Open Relationships or Monogamous?
Are you a gay man who holds disdain for fellow gays who are involved in open relationships? Do you say judgmental things to friends about couples you know who are not monogamous like: “I don’t know they call that love?”
Finally, do you believe that when two people marry, it means they should be exclusive?
If you find yourself nodding in agreement with the above, you wouldn’t be alone. The debate over monogamy vs. openness has been going on for a long time now in both the gay and straight communities.
With the reality of same sex marriage finally here, the debate has only intensified.
But before you get too attached to your position, we would like you to ask you the following five questions.
Our hope is to stir critical thinking and spark insight.
Let’s jump right in.
1. What is your definition of an open relationship?
Relationships, gay and straight, come in many different forms. For some people, there is an explicit agreement to be monogamous. For others, there is an evolution from monogamy to openness.
But what does open mean?
For example, does “open” mean that the couple occasionally brings in a third? Does it mean that both parties in the relationship are free to hook up with others as they please, provided certain rules are in place? Does it mean it’s cool to sample from the menu – but only on vacation?
We ask this because before you can judge a couple for their specific dynamic, don’t you think it helps to know how they define “open’?
2. Have you ever slept with a partnered man?
At any point in your sexual life, have you knowingly hooked up with a person you knew to be partnered/married? If you did, why are you criticizing open relationships? Where were your values then when you were playing around with someone elses boyfriend or husband?
The point of this question is simply to illuminate the contradictions. You can’t insist on monogamy in your relationships on the one hand but be OK with servicing partnered men on the other.
3. Have you ever hooked up with a couple?
Using the same line of thought as above, have you ever hooked up with a couple? If the answer is yes, did you have a good time? Did you go back for seconds or maybe even thirds?
If you have answered yes to any of the above, how can you criticize couples for being open, yet sleep with them at the same time? Is there a way to logically reconcile this or are you simply living in hypocrisy?
4. Have you ever cheated?
Have you ever been in a relationship with someone and cheated on them? During that relationship, did the both of you have an explicit or implied arrangement of exclusivity?
If you answered yes to the above, why did you cheat on your man; even though it was supposed to be monogamous? Is there something to be learned from your own behaviors that might help you to better understand the dynamics of why open relationships happen?
5. What does monogamy mean to you?
The current research suggests that 57% of all men have engaged in some form of infidelity in any relationship they’ve had. Another 74% of men have shared they would have an affair if they knew they could get away with it.
All of this begs the question – what does monogamy mean to you? If you have cheated, did you not by default open up the relationship without his consent?
On the flipside, if your boyfriend cheated on you – did he not just do the same thing to you?
Open or Monogamy Poll
Given the nature of this post, we would like to ask you to vote in the following open or monogamous poll. There is no right or wrong answer here so please just vote your truth.
If you are a gay man who criticizes other gay men for being in an open relationship, you are certainly entitled to your opinion.
As a blog, we do not have a bone in this argument either way (see our other gay relationship posts).
But before you cast judgement on others, consider that both parties have made the active decision to be transparent and honest about what they are doing.
Perhaps this is why so many gay, long term couples are successful?
And maybe, just maybe – they know something about relationships you don’t.