How People Might Respond To Your Open Marriage, Just So You’re Prepared

June 19, 2017  |  
1 of 14 thinking african american couple in the city

There’s a reason large hotels put on three-day-weekend events for people in open marriages and that there are social groups targeting those in open arrangements—it can be hard to find people who lead your lifestyle, or at least accept it, if you’re in an open marriage. An open marriage certainly isn’t for everyone, but if you and your spouse have decided it’s for you, you may feel like you have to come out to your friends and family. And when you do, you could meet a long list of invasive questions, judgmental comments or—the worst—total silence followed by a change of subject. Some people can think that your choice to go into an open marriage means that your values have changed, or you’re not the people they once knew. Here is how the world can respond to your open marriage.

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Friends think you’re hitting on them

Some of your friends will think you’re swingers. When you have them over for dinner, they might wonder if this is a spouse-swapping event. You’ll have to explain to them that you and your partner date other people away from each other. It isn’t a group activity and you wouldn’t want to derail your friendships by hitting on your friends.



They judge your parenting

Your parenting skills may be in question when you come out in an open marriage. Some friends might think that you are exposing your children to your other partners, confusing them and traumatizing them. People don’t know the effort you make to keep your children unaware of the situation.



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They suggest counseling

Many friends will think that you and your partner are no longer happy together, but rather than go through the trouble of a divorce, you’d rather just go into an open marriage. For this reason, some people might suggest you seek counseling to fix what they believe to be broken.





They assume somebody already cheated

Don’t be surprised if a friend pulls you aside and asks, “So who cheated?” It’s common for people to assume that going into an open marriage is just your way of retroactively correcting infidelity.





They think you’re headed for divorce

Some friends may not take your marriage seriously after you tell them it’s an open one. They can think that this is a last-ditch effort to save an unsalvageable marriage. For that reason, they may not really listen when you talk about your marriage anymore.







They think you’re sex addicts

The close-minded friends may believe you and your partner are total sex addicts and just can’t get all the sex you want in your marriage. They may not trust you alone with their spouses anymore, either.





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They think it’s all about sex

This is a common misconception; that open marriages are all about the sex. But many people in open marriages date and have well-rounded relationships with other people. It’s about connecting with other people on several levels.





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Friends think they can hit on you

Some friends may think that you’re coming out as being in an open marriage is an open invitation for them to hit on you. You may have to tell a few friends that you’d like to just stay friends—sorry.






You’re hippies, drug users, into orgies…

The more conservative of your friends will think that if you lead an alternative marriage, you must lead a totally alternative lifestyle. Some friends might assume you and your partner do drugs, host orgies, and worship some spirit animal.





It was the man’s idea

Some people project their misogyny onto open marriages, assuming this was the man’s idea, and that the woman is just going along with it because she has to. But plenty of women are the first to suggest an open marriage.




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Your parents might reject it

You may want to reconsider telling your family. It can be very hard for your parents to accept that you’re in an open marriage, and they may not like your partner as much if they know he sleeps with other women.





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Some people won’t want their kids around you

Some friends won’t want to send their kids over to your home anymore to play with your kids. They might think that you’ll have your other partners over and confuse their children.






People ask what the end game is

People may be genuinely confused as to why you go into an open marriage. Are you starting serious relationships with these other people? Would you consider leaving your husband for one of the other people? What are the rules? What is the end game?




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Your friends will be cautious about other men

Your friends will be a bit confused as to how to talk to you about the new men you are seeing. Should they treat this like a serious relationship? Are they supposed to invest in the guy? Are they even allowed to ask you about it? Is it rude if they don’t ask you about it? You may need to give your friends some guidelines.


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You and your spouse no longer have sex

Many people believe that couples in an open marriage no longer have sex with each other. On the contrary, many couples in open marriages are very attracted to each other and still have a very active sex life.

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