others.
There are STDs as well as pregnancy. Wearing protective clothing at all times can help to reduce these risks. You may have permission to have sex, but if it harms your health or results in unwanted children born out of wedlock, things may not go as planned.
3. Retain it a secret
Just because you and your partner are open about your sexual relationships doesn’t mean that everyone else, including trusted friends and family, will understand. It’s impossible to avoid gossip, but giving them a reason to target you is illogical and a waste of time.
It’s also exhausting to have to explain yourself to everyone you care about. This includes grown children as well as your own parents, who may disagree with your way of life. It may also give the impression to others that because you have open sexual relations, you are open to having sex with anyone. Obviously, this is not the case. You don’t want to spend your days rejecting advances from opportunistic losers.
4. Do not treat third parties as if they are disposable objects.
There are numerous myths about open marriage laws. Advocates claim they are myths, but the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Trust, communication, understanding, tolerance, and a common goal are central to both traditional and open marriages.
Both types of marriages have the same foundations that are implemented and demonstrated in different ways. Are open marriages successful? They do, indeed. If you do not concentrate on the open part and work hard on your marriage.
It is a partnership, and as with all non-exclusive partnerships, you must work harder to keep it running smoothly. Treating all partners with respect will make them more cooperative and understanding of the situation. It could keep them from causing problems in the future.
5. Make good on your promises
Open marriage rules are not meant to be broken. You have the right to have intimate relationships with others, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore your primary partner. Marriage is still a marriage even if it is an open marriage. You continue to walk your life’s journey with the same partner. You’re just not having sex with each other exclusively.
As if you were in a traditional marriage, prioritize your spouse. You can date other people on your spouse’s anniversary, but you can’t date them on your spouse’s anniversary. It also does not imply that you spend as much time with others as you do with your spouse.
List of Open Marriage Rules
When you and your spouse decide to open your marriage, you must sit down and communicate well with each other about boundaries, rules, and how to handle potential situations that may arise. This is a critical step in ensuring that your open relationship does not result in someone feeling like emotional cannon fodder.
1. Establish Sexual Boundaries
You and your partner will need to establish sex rules, such as which types of sex are acceptable and which are not. Make sure you are both on the same page by being specific and discussing every possible situation. Sex rules should also include safe practices, such as the woman always informing her spouse of where she is and who she is with when she is not safe. Other rules, such as the type of protection required and when it is required, may apply.
2. Establish Emotional Boundaries
Will your open marriage revolve solely around having different-sex partners, or will there be more to it? You and your spouse may be content with the occasional Tinder hookup, but what happens when one of you wants to socialize with someone other than your spouse? These emotional boundaries may be more important than sexual boundaries because they can cause hurt feelings and betrayal emotions if they are crossed.
3. Rules Regarding “Who”
You and your partner must establish ground rules for who it is acceptable to hook up with. It would be beneficial if you did not assume that because you are in an open relationship, anyone is fair game. That kind of relationship is rarely successful because there will always be someone who causes you emotional pain. Set the ground rules for who is and isn’t allowed at the table ahead of time.
4. Time Regulations
Make a plan for how much time you and your partner will spend with others. This is important because you don’t want to be ignoring each other and your committed relationship in order to pursue other bedroom activities. You and your spouse could make rules about how much time you can spend with other people per week, or you could decide on a specific time and day that is permitted.
5. How You Discuss Your Relationship
How you communicate your open marriage rules to each other and others is an important part of making an open relationship work. You and your partner must be on the same page in this situation. To begin, you must both agree on what level of detail is required and what level of detail is more than you want to hear. You must also agree on how to approach the subject with potential partners and how to discuss your marriage with others outside of this dynamic.
6. Have Check-Ins Scheduled
What appears to be a good rule can quickly become a hindrance or a source of contention, especially in the early stages of open relationships. You and your spouse must meet on a regular basis to discuss the marriage, what is working, what isn’t, and whether any rules need to be changed. You’ll need more frequent check-ins at first as you and your partner figure out how these open marriage rules will work for you both.
Related Articles: COMMUNICATION IN MARRIAGE: BEST PRACTICES & ALL YOU NEED (UPDATED)
7. Be Truthful And Communicative
In open relationships, all parties must be completely honest with themselves and each other. The only rule that open relationships must follow that is non-negotiable for success is open and complete honesty. For open marriage rules to work, you and your spouse must both be excellent communicators with no communication issues.
8. Discuss Protection
When it comes to protection, make sure you and your spouse, as well as all of your partners, are on the same page. Discuss birth control methods, condoms, and STD prevention. You should also make sure that you and your spouse have agreed to undergo STD testing on a regular basis. This is critical for ensuring your and your spouse’s safety and health.
