Some examples of Open Marriage Agreements. Some were written by AP members and some found on other sites.

10 Rules for Open Marriage
  • First and foremost, if one or both partners in the outside relationship become emotionally involved (start to fall in love) with the other, that outside relationship will end. If this happens the outside relationship becomes a threat to the primary relationship not to mention create emotional entanglements that will hurt one or more of the people involved.
    NOTE FROM AUTHOR: This rule would never fly in my marriage as its impossible for me to not be emotionally involved with a sexual partner. However, my husband and I have a rule that no outside relationship will interfere with our marriage. We believe it is possible to love more than one person at a time, but we want our relationship to always come first.
  • The primary relationship will always remain primary. This means that one spouse will check with the other before meetings with an outside partner. If conflicts occur, they will be discussed with the marriage partner. If a compromise can’t be reached, the decision will favor the needs of marriage partner.
  • The marriage partner has the option of disapproving a particular outside relationship with a specific person; or to turn it around, that partner may want to approve or even meet the other person.
    NOTE FROM AUTHOR: We call this the “pull the plug option”, however we use this option sparingly and not as a method of controlling each other.
  • Meeting with any one outside person can’t take place on a daily basis. Regularly seeing just one outside person can easily result in a personal and emotional dependence on that relationship by one or both people involved. To help avoid this it may be advantageous to have more than one outside sexual relationship.
  • Assuming the agreed upon rules are followed, the outside relationship can’t be used against a spouse at any time, as in a later claim of adultery.
  • If one spouse is meeting another person, the other spouse must know where he or she is at all times. Any change of plans will be made known.
  • Although this is primarily a safety issue for wives, should the need arise the marriage partners need to know how to get in contact with each other. This is especially important if a spouse plans an overnight stay. Although this should come under the heading of common civility, comparing attributes, attitudes, or sexual capabilities of a person outside of the marriage to those of a spouse is “off limits.”
  • Given the attitude of general society to open relationships and the professional and personal harm that might ensue if generally known, it is often necessary to be discrete in meetings with the outside person or persons out of sight of friends, business associates, or family members. In small towns this may mean out-of-town meetings. Where these concerns are not a factor, some couples find that the number of prospective partners increases if it is generally known that the couple has an open marriage.
  • There will be “full disclosure” at all times and there will be no secret conversations or meetings with the outside person or things that can easily lead to mistrust and jealously.
  • And finally, no outside relationship will endanger another person’s monogamous marriage or relationship.
M.O.M. Open Marriage Agreement
We are two people who are still very much in love with each other who realize that we cannot fulfill all sexual needs and desires through a monogamous relationship. While our marriage is not monogamous, we believe in the fidelity of our marriage as a symbol of honesty and open communication. We hope that through this new life adventure that we grow closer as a couple because we are sharing so much more of who we are with each other. We also hope for sexual fulfillment for needs that cannot be met within the marriage.

The following parameters have been agreed upon by both of us as a framework for our new relationship. We both agree to honor all points contained in this document and all points can be renegotiated and/or changed through mutual agreement.

  • We agree that we will not see…..
  • He agrees to not see women at any time.
  • Relationships are to be kept as friends with benefits defined as casual relationships of friendship involving perhaps dinners out, drinks.
  • No gifts will be exchanged. Relationships are to be ended if we or our partners get too involved emotionally. “Too involved” is defined as if you feel that you must communicate with that person every day, if they are demanding time that is taking away from our relationship, or if either of us wants to spend more time with the person. If it is causing our marriage to suffer, then it must end.
  • We give each other priority for setting dates on the calendar. For now, all dates must be made during the week or when he is away during a weekend for business travel. When traveling outside of the country, he has agreed to have no sexual relationship with anyone (including coworkers).
  • All texts/emails/phone calls to or from a partner is to be kept to a minimum on weekends. Emergencies are understood, but it should not be a regular habit.
  • There will be no overnight stays with our partners. Names and phone numbers of the people we meet must be given to each other for emergencies and safety.
  • We agree that we will not see other people more than three times per week.
  • Condoms must be used during intercourse 100% of the time …no exceptions. A discussion about a partner’s STD status must be had prior to sexual contact.
  • The master bedroom in our home is off-­‐limits to sexual activity with other partners.
  • We communicate to our partners that we are in a committed relationship with each other and spell out the parameters of our relationships with them.
  • When home, we are mutually focused on each other and being kind and loving in our relationship. Our sexual relationship will remain a priority and continue to improve.
  • We agree to remain true to who we are now and will not change our appearance or clothing to please a partner.
  • He may go to gay places as long as he is with a date and not going to pick up a stranger. He is permitted to go to gay bath houses and engage in sexual activity while there, but agrees to not take that person back to his hotel room.
  • We agree to tell each other about details of our sexual experiences and feelings about our partners.
  • We agree to be both open and honest without defensiveness and talk through any feelings of jealousy.
  • If either of us becomes ill or has a serious ongoing health issue, the focus will be on each other and all playtime ends either temporarily, or permanently, depending on the situation.

