Open relationship saving a marraige?


Can an open relationship save a marriage?

The link to the article poses a wider question, can  opening up a relationship save a marriage?

After reading this article I am left to question the impact opening up their relationship will have on their marriage and I question, if the couple profiled will ultimately divorce. In my honest opinion, I believe the couple profiled was the wrong couple to choose for an article like this. I believe their relationship is already damaged and whilst the article promotes non-monogamy in a positive way, I believe an longitudinal article that followed a couple who is considering non-monogamy would have been more powerful. In addition,  if the couple chose to open up the relationship sooner, before the infidelity, then I am left to question if the would have been able to put into place the necessary structure to preserve it.

In answer to the question if non-monogamy can save a marriage? I do not believe this article is a good article but it does highlight some of the issues couples face. On that basis, I believe, it is a very good article to read and I encourage anyone considering non-monogamy to read this article.

 

 

 

Swinging and Mental Health


Italiano: PTO / Disturbi mentali: Elenco di fr...Positive Aspects of Swinging on relationships

I found this article on Psychology Today’s web site, I thought would share it.

When I first saw the title, I thought to myself this would be another article bashing the swinging lifestyle and portraying those who swing as some type of mental deviant or sexual predator. Oddly to my surprise, this article supports the lifestyle by stating those who swing have less fears, is less jealous and it appears to take a shot at the monogamous lifestyle by painting it as choice that can promote cheating.

While I am glad to read this, the two things this article misses. First research done by other to authors support it points  Instead it is based on observational research that is very difficult to verify. Second the article talks about swinging and monogamy; however it does not define the term. Thereby leaving to reader to question how is each term defined. Is someone who has had a few ‘experiences’ considered by the author to be monogamous or a swinger? This means the article is more of an opinion rather than an article based on empirical research evidence Nonetheless, it is a good article that makes you think.

Analysis of open relationship study


English: A schematic showing the monogamy rela...

 

As stated in my previous blog, this author may due some analysis of an interesting study regarding open relationship. For those of you may not have read the previous blog regarding this interview study, it is a small study involving 86 gay male couples in a long-term open relationship and secure enough to discuss how the dealt with being in this type of relationship. Many came from San Francisco and California with the remainder coming from either large metropolitan states (e.g. NY or IL) or internationally.

 

The study primarily focused on how they dealt with managing their relationship from the start of discussing opening it through how it is maintained. It goes on to examine what non-monogamy looks like, the boundaries involved, and the impact it has.

 

Like any study it has limitations. Granted ethical considerations can limit the research being done, especially when it comes to sex. In addition the small sample size and limited geographical representation tends to represent open relationships in more metropolitan areas while under representing the issues couples, in open relationships face in suburban or rural areas. The fact this study examines gay male couples is not a major limitation, this author feels, since open relationships are common with gay males it offers generalizations that can be made about open relationships for heterosexual and lesbian couples.

 

The strength of this study lies in its examination of the boundaries and defining what is non-monogamy. By defining non-monogamy it covers all types of threesomes such as cuckolding, friends with benefits, threesomes and poly relationships thereby making it easier to generalize to non-gay open relationships.

 

Nonetheless, the when reading the article it becomes apparent the author interchangeably uses the words open relationship and non-monogamy. There are some like this author who feel there is a distinction between the two. This author believes the degree to which emotional monogamy exists in the relationship along with the context of the agreed sex outside of the relationship defines if the relationship is open. Likewise, the degree to which non-monogamy exists is defined by the degree to which physical and emotional monogamy exists in the relationship. Since this article deals with gay couples in an open relationship then the two terms most likely can be used interchangeably; however, a limitation of this article is the fact the author did not define the terms from the beginning and for some it can create confusion that the two different words mean the same.

 

Another strength of this article is the use of statistics and the use of participants’ answers to support points raised. For example the authors, at the beginning, talk about opening up the relationship. It provides statistics for how long it took to open the relationship and then drew on some of the comments made to further support their statements.

 

A third strength of this article is the time it devotes to boundaries and the extent involvement occurs. The section on boundaries specifically relates to gay couples in an open relationship, it can provide heterosexual couples who are struggling with the concept of boundaries insight on boundaries. Likewise the section regarding involvement. It is a detailed section that is well worth reading since it can provide insight for non-gay couples wanting to learn more about the risks of emotional involvement.

 

Overall the article is constructed in a very logical and understandable way. The one area, for future research, should be is how the couples arrived at the decision to open up the relationship. Granted the authors states there is no road map to non-monogamy but does not support the claim, to the extent they do with other parts of the article. There is some mention about how the open relationship started but not the events leading up to that point.

 

Another area for consideration is a comparison of heterosexual couples with gay male and lesbian couples who are in an open relationship. By doing this, it will help others to understand some of the common principles that underpin an open relationship. Likewise those who struggle with being in an open relationship versus those who are secure with it. While there are some limitations to this article, this author feels there is useful information for anyone wanting to further understand open relationships.

 

 

 

Study on long-term gay open relationships


English: DIGNITY & RESPECT (2001) is a U.S. Ar...

The links take you to a study, on ejhs.org  and felt some of my followers might enjoy reading it. The study examines gay males in long-term open relationships. While some may feel because it relates to gay males it has no value to heterosexual couples or lesbian couples in an open relationship. In my opinion, it can provide some insight and  regarding how an open relationship operates, maintains itself, and evolves over time. However the one minor issue with the study is alluding all forms of threesomes are a form of an open relationship. From reading the study it is difficult to know how the researchers define open relationship. It is this author’s opinion, if couple has threesome and does not have their own separate experience then the relationship is not open.

This is a small study with 86 couples. With any study relating to sex there are some limitations and biases to the study. Since this study involves interviews instead of being a controlled study or a study were couples are observed it means there are other possible reasons for the results.  Some reasons could be wanting to please the interviewer by giving answers they believe they wanted, being guarded about revealing too much information, and giving socially acceptable answer. Plus research ethical requirements can place limitations on studies of this type due to potential damage and the private nature of sex. Finally the researchers note the sample being primarily middle-age white males and the authors note the encountered reluctance to participate. This can skew the results and limit the study’s ability to be generalized.

Nonetheless, I feel this study may provide insight in how open relationships evolve and operate in a relationship, regardless if it heterosexual or homosexual. Some interesting findings I feel that are worth considering and may be applicable to other couples include, though not limited to:

  • 42% of couples surveyed were initially monogamous
  • 6% moved away from being open and towards monogamy
  • 58% made the decision to open up their relationship between 1 – 24 years into relationship with 24% being in the relationship more than 7 years before agreeing to open up their relationship. The average time being 6.6 years
  • Couples find their own road-map in to non-monogamy
  • 56% of couples chose to play together & separately
  • Couples that ‘share’ non-monogamy together (e.g. threesomes) evolved into having their own experiences
  • Communication being essential

This author may follow-up with a further analysis regarding this study and talk about it applicability to other couples. However this article this study seems to suggest that about 50% of those in long-term relationships practice involving their partner in at least some of their sexual experiences with someone else. Such a result is quite interesting since it suggests for a open relationship to survive, for many couples, involving their significant other in some experiences is necessary. It raises the question why does it occur? Is a trust issue or it is a boding / sharing issue? Also this study suggests that there is not specific stages a relationship goes through as it evolves into an open relationship. Instead it seems to suggest the each couple finds their own way in having an open relationship. Finally this study seems to reinforce the need for communication in order to maintain the relationship.

If you have read the study what are your thoughts?