Desire is fickle. Lust fades. Yet we exist in a paradigm of long-term monogamous relationships. Marriage and sexual fidelity are the social norm. Most people are too afraid to admit they are attracted to someone else while married. It isn’t discussed openly, and as a result, millions of marriages have ended in divorce because of cheating.
There are many cultural anthropologists that argue humans aren’t designed for sexual monogamy even though we are a pair bonding species. For some couples it works, and for others, there are major struggles.
So what happens to a marriage when you take the idea of cheating off the table? What would your marriage look like without the rigid structure to hold it together? Is it conceivable to extend the boundaries of betrayal so the chasm is so wide it’s almost impossible to violate it? What if the rules around fidelity in your marriage were so few and far between that all that was around you was the freedom to make your own choices – would you be happier?
In this OverShare episode I talk to Tara Greenblatt and Andrew Hannah about their journey into polyamory. They have an open marriage, and still maintain a very happy functional family life. Yet it isn’t always an easy path to take. As Tara says, “The challenges live in my head as of now. I think and fear that our culture, including our friends and family, would believe that Andrew and I are damaging our children because of the relationship arrangement we’ve chosen.”
They have to battle the opinion and judgments of others, yet personally Tara has felt a “tremendous sense of personal empowerment and liberation. This benefits my family because I am much clearer and better at setting boundaries, asking for what I want and wanting unapologetically. This is very good for boys to see in their Mother.”
Andy has also experienced a lot of positive impact from their choice to open up their marriage after 20 years of being together. “THE most beneficial aspect would have to be an expansiveness with regards to giving and receiving love. I feel more love (self-love and open to other’s love), which allows me to be more loving. In the context of family – love here is more of a verb than a sentiment. I am more present, more affectionate, more attentive, more appreciative which affects every moment. Which makes for better role modeling – lecture children all you want but it is what they witness that makes the most impact. So they see they level of humility, respect, communication between Tara and I and that will impact how they treat themselves, their friends, eventually their lovers and their children if they have them.”
The road less taken is bumpy for a reason, yet the adventure for this couple is well worth it.