It’s a day that ends in “y,” so of course whether or not Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith have an open marriage has been in the news as of late. Rumors about the Hollywood duo spring up pretty much like clockwork on a quarterly basis. It’s either a rumor about divorce, being eachother’s “beards” (Is there another term for a male “beard”? A skirt? A ponytail?) or that they have an open marriage.
Most women I know would vigorously resist any notion of being in an open marriage or open relationship. Most of the time, when we see examples of open relationships it’s a one-sided open relationship that essentially the man to do as he pleases and the woman “plays her position.” (See Stevie J. on Love and Hip Hop.) But it is interesting to note that one of Hollywood’s most beloved couples did in fact have an open marriage for a time. That’s right, Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis dabbled in that back in the day.
In the couple’s joint memoir, Ruby said the following about their decision to switch from an open marriage to a traditional marriage:
But, we both came to realize that we were very fortunate that, in all of the deep profound, fundamental ways, we really, really only wanted each other. It was like a rediscovery of something from the beginning. It’s not something that you’d recommend to everybody. But often Ossie has said – and I’ve though too – the best way to have somebody is to let it go. If it doesn’t come back you are free in another kind of sense – in that you find the strength to let go and wish somebody well. So, we thought an open marriage was appropriate for us but it turned out not to be. But then that’s what we’re all about, we are moving from one position to another in the process of trying to unravel this thing call life.
So there you have a more eloquent statement as to the repercussions/aftermath of an open marriage as opposed to watching two women scream and claw at eachother on reality television. But still, as Ms. Ruby Dee notes, the open marriage idea is not for the faint of heart and not for every couple. It seems that in the end though, she felt that the open-relationship experience brought them closer together.
I’ve never been in an open relationship, but I do know a few people who knowingly have one-sided open relationships. Some women really truly believe that men are just not wired to be monogamous and that in order to be happy in a relationship, women need to give up the idea of a one-woman man.
Have you or would you ever consider an open relationship?
Demetria Irwin is a New York City-based freelance writer/editor. Follow her on Twitter, @Love_Is_Dope.