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The New Monogamy: Cheating by the Rules?

By the Love Council for iVillage

iVillage asks:

A New York magazine article entitled "The New Monogamy" states that marriages are becoming more and more open. The thinking is that agreed-upon "cheating" will ward off the urge to stray further. In this view, as long as each spouse "sluts around" (their words, not ours) within the boundaries deemed acceptable by both parties (rules range from just kissing to engaging in full-blown orgies), they aren't actually cheating. Sure, it sounds pretty crazy. But let's just go with it for now, keeping in mind how unnatural forsaking all others can feel to some in committed relationships -- and how striving for true monogamy can outright ruin some relationships. So, provided the rules of engagement are mutually agreed upon, is the open approach reasonable?

Michele answers:

"Managed Monogamy? Oxymoron"
You have got to be kidding. I've been a marriage therapist for nearly 30 years and I've yet to witness even one open marriage work. Setting morality or the dangers of STD's aside, this idea of managed monogamy -- talk about an oxymoron -- is a disaster waiting to happen. Even if spouses have good intentions and believe they've agreed upon fair rules for fooling around, all bets are off once they open Pandora's box. The promise of pleasurable, kinky, extraordinary sex has a funny way of enticing people to behave in ways -- especially toward their spouses -- that they might not ordinarily. And when they do, jealousy sets in. One spouse wants to call the deal off and the other is too busy getting turned on to care. So, although old-fashioned monogamy may be a far-from-perfect solution for more adventurous couples, it's still, by far, the best one we've got.

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