From time immemorial, polyamorous relationships have been formed, especially among tribal communities. The norm used to be survival of the fittest or strongest and women, even those who preferred to be monogamous, were forced into relationships with men of other races or tribes when taken as prisoners of war at the end of war conquests. I guess what I am pointing out is that open relationships is just a modernised name for polygamy and not an unfamiliar concept to people. Family oriented men, who preferred disciplined lives, formulated laws to protect their wives and daughters from being assaulted by brutal men and the idea that monogamy is the right way was instilled into our minds for centuries now.
Before I get into the imbalances in open relationships, I would like to point out that Shakespeare was not entirely false when he stated that ‘Fraility thy name is woman’ except that he failed to extend it to man as well, which is understandable to a certain extent considering the fact that it was the sixteenth century. The inability of a couple to be faithful, loyal and contented in each other’s company for a long term opened the avenues for other complex relationships. Sexual attractions, neglect and abuse of one partner by the other, divorces, lack of dignity and respect in the current relationship etc. paved the way for clandestine or extra-marital relationships. In due course of time, when what was not consensual and contrary to the society’s expectations became consensual and approved by the society, it gained a new name, open relationships.
As a person who has believed in monogamy all these years and who has had limited relationships to my credit, I may not be an expert to comment on the subject with authority. However, I research these ideas and analyse such novel ideas or interesting perspectives from different angles and like to keep myself updated with the latest trends in society. The subjective nature of this piece of composition should not be overlooked but one cannot ignore the reality behind my observations. Open relationships may be a successful venture only for those who have the tendency to jump from partner to partner but at the same time long for security and stability in their relationships. In order to be detached and not become too emotionally entangled with anyone, but with only the one you are married to or bonded to for a very long time, requires great maturity and courage. Courage because it is a risk one is willing to take. Not everyone we come across in our daily lives is a dare devil willing to gamble away a good, stable relationship for uncertainties in life.
In open relationships, jealousy is an unpleasant intruder who could upset the balance of a broad minded relationship at a time couples least expect it. If one partner in such a productive partnership, as it might seem, attracts more lovers than the other this could foreshadow many forthcoming quarrels and disputes. Inequalities crop up when the women go through pregnancy and are expected to cater to the varied needs of her children, which would minimise their opportunities to explore new relationships whilst being in a steady one or maintain the existing love relationship. Age differences could also cause inequalities as the younger partner would have a hectic social life when compared to the older one in the steady partnership. Then there are times when steady relationships don’t last due to each being critical about the other’s choices in open relationships.
Open relationships may not be the best option for control freaks as their tendency to exercise authority over the other partner’s boyfriend or girlfriend would ruin opportunities for the other and would ultimately lead to a break-up of the steady relationship. As there are no definite laws that govern such relationships, a person head over heels in love with his latest object of desire may lack the judgement to continue showering the affection and attaching the significance a permanent relationship demands. We all know what happened when Antony and Cleopatra were in love. Were the matters of the state given utmost importance? No. History tells you that losses were incurred as a result of distraction. When things fall apart, open relationships can be used as a trump card by one spouse to accuse the other of immorality and jilt him or her off financial agreements or settlements.
While on the one hand, open relationships could be regarded as perfect lame excuses for like minded, self-centred people to co-exist in an uninteresting partnership for a long term, on the other hand such relationships could be the solution to increasing number of divorces and break-ups as the digressions prevents the partners from nagging each other and they become more dynamic personalities. As open relationships have a high failure rate and are disapproved by most authorities be it sociologists, therapists or relationship counsellors etc., I prefer multiple partners, one at a time in a healthy relationship and not open relationships. Although the maxim goes ‘Variety is the spice of life,’ right from our birth we have shown tendencies to belong to someone or something or some group so much that it is human nature.