The Truth About Open Marriage
Couples who practice ''polyamory'' say it's good for their relationships. Some therapists disagree.
What's the Appeal of Open Marriage? continued...
When she goes to a romantic comedy with Jemma, for instance, Block says
there's no eye rolling, as there usually is when she goes with Christopher.
Franklin Veaux, an ex-partner of Cherie, says he, too, is hardwired to be a
polyamorist. "Why does the princess or the prince who lives in a castle
have to choose?" he asks. "There is enough room for everyone." He
keeps in touch with Cherie through instant messaging, although they are not
romantically linked right now.
"Every partner adds something to my life," he says. "All of
these things make me a better person." The big attraction, he says, is
emotional intimacy. "Everybody adds value to my life."
Marriage and Relationship Experts Talk
Those who pursue an "open" or polyamorous relationship are obviously
not conventional types, says William Doherty, PhD, director of the marriage and
family therapy program at the University of Minnesota, St. Paul. "There are
always some people who want to push the limits of their experiences -- their
joy, their ecstasy in life," he says. They feel convention and tradition
Those who pursue multiple relationships simultaneously, Doherty says, say
they are capable of many loves and passion and that "artificial cultural
constraints" tell them they should restrict their love and passion to just
Polyamorists, to their credit, are often open about it, Doherty says.
"There is a kind of idealism around these folks," he says. "They
want to be completely open and honest about it."
Louanne Cole Weston, PhD, MFT, a Fair Oaks, Calif., marriage and family
therapist and WebMD's
sex and relationships expert, agrees that the concept of open relationships
has evolved to become more idealistic. "In the '70s, there was the playing
loose around the edges idea," she says. "Poly is trying to come across
as thoughtful and considerate."
An obvious benefit, Weston says, is that sexual monotony seldom sets in.
Polys are not apt to be bored in other areas of life, either. "You always
have Plan B," she says.
Some say they learn something about relationship skills from their other
partner or partners, something that can be applied with the primary partner,