THE BLOG
03/27/2008 06:49 pm ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Open Relationships: What the World Already Has

Sex and love make people crazy. Not by experiencing them. By talking about them. And right now, a lot of people are talking about open marriage and polyamory. Some people simply have questions, excellent questions, in fact, and ones I promise to address in future posts. Even the hard ones that hit as close to home as it gets. But some folks just have opinions, about half of which are none too kind when it comes to those of us in such relationships.

Naturally, everyone has their own opinion when it comes to sex and love and relationships and everyone is sure that their opinion is the "right" one. Of course, there can't be a "right" opinion. But try telling that to people. And the funny thing is, there seems to be a vast chasm between what the majority of people say they believe is "right" and the way in which the majority of people behave. They talk monogamy and walk infidelity.

Each day it seems another politician's skeleton escapes or, in the case of governor David Paterson and his wife, is shoved from the closet. And if not politicians, then actors. And if no one in the public eye "comes out" that day, there are plenty of examples to be found in our own private lives. In other words, there seem to be an awful lot of people who are not being nearly as monogamous as they would like others to believe.

So, it seems to me, that having the illusion of monogamy is what people are truly interested in. Otherwise, they wouldn't stray while giving lip service to the party line. People who are cheating are already non-monogamous. So as far as open relationships or polyamory being in any way deviant or even unusual for that matter, I don't see how that's possible. Unless you consider honesty deviant and unusual.

I'm polyamorous. I'm in an open marriage. And I'm honest about it. The stronger people's reactions to that honesty are, the clearer it becomes that their reactions have little to nothing to do with me and everything to do with them. If one is cheating, the thought of being honest is a scary proposition. I should know. Been there. Done that. Have no interest in going there again. My question is this -- Why is it that deceitful, don't ask don't tell non-monogamy is socially acceptable (don't kid yourself, it is) and honest non-monogamy is not?

If one simply wants to cheat or is already "mentally cheating," the thought of honesty is even scarier. The reason why is simple. If I can be polyamorous, tell the truth about it, and be successful in my relationship, then the implication is that it could work for others too. And there is nothing more terrifying than feeling like you're not strong enough to go out on a limb and attempt something that might actually improve your life. Better to yell, "Freak!" at those who are trying. And then everyone doing the yelling -- unhappy, cheating, or just plain judgmental -- feel themselves in the "right" and thus in the clear.

As for those people with no reaction to my choice or those who simply say, "It's not my thing. But good for you," it seems readily apparent that they are the ones for whom the choice to be monogamous really does work. In other words, they don't live in glass houses. (Or, at the very least, they know better than to throw any stones.) Life is short. People are different. But so too can they be very much the same.

Science tells us that human beings are not monogamous. Our behaviors tell us we're not monogamous. History shows us as being non-monogamous. And nearly every other country around the world accepts that fact in one way or another. So, perhaps it's time to give up the ghost.

In the name of fairness, we have to really. Religions vary. Sexual orientation varies. Political affiliations vary. Even food, entertainment, and clothing preferences vary - vastly. Why would things as vital as love and sex and relationships be doomed to but one way of doing things? It doesn't make sense and, besides, it doesn't work.

The problem, it seems to me, is this. People are pack animals and they want -- need -- approval from the herd. So, forcing this one-size-fits-not-nearly-everyone way of life down everyone's throat is detrimental to everyone. Living a life that doesn't fit is miserable and that misery plays out in unhappy ways in people's lives. Opening one's relationship is not easy. And feeling like the world despises you for it only makes it harder. Wouldn't it be nice to live among people who felt free to live their lives as they were born to live them?

We all want the same thing -- to live and to love happily. So many of us are already doing that, each in our own different ways and there are many others who would like to as well, all I'm suggesting is bringing those ways to light.