Study finds open relationships just as enjoyable as closed ones…but why?

There are some things in life people will struggle to understand with one of them being open or non-monogamous relationships.

Some believe it’s a green light to cheating and others believe that there must be something wrong with the person or the relationship. However, a new study from the University of Michigan has found that people in open or polyamorous relationships are just as satisfied as those in monogamous pairings.

This doesn’t shock me. Why? Because when I did my final assessment for my doctoral program studying this exact lifestyle group these were also the results. It’s one thing to report on a study like this, but it doesn’t help the people who still struggle to understand it, so I thought I would give it a go.

Nature vs. nurture

The debate as to whether we are supposed to be biologically with one person has still not be resolved with some experts using evidence to say yes and others also using evidence to say no. What I believe is, whether natural or not, being with one person is a choice. I might desire chocolate all day long (an internal desires) but it doesn’t mean I’m going to eat it. Just because I desire something doesn’t automatically mean I should always have it or give into it. But for some their desires for certain things are stronger and rather than being a desire is more of a way that feels natural in their life.

There is also the issues of what monogamy is anyway. Can you not think about having sex with anyone else? What about serial monogamy where we are not just with one person but with one person at a time for a period of time. That’s not just being monogamous.

Whether you want to say it’s natural or not, some people enjoy this lifestyle and feel it works for them. It’s not a lifestyle I live, but just because I don’t live it in my personal life, why then should I tell anyone it’s not right for them? Sometimes we are scared about what is different out of fear of what it triggers for inner selves. I can’t tell you if this way of life is natural or isn’t natural. But rather than focusing on that, I hope that everyone out there challenges what they think about what is put forward to them as natural or normal, so they are able to decide on what is natural and normal for them.


Communication we know is key in relationships, but the next issue is so many couples do not communicate effectively. When you are including others in your relationship and having to discuss boundaries and rules (another thing those in monogamous relationships often don’t do), communication tends to be more effective and to the point. This communication coupled with the freedom to make your own rules is for some what sees their open relationship become more enjoyable and satisfying. It’s your relationship, not others, so why fit into the rules and regulations that others want to impose on you or tell you is the way a relationships should be? Communicate to make your own life and your own rules no matter what type of relationship you are in.


One of the issues communicated about is jealousy. I believe jealousy is spoken about in a more healthy manner in open relationships than in closed ones. When you are in a monogamous relationship and you get upset because you are worried about the flirting from a girl/guy at his/her work, you might bring it up only to be told it’s nothing to worry about or even that you are just being silly. Those in monogamous relationships are not good at allowing jealousy into the mix because they see it as a negative emotion and if it’s there it might mean trouble. But when your partner is engaging in sexual and romantic situations with other people, it’s a natural emotion that is not only accepted but quickly addressed. Whereas other relationships might continue to try and sweep this issues under the carpet (potentially only making it worse) those in open relationships will address it more quickly and for what is really is before moving on to anything with anyone else. Instead of feeling crazy or that jealousy is only something they are experiencing in their head, it becomes an issues in the relationship the couple address together.

Parting note…

Whether you understand open relationships or not after this, I hope you at least might understand why the level of satisfaction in them is as high as closed ones. It might not be for you, but it doesn’t mean that this type of lifestyle can’t bring someone just as much joy.

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