What do you think of an Open Marriage?

I’d like to post full and gory details, but this is about two friends of mine, so I won’t. Suffice it to say that they have had a sexual relationship for a few months involving other women (the girl part of this couple is bi-friendly). Usually it’s a group scene involving multiple women and one guy - every straight male’s fantasy - although at times other men have been recruited to help satisfy the ladies, and the guy part of the couple also sleeps with some of the “other women” separately, without his lover being present.

Now they’re getting married. The guy has been reported to say he’s “hit the jackpot”, i.e., found a woman who will happily procure up a variety of partners to keep him interested. The woman has been reported to say that all the group sex will cease once they are married, and she wants to settle down and raise a big mess of babies. I say, she’s a being big fool and he’s being a big asshole. Not that anybody’s asked my opinion.

So is this a workable marriage? What do the Dopers think of this kind of arrangement? Does it play in Peoria?

I cannot even describe the fortitude I’ve had to summon to resist registering a sock, posting this poll from the guy’s POV, and waiting for the flames to roll in.

I think this sucks. The guy is my best friend, I guess, and I had to hear about the marriage thru the grapevine, a full month after the engagement, because (I think) he’s afraid of what I’ll say. But I plan on saying nothing, because it won’t make any difference. People do what they want to do.

However if this “marriage” takes place in a Christian church I will certainly not be attending. If it’s a civil (or Pagan, or whatever) ceremony, I may or may not attend.

As a gay man it pisses me the fuck off that I can’t marry a man because it would violate the “sanctity of marriage.” :rolleyes: More ammunition for my argument (inchoate, unformed) that the State needs to get out of the business of marriage altogether. Meaningless “vows” (to Whom?), a “contract” that is dissolvable without cause at any time by either party … what’s the goddamn point? Leave it up to the individual churches, who can make their own rules and enforce them (or not).

They haven’t got a chance in hell.

She wants monogamy, he does not. This is an unacceptable situation in any relationship, let alone a marriage. Unless one of them changes their position on the monogamy issue, they’re doomed.

Whatever you do, do not get in the middle of this. If you try to help them work things out, you’ll only piss off one or the other (or both) of them. I know the desire to help your friends can be strong, but in this case your best move is to stay the heck out of it.

An “open marriage” translates to “soon-to-be-utterly-doomed marriage”. They have no chance. The purpose of marriage is comittment. “Open” marriages are the negation of committment.

Stay the Hell away from these 2 (3? More?). Also, stay the Hell away from any of their “open partners”.

The end of this marriage will be spectacular, but so is an exploding artillery shell, & you don’t want to be near that when it blows up either.

Ask them about this when they’re both together with you. Go ahead, I dare 'ya.

Seriously, even without this specific issue , the lack of communication means that this marriage is going to be a very rough and probably very short ride for the two of them.

My question is this: Why the fuck would you even bother to get married?

I’d hardly describe their arrangement as an “Open Marriage”. That’s a whole 'nuther concept which has been debated here before. What you describe is just a recipe for disaster.

I think there is at least 1 doper with an open marriage. I believe they can work but the couple described in the OP probably won’t unless they resolve their differences prior to the wedding.
Some of you seem to be bashing the concept but really, monogamy isn’t the only way. sex != love and all that.
I personally don’t have the self confidence or any desire to be in an open marriage but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it if it.

This particular group seems like a time bomb… Although I cannot truly condemn open marriages, and really do not have a strong opinion on them, it is certainly not something I would ever accept in one of my relationships. Of course, it may have something to do with their psychology, and if two people are wired that way, I guess that it is what makes them happy and I should not interfere.

Open marriage-well, to me, it seems very vaguely creepy. NOT that those who do it or creepy, but it would feel very creepy to me. Like those Taking Children Seriously people also believe in this.

To me, I wouldn’t see the point. I also think you’re just setting yourself up for disaster in the long run.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with open marriages in general, but there’s a heck of a lot wrong with any relationship where the participants have such mutually incompatible expectations.

Your friends sound like they’re wasting their time with any of this marriage business. Hopefully they don’t have any kids before they realize that they don’t want the same things.

As for myself, I would never be involved in such a relationship/situation. If I’m not interesting enough for you on my own, then you can go ahead and look elsewhere.

I’ve talked to other people in open marriages/relationships, and while they can go well for awhile, all of them I’ve encountered have ended in varying degrees of badly.

I’d hope their marriage contract makes this explicit, not that I approve of the arrangement. I just attended a wedding today, and noted that the traditional vows were present: “to have and to hold, in richness and in poorness, etc.,…until death do you part.” Basically, they promised permanence and fidelity to one another (this is a good couple, so I trust they’ll keep to their vows).

Still, it bugs me that these “traditional” vows are still largely used, but not followed…why not just cut them out of the vows if that’s the kind of arrangement they want?

To answer the OP…what do I think of AN open marriage? Its not for me, but whatever floats your boat.

What do I think of THIS open marriage? Basically the same as everyone else…its heading for disaster.

She’s being a fool for thinking that marriage will instantly change him. He is being an asshole for not listening to her idea of what marriage is.

IMO, you should not get involved. And you’ve said as much yourself, so good for you! And I agree with your comments regarding the so-called sanctity of marriage.

I don’t think this is an ‘open marriage’ thing. I was around when the book Open Marriage came out &
this seems to be the most warped idea people have of this concept.

‘Open Marriage’ never met ‘sex with anyone you want if
we agree on it.’ But that seems to be what people think that it refers to.
I would suggest reading the book. You can still buy it.

I respectfully disagree, on behalf of good friends of mine who have been married for ten years. It is not something that my soon-to-be husband and I will ever practice, but it works for them.

I could never be in a relationship like that. To me, marriage is exclusive. I don’t really care what other people do with their private lives.

I’ll just echo what the earlier posts have said. The couple in the OP are going to crash, burn, and explode.

Umm… allow me to differ with you.

I think it is difficult for most people to really sustain an open marriage. But certainly not impossible. Someone very close to me has been in an open marriage for almost 30 years, and two more devoted people you could not hope to meet. They would die for each other.

This situation, however, is incredibly sad and were I able, I would somehow try to communicate what I had heard about the gal’s intentions to him. She is an evil, manipulative bitch, IMO.

Personally, I agree that this situation is bad bad bad. Personally, I don’t agree with the concept of an open marriage. Some people don’t find any difficulty enjoying physical gratification with someone they’re not commited with, but to me, if you’re commited to someone, especially in a marriage, you shouldn’t NEED to find someone else to fool around with. It just leads to bigger and worse complications later on down the road when issues like “trust” come up.

This situation, I see him cheating on her and not having a problem with it, and her being very upset, and everything getting really nasty.

But I’m curious, as a friend, shouldn’t he do something to help out with this? I mean, if you know a friend is going to do something stupid and possible hurt themselves, you’d want to stop them, right? Shouldn’t a talk with one or both of them be in order to help make sure that they know what the other is expecting? Sure, it could just end up making a bigger mess of things, but at least it would be BEFORE they get married and have the same fight later on when things are more complicated.

Actually, I have friends in a open marriage and it has deepened their committment. What masonite’s friends apparently fail to understand is there are very explicit rules in the good versions of such marriages, beginnin with one’s spouse being primary. In other words, their needs and the needs of the marriage come first. No question.

I am as against adultery as anyone you could find on this board, but having watched this couple and their marriage, I’m convinced that no adultery is involved in their marriage because nothing sexual happens with third parties without the knowledge and consent of both of them.

Sorry, masonite, the male half of the couple sounds like a jerk to me and she doesn’t sound much better. Perhaps they have other redeeming qualities?