This Stuff Really

Screwed Up My Marriage!

From e-mail


      I know what you are going to say I'm possessive, jealous, old-fashioned, selfish and all the rest, but I tried this open marriage thing and it destroyed my marriage.

I thought we could handle it. We talked long and hard about it before we tried it. All the stuff I read made it sound like it would put a bit of needed excitement in our marriage.

Instead, it doomed it.

      There was also this so-called friend who said he had an open marriage and he told me about all the advantages.

It was only later that I found out that not only did he not give a damn about his marriage, but also he was trying to get rid of his wife by getting her interested in someone else.

I won't go into all the sad details about my experience, but my wife moved out, and in a departing note said among other things that if I really loved her I wouldn't be trying to put her with other men.

In short, our marriage blew up big time and now the only woman I ever loved is gone.

Thanks a lot for making it sound like it's something we should try! 

 If there were any kind of a subscription to your site, I would sure as hell cancel it!

Dr. Weston replies:

No, I wouldn't label you with all those things you mention. I would consider you normal. ("Normal" being defined as consistent with prevailing beliefs.)

But, did you ignore the precautions throughout this site? 

We clearly state that open relationships are a bad idea for most people.

Even so, there are four points to consider.

1. If all open relationship were failures, this whole issue would be simple, but they aren't.

Although some of the people in open relationships clearly have personal adjustment problems -- if you read these letters, you should be able to see that -- not all do. Some open relationships have gone on for decades.

2. Open relationships are not limited to some radical refuges from the flower-power era. Studies show that a large percentage are among church-going, red-state, conservatives. We could even cite a US president or two that had a behind-the-scenes open marriage.

3. As I point out, studies show that those who make open relationships work are better adjusted and happier than people in most traditional marriages. Why? It's probably because they are more adventurous and self-confident to start with. To my knowledge no good follow-up studies have been done on "why." (Doctoral students take note!)

We do know -- from our e-mail, if nothing else -- that open relationships, hotwifery, and "watching" represent major male fantasies. But, as we say, most people at this point in our social development should limit them to fantasies or, better still, shift their attention to more enduring and meaningful things.

4. Did you catch the "at this point in our social development?" Central to the concern of this site, we see the percentage of open marriages and even hotwives growing in the future as STD killing lubricants and libido enhancing drugs (both now in testing) arrive on the scene. Consequently, the institution of marriage will be forced to make some major adjustments.

That's why on this site we stress various ways to adjust to this change, including keeping the primary relationship primary, open, honest conversation between spouses, and, when necessary, forgiveness.

Even though the handwriting is on the wall, social change is slow and often painful.

Right now, given the prevailing thinking, the odds are not good for an open marriage, so I say again, if in doubt, don't.-DW

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