9. Show Respect to Everyone
You and your spouse have a special connection, and it is because of that connection that you are married and intend to spend the rest of your lives together. When you have a healthy relationship, it is easy to respect each other. However, it may be more difficult to respect secondary partners that each of you may bring into the home. You should treat everyone in the situation with the same respect, even if you do not care for them as much as you do for your spouse.
10. Discuss Sleeping Arrangements
You should talk about sleeping arrangements and when and where you can be with other people. This is especially important if you have children who are opposed to open marriage rules. Everyone should agree on who is sleeping when you should return home, and where you can go with your partners. Your sleeping arrangements should also be acceptable to your partners.
11. Be adaptable and open to new ideas.
It will take some time and adjustments, especially at the start of a non-monogamous marriage, to figure out how it should work best for you. After all, you’re the one who’ll be making this open marriage happen, and you’ll be the one who defines it completely. This may require some time and some trial and error. Be adaptable and open to new ideas throughout the process so that you and your spouse can stay on the same page and have a positive experience.
Celebrities With Open Marriages
Relationships come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and the debate over ‘open’ relationships has never been more prevalent than it is today. While monogamy has had the monopoly in terms of society’s perception, as our definitions of sexuality broaden, so does our narrow conception of a relationship, especially when some of our favorite celebrities are allegedly advocates for more unconventional marriages.
From polyamory to new definitions of freedom to something entirely unique, the following celebrities are said to have blurred the traditional boundaries of marriage and broadened our perspectives in the process. Continue reading to see them all.
1. Willow Smith and unidentified
Willow Smith has opened up about her feelings about love and relationships, proudly declaring herself to be polyamorous on the most recent episode of Red Table Talk. The 20-year-old musician discussed how “antiquated” monogamy too often leads to cheating with her mother, Jada Pinkett Smith, and grandmother, Adrienne “Gammy” Banfield-Norris, explaining that she prefers the honesty of open relationships with multiple partners.
“Through polyamory,” she explained. “I feel like the main foundation is the freedom to be able to create a relationship style that works for you rather than just [stepping into] monogamy because that’s what everyone else says is the right thing to do.” So I thought, how can I structure my approach to relationships with that in mind? In addition, according to polyamory research, the main [reason]…why divorces occur is infidelity.”
2. Shailene Woodley and Unidentified
Big Little Lies actress Shailene Woodley revealed to The New York Times in April 2020 that she had previously been in an open relationship.
“Listen, I’m someone who has experienced both an open relationship and a deeply monogamous relationship in my life, and I believe we live in a time when there should be no rules except those designed by two people in a partnership—or three people, whatever floats your boat!” she said.
“However, in any relationship dynamic, there must be a level of responsibility, and that responsibility is simply honesty, communication, and trust.” Apart from that, what people do with their lives is really none of our business.” Woodley is currently engaged to Aaron Rodgers, which confirms rumors that she and Fijian-Australian rugby player Ben Volavola had a falling out.
3. Brian Austin Green and Megan Fox
Megan Fox and Brian Austin Green allegedly had a one-sided open relationship at one point, with Fox having the freedom to have a fling outside of their marriage. “They’ve agreed to an open relationship in which Megan can date other men but Brian can’t,” a source reportedly told the New York Daily News in 2009.
4. Nico Tortorella and Bethany C. Meyers
Nico Tortorella and body-neutrality advocate Bethany C. Meyers have a notoriously unconventional relationship, which they have no qualms about discussing publicly. Despite their reservations about labels, the couple refers to themselves as “queer polyamorous,” with Tortorella discussing his “cheating philosophy” in an interview with Cosmopolitan U.S.
“I have a cheating philosophy… Cheating is, after all, unethical, right? But, in this day and age, I believe that an open relationship, a polyamorous relationship, or some sort of understanding is acceptable,” he said. “And I’ve been in those relationships, and they sometimes work, and sometimes they don’t.” However, cheating is a bad thing in and of itself. If you’re going behind someone else’s back and there’s any malice involved, you’re a bad person, end of the story.”
5. Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith
Although the famous couple does not necessarily pursue partners outside of their marriage, Pinkett Smith has stated that the trust between them allows them complete freedom in terms of fidelity.
“Will and I CAN DO WHATEVER WE WISH BECAUSE WE TRUST EACH OTHER.” Pinkett Smith previously stated on social media, “This does NOT mean we have an open relationship…this means we have a GROWN one.”
6. Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher
Before their divorce in November 2013, Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore allegedly had open marriage rules that made them happy for years. Everyone in Hollywood is aware of their arrangement, but they have managed to keep it hidden from the general public, according to a source who spoke to Star magazine in 2011.
7.Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow
Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin reportedly had an open relationship during periods of their 10-year marriage and were as famous for their ‘conscious uncoupling’ as they were for their, uh, coupling.
“If Chris was messing around, Gwyneth didn’t care,” a source allegedly told Access Hollywood. She’s never been envious or possessive. ‘We’re both adults,’ she believes. ‘We make our own decisions.'”