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Changing Rules Over Time

One of the best suggestions that my AP sisters made to this newbie was to write all the rules for our newly opened marriage in pencil because they would likely change as this became our new normal.

When we began our open marriage 8 years ago, I had a number of concerns and voiced them to my husband. First of all, I insisted on safe sex practices and clean reports from those persons he planned on having sexual relations with. Second, I wanted no contact with the other person. There were to be no overnights unless specifically planned in advance and that he should aim to be back by 1AM. Family always would take precedence. He was never to come to our home or have sex with another in our bed. We also added after a HUGS gathering that we attended, that my husband would call me when he was on his way home.

Now, eight years later, almost all of these “rules” have changed. The requirement for safe sex is still paramount as well as familial obligations taking precedence over all dates. My husband’s boyfriend of 7 years is a wonderful man who I like very much. He is often in our home and we often go to dinner, the three of us as well as attending movies, plays, and ball games. Obviously, we did meet. And, more importantly, we have become friends.

Today, my husband spends one night a week with his BF. Since we downsized into an apartment with good security, I no longer fear being alone at night so an overnight is not such a problem.

I never dreamed that my open marriage could have turned out so well. I have a wonderful friend as well as a loving husband who is at peace with who he is for the first time in his life. Our adult children know about their father and often include the BF in our family activities.

Not all open marriages have this kind of happy ending. But they certainly can have this if all three people want it to happen. It takes love, concern for those dearest to us, and a willingness to look for the good in any situation.

Promises to my Husband's Partner

My Promise to My Husband’s Partner:

I Will:

  • Give you alone time with my husband *both at home & in public* and respect your privacy.
  • Welcome you into our home/family as an equal if you are our third and be respectful and supportive of your needs and feelings.
  • Be willing to talk with you at any time about any issues you may have with me or with my husband or with our marriage and do my best to keep anger out of any disagreements.
  • Do things/go places with you, with or without my husband, if you would like to spend time together with me as friends/family partners.
  • Be supportive of you in public situations, never leave you behind, or make you feel like a third wheel.

In Return I Expect:

  • That you accept that my marriage to my husband is “here to stay” and that I will not be going anywhere.
  • That you understand that if you are our third, you are part of our family. That you respect me as my husband’s spouse and as an equal in our family and as such you share *equally* in the family’s expenses, responsibilities, joys and sorrows.
  • For you to understand that although I want to be your friend and have a close relationship with you, I do not expect you to be a sexual partner to me as well.
  • That you love and cherish my husband as much as I do. That you honor his feelings for you and reciprocate them and that you respect his wishes, the person he is and value his opinions and thoughts. There is only one thing that will make me angry at you and that is if you treat my husband poorly. I will not stand for this…. period… and it will be THE deal-breaker in our relationship.
  • That you be honest with both my husband and myself, about everything. What you do will affect our family.
  • That my husband be your ONLY sexual partner. This is for the health and safety of our family. My husband has been AIDS tested and if you become our third we will ask that you be willing to be tested as well. My husband will be glad to be retested at the same time to be fair, as will I. (this has been adjusted to add a “play safe” caveat for Jon & his partner may want to have an encounter with another man…latex raincoats required however ;o) ).
  • Be supportive of me in public, never leave me behind or make me feel like a third wheel.
  • That you also respect/give my husband & I alone time (both at home and in public).

Bear in mind, these points were listed in the order I thought of them and are not ranked by importance…they are equally important to me. They also are not written in stone, I am sure that some will fall away and new ones will come to mind but it is a starting point.

