Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Let’s Talk Open Relationships

open relationship

While I was in Chicago last weekend, I caught up with a friend I hadn’t seen in a year or two. We talked about the usual — work, family, pets, our hair, and our love lives (although as an old married, there’s not much for me to catch people up on — still married, still happy, still annoyed that he balls up his socks when he throws them in the hamper, yada yada). My friend told me she’d been dating a guy for the last year who just ended their relationship a few weeks earlier.

“He was in an open relationship,” she said, “but I wasn’t.”

“Wait, what?” I said, confused.

“He was in an open relationship with another woman and I was his main girlfriend on the side,” she explained. “So, he obviously saw other people, but I didn’t.”

“Wow,” I replied, “How did that work exactly?”

She told me that in addition to his long-term relationship with his partner, he also dated my friend, whom he considered his “main girlfriend.” As if two women weren’t enough to juggle, he also saw other women on top of that. I asked her what constituted “main girlfriend” — like, how was she different from the other women he saw outside his long-term relationship.

“We ate meals together,” she said. “He would come over and we’d cook together and he’d hang out at my place for a while. With the other women, it’s just sex.”

For the record, she didn’t like this arrangement. She’d prefer to have a man she didn’t share with anyone, let alone numerous people. She’d prefer to be in a monogamous relationship with someone who was in a monogamous relationship with her. But, for whatever reason, she accepted that this guy was not monogamous and that, if she wanted to be with him, she was going to be one of several women he dated and had sex with.

“It was demoralizing,” she admitted.

“Was he younger?” I asked. My friend is pushing 40, and I had a feeling her recent ex was not. She said he was 27 and that she’d noticed that this sort of open relationship lifestyle was becoming more and more common among the under-30 set.

“Why do you think that is?” she asked.

I thought about it for a minute and then theorized that the younger generation is used to having many, many options and they don’t want or feel like they should limit those options. The internet has made it possible to work remotely, meet people without leaving home, and even “date” someone who lives in another country. People — especially women — are better educated than they were even twenty years ago. These things have brought more opportunities and more options. Plus, people are delaying marriage and parenthood. Some even argue that millennials don’t feel the need to marry at all. In short, people are available for more relationships, have more accessibility to potential partners, and are coming of age in a social climate that more readily accepts the kinds of lifestyle they are opting for (open relationships, delay of marriage, online dating, hookup culture, etc., etc.).

What do you guys think about this theory? Are you a young person (under 30) in an open relationship or are you noticing more young people in open relationships than generations before? Would you date someone who was in an open relationship with someone else?

57 comments… add one
  • TECH July 29, 2014, 1:11 pm

    I find it hard enough to find one decent person to date, let alone the idea of juggling multiple people at the same time.
    It boggles my mind, and I’m in the under 30 set.

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  • Erica July 29, 2014, 1:20 pm

    I agree with Tech. I had a hard enough time finding one person. How would I handle multiple people and still get anything done? My poor cats would be oh so lonely.
    I know people who have been in open relationships but it was always casual and wasn’t meant to last. In theory, I know it happens between two committed people but I have not seen it personally.

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    • TECH July 29, 2014, 1:32 pm

      Right?! And if you’re in three relationships at one time, how do you have time for anything? How could you juggle work, family, friendships, developing your own hobbies and interests, and then add three relationships on top of that? Never mind time for the mundane stuff in life like grocery shopping and just all the day to day stuff people have to do.
      It seems like you’d just have three people who were all simultaneously dissatisfied with you because you didn’t have enough time for them.

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      • Portia July 29, 2014, 3:11 pm

        Yeah, I don’t know how people do it either. I understand that it works for other people, either sexually or emotionally or both, but I have never had an interest in it. Even in the few periods of my life when I was dating more than one person at a time, the goal for me was finding one. I barely had an interest in dating more than one person at the same time to begin with.
        The first time Bassanio heard about a friend who was involved with a guy in an open relationship, it boggled his mind. His reasoning on why he wouldn’t want an open relationship was just like all of yours, that it takes enough energy keeping up one good relationship much less multiples. We talked about it and at least at the end we came to the conclusion that it might work for some people but not for us, which I am very happy with.

