The problem with infidelity is the secrecy and lying — which does feel like a betrayal. But desiring other people is a natural human impulse, for both men and women. Whether it’s the kind of monogamish interludes that Dan Savage and Perel recommend or truly opening your marriage up to other joint or separate partners, making room for consensual, open and honest non-fidelity makes a lot of sense.
My husband and I opened up our relationship around 5 years ago and it definitely took some work to de-program ourselves from all that we’d absorbed over the years around what it means to be committed and partnered, but it was well worth it and we’ve never been happier together. We grew immensely as individuals and as a couple, in part because we had to step outside of pre-ordained roles and actually talk about what we wanted and what our boundaries were. It improved our already close relationship immensely, even as it challenged us at times to look at what such things like jealous impulses were actually about. I suppose it’s not for everyone, but at this juncture it seems absurd to me that there is so much possessiveness and drama around somebody fucking or even loving somebody else.