Open Marriages – Are You Just Afraid They Will Cheat Anyway?

An Open Marriage is defined as: A marriage relationship where the husband and wife have no reservations about one another being sexually involved with other people.

Which makes me raise my eyebrow and say hmmm…why is it even called a marriage then?

Monique is the newest hot topic when it comes to open marriages. In a Barbara Walter’s Oscar Night Special Monique talks about her role as Mary Jones in the movie Precious and how she was so able to closely relate to her character as an abusive mother due to the abuse she suffered at the hands of her older brother during her childhood. Concerning the openness of her marriage, Monique explained to Walters  that cheating is not a deal breaker for her and her husband Sidney Hicks. The comedian/actresses says that she has not had sex outside of her marriage with Sidney…but she could and Sidney could also have sex outside of their marriage…for them cheating does not mean that the marriage has to end. Monique even goes on to say that even if he were to have numerous flings, that does not mean she would automatically call it quits.

Watch the interview here —> Monique Talks w/Barbara Walters about her Open Marriage

Monique and Sidney have been added to the list of Hollywood couples who have admitted that they have open marriages. This list also includes Will & Jada Pinkett who went on the defensive after they caught the backlash of admitting to their open marriage.

The main question I have for people who commit to the married life, but allow outside sexual relationships  is this: Why get married in the first place? Why marry someone if it is okay to see other people. I thought the point of getting married was vowing to be with this one person till death do you part. To love them and cherish them and forsake all others. But I guess when it comes to open marriages staying faithful isn’t as important as sticking with your spouse through thick and thin, which may mean various affairs, numerous partners and whatever else comes along with this acceptable package called “open marriage.”

In my opinion allowing your spouse to have sexual relationships outside of the marriage is a clear sign that either you feel that they will cheat anyway so you would rather know and accept it or be surprised…and accept it?? OR one or both parties know that they cannot commit to being faithful in the relationship so they decide that seeing other people is not a deal breaker. If it happens it happens since I, you or we have not or will not commit to being faithful.

Personally I have two words (well one word lol) that sums up Open Marriages in a nutshell. That word is BULLSHIT.

If you feel that yourself or your mate is not capable or willing to commit to living the rest of their life with you without committing adultery maybe you shouldn’t get married. Why not just date? Why enter into a marriage (which plainly states one man and one woman) when you are going to cheat or give your partner a permission slip to cheat.

By the way, is it even considered cheating when the outside sexual affair is done by a person involved in an open marriage? If you have permission to do something, I would assume that if you go out and do it (or from the mouth of Monique do it NUMEROUS times) it isn’t cheating. I would assume in the eyes of a person who allows their husband/wife to sleep with other people it is just that…sex. 

I am still finding it hard to understand why people are getting married and saying that adultery is acceptable. Adultery should not be an acceptable portion of the marriage package.  Maybe I am just old-fashioned, but I thought marriage meant NO sex outside the committed relationship between husband and wife. Not as much sex; when, where and how you would like it while you are married? Like I said, I’m confused because saying you have an open marriage is like saying that you will accept anything your spouse dishes out and that even though you may not like it you accept it because humans are sexual creatures and shouldn’t be limited to one sexual partner. Ok well if that is the case and you can accept infidelity, do you have any limits on what you will accept. If you have no problem admitting that adultery is not a deal breaker is abuse a deal breaker? Is abandonment a deal breaker?  What actually can you call foul on in your marriage if you okay adultery? What limits and boundaries can you set if you allow the line to be crossed on the most important and private boundary of all which is the committment between a husband and wife?

In the end I think it comes down to this simple statement- They accept it because they feel like they have to. Either I accept you cheating or I don’t accept you cheating and you do it anyway. And if that is the case I say to these people…let’s take marriage seriously. To so many people marriage is just a joke. Something you jump into because of your lust and jump out of because of your change of heart. Entering into an open marriage is just another example of how less of value people have for marriage these days.


40 thoughts on “Open Marriages – Are You Just Afraid They Will Cheat Anyway?”

  1. This is so true!! What dummy came up with the term “open marriage?” Not to get all Biblical but the word says, “a man who finds a wife, has found a good thing, therefore the Lord is pleased!” The key word is “a!!!!” Only one significant person should you give yourself to. If you want more sexual experiences, STAY SINGLE and sleep with whomever you choose!


  2. I agree totally. Although I prefer to approach it from a common sense perspective, rather than a religious one. I find it odd to use a bible quote to justify one aspect (god likes married couples) but then throw out other rules (if you don’t like it, have sex without getting married to begin with; a no-no anyway). But even without getting into a debate on religious interpretations, I find that human nature and the biological necessity most of us have in keeping a mate may cause us to agree with compromises we may secretly not agree with, and so making exactly what is going on here a reality.


  3. In this day and age where sex can be fatal, people are stupid to sleep around… regardless of whether their significant other doesn’t disapprove of it. People really are disgusting with their behavior these days. Anything goes.


  4. To a lot of people open marriage is more than just a sexual fulfillment. Why do we get married if we still want to be with other people? Some of us get married and don’t realize that we think that way. It comes later in life. And we are only lucky enough to be with a spouse who feels the same way. Rather than require my spouse to be every part of my happiness in a relationship my spouse can be himself without having to change anything to make me happy. Whatever I lack in a marriage I can go find from somewhere else and still be able to grow old with the man who makes me the happiest.

    Think of it this way. If you ate at Denny’s one day and decided it was really great and thought “I will go to Denny’s for the rest of my life” and then you got a little bored with Denny’s but the food was still good and made you smile, wouldn’t it be nice if you could go try some other restaurants to spice things up and make you enjoy trying new restaurants again? You wouldn’t want to eat at Denny’s every day for the rest of your life.

    I want to grow old with my husband but I want to experience everything life has to offer as well, with him by my side. And that means we both find it ok to have feelings for more than one person in our life. And we feel it’s ok to not need to ask our partner to change to meet our needs.


  5. Thanks Laila, Trickydadian, Lefthandr, Robin & Openmarriagelife for stopping by and commenting.

    @ Laila I totally agree if you want to be able to sleep with more than one person stay single…it defeats the purpose of getting married when you choose to do otherwise and then say that your marriage is “open” and that behavior is acceptable.

    @Openmarriage Life I agree that many of the couples who choose to allow this openness in their marriage didn’t go into the marriage with this idea, but I wonder if these same ppl took vows before God (yourself included) and if these vows had any religious reference to them. You stated that you want to grow old with your husband but you also want to experience everything life has to offer-can’t you do that with your husband, the one you vowed to be with till death do you part and to be with HIM ONLY?

    What I believe is that many ppl who choose to have this openness in their marriage are not willing to be dedicated to one person. They want their cake and eat it too and open marriages allow them to do so with an agreement between both people. To each his or her own, but open marriages in my opinion defeat the purpose to being married.


  6. Wow. So a spouse is now comparable to a restaurant… and Denny’s, of all places. Please. No one vows to God that they’ll eat at a single restaurant. People find ways to twist everything to attempt to justify their questionable behaviors & desires.

    Stop desecrating the institution of marriage with your base, primal bonobo chimpanzee behavior. If you want to sleep around, don’t call your open relationship “marriage”.


  7. Why in the world does God have to dictate with what a couple decides to do within the confines of their marriage? And better yet why is society worked up about it?
    My Marriage vow’s stated nothing about god and I do not believe in a higher power. This is my one life to live and dammit I will not spend it miserable due social stigmas.

    Those of you tossing the bible around should really read further and notice how many men in there have multiple wives. Your sacred book has adultery written all thru it.

    On another note, why does an Open Marriage bring up just adultery? There is way more to that then sex. You look at your spouse or lover and tell them you really don’t like some technique they do, or that you find some person at your work place hot. That opens a can of worms that will bring on mistrust, more lies, and jealousies.
    Open marriage means just that! I can tell my husband his foreplay is horrible and he is ok with it. He can tell me that he finds my girlfriend hot, I am ok with that too. We can tell each other things that we never dared before. That is what Open marriage is about. Communication.
    If you can’t talk to your spouse about everything then you don’t have a marriage. You are in a confinement.


