“This is Johannesburg, it’s not yours, it’s just your turn . . . We are all eating off the same plate, we are just having different portions . . .” so read an acquaintance’s Facebook status in which he was relaying details of a dinner conversation he’d had with a group of women who all agreed that monogamy is a figment of society’s imagination.
Cheating has and remains a big challenge in monogamous relationships, with some arguing that it’s unnatural and that perhaps dating openly and being honest about it would spare us many a heartbreak.
But as we can all imagine, there’d probably be anarchy if open dating were to suddenly become a way of life. But those who’ve dabbled with open relationships say rules and boundaries are essential and both partners must be aware that flouting these could lead to a break-up.
One common rule is that neither partner enters into sexual relations with someone who is too close to the couple.
“I once dated a woman who’d say that she didn’t mind me having one-night stands, provided I didn’t exchange contact details with that woman or even befriend her on social media. Her theory was that once-off sexual encounters were better than a case of infidelity that has all the makings of a proper relationship,” says Karabo Bodibe*. Having been in an open relationship, he warns that it requires lots of bravery, a don’t-care attitude and a great deal of maturity.
The concept of monogamy is outdated, and monotony has pushed many relationships to take a turn for the worst
Brandon Wade, an American businessman and online dating entrepreneur, is on a mission to redefine conventional relationships, so much so that he’s established a website called OpenMinded.com. Here, individuals or couples have the option of getting into an open relationship with another couple, provided their partner has given their consent. For instance, a married woman who comes looking for an extra-marital affair on the site would first need to get her husband’s approval (and vice versa) to be considered for this service.
In defence of this website and many of his other unconventional dating sites, Wade says: “The concept of monogamy is outdated, and monotony has pushed many relationships to take a turn for the worst. Monogamous relationships encourage infidelity and we’re all for polyamorous relationships and ethical cheating.”
Before you scratch your head trying to figure out what these two phrases mean, here’s a heads up: A polyamorous relationship is one in which you are involved in multiple ‘committed’ relationships at the same time, with the full consent of all partners involved. Wade goes on to describe ethical cheating as: “People in open relationships do not see their actions as . . . cheating, but society is quick to assume that anyone who’s not monogamous in their relationships is automatically cheating. What some outsiders might see as cheating, those in open relationships see as an ethical and honest lifestyle.”
Will and Jada Smith have one of Hollywood’s few successful marriages, and they’ve admitted in interviews that allowing the other partner to stray (with full approval, of course) is the secret to their happy marriage. In fact, Jada describes what they have as a mature marriage and not an open one.
Monogamous relationships encourage infidelity and we’re all for polyamorous relationships and ethical cheating
In truth, jealousy and betrayal are what actually break our hearts when we discover that our partner has been secretly sticking their fingers into someone else’s cookie jar. Does this mean that one would have to enter an open relationship with an in-built non-jealousy mechanism?
Author of Polyamory in the 21st Century and an expert on the subject of jealousy, Deborah Taj Anapol, says that when someone is consumed by jealousy, they cannot think straight.
“The mistake most people make is to assume that a jealous person is a rational person. Asking for support from friends as well as partners is an important way to take care of yourself even when you’re familiar with navigating these turbulent emotional currents. Communicating what you’re experiencing as clearly as you can, and making specific requests without engaging in blame or making demands can be amazingly effective,” she says.
She further advises that jealousy, instead of being seen as a sign of weakness, is actually a sign that your relationship could be in need of help. “For example, jealousy can be a message that your relation is changing. Rather than fearing the changes and struggling against them, jealousy can instead be a message to surrender to change, and trust that if you set her free, she’ll return if she truly belongs with you. Or jealousy could be bringing your attention to your own fear of abandonment, showing you that if you fail to address the source of this fear in yourself, you may indeed drive your partner away. There are many messages jealousy can bring, and the more willing and able you are to hear them, the greater the possibility for polyamory without tears,” she concludes.
Is open dating a good idea? Share your thoughts!
Originally posted on Destinyman.com
SOURCES: Psychology Today, AskMen, OpenMinded.com