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The O'Neills describe "open marriage" as a relationship in which each partner has room for personal growth and can individually develop outside friendships, rather than focus obsessively on their couplehood and their family unit (being "closed").Most of the book describes approaches to revitalizing marriage in areas of trust, role flexibility, communication, identity, and equality.I don't think we ever saw it as a concept for the majority, and certainly it has not proved to be." There are definitional issues that complicate attempts to determine the actual incidence of open marriage.The meaning of "open marriage" can vary from study to study depending on how the particular researchers have set their selection criteria.(These findings may not generalize to heterosexual married couples, as most of subjects were not married.) In addition, bisexuals are often more jealous of outside partners of their own sex.
Interviewed individually, the partners in some couples gave very different responses to this question; the respective replies from one married couple were Sure we have an understanding. Never go back to the same one.' See, that's where it's going to screw your mind up, to go back the second time to the same person. Spaniel and Cole found that 7 percent of couples would consider participating in an open marriage, but only 1.7 percent of couples reported having open marriages that actually included extramarital sex.Data collected from these kinds of open marriages may not generalize to other kinds of open relationships.For example, cohabiting couples tend to show higher levels of involvement in extra-relational intimacy compared to married couples.Other couples drop out of the open marriage lifestyle and return to sexual monogamy.These couples may continue to believe open marriage is a valid way of life, just not for them.
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In her 1977 book The Marriage Premise, Nena O'Neill advocated sexual fidelity in a chapter of that name.