      • Andi March 30, 2020, 12:22 pm

        Well, I am under Thirty. I am 24. And honestly I am for open relationship. I love my girlfriend but I am in working a female dominated job meaning that they are a lot of women around me. I am friendly, fun and where I live I exotic. Sure it’s time consuming but, you can make it all work if you have got a time table. Really easy. I have got date nights with my girlfriend 4 times a week plus we live together. And I’ve also got three days when I am allowed to be “Open”. I believe we all have out own eccentricities and we are allowed to have them. Fetishes are allowed, and why not an open relationship?

  • gigi July 29, 2014, 1:40 pm

    I agree with Tech & Erica, it takes too much time & energy for more than one relationship. I am emotionally monogomous, even if not physically.

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  • kerrycontrary July 29, 2014, 1:40 pm

    I don’t know anyone whose in an open or polyamourous relationship, and I actually never have. And it’s not like I haven’t been exposed to different types of people in my life. So no, I don’t think this is becoming more common. I’m not even convinced hookup culture is even more common than it was 10-20 years ago. I could juggle dating 2 guys (probably casually seeing 3-4), but I could not juggle more than 1 serious relationship at a time.

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    • Cassie July 29, 2014, 3:28 pm

      I wonder if it really is more common or if it is just more talked about?

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    • zombeyonce July 30, 2014, 11:29 am

      It’s very possible that you DO know someone in an open or poly relationship but don’t know it.
      My husband and I have had an open relationship almost from the beginning, but only a few of our friends know about it, and none of our family. It can be a very private thing and, while I wish it were more accepted and not judged so harshly by so many, the fact of the matter is that it telling everyone about it could negatively affect us personally and possibly even professionally.

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  • BecBoo84 July 29, 2014, 1:55 pm

    I’m in the under 30 crowd, but I’ve been married for 7.5 years and have two little kids, and most of my friends probably fall in the more traditional category when it comes to relationships. However, we do have these neighbors who I think have open marriage. They have 8 kids 10 and under, and then frequently play with my kiddos (almost 6 and 17 months). There’s definitely the main couple who are the biological parents of at least all the older kids, but there’s also this man who is frequently there when the dad is gone, and I think might be the biological father of at least some of the younger kid (6 weeks, 17 months, 2.5 years, and almost 4). I know I totally shouldn’t care because it’s none of my business, but I can’t help being a little curious. The kids refer to him as their mom’s friend or a babysitter. The main couple is in their mid-30s and met during law school.

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    • zombeyonce July 30, 2014, 11:30 am

      Holy crap, 8 kids under 10?! I would wonder how they have time to see other people, but if those other people are helping care for the kids then a poly relationship certainly sounds useful in that case.

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  • Firestar July 29, 2014, 1:57 pm

    I’m over 30 and I agree – this isn’t common among my friend circle….at least not when the dating/getting to know you portion of events is over and people generally sign on to being committed or they move on. It’s a little sad your friend didn’t like the open arrangement but signed on to it anyway. And if he ended it then never got to the stage where being true to herself was more important than being with the guy. It’s good he was honest with what the deal was – but I can’t imagine staying in that type of situation – when it wasn’t my vibe – for a whole year (or a whole day truthfully). Hopefully, she can go on to find someone on the same page as her now.

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    • Dear Wendy July 29, 2014, 2:51 pm

      I agree. She’s a fucking awesome woman and deserves a man who can and will want to give her the relationship she desires!

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  • Jennylou July 29, 2014, 2:05 pm

    I’m also in the under-30 crowd (for just a few more months!), and I know two couples in my social group who have open marriages. One couple always seems to be unhappy and teetering on the edge of divorce; the other couple always seems happy and stable. I don’t know what to think of it, and don’t really think it’s my place to judge it – except that it’s not for me; I wouldn’t be happy in an open relationship.

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    • zombeyonce July 30, 2014, 11:55 am

      I am in an open marriage and have a friend also in one. My husband and I are super happy and I consider us very stable. My friend and her husband seem to have opened up their relationship because they had a hard time not cheating on each other and it seemed like a good solution to them. It is kind of sad to me, but they are coming to terms with it and seem to be finding their way back to each other now while keeping it open.
      I think the problem is when people open up their relationship to try and fix a serious problem between the two of them, rather than it being a nice add-on to an already-happy relationship. That often leads to disaster.

