Ever wondered about “open relationships” and how they could possibly work? Those of us who skim through glossy mags and love people-watching are probably intrigued by the seeming ease with which the eternal dance of love plays out under the spotlights. Dr David Barash, PhD, author of The Myth of Monogamy and professor of psychology at the U of Washington opines that there are a wide variety of open relationships and they can vary drastically from couple to couple. Do celebs go for it because they have the opportunity, or do these relationships thrive in suburbia too? Think about it and let us know!
Meanwhile, take a look how the glam brigade does it:
1. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie
Brangelina got together in 2005, and now ten years, six kids, elective surgeries and one wedding later, the power couple’s mantra of “fidelity by choice” seems to be working just fine. Though Angelina says that she doubts fidelity is absolutely essential for a relationship, and that they are not chained together, nor do they hold each other’s back, Hollywood’s favorite power couple’s certainly doing something right to keep this enduring, open yet secure relationship thriving, alive, fun, warm and nurturing!
All’s not eternally hunky-dory in open relationships. Demi and Ashton’s eight-year marriage was reportedly quite colorful, with Demi alleged to have been a bi-sexual (though nothing’s been confirmed) who invited PYTs to share the relationship quite often. But when Ashton took up with Brittney Jones, it was curtains for the marriage. Obviously, there are rules for open relationships – physical, emotional and parameters that both partners set for themselves and each other – and clearly some boundaries were crossed here.
3. Newt Gingrich
What about open relationships in which just one partner knows that it’s open? Strange, but true! Newt Gingrich’s ex-wife reveals that he wanted an open marriage, while he says he was merely “unfaithful.” All of which makes for juicy political scandal but points to the weird logic that adultery is preferable to open-ness! Do couples need to talk about the nature of their relationship and their expectations? How about a physical or emotional relationship contract? Share your thoughts with us.
4. Jay-Z and Beyonce
“Polyamory” is the technical word for it when the couple practices, desires and accepts other intimate relationships with each other’s full knowledge and consent. Is there room for jealousy, lies and heartbreak in open relationships? Seems contradictory! The power-couple seemed to be enjoying the open-ness so far, but Jay-Z’s alleged romp with Rihanna and others hasn’t brought indulgent smiles to Beyonce’s face. Judging by what Jay-Z and Beyonce are reportedly going through, there’s a pile of pain in their symphony.
5. Hugh Hefner & Crystal Harris
Skimming 86 and having the time of his life by all available reports, Hugh Hefner seems to have sewn it up and then some! This is indeed text-book open-ness – a bevy of beauties at any given time, all of them looking pleased as Punch about it, with the occasional interesting side-bars and detours, this Playboy appears to have brought light and cheer into several lives simultaneously. Looks like he has it all – including the money to fund a luxe life-style.
6. Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel
The “evolved” open relationship that JT and Jesse enjoy today has apparently grown from a casual understanding into one of mutual trust and commitment. Though Justin’s rumored to have stepped out during the American Music Awards, Timberbiel seems all set for the long haul. A sense of equity and fairness in the relationship goes a long way in making it comfortably open. Do couples have veto-powers or seek prior permission before they embark on something new? What’s your take on this?
7. Megan Fox and Brian Austin Green
Successful open relationships fit the needs of all parties involved. Negotiating all aspects of the relationship is key to making it work. With Megan Fox and Brian Austin Green, there’s a tacit understanding that it’s Megan who’s allowed to stray. There are three children involved and the marriage seems built on a strong foundation of honesty and a certain amount of “new relationship energy” that’s allowed to enter into their lives. Falling in love with someone else needn’t spell doom in this marriage.
8. Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith
Jada Pinkett Smith once famously declared, “Will can do whatever he wants!” but two years ago she clarified what she really meant. This marriage according to her is based on trust and love. In that sense, it calls for self-examination and self-monitoring and they judge each other based only on their love for each other. Though there were heated rumors of trouble in Paradise, all seems well and theirs remains one of the most enduring of Hollywood marriages in recent years.
9. Chris Robinson and Kate Hudson
Now this one’s as complicated as they come! Kate’s mom, Goldie Hawn, had her own share of stormy relationships, and Chris Robinson’s drugged-out party life-style is well-known. Kate’s dad Bill Hudson threw a spanner in the works when he claimed that Kate wanted an open marriage but Chris didn’t and that’s what led to the divorce! Paradoxically, Chris and Kate are best friends post-divorce and share their son’s upbringing. Opening up the relationship needs introspection and inner conviction, don’t you think?
10. Larry King and Shawn Southwick
Let’s close with the King himself – married eight times to seven women, Larry King’s seventh wife Shawn Southwick jokes that she’s the only one who has lasted into two digits! They filed for divorce but called a halt to proceedings in 2010. Wife #6 Julie Alexander puts the longevity down to the couple’s being totally aware of each other’s infidelity. So if it works for them and the people they connect up with, does it really matter? Tell us what you feel.
Embarking on an open relationship can seem brave and exciting. Most people focus on the benefits and ignore the real challenges in terms of the emotional price they end up paying. Today we’re flooded with images and messages that tell us to go for it, whatever it is that we want, it’s all there available for the taking. A “don’t ask don’t tell” pact needs to be negotiated down to its bare essentials – the who, what, why, where, when and how must be agreed upon. So where does that leave hurt, jealousy, anxiety, betrayal and respect? Keep us posted!