Open Marriage Tidbits

AUTHOR’S NOTES: Here are some tidbits taken from e-mails I crafted for someone who asked me privately the same questions last year. Since I wrote this, we have removed the no sleepovers agreement because neither of us needs it to feel secure anymore. I think it is important to keep the agreements evolving over time. There might be something you want or can’t have right now, but leave room for that to change.

First order of business was to set up some “agreements” that we would both follow. Here are ours, as penned by my husband:

HONESTY. Talk about what you’re doing, preferably in advance, but you must mention any sexy stuff within 48 hours of it happening.

SAFER SEX PRACTICES. No one wants an STD, so break out the latex. (more details on this later).

PRIMACY. We are each other’s primary partner and as such have unconditional veto power over other sex partners. If she doesn’t want me to go over to my buddies’ house for sex, I don’t go. And vice versa, of course.

FALLING IN LOVE. We agree that if we find ourselves falling in love with anyone else, we will discuss it fully and take all necessary steps to contain or eliminate the emotional flooding. Same rules apply if someone else starts falling in love with one of us.

SLEEPOVERS. No overnight stays unless the other is out of town.

We consciously decided not to create a lot of “rules” — which seemed only to be tests for the other person to pass or fail. But, one also needs to be honest about what they can handle and what they can’t — that’s how you deal with the jealousy. I’m the one who created the “no sleepover” rule. It helps me, if I “twinge” a bit (my word for a small wave of jealousy), to know that when I awake, my lovely spouse will be home. I expect that one will loosen up a bit in the future, esp. if I ever find a “superfriend” or two (our word for “friends with benefits”).

One thing that helps us is that we are very similar in our approaches to finding superfriends. Both of us seek friends…and sometimes the sex is a part of that. This means that we aren’t surprised by a new friend—we know what is happening and have a chance to learn something about the new person rather than find out two days later than someone had an anonymous hookup instead of going to the library.

Jealousy is something that you have to sit down and face…Where does it come from? what are you actually afraid of? Until you look at that, it won’t go away. I know that if I get heaps of attention, if my needs are being met, there is no reason to be concerned that he is spending an evening at his buddy’s house. Maybe it helps that my hubby’s superfriends are male… I know they can’t replace me. Besides, he is happier when he is able to indulge those attractions and then he is happier at home, and we are all happier. In some ways it is all a matter of perspective.

Right now, if I am jealous at all, it is because he has a couple with whom he is superfriends and I’ve not been as fortunate to find cool, sexy people for me. I had a couple but then they need to close the doors and work on their own relationship and no one I have met since then has clicked. Not the kind of jealousy I would have expected a year ago when we started all this!!!

It is all about communication and honesty. There are lots of things to talk about as you go along, so talking should be easy and regular. Honesty seems obvious to me, if you don’t really tell the other person is going on or what you need (probably the most important thing), then you probably won’t have your needs met.

This is where STDs fit… You and your partner have to decide what risks you are willing to take and how you will manage those risks. For us, this meant going through a huge list of sexual activities and deciding together where we stood. We had to do our homework on some, but now I think we have it pretty well worked out. Also, we agreed on a testing schedule which is once a year. If we have more partners, we might up that to once every 6 months. Then you also have to decide what will happen between the two of you. Husband and I are “fluid bonded” – meaning we share fluids only with each other. I know many folks who are strict condom users even with their primary partners; it is all about what you are comfortable with.

Anyway, as you can imagine, you really need to be able to talk with your partner quite frankly in order to work this out. Some people are not comfortable with their partner knowing what it is that they are doing in bed with other people. For me, I needed to pretty much know all in the beginning – partly for the STD discussion but also just because I needed to know what the whole picture looked like – but now I don’t. My spouse has a strong private side and it was hard for him to tell me some things, but he knew I needed to see the honesty at work and he told me. Then he learned that he could tell me all sorts of things and that I wouldn’t freak out and leave him, etc. and that it is fun to share tales of adventures and the uncertainties that come with having relationships with other people.

Now I need to hear fewer details and he finds it easier to tell me things. For him, it has gone the other way. He thought he wouldn’t want to know really at all what I was doing, but, as it turns out, he does want to know – not blow by blow, but who and when. We have both found that honesty is just a million times easier than trying hide, deceive, or even “spare” our partner. BTW, the “spare the partner” the details thing is crap in my mind—partners who feel slighted, lied to, or left out are far more likely to invent things that are worse than the truth, so I always lobby for the truth.

Hope this helps and remember (and remind him!), it takes time to work through all these things!