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  • possumgirl July 29, 2014, 2:05 pm

    Oddly, all of the polyamorous couples that I know are all over 40, but I live in the SF Bay Area and it’s more of a thing here. From the outside, all of these couples spend all of their time on their polyamory. It’s their biggest, and sometimes only, hobby. They might have a dog or grown children, but in the whole, it’s their biggest focus and interest. Perhaps it’s more noticeable since it’s an unusual hobby, but I don’t think so. It appears to be something that you have to want to spend a majority of your time involved with.

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  • Meg July 29, 2014, 2:18 pm

    I’ll bite. I’m just under 30, and fairly recently married. We’re definitely not completely open, but like Dan Savage’s term “monogamish.” Basically, my husband is my first priority (and I his), but we’re not necessarily beholden to sexual exclusivity. We’ve done a little experimenting (always together, so far) when the opportunity presented itself, and we plan to do more of that in the future- but it’s always been purely physical/platonic, not romantic if that makes sense.

    I think part of the reason it might be more common with younger folks is that we came of age in an era where words like “monogamish” existed- so there’s less shame in broaching the topic with a partner. There’s also less squeamishness about being perceived as gay if participating in a 3-way. Plus, it’s complicated- and maybe more work than it’s worth with kids around. If you’re barely making time for a date night, extracurricular activities might not be a high priority.

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    • Nookie July 30, 2014, 4:25 am

      That’s what I thought Meg, maybe it’s not a case of it being more common but being more openly discussed thanks in no small part to Mr Dan Savage. It doesn’t have the stigma it once had and if it works for you guys, then I think it’s fantastic! As long as you always put each other first, what’s the harm in having some sexual adventures right?

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    • camille905 July 30, 2014, 10:14 am

      I’m almost 31 and my husband is 33 and we’re monogamish. I’ve known more people in open and poly relationships than he has but he’s very open minded. The people I’ve known have ranged in age from 20’s to 50’s. Our agreement is that I can sleep with other women if he’s there though I can get to know them on my own (i.e. dating/hanging out). He has voyeuristic inclinations he would like to explore and that I would like to help him explore. There’s only been one person we’ve actively pursued and while it hasn’t lead anywhere (yet), it’s been interesting. It definitely involves a lot of open and honest communication.

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  • peachy July 29, 2014, 2:18 pm

    The couple I know who are married and in an open relationship met in an S&M dungeon. She identifies herself as lesbian, he is straight, but the connection/shared activities was very strong and they married about 10 years ago in black and white tuxedos with relatives in attendance, the whole nine yards. She had a girlfriend on the side, he had a “second wife” in another city whom he went to see quite a bit and she eventually became involved with a gay man also from the S&M scene. So they’re together yet separate and clearly the power play is a key element in forging relationships in their world… couldn’t tell you if they think they’re happy (together) or not, but she always seems quite chipper coming in to work with long sleeves to hide the latest bruises…

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  • AKchic July 29, 2014, 2:33 pm

    My marriage is semi-open. We are both agreeable to seeing other women, whether separately or as a couple, but no other men are allowed in the relationship.

    However, my SO is monogamous and hasn’t availed himself of this “perk” in our relationship. He says he’s too lazy to do the dating thing again. Me, I see a couple of women a few times a year. Close, long-term relationships that have been established long before he ever came “on scene”.
    I’m waiting for the day he brings home another woman. I think it would be great, and hey, who knows – maybe we’ll share. *laugh*

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    • Dear Wendy July 29, 2014, 2:53 pm

      One day, I would like to get a drink with you and just listen to some of your many stories.

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      • Addie Pray July 29, 2014, 10:30 pm

        and i want to face-time you while you do that.

    • tbrucemom July 29, 2014, 9:21 pm

      I’m not going to pretend to understand any of this, but I have to ask. Why no other men? That doesn’t seem fair. What if your husband wanted to be with a man or you wanted to be with another man?

