During Mo’Nique’s discussion with Barbara Walters last week about her open marriage, she stated that she had not had sex outside of her marriage. The implication was that her husband Sidney hadn’t either. Which means, at least for now, they have a traditional marriage in that regard. Couples in an open marriage will likely encounter problems once one or both exercise their right to have sex outside the marriage.
It might not be a 'deal-breaker' as Mo'Nique claims, but it will change the nature of their relationship. It is impossible to allow a third person into the marriage without altering the relationship between the spouses. The close bond, the emotional intimacy which develops between a married couple, is changed, once one of the spouses shares a portion of intimacy with that outside person.
Marriage is a pie. When you’re married, the whole relationship pie is shared between the two of you. As you share portions of yourself with another, the pie you share with your spouse gets smaller and smaller. The emotional and physical energy available to your spouse diminish – whether you intend that or not.
Comparisons are bound to be made: Is she prettier than me? Younger than me? Better in bed than me? Is he handsomer? More sophisticated? Does he satisfy you better than me?
The flip side of this equation is when the outside person is used purely as fodder for the couple’s sexual titillation. Then the outside person is not valued for him or herself, but is used much as one might use a sex toy or pornography to spice things up.
The outside person may not be content with being a one-night-stand, or an occasional 'friend with benefits' and that can lead to trouble. Although women more readily bond emotionally when they have sex, men are not automatons, and they too are susceptible to emotional entanglements. The repercussions for the couple can be highly detrimental.
Unless a couple is willing to risk the trust, closeness and depth of sharing and intimacy between each other, open marriages should be best left out of the marriage equation.
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