To Open or Not...?

In Layman's Terms
By DANA FADEL  |  March 14, 2014

My wife and I have a loving and successful 10-year marriage. Lately, we’ve been talking about exploring non-monogamy because we’re curious about how it could expand our sex life. Friends of ours don’t think it’s worth risking a solid, healthy relationship for curiosity’s sake. The question is, is it worth the risk to open up our marriage and have it possibly jeopardize our relationship? _TF

“It would have to be worth the risk, especially when that seed has been planted in their heads. They’re just going to be thinking and thinking and thinking about that, and if they never tried that, there’s no way they could be happy long-term in their marriage. Now that its on the table at all, if  they don’t go ahead with it, its going to be a ‘what if...’…sort of thing. Worst-case scenario, they break up; best-case scenario, they want to be with one another more. This is the only way to go if they want to be happy.” _Matthew, 28, Big Sky Bakery manager, at Portland Public Market

“Its really up to the couple. If they both really believe that this is going to benefit them. As long as one is not going along to make the other one happy, it could work out for the benefit of both of them. If its not what they both want, its going to be a disaster.” _Tony, 29, roofing contractor, at Slainte

“An open relationship can work if there’s trust and commitment in other aspects of the marriage. If there are boundaries and some support for both of them and this is a way to explore their sexuality and they are careful [and] thoughtful about that commitment, intentional about what that commitment means, then I think this could be something that is rather exciting and could work.” _Caitlin, 33, writer, at Speckled Ax

“I think it’s definitely worth the risk. What’s worth the risk is the conversation. The two people involved in that marriage talking about ‘How do you feel about this? Do you want to try this?’ To me, that is the flow of a good marriage: communication. Even if it doesn’t go anywhere, you can fantasize about somebody, like, ‘Look at thaaat!’ There’s a flow, a pathway...just feel it out from there.” _Cheri, 51, massage therapist, at Portland Community Dance

“For some people its not a good thing because its hard enough to be one-on-one with somebody. If you bring other people in, if you’ve got kids in the house, you got too many weird wackos as far as I’m concern[ed]. If something’s working, leave it alone. If two people are in love and they’ve made it 10 years, work on that.” _Lorenzo, 44, retired merchant marine, at One City Center

“If they go into it with some rules, clear communication, guidelines, ‘I don’t mind if you do this... I prefer that you don’t do that...’ It’s mutual respect that one abides by the rules that are set. If you don’t have  all of the ingredients, then no, it’s not going to succeed. Understanding, communication, agreements. There’s nothing that says that it won’t work out. I personally have been in a relationship like that, so that’s why I can speak from first-hand experience.” _Aaron, 32, airport security, at Portland Jetport

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