Monogamy is probably not what we humans are wired for. Early man enjoyed a lifetime of amorous dalliances with a multitude of willing women. Over the years, however, society evolved, changed and set up its gigantic book of rules. But, things seem to be coming a full circle now, as a staggering number of young Bengalurueans wake up to the trend of open relationships. And city websites like flirtbox.in, datanta.in, bangalore.locanto.in, riflebirds.com and lifeiscallingyou.com are rife with with people looking for open relationships.
They profess their love for one, roll in the hay with another and, mindbogglingly, all parties involved (who are, by the way, completely in the know) are happy as clams. Don’t believe us? Log on to the numerous Bengaluru dating sites and you will find that most youngsters are blatantly seeking an open relationship. So, are these relationships the way to go, in so far as being faithful to our Neanderthal roots? Or, are they simply a license to cheat?
By definition, an open relationship is one where two people want to be together, but don’t want to be straitjacketed by monogamy. Dinesh Kumar (name changed), a model, has been in an open relationship with his girlfriend for a year. “We started off as a normal couple, but at one point, we both had other sexual temptations. Since we love each other, we didn’t break up —instead, we decided to give each other the go-ahead to sleep with others,” he reveals, “If we still want to be with each other after five years, we’ll try monogamy.”
If open relationships are one thing, open marriages are an entirely different ballgame. Tarika Ramesh (name changed), a software professional, says, “My husband travels a lot and we have an agreement wherein, when he’s away, we both are free to have flings. Since he is often away for months at a stretch, it doesn’t make sense to wait that long to have sex.” She adds that this arrangement has spiced up her marriage. “When he’s in town, we can’t get enough of each other. We appreciate each other much more,” she gushes.
But, an open relationship has the power to destroy too. Arati Singh, a media professional, confesses, “I was in an open relationship for six months. It was an unsaid agreement. But the freedom came at an emotional cost, particularly because I started wanting commitment.”
Lipika Jain, a counsellor at Wellness Counselling, says that she faces the repercussions of open relationships all the time. “I recently had a 29-year-old boy come to me for counselling. After living in for a while, his girlfriend and he decided to make the relationship open. He was okay with the idea, but when she started dating others, he even went so far as complaining to her parents. My question is: what were they trying to make work? Why be with someone, if you want to be with someone else? It is, at least, understandable in cases where people are married/ have kids, and don’t want to break that bond.”
So, what are the scenarios in which such a relationship can be made to work? “Two people may have been living together and have simply outgrown each other. They may decide to stay together because they’re comfortable in the domestic set-up, but look for other companions.”
Ironically, even an open relationships comes with rules. Says Dinesh, “Best friends are out of bounds. And, we make sure the other relationship is mainly sexual. Flirting is allowed, but not emotional intimacy.” Tarika adds, “Our marital bed is never open to others. Also, we go to great lengths to keep it under wraps; we don’t want society questioning our marriage.”