Avvo study examines attitudes around open relationships


This article was created out of a relationship study conducted by Avvo, to better understand how the law intersects with people’s lives, and the issues people face when engaging with attorneys and the legal system. Given that divorce and family law are two of the largest and most routine needs for legal help, understanding the relationship dynamics that lead to marriage, divorce, and family planning is essential for us to better serve our readers. Go here for more details on the study, and check the links at the bottom of this article to learn more about the results.

For some, relationship satisfaction might come with an open relationship. But open relationships are not for everyone; some people are morally comfortable with non-monogamy, while others are not, and a new Avvo study shows major attitudinal differences between the two groups.

People OK with open relationships, as you might expect, are less OK with marriage as an institution: 22% feel that marriage is outdated, compared to 9% of people opposed to polyamory who feel the same way. 41% of those morally opposed to open relationships think marriage is a goal everyone should have in life, compared to 24% of people open to polyamory.

Differences in attitudes about the sanctity of marriage are reflected in attitudes about dating someone who is married: 59% of those morally comfortable with open relationships say they’d date someone who is married; only 15% of those opposed to open relationships would do the same.

However, by some measures, it appears those who are comfortable with open relationships actually seem to value relationships in a more general way.

Avvo’s survey asked respondents if they would rather be alone, successful, and happy than in a relationship where they’re not happy. A full 95% of those opposed to open relationships say they would, while a smaller percentage—89%—of those who are morally OK with open relationships would say the same. Does this indicate that those interested in open relationships are more willing to stick it out when the relationship turns sour? Maybe, although both groups agree in the value of relationships and the longevity of love overall, as 92% of both groups say relationships were meant to last.

“People crave connection, and when they feel a connection, they want to do everything they can to keep that intact,” according to noted sociologist and renowned sexologist Dr. Pepper Schwartz. “They also need to feel satisfied, emotionally and physically. What people do to stay satisfied in a relationship, and sustain and strengthen their connections, can depend on the desires of the two parties of the couple and how connected they feel.”

“The alignment or misalignment of these desires may lead to pursuing an open relationship just as readily as they could lead to deciding to start a family, formalizing a commitment in marriage, or even ending the relationship altogether.”

See below for more details and insights from the survey data: