Monday, March 27, 2006

Open Marriage

Dear Indigna,

I am a graduate student and recently became engaged to be married to the most wonderful man in the world. All my friends are telling me to keep my name and have an “open marriage” so that we don’t stifle the love we feel for each other by possessiveness and jealousy. My husband-to-be says that my choice of name is entirely up to me, and even offered to take my name, or combine our names, so that’s not the issue. The thing is, he feels tempted by the open marriage thing because it makes so much logical sense, you know, “if you love something, set it free” and all that. I, on the other hand, can’t shake the feeling that I might feel a little uncomfortable trying to study in the kitchen while listening to him go at it with another woman in the bedroom, or perhaps finding messy evidence of an afternoon tryst to which I was not invited on my side of the bed. Please tell me what choice is best.

Confused
Berkeley, CA

Dear Confused,

I’ll say you are! You must not love your “fiancé” very much if you aren’t even willing to take his name! And what kind of a man would change his name?! Are you sure you’re not just a beard?

As for the issue of so-called “open marriage,” I once had some close friends who were in the exact same situation. They decided to try it and it worked out great because the husband didn’t have to give up his other girlfriend just because he got married. But the exact same problem that you fear did, indeed, arise (no pun intended). The wife got sick and tired of cleaning up after those two, whose “experiments” could be quite messy, while she was a neat freak.

Here’s where it gets complicated: the man that the girlfriend was shacked up with asked her to move out so his other girlfriend could move in, at least until her baby was born. The prospect of the slobby GF moving into her house made the wife crazy. Meanwhile, the wife’s boyfriend broke up with her because he had knocked up his own wife, an infidelity that infuriated the first wife.

So, long story short, the first wife dumped both of them, moved to L.A., married a famous movie producer, and now lives in a house on the beach in Malibu. Meanwhile, all of the others remain penniless, miserable and alone. On this evidence alone, I’d say go for it, girl!

P.S. She took the movie producer’s name, of course.

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