Post-Mo'Nique, more open marriage fallout
That is, what if the couple in the latest Hollywood cheating awfulness had set up an honest open marriage instead? Two of our best spokespeople are consulted:
Is Mo'Nique onto something? Are open marriages the way to go in Hollywood?
"In some ways, absolutely, yes," says author Jenny Block, who wrote about her own open relationship in Open: Love, Sex, and Life in an Open Marriage. "[Two people can say], 'Look, let's not kid ourselves, you and I are going to be in different countries, filming different movies...".
..."I truly don't care if Jesse James wants to have three girlfriends and a wife," sex guru Tristan Taormino says of Bullock's husband. "It's all the stuff that comes with cheating that hurts people, and it seems like that's unnecessary because there is another option."
Taormino's the author of Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships, so you can guess what the other option is....
"I just wish that people could be honest about their desires, and could make agreements to do what they want to do, and not have all this lying and betrayal and hurt," Taormino says, "because I think in the end, when you talk to people who have been cheated on, the sex is not necessarily the issue — it's the lying."
According to Taormino, who in researching her book interviewed more than 100 people who were partners in an open relationship, sometimes with great fidelity, producing marriages of up to 30 years, sex isn't even necessarily where it's at in the convention-defying arrangement.... "I truly believe if someone like Tiger Woods had an open marriage, the number of partners he had would have decreased."
And the writer's opinion?
We only know what we see: tons of tabloid headlines; four apparently miserable and/or chagrined spouses; and, oh, by the way, nothing, nada, zip in the way of scandal for Mo'Nique, Tilda Swinton, or any other boldfaced name in an avowed nontraditional union.
So, is open marriage the way to go for Hollywood — or would that be too weird?
Says Block: "The weird thing to me is people cheat."
Read the whole article (March 25, 2010).
Incidentally, there's a great article about Tristan in the Canadian gay paper Xtra just out yesterday (March 25).
Meanwhile, a conventionally minded self-help book author goes and disses all over the very concept. She's on the Oprah site, as picked up by CNN:
By Karen Salmansohn | March 23, 2010
(OPRAH.com) -- I was deeply involved with a man (let's call him Steve) when he surprised me with an unusual request. One night, Steve explained that if and when we got married, he would always want to have a separate apartment where he could be "alone."
In his version of our lives, Steve's "alone" was when he would step out on our relationship -- up to three nights a week. Steve wanted an open marriage -- a nonmonogamous, polyamorous arrangement wherein he could go his way and I could go mine.
Steve made his request after he and I were intimately involved -- catching me totally off guard....
Was it at all possible that the pros of an open marriage agreement could outweigh its cons?... Could creating a system of rules for cheating actually prove to be helpful? Does operating with transparency when cheating lessen the stress of an affair?...
...When open marriages work, it is most likely because the unconventional unions are focused on good old-fashioned open communication.
...I must confess, every time I type the words "good open marriage," my fingers twitch. These words feel oxymoronic....
For me, a healthy marriage asks you both to bring out your highest selves.... In my opinion, open marriage is pretty much the opposite of marriage. It seems to be about avoiding commitment -- one of the cornerstones of a happy marriage.... By the end of my research, I firmly believed that open marriage is merely an excuse for getting away with behaving self-indulgently and recklessly.
...So what happened to Steve? I said no to his suggestion for an apartment he'd go to three days a week. You can't be four-sevenths married. If you are going to cheat, why bother asking someone to marry you in the first place?
Read the whole article, and leave a comment.
At least she had the wits to reject something obviously wrong for her. But wrong for everybody? And Steve's way certainly isn't the only way.
As I've said before, trying to make alternative relationships work under a horse-and-carriage worldview is like trying to get your horse to pull the carriage faster by making your horse drink this new-fangled gasoline. Nope; just brings drama and spectacle. To use gasoline well, you need a worldview with internal-combustion engines. Revolutionary new ways rarely fit comfortably into old life paradigms. I'm sure that's why, IME, poly seems to thrive best in alt cultures.