Several Hollywood stars have commented on Mo’Nique’s 2016 confession that she and Sidney Hicks have an open marriage.
Gabourey Sidibe, Mo’Nique’s co-star in Precious, reacted nonchalantly and said, “It’s not really news to have an open marriage and open communication marriage.”
Whatever the case, the blogosphere is abuzz with conversation about open marriages, which have been around for thousands of years but have only reentered the spotlight thanks to some Hollywood couples.
We’ve decided to shed some light on the most common misconceptions about open marriages:
1. Open marriages are all about sex.
More than anything, they’re about honesty and communication.
Many polyamorous couples, like blogger Jenny Block and her husband, struggled more with secret affairs than with the extramarital activity itself.
In her article “Open Marriage Is Not A Fad,” Jenny said, “Controlling one’s sexuality is no longer the cornerstone of the relationship. Instead, love and trust and intimacy are.”
As Mo’Nique told Barbara Walters, “Oftentimes, people get into marriages and they don’t know who they’re laying next to. I’m very comfortable and secure with my husband.”
2. Both partners have multiple lovers.
While both she and her husband are free to conduct extramarital affairs, Mo’Nique has refrained from having sex with other people.
Jenny Block, on the other hand, has a girlfriend, while her husband admits that he’s too shy to pick up other girls.
In either case, the roaming parties are upfront with their partners on their activities outside of the marriage.
3. People in open marriages consider monogamy old-fashioned.
Like most couples, non-monogamous couples are more concerned about what works for them than how they can trump other people.
“I’ve been told that to those on the outside, people in the open relationship community can come across as a smug group who think they’re more highly evolved than the monogamous,” Jenny said.
It’s not that polyamorous couples are against monogamy, it’s just that they’ve found it doesn’t work for them.
4. Non-monogamous relationships are less challenging than monogamous ones.
Open marriage isn’t an easy way out for people who can’t control their sex drive.
Open relationships are often more complicated simply because they involve more than two people.
As one friend in an open relationship told us, maintaining balance in her relationship means constant communication.
And unlike straight, monogamous relationships, polyamorous couples often feel pressure to fit into the heterosexual, normative, “mom, dad, two and a half children, and a dog” model for marriage.
5. Polyamory is harmful to kids.
Those who uphold monogamous marriages as the ideal may wonder whether open marriages confuse children or expose them to “debauchery” prematurely.
Block addresses the issue in many of her articles, saying that while all sexual activity occurs behind closed doors, her young daughter has been introduced to her girlfriend.
Additionally, having an extra person around means that Jenny and her husband have one more person to help out with child-rearing. It takes a village, after all.
Denise Ngo is a freelance web writer/editor who specializes in pop culture, fashion, science, faith and relationships. Follow her on Twitter.