  8. Though many in the black community may not admit it. most african american marriages of late are technically open marriages. How many couples have you heard of in which the husband ( or wife for that matter ) are continuously unfaithful and the signficant other knows about it? It’s all too common. I think that there are women who believe the man will cheat in any circumstance no matter how controlled the situation so it’s in their best interest to keep the marriage going. It seems as if infidelity is no longer a major issue in the african-american household. It’s not that much different from those who have publically deemed their marriages “open”. Trust is a major contributing factor in the longevity of marriage. So the general concensus of late is that he or she will cheat so why not prepare oneself for that eventuality. Yes I know it’s a twisted concept. But in order to maintain trust you eliminate the one thing in which trust is difficult to be gained. That thing being infidelity and you establish for yourself an open relationship or marriage which leaves no room for mistrust because infidelity is no longer a factor. It’s like saying “Great!! I can trust him now because i’ve allowed him to go outside the confines of this institution we call marriage to sow his royal oats (so to speak)”. But the question is? are you really ever happy ? A lot of it also is the result of religious upbringing how many pastors have admonished their congregation to work thru the issue of adultery. I think that here in 2010 we just put our own spin on the aforementioned and decided to reinvent the institution of Marriage as it stands.


  9. @Black Girl Thinking
    I kinda think that there is always one individual in an open marriage who will remain unhappy with the decision. these women may put on the game face for the public but in truth one cannot be happy knowing that you are simply not enough to sate your partners needs emotionally and physically. It has to have some sort of detrimental effect on one or both parties involved which does not make for a healthy relationship between the 2. I think that people who ultimately get involved in open “marriages” have the best of intentions in keeping relationship “healthy”. But often achieve the opposite effect.


  10. Meisha- Have you read any of Honey B’s work? A gorgeous black woman that writes about relationships in its rawest form. How everyone deals with adultry and sexuality in multiple ways. Her writing is sexy, racy and hardcore to the point. Single Husbands is a favorite of mine! Check her out!


  11. For those of you on here quoting the Bible as househo states there were many men in there who had multiple wives. David, Solomon, Sarah gave Abraham her maidservant Hagar, and the list goes on. So where is the term monogamy brought up? I have been in an open marriage for two years now and felt it was unrealistice to expect my husband to fulfill all my needs. And look at the rest of the relationships in our lives, we have more than one. More than one parent, more than one grandparent, most of us have more than one child, most of us have more than one sibling and the list continues. So why should we have only one lover just because of a piece a paper that society requires us to have?


  12. I’ve been in a successful open marriage for 13 years and my husband and I are closer than ever. We love each other for who we are, exactly as we are. We aren’t threatened by our choices to experience physical pleasure with others because it doesn’t have any impact on our feelings for each other. Our marriage is based on respect and accepting and loving each other exactly as we are, with no need to change anything about the other. There are no lies or mistrust in our relationship. We love knowing, in these days of easy divorce, that we CHOOSE to be with each other. And it’s an incredibly liberating feeling that, from all the people we’ve met along the way, there is no one either of us would choose to be with instead.

    Rigid morality was necessary, perhaps, at one time in human evolution. I feel it was more manipulation by those in control to keep the peons in line, but that’s just me. (Isn’t it funny that the very leaders enforcing a strict morality didn’t seem to have much success or desire to maintain this strict morality for themselves?)

    My marriage is not a social construct that’s meant to fit in for the appeasement of society. My marriage is a wonderful adventure with my husband and we choose to pursue joy together. Our only agreements are to each other and we choose not to limit each other in any way.


  13. Here’s my take. If you think open marriage is bullshit or that one spouse is being ‘forced’ into making that decision because they feel their spouse will cheat on them anyway, THOSe are situations where I feel that particular couple should probably NOT be in an open marriage. My husband and I have been married for 30 years, are immensely in love with each other and share an outrageously spice-filled and satisfying sexual life together. AND we choose to share some of that spice with chosen people, with open and honest discussion in advance, with planned ‘dates’ and with safer sexual encounters (condoms a must!). Our marriage is not lacking in trust, committment, spice and the WOW factor in the least. In fact, having had other lovers I realize that my husband is ever more phenomenal than I believed when I first married him. The sex we have outside of our marriage makes it that much more incredible when have sex with each other. We like to share and we like to be sexual. It’s not something that we’re obsessive about but when time allows and we don’t already have plans with each other, we feel it’s perfectly fine in OUR relationship to have fun with our special friends. I truely believe goood sex can not only be exercise (I’m talking hours of fun here) but can bring youthful energy and keep you young as well (we both look 20 years younger than our peers). An open marriage is definitely not for every couple. If you can’t be honest, extremely honest, with them as it stands, add and open lifestyle to that and it spells disaster! My hisband and I adore each other and love it when the other finds sexual fullfillment too – even if it’s not with us that afternoon. We think there is plenty of room in our lives for happiness with each other, fun with others and a rich a fulfilling work life and home life filled with many varied interests. Those who think this is about keeping the other from cheating, being a rug to be walked on, or whatever – whew, something terribly damaging has happened to them in the past and they probably need to do a lot of healing. The negative stuff that’s been said in earlier posts about open marriage, well, that’s just not applicable in our situation. Our 30-year marriage and terrifically satisfying relationship is just proof of that. You can make your own assumptions or choices. WE will keep doing what works for us!! Happy day to all of you!


  14. @Meshia
    I totally disagree with this because women have this silly fairy tale scenarios pounded into their heads that prince charming will sweep them off their feet. He’d be perfect in every way and that “Happily ever after” will be the end result.
    Once you wake up from that nightmare, you realise your princecharming isn’t all that perfect and neither are you. Happily ever after turns into sexless nights and looking for that outlet to make you feel alive again.
    These things happen over a period of time and as a woman I found that I wanted more then what my husband could provide for me sexually.
    Both of us understood my need and that was all that was the issue. Expecting my man to be everything and more in this relationship is rediculous and unattainable. Making small modifications with our marriage has made us both happier. And it works.


  15. Thanks to all who commented on this post. I am now working on Part II. Hopefully you will stop by to read it.

    I found the comments very interesing and I was glad to see comments from people who are actually involved in open marriages.

    Please check back for Part II


  16. @ Deanna. In reponse to the last statement in your comment. “So why should we have only one lover just because of a piece a paper that society requires us to have?”

    Society does not REQUIRE you to get married. YOu can live single as long as you like. So why feel the need to marry when you don’t feel the need to be faithful in a marriage. If to you the piece of paper is just that, a piece of paper don’t get the marriage license. Live and love who you want and bypass the marriage.


  17. I feel sick reading this ish! Ther is nothing clean or sacred about marriage to people anymore. I won’t judge people cause some don’t even believe in God.which a person like that aint worth debating with.regardless of religion marriage means commitment.if that’s not what you want its common sense to stay single.why get married to get life insuranc or money when your spouse dies that’s all I can see.yes sometimes marriage has a mate who will commit adulery why cause no one is perfect and its up to that spouse to forgive or leave.and that says that person was not Ready to marry.bottom line we live in a sick world and nothing suprises me people accept anything.married couples accepting there mate with the same sex outside marriage.its all sick!


  18. If I had to do it all over again I would not have gotten married. Unfortunately in my twenties my focus was on finding that one man and getting married. Now that I know what I do I would do it all differently I would only live with my husband, would never have married him. And I tried doing what I felt was the right thing by approaching my husband for a divorce. He did not want me to leave and was the one who suggested the open marriage. So I took him up on it. I have now decided with my daughter I am going to be open with her about relationships and not sugar coat it for her like it was done for me. If she never gets married I am fine with it. If she only wants to live with a guy, again that is her decision. If she wants to have a relationship with a woman, again her decision. I am not going to pressure her to conform to society’s norms, I want her to do her own thing as long as it does not hurt anyone else. I was raised in a christian home and so was my husband and we both did what was expected of us. We both now have decided we are not going to live that way anymore and we are not going to raise our daughter that way either.


