By:Dr Tammy Nelson/yourtango.com
If you’re looking for ways to expand the horizons of your relationship, a polyamorous relationship may have crossed your mind. You and your partner get to experiment with new people — it seems like a win-win — but in reality, an open marriage or relationship takes a TON of maturity, honesty, and openness between you and your partner.
Before you jump in head first, consider these 3 rules to see if its good fit for you and your partner. You never know, you may enjoy the terms set before you.
1. An open marriage is not a “free pass” to cheat on your partner.
Cheating with permission is not “open,” it is consensual cheating. If you’re looking for a permission slip that says you can sleep with other people, you aren’t ready..
Being open means having a consensual agreement, and both of you have to agree on what that new monogamy agreement is going to look like. You each create the monogamy agreement and honor the rules, negotiating your relationship in ongoing flexible ways in an attempt to avoid the dishonesty and betrayal of infidelity.
2. It’s never a method for testing the strength of your marriage.
If you are trying an open marriage to test your relationship to see if it can survive a heartache, don’t do it. Being on shaky ground is a bad foundation for trying new and edgy things. A polyamorous relationship is not an experiment in testing the boundaries of your commitment.
Wait and see if your relationship improves before you test the limits of your monogamy agreement. Get some good couples therapy and sit down and talk to each other about what needs to change in your marriage before you blow it wide open.
3. It should never be used as a way to piss off your parents.
When authority figures try to tell you what is “moral” or how to run your lives, it is natural to respond by running in the opposite direction.. Be cautious. Don’t be reactive. Make sure you are creating the lifestyle that works for you and you aren’t just being rebellious because you don’t like someone else’s rules.
Be responsible for your own monogamy. There is nothing old fashioned or trite about a solid, committed and monogamous partnership. It is one of the hardest things you will ever do in your lifetime. If you feel you have the skills to broaden your horizons to a more open marriage, do it because you want to and are ready to explore.
An open relationship won’t work for everyone, and it doesn’t work if you are being dishonest with your intentions. An open marriage should be a mature and clear decision. It can be a way to explore and create exciting opportunities for passion for both of you.
But think about it carefully. Know whether or not you are one of those couples who can talk honestly about how you feel — about everything. If you can’t communicate, an open marriage may not be for you, at least not for now.
Dr. Tammy Nelson is a Licensed Relationship Therapist and a Certified Sex Therapist and the author of The New Monogamy. Find her at www.drtammynelson.com.