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      • zombeyonce July 30, 2014, 12:25 pm

        That’s the thing about open relationships: they aren’t fair. Trying to make them fair just makes it miserable for everyone involved. A couple has to figure out what works for them. AKchic may not be super interested in men besides her husband or maybe it was tried and causes too many jealousy issues. There could be many reasons.
        Trying to have an open relationship based on a “tit for tat” kind of fairness seems to always implode it, and sometimes even the entire relationship. If my husband only let me see other people at the same rate he saw other people, I’d probably be frustrated and he’d feel way too controlling. It’s far simpler for women to find partners than men (especially when a man is as picky as my husband gets).

      • camille905 July 31, 2014, 9:21 am

        That’s how it is for me- I’m not really interested in men other than my husband. I really struggled with the “fair” factor and finally decided what zombeyonce said above- a couple has to figure out what works for them.

  • csp July 29, 2014, 2:35 pm

    So, I find social circles very interesting. And I do believe in that like attracts like thing. So this might be way more common within people who are still single where others self selected out of the dating pool. It also could be that people who are polyamorous are more likely to reach out to date because they like juggling a bunch of people.

    I just don’t know anyone who is in an open relationship or at least has ever admitted it. But that might just be because my social circle is like me. For example, I dated a guy briefly who said, “most people I know were sexually abused as a child.” I was like Most? really? But that is who he hung around with. Or for me, all my close friends have parents who are still together. I think that is weird. But in most groups of friends, you see patterns.

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    • ktfran July 29, 2014, 2:58 pm

      It’s so true, about who you hang out with. I would say most of my friends have parents that are still together. I also mostly date men whose parents are still together. It’s not even a conscious decision. It just happens. I will say that my very best friend entire world, she’s like a sister, comes from a “broken” home and lived unconventionally, i.e., would bounce to aunts and uncles houses, when I met her.

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  • Crochet.Ninja July 29, 2014, 1:46 pm

    I do know someone that has been in a poly/open relationship, though it was strained in later years due to medical issues etc. up until then though, they had many partners, but shared most of the time. all open and loving.

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  • Christy July 29, 2014, 2:55 pm

    I’d consider it. Gf and I are currently monogamous, but that door hasn’t been closed forever, you know? It’s a thing that’s potentially on the table. (We’d do open, not poly. Poly sounds like so much emotional work.)

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    • zombeyonce July 30, 2014, 12:32 pm

      I agree that poly is tons of work. I’m in an open marriage and poly is way off the table for us. People say that an open relationship takes tons of time, but I don’t find that to be the case. A poly relationship, however, would take up all my free time. I wouldn’t want to do serious relationships outside of my primary one with my husband. So much work when all I am really interested in is the sex part of it.

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      • McLovin August 11, 2014, 12:38 am

        I believe you and I live in a relatively progressive state, meaning the more progressive part of the state, and I am aware of at least 3 open relationships in my circle of friends. No hang ups, no bullshit, it’s safe and consenting.
        On the whole, these are people, like myself, around 40 or older and in very established relationships. I’m not sure that age is the primary link here but certainly open communication is always important.

  • Kate July 29, 2014, 3:03 pm

    I don’t know anyone who’s in an open relationship, I don’t think. Oh, one woman who used to work here, I guess, but we didn’t hang out.

    Anyway, for me it’s not so much the time/energy factor, because I think I could find time and energy for anything I was really into, it’s more just that I feel like I must be at the far end of whatever spectrum… I basically have no tolerance for sharing. I just feel like, no way. Not even intrigued to dip a toe in the water with something pretty innocuous.

    I think you just feel what you feel and maybe you’re even born that way!

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    • allathian March 31, 2020, 8:10 am

      I hear you and I’m definitely the same way. No way an open relationship would work for me, and poly would be far too much work.

      One of my coworkers is in an open relationship or poly. She mentioned that casually in conversation one day ages ago when she’d taken a few days off to move in with her partner. She hasn’t talked about it recently, but we’re just coworkers rather than friends, so we don’t really talk much outside of work topics.

