By Stanisha Parker |Staff Writer|
How would you respond if your significant other wanted to be in an open relationship—would you continue or walk away?
In order to answer this question, one has to know what an open relationship is.
Open relationships are defined as “a committed relationship between two individuals who want to share a life together, but agree to a non-monogamous lifestyle,” according to Open Relationships, a website featuring detailed information about polyamory.
The concept is that both partners are allowed to date and have romantic or physical involvements with other people if desired.
An interviewee, who will remain under the pseudonym “Joe Jack” for anonymity, explained his relationship.
“My partner and I came to the agreement about opening our relationship when he expressed a desire to sleep with other friends, but didn’t want to break up,” said Jack.
Another interviewee, who would like to remain anonymous, provided interpersonal insight on polygamous relationships.
For confidentiality, the interviewee is referenced by the pseudonym, “John Doe.”
“To me, an open relationship is like any relationship […] defined by those involved,” said Doe.
“We [my partner and I] are only physically open; we can only have protected/safe sex with others; going on dates, being overly intimate, or getting emotionally involved is considered cheating […],” continued Doe.
According to legal reference service survey completed by Avvo, an online legal information database, nearly half of the population would consider an open relationship.
The study, consisting of 2011 Americans aged 18 and older, were surveyed across the survey. The interviews featured responses from 903 men and 1,108 women.
This was based on Americans’ view of relationships, marriage, divorce and fidelity in May of 2015.
To elaborate, 14 percent said that they would not leave and 31 percent said they may or may not leave— totaling to 45 percent, but 55 percent would not.
There are no older studies that show if there has been an increase in consideration to open relationships or not, but the numbers are not too far from each other.
One can argue that they view open relationships as a violation of partnership, but as experts say, the key difference is consent and awareness.
“[…] Open relationship is where two individuals are both interested and have agreed upon certain boundaries that take place in accordance of others entering the relationship,” said Jack.
Being in a monogamous relationship does not prevent an outside party from violating a partnership.
“My partner and I came to be in an open relationship because I feel that monogamy doesn’t exactly work for me—that’s not saying that my partner isn’t enough for me. I just don’t see any valid reason why I need to limit myself to sex with one individual […],” said Doe.
Avvo’s study found that American’s are five times more likely to cheat than to be in an open relationship.
Twenty percent of men and 13 percent of women have admitted to having sex with someone outside of the relationship without the approval of their partner.
Some may be against open relationships due to fears of potentially contracting a sexual transmitted disease (STDs).
However, it has been found that there are no measurable differences between monogamous and open relationships.
Regardless of people in open relationships having more sexual partners, they take more precautions so STD rates are on the same level.
In fact, individuals who are in monogamous relationships are reported to use less condoms and get fewer STD tests done compared to those not in polygamous relationships.
“I would like for people to know that open relationships can, and usually do, require more work than a monogamous relationship. It’s a lot of communication, trust, and respect—but for those that make it successful, it’s worth it,” said Doe
It is important to take precautions for your health, whether in a polygamous relationship or not, and to always partake in consensual intercourse.