Thing is, to others, our openings will always seem odd. Until we admit we have those openings.

I met a couple who have been together for twenty years and never told each other they had tricks or hook ups or even short term lovers on the side. As long as their time together didn’t suffer. He didn’t want to hurt the other because he is HIV negative. The other he, didn’t want to hurt the HIV negative partner because he is gorgeous and gets men (and women) galore. Now, they have started to experiment with three-ways together and household conviviality is not going as well as it used to before they agreed on this very mature and clear opening.

Is keeping and open relationship silently discreet (not a secret) a bad thing?

Our three way was fun but polite. One was like a pig at the manger, the other more of stand-by (not so much a sexy voyeur but more like a person waiting at a bus stop). The best part was when we all chatted (so evolved!) and they told me they were just starting to experiment (not sure about a Petri dish and not a main course, but I am 53 and cannot be completely arrogant about my choices).

In the age of generalized loss of shame and TMI, discretion and prudence seem as old-fashioned as your great-grandma doilies draped on her furniture. But, are they really bad things? When is an open relationship a terrible secret or simply a pragmatic arrangement to get stuff you don;t get from the one and only, the person who is supposed to be everything, to do everything, to feel everything for you?

Bill and Hillary might be, in the public imaginary, one of the most potent exemplary open relationships.