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  • Ali July 29, 2014, 3:09 pm

    My relationship was open at one point–we experimented together and had separate people on the side. I think it’s a great thing that brings a lot to the table both for the relationship and for each person separately. But it also felt a lot more difficult, time- and energy-consuming and, at times, painful. It was not a situation we wanted to bring kids into–it was more of a “sowing our wild oats” experience than a long-term thing. I appreciate others who are able to make it work without major problems, but traditional has just worked best for us and we knew that was what we wanted to return to when it came time to start our family.

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  • sarita_f July 29, 2014, 3:24 pm

    I’ve had a long-standing ongoing… physical relationship I guess with a friend of mine who himself is in an open marriage. Actually, we haven’t seen each other in a couple of years due to geography, but I have no doubt that if we were in the same place at the same time we’d meet up / hook up. We met through our respective best friends who are now also a married couple… he and I even split a hotel room at their wedding (his now wife, then girlfriend, couldn’t come and I believe gave her blessing). He and his wife are happily open and actually just had a baby! We’re friendly on facebook and everything’s on the up-and-up. I’m curious to see if/how things change for him now that they have a kid.

    It’s been a nice, fun, non-committal relationship and I’ve always really enjoyed when we get together – the sex is pretty hot and he’s just so totally GGG, very safe and communicative and just really loves women of all shapes/sizes/types and is just totally open about it all. I know his wife is his primary partner and I’m not interested in him *at all* as a boyfriend-type relationship.

    Man, it’s definitely been a while. Maybe I should manufacture a trip out to his area.

    I definitely think I’ll build openness into my next serious relationship, but I would be very happy to keep it closed for a good long while just to get a good foundation. If we’re going to paint with broad brushstrokes I’d probably mesh best with a guy who is open to being open – I tend to find a good set of general values in common with open guys.

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  • SasLinna July 29, 2014, 3:27 pm

    I don’t know how common open relationships really are among the under 30 crowd, but personally I made a brief (terribly misguided) attempt at it a few years ago and recently, I’ve been confronted with the phenomenon again because my roommate has been seeing a woman who is in an open marriage. He’s basically playing the role of Wendy’s friend in this constellation, and from what I can see he’s super miserable. I don’t get it because he has clearly stated he *doesn’t* like open relationships. They’ve broken up a bunch of times and gotten back together again every time. He’s probably just really into this woman and somehow believes it’s worth it, but it’s pretty painful to watch.
    If I were cynical I’d say that while there are obviously people who practice actual polyamory and are serious about it, for many others it has just become a new thing to tell a partner you don’t want to commit to, and an alternative to cheating. Instead of having to cheat, you can now claim that you’re poly and get your partner on board. The people involved may still be as miserable as if it were an affair, but you get some legitimacy for the arrangement.

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    • SasLinna July 29, 2014, 3:30 pm

      On the other hand, I actually think it could be a good thing to try for really young people – like people in their early twenties – because it would allow for experimentation. I’m still waiting for the first real-life functioning instance of poly though.

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  • sobriquet July 29, 2014, 3:29 pm

    I live in an incredibly liberal city with friends on varying levels of the Kinsey scale, and yet the only poly-amorous couple I know of are unhappily married, middle-aged Mormons in conservative Utah. They’re my SIL’s parents and I know much more about their open relationship than I would prefer.
    All this to say, I don’t think ‘kids these days’ are entering into more open relationships than before. It’s just less taboo now, so people are more open about it.

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  • Lianne July 29, 2014, 3:35 pm

    I’m mid-30s and have never been interested in an open relationship, threesome, or anything like that. I’m not jealous by nature, but really love the idea of commitment and being with one person. And having that feeling reciprocated in a relationship is important to me. I do think that for those who want this type of arrangement, it’s great that if they can find someone like-minded to share in that. But as far as your friend’s situation, I just can’t believe she would have been ok with that for as long as she was and really NOT ok with it. Do you think she expected things to change?

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    • HmC July 30, 2014, 1:01 am

      “I’m not jealous by nature, but really love the idea of commitment and being with one person.”

