Are You Open to an Open Relationship?
Two sets of strangers share their thoughts on having an open relationship.
More about this episode
A Conversation on Open Relationships
Monogamy is the norm in the United States—with nearly 90 percent of Americans preferring this relationship model. However, recent studies indicate that about one in five singles has, at some point or other, been involved in a consensual, open relationship.
Though the concept of open marriages and relationships isn't anything new, the data about them is still growing. So, we're still learning. According to one recent study, though, of those currently in monogamous relationships, about 40 percent of guys—and quarter of women—said that they would consider "opening" their relationship if being in a consensual, non-monogamous relationship was more socially acceptable.
Though they may not be for everyone, recent data indicates that 80 to 90 percent of those in non-monogamous relationships felt happier after entering the swinging lifestyle. Of those who approve and engage in open relationships, the vast majority also believe that their relationships are meant to last. This suggests that, in terms of relationship longevity, open couples have nearly identical expectations as their monogamous counterparts do.
Opinions, we all have them, especially when it comes to love and sex. So what happens when two people who have never met get to share their opinions in an open and honest conversation? Maybe they learn something about the other person and maybe they learn something about themselves.
I'm Dr. Jessica Edwards and this is “Well, in My Opinion.” Today we are discussing, are you open to an open relationship?
Oh, no. I immediately go, "Oh no."
I am definitely the jealous type, I feel like, so I just—I don't know. I mean, I've been married now for almost three years. And like we don't talk about ever having that now, but we're like, “Oh, maybe in the future we'll randomly want to bring someone into the mix for fun one night or something.”
But monogamy and that, like I don't see us ever having an open relationship where I'm dating or hanging out with other people and she's doing that. I just don't think I could ever be comfortable with that.
Yeah, I for sure can’t.
I want the person I'm with to be all for myself. And I give that to them, too.
I mean, I've been cheated on multiple times. I've never cheated on anyone because to me honesty and that is just so important. And if you have any feelings towards anyone else, just be honest about it because that's natural to connect with other people, you know? And it's just where you take that connection, you know? And the honesty behind it with your partner. So I just don't think I could be in an open relationship.
I don't think many people who—I don't think a lot of people who enter into open relationships think it through, the complexity of it. I really think they just want like in the moment thrills, almost, or excitement or just a feeling of aliveness. I couldn't handle it. My moon is in Scorpio, though, so like I don't even lie to myself that I would be able to handle that because I know.
And it's not even a possessiveness or a jealousy thing, it's just a loyalty and a devotion thing. Because I'm such an energetic person—like I'm so sensitive to energies—if my man or my partner that I was devoted to went and mixed energies with someone else and then came back to me, I'm almost certain that I would feel it and I don't want to invite that in to something that should be sacred, if you're in a relationship, right?
But that goes back to how you believe relationships are supposed to be. Is it something that's just like, “Oh, I have to do this,” or is it something that's sacred to you?
Yeah, for sure.
Two people, that's plenty. You're always going to be shedding and reinventing and learning about each other. So people that get bored with their partner, it's like, well, peel a layer. Go on an adventure. It's in there. It's in a human being.
Yeah, for sure.
As you might have guessed, monogamy is the norm in the United States with nearly 90% of Americans preferring this relationship model. However, recent studies indicate that about one in five singles has at some point or another been involved in a consensual, open relationship. Though the concept of open marriages and relationships isn't anything new, the data about them is still growing. So we're still learning.
According to one recent study, though, of those currently in monogamous relationships, about 40% of guys and a quarter of women said that they would consider opening their relationship if it were more socially acceptable.
I am polyamorous and open.
And it's definitely the fabric of me. I feel that I can one, especially being polyamorous, I feel that I can definitely display love and give love to multiple people. But also I believe that sex is just a form of energy exchange and doesn't necessarily require an emotional investment.
So for me, being open is OK. Now for some people, it's different because they have their own boundaries. That's why I'm very transparent about how I love, how I see sex and intimacy and relationships.
That makes a lot of sense. I think being a member of the queer community, saying that I'm like pretty monogamous seems like an outlier or like makes me feel like I'm on the conservative end of things. I have a lot of friends who are poly. It makes total sense to me. It seems like it takes a lot of time and energy, which is part of it for me. I'm so busy, I can barely keep up with one person. Like I feel like you've got to be really committed to give that time and that energy and that commitment to multiple people.
But I'm also like, never say never. So for me, I haven't explored that in the past, but maybe one day. I hate to close myself off to anything, so.
Yeah, it's one of those things that some people, they kind of fall into it. They're like, “Hey, this actually works.” And sometimes it doesn't work for the individuals or the couples or the units and that's OK, too.
I think being able to situate yourself within ethical forms of monogamy and non-monogamy is so essential.
Totally. And people have to understand that's what cheating is. It's non-ethical, non-respectful non-monogamy where you're not giving that communication and that respect to that other person. And the last time I was in a full-fledged long-term relationship was like four years, so talk to me again if I'm married or something and then we'll see what my answer is.
It could vastly change.
It could vastly change, for sure.
Though they may not be for everyone, recent data indicates that 80% to 90% of those in non-monogamous relationships felt happier after entering the swinging lifestyle. Of those who approve and engage in relationships, the vast majority also believe that their relationships are meant to last. This suggests that in terms of relationship longevity, open couples have nearly identical expectations as their monogamous counterparts do.
I'm Dr. Edwards and this has been “Well, in My Opinion.”