A new study says we're more open to consensual nonmonogamy now than ever before — but do they work?
Science indicates we are trending to more open relationships but are these arrangements the secret to preventing divorce? A recent study by Amy Moors published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships indicated that there is a greater willingness for couples to give non-traditional sexual arrangements a try. Dr. Zhana writes, "these data tell a story of significantly more openness to and curiosity about consensual nonmonogamy than perhaps ever before in recent Western history."
This demands more openness in general which results in greater emotional intimacy. The more intimate, open, honest and exposed that we are with our partners, the more fulfillment we will have in our relationships, regardless of how long they last.
The most newsworthy open relationship goes to celebrity couple Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin. The New York Times reports this split "was a long time coming." On the surface it would appear the answer to our question about divorce-proofing a marriage would be, no, open relationships are not the way. But little is, as it seems, on the surface.
Gwyneth and Chris are sexually mismatched. According to MatchMatrix.com their Genetic Energetic™ profile shows they have two different 'Sexual Response Types'. The School of Genetic Energetics, which publishes these reports claims when this mismatch occurs the relationship is in jeopardy.
Gwyneth and Chris' Energetic Romance Report states, "Without the ability to connect with and release their sexual energy they begin to compress physically and emotionally. This can lead to severe depression. Whether compressed or depressed this has an impact on how they interact with their partner outside of their physical intimacy. They become more withdrawn and less interested in sexual engagement. Their Mental/Emotional partners may express their desire and love in an attempt to arouse their partner, but it has little impact, which results in an overall feeling of separation for both partners, which leads to deeper emotional challenges."
If this were their only issue, perhaps a consensual non-monogamous relationship would be able to make up for what they were not providing each other sexually. But, Gwyneth and Chris had more energetic mismatches than just sexual; and they would need to be aware of their difference to be able to address the situation with openness and acknowledgement instead of blame, shame or guilt.
Which brings us closer to a real answer about whether having open sexual agreements will divorce-proof a marriage. I have worked with many couples that practice polyamory, a form of consensual non-monogamy where there are multiple loving relationships, versus "hookup" or one night stands.
The larger percent of these couple are energetically sexually mismatched. For them, this is the way to meet their sexual needs and stay in a deeply committed partnership. For those who are not sexually mismatched they are making a very conscious lifestyle choice that is not a simple one.
Lack of simplicity is the key. Because successful non-monogamous relationships require enhanced sensitivity, couples practicing this lifestyle require a far clearer understanding of each other’s needs to be successful. This begins with open conversations about sexual needs and desires.
Gwyneth and Chris have "consciously uncoupled" because they were probably more consciously coupled than most. One thing I have seen consistently with couples practicing consensual non-monogamy is the ability to enter into and leave a relationship with a great deal of respect and love for each other.
When couples that have been able to navigate through the judgment, unbridled jealousy and possessiveness that tarnishes and demoralizes most romantic partnerships, decide that their relationship has run its course, they are able to leave peacefully, civilly and in the case of parenting, able to co-parent consciously.
Perhaps open relationships are not the ultimate way to divorce-proof a marriage, but they certainly are a way to stop the insane and ruthless battles that most divorce attorneys thrive on. We can all use more peace and understanding in this area.
Gwyneth and Chris' Energetic report summary: