What the Rise in ‘Open Marriages’ Tells Us About Happiness

Shed of its outdated 'swingers' stigma, nonmonogamy is gaining in popularity.

May 11, 2017 11:58 am
Open Marriages: Are They the 'New Monogamy'?
(George Marks/Retrofile/Getty Images)

More and more people now have open marriages, ones in which both partners can have sexual relationships with others besides their spouses. The New York Times recently shined a spotlight on this trend, which is as much about cementing the lasting love of one’s original romantic partnership as it is about rekindling passion and romance.

The Times quotes sex and couples therapist Tammy Nelson, who refers to open marriages as “the new monogamy,” or “the recognition that, for an increasing number of couples, marital attachment involves a more fluid idea of connection to the primary partner than is true of the ‘old monogamy.’” For example, a husband knows that his wife is his “one and only,” but that outside lovers can be had, as long as they don’t affect that relationship he has with his wife—the most important cog in the wheel.

The phrase “open marriage” dates back to the early ’70s and a book by Nena and George O’Neill called Open Marriage: A New Life Style for Couples. This concept has given way to a newer version known as “nonmonogamy,” something that syndicated columnist Dan Savage has championed. Even dating sites like OKCupid allow users to identify themselves as nonmonogamous.

The Times goes into greater depth on the subject, interviewing couples who have experimented with it and how it has helped them achieve marital happiness. Read more about it here.

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