Rules For Open Marriages


I enjoy reading other accounts of couples and how they handle an open marriage, which can mean so many different things. I’ve discovered that each couple is very unique in what they allow and forbid in such a relationship and the rules vary.

One blog I read ( had a list of things they took into considerations, which I thought interesting:

• Is the bed you share with your spouse off limits?
• Are your side relationships or lovers allowed to meet your children?
• Will you keep this a secret from friends and family?
• Is STD testing required from the people you sleep with?
• Are overnight stays allowed? If so, what time in the morning should you be home by?
• How many people would you be comfortable with your partner dating at a time?
• How many times is too many for one of you to be out of the house on a date?
• Is it acceptable to pay for a babysitter while on a date or do you only go out if the other person can stay with the children?
• Are you allowed to date single men or must they be in same situation?
• Are you allowed to be texting/calling/emailing your side relationship when you’re not with them?
• Are you allowed to be seen in public with your date?
• What dating expenses are manageable for your finances?
• What type of pictures would you mind your partner putting on the internet to help locate people?
• How far away from home, are you comfortable with your partner traveling to spend time with their date?
• Are condoms and dental dams a requirement for penetration AND oral sex?
• Do you want to meet the person your partner is going out on a date with?

This is actually a pretty good list of considerations and very much in line with what my husband and I discussed before we embarked on our own version of an open marriage.
Now, some of the rules that the couple above actually came up with the start were:

• Nobody in our bed
• No spending the night
• No friends
• Nobody from work
• Couldn’t take off the rings
• Nobody in our house
• Had to answer the phone right then if the spouse called
• Nothing around the children
• Must check in when you arrive at date and keep spouse updated
• Sexual safety
At the end, this couple whittled down the rules to:
• Rings stay on
• Check the phone once in a while
• No dates around the kids (which they broke several times)
• Sexual safety

I was a bit disturbed by the fact that their rule about not letting their “dates” around their children was broken several times when they let a man sleep over and spend weekends with their family. The wife who wrote the blog tried to justify herself by saying that they passed him off as a family friend but admitted that they might have to explain why they had so many male friends sleeping over when they got older.

She even went so far as to sneak in her “dates” when her husband was out of town (with his permission) so her kids wouldn’t catch them. That doesn’t sit well with me as I would never have wanted to take another man to my bed with my children in the house.

Eventually, the husband and wife decided to return to the rule that their kids never meet any of the men (the husband never brought over women to the house).

Anyway, our own rules are:

• Permission before any encounter
• Condoms
• No spending the night with anyone (with a few exceptions when my husband is out of town)
• Phone checks before and after.
• No men from the internet

That’s about it for us. The rule about using our home for a meeting place isn’t a rule because we don’t have any kids living at home. But if we did we certainly would never invite them here.

The wife from the above blog seemed a bit upset about the rule about always wearing wedding rings as she felt that hampered picking up men. Though it’s not really a rule, however, I never go without my ring, and I would never consider taking it off. It has never seemed to ward off men for me, though I’m sure a few have been put off and decided on not talking to me.

Their loss.


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