Open Marriage: Marriage – an important ceremony that intertwines two souls into an eternal bonding of love. With changing times, marriage and relationships have also changed.

Statistics show that in the olden days, the ideal age to marry was around 23 for men and 20 for women. Today, it is around 29 for men and 26 for women.

In today’s fast-paced lifestyle, the questions of long-term commitments, communication, privacy, trust, etc. are rising. In such circumstances, an Open Marriage may come to the rescue.

‘Open Marriage’ is a form of marriage that says that the partners can agree among themselves to have extramarital relationships without affecting their agreement and trust.

It allows us to establish open relationships, keep away mandatory rules, and binding present in traditional marriage.

In 1972, Nena O’Neill and George O’Neill published their book ‘Open Marriage’. They stated that such type of relationship allows for improved personal growth and grooming for both–husband and wife.

Characteristics of an Open Marriage

To understand this concept in detail, here are a few characteristics of an Open Marriage:

Reduction in long-term commitments

Due to the nature of Open Marriage, both the partners do not have any mandatory long-term commitment.

They do not need to sacrifice so often in their relationship, as compared to a traditional marriage system.

Mutual respect for personal privacy

Personal privacy can be maintained in an Open Marriage. Both parties agree to respect one another’s personal space and do not interfere completely in their life.

Transparency in communication

Open Marriage promotes open communication hence better transparency is maintained in this type of relationship.

Partners can give honest feedback to one another without bringing an issue of the authority of one over another.

Role flexibility and open companionship

This relationship abolishes the traditional “coupledness” that exists in traditional marriage. Partners can have open relations with other people.

Shouldering responsibilities and exercising power equally

In traditional marriage, generally, the husband is always the dominant one and exercises power on the household.

But here, there is no dominant personality as such. This allows for an equal distribution of power and responsibilities.

Freedom to find one’s own identity

Each partner is eligible to find his or her true identity, live life as per his or her choice. There are no mandatory ties that obstruct freedom.

Mutual trust and open-mindedness

Perhaps the most important characteristics of all, no relationships can function without trust.

This applies in Open Marriage too wherein partners have mutual trust among themselves and the ability to accept new challenges in their lives.

“Good-to-follow” rules for a successful Open Marriage

Nowadays, it is a challenge to sustain any relationship for a long time in a successful manner.

Here are some rules that can help to maintain successful relationships in an Open Marriage:

Do not break the trust

Trust is very important in any kind of relationship, so do not keep your partner in the dark. 

If you are planning to go out on a date as per extramarital relationship privilege given by Open Marriage, share the same with your partner.

In fact, by sharing such information you may get some helpful tips or prepare you in advance to make this date a successful one.

Treat your secondary partners too properly

You may be married to a primary partner, have a good house, children, and family life. But this does not give you the right to treat the secondary partner poorly.

Treat them well too. They are also human beings and looking forward to a successful relationship with you.

Decide in advance who would take turns

In an Open Marriage, you may want to go out on a weekend with a different partner.

But if you have children at home or some other home-based activities, it is best to decide in advance who would take turns.

There should be a compromise from both sides and equal responsibilities should be taken.

Be flexible in your approach

As times change, people change. Have some amount of flexibility in your life. Do not be rigid.

Certain decisions may be required to be taken in the future, depending on your relationship. Learn to adjust to changing situations.

Set your boundaries but compare and share

It is ok to set some boundaries for yourself, but do not be too hard on your partner. They may also have some boundaries.

Share the same with your partner, compare and decide where you want to be in your relationship.

Stay away from assumptions

Many people just assume things blindly which is a major cause of broken relationships. Communicate with your partner openly. Most of the time, many problems can be solved easily by clear communication.

Do not assume or judge your partner based on someone speaking behind their back or how circumstances appear from the outside.


Thus, Open Marriage may be a great alternative to traditional marriage as it enables you and your partner to test your relationship.

It gives freedom to both parties. It eliminates long-term commitments, sacrifices, bondage. It develops people as an individual, rather than as a couple.

Open Marriage also helps to eliminate suspicion, which is one of the major causes of divorce in many relationships.

Since both the partners know everything about each other, there is no place for doubt. It gives time to both the partners to understand their relationship better and bond with one another.

Such concepts of Open Marriage may increase in the coming years, which can help to decrease the divorce rate and contribute towards maintaining stable and healthy relationships.

You may also like to read:

What does ‘Still Face’ Experiment with Infants teach us about?

What is ‘Anger Iceberg’ and How to Deal with it Effectively?

Stonewalling | The Type of Negative Behavior in Unhealthy Relationships


About Atul Umarkar

Atul Umarkar is founder and chief editor of He is full time banker and loves blogging. He write blogs on Relationship, Breakups, Healthy Family, Children related topics to educate his readers.

View all posts by Atul Umarkar