Commitment that allows outside sex?  “No way that’s a commitment,” some of you are thinking.  But here’s what I know: there are couples who have agreed to outside sex, and at the same time, remain fully committed to one another.  Outrageous?  Not possible?  Immoral to boot?  Maybe that’s how you feel, but for some, it works.

Commitment for those couples means they will love one another, be responsible to one another and adhere to their agreed relationship parameters, clearly defining what their boundaries will be.  Some need to know and trust the person their partner wants to have sex with; others only want a foursome with another compatible couple; still others agree to outside sexual foreplay, but not intercourse.  See what I mean?  There are many different possibilities depending upon the desires of the people involved.

Emotional maturity always helps whether in an open partnership or a traditional one.  Otherwise, when a problem arises, there is little chance that it will be resolved.  Since both open relationships and traditional ones have challenges, it’s important to have honest, open communication, the key to making any relationship work.

Sexual exclusivity (our cultural default) doesn’t work for everyone.  If it did, our divorce rate wouldn’t be sky high, and cheating wouldn’t be rampant.  Of course, some couples are perfectly happy being sexually exclusive. But those for whom it doesn’t work need not be bound by tradition, but should consider alternatives.

Before any kind of commitment is made, couples need to dig deep, be honest with themselves and one another about what they really want.  If two people are unable to agree, it’s a strong indication that they aren’t right for each other.  Better to find that out in the beginning then to be surprised later, don’t you think? It sure would save a lot of heartache.

Instead of cookie cutter relationship rules, let’s open our minds to the relationship we really want.  Wouldn’t that result in more joy in our lives? Less cheating and heartbreak?  I think it would.  What do you think? Are you monogamous? Or have you chosen another path?  How is your choice working out?  I would love to hear your views on the subject.

Check out my book, The Affair: From Breakdown to Breakthrough, A Therapist’s Real-life Journey, for more great tips and insights about relationships. You can buy it on Kindle worldwide from all Amazon websites, including


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