      Me too. Poly relationships are really not for me, and it kind of irks me when people insist they are for super non-jealous people, or when fans of monogamy claim they are too jealous to try polyamory. I don’t mean to get defensive about it, and I could see why you wouldn’t want to be poly if you *were* a super jealous person, I just don’t like the implication that monogamy is for jealous people and polyamory is for non-jealous people. There is so much more to it than that, obviously!

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  • mylaray July 29, 2014, 3:43 pm

    I can’t say this is really common among people I know, but I do know of a few couples who are monogamish and have healthy relationships. I have another friend who is in an open relationship with her boyfriend. She doesn’t see anyone else and she told me she does it because she would rather him “cheat” on her and know about it than hiding it because she thinks all men cheat. I think that’s really sad when she’s clearly not comfortable with it.
    I have a male friend who recently was telling me how heartbroken he was over his ex girlfriend. As he talked it about it more, he revealed she was in an open relationship with her husband. But he thought of himself as her main boyfriend and hated that she had a husband. It got messy between all 3 of them with lots of jealousy and the married couple found out the hard way open relationships aren’t for them.
    I do think it has become more acceptable to have open relationships and I think as a result lots of people are trying them who don’t really want them. I’ve mentioned here how I want to become monogamish with my husband, but we plan to move really, really slowly. I never would have imagined I would be interested in that.

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  • othy July 29, 2014, 3:56 pm

    I’m in the (barely) under 30 crowd, and I don’t know of anyone who is openly polyamorous. But it wouldn’t surprise me if I knew a few who were closeted. But we live in Utah, where there is a very negative view of polygamists, so I don’t know how many people would be open about it.
    There are certain neighborhoods here know for swingers though. I had a group of friends (one couple, and two single guys), who all moved into a big house together. Many of their neighbors just assumed they were one big swinging group, and would regularly invite them over to ‘play’. Even though they never said yes, the neighbors never gave up.

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  • mertlej July 29, 2014, 4:06 pm

    I knew someone who had an open marriage, but he took advantage of it every chance he got and she didn’t… until the end, when she decided she was sick of it, found a boyfriend, and divorced her husband. He claimed to be really upset about the divorce, but he kept sleeping around even though he knew she wasn’t happy with that arrangement, so who knows.

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  • KKZ July 29, 2014, 4:21 pm

    I know a few couples who are open or monogamish, each to different levels / with different rules. I’m not privy to all the details but it seems to work well for them – but they also have some of the best communication habits I’ve ever seen, and I know that’s a huge part of how it works. Everyone involved is clear on the rules, and respect them.
    I’m still undecided on this issue myself. I know I took monogamy less seriously than my ex did, but that could have been a symptom of our issues, not a distinct sexual-romantic preference. Right now I’m in a stage of my life where I can’t fathom limiting myself to one person, but that could just be post-breakup-ness that will fade or change with time. I do find it unlikely, however, that I’ll land on the extreme monogamy end of the scale – I think I’ll always want just a little more than one person can offer me. Who knows! It’s exciting to find these things out as I go. 🙂

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  • Addie Pray July 29, 2014, 5:16 pm

    This makes me feel so inadequate. I can’t get one boyfriend and here these people are able to get multiple! Le sigh.

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  • blackbird July 29, 2014, 5:27 pm

    I’m currently in a monogamous relationship, but prior to meeting my BF I was involved in ‘poly’ relationships for years (in my 20’s). I wasn’t out in the open about it, and I think my friends would have been surprised to find out. I think a lot of the commenters who think they don’t know anyone in an open relationship just don’t know that they know someone in an open relationship. Being involved in a huge community of ‘poly’ people made me realize just how common it was, and a lot of people just weren’t open about it with their friends and family.

    With all of that said, I’m sorry to hear about Wendy’s friend who was truly settling for less than she wanted out of the relationship she had. The majority of my open relationships were kind, and super respectful. Since navigating an open relationship is difficult, most people I dated had *really* good communication skills, and the utmost respect for everyone in the relationship and in the community.

    It bothers me a little that people think it’s “demoralizing”. No one should be in a relationship that feels demoralizing, and of course someone shouldn’t have an open relationship if they feel this way. But wanting to have sex or have a relationship with more than one person isn’t inherently ‘demoralizing’ if everyone is kind and respectful to all the people involved.