  19. Again let’s forget about the religion part of it.if its not comitment that you are in your marriage.people why are you married!


  20. @ V– I am committed to my husband and would marrying him all over again! I just don’t expect him to satisfy my every need. No one out there can provide that for another person. Its impossible and those that disagree are full of it. You sound bitter and stuck on something that does not work for the majority. You look at marriage your way and we will look at it ours. Who’s the happiest? We sure are.


  21. Well I been with my husband 11 years and if I didn’t feel what he offers could satisfy me I wouldn’t be married and I am damn well happy!experiencing all diffrent sex partners don’t define satisfaction or happiness for me. And I will be glad when a real person just say you just wanted the benefits of marriage not the life style. You don’t have to get married to be with someone forever. If you think your spouse can’t please you stay single like the other freaks.wrong is wrong whether cheatin knowingly or not knowing! To each its own but you take all the clean sacred part out of marriage. Which is why so many don’t get married. And to teach your kids this stuff is even crazy. The kids in this generation has it hard. No real ro models soon people will be screwing ìn the open that’s next!this world is getting sadder and sadder! Yes after being together awhile as human you suppose to spice it up find ways to please eachother again!not screw tom dick and harry for people are hilarious!


  22. So if marriage is suppose to be between one man and one woman, please explain to me King David and King Solomon who both had multiple wives and both men of God? For those of you who say it is a moral issue than what about those men?


  23. @Deanna the Bible gives us a guide for life which includes examples of right AND wrong. Also you must take into account that many things that took place in the bible were eventually JUDGED.

    You seem to know quite a bit about the bible, which makes me wonder why you are justifying living such a sinful, immoral life?


  24. I am a soon to be married woman, and I have waited, not for prince charming, but for my best friend. I do have a strong faith in God and I do believe in the sanctity of marriage. I also believe that no man can fulfill every desire or need that I have. No man ever can, wether it’s in or out of marriage. I believe that only God can do that. I feel that people have such low expectations of marriage these days. As if we are doomed to cheat, when, as one commenter stated previously, you CHOOSE to be with someone. You can also CHOOSE to stay faithful physically, just as you CHOOSE to continue to love someone one and stay married even when they drive you nuts, even when they hurt you. I am learning to assume the best about my spouse, not the worst, because I want him to assume the best about me. That is why I choose to love him physically, spiritually, emotionally and mentally with the best of my abilities and God’s grace.


  25. Wow, I’ve never read such uninformed drivel. It displays a profound ignorance of biology, sociology, psychology, and history. It is a VERY recent development to link sexual exclusivity with marriage.

    First, cheating is not “having sex outside your marriage.” Cheating is failing to abide by the rules you and your partner have agreed on. Most people agree on monogamy and therefore sex with someone other than your partner in those relationships is cheating. If your agreement says you can have sex with someone else as long as there’s no spooning afterwards, then you’ve cheated when you spoon your lover post-coitus, not simply because you’ve had sex with someone else. What about this is so effing difficult or people to understand? Given this immature and frighteningly ignorant approach to understanding relationships it’s no wonder so many end badly.

    It reminds me of a quote: “Love is an ideal thing, marriage a real thing; a confusion of the real with the ideal never goes unpunished.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


  26. Thanks Nick for stopping by.

    I would like to ask you a question. When it comes to these marriages you speak of where there are agreements that they can have sex with other people, what else is included in these vows? I find it very odd and unlikely that two people would stand before a minister or whoever is to marry them (possibly in a church) and vow to love one another and stay together forever with a revision to the vows that states that they can see/sleep with other people?

    So how exactly do two people enter into a marriage, yet not consider sleeping with people outside of the marriage cheating?

    It appals me how people have twisted and degraded the sacredness of marriage by adding vows that basically say I do not take marriage seriously.


