Can You Handle an Open Relationship?

Friday, 03 September 2010 11:04 Written by  Lauren Jackson

In this forever changing society we live in today, the lines have become quite murky in terms of what a traditional relationship should look like. We have the couple who goes through their just dating phase. Then we have the couple who finally takes their relationship to the next level, making it exclusive to just one another. But now in this new day and age, we have the couple who has decided to change the rules of engagement all together and make their relationship an open one.


Now many of you may ask what exactly does it mean to have an open relationship. Truth be told, I’m still trying to figure this out myself. You see, having an open relationship can be so drastically different when it comes to various couples. There are some who say they are exclusive to each other but can have sexual encounters with other people. Then there are others who say they are sexually exclusive to one another but can have other relationships with those who can satisfy their emotional appetite. With so many different rules, models and even specific etiquette styles that come with having such relationships, the average “normal couple” can get confused just by trying to figure them all out.

Don’t get me wrong; I am not one to judge how one couple chooses to keep the flame going in their relationship. By all means, if dating or a having other sexual relationships outside your current one tickles your fancy, MORE POWER TO YOU!!!! However, it just blows my mind that this is becoming more and more a trend in today’s culture. Granted in many other European cultures, this subject matter may not be quite as taboo as compared to the States. However, I still can’t wrap my mind around the concept of having more than one partner whether it be sexual, intellectual or even just emotional in regards to a relationship.

Loosely defined, according to the ever popular, an open relationship is a relationship in which two people agree that they want to be together but can't exactly promise that they won't see other people too. Basically, being able to have it all: a significant other and the freedom to hook up with other people. With that being said, it wouldn’t be uncommon to see most college students or people in long distance relationships participating in such relationships. Obviously, when one is exposed to new surroundings and new people, it is easy to see how one may be more inclined to get a little more familiar with their oh so new atmosphere, understandably, leading these current couples left to explore these various options.

Technically speaking, however, when you are dating someone, whether it be monogamous or not, one is still able to seek other options. It is not as though they exchanged vows before God, friends and loved ones. On the contrary, they could still be looked at as “keeping their options open” for their Mr. or Mrs. Right! Once again let me reiterate, this is technically speaking. Let me just say, I am strong believer in having an exclusive and strictly monogamous relationship. I believe once you say you want to be with me, naturally I assume this means only me. But for the sake of argument, let’s entertain the idea that having an open relationship is the new standard for a traditional relationship.

As writer Mimi Valdes from Men’s Health magazine said in an article relating to this specific topic, with about 50 percent of marriages ending in divorce, many reporting infidelity as the reason, some couples are challenging the boundaries of traditional relationships in order to keep the spark. With that being said, imagine the difference in this statistic if having an open relationship was allowed. Needless to say, I think the percentage would definitely be lower, but what does this say about the stability of the relationship itself?

Think about it. A couple would have to have a completely open and honest conversation about their relationship making sure everything is being discussed and put on the table. They would also have to create specific rules and boundaries in order to ensure their relationship would be successful and that neither party gets hurt in the process. And lastly, both individuals have to consider the various obstacles that may come with having such a relationship. For example, what happens if one partner begins to develop jealous tendencies towards their partner‘s other relationships? Let’s say as time went by one partner felt as though the other was stepping out of bounds in terms of the rules set by the couple. Would this be considered technically cheating or is this a part of the unspoken rules that come with what is suppose to be open in the first place? Just the thought process involved in conceiving this idea sends my head for a loop, but it is a thought to consider nonetheless…

With famous couples like comedian Monique and her husband Sidney sparking much controversy over their open marriage, the media and everyday people are buzzing about this new phenomenal viewpoint. If you remember the comedian caught much flack from the public when she stated that having such a marriage is not considered a deal breaker in their relationship. Magazines, talk shows and entertainment networks couldn’t stop ranting and raving over how one could live such a lifestyle. And let’s not also forget the suspicion that still looms over whether the beautiful couple Will and Jada are believed to have an open relationship as well.

The fact of the matter is every couple is different. What may work for some may never work for others. Who are we to judge what is right or wrong in a relationship? Only that couple is allowed to say what will and will not be tolerated when it comes to having an open relationship in the first place. As for me, I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about these types of relationships, but I think it’s safe to assume I won’t be crossing over any time soon.

Like always ladies stay blessed, beautiful and divinely favored!


Photo by GMO Photo Editor Billy Montgomery


Lauren Jackson

Lauren Jackson

Lauren Jackson is a GMO contributor.

She can be contacted at