Boundaries, Negotiation and Open Relationships


Boundaries, Negotiation and Open Relationships
Will open relationships someday become generally accepted? Why? Why Not? What do you think?

”Open relationships” where both members of a couple are “allowed” to have sex with other people, remains a relatively fringe practice. But is it possible that this will be a new way of keeping relationships stronger and more lasting?



This question of monogamy, polyamory, fidelity as defined in terms of sexual exclusivity, this is the new frontier. The next line that will be questioned. We used to shun premarital sex, now it is practically par for the course course in the West. Homosexuality was also shunned, today, thankfully, it is far more widely accepted. We have moved from a general culture of sexual duty to sexual pleasure for women. Next, will monogamy need to be negotiated and not just assumed?

Couples are negotiating the boundaries of their relationships as a way to preserve their relationships. This is, I think, a key point to understanding this new frontier. It is done not out of disillusion, but out of hope and commitment.


Non-monogamy is not for everyone, and there should be no societal pressure either way. People live much longer today than in previous generations. This means that committing to a partner has a different implication. Our lives are often long. What does this extended lifespan mean for our romantic and sexual choices, growth, and patterns?

Will monogamy be relativized? Will a new norm include periods of openness, others not, mostly monogamous, rather than open or closed as fixed entities, agreements that are revisited at different stages of the lifecycle?

Flexibility is a key word here. This will be how we may approach an understanding that in this new culture, it will be possible to recognize that people will have more than one marriage with the same person with different rules and boundaries along the way.

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Article contributed by

Esther Perel


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Location: New York, NY
Credentials: MA
Specialties: Infidelity / Affair Recovery, Marriage, Sexuality
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