I recently received a query from a writer who was “putting together a thorough guide that explains the ins-and-outs of an open marriage” for Ozy.com.

The writer wanted to know “how it works, what rules are set in place, and other peculiarities that people in these situations need to know” — “peculiarities” was interesting — and “would love to include some insight and advice from both relationship experts and those involved in open relationships.”

Hmmm… Here’s what I wrote: 

The precursor to navigating most relationship issues, shifts, and developments is communication. Clear and open communication, without fear of judgment or repercussions if one’s ideas are “new” or “unexpected,” is the cornerstone for most interpersonal interactions – especially ones that may challenge existing norms or require consideration of previously unexplored relationship territory. 

Sadly, as humans, we struggle with communication – and we extra-struggle with communication when it comes to sex and sexualities. The reasons for this are long-standing and complex, but dealing with the weight of such a giant social problem should not stand in the way of you doing your part to unpack it. Working on interpersonal communication with one’s relevant partner(s) is challenging, but it’s also necessary to explore the ins-and-outs of open relationships, including open marriages. In so doing, you will mitigate some of the common issues that come up in navigating open relationships, as well as help break down issues related to communication overall – it’s a win/win for your relationships, as well as for society at large! 

Got a sociology question? Need some social justice informed life advice? Contact Dr. Chauntelle right here.

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Image via La Afterman.