A few years ago, I encountered an article describing Tilda Swinton’s open relationship. She has twins with her partner of over two decades, but has also been seeing a younger artist (pictured above) on the side since 2004. Her husband, Scottish artist John Byrne, also has a girlfriend of his own. In fact, the entire group (along with the children) often takes trips together. Both external lovers each have Tilda and John’s blessing to live in harmony. How does she manage to make this work?
Are there other essentials between two lovers that are more important than fidelity? What other celebrities have or have had open relationships?
There is no doubt that outside dalliances can have a range of effects. If your spouse or significant other permits sex outside of your relationship, where does the intimacy lie between the two of you now? This effect may yield somewhat of a security blanket union — dabble in the pleasures of others, but always have someone to come home to. If the balance of outside advances is thrown off, jealousy could come into play despite your wishes of your new-found trust never reaching that point. Is an open relationship worth the possible negative outcomes?
What if this rift in monogamy leans to one side rather than equally balancing between both partners? If couples are willing to venture out of their socially acceptable constraints, what lines can be crossed or blurred without going too far and hurting the relationship they are trying to enrich? All of these questions are surmounted by one uneasy and frank concern: No matter how much you love someone, is it enough?
I was voluntarily raised on the romantic concepts that Disney movies would spew out: There is one soulmate for you, and he is most likely a prince with good hair. Just one guy for the rest of your life and you will be happy and don’t ask questions, impressionable little girl! Since our society is embedded in monogamous trends, is an open relationship looked down on because of its means or just its alien nature to our upbringing?
Who knows if those Disney couples lived happily ever after. Entering adulthood, I realized how difficult relationships can be, and that your dream guy that you tell your friends “HE’S THE ONE!” about can end up throwing your relational mindset in a tizzy. We break up with the ones we love for many reasons, but does the “all or nothing” mentality apply to every break-up? Could the openness between two consenting adults be a reasonable cure to a faltering relationship? Or better yet, an emotional tie that can be altered as you please, because who says relationships have to be a certain way? This is your life and if you both seem fit for a new perspective in your union, there is nothing holding you back besides your own apprehension.
Some may say that openness is an insult to the institution of marriage, but is it worse than hidden adultery, domestic violence or settling depression? Taking hold of your marriage and mutually living it in a way that works best for both parties could very well save it, but take hold with caution!
See more famously open relationships in the gallery.
How do you feel about open relationships? Have you ever been in one or would you consider it?