Redefining Love: The Rise of Open Relationships in Australia

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The trend of open relationships is on the rise in Australia, challenging traditional notions of monogamy, according to recent data.

In a survey conducted by news.com.au’s Great Aussie Debate involving 50,000 Australians, 1.4 percent admitted to being in an open relationship. This shift reflects changing societal attitudes and a departure from the stigma associated with extramarital affairs.

‘Open relationships’ on the rise as couples break from traditions in Austrailia

Carmen and Linwood, a couple who embraced an open marriage six months after tying the knot, exemplify this trend. They were initially attracted to each other due to their openness to different relationship styles.

Describing themselves as “primary partners” in the open relationship community, they practice “compersion,” deriving joy from each other’s pleasure with other partners rather than succumbing to jealousy. Their relationship is built on constant communication and trust, emphasizing safer sex practices.

However, they acknowledge the inherent challenges, such as potential changes in partners’ feelings over time. Carmen and Linwood’s journey into open relationships occurred later in life, in contrast to younger Australians like Ivy.

A psychology student, Ivy found the concept of open relationships appealing and logical. She believes that monogamy’s lifelong commitment can be daunting for individuals in their early twenties.

The survey reveals that 3 percent of respondents are engaged in secret affairs, potentially due to the perceived difficulties of ethical non-monogamy (ENM) in a society that venerates traditional marriage. Ivy argues that open relationships deserve more recognition and emphasizes the importance of clear communication and honesty within them.

While open relationships are often associated with Gen Z’s rejection of traditional dating norms, the data shows that twice as many millennials are currently engaged in open relationships. Surprisingly, the 40 to 49 age group also exhibits a higher proportion of open relationships compared to those aged 18 to 29.

Ivy, despite her desire for a primary life partner, believes in remaining open to diverse experiences. She hopes that increasing acceptance of various relationship styles will lead to better education and dispel common misconceptions. To this end, Ivy shares her dating journey on social media platforms and utilizes dating apps that allow users to search by preferences.

In response to this evolving landscape, even well-known adult dating sites like Ashley Madison have shifted their focus towards “discreet dating” rather than emphasizing extramarital affairs. This reflects the broader trend of greater acceptance and exploration of different relationship models in contemporary Australian society.


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