Can You Have Marriage And Kids In Open Relationship

Women's Dating

Can You Have Marriage and Kids in an Open Relationship?

Katie B.

Written by: Katie B.

Katie B.

Katie B. has a MPH in health promotion and has plans to complete a master's degree in marriage and family therapy. You can read more about Katie B's journey in an open relationship at

Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

Discuss This! Discuss This!
Advertiser Disclosure

How does marriage fit with an open relationship? What about having kids? Do I want those things?

Legal marriage is, to me, just that: a legal document dictating a financial agreement with a partner.

Therefore, getting legally married is a financial arrangement and agreement and can overlap with any relationship structure, given it is between two people (and in many states still, two straight people).

Legal marriage is not allowed between more than two people in any states.

This part is less important in my relationship.

While we both see the practical benefits of getting legally married (and so we probably will soon), it is less important than being clear on our other relationship agreements and maintaining transparency, trust, communication and commitment to one another.

We know many people who are married and have open relationships, and their reasons for getting married ranged from the practical, financial and legal benefits, to the practicalities of raising children together, to the symbol of being in a long-term and loving relationship.

Having a ceremony may or may not coincide with this.

Because there are not laws around having ceremonies, people who choose to have more than one partner may choose to have more than one ceremony of commitment and love.

J. and I recently had a commitment ceremony, and it looked very much like any other wedding. I wore a white dress and we had a wedding party, music, vows and cake.

Things we did differently included:

  • We called it a commitment ceremony.
  • We didn’t get legally married the same day.
  • I plan to keep my last name when we do get legally married.
  • My dad didn’t give me away.
  • We had friends of honor (instead of bridesmaids and groomsmen), which included opposite-gender friends.
  • Our vows did not include anything about monogamy.

If either of us ever has another long-term relationship marked by a similar level of commitment, I would expect to have another kind of celebration and party.

“We have many friends who have open

relationships and are raising children.”

Having children is deciding to parent the rest of my life.

Because I am interested in doing other things with my life, I don’t think I will be raising kids of my own. If I decided I wanted to raise a family, I plan to adopt children.

My open relationship is definitely not the reason I feel averse to raising kids.

In fact, I feel extremely comfortable with my relationship structure as a benefit to any hypothetical kids I may have. More loving adults in my life would mean more loving adults in my children’s lives.

If J. and I had any other partners who wanted to co-parent, I can’t see how that would be detrimental to our children.

More time, energy, love and resources for kids can’t be a bad thing (similar to how having stepparents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins and other parental figures hopefully adds love and support to the children’s lives).

We have many close friends and many acquaintances who have open relationships and are raising children.

I am not personally close with anyone in a more-than-two parent household, though. Everyone I know who is open and parenting is doing so in a two-parent household.

The openness, solid communication skills, compassion and love the adults practice spill over into their parenting, and I can’t be more confident that those kids will become self-aware, communicative and emotionally healthy adults.

In addition, the sex positivity these people embody will translate into their children knowing and respecting their bodies and hearts and the bodies and hearts of others.

Advertiser Disclosure is a free online resource that offers valuable content and comparison services to users. To keep this resource 100% free, we receive compensation from many of the offers listed on the site. Along with key review factors, this compensation may impact how and where products appear across the site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). does not include the entire universe of available offers. Editorial opinions expressed on the site are strictly our own and are not provided, endorsed, or approved by advertisers.

Our Editorial Review Policy

Our site is committed to publishing independent, accurate content guided by strict editorial guidelines. Before articles and reviews are published on our site, they undergo a thorough review process performed by a team of independent editors and subject-matter experts to ensure the content’s accuracy, timeliness, and impartiality. Our editorial team is separate and independent of our site’s advertisers, and the opinions they express on our site are their own. To read more about our team members and their editorial backgrounds, please visit our site’s About page.