  27. @BGT- Can you show me where in marriage vows that it is written that two people pledge to be monogamous to one another for the rest of their lives?
    Open Marriages usually occurr after the fact of saying “I DO” – you keep pounding away at that one point. Its ignorant. You are talking about a social unwritten rule that you have been programmed to obey and live by.
    Relationships are all about compromises, comfort and growth. Our happiness has nothing to do with your closeminded,society driven views. If you are not willing to do any of those with a person you decide to share your life with then you will be alone for the rest of your life.


  28. I would also like to pose this question. If two people who are involved in an open marriage decide to divorce and the divorce gets ugly and one decides to say the other committed adultery is it not considered adultery since at some point the two agreed to an open marriage? Legally isn’t that still considered adultery?


  29. @BGT
    First, to dispense with your last question: Legally adultery doesn’t matter because all fifty states have no fault divorce.

    I apologize for being so harsh in my first comment. I had a bad day and was feeling cranky, particularly when responding to something that I saw as simultaneously condescending and uninformed. I’m usually more patient, really.

    There are two problems with your post and follow-up comments. The principle error you make is when you assume “marriage” is any single thing. Marriage means very different things to different people. This is true when you look at marriage in different cultures, if you look at marriage in different socioeconomic classes, and if you look at marriage in different couples. The second error you make is to cast different agreements in terms of morality. When you write:

    Black Girl Thinking :
    It has become very clear to me that what those of us who have morals consider marriage is very different then what you people “consider marriage”

    you are holding your view of marriage to be morally superior than any other view. This is condescending bullshit.

    You read as if you don’t know even the basics of the history of marriage in western civilization. Worse, you read as if you’re unaware of contemporary marriage practices in your own country. I can recommend a few books that might help you learn more about marriage and its history.

    I understand the fact that others can and do choose to have marriage arrangements different from your own is challenging to your notions of what marriage means, and your first reaction is to criticize those marriages as somehow being less than or immoral. But where do you get your sense of morals? (And before you say “the bible” read it and tell me exactly how many wives and concubines your husband plans to keep.) Our morals are culturally proscribed, informed to some extent by our religious beliefs (less than you think), our parents, and our peers. This is why acceptance of gay marriage increases when someone knows a gay couple. When we see that Bob and Charles or Mary and Carla are decent, upstanding people whose only difference between you and me is who they’re attracted to and have chosen to share their lives with, we have a harder time seeing their commitment as “wrong.”

    As for sexual expression, you’re quite wrong here as well (sorry, I don’t know how else to put it). The idea that a primary purpose of marriage is to form a monogamous sexual relationship is very recent (think “last 50 years” recent). And this idea is quite simply a fantasy. Lifelong sexual monogamy is not natural, and because of that it is very hard to achieve. Almost no other species does it – not primates, not birds, and not even prairie voles (my how we’ve fallen, once indignant at being compared to chimps we now seek out a field rodent as a model for our sexuality).

    The range of sexual expression in people is vast. Some are asexual, some are highly libidinous. Some like it plain, some like it with a dash of fantasy, some like it to encompass their life. And these people enter into marriages with one another. If they’re smart, they’ll find out if they are sexually compatible before making that commitment. But even full disclosure up front is no guarantee of marital bliss – people change over the course of a marriage. After fifteen years of marriage we are different people than when we first entered the union. Our sexual interests and expression also change.

    People should decide for themselves what form of sexual agreement they want for their marriages. They should do it mutually and without coercion or under duress or threat. And if they discover their agreement isn’t working for them, they are free to renegotiate it (whether it’s opening up a monogamous relationship or closing a non-monogamous relationship). Sometimes as things change over time, one partner wants an agreement the other partner doesn’t feel capable of doing. This introduces stress into the relationship and sometimes the sexual incompatibility is enough to precipitate a break up. This is hard enough as it is, with only two people placing their desires and non-negotiables on the table. They don’t need you and I to tell them how often, what kind, and with whom they should be having sex in their marriage.


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