8.Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt
Although the couple divorced in 2016, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie allegedly had an open relationship; much of it was attributed to their shared views on freedom during their 13 years together. “I doubt that fidelity is absolutely necessary for a relationship,” Jolie allegedly said in an interview with the German magazine Das Neue.
“It’s worse to leave your partner and then gossip about him.” Brad and I have never claimed that living together entails being chained together. We make certain that we never limit each other.”
9. Kim Kardashian and Nick Cannon
Although it never happened (and we almost forgot they dated), Nick Cannon allegedly asked Kim Kardashian for an open marriage at one point.
“He promised her that if she married him, he’d build her the biggest mansion in Bel Air, that they’d have beautiful children, and that she’d have all the money she could ever need… “However, while Kim was expected to be monogamous, Nick told her he wouldn’t be,” a source told Life & Style (quote via the Cosmopolitan U.S.).
The Most Common Open Relationships and How to Set Yours.
While no two relationships are the same, there are some general guidelines to keep in mind when attempting to establish a healthy open relationship. Dr. Lawsin suggests the following checklist, adding that any rules or boundaries should be discussed, negotiated, and reassessed on an ongoing basis throughout the relationship, and adjusted as necessary.
1. Establish your sexual boundaries.
Sex boundaries should be explicitly negotiated, such as how frequently sex can occur (e.g., weekly, monthly, etc.), with how many partners at a time, where (e.g., on business trips), and whatever additional physical or logistical (e.g., time) dimensions a couple wishes to define in their relationship.
This includes the sex type as well. Is it acceptable to have penetrative sex or only oral sex, for example? How about the BDSM? Also, do you want your partner to have sex with strangers whom they will never see again, or with someone you know and trust? Yes, it can get strangely specific, but you’ll want to figure this out before you open the floodgates.
2. Establish your emotional boundaries.
Emotional boundaries can be more difficult to define and establish, but they should be discussed openly with each partner about what they can manage for themselves and their partner.
3. Secure sex is essential.
When you transition your relationship from exclusive to open, you may be ecstatic to get started with your new endeavors, but don’t throw away all of your safe sex practices. Discuss what you’re both comfortable with and how you’ll actually practice safe sex in real life with your partner.
4. Be truthful
Because open relationships relieve partners of the need to hide or suppress their sexual needs, partners should maintain their honesty about what they’re doing. Couples must specify how many details the other wants to know (if any) and how frequently. This should be re-evaluated as needed (as should #3).
5. Make time to check in with your partner.
Transparency about how each partner feels about the sexual pursuits of the other should also be negotiated and checked on. In any type of relationship, partners can make assumptions, so it’s critical to check in with one another; provide a safe space to process emotions; make any adjustments to negotiated boundaries; assess the health of the primary relationship.
6. Don’t lose sight of your relationship
Make time and space to nurture the relationship and make an effort to keep it going. Date nights trips away, and expressing love must be prioritized in order to keep the relationship foundation strong.
Open Relationship Problems
One of the most common concerns that troubled couples have is whether or not to open up their sexual relationship. Couples consider this step for a variety of reasons. Some of the most common reasons I hear from clients are as follows:
- Inquisitiveness about other people.
- An absence of desire in the current relationship.
- A desire to add a new zing.
- Desiring to have sex with multiple partners at the same time.
- The requirement to work through a sexual mismatch.
6.Requiring the thrill and novelty of dating and sex.
Relationships that are open can work. Unfortunately, many of the people I work with have serious issues at the heart of their relationships. I strongly advise against entering into an open relationship as a cure or treatment for ongoing relationship issues, unless you work with a couple or relationship therapist.
This type of therapy can assist you in identifying your issues and establishing firm boundaries that will help you avoid future problems. In other words, if you create an open relationship in order to avoid underlying issues, you may introduce more conflict into your existing relationship.
It is critical to understand what you want from your current relationship. If you neglect your partner and spend more time looking for other potential partners, you may cause more problems.
Only you can decide whether open marriage rules are appropriate for you. Open marriage rules entail examining your beliefs and feelings about monogamy, examining what you truly expect from love and partnership, and being vulnerable with your feelings. It requires a great deal of maturity and compassion.
However, being in an open marriage is not for everyone, and deciding that you value and prefer monogamy does not demonstrate a lack of maturity or compassion. In the end, being honest with yourself and your partner(s) is the most important factor in marital happiness.
Frequently Asked Questions
What percent of open marriages end in divorce?
According to other estimates, the percentage of U.S. adults who have some type of open arrangement ranges between 4% and 9%. This article stated that one study found that 92 percent of open marriages end in divorce, but MDR was unable to locate the original source of that statistic.
Is an open marriage healthy?
Open marriage can be beneficial, but it is unlikely to save a failing relationship. “In fact, existing conflicts, power struggles, and other issues in a relationship will be magnified tenfold when you open up a monogamous relationship.”