New York Times: "The Secrets to an Open Marriage According to Mo’Nique"
At Loving More's Poly Living convention in Philadelphia last month, longtime activist Jim Fleckenstein held a session to discuss strategies for building poly awareness and acceptance. He's had years of professional experience helping nonprofits in other areas advance their goals. (Loving More is a nonprofit.)
One strategy that came up was getting celebrities to publicly stand with you. Celebrities put a public face on an abstract idea. Think of how effective this was for gay acceptance.
People suggested several celebrities who are out about doing ethical non-monogamy in some form. Margaret Cho? Amanda Palmer? The actress Mo'Nique? Jim asked, "Why aren't we in contact with these people?"
Turns out the New York Times was in contact with Mo'Nique right around then. Today they published a story online that will appear in this Sunday's printed edition, in the Weddings section:
The Secrets to an Open Marriage According to Mo’Nique
By Tammy La Gorce
...It has been a decade since Mo’Nique revealed in an Essence magazine article that she and [Sidney] Hicks, an actor and producer, were in an open marriage.
Now they have begun a podcast that plays on their unusual partnership. In “Mo’Nique and Sidney’s Open Relationship,” which is on Play.It, the CBS podcast network, the couple explains how the so-called polyamorous lifestyle works for them.
Sidney and Mo'Nique. (Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
...Mo’Nique and Mr. Hicks bumped into a learning curve right away when establishing rules for their open marriage.
“Sidney had this one thing he had to teach me, and that was reciprocity,” she said. “He said, ‘If you can have that, it’s only fair that I can have that, too.’” The arrangement, which they agreed to before their twin sons were born (they are now 10), was her idea.
“I wanted to continue to see the gentlemen that I was seeing, and I felt comfortable telling my best friend,” she said, meaning Mr. Hicks. “I’m grateful he taught me I had to play fair.”
[Said Hicks,] “We got into this knowing that we both wanted to be with someone who’s going to allow you to be who you are,” he said. “I think one of the most romantic things you can do as a couple is be honest with each other. And we are.”
Other Hollywood couples have been in open marriages, though few have been as open — or successful — as Mo’Nique and her husband have been. The comedian and actress Margaret Cho, for example, spoke about her open marriage in 2013, but she filed for separation last year, after 11 years of marriage. (Through her publicist, Ms. Cho declined to comment for this article.)
Douglas LaBier, a psychologist and the director of the Center for Progressive Development, a Washington-based organization that focuses on the changing forms of relationships, said that from a psychological perspective, people shouldn’t assume that openness in a sexual relationship is bad.
“What’s at the core of it is a desire to form a healthy relationship,” he said....
In marriage, the motto of the future may be “live and let live,” he said.
“I see a much more tolerant, nonjudgmental openness emerging,” Dr. LaBier said. “Everyone is different. You figure out what works for you, and if it’s not imposing something on someone else or hurting someone else, it’s acceptable.”...
Read on (online March 10, 2016; in print March 13).
The article goes on to interview anthropologist and love researcher Helen Fisher, who says flatly, yet again, that these things "never end up working long-term." Can somebody clue her in that counterexamples are all over the place and just make her look stupid?
Dan Savage tweets, "Helen Fisher is full of shit."
Followup: On March 15th the Times posted some reactions to the story: 'Until I Turned 90, I Always Had More Than One Partner': Readers Discuss Open Marriage.
● While we're at it, here's a recent open-marriage story in PopSugar: How Sleeping With Other People Makes Me Love Being Married (Feb. 3).
...Our framework is seemingly ever changing. We have learned not to take our first reactions too seriously. One week after exclaiming that he could never in a million years invite his girlfriend over to sleep in my bed (the very idea!), I realised with great surprise that I didn't care. It felt like a collision of the instinct to protect my territory and the growing feeling that the idea of ownership — the insistence that what is mine cannot be hers — is arbitrary and somewhat useless....