Monogamy or open marriage? What does it mean

Qhen you get married, is monogamy a condition to automatically accept or are there “loopholes”? Until now, especially in the West, it has been taken for granted that two married people should be faithful to each other. Recently, however, the rules are changing and the idea of ​​the so-called is appearing “open” marriage: despite being married, both spouses agree to date other people as well. But how do you manage this type of relationship?

Monogamy, when marriage becomes “open”

There international platform Ashley Madisondedicated to finding extramarital love affairs, did a recent survey in which it emerged that over half of its subscribers agree on the put aside the concept of monogamy in a marriage, a result that corresponds to 22% of registered Italians. The reason? Not being monogamous is said to improve society. A rather surprising figure, however, is that it is mainly women who prefer non-monogamous relationships while being married.

Not only that but 80% of subscribers said they could fall in love with two people at the same time and 65% are experiencing a similar situation firsthand. Is it perhaps the sunset of the “classic” wedding?

«Marriage is “open” when partners do not believe in monogamy, therefore their relationship becomes more flexible giving themselves new rules to satisfy the needs of both. For some people, “non-attachment” is experienced as a real path of spiritual growth, as happens for example in tantric relationships» he explains Carolina Rizzi, psychotherapist and EMDR supervisor. Fundamental, as the expert points out, is that this choice must be aware and shared by both partners.

The advantages of an “open” marriage. But not only

Some psychologists have highlighted the advantages of this choice: «From a certain point of view there is a less pressure to manage within the couple because it is “downloaded” externally. Also there is a enhancement of sexual self-efficacy” explains Marisabel Iacopino, psychologist Stimulus Italy. However, choosing this form of relationship is not easy, feelings such as jealousy or even a collapse in one’s self-esteem questioned by a third person can easily arise.

Sex: the rules to save the couple from betrayal (expert's word!)

In some cases it is also probable to ask oneself ethical dilemmas «For example “if I choose this type of relationship, is it to be considered a betrayal against my partner?”. It would be interesting to ask how much the choice of open marriage has to do with the need to look outside for something that is not there in the couple: a need that is not welcomed by the spouse? A conflict that you don’t know how to deal with, manage? The desire for change that would risk putting a strain on the delicate balances built?» continues Dr. Iacopino.

Not only that, but as Dr. Rizzi points out, the desire for an open marriage can also highlight a fear of bonding, or even an outright attachment phobiawhich leads to not wanting to create a deep, intimate and exclusive relationship with just one person.

What are the rules of an open marriage?

First rule, if it is a conscious choice on both sides and can be easy to handle emotionally, there should be no qualms or fears of any kind. Notwithstanding furthermore that «It’s not a definitive all-or-nothing choice.. If one realizes that it is no longer suitable, if doubts or feelings of incomplete conviction emerge in pursuing this relational modality, it is necessary to stop and question the choice by talking about it with one’s partner, within a communication made up of mutual respect and listening» explains Dr. Iacopino.

Monogamy: love is not blackmail

As Dr. Rizzi also specifies, moreover «Love is not blackmail, based for example on “if you don’t do it, it means you don’t love me”, it is not violence or pleasing the other by submitting to your request. A healthy bond implies reciprocity and respect, and above all the freedom to be able to choose to say yes and no. Not only that, there must also be communication, transparency, sincerity, shared rules and trust. If jealousy is no longer managed in an open couple, perhaps it is because the situation no longer works. You shouldn’t force yourself to tolerate emotions that hurt.”

And if there are children?

Last but not least is also the presence of any childreni: «It is always important to reflect on the consequences of one’s choices. What is good for adults may not be good for children. Always remember to take into account every member of the family and respect each of them. Parents have the right and the duty to think about the impact of their choices on their children» concludes Dr. Rizzi.