• During our date night this past weekend my husband and I left the kids behind to meet up with some of our friends who also have children our kids’ ages. We went to a small intimate club where we had dinner and listened to some live music. After a few drinks tongues started getting loose and the conversation took an interesting twist – to sex of course!  One of the couples who have been married for about thirteen years started joking about taking “marriage time-outs.” Then I realized they weren’t joking at all. The term was new to me but I figured that it was similar to having an “open marriage.” I was appalled at first, as I watched my husband inch forward and listen more attentively then I’d ever seen him. Now I was pissed!

    The term was new to me but I figured that it was similar to having an “open marriage.”

    They went on to explain the parameters of their relationship and the more they talked the more it started making sense. Evidently they had both felt bored in their marriage and were contemplating divorce. Two of their three children were under the age of ten and they both are very dedicated parents. They’d stayed together (right or wrong) for the children for the past five years while each of them secretly ventured off and had affairs. About three years ago the husband caught his wife cheating and, though he wanted to blow up, he really couldn’t because he was in the midst of an affair as well. He decided to come clean with her to let her know what he had discovered. After the initial denial, they were relieved to finally be communicating. In their scenario each had partners who they were excited to see but the relationship was only temporary, and just for fun. No emotional bonds and neither wanted to spend their lives with their ‘other’ person.  It still rubbed me the wrong way but there was something honest about what they were saying. I’m sure my husband wanted to voice his opinion but dared not say anything as he is a wise man sometimes and was trying to gauge my reaction.

    Though I was taken aback at first, after giving it some thought (and perhaps the two margaritas) I realized that there’s always a background to every story and no one has the right to judge. According to the statistics, on a conservative measure, the majority of people- both men and women- cheat on their spouse.  Perhaps an open marriage doesn’t only mean that they’re open to date others but perhaps that they have an ‘open’ line of communication! I’m never going to be an advocate for cheating, but I am opening my mind and have decided that, for others, if you both discuss it and make sure that you’re not adversely affecting your family, and it suits you, then it’s not cheating (or lying). And what you do in the privacy of your home is your business as long as it’s not harming others. It’s when both of you are not on the same page and each want something else, or dishonesty, that problems occur. Being honest gives people the opportunity to weigh their options and decide their own destiny.  Many people may ultimately do what they want anyway, in a dishonest way. The goal I set for myself is to not judge others and aim for having a real “open marriage” (open communication only-don’t get excited, hubby) where I’m honest and open with everyone. We’re all human and have desires, but we have to be straight forward with what we want and don’t have the right to take away the freedom of choice from others. It’s definitely a tough standard to achieve but well worth striving for.