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    • Dear Wendy July 29, 2014, 10:22 pm

      I totally agree. I think in my friend’s case, her feelings of demoralization stemmed mainly from how she was compromising her own wants and settling for less than she deserved.

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  • Fabelle July 29, 2014, 5:47 pm

    I know a couple people who are or have been in open relationships (well, ranging from OPEN to “monogamish”), & I do think it’s more common? Maybe it depends on the area/your circle of friends? Like… I am entwined with people who could be categorized as more “alternate lifestyle”-y, & it’s something you don’t even blink at there. BUT in other circles (among the same age group), people would look at you like WHAT, YOU MEAN YOU DATE OTHER PEOPLE ~WHILE~ YOU’RE DATING HIM/HER??
    I’ve definitely considered it, as you guys might imagine.

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  • barleystonks July 29, 2014, 7:39 pm

    I’m under 30, husband is over 40, and we’ve done the poly thing. Mostly it’s been me going on a couple dates with girls before getting exasperated at them playing games (yes, I know, not all women, just somehow all the ones I’ve gone on dates with), but I did have a girlfriend for a few months who my husband was occasionally involved with as well, and I was occasionally involved with her boyfriend.

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  • Milla July 29, 2014, 9:36 pm

    I’m 30, and through my 22 year old brother, I have a fair handful of friends in their early 20’s. I do see more open relationships among them, but they’re also almost all queer kids and being poly seems pretty par for the course for them. I see this in a lot of queer people in their mid-late twenties as well, and wonder if it’s a way to negotiate relationships while still experimenting.

    It’s definitely not for me—my partner of seven years and I just got married, and we are so not interested in being poly. Then again, I’m feeling a huge age division lately in which the early-mid twenties crowd just seems so young. I’ve taken to declaring that “Grandma’s tired” and that’s how I feel. I’d rather have a nice meal and kick back with my wife than go out to the bar.

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  • Classic July 29, 2014, 11:02 pm

    I know one man who is officially polyamorous. He makes strong arguments for polyamoury, often posting links to studies that say that monogamy is not the natural state for humans. He lives with a woman with whom he used to have a monogamous relationship. Now she doesn’t have sex with him and now he is polyamorous but she is not

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  • Lucy July 30, 2014, 1:03 am

    Before I left Brooklyn, I didn’t know anyone in a functioning poly setup. But in Portland, they seem rather thick on the ground. I’ve met several in the course of only a few months, and it’s not like I’m seeking them out. Does that mean it’s a west coast thing? I don’t have anything against it, except I am just far too lazy and it seems like a LOT of work.

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  • Elle August 10, 2014, 7:02 pm

    I think that it really depends on the person. For me, personally, I don’t believe that people are meant to be monogamous. I have always felt this way, since I was a teenager. However I respect that some people prefer to live their lives with only one partner, which is fine. To each their own. There is no right or wrong here and, it only matters when someone in either type of relationship becomes unsatisfied. However when someone does become unhappy in the relationship or is left wanting, obviously things need. to change.

    Basically, it’s not a matter of being right or wrong, in the end all that really matters is that people are happy.

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  • Bittergaymark March 30, 2020, 5:33 pm

    These probably work best in the gay community — you know, between two men.

    It is interesting to me that there is STILL so much judgement in the straight world about open relationships… Especially, since, well… lets face it… it’s not like the hetero world isn’t constantly upended and blown apart time and time again by infidelity. So much drama. Smooth sailing it is not.


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  • Allornone March 31, 2020, 8:25 am

    My friend group recently imploded because (names have been changed to protect the guilty) Rafael, who was dating Ivy, slept with Jenna, who was dating Carmen, while Ivy and Carmen were passed out in the same room. The truth comes out, and everybody breaks up, but the moment Carmen moves out, another friend Eddie, who’s been in love with Jenna forever, moved right in with her. So i guess they’re a couple now? So two things:

    1. My friends suck. and
    2. Relationships are complicated. Hetero, bi, homo, whatever. People are dumb and do dumb things. It’s pretty universal.

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  • Fyodor April 1, 2020, 9:25 am

    AON, I’m sorry that you’re going through this, especially at this rough time.

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