What These Open Celebrity Relationships Can Teach Us About Love

Open relationships are more common than you might think — and if you’re doubtful, just look at the celebrity couples who have opened up about their, well, openness. And while some people might think they’ve gone insane, the truth is, we can learn a lot about love from these couples … even if we decide to stick to monogamy.

What defines an ‘open relationship’?

A man in dark glasses talk about love.

Here’s what you need to know. | Giphy

No two relationships are alike, and that includes open relationships. From swinging to polyamory and the Dan Savage-coined term “monogamish,” there are different ways to dabble in unconventional lifestyles. As you’ll see, the celebrity couples who have admitted to not being monogamous all have different boundaries and limitations. The way to make it work is to be on the same page as your partner.

These are some of the most famous open celebrity relationships — and they have a few things to teach us.

 Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher: Make the rules clear

Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore take a selfie together.

It sounds like Ashton bent some of the rules. | Victor Boyko/Getty Images

It’s a known fact that when they were married, Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher had threesomes with other women. But the rule was that Moore always had to be involved. Kutcher took things too far when he was caught with Brittney Jones when Moore was nowhere in sight.

If you and your other half are considering opening up the relationships, make the rules clear right away.

Tilda Swinton and John Byrne: Think of the children

Tilda Swinton and John Byrne posing for a photograph at an event.

Tilda Swinton and John Byrne had their unique arrangement figured out. | YouTube

Tilda Swinton and John Byrne are married with twins, but they each have a separate lover: Swinton has artist Sandro Kopp, and Byrne sees a woman named Jeanine. While Swinton says she doesn’t try to promote their arrangement as a radical lifestyle choice, their arrangement actually makes them better parents.

Open relationships can work, but if children are involved, make sure their needs are being met.

Mo’Nique and Sidney Hicks: We don’t own our partners

Mo'Nique and Sidney Hicks sitting on chairs at a screening.

They allow each other some freedom. | Taylor Hill/Getty Images

Oscar winner Mo’Nique and her husband have had an open marriage for years. She says that monogamy is all about owning your partner, and that she and Hicks recognize that they don’t own each other. It was her idea to open up the marriage, and it has lasted for over a decade.

Even if you’re in a monogamous marriage, recognizing that you don’t own your partner is very beneficial. You don’t have to give each other a pass to sleep with other people, but that doesn’t mean you should dictate their entire lives.

Dolly Parton and Carl Dean: It’s about what works for you, not others

Dolly Parton and Carl Dean smiling as they stand closely together.

Don’t let the opinions of others dictate your marriage. | YouTube

Dolly Parton and Carl Dean subscribe to the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” theory — if one of them is with someone else, the other doesn’t want to know. This kind of arrangement would never work for most couples, but it works for them, and that’s all that matters.

You don’t have to be in an open marriage for this to apply. If you have some kind of non-traditional arrangement (your partner is a stay-at-home-dad, for example) and it works for you, know that other opinions don’t matter.

Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith: Trust is vital, no matter what

Will and Jada Pinkett-Smith pose in front of a movie poster.

Will and Jada Pinkett-Smith have become known for their infamously open marriage. | Harrison/Getty Images

Will and Jada have been sly about their open marriage — they’ve never denied it, but they’ve been very vague. But there’s one thing they’re very clear on: They trust each other to do the right thing, whatever that may be.

“Here’s what I trust — I trust that the man that Will is, is the man of integrity. So, he’s got all the freedom in the world. As long as Will can look himself in the mirror and be okay, I’m good,” Pinkett-Smith has been quoted as saying. Monogamous or not, that’s something we should all strive for.

 All open relationships prove that monogamy is just one option

A man and woman talk about relationships.

As long as you’re honest and open with your partner. | Giphy

Monogamy may be the only true socially accepted kind of relationship, but the fact is, alternative arrangements have been around for a very long time. Just look at the history of unconventional relationships and you’ll see they span centuries.

There’s nothing wrong with monogamy, of course. But if you’ve ever had thoughts that you might want to try something else, you can take comfort in knowing you’re far from the only one.

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